“STREET REVIEW”: THE FUJI X10

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INTRODUCTION

It was the late 2011 when Fujifilm released one of the most exciting cameras of the digital era: the mighty X100.

Since then i was really into that camera and i read almost everything on the web about it; i fell in love with it because was all that i wanted packed in a great way.

Finally this year i bought one. But i wasn’t lucky at all. It suffered from SAB(sticky aperture blades), a well known issue that i was afraid of.

So it was repaired.

After one-long!-month i got my camera back and ta-da! it still suffered from SAB.

After this, my photographic heart broke, and i decided to return the camera to the seller.

I was really confused because i still needed a camera and i really liked the X100 but i didn’t “trust” it.

So, after a lot of boring thoughts, i bought the little black brother of it, the Fuji X10.

At the beginning i wasn’t sure at all if this was a right move: the online images of the X10 were good but not the best, especially after i “tasted” the X100, but now i know that this is really a little black gem of camera if you know how to use it.

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THE CAMERA

Let’s start talking about it : first of all, after the bad experience with the X100, i was scared about the “white orbs” issue on the X10. So i bought a high serial one and until now i never noticed this problem. Fuji claims that they solved the problem with a new sensor. Seems true.

The camera itself is  really good looking. It is built very well and it feels good in the hands. It has a perfect disposition of the buttons: you can get/change everything you need in a really fast way.

The most important to me and almost unique feature amongst his competitors  is that it has a built in optical viewfinder. It is really really bright and the size is similar to a Canonet or similar OVF. It does not have parallax correction but i can live without it ( even the Leica III i had was without parallax correction ), and it does not show you any information. It’s just an optical bright viewfinder that zooms according to the position of the lens.

The lens is quite perfect to me. It’s an equivalent 28-112mm with an amazing aperture range of f2 (at 28mm) – f2.8(at 112mm). It’s super sharp even wide open and it has really low distortion. Even if this is not a camera for bokeh, you can get a quite nice one while doing portraits at the tele end at f2.8 or while doing macro at f2 at 28mm.

The sensor is bigger compared to the other premium compacts: it is a 2/3″ (so almost as big as the 1″sensor of the sony RX100).

This means that it will deliver better DR, colors, and high iso performance compared to smaller sensor (like the one of Canon G series, Panasonic LX series, Samsung EX series, Leica C,  ecc).

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THE SHOOTING EXPERIENCE

You know that i write my reviews only after using extensively for some month my cameras. And after doing REAL street photography with them.

That said, i really like shooting with the X10.

I will try to explain why.

As i said, it feels good in the hands.

This means that it’s well balanced, doesn’t weight too much and it has a good grip. The buttons feels really good and responsive and i love the exposure compensation dial on the top of the camera, because it allows you to quickly correct your exposure while in front of a new kind of lightning. The metering is pretty reliable, and you can switch the metering mode with just one click button.

The autofocus is fast, really fast. I never had problem or missed a shot due to it.

To be honest, when i started to use the camera i used it in hyperfocal mode with f8 an manual focus mode, to be sure that it was fast enough to capture the right moment. Now i don’t use this method anymore with this camera. AF is fast enough for my kind of street shooting, and using it i can also set smaller aperture and consequently lower iso. And yes, due to the small (compared to APS-C sized sensors!) sensor, you get a lot of depth of field even with bigger aperture, especially at 28mm. This means that even at f2 at 28/35mm, you will have almost everything in focus, without the need of putting f8 or similar and of course without using higher iso! That’s great for street photography. 😉

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The 99% of the time i set the lens on 35mm and aperture mode at f2.2(the maximum aperture at this focal lenght), i set an appropriate ISO(but you can change it really fast if you need it with another button) and just walk. When i find something interesting i focus and i shoot composing through the LCD or through the OVF. That’s all, and feels good.

Another great thing for street photography is that the shutter is almost silent! No one will ever notice the sound that this shutter makes. It’s totally STEALTH!

And, even more important, being a leaf shutter, you can shoot with slow shutter speeds like 1/10 without blurry results.

The battery lasts enough. The LCD is good.

To obtain the maximum dinamic range, i set the camera – and since i bought it i never tried anything else – to 6 megapixels mode, DR400% and i shoot RAW+JPEG.

