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Michael Nagel January 8th, 2012 06:48 AM

More hands on - Fujifilm X10
After six weeks of use, here is a short summary on the X10.

As I am not the typical photo gear tester (I use it and test only if I feel that there is something wrong) not all situations are covered yet. There might be additions later...

Here are my impressions.

I like the fact, that you switch on the camera by turning the zoom ring.
The manual zoom is a pleasure to use - faster and more precise than the motorized zooms usually found on compact cameras.
The controls for AF, exposure adjustment, white balance, light metering and choosing the AF field can be reached by individual switches or buttons. One button (FN) can be configured, default for this button is ISO.

The menu structure is less to my taste - some items are not self-explanatory and some search is required...

The optical viewfinder does not have parallax compensation and it covers approx. 80% of the image. It is helpful if the screen is not desired or cannot be used as in bright light. There is no information visible in the viewfinder!

Once all the acoustic signals are silenced - the first thing I do on a camera after unpacking - the camera is silent. You really have to pay attention and to be close to hear the shutter. This is very useful for locations where this is required (Theater, Church etc.).

The size is just OK for my hands and the surface makes it a pleasure to carry.

For most of the situations I did not need the menu, the dedicated controls cover most of the functions I need handy for shooting.


Compared to the Powershot S90 I owned before, the AF seems to be faster.

The speed of up to 7 images per second at full resolution for continuous shooting is good for a compact camera.

Overall the camera has little lag and helps to capture the desired moment in most cases.

Image Quality:

The zoom lens is already good wide open (f 2.0 on the short end and f 2.8 on the long end) and permits some selective focusing thanks to the aperture and the sensor size of 2/3".

The sensor delivers an impressive image quality, especially when taking its size in account.

On low ISO, the quality is IMHO getting close to some of the entry-level DSLR or µFT cameras with the difference of larger DOF.

OPF Thread 1
OPF Thread 2

On high ISO, the camera delivers still a lot of useable images.

ISO 1250

ISO 2000

ISO 3200

When using EXR Mode and lowering the resolution from 12Mpix to 6Mpix, this range can be expanded.

ISO 1000, DR setting at 400%
This was taken from a door leading outside a dimly lit rebuilt interior of a WWII submarine.

Bells and Whistles:

The X10 offers quite a few options for filming, this is something I have not explored yet.
There are many adjustments possible to alter the behavior of the JPEG engine. The standard settings deliver already good results, so I haven't fiddled a lot with these. Otherwise there is still RAW (which can be developed in the camera).
Besides the standard PASM modes, there is a dedicated EXR auto mode and an advanced mode and even two custom modes which can be configured by the user.

There are certainly thing I have missed, but these may be added later.

Currently there is an issue with blooming in some situations, also called the 'white disc' effect. This raised some concern. I saw the effect once or twice, but it did not disturb me (yet?).

I would have paid more to have the hybrid viewfinder, even a light version of it, included in the X10. This would have been a very useful enhancement.
The manual is sometimes cryptic (at least to me).

Overall I am pleased with the X10.

Best regards,

Asher Kelman January 8th, 2012 11:17 AM


Your review is so helpful as you put it to service of pictures you need to take and so this is practical. How much post processing did the pictures need to reach the quality shown? also how lrge can the pictures be printed at 240 dpi?

Good job!


Michael Nagel January 8th, 2012 01:32 PM


Thanks. I am still on the way to explore the functions of the camera. Expect additions in the future.

The post-processing was minimal - almost exclusively cropping and very few minor contrast/brightness adjustments. The jpegs were used, I did not feel a need to switch to RAW.

For the print sizes:
The wasp pictures are heavily cropped, but could be printed up to 5x7 inch for the rectangular crops and 6x6 inch for the square crop.
The pictures from the hike could be printed at a size up to 10x15 inch at 240dpi.

The rest is in the order of 9x12 inch up to 10x15 inch.

