Fujifilm Touts Its New XF1 as “Head-Turning”; We Fail to See What Makes It Special

Fujifilm today announces the XF1, a compact point-and-shoot camera that expands the X-system to the lower, consumer end. Coming in October for US-$ 499.95, the XF1 sports a 25-100 mm (equivalent) 4x retractable zoom lens with a fast initial aperture of f1.8 at the wide end. The sensor is the same 2/3″ 12 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor they already put in the X10, so this package promises great image quality. Additionally, the XF1 shoots RAW as well as 1080/30p video. However, what it seems to lack are any features that set it apart from the competition.

Fujfilm XF1 Specs

  • 12 mp 2/3″ EXR CMOS sensor (same as X10)
  • 4x 25-100mm (equivalent) f1.8-4.9 zoom lens
  • 7 lens elements in 6 groups, with 4 aspherical and 3 ED lenses
  • New HT-EBC (“High-Transmittance”) coatings to reduce flare
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 3″ 460k dot LCD screen
  • ISO 100-12,800
  • 3 cm (1.18″) macro focusing limit
  • Full-HD 1080/30p video recording
  • 10 fps continuous shooting
  • Full manual operation with P, A, S and M shooting modes
  • E-Fn button for direct access to camera settings, assignable to six functions
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Motion panorama function for 360° seamless panning
  • 5 film simulation effects, 6 advanced filters
  • 3D photo shooting from combined 2D exposures
  • RAW support with in-camera RAW->JPEG converter
  • .55 seconds startup time, .16 seconds focus acquisition time, .8 seconds shot-to-shot delay time
  • ~ 300 shots per battery charge
  • Size: W 4.2″ x H 2.4″ x D 1.2″ (10.7 x 6.1 x 3 cm)
  • Comes in 3 distinct colours with differently styled leatherettes
  • Available from October 2012 for US-$ 499.95

Pictures

Our Initial Impression

The Fujifilm XF1 sports a lot of the features that make a great enthusiast’s compact: a fast lens, a useful zoom range, a great sensor, full manual control plus HD video shooting. However, the XF1 features nothing that sets it apart from its competition. With a considerable price tag of alomst US-$ 500, this keeps us wondering what bandwagon Fuji is trying to jump on with this camera.

There are a couple so-called enthusiast’s compacts out there by now, whose main features are fast lenses paired with a good sensor for pocketable image quality. For example, the Canon S100 sports a 24-120mm f2-5.9 lens and a 1/1.7″ 12 mp sensor; the Olympus XZ-1 has an even faster 28-112mm f1.8-2.5 lens and a 1/1.63″ 10 mp sensor; the Samsung EX2F ups the ante with a 24-80mm f1.4-2.7 lens and a 1/1.7″ 12 mp sensor; and finally, the new Panasonic LX7, which was just announced a while ago, has an equally fast 24-90mm f1.4-2.7 lens and a 1/1.7″ 10 mp sensor.

So among the above cameras, in terms of focal length range and lens speed the XF1 does not stand out. Its 2/3″ 12 mp sensor is a bit larger than even than the already oversized 1/1.63″ sensor in the Olympus XZ-1; however, the megapixel count easily counterbalances the size difference. All cameras feature HD video recording, with the XZ-1 (which is about to be upgraded) being the only one that has “only” 720p. Full manual control and a RAW mode are standard in this camera category as well, and the screen is also nothing to write home about.

Granted, 360° sweep panorama and a 3D function are nice gimmicks, but nothing enthusiasts get all excited about. The only feature that really stands out is its 10 fps continuous shooting mode — however, the camera does not appear to be aimed at sports photographers, and this does not seem to be its major selling point either. And yes, the lens concept is rather nifty, but again — neither makes it the camera much smaller than its contenders, nor is a twistable ring around the lens anything new.

So what, despite the XF1’s apparent retro design and appeal to style-conscious consumers, makes it special and worth consideration over any of its contenders? If you can think of anything, please let us know. Because we’re rather confused as to what exactly Fujifilm’s intentions are with this camera.

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