The Fujifilm X10: is it a chunky compact camera or a tiny large-sensor shooter? Well, it's a little bit of both. Like its elder and more professionally-oriented X-series mate, the X100, the X10 has a larger (2/3-inch) sensor and body than the usual point-and-shoot and adds plenty of control dials for instant-access tweaking. Still, its target market is much closer to the hobbyist than the pro, as evidenced by its introduction of a 4x zoom lens (the X100 has a fixed focal length of 35mm), bearing the Fujinon branding and an innovative zoom ring. What's so fresh about it? It doubles as an on/off toggle!
To turn the camera off, you just zoom an extra step past 28mm on the wide end (you have to apply some additional force, you can't do this accidentally) and roll the ring to the Off position. Then, and this is where this feature really comes in useful, to turn it on, you just start zooming into your subject. It's an extremely intuitive and rapid method for getting ready to compose a shot, although the camera itself took a little while to boot up for us, around two to three seconds. We shouldn't judge the X10 too harshly on that evidence, as the IFA demo units were all prototypes, both in physical design and the settings applied to the sensor within.
Another neat addition is the option to manually focus using a round dial on the back of the camera, positioned just under the typical location of your right thumb when shooting. We can't say this is quite as natural as the way the X10 turns on, but it's nice to have the option. There wasn't much in the way of unique features on the software front, though Fujifilm has included a handy "level bar," which helps you ensure the horizon of your photographs is consistently flat. It obviously doesn't work when using the optical viewfinder, but hey, at least this thing has an optical viewfinder.
Fujifilm tells us that the X10 will start shipping in October, just in time for that November release date we already heard about, and though the company's reluctant to settle on a price just yet, we were given a surprisingly narrow range: between €500 and €600. Hands-on pictures and video follow after the break.