I’ve had the latest version of Fujifilm’s X100 series, the ‘F’, for a few weeks now. Life being what it is, i.e. busy, I’ve sadly not had the chance to use it as much as I’d hoped but here are my first impressions with a few images of and from the camera.
This is in no way meant to be a detailed review of the X100F as I have neither the desire or time to deconstruct every aspect of the cameras operation and write about it. Apart from which there are a huge number of such reviews out there already, this one from Steve Huff being pretty comprehensive.
Fujifilm have also released a series of YouTube videos showing off the capabilities of the camera, this one on street photography from Matt Hart and this one on landscape photography from Chris Upton being nice examples.
So what are my initial impressions of this camera and what are the key differences to the previous X100T?
At a first glance the X100F looks very similar to the X100T. There are a few cosmetic changes (e.g. there are now no buttons on the back left of the camera) and additional dials (e.g. on the front) but the basic look and feel is very similar between both versions of camera. Probably the biggest difference in terms of usability is that Fuji, in their quest for old-style rangefinder looks, have added a physical ISO dial into the shutter speed dial. If I’m honest, I’m not too sure about this. I know retro styling is all the rage at the moment but the physical task of removing the camera from your eye and lifting and turning a dial to change ISO (as opposed to using the quick dial select of the X100T) feels a bit of a faff, maybe I’ll get used to it though.
Talking of ISO the X100F, just like the ‘T’ has a nice auto-ISO capability coupled with the ability to set an ISO upper limit and slowest shutter speed. For street photography this is a nice feature to have as the camera will up the ISO before dropping to lower shutter speeds. However as I discovered with the below image the slowest shutter speed is not definitive as the camera will drop below this in order to get an image if you hit the upper ISO limit. In this image I had a slow shutter speed of 1/60 set but as the ISO hit the upper limit of 1600 it decided to drop the shutter speed to 1/25 resulting in a nice blurred shot.
This is slightly annoying but I guess the design point here was it’s more important to get (any) shot which you can hopefully do something with rather than the camera preventing you getting an image at all.
Whilst on annoyances I have to say that two things from the X100T which I found slightly irksome sadly seem to have been carried over to the X100F. The first is that the battery/SD card slot has what feels like a flimsy door which has a tendency to come open in the bag. Secondly the on/off dial seems to magically move to the on position, also in my bag, a bit too frequently. Either these are sub-optimal designs or I have some gremlins operating in my bag. However, let’s not dwell too much on the annoyances of this camera and instead look at the good things it has to offer.
The X100F has an updated sensor (a 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III as opposed to the 16MP X-Trans CMOS II of its predecessor). Now, sensor size is not supposed to matter, right? Of course this is the case, these days a sensor of any size is capable of creating great images in the hands of a capable photographer. That said the thing I like about having a larger sensor is the ability to crop more without losing too much image quality – something that is sometimes useful with street photography where you don’t always have time to compose the perfect shot. Below is an example of a crop taken around Coven Garden, London. The crops is post processed using the Fujifilm ACROS film simulation.
Another addition to the X100F is the little joystick which allows you to move the focus point around for quick selection which is definitely a bonus and time saver over the X100T and not something I’ve used before on any other camera.
One of the functions that seems to be missing from the X100F is macro mode. On the ‘T’ you could select macro from one of the selection buttons on the back of the camera but that has got on the ‘F’. It turns out that the X100F automatically switches to an AF mode optimized for close-up photography with a minimum working distance of 10cm.
The X100T had a great selection of film simulation modes including Velvia/VIVID and PROVIA/STANDARD. The X100F has a new monochrome film simulation called ACROS which provides a nice grain like texture reminiscent of the old film.
A few other features to be found in the X100F are:
- The physical exposure compensation dial now features a ‘C’ position to permit an expanded +/- 5 EV range when working with the control dials.
- There’s a digital teleconverter setting that lets you simulate the look of a 50mm or 70mm lens.
- A three-stop neutral density filter allowing you to work in bright light conditions with wider aperture settings to get a shallower depth of field (or slower shutter speeds).
- An electronic shutter giving shutter speeds of up to 1/32,000 second.
- A supposedly longer life battery than was found in the X100T.
- Some filters including: Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, High Key, Low Key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus, and Partial Color (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple).
Overall this is a very nice and accomplished camera. Aside from fixing some of the minor annoyances I’ve mentioned already (still not sure about that retro-physical ISO dial) it’s difficult too see how Fuji could improve on this model (which given the numbering scheme maybe just as well if the ‘F’ stands for ‘fourth’ how will they designate the ‘fifth’ version).
Like I say this is very much a first impressions view of the X100F and I’ll no doubt give a more considered view in a month or two’s time when I have had more time to shoot with it. In the meantime here are a few images I’ve taken with the camera.