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Tool Talk Discussion Board

Camera recommendation

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Posted by MarkB_MI on December 22, 2012 at 06:41:19 from (

Earlier this year I was looking for a digital camera that met my requirements: compact with a viewfinder. Such cameras have become quite scarce as manufacturers have been eliminating viewfinders, apparently in order to have bigger displays. I need a viewfinder for photographing fast-moving planes at Oshkosh. I've given up on SLRs, because they're a pain to drag around so you seldom have one when you need it. Also, I've been very disappointed in the quality of digital cameras; drop one, or let it get dirty, and they're pretty much junk. After some research, I found a camera that seemed to meet my needs, the Fujifilm X10. I've had mine now for about 11 months now, and have been real happy with it. I thought I'd post a recommendation for anyone looking for a similar camera.

The X10 is quite a bit different from the typical compact camera. As soon as you pick it up, you can tell it's well-made. Very little plastic is visible; it's machined from a block of magnesium and is made in Japan rather than China. It closely resembles an Leica film camera. The most obvious things are the absence of either an on/off switch or zoom buttons. Instead, there's a mechanical zoom ring on the lens that also serves as an on/off switch. Pick up the camera, give the zoom a twist and it's ready to go. No waiting around for the camera to start up and no fiddling with zoom buttons.

The camera has a bewildering array of modes and options, including aperture priority, shutter priority and manual metering modes. I usually leave it on the Programmed mode setting, which works well most of the time. There are a bunch of other advanced modes I haven't had much chance to experiment with, although they seem quite useful. Although the lens zoom range is only 4X, the camera has a digital zoom that doubles that to 8X with essentially no loss of quality. I programmed the custom function button to toggle the digital zoom, making it very easy to use.

My biggest complaint about the camera is the limited functionality of the viewfinder. It is a simple optical viewfinder with no other information. Some of the more expensive cameras in Fuji's X series have electronic viewfinders, but they're more expensive than the X10 and lack its compactness. I also understand there's a known bug with early versions of the camera which causes bright points of light to be rendered as "orbs". I haven't seen this problem myself, but I intend to send mine in to get the sensor upgraded, which fixes the problem.

Internet price for the X10 is around 500 bucks delivered.


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