My own first X10 impressions

Discussion in 'Fuji' started by nianys, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. nianys

    nianys Veteran

    Sep 10, 2012
    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 [email protected] ! 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 ;)
    • Like Like x 6
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    That's pretty much my 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).
  3. greyelm

    greyelm All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2011
    London, England
    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.
  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    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.

  5. nianys

    nianys Veteran

    Sep 10, 2012
    Yes guys and thx for the tip, indeed it's 2.0.
    Enjoying the cam quite a bit now :)
  6. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    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'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. :biggrin:
  7. nianys

    nianys Veteran

    Sep 10, 2012
    Lol. I wouldn't know. I drive an Audi ;)
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    1979 Fiat 128 sedan...yellow. It was a twitchy, temperamental and BIG FUN.
  9. nianys

    nianys Veteran

    Sep 10, 2012
    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 ;)
  10. nianys

    nianys Veteran

    Sep 10, 2012
    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.
    Anyone ???
  11. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    I was skeptical until I tried a soft release. I find it gives me more stability and control when shooting. The camera shakes less when I press the shutter so I find I can hand hold shots at slower shutter speeds. It also looks pretty cool. The thumb rest just makes it more secure in hand. I shoot in Aperture Priority or Manual meaning I don't do much with the mode dial so for me the trade-off is worth it. If you hit the mode dial a lot it would get in the way. Also the thumb rest slides into the hot shoe so if you're a flash user then it would probably be more of a nuisance than a help having to take it off to shoot with an external flash. I think a half case would be nice. I got a Gordy leather wrist strap for mine.

    Of course I have always been partial to the Artisan & Artist 102 camera strap but no one ever has it in stock. The Voigtlander version available at Cameraquest (same as the Artisan & Artist one except it says Voigtlander on it) for $42.
  12. nianys

    nianys Veteran

    Sep 10, 2012
    Thx Kevin !!
    I do have a very nice (and cheap !) good quality leather strap I'd gotten for the NEX, and it fits the X10 like a glove. I do change modes a LOT (I mostly navigate between Adv (for the Pro Focus feature I surpassingly like and use a lot), C1, C2, EXR (outside EXR optimized for DR is pretty hard to beat...), AND I'm a big external flash user, so definitely no thumb rest for me. I might get a soft release though I find the shutter wonderfully dampened and stable as it is, in fact I find the whole camera extremely easy to hold steady. It's only my second day with it and it's grown on me like crazy already. I still can't figure why they put so many damn different modes and options that don't seem to bring a lot to the table (I mean who really needs Scene modes, plus full Auto plus EXR ? Seriously ??).
    Anyway what a beautiful and wonderfully designed little piece of a camera...
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    I agree, the shutter button is nice even stock. A soft release just makes it a little bit nicer. I know what you mean it really does grow on you very quickly. I'm very attached to mine. I feel bad because I have been neglected my other cameras. The NEX is still getting some love but the G2 is sitting fallow. I know that I will be in the minority but I swear that the X10 images are as good as anything the G2 with the Sigma 30 can produce.
  14. nianys

    nianys Veteran

    Sep 10, 2012
    I'm not *that* smitten yet, but getting there quickly. It's just incredibly versatile. If only I could process and share pics now. Just ordered a half case with extra battery (will be my third, they're not so bad once they've charged fully a couple of times). So far I've thrown at it horrible dim light and ignominous mixed lightning conditions indoor, and ugly, nothing to look at on terribly overcast day outdoors. I just can't wait to see it performs in daylight with something interesting to shoot... If the X-E1 is only on par for AF speed, I'm gonna get one QUICK.
  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    It's the kind of camera that is better than the sum of its parts. It's not the "best" at anything but really good at a whole lot of things without too much drama. Also the images are really quite good. I did some side by side with my NEX and the Sigma 30 and while the NEX was better...all things considered the Fuji X10 did better than I ever thought it could.
  16. musicdiddy

    musicdiddy New Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    Norfolk, UK
    David Mayhew
  17. flysurfer

    flysurfer Hall of Famer

    Aug 31, 2011
    The key to mastering the X10, X-S1 and XF1 is to understand the workings of the EXR sensor, the interplay between EXR DR and ISO DR and, to a lesser degree, EXR SN.

    EXR cameras produce three different RAW files, which means that external RAW converters need to fully support three different RAW formats in order to be fully useful. The only commercial converter I know of that can actually do this is Lightroom/ACR. Even Silkypix is not as useful, and Capture One is just a big disappointment, as it only works with the longer exposed half of an EXR DR RAW.

    In preparation of my soon to be written "ultimate EXR article" on Fujirumors, I processed a few difficult snapshots with high DR in Lightroom and the camera's built-in RAW converter.

    EXR DR & ISO DR - JPEG vs. Lightroom 4.3 - a set on Flickr
  18. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    The G1X is usable at a pinch up to ISO 6400 and has a very effective IS system, but I don't know if a zoom lens equipped camera is best suited to shooting at a dark concert. To stop motion effectively I'd want a good high ISO camera with a selection of fast prime lenses; ideally something like a late generation Micro 4/3 body with some combination of 12/2, 25/1.4, 45/1.8 or 75/1.8 lenses. All told a rather expensive proposition.
  19. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Hall of Famer

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    The G1X is rather slow at the long end, which might not work to your advantage at concerts. At least the X10 will let you shoot f2.5 at a 112mm equivalent -- not that long, so get a good seat up close to the stage. The nice thing about the X10 at events is the silent mode, which really is silent -- turns of the fake shutter sound, so all you've got is the indiscernible click of the leaf shutter, and turns off focus assist. (I don't know what the options are on the G1X). I especially like the silent shutter at concerts, but if you go to concerts where you can't hear anything over the music, it won't matter.