Friday, November 11, 2011

Fuji X10: A Photographer's Impressions

***Disclaimer, I am not a camera reviewer, I am a photographer who likes to take pictures, this my impressions of the Fuji X10 ***( to see my black and white fine art photography go to: )
I have had my eye on this camera ever since it was announced recently. Surprise, surprise, when I stopped by my local London Drugs store where I live in West Kelowna, BC the clerk had never even heard of the camera, but she went to one of the computers at the till and looked it up and told me that a Fuji X10 was on a delivery truck for expected ETA of later that day, "Great"! I said, put my name on, and later that evening I got a call to come and pick the camera up.

A bit of back ground, I am a fine art photographer that shoots landscapes, I enjoy shooting 4 x 5 black and white film ( large format ) and I have been looking for something to integrate into various my hiking trips or just as a camera to take with me on walks or when I am with family and friends. I don't want to lug around a lot of gear, so this camera is perfect.I love the retro look to it, its simple clean and has not big lettering on the front. What really sold me on the camera was the manual zoom, I like it, simple easy to use and set at just the right focal length.

So far I have been very impressed with the little Fuji X10, it's well built and has a solid feel to it, the outside casing is all metal, the lens looks superb and the photographs made from the lens including the sensor is very good, for what it does it's great, although I have only just started using it and the images posted were taken with the "EXR" setting, coming from a Nikon background I need to get my self up to speed in terms of the various menus. It handles very well, but I should mention that I have customized it somewhat by making a small wood grip, using Ebony wood, I know some people might be saying "Huh?", as I made a small compact camera bigger by adding a extra 15mm to the bottom, but I like it. I am also using a leather strap that I made, as the strap that came with it seemed a bit cheap, the only other item I would like to add down the road is one of those Thumbs Up devices, I believe that they make one for the X100, so maybe they will make one for the X10.

I'm not sure what else to mention about the camera, other than its fun to use, there are plenty of technical reviews with far more in-depth technical talk than I would ever post on my blog here, I am hoping to go out a create some great photographs with it which is the name of the game !

Update November 13, 2011:

If you really want to go retro you can set the camera to ERX "auto" mode then you can turn off the rear LCD screen using the "display/back" button its the only mode that I could find where the LCD can be completely turned off, one can be very stealth like with the sound tuned off too if doing street photography or in a concert setting, plus I would think it would save on battery power, not having the LCD on all the time. Although I don't mind using the EXR mode, the camera is about as automatic as one can get, in working practice I would probably prefer to use a combination of manual, shutter or aperture priority and use the the exposure compensation dial on the top of the camera to adjust exposure.

I have never really cared for using an LCD viewing screen on the back of theses point and shoot cameras, although the optical view finder is adequate on the X10, it has no parallel correction and only shows about 85% of the frame, I think in time I will could get used to it, I like the fact of having a camera up to my eye, much easier to hold steady ( I am old school ). As I use this camera I will use a combination of the LCD and the OVF.

One thing that I have found, which perhaps other owners may have found is that when in EXR mode one can not shoot in "Raw" mode, even though on page 129 of the manual its says it possible , it does say that Raw is automatically turned off, but even when it's turned back on in the menu , one can still not shoot in a combination of EXR and Raw.

I have finally loaded the Silkypix Raw converter on to my Mac, I have an older Mac laptop and I am running OS 10.6.8, well the Silkypix is okay….barely , its not something I care for much to be honest, I will look forward ( hopefully ) when Adobe and Apple will include the Fuji X10 in their support of Lightroom and Aperture and also Adobe's DNG converter.

The little battery get exhausted quite quickly, a wise idea to have at least a spare or two.

***Plus a couple new pictures from the Powers Creek area near my home***

Update November 14, 2011:

I have been playing around with the focus modes, in Manual Focus and Auto Focus Single one can turn the rear LCD completely off no matter what exposure modes one is in, I guess it would have some interesting uses. Manual focus I think has some useful applications, one can use the AEL-AFL button on the back to lock focus on anything inside the highlighted rectangle on the LCD the highlighted rectangle can be moved around using AF button on the rear left of the camera.

Update November 15, 2011:

I received a reply from Fuji Digital Camera Support in regards to shooting RAW with EXR Auto, here is what they wrote…."Dear Customer,Thank you for your inquiry.There may be a typo in the manual but when the camera is set to EXR Auto shooting in RAW is not possible."

Update November 20, 2011:

While out for a walk earlier today with the Fuji X10, I made some images of the snow covered ground a this beautifully coloured bush, the picture combo shows a 100% cropped area ( bottom image ) from the full frame top image, I applied a bit of un-sharp mask in PS.

Update June 30, 2012: I have had some interest in the wood grip that I have made for my X10, here is a link to my video I posted on YouTube:
BTW, I am still enjoying my X10.

Gellatly Bay Nut Farm, West Kelowna , BC

Old Barn, West Kelowna, BC

Powers Creek, West Kelowna, BC

Powers Creek, West Kelowna, BC


Gene Bowker said...

Does it have Raw capability?

Mike said...

Nice review Gary. Very helpful in addition to all the technical reviews! I just ordered mine and expect it to have it by end of next weeks. Enjoy the camera, I know I will.

Gary Nylander said...

Gene: Yes it does have Raw capability, although at this time, one has to use the Fuji supplied software which I am told is kinda quirky, hopefully Adobe will update their software to accommodate the X10.

Mike: Thanks for the comments, I sure this camera will be popular with many photographers. Yes I will certainly enjoy mine, have fun when you get yours.

John said...

driptThanks for the review. I really like the look of your wood grip and leather strap. How much would you charge for the strap?

John said...

I really like the look of the strap. Are you selling these?

Gary Nylander said...

Hi John,

Thanks for your comments, the wood grip might might be a bit eclectic, but it might even have some technical benefits as the wood might help keep the camera warm in cold weather, wood retains heat better, although that might be wishful thinking on my part !

A custom made leather strap would be $60, I am not in the business of making camera straps, but I have made them for friends, each one is unique and you "wear it in", its something you would always keep no matter what camera you have.