Fujifilm X100F Review

The Fujifilm X100F is a high-end compact camera intended for professional and enthusiast photographers. It sports a custom, in-house 24.3MP CMOS sensor along with 23mm f/2.0 fixed prime lens (35mm film equivalent). The X100F is a successor to the X100T, and the fourth camera to come from the Fujifilm's X100 series.

While some might state that any serious photographer with a decent budget ought to get himself a DSLR, there are many that still prefer compacts, even among professionals. The fact that companies produce high-end, pro-oriented compact cameras shows that there is demand for them in the market. The fact that Fujifilm's original X100 from 2011. showed massive success, and spawned three even more successful successors, proves that this demand is great.

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The X100, X100S and the X100T all received positive reviews, won numerous awards and enjoyed praise from fans. The word 'Fan' is an understatement here, because many people have fallen in love with these cameras. Combination of  premium, retro design and cutting-edge imaging technology means a perfect camera, at least for nostalgic old-timers and younger generations who like to shoot with style.

Fujifilm X100F

24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor with no low-pass filter and X-Processor Pro
8 way focus lever + the number of focusing points has been expanded from 49 in previous models to 91 (up to 325 points).
Built-in Iso dial, incorporated into the shutter speed dial
AF mode(single / Zone / wide-tracking)
New np-w126s lithium battery

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The Fujifilm X100T doesn't introduce any ground-breaking changes to the line. Instead, it preserves that what made it's predecessors special and improves upon it.

Pros

  • Premium build quality
  • Attractive retro design
  • Manual controls
  • Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Excellent sensor
  • Fast lens
  • Hybrid viewfinder

Cons

  • No touch-screen
  • No optical image stabilization
  • Average video quality

Body and Design

The Fujifilm X100F is one of those cameras that once you hold them, you just know they are built to last. Just by looking at it, there isn't much difference from the X100T, but we are not complaining. At 127x74x52mm and a weight of 469g, it is not an overly compact camera, to put it lightly. Main chassis is built from magnesium-alloy, ensuring high durability without adding too much to the weight. Both the front and the rear of the camera are covered by the same textured leather-imitation. This too gives off a quality feel, while at the same time improving the overall grip. The X100F comes in two varieties – all black or black with a silver top plate. Both are absolutely gorgeous, but we prefer the latter. Fujifilm knows how to do design when they want to, and the X100F is a prime example of that. Just look – it has the golden ratio written all over it's face.

Fujifilm X100F

The front of the camera houses a small, built-in flash, but if you like you can also mount an external flash on the hot shoe on top. The top metal plate is filled with various dials and controls but we will cover those a bit later.

Moving to the rear, we'll first take a look at X100's signature feature – the viewfinder. We are talking about a hybrid, combining both optical and electronic viewfinders into one. It has 100% frame coverage which is more than many DSLRs can say. It reaps the benefits of optical (natural, crisp view) and electronic (focus-peeking) features.

As for the screen, there is a pretty-standard 3-inch LCD screen with sharpness of 1040k dots. The LCD has been moved to the far-left of the rear, whereas X100T had the screen more to the middle, with controls to the left. We are disappointed with the lack of a touch screen. Otherwise, it is a well-lit, sharp screen that will do a good job, it's just that it hasn't been upgraded from the X100T – at all.

Controls

Retro-styled modern cameras all have one thing in common – emphasis on manual, physical dials. If you look at the Panasonic LX100 or say, Olympus PEN-F, you will see a similar approach. Still, the X100 wouldn't be an iconic camera that it is, if it didn't have a special design of its own. The X100F removes the traditional PASM mode dial altogether. Instead, we have dedicated metal dials on top, both for shutter speed (1s – 1/4000s) and exposure (-3EV – 3EV). The aperture (f/2 – f/16) is controlled by rotating a metal ring around the lens. Each of the said dials has 'Auto' preset as well, in case you are not yet comfortable with going full-manual.

Fujifilm X100F

The controls on the rear are standard – buttons for menu, media playback and a four-way navigation controller. There is also a dedicated quick-control button 'Q' at the top. What is new here is the neat little joystick, quite a nice addition which is used for easier selection of AF points.

Performance and Image quality

The AF system in X100F has been greatly improved, now featuring 91 instead of 49 AF points and a widened phase-detect area. This means very reliable, accurate and (mostly) fast focusing. There might be a slight delay when trying to lock on a poorly lit target. Continuous focus, or tracking of moving subjects could better too – it struggles to maintain a focus lock.

Performance in terms of continuous shooting is impressive, thanks to the new imaging processor. In full resolution, you can shoot at up to 8fps. The camera is fast to start-up and generally responsive throughout the software.

Fujifilm X100F

Performance in terms of ISO handling has improved too, and we have the third-generation X-Trans CMOS III sensor to thank for this. Everything in IS100 – ISO1600 shows excellent results, with ISO3200 showing some but not too much noise, and ISO6400 now being actually usable. ISO is extended up to ISO56000, but we really wouldn't recommend straying too far behind ISO6400. 

You shoot both in JPEG and RAW. The latter will do great for those wanting maximum manual control over their photos, but you will be happy to know Fujifilm has perfected their JPEG processing algorithms to quite an impressive level.

Automatic white balance, color reproduction are all excellent. On the other hand, there is no optical image stabilization of any kind, which is very unfortunate.

The Bottom Line: 

The Fujifilm X100F is the upgrade X100 fans have been eagerly waiting for, and if you are one of them, you will not be disappointed. If you are coming from an X100 or X100S, this will be a huge upgrade. Compared to X100T however, the differences are there, but are not that big.

For everyone else, the X100F is an excellent retro-styled camera with plenty of high-end specs and unique features (some of which didn't have the time to cover here). It's not perfect – there is no real image stabilization and no touch-screen. But everything that it does have, performs more or less very good. While it does have decent video capabilities at 1080p / 60fps, upon deeper review it is apparent that video is not of primary concern for this camera.

While many have tried to combine the modern and the retro into one, no one has managed to balance these features so well as Fujifilm did with the X100F. This camera breathes with distinctive excellence, and this is not something you can see in pictures or specs, it is a feeling you acquire after you handle it.

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