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After a swag of complex, interesting and somewhat challenging digicams passed over my review desk, I felt I deserved a holiday. So I fell upon this new, aluminium-bodied Fujifilm model as an example of what you can find out there: small, pocketable, easy to use, yet with a smallish zoom range … but with a very fast lens.
It’s easy to get blasé in this business and sometimes I don’t immerse myself deeply enough in the press guff that accompanies these delights of technology. So when I pulled the XF1 out of the box I was flummoxed at how to start it up. No power button! Nowhere could I find a means to kick it into life. And of course the last place I would look for assistance was in the instruction manual PDF!
So what to do?
I then noticed that the lens was oddly flush with the camera body. So I idly twirled the lens, pulling it out a few mils. Then twirled it a bit more.
Voila! Power’s on. LCD screen comes alive. What a gas! Cleverest startup I’ve ever seen.
The review XF1 was beautifully styled with a chrome top deck and black body. Very Leica-ish! It’s also available in two other colours: red and brown.
The lens is an f1.8 4x zoom, with the wide end a decent 25mm SLR equivalent, zooming into a useable 100mm tele end, ideal for portraiture.
The maximum image size can deliver a 34x25cm print.
Movies at Full HD res of 1920×1080 pixels can be shot.
In keeping with the clean design philosophy, external controls are down to an absolute minimum.
Top deck: mode dial (PASM, auto, two custom settings, EXR, advanced settings, scene position) plus shutter button, Function and flash pop-up.
Rear: four way rocker (trash, exposure compensation, macro, self timer, flash settings) display options, Function, replay and video record.
The screen menus are displayed in large, clear text in a series of well laid out panels. One of the best menu sets I have seen.
A note on the EXR feature: in this mode the camera selects the optimum setting from 103 patterns; this helps you lift the quality of your image taking
Choose from an auto setting, or ones that place emphasis on resolution, high ISO and/or low noise or D-Range that will increase detail highlights. One worth exploring.
The camera is fast in departments other than the f1.8 lens: in less than a second I was ready to shoot my first shot with follow-ons coming in at a rate of less than a second each and as I became more practised in rolling the lens out obviously the startup figure would fall!
Some evidence of barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom; no problems at the tele end.
As with the XE-1, this model can shoot large motion panorama stills, with the camera capturing a run of individual frames, then stitching them in camera.
Very interesting! The initial shot at ISO 100 revealed that the camera is not exactly razor sharp at close distances (ie 30cm).
Higher ISO figures revealed that definition fell further, then noise became apparent at ISO 1600 and rose even more by ISO 6400 (2816×2112 pixels). No point in testing ISO 12800 due to an even smaller capture size (2048×1536 pixels).
Quality: good at normal distances. Not the best for close up work.
Why you’d buy the Fujifilm XF1: fast to get going; high quality snapping.
Why you wouldn’t: you may find the startup routine unnecessarily fiddly … takes some time to get used to!
There’s a lot to like in this camera, although I fell afoul of the startup routine when rolling the lens from wide to tele: if I ran the lens too hard against the tele end it shut down! Frustrating!
I then figured out there were two startup configurations: travel mode, where the lens retracts fully inside the camera to minimise the camera size; pull the lens slightly away from the body, then (when ready to shoot) roll the lens to the desired focal length.
An interesting camera for a number of reasons.
Image Sensor: 12 million effective pixels.
Sensor: 17mm EXR CMOS.
Metering: Multi segment, averaging, spot.
Lens: Fujinon f1.8-4.9/6.4-25.6mm (25-100mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: 30 sec to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: Approx 3-16fps.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4000×3000 to 1536×1536.
Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480, 320240, 320×112.
Viewfinders: 7.6cm LCD screen (460,000).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, MPO (3D), MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 12800.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Dimensions: 107.9×61.5×33 WHDmm.
Weight: 225 g (inc battery, card).
Price: Get a price on the Fujifilm XF1 at Amazon.
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