Fujifilm is on a roll with its retro-inspired digital cameras, starting with the X100 all the way to last week's announcement of the X-E1. Today brings another X, the XF1. Not quite the replacement for last year's X10 compact, the XF1 is a new premium compact expected to launch at less than the X10's S$999 retail price.
And like the other X cameras, the XF1 looks so good you want to lick it (this reviewer was sorely tempted to slip one into his pocket at Fujifilm's office). But the XF1 is not just a good-looker, it also packs a bright f/1.8-f/4.9 Fujinon lens with a 2/3" EXR CMOS sensor, and a sturdy body made from aluminium with faux leather.
The X10 and the XF1 share the a similarly sized large sensor. The XF1's lens is wider at 25mm compared to the X10's 28mm, but shorter than the X10's with a maximum reach of 100mm versus 112mm. The XF1's lens is faster at the wide end at f/1.8 compared to the X10's f/2, but slower at the long end at f/4.9 to f/2.8.
Compared against its peers, the XF1's lens is not much faster, the Olympus XZ-1, Panasonic LX7 and Samsung EX2F all have faster lenses. However, the XF1 has a larger sensor than all of them, the only other compact camera with a larger sensor, the Sony RX100, has a lens with comparable speed.
The XF1's lens is composed of four aspherical and three extra low dispersion lenses. Fujifilm says its HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electric Beam Coating) will minimize flare and ghosting, and that the optical image stabilization can stabilize the lens up to four stops.
|Canon S100||Fujifilm XF1||Fujifilm X10||Nikon P7700||Olympus XZ-1||Panasonic LX7||Samsung EX2F||Sony RX100|
|Focal Length (35mm equiv.)||24-120mm||25-100mm||28-112mm||28-200mm||28-112mm||24-90mm||24-80mm||28-100mm|
|Max. Video Resolution||1080/24fps with stereo||1080/30fps with stereo||1080/30fps with stereo||1080/30fps with stereo||720/30fps with mono||1080/60fps with stereo||1080/30fps with stereo||1080/60fps with stereo|
|Battery Life (by CIPA)||200 images||300 images||270 images||330 images||320 images||330 images||Unlisted||330 images|
|Dimensions||99 x 60 x 28mm||108 x 62 x 33mm||117 x 70 x 57mm||73 x119 x 50mm||111 x 65 x 42mm||111 x 67 x 47mm||112 x 62 x 29mm||102 x 58 x 36mm|
The XF1 is cleverly designed to be as compact as possible. The camera has three states, what Fujifilm calls Portable, Standby and Shooting. In the Portable state, the power is off and the lens retreats into the body, making the camera as slim as possible. This is the state you keep the camera in. To power the camera on and bring it to Standby mode, you simply twist the lens until it pops out. The lens cover remains closed and the lens remains comfortably compact, but the camera is one step away from shooting. The Standby state is perfect when you're just carrying the camera around, looking for a subject.
To power on the camera to the final Shooting state, simply twist the lens all the way. This fully extends the lens and opens the lens cover. Now you can shoot. This little design twist not only makes it easy to power on the XF1, it also makes the camera that much easier to carry.
These videos from Fujifilm show what we mean.
The XF1 also brings a clever E-Fn (Electronic Function) button to the table. When you press the E-Fn button on the back bottom right of the camera, the camera's physical buttons are reflected on the LCD screen but with different functions mapped to them. This means you effectively get two buttons for the price of one, thanks to the E-Fn button. Best thing about this feature? The E-Fn controls can be customized. It's a quick and easy way to gain access to additional controls, so clever it's obvious once you see it.
Auto-focus has been the bugbear of every X camera we've tested, from the X100 to the X10. Fujifilm says that the XF1 is much faster at AF and we sincerely hope it is. Fujifilm showed us a slide promising AF speeds faster than the Canon S100 and Sony RX100's, but the same slide also showed comparable AF speeds to the X10. We don't know how Fujifilm tests its cameras, but the other side of AF speed is AF accuracy - no point having the camera focus really quickly on some obscure corner of the image instead of your main subject. This is something we'll just have to see for ourselves to know for sure.
Neither have been confirmed yet by Fujifilm.