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Today Fuji unveiled their Finepix X10, the long-expected follow-up to the Fuji  X100 reviewed here. This is high-end compact digital camera designed for efficient photography with complete manual controls.

The X10 uses a 2/3″ EXR CMOS sensor with 12 megapixels. This is larger than most fixed-lens cameras but smaller than the X100 which uses a 2.6X bigger sensor. The special EXR color-array lets it operate in 3 modes, just like the Fuji F550 EXR. One mode gives the full 12 MP of resolution, while the other two produce 6 MP output which either prioritizes dynamic-range or low-noise.

The sensor size used in the Fuji Finepix X10 should let it capture higher-quality images than most compact digital cameras other than the X100 while being small enough to fit it with a bright zoom lens. Indeed, the distinguishing feature of the X10 is a 4X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 28-112mm in 35mm terms with an exceptionally bright maximum aperture of F/2 at the wide-end and F/2.8 at the long-end.

Fuji Finepix X10

Unlike all other lenses on compact digital cameras, this one is mechanically linked. This gives it infinite precision, smooth control and great speed compared to electronic lenses. We are extremely glad to see Fuji as a believer in mechanical lenses which they also have on the HS-series ultra-zooms like the Fuji HS 20 EXR reviewed here.

It is slightly surprising to see the X10 use a CMOS sensor rather than a CCD which has worked better in the past for EXR cameras and is presently used by high-end compacts from Nikon, Canon and Panasonic. While CCDs are known for better image quality, CMOS sensors operate much faster. The X10 takes advantage of this by offering a top full-resolution speed of 7 FPS for up to 8 JPEG images. Lowering the resolution to 6 MP, the X10 can shoot at 10 FPS for up to 16 JPEG images.

The combination of CMOS sensor and mechanical zoom lets the Fuji Finepix X10 record full HD video at 1920×1080 @ 30 FPS (1080p) while zooming completely silently. This is great news since the X10 is equipped with a built-in stereo microphone. Continuous autofocus is possible during video capture as well.

Framing is provided by a bright 2.8″ LCD with 460K pixels with digital-level to help keep horizons straight. Unlike the X100 which features a unique hybrid viewfinder, the X10 provides a crystal-clear optical-tunnel viewfinder, albeit with only 85% coverage. This is one of the few compact digital cameras to feature this and is useful when shooting in very bright outdoor conditions when the LCD gets washed out.

The Fuji Finepix X10 is scheduled to be available late October for an undisclosed price. Complete specifications are available here.

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