Hands on: FujiFilm XQ1 Pocket Rocket

By Pat Pilcher

3 comments

Technology is an amazing thing. No sooner than one product is released than a dozen or so alternatives are launched by competitors.

The digital camera market is no exception to this Darwinian tech trend, and intense competition has seen the digital camera evolving at a crazy pace. A long established player in the digital camera market, Fuji, has been hard at work adding the compact XQ1 digital camera to its range of pocket shooters.

Look and Feel

The review unit I was sent was decked out in an attractive silver alloy finish and felt pretty good in the hand. Although it was light enough to be used one-handed for extended periods, it also felt reassuringly solid and a host of small features showed quite a lot of thought had gone into its design. One of the nicer yet subtle touches was a small rubber pad on the thumb-rest which meant I was able to get a good grip when shooting one-handed.

Even though the XQ1 is a compact, it didn't feel cramped, with everything easily within reach. Unlike other compacts, the XQ1 also has a control ring around its lens which felt responsive in use. Its function varied depending on which exposure mode was selected. In use it proved to be a nice feature.

Specs and Features

Although smaller than previous Fuji X series compact cameras, the XQ1 sports the same 12MP CMOS II sensor and image processing hardware of its predecessors. In non-camera geek speak this translates into it delivering impressive results under a wide range of shooting conditions.

The XQ1 lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 at its shortest focal length (equivalent to 25mm) and f/4.9 at it's longest point (100mm). Using Digital Zoom (which is something I try to avoid like the plague) the XQ1's 4x zoom extends to 400mm.

Another handy feature of the XQ1 is optical image stabilisation, which reduces camera shake and in turn reduces blur when shooting in low-light conditions without a tripod.

In use I was also pleased to note that when shooting in macro mode, the XQ1 was able to focus accurately when I was 3-5cm from objects. In fact the auto focus on the XQ1 was really quite quick and surprisingly smart, able to speedily pick out people or objects even when it was starting to get dark. This is largely due in part to the XQ1 having a hybrid focusing system that makes use of both contrast and phase detection (reading up it turns out that the XQ1 also automatically chooses which system to use).

I was also similarly impressed with the XQ1's start-up time and shooting capabilities (the XQ1 is has a blisteringly fast 0.3sec between shots, and a shutter lag of just 0.015sec), both of which are sufficiently zippy that you can whip it out and take a shot almost instantly. Add to this a continuous shooting mode with options ranging from 3 - 12 photos per second and you've got a great companion for kids' sports events.

As with a growing number of other compacts, Fuji have also included a manual exposure mode dial that lets more adventurous shooters deviate from auto everything to aperture priority, shutter priority and manual shooting modes. As would be expected, there's also the usual slew of automatic and scene options.

Another stand out feature of the XQ1 is Wi-Fi, which means images can be transferred to a smartphone or tablet with wirelessly so there's no need to muck about with removing and transferring memory cards.

Verdict

Selling for a sticker price of around $690, the XQ1 ups the game in the compact camera space and it'll be interesting to see what competitors do in response.

They'll definitely have their work cut out for them as the XQ1's build quality, features and most importantly photos were all pretty darned good. It's great to see a small camera with the functionality and features of larger and higher-end models hitting the market at such a reasonable price point.

Tech Specs

RRP: $690
Image sensor: 12.0 million pixels 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II with primary color filter
Storage media: (Internal memory) 66MB, SD/SDHC/SDXC(UHS-I) card slot
File formats: JPEG, RAW, (Video) MOV (H.264 with Linear PCM Stereo)
Lens: Fujinon 4x optical zoom lens f=6.4 - 25.6mm, equivalent to 25 - 100mm on a 35mm format.
Focus distance: Normal (Wide) Approx. 50cm / 1.6 ft. to infinity, (Telephoto) Approx. 80cm / 2.6 ft. to infinity, Macro (Wide) Approx. 3cm - 3.0m / 1.1 in. - 9.8 ft. (Telephoto) Approx. 50cm - 3.0m / 1.6 ft. - 9.8 ft.
Sensitivity: AUTO (Control available up to ISO3200), Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 250 / 320 / 400 / 500 / 640 / 800 / 1000 / 1250 / 1600 / 2000 / 2500 / 3200 / 4000 / 5000 / 6400 / 12800
Exposure control: TTL 256-zone metering / Multi / Spot / Average
Exposure mode: Programmed AE / Aperture Priority AE / Shutter Speed Priority AE / Manual exposure
Shooting modes: ADVANCED SR AUTO / AUTO / Filter (Advanced Filter) / P / S / A / M / C / SP / Adv.(Advanced mode)
MODE DIAL: SP : Portrait / Portrait Enhancer / Landscape / Sport / Night / Night (Tripod) / Fireworks / Sunset / Snow / Beach / Party / Flower / Text, Underwater
Filters : Toy camera / Miniature / Pop color / High-key / Low-key / Dynamic tone / Soft focus / Partial color (Red / Orange / Yellow / Green / Blue / Purple)
Adv.: Motion panorama360 / Pro focus / Pro low light / Multiple exposure
Image stabiliser: Lens shift
Face detection: Yes
Exposure compensation: -3.0EV - +3.0EV 1/3EV step (Movie mode) -2.0EV - +2.0EV
Shutter speed: (Auto) 1/4 sec. to 1/3000 sec., (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec.
Continuous shooting: Super High : approx. 12.0 fps (max. approx. 9 frames), High : approx. 9.0 fps (max. approx. 11 frames), Middle : approx. 6.0 fps (max. approx. 14 frames), Low : approx. 3.0 fps (max. approx. 200 frames)
Auto bracketing: AE Bracketing : ±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV
Film Simulation Bracketing: (Any 3 types of Film Simulation selectable)
Dynamic Range Bracketing: 100%•200%•400%
ISO Sensitivity Bracketing: ±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV
Focus mode: Single AF / Continuous AF / MF type
Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF / TTL phase detection AF), AF assist
White balance: Automatic scene recognition, Custom / Color temperature selection (K)
Self-timer: 10 sec. / 2 sec. delay
Flash: Manual pop-up flash
Effective range: (ISO AUTO) Wide : Approx. 50cm - 7.4m / 1.6 ft. - 24.2 ft.
Telephoto: Approx. 80cm - 2.7m / 2.6 ft. - 8.8 ft.
LCD display: 3.0", 920K-dot, TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 100% coverage
Movie recording: 1920 x 1080 60p / 30p Continuous recording : up to approx. 14 min. HD 1280 x 720 60p / 30p Continuous recording : up to approx. 27 min.640 x 480 30p Continuous recording : up to approx. 115 min.
with stereo sound
Wifi: 802.11b/g/n
Connectivity: USB 2.0, HDMI output (Micro connector)
Power supply: NP-48 Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 100.0mm x 58.5mm x 33.3mm
Weight: Approx. 206g (including battery and memory card)

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