An APS-C point-and-shoot camera is a great way to pack quality images into a portable package, and the FujiFilm XF10 is a great example of that. But, did Fuji miss the mark on the XF10 by giving it a poor autofocus system?
! UPDATE 2020 !
FujiFilm has released new firmware for the XF10. The new firmware is version 1.11 and is available for download from FujiFilm directly. In my initial testing, this latest update has resolved the autofocus problems that were most important to me. My XF10 is now no longer back-focusing at subject distances less than 10 feet as it did previously. Consistency of focusing is also improved overall, in my testing. This is a welcomed change, but strangely FujiFilm mentions nothing specific about focus fixes in the firmware description.
FujiFilm XF10 Review
Let’s do a quick overview of the specs as we kick off this FujiFilm XF10 review.
FujiFilm XF10 Quick Specs
- Resolution: 24.2 MP
- Sensor size: APS-C
- Viewfinder: None (LCD only)
- ISO Range: 200 – 12,800 Native / 100 – 51,200 Extended
- Mechanical Shutter Speeds: 1/4000 – 30 seconds
- Electronic Shutter Speeds: 1/16,000 – 30 seconds
- Shooting Speed: Max of 6 FPS
- Video Modes: 4K 15p | 1080p 60 / 50 / 24 FPS | 720p 60 / 50 / 24 FPS
- Focal Length: 18.5mm (28mm full-frame equivalent)
- Aperture: f/2.8 – f/16
- Size: 112 x 64 x 41 mm / 4.4 x 2.5.4 x 1.6 in.
- Weight: 278g / ~10 oz
FujiFilm XF10 Overview
Overall, the XF10 delivers solid image quality in a very compact, yet robust, package. It’s relatively fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 allows for better light gathering in low-light situation and helps give a bit shallower depth of field than in a typical point-and-shoot camera. It also features 11 of Fuji’s renowned film simulation profiles (minus the ACROS B&W and latest Classic Negative profiles). The XF10 shares the same Bayer (non X-Trans) sensor with the FujiFilm X-T100 and offers the same image and video format options.
Who Should Buy the XF10 (and Who Shouldn’t)
You should buy the XF10 if:
- You are looking for a lower-cost (relatively) option to provide better still images than a smartphone.
- You need a small pocket camera for travel or street photography
- Fixed focal length / fast aperture is a plus to you
- You don’t need 4K, continuous AF, or 30FPS for video
- You are primarily an AF-S shooter
You should NOT buy the XF10 if:
- Video is a primary intended use
- Continuous AF (AF-C) is critical to your shooting style
- 4K video is required
- Zoom is important
- Back-button focus is important (it’s there but doesn’t work all that great)
- Flippy screen is important
- X-Trans sensor is a must
Let’s take a look at some sample images from the FujiFilm XF10. Mouse over each image to see the exposure details.
There’s a lot to like about this camera, but I think the real strong points are the high quality of the still images it produces, even at high ISO settings, and it’s compact size (it’s even smaller and lighter than it’s bigger compact brothers, such as Fuji’s X100F and X-E3.)
Given that it has an APS-C sensor (versus the typical 1″ sensor on most point-and-shoots and the ultra-tiny sensor on smartphone models), the XF10 packs the performance of a traditional crop sensor DSLR or mirrorless into a very compact form factor.
Is a bigger sensor always better? Most of the time, yes. All other things being equal (including resolution in MP), a larger sensor will produce less noise, offer a shallower possible depth of field, and have better light-gather capabilities. The XF10’s APS-C sensor is more than 3x the area of a 1″ sensor found on most point-and-shoot cameras, and it positively dwarfs the tiny sensors on smartphones.
The XF10’s sensor is not the usual FujiFilm X-Trans type, but is rather a Bayer type found on most all digital cameras. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on your opinion on the somewhat controversial X-Trans technology. If have no idea what any of this means, don’t worry. You’ll likely never notice a difference.
Relatively Wide and Fast Lens
The XF10‘s lens is fixed (non-zoom) at a focal length of 18.5mm, which on a full-frame camera is equivalent to 28mm. This is a classic wide-angle field of view and has many useful applications. It’s a great focal length to have as a fixed setting. I would have preferred a 35mm equivalent focal length, but 28mm equivalent would have been my second choice.
The maximum aperture of f/2.8 won’t produce massively blown out background blur, but it’s large enough to produce decent bokeh if the shot is set up properly (close to subject with far-off background). It’s a full stop (or more) wider than a typical point-and-shoot, and does give an advantage is low-light situations.
