Fujifilm X100F Review

 
Camera Reviews / Fujifilm Cameras / Fuji X i Now Shooting!
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Fujifilm X100F
Resolution: 24.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.6mm x 15.6mm)
Lens: Non-Zoom
(35mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Hybrid / LCD
Native ISO: 200 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 100 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/32000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 2.0
Dimensions: 5.0 x 2.9 x 2.1 in.
(127 x 75 x 52 mm)
Weight: 16.5 oz (469 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 02/2017
Manufacturer: Fujifilm
Full specs: Fujifilm X100F specifications
24.30
Megapixels
Non-Zoom APS-C
size sensor
image of Fujifilm X100F
Front side of Fujifilm X100F digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X100F digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X100F digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X100F digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X100F digital camera

Fujifilm X100F Review -- Now Shooting!

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Preview posted: 01/19/2017
Last updated:

Updates:
05/05/2017: First Shots posted

05/15/2017: Field Test posted

For those looking for our detailed product overview, complete with specs and features, click here for our Fuji X100F Overview.

 

Fuji X100F Field Test

Upgrades to sensor, processor and controls make this the best X100 yet

by | Posted

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/5.6, 1/1300s, ISO 200, -0.3EV

The Fuji X100-series has always intrigued me. It's a super-stylish camera with a cool, retro design and a rather large APS-C-sized sensor. And yet, the camera itself is compact and highly portable, thanks largely to its thin, fixed, pancake-style prime lens. In short, it's an altogether enticing package. However, I've never really shot with any of them all that much before this latest revision, the X100F.

For my personal photography, I usually gravitate towards landscape and wildlife photography; I find wide perspectives unique and dramatic, and I really enjoy finding and capturing cool moments of animals, birds and other creatures, which often necessitates using long telephoto lenses. As you can see, these are not really ideal situations for an X100-series, although, to be fair, landscapes are certainly doable to an extent. The X100's sleek rangefinder-esque body style really lends itself to street photography, in particular -- a style with which I admittedly don't have much experience with.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image

While I started out as a dedicated DSLR shooter, I've slowly tried to "shrink" my photo gear down because I've found that I simply don't enjoy lugging around lots of heavy gear, especially for more casual outings. Even my Micro Four Thirds gear sometimes becomes too cumbersome; I inevitably wind up carrying more lenses, accessories and whatnot than I end up using at the time.

Now in its fourth-generation and upgraded with a higher-resolution 24MP X-Trans sensor, a faster X Processor Pro chip and some control refinements, the new Fuji X100F really struck a chord with me. Why? I think it's a combination of factors. For starters, its small size (not that it's any smaller than previous generations) is important to me, both for convenience and its unobtrusiveness, and I've grown more curious to see what it's like to use a camera that's seemingly super-easy to carry around.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
Ah, simplicity! All the gear I needed for a morning hike: a camera, some water and a small bag. Done.

Also, the limitations of just having a fixed 35mm-equivalent lens and nothing else lend itself to more creativity. You can't just zoom; you'll need to play around with your composition in other ways. Plus, now with 24 megapixels on an APS-C sensor rather than just 16MP, you have plenty of resolution for easy cropping if you want to, which I'm fond of doing given the fixed 23mm f/2 lens on the X100F.

So, has the Fuji X100F been all that I hoped it would be? Does this rangefinder-styled street shooter earn a place in my camera bag… or perhaps, can I now do away with a camera bag altogether and just carry around an X100F for everything (well, except most wildlife photography, that is)? Read on to find out…

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image

X100F's refreshed yet familiar design keeps cool looks & compact size

Small gripes over grip & glare-heavy screen

Having held, but not extensively used, the previous generation Fuji X100 models, I was already a little apprehensive about the feel and the ergonomics of the X100F. My main initial concern was the lack of a significant grip as well as what I feel is a rather slippery leatherette that covers most of the camera body. This leather-like textured material has a very slick, plastic-y feel, in my opinion, and doesn't provide much "tackiness" or friction. Oddly, the Fuji X-T2 has a similar leather-like grip material, yet the X-T2's material provides a much better grip. I'm therefore not sure why the X100F continues to use this more slippery material.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image

Combining that with the candybar-shaped design, I found myself having to make more of a concerted effort to maintain a grip on the camera or otherwise rely on a hand-strap to secure it. Most of the shooting I've done with the Fuji X100F has been outdoors, and it's already getting quite hot down here in Atlanta. I definitely noticed the camera got rather slick from the heat and sweat. Fuji did sell a rather nifty screw-on grip accessory for the X100/X100S/X100T that adds a bigger handgrip as well as a baseplate with Arca-Swiss compatibility; however, this grip, unfortunately, isn't compatible with the X100F as the body design is slightly different. Hopefully, Fuji will make a new one for the 'F' model, or I could always go with Really Right Stuff.

My only other real gripe is with the rear screen; not major issues mind you, but just a couple of annoyances. On the plus side, the screen looks great; the image is vibrant and the text is sharp, but when I got out into the bright sun, I could barely see anything at all -- thank goodness there's an EVF on the camera! Like previous models, the X100F's screen is fixed in place, without any articulation. I imagine the simpler design helps control cost as well as keeps the size of the camera slimmer, but having the ability to tilt the screen to compensate for glare as well as more easily shoot from awkward angles would be really nice. The only other disappointment is the lack of touchscreen functionality. Not a dealbreaker, certainly, but I really find it handy to be able to tap the screen to move the AF point.

