Fujifilm XQ2

Fujifilm XQ2A pocket-sized camera with superb image qualityLarger cameras generally capture more light and produce higher-quality images, but not everyone wants to lug a 1kg DSLR around with them. This explains the meteoric rise of compact system cameras (CSCs), which cram DSLR technology into smaller, lightweight casings. And yet, even these are typically too large to slip into a small pocket or handbag.

The Fujifilm XQ2 is what we’d describe as a premium compact camera. Its sensor is physically larger than those commonly found in budget compact cameras, and its lens has a wider aperture to capture more light. Both of these help to boost image quality, particularly in low light, where budget compact cameras suffer heavily from noise. There are other cameras that have similar features, but they also tend to have lots of protruding buttons and dials, chunky handgrips, eyepieces and tilting screens, all of which adds to their weight and bulk. The XQ2 keeps things simple and slender on the outside, and as a result it’s far more portable.The buttons are kept to a minimum, but the XQ2 still has all the options we’d expect. The mode dial offers auto and manual exposure modes, and there’s a plethora of advanced settings available in the menus. The camera can save photos in RAW format, so you can get the most out of them by editing them in software such as Adobe Lightroom.Advanced settings are only useful if you can adjust them before your subject gets itchy feet. The XQ2 doesn’t score so well here. There’s a customisable E-Fn (function) button that provides access to six settings of your choice, but we’d have preferred a few dedicated buttons for key functions such as the autofocus area and continuous shooting. A ring around the lens and a wheel at the rear of the camera make it easy to adjust certain settings, but while they work well in manual exposure mode, they otherwise feel fairly redundant.Fujifilm XQ2 rearWi-Fi is built in to transfer photos to smartphones and tablets, meaning you don’t have to wait until you get home to upload photos to social-media sites or cloud storage. The apps for Android and iOS are somewhat clunky, however, losing the Wi-Fi connection without warning when navigating to certain areas of the app. They also lack the ability to let you use a smartphone or tablet as a remote control, even though other Fujifilm cameras have this feature.Video recording is another area with room for improvement. The XQ2 can shoot 1080p video, but details look a little coarse, low-light clips suffer badly from noise and the autofocus is temperamental. Many cameras at this price are as proficient at creating videos as photos, but this isn’t one of them.The XQ2 can rattle off shots in quick succession. In normal mode it took just half a second between shots. Switching to continuous mode, it peaked at 10.8 frames per second (fps) in our tests. This only lasted for 11 shots, but after that it still managed an impressive 3.8fps. This gives you plenty of choice when you come to pick the best shot later.Image quality is what the XQ2 is all about, and the big sensor and wideaperture lens deliver on their promises. There’s a clarity and smoothness to details that’s often missing from photos taken with cheaper compact cameras and this high quality is especially noticeable in photos taken in dim lighting. However, zooming in causes the aperture to shrink significantly, reducing the amount of light that reaches the sensor. For best quality in low light, it’s therefore best to avoid zooming in. Colours are faithfully reproduced, and the camera responds intelligently to moving subjects to reduce blurring.Extra features such as Wi-Fi and video capture could be better, and the controls are average. However, the XQ2’s image quality is excellent for a pocket-sized camera, and it’s attractively priced too.Not perfect, but it’s slim, fast and has excellent image quality.12-megapixel sensor • 4x zoom (25-100mm) • 3in screen • accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC storage cards • 208g • 60x108x33mm (HxWxD) • One-year warranty

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