The noise is not that bad - it often looks more like grain.

In low-light situations it beneficial to reduce the resolution from 12Mpix to 6Mpix to fully profit from the EXR modes of the sensor. This is rewarded with more details while these are otherwise destroyed by the denoising, which is more aggressive at the full resolution.

Best regards,

fahim mohammed January 9th, 2012 12:03 PM

Michael, I had almost got this one. But the ' orb ' put a damper to that. I have decided to wait..

maybe longer than necessary!!

Thanks for your take and sharing it with us. Well done.


Michael Nagel January 9th, 2012 01:53 PM


Thanks! I understand your hesitation.

It may sound ironic, but the experience with the K-5 has taught me not to wait.
When I bought the K-5, the sensor spot issue was not known to me, OK.
Three months later I discovered, that, when stopping down too far, I saw spots as well, bummer.
But after a while I recognized, that without this camera, there are a lot of occasions I would have missed. Just to explain: I need good high-ISO performance as I shoot often late in the evening and at night, often without tripod as the situations do not permit this.

The X10 is an excellent companion for the K-5 as the high-ISO performance is very good.
The size and look makes it way less obtrusive than a DSLR while delivering good results.
The fact that you can switch off the LCD (while losing information on the picture taken) makes it look like an old camera and I have the impression that most people don't care anymore...

Certainly, the 'orb' or 'white disc' issue is not good, but I have seen it only once or twice until now, this is why I think that it is less relevant for me.
Everybody has different requirements, for certain this is a big issue, but for others this is not relevant. The IMHO most important thing is to recognize if a certain shortcoming is really relevant for the particular requirements or not and to decide yourself if you care about it or not.

There are a lot of things I have not explored yet with the X10, I will add updates from time to time. There is one thing I can tell already: There is fun and the camera stands rarely in the way between me and the picture I intend to take. This is a very important thing for me.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel January 14th, 2012 07:05 AM

I tried video briefly, the quality was good. The higher frame rates at lower resolution are a nice gimmick, but the resolution is too low for serious use.

During my brief tryout, I noticed that the AF took a little time to lock on when the distance between the different subjects was larger. I will have a closer look...

Video is not my main interest, but given the capability it is sometimes nice if you only want to carry one piece of equipment around.

More to follow...

Best regards,

Michael Nagel January 15th, 2012 02:37 PM

One nice thing about the X10 is, that it is still useable with fleece gloves. I needed this today during a hike and I was pleased, as this is not common for compact cameras.

These two are from today:

Best regards,

Asher Kelman January 16th, 2012 07:14 AM


Originally Posted by Michael Nagel (Post 124740)
There is fun and the camera stands rarely in the way between me and the picture I intend to take. This is a very important thing for me.



This is so important. Even with the Canon 5D II and the 100 mm 2.8L Macro lens, the little black GXR with the 28-300 lens is so user-friendly and unintrusive that there's hardly ever any perturbation of the scene of people I want to photograph. What's more DOF always helps and focus is fast. It seems that the X-10 shares these qualities. I'd say, in fact, that having such a tiny camera can improve a lot of work.

I have not tried the X-10 but your report makes me very interested in the coming Fuji APS-C sized compact mirror-less camera. Small black camera are the way to go!

Keep on with your report!


fahim mohammed January 16th, 2012 11:23 AM

Michael, I am reading your report studiously.

Thank you for doing the grunt work for us.

Best regards.

Wolfgang Plattner January 16th, 2012 01:24 PM

Hi Michael,
thanks for the proper informations ...

Michael Nagel January 16th, 2012 02:16 PM

Asher - yes, it fun. A small camera helps to remain unnoticed and thus taking more natural situations.

Fahim - thanks. Please take it with a grain of salt as I describe everything from my point of view and suited for my needs. Yours are probably different from mine...

