Announced today, the throwback-styled Fujifilm X10 aims to outgun competing cameras in the "premium point-and-shoot" class. Because of its size and feature set, it's more of a competitor to the larger Canon PowerShot G12 and the Nikon Coolpix P7100 than to more-compact options such as the Olympus XZ-1, the Nikon Coolpix P300, the Panasonic Lumix LX5, and the Canon PowerShot S95.

The new X10 offers a larger sensor than all of the cameras mentioned above, as well as a wider aperture than all but one of them at the telephoto end of its zoom range. Like most of them, it offers full manual exposure controls, a RAW shooting mode, and a few unique extras that should make it a compelling competitor for other performance-minded (semi-)compact cameras.

It's also a bit bigger than the rest of the pack, clocking in at 2.2 inches deep, 4.6 inches wide, and 2.7 inches high--more like the size of a compact interchangeable-lens camera, except with a fixed lens.

In addition to its old-school aesthetics, the X10 also features an optically stabilized, manually operated 4X (28mm to 112mm) zoom lens; you twist the lens barrel to adjust focal length rather than use a powered zoom toggle. The top of the camera also hosts a dedicated exposure-compensation dial for fast adjustments.

The camera lets you select between manual focus and autofocus via a front-mounted dial. The X10's lens has maximum aperture settings of F2.0 wide-angle to F2.8 telephoto, and is faster at the telephoto end than we've seen in any competing camera other than the Olympus XZ-1 (F1.8 to F2.5).

Besides a back-mounted 2.8-inch-diagonal LCD viewfinder, the X10 also offers an eye-level optical viewfinder. Unlike the unique electronic/optical "hybrid viewfinder" found in the Fujifilm X100, the viewfinder in the X10 is a purely optical version with diopter adjustments. The camera also has an electronic level, which you use via the LCD screen.

The Fujifilm X10's 12-megapixel EXR CMOS sensor (2/3-inch type) is larger than those found in many other performance-minded point-and-shoots. Like the company's previous EXR-branded cameras, the X10 offers a few EXR-specific shooting modes in addition to aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and full manual exposure modes: a signal-to-noise mode for capturing low-noise shots in dim lighting, a high-dynamic-range mode, and a high-resolution mode for well-lit situations.

Other in-camera features include a "motion panorama" capability that stitches together an instant panoramic image by panning the camera; bracketing modes for exposure, ISO, HDR photography, and effects filters; and a pop-up flash in addition to a top-mounted hot shoe.

Fujifilm says the camera can power on and be ready to shoot in less than a second, and that the ring around the lens barrel can be used to power the camera on for a quick start-up time as you're framing the shot through the optical viewfinder. Fujifilm also claims that the X10 has a minimum focal distance of less than 0.4 inches in macro mode, and that the camera has an extremely fast shutter response time to go along with its boot-up speed.

In burst mode, the camera can capture 7 frames per second at full 12-megapixel resolution, as well as up to 10 frames per second at about a 6-megapixel resolution. The X10 also offers a 1080p video mode at 30 fps, saved as .mov files.

OUR VERDICT

The X10 is due in November, and we're excited about it, but we're still waiting to see what its price will be. It looks loaded, but we're hoping the X10's price tag will be more like cameras like the PowerShot G12, the Coolpix P7100, and the Lumix LX5 rather than the expensive Fujifilm X100.

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