Michael Reichmann threw a first-look on the Fujifilm X10:
… the laws of physics get in the way of our fantasies. The major camera makers are doing a fine job of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, but there are still fundamental limits. Ultimate low noise requires large sensors with large pixels. Large sensors require large lenses. Fast lenses for large sensors are inherently big and heavy.
The camera has a 12 Megapixel 2/3 inch EXR-CMOS sensor. This means that the sensor is 8.8 X 6.6mm (typo corrected) in size, about double the surface area of most pocket digicams. The lens has a 7.1 to 28.4mm focal range, which translates to 28 – 112mm in full frame 35mm terms. This means a 4X multiplication factor compared to standard FF 35mm. By comparison a Micro Four Thirds camera has a 2X factor sensor, while a typical digicam sensor might have a factor of 5X to 7X.
Another thing — the zoom ring:
One of the X-10’s singular features, which will appeal to many photographers, is that the lens zooms via a twist ring on the lens barrel. This ring is also the camera’s On / Off switch. To operate, simply turn the ring, which switches the camera on with the lens at first at its widest focal length. Then, if you wish, continue to rotate the ring until you have the framing that you want. This is a very appealing feature compared to the stepped electric zoom function of most other cameras in this class. The OFF detent is nicely firm and the zoom feel is very linear, with a smooth helical gear moving the lens from 28mm to 112mm in less than 45 degrees. It didn’t take more than a couple of days of shooting to determine that having a manual zoom ring on the lens, combined with the On / Off switch, is one of the cleverest new camera designs in ages. Kudos to Fuji for coming up with something that is not only unique but really photographer friendly and useful.
Design turns problems into solutions, obstacle into advantage, but most importantly breeding imagination through limitation — in Fuji’s case: physical size vs. optical excellence. As I have said repeatedly on the excellence of Fuji’s new X-series team, they seem to have nurtured some great design virtues and approach in their X products, and the results are paying off.