Wolfgang - thanks. Please don't forget that I do not claim to be objective ;)

Here is another observation:

This touches exposure and dynamic range. For landscape photography, I tend to favor high contrast scenes that require a high dynamic range and a good exposure control.

Here are three examples. Exposure control was not always involved. The X10 seems to handle this quite well.

And there are the colors...

One more word about exposure control - the wheel comes handy when needed, but sometimes I would like to have more than +-2 stops.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel January 17th, 2012 03:23 PM

Macro Mode
A few words on the macro mode(s) (there are two actually) of the X10.

The first macro mode permits the use of all focal lengths, but the magnification is not that high, as the minimal focusing distance is still quite high. Still, it is the more useful one of both, as you can use all focal lengths.

The second one is called super macro mode. The only usable focal length is the shortest one. Tbhe focusing distance can be as short as 1cm to the lens.

The display stays on in both cases as the viewfinder is useless here.

The wasp photos here were taken with the standard macro mode.

the following four were taken with the super macro mode. The OOF rendering of the lens is not that bad, especially for a compact camera.

The next update might take a while - I need some time to take more photos...

Best regards,

Michael Nagel January 22nd, 2012 03:42 AM

Reportage, well - sort of
Yesterday I hat the occasion to see one of the dances the Barrel Makers perform every seven years in Munich. Here is some information about the dance:

Focusing speed and shutter lag are important for this kind of situation. In most cases this worked well and made it possible to capture some interesting moments. As the weather was not that good (light rain) I used the screen rather than the viewfinder for composing. Unfortunately the screen cannot be tilted, for this kind of situations this would be useful, otherwise the fixed screen does not disturb me.

Here are some results:

I also took some videos, but I have to sort out where to host these without losing quality...

Best regards,

Michael Nagel January 22nd, 2012 04:28 PM

For those who are more interested in sensor data, a DxOMark test is available now.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel January 26th, 2012 01:56 PM

The quality on the original video is better, but here is one for a start.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel February 5th, 2012 06:20 AM

Event photography
These photos were taken during a vernissage (more information below) I enjoyed a lot.
There are four things which were beneficial in this case:
The camera is silent.
There was no flash required.
The manual controls almost eliminated the need to go through the menu for adjustments.
The small size made the camera much less intrusive than a DSLR would have been.

The first two photos were taken before the performance, the third during the performance. The other photos are shown here.

The in-camera b/w rendering does a good job as can be seen above, but it does not replace a good post-processing.

All photos taken at the vernissage " schneesturm " Feb 3rd, 2012 at the Gallery Patrizia Zewe, München. Thanks for the permission to show these photos.

Bets regards,

Michael Nagel February 11th, 2012 02:49 PM


Fuji just published a new Firmware Revision for the X10 with some new functions and a reduction of the 'white disc' effect. I will do the update tomorrow and see if there is a noticeable difference.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel March 4th, 2012 03:52 AM

Finally I opted against updating for the moment, as others who did the update did not see any significant improvement concerning the 'white disc' issue.
What are the other differences in the newer firmware revision?
The RAW button can be used as another configurable button (long press can be configured differently).
The ISO, DR, WB, etc. settings are global in the newer firmware revision for the different PASM modes and no longer individual.

There is now one occasion where the 'white disc' effect angered me a little (image is clickable, look at the lamps):

Otherwise: Still no regrets.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel March 10th, 2012 02:35 PM

Together with the negative experience as described above, there was also a positive one.
Despite the rather 'long' 28mm FOV equivalent on the short end, it is possible to do architecture shots, but rather details or specific angles than overview panoramas if you do not want to use the panorama function.

Here are more results from the same day:

It works, but differently.

Best regards,

fahim mohammed March 13th, 2012 03:04 AM

Well Michael, what is your advice for me? Should I get it ( notwithstanding all the 'orb'ital chatter

this cam has generated ).

I am most interested in your advice, as the cam fits most of my requirements.


