Fuji's X10 takes the X100 concept down to a more accessible level. Where the price tag and overall intimidation factor may have scared away some consumers, the X10 has a more reasonable $600 price tag and a 4x optical zoom lens. We got some hands-on time with the Fujifilm X10 today at PhotoPlus Expo.
There are plenty of options available to a shopper looking for a top-of-the-line, souped up point-and-shoot. Canon and Nikon offer advanced point-and-shoots for a bit less than the X10's price point. What makes the X10 stand out, Fujifilm reps argue, is that it offers a more robust build quality and a somewhat larger sensor. The 2/3 sensor on board the X10 doesn't match the X100's APS-C imager for size, but it's larger than what you'd find in a typical point-and-shoot.
In hand, the X10 feels very solid. The viewfinder is bright and zooms fluidly with the action of the zoom lens, though at full wide angle the lens barrel is partially in view. Looking at the top of the camera you won't find an on/off button. Instead, you'll slide a ring around the lens barrel that simultaneously extends the lens. Zoom is operated manually, and powering the camera off again requires a firm twist back to the off position.
A very, very small pop-up flash is available, tucked into the corner with the optical viewfinder. There's a hot shoe on top, as well as an array of dials for adjustment to shooting mode and exposure compensation. There's also a customizable function button on the right shoulder - on the unit I used on the show floor was programmed to ISO. I noticed a bit of lag in the LCD framerate as I panned across the show floor - something I would be more forgiving of in a $200 point-and-shoot.
There are touches here and there that reminded me of the X100 - a button for RAW shooting, the focus mode switch on the front. The battery and SD card slot share a compartment on the bottom panel, and to the left of the LCD is a row of familiar controls. A sculpted thumbrest on the back panel offers some stability in the hand. Aside from the unusual on/off operation, everything else is where you'd expect it to be.
It remains to be seen whether a $600 advanced point-and-shoot can significantly out-perform established brands like the Canon G12. It has a more robust feel to be sure, but if image quality can't measure up to the competition it's unlikely that consumers will pay the extra $100 or so over a G12. For now, it's safe to say that build quality, feel and ergonomics are all top-notch.
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