Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fuji X10 at night, hand-held (updated a lot)

[Here is my first post on the X10.]

Update: it was requested to see the size of the camera in my own hands (looks even smaller due to my being 6:4 (195cm) with hands and skull to match). It's not the camera's fault that the photo is dark, I just felt it needed a little drama.


Fujifilm X10 at night, hand-held?
This wouldn't even have occurred to me to try with any prior compact-ish zoom camera, but I thought, what the hell, let's give it the torture test. I just set it all, including the EXR pixel-doubling tech (giving 6MP pics instead of 12MP but enhancing sensitivity), to Auto, and fired ahead. I think this is a pass with honors. Better than I'd dared hope.

This certainly shores up my faith in using this as my all-round, go-to camera. The only limits I really see are the rare occasion when I want extreme tele or wideangle, or extremely blurred backgrounds (the X10 can do a bit of that, but in a limited way). 

(Click for big pic)
1/15 sec, ISO 800

1/30 sec, ISO 800

1/30 sec, ISO 3200

These are uncorrected JPGs straight from the camera except for scaling to web and slight cropping/sharpening. All taken at a wide setting, and at or near F:2.0.
The camera is said to have good image stabilization, though I haven't tested directly for that, but certainly I did not get any shaken images this night (it was midnight). The X10 is also easy to hold steady, with a soft shutter and no mirror to give vibrations.

Here is one more which tests the limits: F:2.0, 28mm, 1/17 second, ISO 3200:
Virtually no noise, dang impressive.

(I like how modern cameras recognize night scenes and don't over-expose them to make them look like day.)


Update: Ian sent an alternative crop of the first one, and points out the "2" on the post.


Update:
Stephen Gillette, noted compact-camera art photographer, wrote to me:

Yep, seems that this bad boy is about tops for small-sensor right now. I waited a long time to get an articulating LCD (shooting NEX since this past summer), it would be silly to take that step back. (But I've done sillier things.)
Of course, I'm tempted by the new 50mm f/1.8 E-mount Sony lens (with SSS), which costs half the price of the X10! Not to mention I have fast 50's up the ying-yang: legacy Minolta's (Rokkor-X and Alpha's) and Pentax.
So forget the NEX 50mm, pony up the extra $300, and get the pocketable (big pockets!) Fuji that we all would have died for just a few years back...  
After all, I have shot a LOT with my cell camera (no articulation there)
this year...
Hmmm...maybe not so silly?



Died for? I’d say *killed* for.
I also like a tiltable screen as you know. I really liked my Nikon 2400, nothing has come like it since. But sadly that one had *awful* low-light capability, hampering it.
I got a new Pen Lite for the tiltable screen. But then I run into the limits of prime lenses (if I want to *keep* the camera compact), something I keep waffling on.
For right now, the X10 is my medicine. It’s actually the camera in a long while which the most makes me *want* to go out and photograph. I’m not sure when that last happened.

Sometimes I’m hooked on ultimate image quality. (X100 or Canon 5D2.) But then I look at photos from Henri Cartier-Bresson or André Kertész, and the X10 makes better images technically than most of their wonderful pictures. And 99% of the audience seriously wouldn't see the difference anyway, even in big prints, which I very rarely make.

Good technique is helpful for communication, but it is often over-valued. Sometimes you see ads with absolutely awful technique in one way or another, and I'll bet hardly anybody notices. And for art, less so, it's all about the expression. If bad technique hampers that, it matters, otherwise not.

That may sound like I'm defending a poor camera, this is absolutely not the case. I can't imagine a better camera for the size. And if I'd seen prints twenty years ago from this likkle, X10, camera, I'd have thought they were taken by a huge, expensive medium format camera, so good is it.
Like editor/photographer Steve Hynes said to me: the rising image quality creeps up on you. He took out his old medium format (Hasselblad and such) pictures not long ago, and they were really not so hot as he had thought. I thought the same when I saw pictures from the legendary Hasselblad Superwide camera with the special Zeiss lens... they were not really all that dang sharp.

Here's another tidbit re the X10: The zoom lens is actually smaller (when collapsed at least) than the standard zoom of the Pentax Q... despite being a full stop faster, and zooming longer! Oh, and despite the body having a larger sensor. I think that's impressive. (No doubt part of it is due to the lens not being exchangeable, not a big deal for a compact.) 

34 comments:

Will Duquette said...

Were you shooting raw, or JPEG? And if raw, have you tried shooting JPEG? How did it look?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

This was just default JPG. And uncorrected except for slight standard sharpening.
I have not tried RAW. I rarely use it, actually. But in a nice touch the cam does have a dedicated button for taking a RAW+JPG when one needs it.

Alex said...

