The Fuji X100 Series, My kind of Fuji for making life memories
By Steve Huff
1st, The Fuji X100 – Original
I have always loved the little Fuji X100 series. I remember it well…when Fuji announced the very 1st one back in 2011. The good old X100. I waited and waited for that one to be released and when it arrived, even with its issues like slow focus and sticky aperture blade issues that plagued that 1st version for some, I loved it. It was before the X-Trans sensor and I adored that sensor. The color and style reminded me of Leica and in fact, I liked my images more from the X100 than I did with my then Leica M9 and 35 Summicron! My review of that 1st version can be seen here and when I browse it today, it sure does bring back some wonderful memories. I even bought the black special edition when it was released and the wide angle converter. Loved them all.
Some images from that 1st X100 review in 2011 – I LOVED that camera. Went with me everywhere while I owned it.
Many here think I hate Fuji, when I have never hated Fuji. Somehow, somewhere, by me being critical of the original X-Pro 1 and its dodgy auto focus, and also being critical of the early versions of the X-Trans sensor when anyone who used Adobe products were getting sub par results (flat images, smudgy details)…well, many took that as me hating Fuji. As I have said for years, I review cameras I like, and if I think I will love a camera and review it, then have issues..well, I will state those issues. It also showed me the politics of camera reviews. Soon as I became critical of Fuji, guess what? They no longer wanted to send me review units.
That also turned me off of them a bit as no other camera company has ever done that just because I was critical of something. While it did not make me hate Fuji, it made me “leary” about recommending them because if I write something negative that I feel needs attention, and the camera company decides to no longer send me review units that told me they only wanted positive reviews. Even though, I always kept my eye out and checked out what they were releasing. I still loved all cameras and if Fuji released something that ticked all of my boxes, I could care less what they felt about ME, I would still use it and review it even if I had to buy it or rent it to review it. So that is what I did.
When I tested the X-T1 I loved that camera, and praised it and even though I still did not LOVE that X-Trans sensor, I enjoyed the ergonomics and speed. It was a nice polished capable camera. I wanted to buy one and then realized I would be in the poor house if I kept buying every camera I liked, lol. In fact, here was my conclusion: “While not perfect, it is THE Fuii X Body to get if you love Fuji and want a responsive, fast, easy to control and set up body that feels great in the hand and is super high on the usability factor. The EVF rocks, the LCD rocks, the feel and handling rock and the IQ is the same as the previous X Bodies. If that is your thing, the X-T1 will feel like a masterpiece to you.”
Time went on and I used the X-Pro 2 for a but but for me, was not my cup of tea ergonomically. So I did not do a big review of it, instead I asked my good friend and Fuji fan Amy Medina to review it. You can see it here. She did an amazing job with that review.
I then did a quick test of the X-T2 which I also praised and claimed as the best Fuji IC camera made to date. It was fantastic in every scenario I used it in.
So as you all could see, I never “hated” Fuji. Just had some issues that I felt needed fixing. But no matter what, I was always drawn to and enjoyed the little X100 series cameras. To me, these were the Fujis that spoke to me the most.
Then, the X100 S Arrived
Iin 2013 the X100s arrived and it was a faster and sexier version of the X100. I say sexier because while it looked the same, shooting it was a sleek faster and smoother experience. Keeping the sexy looks of the original, just being more enjoyable to use meant it was SEXIER 😉 It was fantastic. Giving us more more more of what the X100 did. I concluded that review 5 years ago by saying this: “All in all, the X100s may be the hottest camera of the 2013 year. Giving you stellar results for a fraction of the cost of the big boys. I congratulate Fuji on creating what I feel is hands down, their best digital camera to date.”
Some memories I captured with the X100S, successor to the original X100
Did the S have low T?
