Fuji X10 - good compact for stock?

I must confess that I'm on an endless quest - in search of a compact camera that has a few key requirements:

1. Portable. I want a zoom for unexpected situations, and it must fit in a pocket or purse when needed. I find cameras like the Canon S95 just a bit too small, without enough control or room to hold them. A Canon G12 is more my size...

2. Quality. I want it to have enough quality. I understand that a small pocket camera will usually be inferior to a dSLR. Occasionally it will be the only camera I have so I want to have the possibility of taking a shot for stock sales when I'm traveling.

3. No choice. I don't really want an interchangeable system for my compact camera. As soon as you have lenses you start having to decide what to bring. I have system cameras already - no need for another set of similar lenses (i.e. not interested in the Pentax Q or Nikon 1).

So along comes the Fuji X10. It is a very nicely built camera, with a lot of manual dials and controls. Unusually for a camera in its class, it has a manual zoom with a literal twist - the zoom's first rotation turns on the camera. Unusual - but actually quite handy.

Now that I've had it a few weeks, and have a couple of shots from it accepted on DT I thought I'd evaluate it for stock. (I'm really enjoying it for personal use) Here are my thoughts:

1. Lens. The lens is really the best part of this camera. First, it is fast - f/2 to f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. Only a couple of competing cameras from Olympus and Panasonic can boast this speed, and neither add the manual zoom ring.

2. Image quality. It really does deliver some of the best images for a camera of its size. Due to the fast lens I find that when comparing even to micro four thirds cameras with kit lenses it gets similar depth of field and beats those cameras in marginal light due to being 2 stops fasts (i.e. ISO 400 versus 1600). This means I can keep shots at ISO 100 more often. That is a key feature for P&S camera use for stock, in my opinion. The 2/3" sensor should help versus other compacts, but it is still only marginally bigger than the more enthusiast P&S cameras.

3. Controls. The manual controls are very useful. Two dials allow both shutter and aperture, plus another for exposure compensation leave everything at hand without entering the menus. ISO is only found in the menus, but for stock us this is fine as I don't tend to move off the bottom.

Obviously i like using it, and find it fun to work with. But the real question is if it really is better than other compact cameras and recommended for stock. I think the short answer is no, unless you are like me and justifying it for other reasons. I say this because for the price you could basically get an entry level dSLR with zoom PLUS a 50mm prime if you don't get the absolute latest camera. The only reason to prefer using a camera like the Fuji X10 is because you just aren't going to bring a camera unless it is this size.

I don't think the images are startlingly better than other cameras - except in one important case. When the light is low enough that the lens gets you two stops more ISO then this camera can truly deliver better images at a 100% pixel level. I'd even put it up against micro four thirds cameras with kit lenses in that specific situation.

However - I find that for stock I tend not to be in that situation. Personally I am hitting that case with the kids indoors. For stock photos, I'm usually in bright light or using flash, and any compact at the same ISO will be very close to the quality of the X10. Larger sensor yes, but not leaps and bounds.

The bottom line is that if you are looking for truly compact you'll probably do better with cameras like the Canon S95/S100, Panasonic LX-5 or Olympus ZX-1. If you want to get a camera for doing stock I'd go with a small dSLR over this. But if, like me, you just want a fun camera that you get nice pictures with and enjoy using, this is a great option.

Happy shooting. Do you have a compact you love? I have a blog about high fidelity compacts if you are insterested in this topic, but with samples and images that go beyond Dreamstime approved photos: High Fidelity Compacts. No ads - just for fun.

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March 02, 2012

Bradcalkins

You're welcome !

March 02, 2012

Eternalfeelings

Good article!!!

March 02, 2012

Hunor83

Good! Thanx for info :-)

March 01, 2012

Teabum

When I first saw announcement for X10 online, I was happy to see it. Finally something new, original and good looking again. I like fuji, also my first digital compact from them in early 2000 was just 2MP, but had better quality pictures (good lens) then all updates I made from the same company later on. Since 2007 I use Ricoh GX100 (GX200 now), as my pocket camera. Though it's not much good for stock photos, because of noise, ... but I love the size, features and 24 lens (first of the kind, when it came out).

Well, to sum it up. Thanks for sharing about X10. I'm still deciding, what pocket camera to get, that's good enough for stock photos and also appeal to my liking :)

December 10, 2011

Jakartuz

Good

December 04, 2011

Martinisaac

Good article - I like the look of the Fuji X10, especially being f/2 to f/2.8... might have to stick it on the Christmas wish list!

December 01, 2011

Danee79

Excellent blog. I used few times my old point and shot camera ( sony dsc- h10) and I have few accepted photos. I am also looking to buy some p&s camera with bigger sensor but still I didn't decided which one. Fuji x10 is very good camera, only it is maybe little bit bigger then what I expected.

November 22, 2011

Powershot36

Thanks for info

November 21, 2011

Lobe

I liked the first work

November 19, 2011

Bradcalkins

Sorry Adeliepengiun, I fixed the link...

November 19, 2011

FabioConcetta

The Fuji X10 is a wonderful machine, I saw the test and I must say that it is a fantastic camera, personally I bought a Panasonic LX5, for my budget a little tight, if I could I would take the X10, nice blog!!!

November 19, 2011

Zenonk

Thanks for info

November 19, 2011

Abakanq

Nice

November 19, 2011

Adeliepenguin

Good feedback. I guess I'll continue to use my dSLR with a 50mm for my "compact" camera:) Do you have any idea how the image quality compares to the Fuji x100? My friends are trying to talk me into the x100. (I couldn't link into your blog for some reason.)

November 18, 2011

Bradcalkins

Remember, no matter how many MP< it is still a smaller sensor. That is why the debate over a 4/3 and full frame.

Agreed - and I realize fully that a small camera necessitates a smaller sensor. What is interesting for my use, is that with a kit lens I find micro four thirds offers little advantage. MFT cameras these days out focus the Fuji, but with a kit lens they only offer a marginal increase in resolution - and depending what you do with the final files it may be a moot point. I still love my GH2 and its viewfinder for shooting video, but it does not fit into my jacket with the kit lenses.

November 18, 2011

Peanutroaster

Thanks for the useful info!

November 18, 2011

Nikon4004

Remember, no matter how many MP< it is still a smaller sensor. That is why the debate over a 4/3 and full frame.

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This article has been read 2837 times. Photo credits: Brad Calkins.