Surprise, I Got Myself FUJIFILM XF10

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Happy New Year 2021 to all you awesome people! I hope you have had a great start to the new year, and boy have I a surprise here. I got myself a Fujifilm XF10! I want to share the reasons I decided to get XF10 and also my experience using the camera for a short holiday trip to Penang recently. There are many things that I do love about the XF10, and a few things that dislike about it. For those who prefer to watch this in a video format, I have also made a YouTube video here (click). 

















Some disclaimers first - I have no affiliation to Fujifilm Malaysia, and I purchased the Fuji XF10 with
my own money. Therefore, this is an independent assessment of the camera's performance, and what I share here is entirely from my own subjective experience and opinion using the camera. Also, this is NOT a review of the Fuji XF10, because the camera has been around since 2018 and you can find plenty of review articles and YouTube videos available online. I don't think I have anything new to add, but I can share my images shot with the XF10, and my own personal experience handling the camera. All images were shot in RAW and post-processed in Capture One Pro. 

So let's get the obvious question out of the way. Why a Fujifilm XF10?

At this moment, starting January 2021, I am no longer an Olympus Visionary. I have not heard from any JIP representative, no one contacted me, so I am currently not tied to any camera brand in particular, and FINALLY I am free to explore any other cameras out there with no contractual restrictions. The first thought that came to mind was to look for something affordable, compact and easy to bring about, and the Fujifilm XF10 checked all the right boxes. Having large APS-C sized image sensor in the camera with wide angle fixed lens, all in a truly compact form factor, with really beautiful design to boot, I just could not resist getting one. Ming Thein, a fellow Malaysian professional photographer and friend has spoken very highly of the XF10 (click here for his quick review), so what could possibly go wrong? 

It is a new year, and getting a new camera to start the year fresh was just what I needed. 


28mm equivalent focal length, with F2.8 widest aperture

ƒ/2.81/12518.5mmISO200
Loving the super compact form factor!

PENANG TRIP
I have made a short trip to Penang for holiday right at the end of 2020, and came back to KL after the New Year's celebration. The trip was the perfect end for my 2 weeks long break from everything (YouTube, Blog, going to gym, and everything else in life). I went along with a few friends, we had too much fun eating way too much food and it was just nice hanging out with people that I truly care about. I only brought along the one camera - Fuji XF10 for this entire trip. Do take note that this was not a photography trip, I was still on holiday and I did not want to stress too much about shooting the perfect shot or going for extensive street photography sessions. I spent most of my time hanging out with friends, and whenever I saw something that caught my attention, I took out the XF10 and point the camera toward that direction. 

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT FUJI XF10?
Small & Light
Having used the Fujifilm XF10 extensively for more than a week now, I do have some things to talk about. There are some things I love about the camera, and I shall start with how beautiful the camera looks. I really like that the camera is so small and light in construction, and the truly compact form factor made it so fun to carry around and use. I fitted the camera in my smallest camera bag effortlessly, and still had plenty of room for other items. 

This reminded me of the old compact point and shoot digital camera days, and in more ways than one, the XF10 is a modern version of a compact camera. Yet at the same time the XF10 offers much more flexibility, advanced features and controls, superior handling and obviously drastically better image quality over any smartphone camera out there today. I can see the appeal of having an advanced camera such as XF10 for serious hobbyists or smartphone photographers who want to step up their game but still not willing to go all in investing in a system camera setup. 

Metal Body Construction
The XF10 felt robust and solid in hand, thanks to the all metal body build. The metal finish gave the camera premium feel and I like how there are also plenty of dials and programmable buttons on the camera for direct access to important functions. The camera has triple control dials! The twin dials (front and back command dials) at the top right corner of the camera, and another control ring around the lens in front. I personally only use the twin dials control and intentionally disabled the control ring around the lens because I knew I would accidentally moved the ring and changed settings accidentally. Instead, I assigned one of the few shortcut buttons to direct ISO control. 

Battery Life
The battery life on XF10 is excellent. For that one week long duration, I have not exhausted the battery yet. It has just dropped one bar (total of 3 bars) after almost 600 shots taken. I have a spare, just in case, and there is also USB charging available on the go, if needed. I think cameras should have this kind of endurance, the last thing we want to get in between our shots - battery dying halfway. 

