Fujifilm X100F

Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: I like it not because it's perfect, but because it's good.

The Long Version: There are hundreds of Fujifilm X100F reviews already. I’ve started a half-dozen myself in the six months that I’ve owned the camera, but always give up halfway through. Really, what more is there to say?

It’s an excellent camera.

Twenty-four megapixels is enough for almost everything.

Limitations can be powerful.

The sort of things the F can’t do will be fairly obvious. The things it can do can be fairly surprising.

“More Zoom” is never the correct answer to any question.

You can stand on the X100F as a foundation, figuratively speaking, but you can’t lean on it as a crutch.

Using one won’t make you a better person, but it will make you a better photographer.

Should you buy one? If you’re ready to argue with these first few points, probably not.

Carry as much as you’ll need and as little as possible: the F is an excellent camera to travel with.

Even when staying home, the F is superbly easy to live with.

The X100F might fit in a jacket pocket, but you’ll have to confirm on a case-by-case basis.

Colder climates have an advantage for jacket-pocketability, but small buttons and dials are not kind to gloves.

Despite moving its buttons to the right side the F still isn’t a one-handed camera.

The more powerful battery makes the F snappier than the earlier models. Even the shutter sounds a little crisper.

Battery life is about the same as earlier models. Sticking to the OVF squeaks out a few extra shots per charge.

If you’re used to SLRs, carry two or three times as many batteries as you’d expect to need.

The logistical burden of an unused battery is minor compared to carrying around an inert camera.

35mm-equivalent is the least interesting focal length ever created. Not wide enough to be eyecatching, not long enough to be isolating. It’s fundamentally unexciting.

A 35mm-e is versatile, though. There’s a reason why it’s a rangefinder classic.

Upgrades from the T that convinced me to buy the F: the new sensor, W126 battery, lift-turn iso dial, and acros. In actual use only the first two have mattered, though the others are sometimes nice to have.

Choosing a camera because it will let you take sneaky photos of people that they wouldn’t knowingly allow you to take is a moral failing.

There are words to describe people who do things to others without permission, and none of them are good. Don’t earn them.

The X100 looks pro enough that the people you ask for permission to photograph should assume you’re capable, without being so over-the-top that it’s intimidating.

It’s not Weather Sealed, but I put mine through the wringer at Niagara Falls and it’s fine. YMMV.

Setting the camera to jpeg-acros is a fun way to spend a drizzly summer night in the city.

Build quality generally is excellent, although I loathe the front and rear command dials.

Buttons should click, dials should turn. Fujifilm insists on getting this wrong.

It could really use a thumb ridge. One from any of the other x-series cameras would do nicely.

Daylight fill flash with a leaf shutter is awesome.

Overpowering daylight with a built-in flash is even more awesome. It’s possible at close range, but watch for shadows from the hood.

The flash control interface, sadly, is not the F’s strong point.

The [Q]uick menu “Flash Compensation” item allows control over TTL flash levels, but not manual flash power.

You also need the “Flash Function Setting” item enabled in the [Q]uick menu to turn the flash on and/or change modes.

The Fuji EF-X20 flash is perfect for the X100, but needs a refresh with a wider EV comp range.

Canon-compatible TTL cables work with Fuji; Canon TTL remote triggers do not.

You may need the ND filter to keep the shutter speed within the flash-friendly mechanical shutter range in bright sun.

The built-in three stop ND filter is real but only moves into place at the moment of exposure.

The ND filter should have an ‘auto’ mode, but doesn’t. Assign it to a function button and get used to checking to see if it’s on when it shouldn’t be.

Three stops of darkening is almost enough to play with slow shutter speed and motion effects. Almost.

Three extra stops can add significant oomph to screw-on ND filters.

A serious ND filter on the front of the lens auto-darkens the viewfinder into unusability in daylight. Assign the LCD/EVF brightness to a [Q] menu option.

The frame lines in the OVF remain too bright to use in the dark. The LCD/EVF brightness option in the [Q] menu doesn’t help with this.

The EVF/OVF/OVF+ selector should be a three-position toggle, not a momentary switch.

The OVF frameline and focus point need to wait for focus to show their parallax correction.

The “electronic rangefinder” LCD-in-OVF always shows the correct focusing point location regardless of defocus or focusing distance.

The ERF can also “zoom out” to show an accurately-framed but tiny view of the full image; this is rarely useful.

The histogram switches sides when changing between OVF and EVF. Sloppy.

I like the idea of the OVF, but usually use the EVF instead.

If I crop for more magnification I always want the crop to be off-centre. This rules out the “digital tele-converter” even if it worked with raw files.

The optical wide and tele add-on lenses substantially defeat the point of an X100, but they’re an option.

Almost all of the important camera settings can be seen, and even changed, when the X100 is powered off. That’s uncommon.

Manual mode is relatively easy to use here, but there’s rarely a reason to work that hard. Don’t go chasing the needle unless you really need to.

As a dense little camera with a leaf shutter the X100F is awesome on even a lightweight tripod for long exposures and night photography.

Fuji doesn’t make a tripod plate hand grip for the F. The RRS one is very nice but expensive; the eBazon knockoffs are less so of each.