Okay, now that I've gotten the bad news out of the way, let's move on to the positives, of which there are many.

The X100F keeps its "cool" -- fools people into thinking it's a film camera

For starters, the overall retro-inspired design of the Fuji X100F is very stylish and quite unique. Like its predecessors, the X100F is sold in a simple all-black styling as well as a two-tone silver color. We were sent the two-toned version, which to my eye has more obviously "retro" look to it. In fact, I had multiple people ask me about the "film camera," I was using. If I were to buy the X100F, though, I'd definitely opt for the all-black version, which just looks gorgeous -- sleek, understated, and unobtrusive. Perfect.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
Sturdy, well-built metal construction, but I'd like weather-sealing, please!

At first glance, the classic design of the Fuji X100F might seem a bit more "form over function," but when you pick up the camera, it really does feel great in the hand. The metal construction feels very solid and very well built. I do wish the camera had weather-sealing, though. I understand that this camera was not designed for more rugged shooting situations like X-T2 is, for example, but at $1,300, it would be nice to have a little reassurance that the camera could withstand the occasional unexpected rain shower.

Overall, though, my favorite thing about the X100F's design is its size. Indeed, it's compact, discreet, very well built and there's a charming simplicity to it that I really enjoy. The fixed lens forces simplicity; you have 35mm to deal with, and that's all. No need to think about what other lenses you might need and therefore no extra weight to haul around. It's just you and a camera, which I think feels rather refreshing.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/3.2, 1/1800s, ISO 200, +0.3EV
This photo has been edited from RAW. Please click for the original image.
More dials and better button layout that borrows from X-Pro2

If you compare the older models to the X100F, the overall design has not changed much, but Fuji has refined the control layout and added some new features that I really appreciate compared to the earlier models. For starters, there's now a front control dial to match the rear thumb dial; and both of these dials double as buttons when you push them in.

Given the X100F and other Fuji X-series cameras' unique control scheme of separate aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials, I found myself not using the front dial as much as I would on a more "traditional" camera. The front dial doesn't adjust aperture or shutter speed, for example, though you can assign it to adjust either ISO sensitivity or exposure compensation (and toggle between these two settings by pressing the dial). In order to get these functions enabled as such, you need to set the EC dial to "C" (Command), and similarly, the ISO dial needs to be set to "A."

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image

I found the rear dial, on the other hand, more useful. While shooting you can press it to show you a magnified view of your selected focus area. Then in playback, similarly, it will magnify in on the focus point. In either shooting or playback modes, you can then scroll the rear dial left and right to adjust the level of magnification. I used this often, particularly after the shot in order to check focus. Plus, it works both on the LCD or with the EVF, which was great while out in bright sun. Lastly, while in playback and reviewing shots in the magnified view, you can use the front command dial to scroll through shots without changing or leaving the magnified view, which I found very helpful in determining the sharpest frame from a sequence of similar images.

For more information on the various settings and functions of the twin command dials, see page 6 in the Fuji X100F instruction manual (PDF link).

Physically, the dials are a bit thin and feel kind of flimsy. I would have liked them to be thicker and have a bit more tension on the button press action; the dials are really easy to press down, so if you need to rotate them quickly, you can accidentally press them in at the same time. Minor detail, again, and it's not a big issue, but something I noticed and thought to mention.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
The Fuji control scheme

Having not used a Fuji X-series camera extensively, I found it does take some time, though not really as much as I expected, to get used to the separate control scheme for exposure adjustments and shooting modes. For starters, without the usual PASM mode dial, it can be a bit confusing to figure out how to quickly go from, say, Aperture Priority to Shutter Priority. But, of course, once you know the scheme it's a different story.

Joystick

The other notable new control feature, borrowed from the X-Pro2 and X-T2, is the joystick control. I love the idea of the joystick control (aka "focus stick" or "focus lever" in Fuji parlance), which lets you change the AF point on-the-fly very quickly. Having shot briefly with the X-T2, I found its joystick control rather fiddly. It had a very light touch to it and was easy to depress accidentally. Thankfully, the X100F's joystick control needs a bit more oomph to press, and I never experienced any problems while out shooting. I would quickly tilt it around as needed, and then when necessary depress it, without any accidental presses.

It should be noted that you can start moving the AF point around simply by moving the joystick, but it'll essentially take you two presses to reset the AF point to the center. See, the first press actually highlights the AF box, regardless of where it is in the frame, and lets you adjust its size using the front or rear scroll dials. While the AF point is activated at this point, you can then press the joystick button a second time to move it back to the center spot.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/800s, ISO 200, +0.7EV
Viewfinder

As with previous models, the Fuji X100F sports the unique hybrid viewfinder that offers both an optical and an electronic viewfinder mode. While the optical viewfinder with electronic info overlays is nifty, I found it rather confusing to use. Given the corner placement of the optical viewfinder, the camera needs to compensate for parallax since you're not looking directly through the lens as you would on a DSLR. What you see through the optical viewfinder is not necessarily the same as what the lens sees. In other words, your framing might be different from what you see in the OVF compared to the captured shot -- and the effect is exaggerated the closer you focus to your subject. Within the OVF, the display has frame lines that shift around depending on focus distance to indicate the actual frame that gets captured. That alone is helpful, but what frustrated me about the OVF is using it with autofocus.

