January 25th, 2013, 05:48 PM
My own first X10 impressions
After a pretty chaotic journey, my X10 showed up this morning.
I will try to give my impressions, while realizing they might not be of much interest to anyone, since the camera is about to be replaced by the much anticipated X20 (and also anticipated by me now !!).
Keep in mind the cameras I have shot these past two years (digicams and I go back all the way to 2001 with... a Fuji little compact, but I'm trying to compare with relevant technology generations). So, a boatload of various APS-C DSLR's (the last one still sleeping in my photo closet being the excellent D90), several APS-H (yes, that's Canon former 1D series, with a X1.3 crop factor) and FF bodies (1D MkII, 5D and D700, namely). And from early 2012, the beautiful Panny GX-1 (my, what a camera), a few m4/3 Olys I failed to bond with, and 3 NEX bodies (5N, 6, and 7).
I'm seriously lusting at the Fuji X guys, and treated myself to the littlest of them, the X10, as a complement (not replacement, my husband made me swear never ever to sell that camera) an old Canon S90.
I won't surprise anybody stating the obvious, the X10 looks absolutely gorgeous, and feels very solid and qualitative in the hand. It's just a lovely camera to hold. It's definitely vintage in appearance, as my husband reaction illustrates ("it's seriously old school").
The ring operated on/off switch is as good as everybody says it is. The OVF is a small, plain glass window devoid of any information, and it shows only 85% of the frame. But it's certainly useful to have in bright light, so I'm glad it's there.
My unit is pre-owned but brand new (the original owner won it as a challenge prize, and he tried it out once and sold it). The dials are firm, the exposure compensation wheel is even way to firm for comfort. The up side is that it won't be knocked by accident, and I hope it will loosen up a bit with use.
The little thumb wheel, otoh, has some unwanted vertical play and turns very loosely. The back wheel is as flimsy as every little dingy wheel I ever experienced.
Even with some serious menu digging, I've been unable to locate the firmware version of the camera, and at first totally ignore the RAW button (as I'm a STRICT jpeg shooter). It's only hours later that I pressed it, nearly by accident, and was overjoyed to discover the wonderfully useful quick menu. Wow, what a time saver.
The dial mode is also very firm/stiff, which is a pain because my two favorite modes sit at the exact opposites of this dial, so a lot of turning. Hopeful it will loosen a bit with time.
I wish th AEL button would be configurable since, AFAIC, it's totally useless. Shame to lose an external control opportunity.
Once I turned the camera on, I was immediately overwhelmed by the (IMO very excessive) choice of modes and conflicting options, namely in the DR department. I started systematically setting up every menu item, but to my dismay a lot of them were greyed out or limited. I discovered that many, many features are mutually exclusive, which is pretty hair pulling. To be honest, only extensive trial and error and experimenting with as many combinations as possible, will help you sort out what inhibits what.
Once you do that, things become a little clearer, and you start seeing your way out of the tunnel. I'm still extremely confused with all the DR options, and have chosen to just use 200% as default and be done with it. I've set C1 for natural light and C2 for manual mode and external flash. I wish I'd have twice as many custom modes, to have native B&W as well, and why not some in camera 1:1 ratio (which I had set on my GX-1), but two custom modes is much better than nothing, after all, I didn't have that luxury on my much more expensive (and capable) NEX 7.
One huge disappointment for me is how the exposure simulation (full time live view) is rather approximative, and not available in Manual mode (which, truly, sucks. Other cameras do that, and offer the option to boost the LCD to override the chose settings if they make the screen too dark/bright).
The menus are thankfully short, so there's a bunch of menu digging involved, but the scrolling is reasonably fast, and the Quick menu pretty much solves that issue.
So, how does it perform ? Well, ya all know that. It works great. It works better than it has any right to. Today was ugly dark, and I shot exclusively in my very dim home. The results are excellent, given the sensor size. AND, the lens is just long/bright enough to allow for SOME subject isolation, which is unheard of in a compact (Yes I'm aware of the Oly ZX-1, and it doesn't come close to the Fuji). PLUS, I was very, very curious to test the Pro Focus mode. I know nobody here gave it much thought as you guys are all serious enthusiasts, RAW shooters, etc. But my main gripe with smaller sensors has always been lack of DOF control (and only that, I use flash so don't so much need high ISO), so that fake, software generated background blur had me on my toes.