Jerome Marot March 13th, 2012 02:07 PM

Just for info: Fuji is developing a modified sensor to fix X10 and X-S1 white orbs. They also "encourage any customer with an X10 and X-S1 who has experienced the ‘white disc’ phenomenon to call their local authorized Fujifilm service centre."

Michael Nagel March 13th, 2012 02:07 PM


let me put it like this:
Since I have the X10, my DSLR is mainly used for situations, where the specific advantages of the sensor size and the lens used are important. Otherwise the X10 is the camera I use - currently more frequently than the DSLR.
For most situations the results from the X10 are good, and the edge the DSLR has is not that important.

The fine print:
The DoF difference between both types of cameras does concern me only in some situations, otherwise I am fine with the X10.

Useability is good - I rarely have to fiddle with the menu.

I do still not see the advantage of using RAW - the jpegs are very good.

Speed - up to my needs in most situations, but there are moments when zone focusing helps to be a little faster. Manual focusing is not so good...

It seems that the 'orb' issue is no longer one for a newer revision of the X10. I would wait and see if this turns out to be true.
I was not bothered that much by this issue until now, but if there is a version without it, there is not much left to criticize.

Try if using the camera is intuitive enough for you. If the answer is yes - I recommend it.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel March 13th, 2012 02:11 PM

Jerome - thanks for providing the source for more information regarding the 'orbs'.

fahim mohammed March 17th, 2012 06:26 AM

Michael, thank you for the information.

I shall wait till they bring out the corrected replacement sensor; as Fuji has mentioned in their
news release.

Kindest regards.

Michael Nagel March 19th, 2012 01:50 PM


waiting for the new sensor is most sensible. Yesterday I was slightly annoyed again - back-light with brilliant reflections on a clear day is yielding 'orb' in a quite reliable way. Bummer!

I will wait until the new sensor is available and see that I get my camera replaced. I can wait until I seee what the new revision will yield in similar situations. This is the only thing which disturbs me. I hope that the new revision will correct this. Then I will look forward to a long time with this gem.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel April 2nd, 2012 02:25 PM

Already some time ago I purchased the Lens hood LH-X10, which also serves as step-up ring for 52mm filters.
The thread diameter of the lens seems to be 40.5mm, there should be filters available as well...

The lens hood is convenient in several ways. It does not only help to deal with stray light (it could be more efficient at this, but then it would be larger), but it also prevents one from inadvertently touching the front lens element when carrying the camera with the neck strap and trying to grab it without looking. This happened to me several times.
Fingerprints on the front lens lead to a visible decrease of contrast in the picture.

To use it as a step-up ring, the hood part has to be separated. This is relatively easy.

I tried this with a circular polarized filter for fun and could see that the slots (visible on the image) permit stray light to enter the space between filter element and lens.
Arguably - the filter was not top-notch, but not so bad either...

Here is a picture taken with this combination:

I will see how I can improve this...

Best regards,

Michael Nagel April 30th, 2012 12:09 AM

The 'white orb' issue seems to be resolved. Let's see when the updated cameras become available.
There is an article on dpreview with a comparison.

Best regards,

Michael Nagel July 6th, 2012 02:11 PM

Here is a panorama using the built-in function. It works well but limits the resolution a little low.

Best regards,

Asher Kelman July 6th, 2012 09:54 PM


The pictures you show are wonderful. If the sensor is replaced then you are going to be very happy. One thing that I regret about the Ricoh GXR is the slow focus. So how fast does focus seem to be on this camera?


fahim mohammed July 7th, 2012 02:26 PM

Michael, these are very good images.

Do you have the one with new sensor now? If so, how does it perform vs the old one. I read it is less sharp. Lacking zing.

I played with one in th shops here. But I knew more about the X10 than the salesman! He had never heard of an ' orb ' issue. Or a new sensor.

I was very hesitant to put my money down. Can the new sensor cams be identified by some serial number?


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