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