Does the viewfinder follow the zoom? Or do you have to guestimate what you are shooting? If I ever get a weekend day to myself I'm off to the camera shop to play...

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

It follows the zoom perfectly. (Otherwise it'd hardly be any use.)

I usually use the LCD. But it's nice to have a good viewfinder in very bright sun.

emptyspaces said...

Nice!

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"This certainly shores up my faith in using this as my all-round, go-to camera."

Dang, I'm jealous! Looks really nice, Eo! Good for you! :-)

"The only limits I really see are the rare occasion when I want extreme tele or wideangle, or extremely blurred backgrounds (the X10 can do a bit of that, but in a limited way)."

Could the background issue not just be taken care of in PS?

And, gosh, it looks like a peanut (it's so fricken CUTE!) in that dude's hands. You hafta get a shot of how tiny it is in yours, for us to see ! :-D (Any chance of you getting hand cramps from it being too small, when you're out shooting a lot, I wonder.)

Also looking forward to hearing your feedback on the IS, when you get a chance. :-) Thanks for sharing those pics. Looking forward to seeing a LOT MORE, now that you mighta gotten yourself a "perfect" compact! COOL! :-D

Laurie said...

Impressive!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks guys.
Even though I have big hands, I have through decades photographed without problems with many small cameras. Often much smaller than this one, fx Canon S90 and Fuji F10 (the first good low-light compact for its time).
I guess you hold it with your fingers rather than your palms.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

_"The only limits I really see are the rare occasion when I want extreme tele or wideangle, or extremely blurred backgrounds (the X10 can do a bit of that, but in a limited way)."_

"Could the background issue not just be taken care of in PS?"

It can be approximated, but I'm not sure it'll ever be the same, and with complex images it'd take a lot of skill and time.

Anonymous said...

I hope fuji will also put the chip and electronics of the X10 into an even smaller body.. same size as the good old f31d

Len said...

I've beem interested inthe X10 since it was announced but haven't had the opportunity to try it.
Could you tell me how comfortable your might be using the optical viewfinder all the time for taking photos and simply using the screen to check the results?
Thanks
Len

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"Even though I have big hands, I have through decades photographed without problems with many small cameras. Often much smaller than this one, fx Canon S90 and Fuji F10 (the first good low-light compact for its time).
I guess you hold it with your fingers rather than your palms."

I just thought it would look kind of "cute." What men are willing to put up with, for the sake of art! :-D

captcha: "macksi" (like you: maxi...using a mini! :-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Len,
I don't see any problem with using the viewfinder all the time, except if one likes to have the shooting info in sight.

"I hope fuji will also put the chip and electronics of the X10 into an even smaller body.. same size as the good old f31d"

Yes, the F31d is a later variation of the F10 which I mentioned. It would be nice, but I doubt it can be done, probably the sensor is just too large, especially if we want a zoom lens. Real pocket cameras with zooms have to use really small sensors.

Ed Waring said...

Hey Eolake... If I had an X10 I'd be shooting it at M size auto iso to 3200 and getting that EXR goodness all the time. It means you get the benefits of pixel binning in PASM modes without having to switch between different EXR modes

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/9060476058/fuji-x10-exr-camera-suggestions-for-optimum-performance

Sure looks like a fun little camera...

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks, I'll read that.

Wouldn't it mean all the photos would be 6 megapixels though?

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"It's not the camera's fault that the photo is dark, I just felt it needed a little drama."

FUNNY YOU! lol! It's not as tiny as I thought it would look! :-) Thanks for posting; it's always nice to see an updated picture, every once in awhile, too! :-D

Alex said...

Dang, I just can't find a local dealer that has it. Best buy were listed as the stockist, but when I got there I found they stock it when you buy it, and they deliver to the store a few days later.

I keep finding x10 zoom capable Fuji cameras at Target and Walmart websites, and even Wolf Camera don't seem to carry it, despite showing up on the Fujifilm stockist list.

So where do I go for a test drive, who do I have to bribe AND I live in a major metro area, someone must sell this thing!!!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Well, maybe that's the downside of easy and cheap Internet shopping, physical stores are going out of business.

TC [Girl] said...

Alex said...
"So where do I go for a test drive, who do I have to bribe AND I live in a major metro area, someone must sell this thing!!!"

Alex...try one of these. No. 1 & 8 were recommended to me, to try, after an explanation re: how Asia has had the shit kicked out of them, this year, re: Thailand flooding and Japan, the earthquake! Wonder who made Eo's! :-/ I called BorrowedLenses and they only have the X100 and didn't sound like they were going to be carrying the X10.

Alex said...

So TC, what your saying is it's time I crossed the Bay to SF. I need to do that sometime. I keep meaning to go to Looking Glass though. I have time this weekend - I've got 4 hours on Saturday morning.