With the parallax correction, the actual focus box will appear only when you half-press the shutter button and may shift to a different location than the focus box shown initially in the OVF (which as Fuji describes it is "focus frame for focus distance of infinity"). Especially when dealing with closer subjects, this was rather frustrating, as I couldn't put the focus box precisely where I wanted it because it would shift on me right as I half-pressed. It was almost as if I had to do "focus-and-recompose" but backwards…I had to compose my shot to compensate for where the focus box would eventually shift rather than acquiring focus then recomposing.

But maybe I'm thinking about this all wrong. For manual focusing (especially in conjunction with the nifty dual-display feature that pops-in a small EVF that shows the focus area), non-close-up shots and for compositions where precise framing is less critical, such as with certain street photography subjects, I can see the appeal of the optical viewfinder. For me, it's just taking a while to get used to the optical viewfinder.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/1700s, ISO 200
This photo has been edited from RAW. Please click for the original image.

Needless to say, I, therefore, used the electronic viewfinder basically all the time. Thankfully, the X100F's EVF is really great. The screen itself remains largely unchanged from the X100T -- 0.48-inch screen with a 2,360K-dot color LCD -- however, the refresh rates is bumped up to 60fps, so moving subjects are easier to follow. The view inside the EVF feels quite large, text looks crisp and given that it provides 100% frame coverage, I could easily compose shots and get focus right where I wanted it.

Plus, the EVF gives you the full range of AF options, with the ability to move the AF box around using the full 325 available AF points as well as adjust the size of the AF box itself; neither of which are available when using the optical viewfinder.

Viewfinder mode aside, the fact that there is one at all is fantastic. While I'm not a die-hard stickler about having viewfinders on my camera, I strongly prefer it. And given the fixed LCD screen and the difficulty I had viewing it in bright, direct sun, the viewfinder is a lifesaver on the X100F.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/3.2, 1/950s, ISO 200

Large, high-res sensor & new processor gives X100F top-notch image quality

Okay, let's get to the heart of the matter: image quality. In short, the image quality from the X100F is very good. As we've seen with the other recent Fuji X-series cameras with the new 24MP APS-C sensor and X Processor Pro, this combo and a sharp lens can make for excellent, highly-detailed, and dynamic images. This is indeed the case for the X100F as well. Despite using the same 23mm f/2 prime lens used in all the previous X100 models, the lens proves to be very sharp in most scenarios. The lens is even quite sharp wide-open, though, again, there are some caveats to this.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/500s, ISO 200, +0.7EV
The 24MP sensor in the X100F offers a lot of resolving power, as shown in this 100% crop.
24MP provides sharp fine detail and plenty of room for cropping

On image quality in general, photos displayed lots of sharp, crisp detail and rich, vibrant colors (even in Fuji's default "Provia" film simulation). As a RAW shooter the majority of the time, I mostly left the film simulation at its default setting. However, the Fuji X100F offers a wealth of sophisticated film simulations that are fun to experiment with. Going further, the camera also provides in-camera RAW processing, giving you the ability to tweak and generate new images with different film simulations after the fact.

After first picking up the Fuji X100F and settling in to the fact that I had just a fixed 35mm-eq. lens to work with, I recalled Craig Mod's cool Leica Q review, in which he discovered a love of cropping as a way to expand the flexibility of fixed prime lens cameras. On the X100F with its new 24-megapixel sensor and sharp lens, the camera doesn't feel as restricting in terms of cropping ability as it would with just 16MP like in the previous models. With lots of detail and resolution at your disposal, the X100F gives you a bit more freedom for cropping, which helps get around the fixed 35mm-eq. focal length. Not all of your shots need to look like a 35mm frame; you have plenty of leeway to modify your composition if need be.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/4, 1/2000s, ISO 200, -0.3EV
Top photo is edited and cropped from the RAW file, while the bottom shows the original JPEG image.
Impressive dynamic range saved me from accidental over-exposure!

Dynamic range is also quite impressive. I happened to shoot a lot during the harsh midday and afternoon sun, which resulted in lots of high contrast shots -- bright highlights and dark, nearly-black shadows. In the resulting JPEG files from the camera, in either Provia (or Velvia, that I tried as well), I definitely noticed blown highlights and crushed black areas. Thankfully, there is a lot of latitude in the X100F's RAW files, and I was able to recover highlight details and lift the shadows back out of oblivion.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 250
This photo has been edited from RAW. Please click for the original image.

On a related note, as well as touching on my unfamiliarity with Fuji's unique exposure control system, while out photographing a parade, I noticed at one point that I was getting lots of overexposed shots. Given the bright, sunny day and wanting crisp shots of the parades performers as they passed by, I had dialed-in a fairly fast shutter speed. I was under the impression that I had flipped the camera into Shutter Priority mode by manually selecting a shutter speed with the top dial. It wasn't until later that I realized that I was actually in Manual exposure mode, given that I still had the aperture ring set manually as well, rather than "A" (auto) mode. On a "regular" camera, I would have simply popped the PASM dial from Aperture Priority to Shutter Priority and be on my way, however the Fuji X100F requires two dial changes in this instance for the same behavior. I was therefore rather pleased to have lots of dynamic range to work with in the RAW files. I was able to recover the shots and get exposure back down under control quite easily.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
A screenshot from Capture One Pro 10 showing the large overexposed highlight areas after I accidentally set the camera to Manual exposure mode, and thus the incorrect exposure settings.
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 200
Thankfully, there's a lot of latitude in the Fuji X100F's RAW files, allowing me to recover all of the overexposed parts of the image.

