DCRP

Fuji X10 Review

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor

Originally Posted: February 16, 2012

Last Updated: July 11, 2012

The Fujifilm X10 ($599) is a premium compact camera that shows interchangeable lens cameras don't get to have all the fun. The X10 has a cool retro design, solid build quality, a large optical viewfinder, and a ton of manual controls. It's also the little brother to the FinePix X100 that I (generally) enjoyed using last year.

Here are some of the highlights of the Fuji X10:

  • Very solid, retro-styled magnesium alloy body
  • Larger-than-average 2/3", 12 Megapixel EXR CMOS sensor
  • EXR sensor and processor allow camera to prioritize high resolution, wide dynamic range, or high sensitivity & low noise
  • Fast, high quality F2.0-2.8, 28 - 112 mm zoom lens; zoom is adjusted manually, with the power switch integrated into the lens ring
  • Optical image stabilization
  • High resolution 2.8" LCD display
  • Large optical viewfinder with 85% coverage
  • Full manual controls, with RAW support and four types of bracketing
  • EXR Auto mode selects the proper EXR and scene mode for you
  • Electronic level
  • 360 degree sweep panorama feature
  • In-camera RAW editor
  • Full HD video recording at 1080/30p

All that doesn't come cheap, as you might imagine. at $599, the Fuji X10 is one of the most expensive fixed-lens cameras on the market. Is it worth the premium? Find out now in our review!

Note: Fujifilm has recognized the "white orb" problem described in this review, and redesigned the sensor to avoid this issue. X10 owners can send their cameras in to Fuji and get the sensor replaced at no charge. While we've been unable to obtain an updated X10 to test, apparently the problem has been fixed.

 

What's in the Box?

The X10 has a fairly typical bundle for a compact camera, though it comes in a fancier box. Here's what you'll find when you open everything up:

  • The 12.0 effective Megapixel Fujifilm X10 digital camera
  • NP-50 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger
  • Shoulder strap
  • Metal strap clips w/protective covers
  • Clip attaching tool
  • USB cable
  • CD-ROM featuring MyFinePix Studio, FinePixViewer, and RAW File Converter
  • 129 page camera manual (printed)

Unlike most fixed-lens camera, Fuji hasn't built any memory into the X10, nor do they include a memory card. So, unless you have one already, you'll need to pick up an SD, SDHC, or SDXC card if you want to actually take photos. I'd recommend picking up a 4GB card if you'll be mostly taking stills, and an 8 or 16GB card if movies are your thing. Picking up a high speed card (Class 6 or higher) is a smart idea, and if you're really hardcore, the X10 supports UHS-I SDXC cards for the fastest speeds possible.

The X10 uses the NP-50 lithium-ion battery for power. This battery contains 3.4 Wh of energy, which is on the low side for a camera in this class. How does that translate into battery life? See below:

Camera Battery life
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot G1 X 250 shots NB-10L
Fujifilm X10 270 shots NP-50
Nikon Coolpix P310 * 230 shots EN-EL12
Olympus XZ-1 320 shots LI-50B
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 400 shots DMW-BCJ13
Sigma DP2s 250 shots BP-31

* Lacks a hot shoe

Battery life numbers are provided by the camera manufacturer

The X10 is a bit below average in the battery life department, with only the Nikon and Sigma below it. Therefore, I'd recommending picking up a spare battery, which will set you back around $30.

When it's charging time, just pop the NP-50 into the included charger, which is designed to also hold another Fuji battery. It takes around 150 minutes to fully charge the battery.


The X10 inside its optional leather case

There aren't too many accessories available for the X10. I've compiled what you can buy into the table below:

Accessory Model # Price * Description
External flash EF-20
EF-42
From $130
From $161
The EF-20 uses two AA batteries and can tilt upward 90 degrees. The EF-42 is much more powerful, uses four batteries, and can rotate as well as tilt.
Lens hood LH-X10 From $55 An aluminum lens hood that helps reduce flare when shooting outdoors. Also includes an adapter threaded for 52mm filters.
A/V cable AV-C1 From $9 A composite video cable for connecting to a TV. These always used to be included with cameras... not anymore.
AC adapter AC-5VX
CP-50
From $35
??
You'll need both of these parts to power the camera without draining the battery. Unfortunately, the DC coupler (CP-50) is impossible to find.
Leather case LC-X10 From $119 A classic leather body case that lets you take pictures while it's still attached.
* Prices were accurate when review was published

In case you just skimmed that table: the X10 supports 52mm filters, though you'll need to buy the lens hood in order to get the proper adapter.

Fuji includes a number of software products with the X10, and the first I want to mention is My FinePix Studio. This Windows-only product can be used for transferring photos from your camera to a computer, after which you can edit or share them. On the main thumbnail screen you can filter through your photos in a number of ways (people, events, location) and create "Smart Albums", like in iTunes. Here you can also view a slideshow, print or e-mail a photo, or upload them to YouTube or Facebook.

The editing features in MyFinePix Studio are fairly basic. You can do an auto image enhancement, or adjust the brightness, contrast, and gamma manually. You can rotate or crop a photo, and remove redeye. There are also numerous special effects, including classics like grayscale and sepia. Unlike with JPEGs, when you double-click on a RAW image you won't get the screen you see above. Instead, the RAW File Converter software mentioned below will load and open the image you selected.

Mac users get their own piece of software, but it's not really worth installing. FinePixViewer for Mac hasn't changed in several years, and it's basically limited to viewing, cropping, rotating, and placing text onto your photos. It can't view RAW images at all, so you'll need to use the RAW File Converter software below, or just do everything in iPhoto or Aperture.

The bundled software for working with the X10's RAW images is known as RAW File Converter EX. If it looks familiar, it should -- it's SilkyPix, which many other manufacturers use as well. This is a very powerful RAW editor, though the interface is clunky, and some of the English translations are a bit strange. Both Mac and Windows versions of RAW File Converter are included.

If you'd prefer to use Adobe Photoshop instead, just make sure that you're running version 6.6 or newer of their Camera Raw plug-in.

Thankfully, Fuji still includes an actual printed manual in the box with the X10. The manual won't win any awards for user-friendliness (or depth), but it should answer most of the questions that may come up when using the camera. Documentation for the included software is installed onto your Mac or PC.

Shop, Save, and Support