XF10 has triple control dials, including the control ring around the lens

ƒ/41/2818.5mmISO800

ƒ/41/68018.5mmISO200

ƒ/41/4518.5mmISO640

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ƒ/2.81/10518.5mmISO500

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ƒ/41/68018.5mmISO200

IMAGE QUALITY
When it comes to image quality, the Fujifilm XF10 produces satisfactory results. 

Sharp lens, good 24MP image sensor
I do like that even though the camera is so small and compact, it still packs in a 24MP large APS-C Sized image sensor, a really good one according to many reviews out there. The fixed 28mm equivalent focal length lens is capable of resolving plenty of fine details and good contrast, working together with the image sensor, especially in favorable lighting situations. I do not see much lens technical flaws (CA, distortion, corner softness, flare, etc), they are all well controlled, either by the lens design, or by software correction. 

Pleasing Color Rendering
I managed to shoot images with very good sharpness consistently and the color rendering is realistic, though with a hint of blue cast in most images, which can be corrected easily in post-processing. The colors may not be looking as true to life or natural as Canon or Olympus rendering, but they do look very pleasing and lively. Skin tone looks really good too captured by the XF10. 

I know Fuji is all the rage about Film Simulations and how these mimic some very  beautiful color tones, but I have tried some of them and I failed to see the appeal. Additionally, I much prefer to shoot RAW to truly access the full capabilities of the image sensor in the camera. 

Dynamic Range & High ISO
The dynamic range on the XF10 was good, but there was nothing to shout about. I can recover about 2 stops of overexposed highlights, and truthfully I was expecting at least 1 or two more stops of recovery. I could easily recover up to almost 4 stops of highlight from my Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, so it was not too much to ask for at least a little bit more from an APS-C sized image sensor. There are some noticeable, and annoying blown out areas in the images taken throughout this series. 

High ISO shooting from the XF10 is also very good. I can get clean images up to ISO1600, I won't hesitate to use ISO3200, but anything more than that there is serious degradation to the image quality. The noise control is very good, you don't see much noise, but there is also absence of fine, important details and structure to the image. If I were to be honest, after using the XF10, I can totally see that the difference between APS-C cameras and Micro Four Thirds at this moment is quite small, and negligible. I am saying this, though I am no longer an Olympus ambassador. I guess if you want a significant enough upgrade, Full Frame is the only way to go. 

ƒ/430s18.5mmISO200

ƒ/2.81/2018.5mmISO6400

ƒ/2.81/2018.5mmISO6400

ƒ/2.81/7018.5mmISO3200

ƒ/2.81/3818.5mmISO10000

ƒ/2.81/818.5mmISO3200


ISO3200 Cropped

ISO6400 Cropped

ISO12800 Cropped

ƒ/2.81/2518.5mmISO2500

ƒ/5.61/200018.5mmISO200
Correctly Exposed

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2EV Overexposed Unedited

ƒ/41/100018.5mmISO200
2EV Overexposed Highlight Recovered
Take note how the highlight in the blown out white areas were not successfully recovered

ƒ/2.81/7018.5mmISO500

ƒ/4.51/5018.5mmISO1600

WHAT I DISLIKE ABOUT XF10?
Slow AF
If you have spent some time reading review articles or watching videos about XF10, you definitely will have come across the heavy bashing on the slow and unreliable Autofocus performance. The report was accurate, and I can safely say the AF on the XF10 is the one thing that cripples this camera, and holding it back from being an ultimate camera that everyone wants to own. 

The AF hunts, hesitates, and sometimes fails to lock on even in broad daylight, under the tropical blinding sunlight in Malaysia. There are also times the AF locks on wrong subjects. The fastest response time of AF was almost one second long, and that is just unacceptable by today's standards. I believe the XF10 was probably the slowest AF camera in 2018 (during launch), and was also slower than most cameras released 5 years prior to it's launch. Pick any camera from 2013, the mirrorless or DSLR cameras (except from Fuji) would have performed much faster than what the XF10 can do. 

