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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.