While we're on the subject of exposure, the X100F, like its predecessor, includes a built-in 3-stop ND (neutral density) filter. This is not something I've often come across, especially on higher-end cameras, but I found it rather handy, especially when I could assign the top-deck Function (Fn) button to quickly toggle the ND filter on and off. Not only does the ND filter help keep exposure in-check when shooting at f/2 in the bright sun (the electronic shutter's 1/32000s shutter speed can help, too), but it can also help you slow your shutter speed down for pleasing motion effects, such as with moving water. I quite enjoyed having the built-in ND filter, as I could therefore leave my other filters at home (I'd need to buy the Fuji AR-X100 lens adapter ring and a step-up ring for the camera, anyway). A 3-stop ND is a good balance, I think, providing a good amount of exposure control without being too dark, or not dark enough. Sure, it's not as fun as my 10-stop ND filter, but that can be overboard.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/11, 1/60s, ISO 200, +0.7EV
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image

f/8, 1/6s, ISO 200, +0.7EV

The top image was captured "normally" while the bottom one utilized the X100F's built-in 3-stop ND filter, which allowed for more motion blur in the water while keeping the overall exposure more or less unchanged.

Solid high ISO performance, especially with RAW, but be careful with expanded high ISOs

Regarding high ISO performance, the Fuji X100F is a solid performer. The new processor and sensor bring a slight bump up to ISO 12,800 as the native high sensitivity, but given the bright f/2 aperture, the X100F is fairly adept at low light shooting without needing to raise the ISO too much.

Image quality at higher ISOs is quite good, and the X100F's in-camera JPEG processing (even at default NR settings) does a good job balancing noise reduction while retaining detail. As with most cameras, you can tell that JPEG files display less detail than the RAW counterparts due to the NR processing, so if you want to extract the most detail from your images, it's best to process the RAWs and use careful noise reduction techniques.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.5, 1/75s, ISO 12,800

As with earlier models, the X100F offers two expanded high ISO settings, ISO 25,600 and 51,200. To my eye, the native maximum ISO of 12,800 is already quite noisy, but not too soft that I'd consider it unusable. With ISO 25,600 and even more so with ISO 51,200, the Fuji X100F produces very soft, very noisy images, particularly in JPEGs. At these ISOs, the noise reduction is very strong and really reduces the amount of fine detail. That being said, images at these two highest ISOs aren't terrible, but I'd definitely use them only as a last resort or if I knew I didn't need to view or print them very large.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO 25,600
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
In this ISO 25,600 image, you can see that the default JPEG noise reduction provides a good balance of noise removal while still maintaining a decent amount of fine detail. However, as you can see in the RAW file crop at the bottom (which only has default levels of NR applied from Adobe Lightroom), the image can display more fine detail.

The X100F uses the same lens, offering sharp performance in most cases

While the Fuji X100F features a nearly all-new imaging pipeline, the camera keeps the same Fujinon 23mm f/2 prime lens as the earlier models. On the plus side, the lens is very stubby, making the camera all the more compact, while at the same time having a nice, bright f/2 aperture -- great for subject isolation and low-light performance. On the other hand, there's a small caveat in terms of sharpness. For most shooting situations, the X100F's fixed lens offers really sharp, crisp photos, both wide open and stopped down. At f/2 the lens can be soft in the corners, but I was expecting this behavior, especially for a wide-angle focal length. In practice, I'm actually okay with this; I like and am looking for sharp detail towards the center and really couldn't care less about the corner areas. If I want corner-to-corner sharpness for more precise landscape shots, for instance, I'll stop down, as I would with most other cameras.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2, 1/2500s, ISO 200, +0.7EV
In the bottom left crop, from the processed RAW image, you can see much more detail compared to the out-of-camera JPEG version, as shown in the crop on the right. The JPEG, captured using the "Velvia" film simulation, is a bit too contrasty and saturated, reducing visible fine detail in this photo.

Additionally, this was shot at f/2 and despite the very wide aperture of the 23mm lens, the in-focus areas still display lots of fine detail.

The "gotcha" comes into play at close-up focusing distances. Unbeknownst to me, considering my limited experience with earlier X100 models, the 23mm f/2 is known to be soft at wider apertures when used at close focusing distances, especially at f/2. I've even read that it's a limitation due to the design of the lens. I had a brief run-in with this issue back at CP+ when I brought along an X100T to use around the show floor. Being indoors, my natural inclination was to shoot between f/2-2.8, but after the fact, I was confused as to why the shots were all so soft, with almost a dreamy-like haze to them. I initially thought my lens was very dirty or had some oily smudges, but cleaning it didn't improve things.

Now with the X100F, even with the same lens, I was hoping for a better performance at wide apertures (perhaps, Fuji had tweaked something?). But sadly, I see the same dream-like softness with this new model. Indeed, shooting between f/2-2.8 close-up with the X100F results in really soft images, even in the center or right at the point of focus. It's not until you stop down to around f/4 that you can get sharp images for close subjects.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8
Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/4
In this short aperture series comparison with not-exactly-100-percent crops, you can see how soft the X100F's 23mm f/2 lens at close-up distances at both f/2 and f/2.8. It's not until you stop down to f/4 that you can really get sharp photos at macro-ish focusing distance.
Click on each image to see the full size versions.