Well, I'm pleased to report it's pretty kick@ss ! Of course, it needs certain conditions to work, namely that there is a sufficient distance between subject and background. I'm unable to post samples today as I dropped my Macbook last night and it won't turn on (bummer) but I'm really pleasantly surprised at how reasonably nice and natural the OOF areas and transitions work. Being able to throw your background slightly out of focus and isolate your subject with a *compact* camera is just insanely cool !! There are 3 available settings in this feature, and IMO 2 is the sweet spot. 1 doesn't yield much result, and 3 is overkill and unnatural. 2 works really pretty well. The downside of such feature is that it robs you from many choices like WB and a few others, and won't work with an external flash (not even sure it works with the built-in unit). But used in a pinch it gives the ability to create a much more flattering and better looking portrait, given that you have a little control over your subject to background distance.
So, all in all, how do I like the X10 ??
About 5 minutes after unboxing it I wanted to list it right back, list it and be rid with it. It drove me nuts. But sticking with it and shooting it throughout the day, I'm discovering more and more cool things about this camera, and tonight, paired with my faithful SB-600, it gave me pretty astonishing results. The ability to get some subject isolation (even without the gimmicky faux bokeh mode) is the clincher for me, I'm keeping it. It should do Venice very nicely in March ;)
January 25th, 2013, 09:44 PM
That's pretty much my experience...open the box, turn it on and wonder WTF? Then that moment of remorse thinking "what have I done?". Then you take a couple of shots, look at them and start to realize that under all the copious options and settings beats the heart of a pretty decent camera so you shoot some more. Then the more you look at things the more you realize that the images are waaay better than they should be and on top of that they seem to be better at MF than they are at LF and it all seems so counterintuitive that it makes your head hurt. Then you do a little morning walk and find that it's pretty easy to use and the combination of the fast lens, useful zoom range and controls that seem to always be right where you need them despite how small the camera is. Then you look at the images again and start to think..."I wonder how these compare to my REAL camera?" so you do a quick comparison and to your shock and amazement they're not nearly as far apart as you expected them to be. The capper is the day you use the OVF and realize despite it being a plain jane OVF that only shows 85% of the image and you can see the edge of the lens (or lens hood) it's pretty useful.
I'm glad you're giving it a chance. Mine continues to surprise me (in a good way).
January 26th, 2013, 09:56 AM
My Christmas present to me from me was a Fuji refurbished X10 with a year warranty. As I already have an X100 the camera was very familiar so I haven't had any issues. The OVF on the X10 is handy, even without the bells and whistles of the X20 and as the images are very good I don't think I'll upgrade for the time being. The more you use it the better it gets.
To see what firmware version you have to turn the camera off, press and hold the DISP button, turn on and the V number will be shown, then just tun off again.
January 26th, 2013, 10:21 AM
Right. Although I think if the raw button brings up the "Q" menu instead of just switching the camera to raw mode, she's got the newest firmware.
Originally Posted by greyelm
January 26th, 2013, 11:41 AM
Yes guys and thx for the tip, indeed it's 2.0.
Enjoying the cam quite a bit now :)
January 26th, 2013, 12:09 PM
Okay two accessories that I think make the X10 even nicer in the hand...
1. Lensmate thumb rest for X10. It blocks the mode dial somewhat but I think the improvement in the way it feels is worth the trade-off. The Lensmate is also cheaper than the ThumbsUp by about $80 and I'm not sure that I see what the ThumbsUp offers that makes it worth the additional money.
Lensmate: Lensmate Fujifilm X10 Thumbrest Black
2A. A soft release. I like the Abrahamsson mini soft release (I got red).
2B. Match Technical also make nice soft releases. They nifty enamel covered buttons and really well made. I also have the gold dragon on red soft release but I got the larger size and I think on a camera like the X10 the smaller release is a better fit. They also make small sized releases as well.
As far as using the X10...it's not a camera you just pickup and use. It needs more attention than that so because of this it's not a camera I would recommend for everyone. If however you spend some time working with it though it can be really rewarding...much like driving a Renault or Fiat.
Last edited by dixeyk; January 26th, 2013 at 12:18 PM.
January 26th, 2013, 01:44 PM
Lol. I wouldn't know. I drive an Audi ;)
January 26th, 2013, 04:07 PM
1979 Fiat 128 sedan...yellow. It was a twitchy, temperamental and BIG FUN.
Originally Posted by nianys
January 26th, 2013, 04:14 PM
Kevin how do you feel the soft release improves the overall shooting experience ?? Curious as I never used one. I'm hesitant to try the thumb rest as I find the dial mode to be a little bitchy to operated in the first place..
But a nice (faux, I'm cheap) leather half case seems in order ;)
January 26th, 2013, 04:51 PM
Question for folks with both X10 and X-E1.. is AF speed on par ? Because I COULD possibly live with AF performance like that. Not speedy by any means, but not hair pulling either.
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