As much as I loved the S, in 2015 the T came along. I loved the S. The color, the output and even with that X-Trans sensor, it was showing me how beautiful the files could be. I enjoyed it much more than any IC lens camera from fuji as it was integrated much like the gorgeous Sony RX1 series. This means the sensor can match the lens, for optimal performance. It’s also sleek, small, light and offers one simple focal length to learn and grow with. That 23mm lens equals a 35mm in the equivalent 35mm full frame world and that is a classic everyday focal length. So what did the T bring? For me, not anything that would have me sell off an S to get a T but for others they did just that. With some new EVF/OVF features and some minor changes it was about the same as the S, in real world use, for me. Even so, at that time I was spoiled by full frame quality and by then the X100T was for me a tad flatter than what I was getting from my other cameras. Even so, I still enjoyed it…just was not wowed over by the new features when compared to the S. So at the time I would have taken the S over the T and saved some cash ; ) Even so, some more memories were created…
The X100T…more memories from 2015!
So now, here comes the F
So here we are again and it is 2017, six years after I reviewed the original X100 and I will have the new X100F in just 3 days, on Monday. This is the 1st time since 2011 I am truly excited to test a new Fuji. I mean, yes I enjoyed using the XT1, Xt2 and previous X100 models but going back over the image, remembering the fun times I had with it, and remembering the simplicity, the OVF/EVF and the color coming from it…and now with the new Sensor that ups it to 24MP, I feel this one will hit me in the heart.
As I said, I have never “Hated” Fuji but I never found them perfect of the “best” mirrorless system. Even so, the little X100 that has now stretched to its 4th generation proves that this little camera has something special about it. Many love this little guy as there really is nothing quite like it on the market. It is not a rangefinder, nor does it work like one but no other camera like this (Sony RX1 or Leica Q) offers the hybrid EVF/OVF, neither of the full frame options are this small and slim, and this one is 3-4X less expensive than those full frame big guns while delivering the good. While I would have liked to see Fuji improve the lens on the X100F (it does have some slight softness to it), I think this new model with the new sensor, the new X-Processor pro, the expanded phase detection AF, new ISO dial on top, focus lever and the other new features will deliver the X100 vibe better than any before it.
Yep, I am excited to get back to the X100 and give it a workout in its newest F configuration. The X Trans sensor have improved, the speed has improved, and the overall user experience is better than ever with Fuji. So look for my memories made with the new X100F, as well as my full review of it within 2 weeks or so 😉
Where To Buy the X100F
You can PRE ORDER the X100F at the recommended shops below. While it was just released for shipping today, Feb 23rd 2017, it seems to be sold out everywhere for now, but I am sure more will arrive soon. By Pre ordering you assure your spot in line. I always pre order at Amazon as they do not charge my card until the day the order ships, not even for an authorization.
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This post reminds me of how much I loved the original X100. It’s the only camera I’ve owned that produced an actual film like look without much work. I use the Sony A7rII and RX100IV now which are both amazing but to perfect at times. I’ve even started using older less desirable glass just to give my A7rII some personality which is what the original x100 is filled with. Not that I don’t love my Sony cameras (a7rII and RX100iv) it’s just nice to be challenged by a less than perfect camera sometimes. Nice pics!!!
Thanks Mark, I agree. That original just had something about it.
Well I have had the 100f for two days and its an odd camera. In summary, File quality is very good, can genuinely compete with my 5D3. However, the whole dancing aperture and focus performance I find very distracting. If you switch off pre-focus and put it on max performance its focusing is just about acceptable in single shot mode, but it doesn’t live with a pen-f or even e-m10ii.
Steve, you loved the Leica Q, but don’t use one and are excited about the 100f. Can you explain why the Q is not the perfect general camera?
I have had the X100f for 3 hours, lol. As you stated, file quality is fantastic. This lens with the new sensor is a great match. It’s the quickest X100 I have ever used. Leagues more responsive than the 1st one, but probably the same as the last.
The Q, it’s fantastic and I recommend it. But for me? I could not pay $4250 for a single lens camera these days (for ME and my financial situation), especially one with a 28mm when a camera like this or even the less expensive RX1 series exists. I prefer 35, 50, 90 focal lengths. This X100F can put out files just as pleasing as the Q for $3k less and its slimmer and smaller to boot. For a $3k savings, one should expect to put up with a few quirks. This is not a $4k camera, or a $3k camera.