Now, given its 35mm-eq. lens, the X100F is not designed for true macro photography, and, in fact, Fuji has removed the "Macro" mode focusing option that was present on earlier X100 models. Overall, I found the lens on the X100F to be very sharp, and this close-up sharpness "anomaly" is something I would not consider a deal-breaker, though it's definitely a bit frustrating if you need to shoot anything close-up and in lower light situations. In that case, stop-down and crank the ISO, lest you accept some image softness. In the end, it's just something be aware of.

New processor & upgraded AF system makes X100F quick and nimble

Although not designed as a sports or action camera by any means, the Fuji X100F does offer upgraded autofocus and continuous shooting specs. The AF system is a major upgrade, borrowing the hybrid AF system from the X-T2, going from just 49 points in the previous X100 models to a whopping 325 user-selectable AF points. However, while there are 325 AF points to choose from, only the central 169 points, in a 13 x 13 grid, utilize phase-detection while the remaining outer points are contrast-detect only.

Most of the time, the hybrid AF system is very fast, especially in decent to good lighting conditions and for very short focus changes -- AF is almost instantaneous in some cases. However, in lower light situations, I did find that with large focus distance changes, going from close to far subjects or vice versa, the X100F can be very slow to adjust focus -- AF adjusts of small increments, however, remain very quick. Now, this is with the AF Illuminator disabled, as it's one of the first things I turn off, as I find it very distracting when I'm photographing people. But, even with the AF lamp turned back on, I found similarly sluggish behavior.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/8, 1/680s, ISO 200, -0.3EV

The Fuji X100F offers a range of continuous shooting rates, up to a decent 8fps setting. Even at this highest burst rate, the camera will still continuously focus between frames. While photographing moving subjects, such as during the parade I visited, I dialed it back to a reasonable 5fps, as I didn't need tons of frames -- capturing moments with short 3-4-frame bursts was more than plenty. The keeper-rate at this burst setting was very good.

To get a sense of the performance at 8fps, I conducted a walking test with a coworker; a series of 8fps bursts with the subject walking towards the camera at an average, calm pace. The X100F did a decent job keeping up, but the AF system didn't nail every shot; the keeper rate for the various passes was around 60-70%. The "missed" shots weren't wildly out of focus, however, so it's not like the camera totally missed focus. Rather, the camera would capture a handful of sharp images, then have one or two slightly soft shots before regaining focus again. In the end, I wouldn't cover a sporting event with this camera (and with just a 35mm-eq. lens, that'd be rather difficult), but for street photography or other more casual moving subjects, the X100F can certainly keep up.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/800s, ISO 250, +0.7EV

Following burst shooting performance, the other main performance metric is buffer capacity and buffer clearing times. Thankfully, both of are quite good. According to Fuji's specs, the X100F has a buffer capacity of around 23 frames when shooting uncompressed RAW, which is a major improvement over the X100T, where our testing showed around a 7-frame buffer capacity with RAW or RAW+JPEG. During my testing, shooting at uncompressed RAW + Fine JPEGs, buffer capacity definitely met spec; I was able to capture around 23-25 frames before the camera's burst rate slowed.

Buffer clearing times, using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SD card (95MB/s rated), was quite good, at around 15-17 seconds to clear a full buffer of uncompressed RAW + Fine JPEGs. This is similar to our tested buffer clearing times from the Fuji X-Pro2, which makes sense given the cameras share the same sensor and processor. We've yet to formally test the X100F for performance metrics in our lab, but things look promising in this area.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 320, +0.7EV
This photo has been edited from RAW. Please click for the original image.

As before, the X100F is not really designed for advanced video creators

While the Fuji X100F can record video, this feature certainly seems more like an afterthought; this camera was not designed for serious video recording. For starters, while the camera may share the same sensor and processor as the X-T2 and X-T20, the X100F does not offer 4K video recording like these two other cameras. The X100F, on the other hand, offers up to 1080/60p video.

Overall, the X100F is pretty limited in its video functionality. One point is that the camera's inherent design is pretty limiting for video, I found. With a fixed focal length lens, it feels pretty restrictive not having the ability to zoom in or compose frames with different perspectives. Furthermore, the camera offers no form of image stabilization, be it optical, sensor-shift or electronic, so handheld video looks pretty shaky and unprofessional -- a tripod is definitively required, in my opinion. There's also a non-standard 2.5mm microphone jack, and if you choose to use the built-in microphones, camera operating sounds as well as the lens' focusing noises can be easily heard in the audio track.

Fuji X100F Sample Video #1
1,920 x 1,080, 60fps, Program Auto, ISO 200
Download Original (77.6MB MOV)

Fuji X100F Sample Video #2
1,920 x 1,080, 60fps, Program Auto, ISO 200
Download Original (87.1MB MOV)

As for autofocus, due to the hybrid AF system with on-chip phase-detect, autofocus during video recording feels fairly responsive and quick to adjust without much hunting. By default, the video AF mode is set to the automatic "Multi" mode, which doesn't give you any control over the AF point location. But more frustratingly, the camera here doesn't display a focus point at all, both before and during record; there's no way of knowing nor any indication of what the camera is planning to put into focus. Thankfully, if you change the Movie AF mode to "Area," you then have manual control over the AF box location (though not with the full 325 AF points; you get 91).