With this kind of setting i’m really satisfied. The DR is better than that i expected!

6 MP are enough for me since i don’t like to print really big photos. Even when i shoot film, i print 18×24 cm, that looks super awesome with white passpartout and a good black frame.

RAW files are quite big, about 20 MB, and very good. You can push/pull the shadows or the highlights really well to recovery something you want to!

High iso are good for a little camera like this. If you know how to correctly expose, you can go as high as you need on the ISO side ;-). Grain looks good, and looks even better if you put more “casual” grain in post production with plugins like VSCO or similar.

After using this camera, i found that i started to do a lot of COLOR street photography that i wasn’t used to. 🙂

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CONCLUSION

The X10 surprised me, in a good way. It’s better than what i thought it was. It suits street shooting style really easily. It’s “pretty”. It’s fast. It’s reliable.

So i must recommend it to you.

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OTHER SAMPLES

-BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS

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-COLOR PHOTOS

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I hope you liked this informal, non technical review. It’s intended to be a sum of the experiences i had with this camera.

Any questions?Doubts?Use the comments!

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ALL photos are mine and subject to copyright.

Thanks a lot!

Peace,

Giorgio

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22 thoughts on ““STREET REVIEW”: THE FUJI X10

  1. Nice review, but why did you go back to digital (and abandon film)? Also, a picture of the Fuji X10 itself is missing. 🙂 I like it that your review is about how to handle it in day-to-day settings.

    1. Hello my friend! I’m really glad that you like my review; i really appreciate it and it’s fuel for me to do more of this kind of posts! 🙂
      Btw, i didn’t abandon film, don’t worry! Simply i’m shooting more digital-color photography.
      Peace,
      Giorgio

  2. Do you have any doubts about using the 4:3 aspect ratio? It must feel at least a little different since you also shoot film.

    1. Ciao Robby and first of all thanks for passing by.
      To be totally honest, i never worried about the 4:3 ratio.
      I mean that when i shoot i just fill the frame i have!
      And of course, if i want a 3:2 ratio i can crop a little bit in post production. So for me it’s never been a problem.
      Have a great day!
      🙂

  3. Hello, did you notice some differences in sharpening of photos when using jpg/raw?

    Tell me more of settings you are using while doing street photography (:

    1. Ciao Xypnise and thanks for reading and stopping by 🙂 of course there are some differences between raw and jpg, even in sharpening.
      I always use A mode with raw format at 6 megapixels and DR400 with my X10, then I work on the color shots with lightroom 4 and the B&W shot with photoshop.

  4. I really like your exposures, very dark but still plenty of detail.
    I’m just rediscovering my x10, I forgot how much I like using it and how great the output can be.

    1. Ciao Michael! 🙂
      Thanks a lot for your interest about my photography. Yes, fuji X10 is an underrated camera and it can do great pics in almost every situation! enjoy it! 🙂

  5. HI Giorgio,

    Is the X10 still your only digital camera? How large have you printed from it? Everyone complains that the sensor is too small and lowlight is bad but your images from it at night are stunning and have such character. I’m thinking of getting the X30 since I’m currently using the Micro Four-Thirds system but even that has too much shallow DOF for me.

    1. Ciao Thinh! 🙂

      First of all, thank YOU for your interest about my article.
      Now I also own from 1 month a Ricoh GR that i will be writing about soon.
      I will also write about why you and everyone else shouldn’t be worried by camera “classic” reviews…would you be interested in reading something like that? 😉
      I always shoot the X10 at 6 megapixels and you can print larger than 30X40.
      Btw I don’t even know the specifications from the X30 but if you are searching for MORE DoF than m43 system you should probably look for something with a bigger sensor. Which focal lenght do you like? So i can give you some advices!

      Have a great day!!!

      1. Dear Giorgio,

        I’d be interested in all your reviews since you one of the few good street photographers that do camera reviews. I had only found you a few days prior by chance through Google. How do you like your GR? Daido Moriyama used an X10 for his Hong Kong project and returned to the GR after it’s release.