I would not recommend Fuji XF10 to you if you are doing a lot of street photography - capturing fast moving subjects. Hold that thought, even if the subject is moving very slowly, the camera will fail to lock AF fast enough. The failure rate is high, and it takes a special kind of patience and a lot of hard work to get this camera to work for you. 

Laggy Camera Operations
Another general complain is the sluggishness of the camera operations. Every single button press, any turn of the command dial, as you navigate through the menu, there is a slight, yet noticeable delay. The touch screen is also not as responsive as it should be, there are times I needed to tap the screen on the same spot multiple times to get the focusing position to where I want it to be. The lagginess in operation is frustrating, considering today we expect everything electronic to respond almost instantaneously and we are so accustomed to buttery smooth, efficient user experience using smartphones, or any other electronic devices in 2020/2021. I have updated the firmware to version 1.12, the latest at the time of writing, and still the slowness of operation was not fixed. I think there is plenty of room for firmware upgrade. 

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ƒ/2.81/10018.5mmISO800

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ƒ/3.21/4518.5mmISO640

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ƒ/4.51/68018.5mmISO400

ƒ/2.81/100018.5mmISO3200

ƒ/2.81/40018.5mmISO400

ƒ/5.61/3418.5mmISO1600

All in all, I did enjoy shooting with the Fujifilm XF10, despite the challenges of slow AF and frustration of sluggish camera operations. I do genuinely like the super compact form factor, it is so easy to bring about, it does not take much space in the camera bag, and I can fit it into my pockets if I want to. I also like the large size image sensor, and the fixed wide angle lens may be just what I needed to push myself further, learning how to use wide angle more effectively - this has been my weakness and I want to improve it. The design of the camera is undeniably beautiful, and the camera is just so lovely to hold and use. I am also generally quite pleased with the image output from the XF10, though I won't expect this camera to perform or deliver in professional shooting environment. For casual, shutter therapy sessions, the XF10 is a star!

Knowing the AF limitations, which may be crippling in many shooting scenarios, I shall not expect the camera to perform in fast moving environment. I still have all my Olympus gear for that, which have worked wonderfully over the years and will continue to serve me well. Instead of seeing something and immediately shoot reflexively, the XF10 shall force me to slow down and make more considerations on my shots, or look for subjects that are slower or still instead. Different gameplay with the XF10, but this may not necessarily be a bad thing. 



Do you have a Fuji XF10 or have you owned one before? Do share your thoughts and experience, let's exchange notes. 

I shall be making more articles, videos and contents on other camera brands outside the Micro Four Thirds ecosystem soon. But worry not, at this moment, my main workhorse is still my beloved OM-D system!


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5 comments:

  1. Hi, Robin, I have a Fuji XE3 and some lenses. The 27 mm pancake is very small, and in my view there is not a large difference between the xe3 with it and any of the fixed lens Fujis. The image quality is excellent, focusing is reasonably fast, and if you want you can change the lens to whatever you like. In conclusion, I can't see any real advantage in the likes of xf10 or x100. But I may be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Andrea, X-E3 body in Malaysia is selling for RM3,000, and the 27mm lens is another RM2000. That is a total of RM5000, costing almost 4 times more than what I paid for XF10. Also, the 27mm is not an equivalent 28mm wide angle lens, which was the reason I got the XF10.
      I am not looking to buy into another interchangeable camera system. There is nothing wrong with my OM-D.
      I am sure you are right, the focusing and everything else in X-E3 is better - but I am not willing to throw in that kind of money.

      Delete

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    ReplyDelete
  3. "I would not recommend Fuji XF10 to you if you are doing a lot of street photography - capturing fast moving subjects." - sorry, but this is nonsense. XF10 is a GREAT streetphoto camera, in this price range the BEST. Have you ever tried the "snap" mode"? It's the greatest advantage of XF10 and you hadn't even mentioned it - so you know too much about this camera. It's the best mode for streetphotography!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The snap-mode was rubbish. I take photos close up and they are all out of focus! Why is the AF so poor that you need "snap mode" which is so backward and a poor excuse to mask the camera's apparent weakness of not being able to AF properly? No other cameras need to do that. An Olympus camera or Sony camera at the same price point released 5 years earlier than XF10 can focus 10 times faster!

      Delete