So far it feels as I remember. Small, quirky but fast, and I have only shot 20 images so far and have had no focus issues. The aperture will do that if you have pre focus on. I have a pen-f here, and I have a Sony A7RII here. I have a Leica SL here, and an OMD-EM1. The camera I use the most lately is the SL, then the Sony. The PEN-F, I would use with the 25 1.2 but its still much larger than the X100f.
My love for the X100 series has been the charm, vintage vibe, size, lens and color performance which you can only get this color from Fuji. I also am liking what I see from the Acros simulation.
I will be shooting it for a while and then testing some things with it, and will write a review. I am curious if I will enjoy it enough to keep it! We shall see.
Sadly my 100f has had to go back. Exposure comp dial started to work intermittently and was getting a weird mix of exposures. Dial set at zero, exif says zero, viewfinder says – 2 2/3 photo massively underexposed. Locked up, so battery out and a reset. I am sure its just an early issue. General file quality was very good but as I was taking landscape I am still not convinced by the sensor for its landscape colour and detail.
yes, please take your time (and hurry while taking your time) to review the X100F.
Meanwhile, I will have a hard look around my house as to what can be put onto craigslist and ebay…
Man, do I love this camera line…
Speaking of the x-pro1: if you want a dedicated camera to learn how to manual focus, the x-pro1 in combo with the m-mount adapter and voigtlaender 40mm is a real joy to shoot with. For me, it surpasses the magic of the x100 series.
Me, I much prefer the Sony A7II series for M glass as it will not crop the lens. M glass is made for full frame and you only get the full character when shooting on full frame, and manual focus implementation on the A7II series is IMO quite nicer than on the X-Pro 1 or 2. Then again, some glass could use some cropping when not used on Leica M bodies, so all personal preference.
As I X100S owner (my first Fuji camera), I also find it to be a great option for street photography and just general use. I passed on the X100T. Just not enough of an upgrade to justify. But the F with 24 MP (vs. 16) is a truly significant upgrade. I’m feeling really tempted here.
Yes, the X-Trans has improved, but it’s the same as the X-T2 & X-Pro2 & X-T20.. so, if the X-Trans didn’t quite do it for you with these, I’m not certain this new X100F will be any better image quality wise?
I have to admit, neither one of the later generations of the X100 past the original X100 has the same IQ as the original X100.. I had it and can’t deny it is something different.. that 12mp sensor, and that was before it was an X-Trans Sensor, still had the AA filter.
I believe the same can sort of be said for the X-Pro1.. sure, it was the first to remove the AA filter and supposedly the start of the X-Trans look that you say you did not particularly like, but there is still something different and special about the X-Pro1’s rendering that all subsequent ILC X models did or does differently.. perhaps save that of the X-E1 which was pretty much the X-Pro1 sans the hybrid viewfinder. I think a good number of X-Pro1 owners would tend to agree.
In any event, I am still looking forward to your reunion with and feelings and thoughts about the new X100F.
If the X-Trans 3 sensor and X Processor Pro still isn’t quite your cup of tea, perhaps enough of the other improvements and features of the X100F may congeal the overall camera experience into one of the best X100 models and worth keeping for your.
.. although, I feel save that of the sensor and new processor mentioned, the camera is pretty much exactly the same as all the other X100’s before it.. so, I don’t know if that’s enough to make you think it’s actually better.. or maybe peak out at being just as good as before in all other respects of the X100 series. will see soon, I suppose..
As I said, I enjoyed the X-T2, see my review. The IQ did not “WOW” me (No Fuji ever WOWS me) but it got rid of the issues I did not like with X Trans in the 1st place. I like the X100 for much more than the sensor. The body style, the simple lens, the viewfinder, the feel and usability. This one has a few improvements over the last gen (which to me, the S and T were almost the same), more than the sensor but again, it’s more about the simplicty, size, look, feel, lens, and yes, even the images which I do like (though the 1st one to me had the best IQ).