        The X30 is essentially the same sensor as the X20 which is disappointing. But they added a manual control ring around the lens to change aperture and a few other usability features that give a more tactile experience to using the camera. I currently use an E-PM1 which is nice and light but the lack of physical controls make it slow to change settings and the shutter is quite loud. I’d be mainly getting the X30 to enhance my “shooting experience” instead of image quality.

        Perhaps we misunderstood each other, I want deep dof with everything in focus. I’ve been shooting 35mm equivalent for over a year so I’d be keeping the lens at 35mm like you do most of the time and only changing when I cannot physically move quick enough to get something. While I adore primes, I often miss the flexibility of a zoom in crucial situations and being able to shoot at f/2.2 and still having everything in focus seems tempting to me. I used to use 50mm but now in comparison to 35mm, the images with a 50mm feel so constrained and flat and I don’t think I have the courage for 28mm (yet). With the X30 I could ease into 28mm without having to worry about spending more money on a lens, ha.

      2. Ciao Thinh and thanks again for stopping by and liking my work 🙂
        i’m really liking my GR mainly for portability, great image quality and speed: i will do a better description of it in my review.
        I also had an EPM1: it has a good size and nice speed but i can say without doubts that X10 files are better to me. Dinamic range is better in the little fuji when you set DR400 at 6 megapixels, and the overall feel is that the images are more “real”.
        Now i understand you better about DoF…if you need more things in focus of course a little fuji (x10/20/30) is a GREAT choice. And the lens is quite “perfect” at 35mm even at f2.2 .
        I also agree with what you say about 50mm. I think it is a great focal lenght and is fundamental when learning to compose, but after some time you can get annoyed by it.
        Thanks mate, and if any question don’t esitate to write here! 🙂 Be sure also to follow me on facebook for more interaction !
        Have a great day!

  6. Hello and thanks for the review. I have an X10 and i am loving it day by day. But!…..How do you get those colors man?! 🙂 I understand the settings for capturing great dynamic range but please tell me how do you get those AMAZING colors?! :). It’s just like the great mood of film photography!

    1. Ciao Kaigara and first of all thank you! Since you are not the first asking me about those colors, I decided to make a blog post about it. So be sure to follow my blog and I’ll give you the secret soon 😉

  7. Hi Giorgio, first of all congratulations for your superb photographs! And you’re right, the X10 offers the right mix of no-fuss and picture quality for street photography. It reminds me of the simplicity of the XA2 you describe so well in the other review. I still have one and love the EXR processor output. 6 Megapixels is more than enough and certainly more than my film scans.

    I tried the X20 and 30 and find them better in some ways, but more distracting.

    But above all I like my film gear! Just remember, film simulations come in little round plastic containers!

    1. Thank you Frank!
      It’s a pleasure to hear your kind words. I agree that the little X10 does a superb job and it’s a great companion for a street photographer! Film remain film… And it is still great and super fun to use!
      Have a great day and thanks for stopping by,
      Giorgio

  8. che cosa ne pensi della fuji x T1?
    a me sembra un buon compromesso tra una leica e un piccolo corpo digitale
    l’unica cosa che non capisco: è obbligatorio mettere le lenti fuji (per nulla economiche) o è possibile usare per esempio le zuiko ?

    1. Ciao Nicola! Innanzitutto grazie per essere passato di qui. Posso dirti che la XT1 non l’ho mai provata. Tuttavia a me il sensore che monta, di tipo X-trans, non piace. Non ci posso fare niente, checchè ne dicano gli altri non riesco a digerire la sua resa. Comunque sia puoi montare sui corpi Fuji X quasi tutte le ottiche, basta avere l’anello adattatore adeguato!
      Buona luce 😉

      1. quale ti piace e quale mi cosigliersti tra le compatte (mirrorless) in commercio?
        ho notato da poco la costosa Sony A7R II la resa sembra molto bella ma costo troppo .. piu di tremila euro, madonna!

  9. Nicola, dipende da quello che vuoi dalla macchina. Se vuoi una macchina tascabile, Ricoh GR senza dubbio. Altrimenti mi piace molto anche la prima Fuji X100. Se vuoi obbiettivi intercambiabili la prima Sony A7 la trovi a poco ed è una gran macchina!

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