Fujifilm XF1 - A Slim, Retro-Styled Camera With Excellent Image Quality

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Smartphones are demolishing sales of compact cameras, but this has given camera manufacturers a much-needed kick up the backside. Rather than adding more megapixels every year, manufacturers are taking an enlightened approach to improving image quality.

Fujifilm is already one step ahead, with an established range of compact cameras that use clever technology to clean up image noise and avoid washed-out details in tricky shooting conditions. The XF1 uses this technology, known as EXR, but it has even more tricks up its sleeve. The sensor is almost twice the size you’ll find on most compact cameras, and its wide aperture lets in four times more light than the typical aperture of most compacts.

Fujifilm XF1

Fujifilm XF1 - A Slim, Retro-Styled Camera With Excellent Image Quality

All these features combine to give spectacular image quality in low light. Images aren’t as detailed as those produced by more expensive DSLRs or CSC cameras, but they’re far superior to run-of-the-mill compact cameras and smartphones. Brightly lit shots are less remarkable, but the XF1 is unrivalled at producing images with colors that look smooth and natural.

The XF1 isn’t the only compact camera to use these techniques, but most of its rivals are a little bulkier. This is partly because they have an optical viewfinder or a lens that doesn’t retract into the camera body when switched off. The XF1’s 4x zoom lens doesn’t lie flat within the body either, but you won’t notice this when pocketing the camera. The lens’s movement is controlled manually rather than by a motor. You adjust the lens for turning the camera on and off, as well as for zooming. This sounds odd, but the beautifully designed mechanism works well and we quickly got used to it. The handsome retro styling and leather-effect trim is reminiscent of a time before cameras had batteries, let alone digital sensors.

The lens’s movement is controlled manually rather than by a motor.

The lens’s movement is controlled manually rather than by a motor.

Two dials on the back and the mode wheel on the top should satisfy keen photographers who want quick access to manual settings, even though it lacks some shortcut buttons and dials you find on more expensive cameras. The XF1 is fast at taking shots in quick succession. Burst mode can take seven shots per second, but it drops to around two shots per second after the first seven.

The camera’s video mode isn’t up to the same standard as the XF1’s photos. Videos are shot at 1080p HD resolution, but details look a little blocky, and during our test the autofocus sometimes got confused and wandered out of focus. You can’t control much of the camera either, with focus, exposure and white balance settings disregarded as soon as you press the record button.

The XF1 is fast at taking shots in quick succession

The XF1 is fast at taking shots in quick succession

It’s not perfect, then, but the Fujifilm XF1’s price is a little lower than similar cameras, image quality is higher and the gorgeous retro design is the icing on the cake.


The Fujifilm XF1‘s videos are average, but photo quality from this stylish camera is fantastic

Ratings: 5/5

Key points

·         Outstanding photo quality in low light

·         Pocket-sized

·         Classy retro design and operation

·         Poor video mode

Best price online

Price: $419



Canon PowerShot SX260 HS

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS

Price: $270

It can’t quite match the XF1 in low light, but its 20x zoom may be more useful outdoors

Ratings: 5/5

Fujifilm XF1 specs

§  Packaged Quantity: 1

§  Product Type: Digital camera - Compact

§  Enclosure Color: Red

§  Resolution: 12 megapixels

§  3D Technology: Yes

§  Optical Sensor Type: EXR-CMOS

§  Effective Sensor Resolution: 12,000,000 pixels

§  Optical Sensor Size: 2/3"

§  Optical Zoom: 4 x

§  Digital Zoom: 2 x

§  Image Processor: EXR Processor

§  Image Stabilizer: Optical

§  Auto Focus: TTL contrast detection

§  AE/AF Control: Subject-tracking AF

§  Face Detection: Face Recognition

§  Digital Video Format: H.264

§  Image Recording Format: JPEG, MPO, RAW, RAW + JPEG

§  Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080

§  AV Interfaces: HDMI, Composite video/audio


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