I’m excited to see what you do with this camera Steve. I agree with you on the colour and ‘look’ – Fuji do a great job with colour.
Also for what it is worth, I’m very grateful that you were one of the first people to point out the flaws with Fuji’s XTrans in flat light, smearing of details in adobe camera raw.
Your comments gave a loud voice to the choir of people that wanted Fuji to work closer with Adobe to improve their ACR raw handling of Xtrans.
When I originally picked up the XPro and XE1 I was hugely disappointed. The JPEGs were fantastic. However I struggled to get anywhere near the level of detail in lightroom as what the in camera jpeg engine was getting.
Fast forward to 2016 and 2017 – due to complaints from users ACR has improved substantially their Raw handling. It is not perfect but at least the 24mp from the Fuji sings now with a quality similar to other 24mp APSC bodies in terms of detail and noise.
Run the files through Iridient and the XTrans sensor demonstrates Fuji’s touted technical advantages of the filter array over bayer. It easily gives FF a run for it’s money in terms of tonality, color, depth. Still it is a pity that Adobe doesn’t hire the author of Iridient, or use it as a point of reference of what is capable. It’s a pain to have to go outside of the Adobe workflow to leverage the potential IQ.
Anyway I’m excited to see what you do with the camera more from the point of view that you really appear to gel well with small compact cameras!
I managed to get a X100f last week. I am still in the “should I keep it or should I keep my X-pro1” time.. I totally agree with you: the X-pro1 really has something special that I don’t find back since the second generation of XTrans. Those colors, even with more resolution are not my cup of tea. Next step: I will try to produce the same gorgeous “X-pro1 style” images in post processing..
forgot to add, I think the X100F’s newest features which may bring back the magic (I guess it was never really lost) and make it a big winner for you might be the smoother and faster performance, enhanced AF & perhaps MF performance, and the ergonomic changes.. namely the buttons all on the right side now + joystick.. the integrated ISO dial.. I have a feeling you didn’t like it on the X_Pro2, though, but maybe..
I have been a Fuji shooter for many years (Along with Sony) and I do understand your reservations. Fuji do not dominate everywhere, but where they do they stand alone. Form factor – retro, film-type classic layout and feel. Color rendering – Fuji’s long history of high-end film manufacturing has (happily) kept them focused and leading in beautiful color profiles. Additionally, their optics are unique, well crafted and very high quality/value.
Both Fuji and Sony are far from perfect (as are all camera makes), but they are amazing in their own way. For the reasons above, I love Fuji for what separates them from the pack…
Haha, I remember very well the first photo in this post. It was the reason why I bought my first X100 🙂 Thanks Steve for your thoughts about the X100 series 🙂
I agree with above poster. I really like the pictures you posted from your X100 cameras
I am so close to wanting to buy this camera. It would be my first Fuji camera ever if I do buy one. Look forward to your impressions.
Are you getting silver or black?
If I buy one, I think I’d get silver for sheer beauty. But I worry about the finish getting scratched and ugly faster than the black. Any thoughts?
I went with Silver as all of my other cameras are black. Plus it has a retro vibe about it.
Silver is the way to go! I can’t tell you how many times strangers have come up to me and asked me if my X100S was an old film camera. It’s the classic Leica look-alike.
“I am so close to wanting to buy this camera.” My thought, too, and I wish someone would persuade me. But the dealbreaker for me is nothing tiltable, neither a screen nor an (add-on) EVF. One or other would do! So I can’t yet see why I should have it in addition to my Leica X-Vario, which does perfectly well with 16MP and 28 – 70mm without carrying extra lenses around.
Am I missing something which could justify having the X100F alongside the X-vario, Steve?
Well, a faster lens. Much smaller. Easier to handle. Totally different color representation and character. Unique EVF/OVF. But if you have a Vario and enjoy it, no need for any other camera. 🙂
Nice pics, Steve. Your shots with the Fuji look very free.
Thank you Turvy
I’m excited and happily looking forward to your X100F review!
Thanks in advance.
…I’ll second that, Martin!
Look forward to your review Steve – as always!