We've been big fans of Fujifilm's X-series, so the announcement of the XF1 - a pocketable, 2/3-inch-sensor compact camera - got us rather excited. The XF1 is the baby of the range, but does it offer the necessary grown-up features?
First off the bat is the way the XF1 looks. We're a bit disappointed by the finish, as the faux-leather covering just looks a little, well, "fake" (we know, obviously, that it is). Still, perhaps a single-finish body would have looked a little more refined?
Other than that, though, the XF1 ticks a lot of boxes and, thanks to that larger-than-average sensor, it should deliver decent quality in a truly pocketable pacakge.
The coolest thing about the camera is the "pull-out lens" that means the lens can sit almost flat against the camera body. To explain: the lens sits in this near-flat position and can be pulled about 1cm out of the body with a slight twist to rest in its second stage position. From here it can be twisted again to extend the barrel in full. A clever way to keep the compact extra thin.
We're also very fond of the focal length markings on the lens barrel itself. They're "stepped" from 25mm through to 100mm (shown in those equivalents for ease of use), though the zoom moves through the range smoothly rather than to those specific lengths. We couldn't see the equivalent focal length displayed on the rear screen though.
Focus was swift when tested within the Fujifilm stand, although even in macro mode it wasn't possible to focus particularly close to subject at the wide-angle setting. Still, we snapped some bright-coloured vases and flowers with ease, but weren't permitted to take the shots away with us.
On top of the camera there's a main mode dial and a small function button, while on the rear there's a standard-looking d-pad and button arrangement.
But the d-pad's directional and surrounding buttons have dual, programmable controls: press the E-Fn button on the rear and the d-pad "mirrors" on the LCD screen. Now the XF1 doesn't have a touchscreen - although we think this particular UI design arrangement makes it look like it could be - but the d-pad then shows up its secondary function. Each button therefore gives two levels of control, which is a great way to deliver more control across fewer controls.
With the same sensor as the X-S1 and X10 Fujifilm models, the XF1 ought to achieve decent image quality above and beyond many of its competitors, though as it's the very same sensor this means those problematic light-reflected "white orbs" are unlikely to be eradicated (see full X-S1 and X10 reviews for more details).
Price isn't confirmed, but a little bird on the Fujifilm stand told us that it could be around the £400 mark, and with the US $500 price already given that sounds about right. Consider the Canon S110, for example, and there's an obvious fight to be had with the XF1.
Ignore the "faux-finish" and it looks like the XF1 could be a top pocketable camera.