The Fuji X-F1 uses the same sensor and processor as the Fuji Finepix X10, which has already proven to be a very capable camera. The fact that Fuji has managed to squeeze its fantastic technology into a smaller body is pretty astonishing, and we can see it appealing to quite a variety of people for this reason.
We had high hopes for the Fuji X-F1 after viewing it for our hands-on. With its premium lens and larger than average sensor, we had hoped that images from it would be excellent.
Luckily, we have not been disappointed by the output from the Fuji X-F1. Images appear sharp, bright and crisp, with a good level of colour saturation that is not overly vibrant.
Since the lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8, very pleasing shallow depth of field effects can be achieved, enabling you to really get creative with your images. The ability to manually control the camera and shoot in raw format are also added bonuses.
Autofocus acquisition is very quick, and generally pretty accurate. It's a shame that choosing an autofocus point can't be quicker, but you could always set it for the central point and use the half-press and recompose technique if you're trying to quickly capture moments in quick succession.
Macro focusing is available via a push of the left four-way control pad. Once this is activated you can focus from very closely indeed, making it great for shooting frame-filling close-up shots.
The screen is viewable from wide angles, which is handy if you need to shoot from slightly odd angles, such as above the head.
It seems to work well in a variety of lighting conditions, though we have so far been unable to test it in the brightest of sunlight.
Metering is generally pretty good, even in high contrast situations. You can choose a different metering mode via the main menu - where it is called "Photometry". Spotmetering can be useful there's a particularly confusing light pattern in the scene.
Images shot at high sensitivity settings, such as 1600 and above, display a decent level of noise control. Although there are some examples of image smoothing, these images look fine at normal printing or web sizes.
Image quality drops at the very high settings - such as ISO 3200 - but again, at normal web sizes they are acceptable, and it's certainly preferable to not being able to get the shot at all.
The automatic white balance system does a good job of displaying accurate colours, even in mixed or artificial lighting conditions. Again, you can of course change this setting should you find the camera struggles with a particular scene.
When examining images shot at a relatively narrow aperture, such as f/8, the sharpness of the lens is apparent. Edge to edge sharpness is pretty good, maintaining fine details across the majority of the image, with only a slight drop off at the very corners of the image.
Images taken at the furthest reach of the telephoto optic (100mm equivalent) are good, with image stabilisation doing a reasonable job of controlling blur from camera shake.
It's a shame that the maximum aperture at this end of the focal range is f/4.9, unlike the Panasonic LX7, which can boast f/2.3 at its furthest reach.
Digital zoom is also available - though you will have to switch raw format shooting off in order to use it. Image quality is reasonably good when using this, especially when printing at small sizes or viewing on the web.
There is some evidence of image quality dropping, but it's a handy extra to have when in a pickle. It's a shame you need to switch raw format shooting off to access it, since this makes for some frustrating menu diving.
For those who want to get creative with different picture effects, you can choose to shoot Film Simulation modes, which recreate the look of classic film stock such as Provia and Astia. Alternatively, you can find a number of digital art filters under the Advanced area of the mode dial.
Both modes enable you to shoot in raw format while these are activated, meaning you have a "clean" version of the image, should you want that later in the process.
There's a decent range of art filters, though some will be appreciated more than others, depending on personal preference. Dynamic Tone is particularly interesting, while Toy Camera is quite fun.
Experimenting with the Film Simulation modes gives you a greater degree of flexibility, since they can be activated while using full manual/semi-automatic shooting modes.