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.
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).
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. 😉
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. 🙂
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.
-BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS
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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