It seems like camera manufacturers are increasingly exploiting the trend of rising sensor sizes. While some have retained the tried and tested Four- Thirds and Full Frame sensors, some others like Fujifilm are experimenting with sensors that are midway between professional and compact sizes.
The Fujifilm XF1 is one such compact featuring 12 megapixel, 2/3-inch Type sensor, promising better performance than compacts with smaller sensors.
Design and Build Quality The Fujifilm XF1 is constructed with a combination of metal and polycarbonate on the exterior. The camera has a straight design with leather skin lining, which provides good grip. It has a new On/Off mechanism in the form of a twist-and-pull-out lens barrel. The lens has a three-segment construction and the tripod receptacle is metal. The camera weighs only 225g with battery and memory card.
The 12-megapixel Fujifilm XF1 uses a 2/3-inch Type (8.80 x 6.60 mm) Type EXR CMOS sensor (This is larger than normal compact camera sensors, and almost half the size of Four-Thirds sensor). 12 megapixels translates to maximum pixel dimensions of 4000 x 3000. The camera features a Fujinon 25-100mm equivalent optically stabilised f/1.8 – 4.9 lens. The lens is constructed with 7 elements in 6 groups including four aspherical elements. Aperture ranges from f/1.8 – 11 at the wide-angle end and f/4.9 – 11 at the telephoto end. In the Normal mode, the lens focusses from approximately 50 cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and approximately 80 cm to infinity at the telephoto end, while in Macro mode, it focusses from approximately 3cm to 3.0m at the wide-angle end and approximately 50cm to 3.0m at the telephoto end. The camera uses TTL contrast detect system to focus and the focus modes are Single, Continuous, and Manual. AF frame options include Multi AF, Area AF, and Tracking AF. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 3200 (up to ISO 12800 at lower resolutions). The XF1 uses the normal Multi, Spot, and Average metering modes with TTL 256-zone metering. Shutter speeds range from 30 to 1/2000 sec. Exposure can be compensated up to -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV steps. Self-timer can be set to trigger the camera with a 2 or 10 sec delay. Still images can be recorded in JPEG or Raw format (with a Raw + JPEG option) while movies are recorded in H.264 (MOV) format at the best quality of 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Shooting modes include EXR, AUTO, P, S, A, M, Custom (C1 and C2), Movie, SP (Scene Position), and Adv (Advanced). The EXR mode offers EXR Auto, Resolution priority, High ISO & Low noise priority, and Dynamic range priority options. The Scene Position mode provides settings for 16 scenes — Natural Light, Natural Light & Flash, Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, and Underwater. The Advanced mode offers these options — Advanced filter, Motion panorama360, Pro focus, Pro low light, Multiple exposure, Individual shutter 3D, High Speed Movie (70 / 120 / 200 frames/sec.), Electronic level, Advanced Anti Blur, Date stamp, Recording movie in the EXR and Auto mode. The Advanced Filters are Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Colour, High-key, Dynamic Tone, and Partial Colour (6 colours selectable). White Balance options are Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent ( Warm White), Fluorescent (Cool White), Incandescent light, Underwater, Custom, and Colour Temperature selection. There are bracketing options for Auto Exposure, Film Simulation, Dynamic Range, and ISO sensitivity. The camera offers Face Detection and Face Recognition options also.
The built-in flash has a range of approximately 50 cm to 7.4 m at the wide-angle end and approximately 80 cm to 2.7m at the telephoto end at ISO 800. Flash modes available are Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Red-eye removal, Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye, Reduction and Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, and Red-eye Reduction and Slow Synchro. The camera can shoot at a maximum continuous speed of 7 frames per second at full resolution. The XF1 uses a 3.0-inch, approximately 460,000-dot colour LCD monitor. The camera has an internal memory of approximately 25 MB and accepts an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card for external storage. The device is powered by an NP-50A Li-ion battery (included). The camera weighs approximately 225g with battery and memory card, and has dimensions of 107.9 x 61.5 x 33.0 mm.
The Fujifilm XF1 is comfortable to operate. The twist-and-pull-out power mechanism is easy to use. The camera uses a manual zoom system in the form of a zoom ring on the lens. The menu is simple and intuitive. The LCD seemed to suffer from moire patterns, prominently visible when you pan the camera even a little bit. We also noticed a disturbing lag in the display.
The Fujifilm XF1 delivered mixed results on the SP test bench. Images out-of-the-box appeared tack sharp and all metering modes worked as expected. Autofocus was not very impressive with the camera failing to lock on to the subjects with slightly low contrast, especially those nearby. We noticed a delay in the display of post-focus images (i.e., it takes a while for the camera to display the image as focussed even after the beep), especially in low- light situations. Slight darkening was observed at extreme corners at the wide-angle end with the lens wide open. Flare was observed along with chromatic aberration (purple fringing) at the wide-angle end at wide- open aperture. The lens produced slight barrel distortion throughout the zoom range.
Auto White Balance invariably produced casts under various lighting conditions, but we could easily remove this during post-processing. Native image size is 10 x 13.33 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of screen size, images up to ISO 800 appeared clean. ISO 1600 and 3200 were found to be noisy, but usable in an emergency. Viewed at 50 percent, noise was barely visible up to ISO 400. Slight noise appeared at ISO 800. Enlarged to 100 percent, images remained noise-free up to ISO 200. So our suggestion would be to stick to ISO 200 or lower if you intend to enlarge the images. Otherwise, it is safe to use up to ISO 1600.
Value for Money
The Fujifilm XF1 retails at an MRP of Rs.32,999. I feel this is rather high, considering it does not provide too good a performance.
+ Compact and lightweight
+ Excellent grip
+ 2/3-inch Type sensor
+ Optically stabilised f/1.8 lens
+ Raw format
– Overall performance below par
|Design and Build Quality||17/20|
|Auto White Balance||2/5|
|Value for Money||6/10|
The Fujifilm XF1 is light, compact, and easy to operate. If these are your priorities and your primary purpose is to document your trips and moments, the XF1 will impress you. But if you are looking for top -of-the-line image quality, the camera has a few limitations.