Fujifilm has surprised the photographic industry with the announcement that it is developing a new “high-grade”, fixed-lens digital compact camera sporting a Hybrid Viewfinder. The Fujifilm FinePix X100 features a 12.3 megapixels APS-C sized CMOS sensor, a Fujinon 23mm f/2 fixed focal length lens and the newly-developed Hybrid Viewfinder.

Aimed at professional photographers and available from early 2011, the FinePix X100 has been designed “to appeal to the millions of DSLR users who need a slim back-up camera for high quality in-fill shots when the use of a bigger SLR system is either inconvenient or impractical,” says Fujifilm.

The camera comes after Fujifilm closely “studied the current line-up of professional cameras.” It felt that there was “a strong need for a compact high-quality (APS-C based) camera as a counterpoint to an SLR. Using the experience of working with generations of photographers using famous emulsions like Velvia, Provia, Astia etc., Fujifilm engineers distilled this knowledge into months of careful study to create the perfect compact-sized professional camera.”

Apart from its fixed lens and large sensor, the camera also offers a Hybrid Viewfinder, which combines the window-type “bright frame” optical viewfinder found in high-end film cameras such as 35mm or medium-format cameras, and the electronic viewfinder system incorporated in fixed single lens or mirrorless digital cameras, says Fujifilm. “By using integrating a prism for the 1,440,000 dot LCD panel image on the viewing screen in the reverse-Galilean optical finder, the Hybrid Viewfinder can show both the shooting frame and a variety of shooting data.”

Other features of the camera are: High Definition video mode, High ISO, Built-in ND Filter and minimum focusing distance of 10cm.

UPDATE: The Fujifilm FinePix X100 is expected to retail at around £999 starting March 2011.

The full specifications:
Model Name: FinePix X100
Number of effective pixels: 12.3 million pixels
CCD Sensor: APS-C CMOS Sensor
Storage Media: SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card
Lens: High-performance FUJINON lens with Super EBC Coating
Focal Length: 23mm, equivalent to 35mm
Aperture Range: F2 to F16
Exposure Mode: Programmed auto mode, Aperture priority mode, Shutter priority mode and Manual mode
Exposure Compensation: -2.0EV-+2.0EV
Shutter Speed: Bulb, 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec.
Focus: High-speed contrast AF
Optical Viewfinder: 0.5X magnification with approx. 90% frame coverage
Electronic Viewfinder: Ultrafine 1,440,000-dot LCD
LCD Monitor: 2.8-inch, Colour LCD monitor, approx 460,000 dots
Movie Recording: 1280×720 HD with stereo sound
Dimensions: 126.5(W) x 74.4(H) x 53.9(D) mm including lens