Test by Roger Payne
As a Fujifilm X-series fan you’ll already know that good things come in small packages, but the XQ1 takes that concept at least a couple of steps further. Significantly smaller and lighter than the X20, the XQ1 puts top quality picture taking in the palm of your hand. Quite literally.
Available in black and silver finishes, it’s one of those cameras that you simply can’t justify leaving at home. It’s been a constant companion for the last three weeks I’ve had it to review, largely by virtue of the fact that regardless of where I’ve been going it’s been small and light enough to come along too. Out walking the dog? Easy, it fits in a coat pocket. In town for a night out? No problem, it fits in my wife’s handbag. It even found its way into a tiny backpack when I was out mountain biking last weekend. Despite its proportions and weight, it gives the feeling of reassuring solidity with a build quality that can take the knocks. Kid gloves not required.
In line with the X-series brand, the XQ1 mixes timeless styling with the latest technology, plus throws in a few neat design touches for good measure. The most obvious of these is the Control Wheel that sits around the 4x zoom lens. Pressing the E-Fn button on the back of the camera allows you to assign a function to the Control Wheel for fast access while shooting. I chose to use it for quick ISO sensitivity changes, but users can also change other functions including exposure compensation, white-balance and zoom control.
Once you’ve taken images, they can instantly be shared to a smartphone or tablet thanks to the XQ1’s built-in Wi-Fi functionality. All that’s required from the receiving device is the free Fujifilm Camera App. An additional Wi-Fi offering comes in the shape of PC AutoSave, which uses a Wi-Fi network to automatically connect camera to PC for wireless image back up.
Alongside the technological and design touches, the XQ1 is a powerhouse when it comes to image capture. It boasts a ⅔-inch 12-megapixel sensor that uses X-Trans technology to deliver impressively sharp results. The zoom lens (which offers a 25-100mm equivalent range) also has a maximum aperture setting of F1.8 at the wide- angle setting to offer added versatility in low-light conditions and helps create attractive out of focus effects.
If you’re capturing still images, I’d urge you to try out the many built-in filter effects, 360° Motion Panorama mode, Film Simulation modes and the extremely handy Pro Low Light, Multiple Exposure and Pro Focus functions. If video is more your thing, the XQ1 offers Full HD video capture as well as a frame rate of 150 frames-per-second for slow motion effects. The latter is both great fun and seriously addictive!
In use, the XQ1 delivers a very accomplished performance. Picture quality is impressive, autofocus fast, metering assured and battery life surprisingly long. I’ll be sorry to see the camera go back to Fujifilm, it has quickly become a close companion wherever I go.
Here are some sample images taken at varying ISO values. Click on them to see them larger
I have had many compact cameras but none of them I’ve liked so much as the little Fujifilm XQ1. I’ve taken it to the summit of 8000 meter peaks, trekking in Nepal on holidays in France and many other places. And has never failed me taking nice and sharp pictures. The optics are very good at all focal lengths and using the 1.8 aperture at the widest end gives nice background blur, the quality of which is very good.
Furthermore, as mentioned in the article it delivers a very acceptable video quality.
Pros: awesome picture quality, many manual controls (2 control rings and buttons), small size, good video quality, acceptable battery life (though I still carry 4 extra batteries for day long shooting), charging by USB.
Cons: no microphone connection for sound on video, aperture quickly decreasing with focal length, no timelapse software built in (like in most other Fujifilm cameras).
Almost four years after getting this camera it’s still my most used camera even though I’ve got a whole bunch of other cameras to choose from.
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