Fuji USA preps for white orb fix


posted Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 5:04 PM EDT

Fujifilm's X10 digital camera. Photo provided by Fujifilm. Click for our Fuji X10 preview!Last week, we reported on news from Europe suggesting that Fujifilm was preparing a number of measures to resolve an image quality defect present on two of its cameras: the Fujifilm X10 compact, and the Fujifilm X-S1 ultra-zoom. Today, we note that the company's US division is likewise preparing its response.

Both cameras can exhibit unnatural-looking white circles--dubbed "white orbs" by the user community--where there are strong point light sources in the image. The problem appears predominantly at lower sensitivities, and when using the camera's EXR mode.

A real-world example of the 'white orbs' problem, from our upcoming Fuji X10 review. We've also encountered the problem in our preliminary testing of the Fuji X-S1. Photo copyright © 2012, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

A real-world example (100 pct. crop) of the 'white orbs' problem, from our upcoming Fuji X10 review. We've also encountered the problem in our preliminary testing of the Fuji X-S1.
Photo copyright © 2012, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Fujifilm has already released updated firmware for the Fuji X10, which uses higher ISO sensitivities when shooting in EXR mode, and firmware for the X-S1 will arrive tomorrow.

The firmware doesn't entirely prevent the image defect from appearing in images, however, and so the company is also taking another important step, preparing a new sensor to be used in both cameras. As in the European reports, Fujifilm USA notes that this redesigned sensor should arrive in late May. 

At this time, Fuji has not yet stated whether it intends to offer an exchange or service program for owners of either camera. The company is, however, encouraging customers experiencing the problem to contact their local Fujifilm service center, which can only be seen as a positive sign. Should we receive further information about the company's plans, you will of course hear about them on our news page.

Press Release

Statement Regarding the FUJIFILM X10 and X-S1 Digital Camera ‘Blooming’ Effect

The FUJIFILM X10 and X-S1 digital cameras were made available by Fujifilm late last year, and have been generally very well received by customers, who admire the excellent picture quality, manual zoom lens and viewfinder.

However, we did receive some inquiries concerning the so-called ‘white disc’ or ‘blooming’ occurrence, where exceptional highlights in the picture can appear as strongly delineated rounded shapes. This ‘blooming’ effect can occur with all digital cameras which use CMOS sensors, to varying degrees. It can also occur with the X10 and X-S1 when shooting in certain conditions, e.g. cars with front lights shining in dark night scene. The X10 and X-S1 are fitted with a very advanced sensor, which gives excellent picture quality and low noise, but which does give a different ‘blooming’ effect from other cameras.

Fujifilm has a long-standing history of delivering top quality products to the market. In response to our customers’ comments, we have worked hard to find an improvement to reduce the ‘blooming’ effect of the X10 and X-S1. Below are the actions we have undertaken.

  1. In February, we announced a firmware upgrade for the X10 (version 1.03) which does reduce the white disc occurrence specifically in EXR mode. It works by identifying scenes that are likely to get ‘white disc’ blooming. When the camera recognizes such a scene, it automatically increases the ISO and optimizes DR (dynamic range). As the ISO increases, the white discs are less evident.
    * New firmware for the X-S1 will be available from March 21, 2012.

  2. We will also develop a modified sensor, which will more universally resolve the ‘white disc’ blooming effect in all modes. We are working hard to make this new sensor available from late May 2012.

We encourage any customer with an X10 and X-S1 who has experienced the ‘white disc’ phenomenon to call their local authorized Fujifilm service centre.

Fujifilm is committed to delivering the highest quality products to the photographic community, and is happy to provide this improvement