Fuji X10 camera and mountain hiking

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Fuji X10 review

I did not like carrying my Canon Rebel when hiking, so I really wanted the Fuji X10 to prove a good addition to my backpack. A hike in Piatra Mare mountains with a  group of friends proved a good occasion to see how the Fuji X 10 works with landscapes, scorching sun and an 8 hour hike.
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The question is: can a digital camera like the Fuji X10 work from forest shade to open spaces close enough to a DSLR? While the low weight of a digital compact camera seems like a great thing, maybe the disadvantages when comparing with a DSLR are too much.

Fuji X10 things I liked on the trip

  • low weight (350g)
  • good dynamic range which managed to capture both deep forest shade and noon blue sky
    when set in EXR DR400 mode, which offers 6MP with up to 3 more EV dynamic range
    see an explanation of my preffered settings for Fuji X10 
  • good ISO performance for deep shade canyons
  • small form factor
    allowed me to have the Fuji X10 ready to shoot and not packed in my backpack
  • great macro mode
    though to get very close to a subject I have to set the lens in wide-angle mode
Fuji X10 in Piatra Mare Fuji X10 in Piatra Mare Fuji X10 in Piatra Mare Fuji X10 in Piatra Mare

what I missed on my Fuji X10 compared to my Digital Rebel

  • Fuji’s LCD in direct sunlight makes squinting a fact of life
  • optical viewfinder
    it helps when the LCD gets washed-out, but there is no focus confirmation
  • small battery
    I had a spare battery with me but for a longer or multi-day hike a this can be a problem. Fortunately spare batteries are pretty cheap (third-party batteries are around $10 and I had no problems with them)
  • the Fuji X10 has less cropping possibilities
    especially as I shoot a lot in 6MP DR400 mode (which offers the large dynamic range latitude)

As every camera is a set of compromises, I did not expect to find the Holy Grail of digital cameras with the Fuji X10. However, as I wrote in my Fuji X10 review, this little camera really has a lot of advantages. As a compact digital camera it cannot have the sheer potential of Canon DSLR RAW files but for a short mountain hike the Fuji X10 was more than enough. JPEG files that have good dynamic range, gorgeous Fuji colors and fast enough AF allowed me to have a very pleasant experience. Instead of carrying a bulky DSLR setup I could  concentrate more on the fun in taking pictures.

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I think the greatest challenge in landscape shooting, especially in midday sun, is the huge dynamic range. As I do not want to spend too much time creating HDR images – shooting bracketed exposures and combining them in Photoshop – the little Fuji X10 proved invaluable.

Was the Fuji X10 perfect? Obviously not – I am still struggling to find workarounds for focusing in direct sun. But it definitely replaced my DSLR in my backpack.

Fuji X10 in detail

 

Series Navigation« how to set your Fuji X10 for best resultsflowers, raindrops and macro photography »

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