The position of the tripod socket will make generic QR plates block the battery door, but it’s very close to the camera’s balance point.

There are lots of ways to trigger the X100F shutter remotely. A clone of the Canon RS60 is my favourite.

Using a threaded shutter cable reminds me just how often I still need to tap the shutter button when doing night photography.

When using Bulb mode the elapsed exposure time counts up on the rear LCD. No more need for a stopwatch; not as clever as the live displays that micro four thirds offers.

When the shutter speed dial is set to “T” the LCD counts down the exposure time remaining; it would be really nice if it could do this in Aperture mode long exposures as well.

Setting the self-timer when the camera is in a continuous drive mode makes it fire a burst of photos. Clever.

Cameras that blink the AF Assist light during the two-second self timer haven’t properly thought things through. The X100F, sadly, is no exception.

When the ears of the aperture ring are level the lens is at f/5.6. Set it by feel.

The lift-turn iso dial works and is useful. (Even some of Fuji’s tame camera-likers have had problems with this one.)

“Iso” and “raw” are words, not acronyms. Please write and pronounce them accordingly.

The Nikon DF’s design team is laughing at Fuji for including twin command dials on the X100F.

Needing to use the scroll wheel to change [Q]uick menu items is maddening. None of the other menus need this awkward extra controller.

Customize the [Q]uick menu. Most of the default options aren’t raw-relevant if that’s how you work.

The Q menu is also handy for checking that your electronic settings are correct.

The focusing joystick really does make the four-way controller redundant for menu navigation, but having those extra function buttons is nice.

Being able to reassign the custom function of a button by holding it down for a few seconds is brilliant.

The top-deck function button, right next to the shutter, can’t be used for video recording. There’s a message there.

If you’re shooting at the minimum focusing distance, wouldn’t you normally stop down anyway?

In-camera charging via micro-USB is very useful, and it’s fantastic that Fuji includes a proper charger as well.

The back indicator light turns green when the battery is charging in the camera, and turns off when it’s full. The wall charger light works the same way.

The W126 batteries have an orange square or circle that matches up with the orange battery latch on the camera. These little touches are so nice.

The Fuji X100F leather case has a good feel and adds a little extra protection to the camera body. It also looks better with age and extensive use: a goal to aspire to.

Having the half-case on the body also protects the focus mode slide switch, which otherwise likes to change position on its own.

The solid hood made for the X70 barely blocks the viewfinder any more than the vented X100-designed ones do, but only the solid hood blocks reflections when it’s pressed up against glass.

I’m proud of every nick and scratch my hood has earned. That’s secretly the reason why I use one.

The X100F is conspicuously pretty. It should come with an "Ask Me About My Retro Camera!" shirt to wear while using it.

I’d wear that shirt all the time.

It’s a premium camera. Don’t insult it with off-brand accessories.

(Except for a good third-party shoulder strap. That’s mandatory.)

Attach the strap in the Nikon manner, with the free end fed downwards through the buckle. Much neater than the way the Fuji manual shows.

The the exposure compensation dial needs skip spaces or a stronger detent to mark its zero position so that it can be set without looking.

A camera launched in 2017 should have a level that also shows pitch, not just roll.

Labeling both on and off power switch positions is redundant.

Electrical tape is a close match to the slightly shiny finish of the all-black camera.

A little silver sharpie on the power switch position needle makes the on/off position much easier to see.

Add a little highlight to the exposure compensation indicator while you’re at it. Check out the other x-series cameras to see how it should look.

Shadow and highlight tone adjustments are now sensibly named. A positive value increases contrast, negative shifts things closer to midtones.

Even if you only shoot raw, these jpeg settings affect the in-camera histogram and image review.

Raw to jpeg conversions are easy and a good way to play with film simulation modes.

When reviewing photos the [Q] button becomes a shortcut to the raw conversion menu, and the top-deck FN1 button activates wifi. Knowing this is like learning about the “J” shortcut in Lightroom. Transformative.

Wireless transfer only works with jpegs, naturally.

Wifi camera control works well as a remote viewfinder if you hate battery life, but doesn’t trigger quickly enough to capture action.

I remain happy with the 24mpx sensor results at about one stop higher iso than with the 16mpx generation.

A little barrel distortion remains even with after the software lens correction.

The evaluative metering is really good, and the sensor is forgiving. The exposure compensation dial still remains your friend.

I’ve assigned White Balance to one of the function buttons, but have rarely really needed to take it off of Auto.

Having WB on a button is the easiest way to set a custom value, though.

Should you buy one? If you’ve read this far, then probably yes.

The X100F is my favourite camera for practicing the Stephen King method of photography: Put myself in an interesting situation and wait to see what happens.

People from Fujifilm do pay attention to feedback and suggestions from photographers, and actually use it to make their cameras better. Try saying that about companies with the letters “on” in their names.

A camera that you feel enthusiasm about will take photos that are 37% better than those from a camera you dislike.

Statistics can be false and true at the same time.

Spend less time reading camera reviews.

Try not to care, and also don’t forget, that the most passionately adored electronics today will be outdated and set aside in a few short years.

Limitations are powerful.

The Fujifilm X100F is an excellent camera.

last updated 20 oct 2017


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