Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]
The enthusiast compact sector has undergone a distinct revival in recent years, with every major manufacturer now producing a model or two that offers full manual control and RAW format recording, aimed as a second camera for enthusiasts who usually carry an SLR.
The XF1 is the latest model in Fujifilm's premium X-series, that originated with the FinePix X100 and has since expanded upwards to the interchangeable lens XF system (including the recently-announced X-E1), and downwards to the X-S1 superzoom and fast-lensed X10 compact. The XF1 shares much of its innards with these last two models, including the larger-than-average 2/3" EXR-CMOS sensor and EXR processor. To these it adds an optically-stabilized 25-100mm equivalent lens with an impressively fast F1.8 maximum aperture at wideangle, but a more pedestrian F4.9 at telephoto.
The Canon S100 and Sony RX100 are both functionally-styled black-bodied cameras for photographers who wish to stay discreet; the XF1, in contrast, is designed to be noticed. With its two-tone body it's a very attractive camera. There's a choice of three colours - the deep red shown, alongside light tan and a relatively-sober black - each of which gets a matching slide-in leather case as an optional accessory for fashionistas.
The second stand-out feature of the XF1 is its lens mechanism - the zoom ring is mechanical, and like on the X10 doubles as the power switch. But there's a a further twist - it also collapses into the body in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of the iconic Rollei 35 film compact. This gives the XF1 the distinction of being the smallest camera to offer a mechanical zoom ring around the lens.