Quality-wise, the 1080/60p video samples I shot look decent, but not fantastic. Fuji's X-Trans cameras have had a rather lackluster history of displaying lots of odd artifacts in areas of fine detail. Unfortunately, I see this problem yet again, though to a lesser degree, with the X100F, as you can see in the frame-grabs below. For critical video shooters, the X100F is not for you, but if capturing a casual video clip here and there is all you need, then the X100F should work fine.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
Framegrab from the above video.
Fuji X100F Sample Video #3
1,920 x 1,080, 60fps, Program Auto, ISO 200
Download Original (115.4MB MOV)
Wrap-Up: A couple notes on bugs and oddities

Overall my experience with the Fuji X100F has been very positive. I enjoy using the camera more than I thought I would. But, the camera is not without its faults and quirks, though nothing major that would dissuade me from buying this camera.

For starters, I experienced a couple of oddities that could be considered bugs. First, after a period of inactivity, the camera will auto-power-off to save battery. I am totally fine with this, and one day I actually set the power-off time shorter than the default time since I was out and about all day and wanted to make sure I had battery power over this extended period. Once the camera auto-powered-off, however, I sometimes had trouble waking the camera up. Typically (or ideally), a half-press of the shutter button should wake it back up. However, I found that even fully pressing the shutter button wouldn't wake the camera up, and I had to flip the power switch off and on again.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/4400s, ISO 200

The other bug I experienced was a random "card read error" once when I powered on the camera. I had been walking around, taking photos, and then I go power up the camera to take some more shots and the camera beeps at me with this error message. I hadn't removed the SD card or anything prior to this, and it gave me the error repeatedly after powering the camera off and on again a couple of times. It seemingly fixed itself by removing and reinserting the memory card. I've yet to experience this again, but it was rather disconcerting.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/11, 1/4s, ISO 200
This photo has been edited from RAW. Please click for the original image.

Lastly, I wanted to make mention of a couple of mildly frustrating things I discovered on the camera. First, I really enjoy the new "My Menu" option that Fuji introduced on the X100F as well as their other recent cameras. Like similar menu features from other manufacturers, My Menus lets you pick and choose a set of menu "favorites" that then become the first thing you're shown when you access the menus. Overall this is very handy and saves you a lot of time from having to scroll through pages and pages of menu screens. What I'm curious about is why the menu setting for assigning the expanded high ISO value to the "H" slot on the ISO Dial cannot be added to the "My Menu" system?

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image

Finally, let's talk about the tripod socket. I understand that the Fuji X100F is likely a camera that's meant to be shot handheld. It's a street shooter, a travel camera; something that's designed to be carried around easily. However, I have no idea why Fuji put the tripod socket on the bottom so close to the battery and memory card door that you cannot open it if you have a tripod plate attached to the camera. This isn't a new phenomenon, however, as the earlier X100s had the same issue, but it was my first time really running into this problem.

Fuji X100F Review -- Gallery Image
f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 200, +0.3EV

Fuji X100F Field Test Summary

Overall, I really enjoyed the Fuji X100F, perhaps more that I thought I would. I've tried shooting with 35mm prime lenses before and personally never really enjoyed shooting with this focal length. I was expecting a similar feeling here with the X100F, but it turns out I had fun. The combination of generally nimble performance, excellent image quality, a cool design and an all-around compact form-factor really made the camera a pleasure to use. Plus, like many cameras nowadays, the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity on the X100F makes it very easy to quickly share and transfer images to your smartphone.

Of course, given its fixed-lens design, the camera is certainly not for everyone, nor for every type of subject matter. Its performance, while pretty quick, is not as snappy and responsive as its larger siblings, like the X-Pro2 or X-T2. If your photographic subjects revolve around street photography, travel photography, portraiture and other documentary-style shooting, then the X100F might be all you need -- especially if you get creative around its fixed lens limitation. But for someone with varying photo interests, the X100F is not likely to be the one-and-only camera in your bag. The Fuji X100F, therefore, makes a fantastic secondary camera or alternative body to balance out a bigger, heavier camera setup.

I had looked at earlier X100 models and kind of dismissed them for multiple reasons -- the fixed lens, the seemingly gimmicky retro design, and odd multi-dial control system. But after shooting with the updated Fuji X100F, with its higher-res sensor, faster processor and versatile AF, I found myself quickly changing my tune -- it's a pretty great little camera. Now, can I just get one in black, please?

 

 

Fujifilm X100F Review -- Overview

by

Fuji's iconic and highly stylish street-shooter continues to undergo refinements with the updated X100F. In this fourth iteration of the compact, fixed-lens camera, Fuji puts a focus not only on external control improvements but also on imaging pipeline upgrades. From the outside, it might not look all that different from its trio of predecessor models, but the Fuji X100F is nice, welcomed update to this popular model line.

