Review: Fujifilm XF1

Performance

LCD Monitor

As mentioned, users compose photos using the LCD screen on the back of the device. The screen is fixed—you can’t flip it to change angles—but the good news is you can still see what’s on the screen even if you raise the camera at a high or low angle. It isn’t as handy as a vari-angle monitor, but it’ll do.

Menu and Interface

The menu seems a bit too messy for my liking, as I had to go through a sequence of submenus until you finally find the option I needed access to. To access the size of the video, for instance, you’d have to press the menu button, look for the Movie Set-Up submenu (which can be found in the fourth tab), hit the Movie Mode submenu, and choose your desired size and frame rate. It would have been much easier if there were a way to access the video size directly on the display, or if the submenu wasn’t buried under too many layers of other submenus.

Fortunately, Fujifilm threw in an E-Fn button on the rear of the camera that you can customize to give you access to the settings that you tweak the most. It saves you a lot of time as it keeps you from digging in the menu too much.

Modes

There are essentially 8 shooting modes in the XF1. These are: Full Auto, P, Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Advanced Filters, Scene, and EXR. In Manual mode, the parameters can be controlled using the dials on the back—the upper dial is used to control the selected parameter—whether it’s shutter speed or aperture—and the lower dial controls the parameter that is not selected. This means that you can interchange the parameter that each dial controls. In both Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes, the parameters are tweaked using the upper dial.

The XF1 features artistic filters and shooting functions in the Advanced Filters mode to allow more room for creativity. Filters include Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, High-Key, Dynamic Tone, and Partial Color. Additional shooting functions include a sweep panorama mode that can take a panoramic image of up to 360 degrees, a Pro Focus function that softens the background of a scene to highlight the sharpness of the subject, a Pro Low-Light function that enhances low-light shooting, a 3D image function that lets users create a 3D image from two shots, and a multiple exposure function (my personal favorite) where two images are superimposed into a single photo.

In Scene mode, users get to choose the most appropriate preset for the scene they are shooting. Among the options are Underwater, Text, Sunset, Fireworks, Night, Night – Tripod, Sport, Landscape, Portrait, and a few others. In the EXR mode, however, the camera’s sensor already automatically detects the nature of the scene for you, then applies the appropriate settings to your image. The two additional modes on the dial are for two user-customized settings, which means that you’ll have easy access to your most frequently used configurations.

Image Recording Format

The ability to shoot in RAW format is a real shot at appealing to professional users and prosumers. Users can shoot in RAW or JPEG, or can record data in both formats at the same time.

Speed and Accuracy

Metering is generally accurate, while the AF lock is impressively quick. This is definitely something you’d want to consider if you’re into fast, decisive-moment shooting, like how they do it in street photography.

Film Simulation

What makes Fujifilm’s digital cameras unique from its competitors is the fact that some of its photo filters recreate and are named after different types of analog film. There’s Provia, the standard look; Velvia, which is perfect for colorful subjects because it makes hues more saturated; and Astia, which gives a soft, smooth tonality to your scene.

 

ISO 400
1/240, F/1.8

There’s also the BW (black and white) film simulation mode that probably bests the black-and-white function of any other brand. In my opinion, this is one of the areas where the Fujifilm XF1 shines in comparison to its fellow snappers. This is where old school truly meets new. The black-and-white of the images are very dynamic. This sounds like a real treat to analog enthusiasts, but may seem totally useless to other users. In the age of digital post-processing, very few people actually have the need to shoot directly in black in white since users can already digitally post-process images to make them so. Nevertheless, there’s still a market for this feature, and Fujifilm chose not to ignore it.

ISO 100
1/400, F/8.0

Video Recording

There’s nothing special about video capture in the XF1, but it is noteworthy that shooting stills during video recording is enabled. The XF1 is able to shoot 1920×1080 Full HD videos at 30 frames per second (fps), 1280×720 HD videos at 30 fps, and 640×480 videos at 30 at 70 fps. Slow motion videos are taken at 320×240 (120 fps) and 320×112 (200 fps). An option for continuous AF during video capture can be found in the Movie Setup menu.

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