Fujifilm has surprised the IFA 2011 party by rocking up with a mid-range version of its X100 rightly named the Fujifilm X10. And, as dedicated camera freaks at Pocket-lint, we wasted no time in getting our hands on the little devil.
The first thing you notice is of course the look and feel of the device itself. Unlike the X100, Fujifilm has gone for an all black finish which adds a very nice touch of class, just in case you think the other model was missing it. The X10 is also a touch smaller and lighter, and it has more of the feel of a stylish compact than a mock-rangefinder, the sort to give the LX5 et al a run for their money.
Externally, it's very much the same creature with the identical 2.8-inch 460k dot LCD screen only this time the flash pops up from the body and the lens sticks out a lot further. Why does it do that? Well, unlike the fixed glassware on the X100, this time it's a 4x zoomer with a 28-112mm range. The maximum aperture is still f/2.0, offering nice portraiture opportunities, and you'll be able to use it in low light conditions even at the telephoto end where you can open up to f/2.8. Combine that with the 100-12800 ISO range and you should be laughing.
Sadly we couldn't test how noisy it gets at the top of that as it was a pre-production model and Fujifilm weren't too keen for us to test image quality before the company's had time to perfect it. You’re unlikely to get the same fun with the 2/3-inch type sensor when compared to the APS-C model in the X100 but that’s the reason it cost a lot less.
Controls-wise, it's very similar again with the back face almost identical save the addition of a nice little rubber pad where you can rest your thumb and the change of the focus mode from a switch to a small dial on the front. The user-interface has been slightly improved from what we've seen but do expect that to change. All the same, when you flick between the different shooting modes, it looks much more like something you might seen on a Nikon or Canon but, so far, those graphics don't seem to stick around for that long. We'll have to wait to see how Fujifilm decides to finish it off.
Finally, the viewfinder is something that the company is very excited about. You don't get the same hybrid EV/optical option as in the X100 - it's optical only - but it's designed to let in as much light as possible and the result is that it's as clear as a bell. What's more, despite not an SLR-type where you look down the barrel, it still zooms in and out as you do so with the camera.
Perhaps the only quirk that had us concerned is that the on/off switch is actually on the barrel of the lens itself. When you twist the zoom all the way to wide and beyond, the camera switches off. Even within our 10 minutes of play time, we managed accidentally to power down the X10 twice but this might just be something that you stop doing once you know the thing.
In all, though, one would be hard pressed not to be excited about the X10. It offers almost as much punch - and more importantly, style - as the X100 and at something around half the price (£500-odd pounds but this is as yet to be finalised). Expect arrival on the shelves in October and more from us on the matter soon.