Refreshed design looks sleek, adds functionality & more dials

As mentioned above, the new Fuji X100F appears strikingly similar to the previous X100T model, keeping its familiar "candy bar," rangefinder-like shape and styling with a fixed, wide-angle lens and viewfinder tucked into the top left corner. The control scheme, though not drastically different than the predecessor, is now more akin to that of the X-Pro2 in many ways.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image

For starters, the top deck gains the redesigned dual-function Shutter Speed and ISO control dial from the X-Pro2. Though it does not include the locking function from the X-Pro2, this dual dial lets you manually adjust the ISO by pulling upwards on the outer rim of the dial and rotating to the desired sensitivity. With the addition of the dual function dial, Fujifilm X100F owners can now have a full glance at key exposure settings -- aperture via the lens' ring as well as shutter speed and ISO on a top-facing dial -- all without having to power-on the camera.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image
Top to bottom: X100F | X100T | X-Pro2

The rest of the top-deck is more or less identical to the X100T, with the shutter release button and surrounding on/off lever, a customizable Function button in the top right and a +/-3EV exposure compensation dial in the lower corner. The Fuji X100F does offer up to +/-5 EV exposure compensation, which can be accessed by setting the EC dial to the "C" setting and adjusting the compensation with the on-screen menu. The X100F also keeps the standard hot shoe attachment for an optional flash or other accessories. Lastly, the camera gains built-in stereo microphones, placed right in front of the hot-shoe, which is a minor tweak from the single, front-facing microphone of the X100T.

On the back of the camera, we see more re-styling borrowed from the X-Pro2. Again, it's not extremely unfamiliar compared to the earlier X100T, but rather some nice refinements and improvements to the camera's overall functionality and ease of use. One of the most notable differences is the updated layout of all buttons along the back. The Fuji X100F no longer has a vertical column of buttons along the left side of the LCD screen, but rather a button layout that's nearly identical to the X-Pro2.

The other major update is the addition of the X-Pro2's handy joystick control button. Located conveniently to the left of where your thumb rests on the back, the joystick provides easy and instant adjustments to your AF point. Simply move the joystick to automatically begin moving the AF point(s) around the frame, or press inwards on the joystick and use the front or rear dials to adjust the sizing of the AF box. This direct, one-touch access to AF point adjustments makes composing shots and getting focus where you need it much quicker.

The three-inch rear display of the Fuji X100F is similar to its predecessor's, offering no touch functionality nor any tilting or swivel articulation. The resolution of the LCD panel itself is also unchanged at 1.04-million dots.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image
Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image
The back of the X100F (top) take a number of design cues from the X-Pro2 ILC (bottom), including the addition of the handy joystick control button.

The Fuji X100F's Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder, however, does undergo a bit of a refresh. As with the X100T, the X100F's viewfinder offers a variety of viewing modes, including an optical viewfinder mode with overlaid frame lines and other exposure information, an optical mode with a small pop-in EVF that shows a magnified view of the focus area (what Fuji calls "Electronic Rangefinder" mode), and then a full electronic viewfinder mode. With the X100F, you can now adjust the amount of magnification shown in the small pop-in EVF while in Electronic Rangefinder viewing mode. You can now set it to show a 100% field of view or either a 2.5x or 6x magnification view for better focusing accuracy.

The EVF itself is more or less the same as in the earlier model, a 0.48-inch screen with a 2,360K-dot color LCD. Fujifilm has, however, upped the EVF refresh rate to 60fps.

Fuji X100F keeps long-standing 23mm f/2 prime lens

Looking at the front of the X100F, the most notable change we see is the addition of a front control dial to match the similar rear thumb dial that showed up in the X100T. The clever viewfinder mode lever is still there as is the small built-in flash and AF assist lamp.

The X100-series' characteristic Fujinon 23mm f/2 prime lens remains unchanged. This fixed, pancake-style lens uses a total of eight elements in six groups and incorporates Fuji's High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating that reduces flare and ghosting. Offering a 35mm equivalent field of view, the X100F provides a classic perspective that's wide enough for a variety of subject matter, from landscapes to certain styles of portraiture, not to mention street photography of course.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image

And while the Fuji X100F maintains that notable non-interchangeable lens design, the camera does offer a 50mm equivalent and 70mm equivalent "Digital Teleconverter" function, which is basically a digital crop feature that works for in-camera JPEGs.

On the other hand, like the X100T, this new model is also compatible with Fuji's screw-on accessory lenses. The Fuji WCL-X100 II wide-angle conversion lens opens things up to a much wider 23mm-equivalent perspective, while the TCL-X100 II, a tele-conversion lens, gives you a tighter 50mm-equivalent view.

The X100F joins the flagships with 24MP sensor & new processor

Following its introduction back with the updated X-Pro2 and X-T2, the fourth-generation Fuji X100F now also gains the higher-resolution 24.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS III imaging sensor. As with these other two models, this serves as a sizable upgrade in resolving power over the 16MP predecessors.

Like the earlier X100T, the new 4th-gen model offers the same range of ISOs, going from a native base of 200 up to ISO 12,800. Sensitivity can be expanded down to 100 and up to a maximum of 51,200. Shutter speed range also remains unchanged; with the ability make use of an electronic shutter for super-fast shutter speeds. When using the mechanical shutter, exposure times can range from 30 seconds down to 1/4000s, but factor in the electronic shutter and you can shoot down to a stunning 1/32,000s. Great for shooting with that fast f/2 lens, at f/2, on a bright, sunny day. The camera also retains the built-in 3-stop ND filter should you need to rein in the exposure.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image

One of Fuji's biggest features across their X-series cameras is their integrated film simulation presets. Offering a broad range of various styles, including Velvia, Classic Chrome and Provia, the X100F makes it easy to shoot and style your images right in-camera. You can even shoot in RAW, select your shot and process out a JPEG image with a film simulation after the fact.