FujiFilm Film Simulations
As with all Fuji cameras, the XF10 gives you access to Fuji’s film simulation profiles. The included profiles are:
- Provia (standard)
- Classic Chrome
- Pro-Negative High
- Pro-Negative Standard
- Monochrome + Yellow
- Monochrome + Green
- Monochrome + Red
RAW Shooting Capability
It’s more common than it used to be, but most point-and-shoot cameras still do not have the ability to shoot in RAW format. The XF10 offers three capture options: JPEG, JPEG + RAW, and RAW. Both JPEG modes offer Normal and Fine resolutions. The XF10 captures RAW images in Fuji’s native RAF format.
Zone Focus Modes (Snapshot)
Street photographers will appreciate the XF10’s two zone focus mode settings. Fuji calls this feature “Snapshot” and offers two fixed focus options: 2 meters at f/9 and 5 meters at f/5.6. Enabling either option will effectively turn AF off and give you a preset focus zone (a technique often used by veteran street photogs). This allows for shooting quickly without having to engage the AF of the camera. Coupled with the wide angle fixed lens, these two modes offer moderately deep depth of field, making it far more likely your subject will be in focus and preventing you from missing a shot because the AF can’t lock on. There are definitely tradeoffs to zone focusing, but it’s nice to have some built-in options.
Focus Point Joystick
While the XF10 provides touch-to-focus capability, I also like that they included same focus point joystick found on the X-E3, X-T2, and other newer Fuji cameras. This joystick also doubles as a controller for image review and menu navigation. It’s also great to have if you’re not interested in using the touchscreen.
While there is a lot to like about the FujiFilm XF10, it does have some non-trivial shortcomings. These are listed below in order of magnitude.
Poor Autofocus Performance (in most settings) – UPDATED in 2020!
UPDATE: The latest firmware update from Fuji seems to have resolved some of the critical issues with the XF10. See the summary at the top of this review.
Fuji really dropped the ball here. Despite including face and eye detection to the XF10, apparently they didn’t spend much time optimizing the AF system. With face/eye detection turned on, the camera will correctly identify faces/eyes but then focus on something else. This makes AF-C (continuous AF) beyond useless. Wide area modes also fare poorly. In my testing, the miss rate was well over 50%. I have a hard time believing the FujiFilm QA engineers signed off on the AF system. There’s no way they could have tested this and said, “Yeah, that’s quality AF performance that we’re proud of!”
The only configuration with which I can get consistently good results is AF-S with the focus point set to Single Point. This setup works quite well, even in low-light scenarios. It is accurate and consistent.
Overall AF speed is fairly slow, and it seems to rack forward/back to find focus (in all configurations). This slows things down quite a bit and also adds mechanical noise.
So yeah, overall the AF really sucks on this camera. Thankfully, AF-S with Single Point focus saves the day with an acceptable level consistency and accuracy.
I seriously hope Fuji fixes the AF in a firmware update. They are well known for releasing upgrades and fixes this way. A better AF system would make this camera an absolute beast in your pocket.
Video Options are Lacking
As with the X-T100, the XF10 has some odd choices for video recording. For 4K there is but a single 15 FPS option, which is all but useless even for backyard barbecue recording. You may as well consider it a camera without 4K.
For both 1080 and 720 resolutions, the framerate choices are: 59.94, 50, 24, and 23.98. So basically it’s 60p, 50p, and 24p, but no 30p. Not sure about the thinking here, but at least it’s got both 24p and 60p in full HD. It’s good enough for birthday parties.
Back-Button AF Sort of Works
Like other Fuji cameras, you can switch to manual focus and assign Instant AF to one of the customizable function buttons to effectively enable “back button AF”. Unlike the other Fuji bodies, however, the Instant AF function on the XF10 only functions as if the camera is in AF-S mode. This means you can’t get AF-C functionality…which I suppose is fine since the camera is terrible in that mode. If you hold down the rear function button for more than a second, it goes into the “Button Configuration” menu. So it does actually work, but it’s not as useful as it could be. And, it’s slow to react as well.
No Option to Compress RAW Images
I was a bit disappointed to see that the option to capture lossless compressed RAW images is not present on this camera, as it is on the higher-spec cameras in Fuji’s lineup. RAW files are approximately 40 mb each, which is on the beefier side compared to other 24 megapixel cameras. For comparison, the Sony A7III RAW files are an average of about 25 mb each when utilizing the in-camera compression.
If you already have a nice camera that is a solid performer and you want an “always in my pocket or backpack” type of compact camera, the FujiFilm XF10 could be a real contender. It’s cheaper than rivals like the Ricoh GRIII and smaller as well. The stills image quality is quite good because of its large sensor and Fuji’s image processing technology. Look for refurbished or used options to get an even better deal. I got mine for about half of retail price through Amazon Warehouse as an open-box item. Click here to check for deals on FujiFilm cameras at Amazon Warehouse.
HOWEVER, if you don’t have a go-to camera already and are looking for a nicer camera to start taking better pictures, I would recommend looking elsewhere. The point-and-shoots from Canon, Nikon, and Sony will all out-perform the XF10 in terms of autofocus.