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Giovanni Repetti
White Crane
Username: grepetti

Post Number: 4362
Registered: 12-2003
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Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 11:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dear all,

Recently some members said in their thread that they need to buy a new camera. For coincidence I have recently bought a new camera and would like to share why I did choose this model.

First I would like to explain my personal approach to digital cameras. Photography has been one of my hobbies (potentially still it is but I have no time. Who knows one day.) so when digital cameras appeared on the market I must admit that I had at first glance a bad approach, in other words I was not interested on the new.

As the new system was taking progressively more market then I did start to look at it and was very surprised to know that reflex digital cameras was still keeping the mirror and the mechanical shutter. I wondered myself why that. The fact that the electronic data are anyway stored in let say one millisecond then why should I have a mechanical shutter that gave me that millisecond? I thought to myself that I would not buy a camera until it will be totally electronic.

Then about one or two years ago a new type of cameras did appear on the market, the so called mirrorless. Then I told to myself that finally what I was waiting for did arrive. But was very disappointed in learning that such cameras not only still have the mechanical shutter, but even that it works double! Maybe not everyone knows that in the mirrorless (also called sometime Evil cameras) the mechanical shutter is open, then when you take a picture and press the release button, the shutter close, then open and close again to take the picture then it open again to let you see the image on the display.

My reaction was that all this is crazy! Of course I was wrong, my attitude originate by my ignorance on the matter. There is a reason for that and it took years to find the reason why the mechanical shutter is still there, because this argument is strangely not considered in the photo magazines.

The problem is that the CCD sensors are practically charge accumulators, i.e. the level of light is charged in each pixel. So to take a correct image it is necessary first to discharge the sensor (dark, shutter closed) then charge it to the right level. Shoot and point cameras do discharge the sensor electronically and so they does not have the mechanical shutter, but the result is not so precise as if it is really discharged by the dark.

Maybe one day all this will be overcome and the professional cameras too will be all static with no need of mechanical moving parts. Anyway, this my personal attitude against all the above kept (and still is keeping, waiting for the future progress) me away from purchasing a serious digital camera. Up to know I did use simple point and shot not expensive cameras because my need are mainly that of posting pictures here. Of course with some limits due to the limited performances allowed by such cameras.

Well, all this changed with a recent marketed camera. It is the Fujifilm X10 camera and this are the reasons that convinced me to purchase it.
It has the front that is completely matte black, with just few small letters, which is extremely helpful in taking pictures of porcelain because you do not see the camera reflect on them.

It has a manual zoom! That is extremely useful. I take pictures on a table so I have limited space to move the camera forth and back to compensate the electronically drived zoom of point and shot cameras, which stops where he wants, I mean it is less precise (bzzz a bit forth, then bzzz the same bit back, but never in between). With manual zoom you are able to exactly fill the image frame.

It has a unique Fuji feature called EXR which consists in the following. The pixels of the sensor are alternately exposed at two different light levels. The resolution is halved (drops to 6 megapixels which are much more than enough for our use) but the dynamic range is increased. In other words, more details of the dark and bright areas of the image are recorded. This is EXTREMELY useful in taking pictures of enameled porcelain because of the white background. When you take the picture of the base of a monochrome red vase you have to choose what you want correctly exposed. If you choose the color of the vase then you do not see the texture of the white glaze on the base. If you choose to expose for that, then the brick red becomes cherry red. The EXR feature do not overcome this problem completely but it helps reducing it.

The sensor size is less than the one adopted on reflex cameras but bigger than the one of point and shot cameras, giving a more detailed and sharper image than the last one.

It has the capability to focus at one centimeter from the object, useful for taking details of our ceramics. Of course this is done in wide angle lens position. A dedicated macro lens of a reflex camera is much better but a compromise is necessary here.

According to the first tests available on the net, all reviewers agree that the quality of JPEG images format of this camera are far better than the competitors (I am a Nikon fan but under this point of view Nikon is one of the worst). This is a great feature to me because of my mentality; I am not keen to manipulate images with post-process image programs. I still have the obsolete mentality that the image must be taken in the right manner and not corrected. It is obsolete mentally nowadays but frankly I do not want to spend hours to correct images at the computer, no time (to write down this text it took more than one hour to me and the day only has 24) and no mental predisposition for that.

It has dedicated buttons for the most useful adjusting, like the white balance and the exposure compensation. You do not need to travel through a menu pressing buttons many times.

Finally, it has a fashion look, I mean it looks like a standard analog camera which is not bad for old photographers like myself. And has no mechanical shutter, the camera is totally silent.

Beside the above, it has a true optical viewfinder which is nice to use for taking pictures outside, street and panorama pictures I mean. You do not have to look at a small screen which is often hard to see in daylight.

The only bad point of this camera is the instruction book. The camera has a lot of features which are not well described in the owner's manual. You have to find out them yourself or reading the review of professionals on the net.

It is also bigger than point and shot cameras, it will not fit in your pocket, but still it is much smaller than reflex cameras.
The price is in between reflex and point and shot cameras, about 500 US$.

To my needs and photographs mentality this is a good choice and I am very happy with it. Of course others have different approach and more professional needs and results.


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