On the X100F, Fuji's now added in ACROS film simulation, which is a monochrome film preset that offers smooth tonal gradations and deeper blacks. The camera also offers an adjustable Grain Effect that will help simulate film-like grain that can also be combined with any of the in-camera Film Simulation presets.

Upgraded hybrid autofocus system packs in 325 AF points

As with previous X100-series cameras, the new X100F offers a hybrid AF system that combines on-sensor phase-detect autofocus and contrast AF systems. The AF system undergoes a noticeable upgrade, as well, going up from a modest 49 points to a whopping 325 total AF points just like the flagship X-T2.

Zone AF mode also gets an upgrade from 49 to 91 total AF areas in a 13 x 7 grid, with three choices of AF point groupings: 3 x 3, 5 x 5 or 7 x 7. These customization options can come in especially useful for continuous AF shooting, letting you more easily track moving subjects with a wider area of AF points. This strikes us as quite handy for on-the-go street photography of people walking by or other quick, moving subjects.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image

X Processor Pro increases X100F burst rate & buffer capacity

In addition to the updated sensor, the X100F also gains the newer, faster X Processor Pro that saw its debut in the X-Pro2 and X-T2. With this newer chip, the X100F is an altogether faster photography machine. According to Fujifilm's numbers, the X100F will power up half a second, autofocus in as little as 0.08 seconds, offers a shutter lag of just 0.01 seconds, and will take only 0.2 seconds to go from shot to shot.

Continuous burst rates and buffer capacity also get a sizable increase thanks to upgraded horsepower. The X100F now offers a claimed 8fps maximum burst rate (up from 6fps) and a massive buffer increase. According to Fujifilm, the camera is capable of capturing up to a whopping 60 frames in JPEG mode, whereas the X100T was only capable of a mere 16 frames in our tests. For RAW or RAW+JPEG, our testing showed the X100T managed just seven frames, but with the new X100F, Fujifilm is claiming 25 consecutive frames for compressed RAW, 23 for uncompressed, at the maximum 8fps rate. You can adjust the burst rate to a lower fps setting and gain extra buffer capacity for both JPEGs and RAW.

Based on these specs, the X100F sounds snappy and nimble and given our positive experience with both the X-T2 and X-Pro2 regarding AF speed and performance -- which all now share the same sensor and processor -- we're hoping to see similar results with the X100F once we get it into our lab and out in the field.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image
Minor video updates, no 4K, and 2.5mm mic jack remains

Though perhaps not the most popular video camera on the market, the Fuji X100F is capable of capturing movies up to 1080p at 60fps, but no 4K capture is available. The camera offers 29.97p (30p), cinema-specific 24p as well as 23.98p for the NTSC region, and can shoot at PAL-friendly 50p and 25p frame rates. Full HD video is recorded at a decent 36Mbps bit rate and can be recording continuously up to 14 minutes -- presumably capped for heat-related issues. 720p HD video is also available up to 60fps at 18Mbps and for a continuous 27 minutes or thereabouts.

As mentioned earlier, the X100F has built-in stereo microphones but is also capable of accepting external mics as long as you have a 2.5mm mic or an appropriate adapter.

Battery & Storage & Connectivity

Like its predecessor, the Fuji X100F uses SD storage media, but there's still only a single card slot, unlike the X-Pro2 or X-T2. The X100F's SD card slot is also only UHS-I compatible.

The camera offers built-in wireless connectivity with both image sharing and remote control functionality with the FUJIFILM Camera Remote smartphone app. Additional connectivity includes a micro-USB 2.0 port and a micro-HDMI (Type D) connector.

For power, it's worth noting that the X100F now uses a different rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack -- your old NO-95 batteries from previous X100-series camera won't work. Instead, it shares the larger NP-W126S battery with the X-Pro2 and X-T2. With this physically larger battery pack, Fuji's claiming about the same CIPA ratings for battery life as with the X-Pro2; around 390 shots per charge with the optical viewfinder but just 270 shots with the EVF.

Fuji X100F Review -- Product Image
Fuji X100F Price & Availability

Offered up in either a sleek all-black style or a stylist two-toned silver-and-black color, the new Fuji X100F is set to go on sale in February for a retail price of US $1,299.95 (CAD $1,699.95).

 

Fujifilm X100F First Shots Comparison

A closer look at our X100F lab shots

by William Brawley |

Fujifilm X100F tech section illustrationFirst unveiled back in January of this year, the Fuji X100F, alongside the X-T20, joins the updated X-T2 and X-Pro2 as the latest Fuji X-series cameras to get the resolution bump up to 24.3-megapixels and some new processing hardware by way of the X Processor Pro. Upgrading from a 16MP chip to a 24.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS III imaging sensor, the Fuji X100F offers a sizable resolution increase from the three X100 predecessors. Additionally, the X Processor Pro helps increase both burst rate and buffer capacity. Meanwhile, its ISO range remains largely unchanged compared to the earlier X100T, though the top native ISO is bumped up to 12,800 (compared to 6400); expandable ISO range is, however, the same: 100-51,200.

In between outings for its currently in-progress Field Test, the Fuji X100F spent time in our lab undergoing our standard battery of tests. We're now excited to share our classic First Shots set of lab sample images with you. As usual, this series offers a look at the camera's image quality across its full ISO range, both at default noise reduction and when set to as minimal NR processing as possible. As expected, we have both RAWs and straight-out-of-camera JPEGs available for download over on our Fuji X100F Samples Page.

 

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