Fujifilm XF1 - Compact Camera With Retro Design

2/9/2013 10:35:42 AM

High-ranking compact camera with retro design

Fujifilm’s premium “X” series of digital cameras has completely gone with the retro revolution, leaning much on the previous models about the style while still trying to keep an eye on technology innovation.

The Fujifilm XF1 is the latest compact camera in this premium X series, and it continues this theme. On its face, it seems to be a camera that comes from another era, with a synthetic leather and a brushed metal chassis. However, with a closer look, you will see that it is crammed with plenty of advanced technology.

At the center of the model is a 2/3-inch CMOS sensor (similar in X10), considerably bigger than the sensors found in other ordinary cameras. Besides providing the ability to record both JPEG and Raw, the EXR CMOS sensor also supports full 1080p HD video recording.

Fujifilm has also equipped the XF1 with an interesting optic. This model uses a Fujinon lens covering a focal length of 25-100mm, equivalently 35mm, together with a maximum aperture of f/1.8.

Unfortunately, though it is not surprising, the maximum aperture of f/1.8 is only available at the wide end of the focal range, quickly decreasing to the maximum aperture of f/4.9 at the tele end of the zoom.

Inside the camera, there is a Fujifilm EXR processor to accompany the EXR technology available on the model’s sensor. Meanwhile, at the rear of the camera there is a 3-inch, 460k-dot LCD screen, and about the photography, full manual control is provided, as well as advanced automatic settings and a variety of “advanced filters”.

Fujifilm XF1 $600

Fujifilm XF1


Fujifilm’s efforts to make the XF1 a camera that stands out from the crowd are not totally useless, because the XF1 has for sure an original design. Its body has a synthetic leather band, only broken on the camera’s front by the lens and on the rear by the screen. The areas of the camera that are not covered in this leather-like material has a matte aluminum finish, and the combination of faux leather and aluminum gives the XF1 a quality feel.

Fujifilm shows an impressive attention to the detail in the XF1’s design, and no other areas has been given more attention to rather than the model’s lens, which is a manual zoom lens that goes with markings to indicate focal length. The real innovation is that the lens itself can be rotated around and folded back into the camera’s body, creating a slim body that’s easily put into the pocket.

Those who pay more attention to the style will welcome the model’s availability in red, brown or black finishes. Fujifilm has also provided leather cases suitable for any of these colors to fit the XF1’s appearance.


There’s a tip to switch on the XF1, due to the rotate-and-pull nature of the manual zoom lens which also serves as the on/off switch; as a result, this delays the model’s start-up speed. However, the camera can be put in stand-by with the lens protruding, and if you are shooting many images, this is a more appropriate setting. The XF1 switches from stand-by to on in less than a second, which is certainly considerable for such a camera.

Once switched on, on the whole the XF1 provides good operational speeds. The EXR processor promises high-speed AF performance with at least 0.16 second and although the lightning-fast speeds are not noticed, there are a few times you have to wait. The good news is that the fast AF is supported with a good level of accuracy.

One complaint about the camera is its operational speeds at high ISO settings. At ISO 800, shooting a single image is very fast, but when shooting at ISO 1600 or 3200, noise reduction – even on a “low” setting” – causes a slight delay in operation.

Although the XF1 has omitted advanced manual control on the camera’s body for its nice design, Fujifilm has made sure that access to the model’s functionality stays simple. The small Fn button on the camera’s body is accompanied by an E-Fn button on the rear, both of which offer an intuitive shooting experience.

Image quality

Generally, images are good and equal to similar compact cameras. The model displays a good dynamic range, with detail maintained in both shadows and highlights. The model’s lens provides an interesting level of sharpness to the edges of the frame, and fringing is generally well controlled, only making an appearance as purple edges in areas with extreme contrast.

The XF1’s Auto White Balance is quite reliable, and in natural light, it barely misses a beat. Even in mixed light, for instance, natural light mixed with artificial light sources, the results display an accurate hue, with slightly warmer results in artificial light.

The XF1 has a tendency to underexpose, though this can be fixed by exposure compensation.


While the XF1 works well in controlling image noise, it does so at the sacrifice of detail at higher ISO settings. Up to ISO 800, the results are quite consistent, with little decrease in performance. However, once you have reached ISO 1600 and ISO 3200, detail quickly begins to get smudged.

While the XF1 works well in controlling image noise, it does so at the sacrifice of detail at higher ISO settings.

While the XF1 works well in controlling image noise, it does so at the sacrifice of detail at higher ISO settings.


In the compact camera market, the XF1 works well to stand out. It is not only eye-catching but is equipped with plenty of advanced technology and capable of producing excellent images. There are some complaints about the operational speeds, as well as worries about the durability of the zoom and the premium price, but in general the XF1 is an undeniably desirable compact camera.



Main specifications

·         Sensor: 12MP, 2/3- inch EXR CMOS 12MP

·         Lens: 25-100mm f/1.8-4.9

·         File formats: JPEG, Raw, MOV

·         ISO: 100-3200 (up to 12,800 in reduced MP)

·         Exposure modes: EXR, Auto, Advanced Auto, PASM

·         Movie mode: 1,920x1,080p, 30fps

·         screen: 3-inch, 460k-dot LCD

·         weight: 225g

·         size: 107.9x61.5x33mm



·         Excellent design

·         F/1.8 lens at the wide end of the focal length

·         Manual functionality and Raw recording



·         High price

·         Physical construction of the lens (doesn’t seem as durable as expected)



·         Features: 19/20

·         Performance: 18/20

·         Design: 18/20

·         Image quality: 18/20

·         Value: 17/20

·         Test score: 90%


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