TC [Girl] said...

Dang it; can't find where I posted this question: Eo: is the Fuji X20 a newer camera than the X10? It looks like a different body. Anyway...just talked to a store that said "we don't carry that, ANYMORE; just the X20." So...perhaps, the X10 is an older camera? (I'm also presuming, due to the numbering system...even though I also know that doesn't always follow.)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

No, the X10 is spanking-new, and much more advanced.

TC [Girl] said...

That or...just head straight up that way, after work, on Friday, and go CRAZY! :-D Being the practical person that I like to be, I'd CALL FIRST, though! But...it's always fun to just go in and LOOK, just before Christmastime! :-D I'd be curious to hear what you find out. Can't BELIEVE that Amazon is the only place in the world that has these!!! :-(

Another thought (from something I've done, a couple of times): find where to buy one and just return it, if you don't like it...having gotten the return policy confirmed, before buying and leaving w/it!

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"No, the X10 is spanking-new, and much more advanced."

That's what I thought...and told them...without the "spanking" part, of course! Don't want to be eggin' the gents on! :-/

Just WEIRD that NO ONE that I talked to, in the Bay Area, knew about nor had this camera! :-(

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

It may be because it is just a real enthusiast camera. Normal people will see that you can get a 15x zoom camera for $200 less, and won't look back.

Brian said...

Eolake that was a great blog. Of course I'm being a bit selfish because you've just reinforced (as if I needed it) my delight at buying an X10 three days ago. I've just started on my photographic journey and after a little research couldn't resist this. I think it's a great tool for anyone starting off like me.

It's great to hear and experienced photographer like you give the X10 such high praise. Makes me feel like I own something that can help me learn how to make good pictures. Thanks a million, Brian.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks, Brian.

I would have offed my gramma for a camera like this, back in the seventies when I started.

How did you find this post? Google?

TC [Girl] said...

@ Alex: did you ever find and get one of these? You've been awfully quiet about it! :-)

Alex said...

TC, I went to looking glass, and I got my hands on an X100, nice, but they are heavy in the lens and I felt that pulled the camera away from me too much, I'd like a bit more weight overall to move the center of gravity back a bit.

I found the manual focus irksum. The viewfinder tracks the zoom great, but doesn't follow the focus, so when shooting full manual you need the electronic viewfinder - the switchover is almost magical, I like, but the focus ring is not mechanically coupled to the focus, it controls the focus motor, and there is appreciable lag.

The camera I need for India has to be smaller than the x100, and needs a zoom.

I very much liked the X100, but is out of my price range for a toy, and with it's size I think my D80 +35mm prime will be the way to shoot in town.

I was told the Cannon G12 is much the same size as the X10. It is smaller than my Nikon, but still doesn't give me what I need for portability.

I've started looking at the Nikon V-1, but it's a system, not a self contained camera, and part of what I'm looking for is not having to change lenses all the time.

I was advised at the camera shop to wait a couple of months as there is an upcoming trade show, and that is when a lot of new cameras come out. I'll still get the summer months to practice before my vacation in November.

Other highs of the X100, and to some extent the Leica competitor, back to dials. The aperture control is at the lens, there is a speed dial and an exposure compensation dial. IT all echoes my first SLR, which had built in metering and priority modes, and nothing else.

I really wish I could justify an X100, but for India it is wrong.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

X100, nice, but they are heavy in the lens and I felt that pulled the camera away from me too much, I'd like a bit more weight overall to move the center of gravity back a bit.

You've lost me here. The X100 (and indeed the X10) has a nice small lens, and a metal body. I could hardly imagine a less front-heavy camera (with a good lens).

Alex said...

No, it's not a heavy lens, but the camera is front heavy. The center of gravity is forward, not balanced.

Anonymous said...

Just a note on the Pentax Q:

it is best to think of it as a Ricoh GR Digital IV, but with 47 equivalent focal length (with the 01 prime lens attached) instead of 28mm.

Thus it is the only compact with a fast f/1.9 normal lens! Plus it has a DSLR style photographer-centric user interface. And it allows to redevelop RAW files in camera (very handy!).

Now that the price is way down (less than 250 eur with prime lens!) you should really get one to try it out! It is a fantastic little camera!

Some links:
http://ndjedinak.blogspot.de/2012/06/pentax-q-first-impressions-and-my-path.html

http://wouter28mm.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/my-pentax-q-impressions/

http://blunty.tv/2011/11/pentax-q-new-favouritest-camera-ever-review/

http://www.seriouscompacts.com/f90/pentax-q-real-world-user-review-11773/

Anonymous said...

PS: and it has no orbs ;)

Anonymous said...

PS2: 229 GBP

http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/10820745/art/pentax/q-in-black-8-5-mm-f-1-9-l.html