A few thoughts about the Fujifilm X100F by Olaf Sztaba

A few thoughts about the Fujifilm X100F

By Olaf Sztaba

This is not a review per se. I have been shooting with the X-series cameras for the last six years (starting with the original X100) and I have enjoyed shooting with them tremendously. I have never been paid by Fujifilm, its subsidiaries or other camera manufacturers. The only bias in this short piece is my uncontrolled joy of shooting with the X100/S/T/F cameras but this state of mind is only of my own making. – Olaf

I had the opportunity to shoot with a pre-production X100F for a few weeks and for those interested I would like to share a few selective thoughts, which are important to me as a street and road photographer.

UNIFICATION

If there is one trend common to all recent releases from Fujifilm is an attempt for unification between the X-series cameras. Many professional and amateur photographers shoot with two or more cameras and switching between them should be easy and effortless. A different battery, menu setups or button placement makes it difficult. Therefore, the latest X100F gets an exactly the same battery the X-Pro2 and X-T2 uses. The placement of the buttons and knobs have been moved to the right thus allowing one-handed operations and it is now in unison to other X-series cameras. The focus point selector has been added and it is placed in almost exactly same spot as on the X-Pro2 and the X-T2. The top plate is an exact copy of the X-Pro2. A new ISO shifter has been added. Although I read some complaints about its operations I personally like this solution a lot. One glance at the top place, a simple operation and my ISO is set and confirmed with no fuss.

LENS

Even before the camera came out many people were calling for a new lens. Perhaps some would like to see F1.8 or faster, others are looking for “sharper” glass. Although I understand and fully support the first argument, I have to admit that the whole sharp and sharper debate makes me yawn. (I believe the next frontier for Fujifilm and other lens manufacturers should be to achieve a unique rendering/look/depiction.)

Going back to the X100F and its 23mm F2 lens, yes it appears to be the same lens used in previous versions.

All four X100’s from the original to the newest F

IMAGE QUALITY

I have been shooting with the X-Pro2 and the X-T2, which have the same sensor as the X100F. Although the X-Pro2 and X-T2 were granted a higher megapixel count, the X100T was the only X-series high-end camera that was left at 16. Now, a brand-new 100F has joined its siblings with a 24.3-megapixel APS-C-sized sensor. As of writing, there is no LR support for RAW files so it is difficult to evaluate the sensor’s dynamic range but I fully anticipate it to be at least as good as it is in the X-Pro2. Let’s remember that since the X100F is not an interchangeable camera, placement of the sensor in relation to the lens could be optimized for image quality.

I am not going to go deep into a discussion about the X-Trans vs. Bayer sensor as this issue has been debated to death. I like the look of the files and I respect if you don’t.

Looking at JPEGs (all images in this review), the image quality is excellent and well above what most of us need. Of course, as with the X-Pro2 and the X-T2 there is a range of Fujifilm film simulations to choose from. My personal favourites are ACROS + R + weak grain (street, travel), Classic Chrome (street, travel or even some portraits), Velvia (landscapes) and Provia (family, portrait).

WISH LIST

I really believe that the X100F should have been weather-sealed. For a camera that you always have with you, some rain and snow protection is a must.

Although the X-T2 is clearly aimed at a high-tech crowd who wants to have it all, in my view the X100-line should remain a photographer’s camera. What I mean by that is limiting non-photography-related functions to a minimum or eliminating them altogether. For example, I don’t see the point of video in the X100F or panoramas and filters…you name it. A plain, well-made, easy to use camera is all that’s needed.

I also envision a X100F sibling with a 56mm lens. Then I would own just two small, portable cameras and forget about everything else.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Since the introduction of the X100, each successor has brought changes and improvements that photographers asked for. The 100F is not revolutionary but rather an evolutionary camera and that’s a good thing. With a new sensor, large EVF/OVF, improved and unified (with the rest of the X-series) operations (and battery) and the same, excellent 23mm F2 lens, the X100F is in my view a flagship X-series camera.

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18 Comments

  1. thank you for the article

    I would say poster is a bit shy about his own work, some of the photos are very intriguing, and that is something to say (today everywhere you have ‘nice shots’, one that make brain spin are far and in between)… especially from me as it is not my style, gorgeous play with light, depth and analogue shapes

    actually for photos presented any x100 would do 🙂
    I have been shooting x100, x100t and XT-1 starting 2011 and I agree with technical part of the post

    good luck and thank you once more

  2. Olaf, very nice article, so good of you to share. As an owner of the X100S for 4 years now, I totally agree with your overall comments. I am still X-E2 and XF60mm f 2.4 lens, which is almost as small and clean as the 100. These two cameras are all that I need!

  3. Hey, thank you for these nice “thoughts” on the X100F. I’ve been using a X30 since last summer, let’s say in the mode of advanced amateur learning its way through the advanced controls of the camera.
    Needless to say that I lust after an X100, but I am honestly wondering where I would notice a major difference (given the fact that the X100F is three times the price of the X30). I am not asking whether there is a difference, but whether I would notice it (or again, whether I would notice it and deem it worth the investment…) Any thoughts? 🙂

    • These two cameras share a design philosophy. I don’t think you will see much difference between them and the X100F certainly won’t make you a better photographer. It is just a matter of preference in terms of mechanics and the slightly different look of the files (Bayer vs. X-Trans).

  4. Thanks for the overview. If you were shooting with a pre-production camera, I suppose the important question is “will you be buying the production version?” I suspect yes. 🙂

    I’ve been shooting with the X100T for almost two years now. Do you think that the X100F is a worthy upgrade to the X100T?

    • I didn’t upgrade from S to T but I have already ordered a brand new X100F. It is a much more mature product with much better layout and mechanics.

      Wish you all the best.

  5. good info – thankyou. I just had to buy a new T after dropping my other in the sea! Disaster – I’m in Shanghai next week to take some pictures so I needed to buy now. Shame as I would like the ISO shifter.

    Great pictures by the way.

  6. Thank you for your great observations on the X100F. I’m with you about the dream of Fuji releasing a fixed-lens 50mm or 56mm. I love carrying two cameras with two basic lenses in a bag and dispensing with everything else. But no matter how much we ask for it, the fixed-lens 50mm range seems to be a no-go zone for most manufacturers. I know they’ve heard it a million times, but nothing ever happens. So yes, those two model Fujis would indeed be a dream team.

    • Guessing we’ll be more likely to see an X100 alternative with a native 18mm lens than a 56mm since 18mm (27mm equivalent) has been asked for and begged for since the original X100 cam. Also it would be a Leica Q competitor or killer.

      I would love to own the new X100F, but price is still a little out of range for a fixed lens cam.

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