Fuji XF10… an odd camera?

Fuji XF10… an odd camera?
24 Sep 18

Through the photography grapevine, I’d heard that a new pocketable camera was coming out from Fujifilm and that it would be a fixed lens camera similar the the X70 that had been discontinued prematurely.

Many that had bought the X70 were fanatical enthusiasts of that camera, so much so that they’d ‘pimp’ it up with various add-ons… but I never bought into it for two reasons, it had a lens that was equal to a 28mm (far too wide for me) and no viewfinder!

So, here I was, strangely looking at this as a possible addition to my iPhone 7 Plus, the 7 Plus that had twin lenses to allow me a degree of ‘zoom’ capability that I felt I wanted all the time (I do shoot 50mm with my X-T1 though).

Enquiries were made to a variety of places to find out when this camera would be available but no-one knew at the time, Calumet, my camera dealer of choice said they thought it could be out soon and would let me know… a short while later they said it would be in stock imminently: ‘do you want one?’

Surprisingly I heard myself saying ‘Yes!’…

So an arrangement was made for one to be put aside as I arranged to pay via finance for the camera, as I didn’t want to drop £450 on my credit card, and that was how I came to own a camera I hadn’t even seen in the metal let alone read about in reviews before buying.

What made me go for this fixed 28mm lens camera was its features and advanced settings…

Firstly, it met my needs for a camera that fits in my hand, or pocket, and could be with me anytime, anyplace.

Secondly it had an unusual lens for such a small camera, a leaf shutter, which could make the camera virtually silent when it was set to make no sounds. This was something I’d experience when I took a chance on owning the X100s, a 35mm lensed leaf shutter camera that didn’t suit my needs at first but ended up being my go to camera… sadly sold when I became redundant.

Thirdly, this camera has some advanced features not normally found in a small camera, at this price, many other manufacturers do do cameras with these features but at a considerably higher price. Things like RAW imagery, an f2.8 18.5mm bright lens, 256 segment through the lens metering, exposure compensation of -5/+5 EV, 24.2 million pixel APS-C sensor and the ability to change the image size to equal a 35 and 50mm lens by electronically cropping if you feel you need too (I don’t use that as I feel it’s better to crop post from a RAW file).

The list goes on….

On the body, there are four command dials on the camera body to control exposure, shutter speed, aperture and manual zoom (the ring around the lens) plus a joystick on the back for menu selection and moving the focus point. A small thumb rest on the back along with the finger grip on the front allows single hand use or to give a more secure grip when held in both hands… something Sony doesn’t have on the RX100 series cameras where the front grip is a stick-on accessory!

You can choose between manual where you control everything from focus, shutter, aperture etc or use the advanced scene recognition if you just want to concentrate on getting the shot with SR+ mode.

All in all, this makes the XF10 an advanced camera that can be as easy to use for a beginner, or someone who just wants to point and shoot, or for those that want to be more creative too.

The downsides are firstly, the fact that this is an extra-wide lens (28mm) that needs you to get in close to capture your subjects but… you can crop if needed.

The sensor isn’t one of the X-Trans sensors that Fuji is famous for but a bayer sensor, but that’s not surprising at this price point nor a bad thing too… and it doesn’t have the latest all singing Fuji processors, again not surprising nor expected for the price. While these may seem a reason not to buy this camera I really hasn’t put me off, simply making me work within its limits and enjoying the challenge that a 28mm brings, I treat it as an advanced iPhone, one with a larger sensor and better processing ability in low light.

In use, I find it simple to carry one handed with the wrist-strap on, lens cap off (the lens cap is poor, thin and easily lost (unless you use the strap that attaches to the wrist strap)) with it set to shutter priority (1/180) with the EV set to slightly underexpose. This allows me to switch the camera on as I raise the camera up to capture the shot. Generally, it does well to focus on what you have intended to capture with a few missed shot, as any other camera will do, but you do have the ability to set the focus to a fixed distance.. 2m’s or 5m’s in Snapshot mode where anything at that distance with be in focus, great for the street photographer who can judge the distance by eye.

While this isn’t meant to be a definitive review where every feature/option/setting is covered microscopically, I do hope it will whet your appetite to move on from a mobile phone for your imagery and, if you’re an Instagram person, you can set the camera to take square images ready to post as this camera has Bluetooth and WiFi where, using a mobile phone, you can post directly with the GPS coordinates attached – or simply use the Bluetooth to add GPS to each image to remind you where that photo was taken at a later time.

It’s nearest competitor is the Ricoh GRII which has only 16mp’s but comes with NFC which probably is more reliable than Bluetooth but I feel the build quality and lens/leaf shutter wins over that camera… I could be biased though.

28mm isn’t for everyone but don’t dismiss it for that reason alone… oh, it has a touch screen too if you like that kind of thing for menu, image reviews and… focusing and capture!

Author

James Ormiston

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