30 second Fujifilm X100F review…
The Fuji X100F is the fourth generation of the Fujifilm X100 line of APS-C format compact cameras. It has traditional exposure controls and a hybrid viewfinder that lets you choose between an electronic or optical system.
Like the previous X100 models the X100F has a Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 lens which produces an angle of view equivalent to a 35mm lens on a full-frame camera. As well as allowing fast shutter speeds the large aperture gives you tight control over depth of field and there’s a 3-stop ND filter built-in if you need it in bright conditions.
Fujifilm has given the X100F the same 24.3Mp X-Trans CMOS III sensor and X-Processor Pro processor as are found in the X-T2 and X-Pro2 and together with the lens they enable the camera to capture a high level of detail. Fuji’s Film Simulation modes are on hand to get jpeg images looking great and ready to share straight from the camera using the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
|Camera Name||Fujifilm X100F|
|Date announced||19th Jan 2017|
|Price at launch||£1,249/$1,299|
|Sensor size||APS-C (23.6 x 15.6mm)|
|Effective pixel count||24.3 million|
|Processor||X Processor Pro|
|Lens||Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 (35mm equivalent)|
|Viewfinder||Hybrid: Optical viewfinder (OVF) and 0.48-inch 2,360,000-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF)|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 200-12,800 expandable to ISO 100-51,200|
|AF system||Hybrid with up to 325 AF points, 49 phas detection|
|Monitor||Fixed 3.0-inch LCD with 1040,000 dots|
|Max shooting rate||8fps|
|Max video resolution||Full HD (1920 × 1080) at 59.94 fps|
|Dimensions||126.5 × 74.8 × 52.4mm|
|Weight||469g including battery and card|
Fuji’s widely respected X-Series of cameras began in March 2011 with the Fuji X100. Now 6 years later we have the fourth generation of this popular compact camera in the form of the Fuji X100F which replaces the 16Mp Fuji X100T.
Inside the Fujifilm X100F is an 24.3Mp APS-C format X-Trans CMOS III sensor. That’s the same imaging device as is found in the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji X-Pro2. It’s also coupled with the same X-Processor Pro processing engine as is found in these two interchangeable lens cameras.
Fujifilm X100F review: Sensitivity (ISO) range
Although the X100F makes a considerable jump in pixel count over the X100T, the new sensor and processing engine combination has given Fuji the confidence to enable a top native sensitivity setting of ISO 12,800. That’s the maximum expansion value of the X100T. This means that like the X-T2 and X-Pro2, the X100F has a native sensitivity range of ISO 200-12,800 with expansion settings pushing it to ISO 100-51,200.
Fujifilm X100F review: Lens
As the X100F is a compact camera rather than a compact system camera, it has a fixed lens. This is a Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 optic – the same as is on the Fuji X00T (the camera that the X100F replaces). It gives an effective focal length of 35mm and consequently the Fuji X100 variants have proved very popular with street, documentary and wedding photographers.
If you want a bit more flexibility, there’s the Fuji TCL-X100 II telephoto conversion lens that gives you a 50mm optic and the WCL-X100 II wide-angle converter than takes it to 28mm. Helpfully the X100T can detect when these new converters are attached and automatically correct their aberrations.
Fujifilm X100F review: Film Simulation modes
As expected, Fuji has included the new Acros Film Simulation mode in the X100F’s Film Simulation line-up to allow punchier monochrome images to be recorded. This makes the complete list:
Provia/Standard: for general use
Velvia/Vivid: for more saturated colour Astia/Soft: for attractive skin tones and recommended for outdoor portrait or nature photography
Classic Chrome: giving muted colours and enhanced contrast in shadows
PRO Neg. Std: for an enhanced range of skin tones and recommended for studio portrait photography
PRO Neg. Hi: giving slightly more contrast than PRO Neg. Std
Acros: for black and white images and available for use with yellow, red and green filter effects
Monochrome: the original black and white option, also available with yellow, red and green filter effects
Sepia: to produce a sepia tone effect
There’s also the Grain Effect function that can be used in ‘Strong’ or ‘Weak’ settings with any of the Film Simulation modes to give a more filmic appearance.
The Film Simulation modes can be applied to stills or video footage.
Fujifilm X100F review: Autofocus
Fuji has increased the number of focus points from 49 in the X100T to 91 in the X100F, but this can be expanded to 325 if you need more precision. Furthermore, 40% of the imaging area is covered with phase detection focusing pixels, with 49 points covering the centre section. In addition, around 85% of the imaging area is covered with contrast detection points and the read-out speed has been doubled to improve focusing performance.
The low light and low contrast AF performance has also been improved.
In addition to Single Point focusing, there’s Zone and Wide / Tracking focus mode which are of particular use with moving subjects and when using continuous autofocus (C-AF) mode. In Zone AF mode the points can be selected in a 7 × 7, 5 × 5, or 3 × 3 group.
Fujifilm X100F review: Video
Fuji hasn’t given the X100F 4K video capability but you can shoot Full HD (1920 x 1080) footage at up to 59.94fps as well as 50, 29.97, 25, 24 and 23.98fps. There’s a stereo mic on board and a 2.5mm port allows an external mic to be used (usually via a 3.5mm adaptor).
Fujifilm X100F review: Wi-Fi
Fuji hasn’t given the X100F the in-vogue Bluetooth connection of an NFC chip but there’s in-built Wi-Fi connectivity to allow images to be shared to a smartphone running the company’s free Cam Remote app. This also allows the camera to be controlled remotely.
Fujifilm X100F review: Build and handling
The Fujifilm X100F has the familiar robust feel of a Fuji X100-series camera along with top and bottom plates that are made of magnesium alloy. Meanwhile a synthetic coating gives the shallow grip a little extra purchase.
While the overall look of the X100F is the same as the X100T, Fujfilm has made some quite major changes to the X100F in comparison with the previous model. There are no buttons to the left of the screen on the back of the camera, for example, and the mini-joystick that has proved so popular on the Fuji X-T2 and X-Pro2 has appeared on the back of the camera (hurrah) to speed AF point selection when the camera is held to your eye.
These changes make the camera look and feel more streamlined, allowing you to change settings quicker when looking through the viewfinder.
Over on the right of the top-plate, as before, there’s the exposure compensation dial. This has markings to set the compensation in 1/3EV steps in the range +/-3EV, but the C setting can also be used to enable a range of +/-5EV to be set using the front command dial.
I prefer to use the dedicated exposure compensation dial and it falls within convenient reach of my right thumb. Because there’s no lock it can get knocked out of position occasionally, but I didn’t find that a frequent issue.
Just to the right of the centre of the top-plate a sensitivity (ISO) dial has been incorporated into the shutter speed dial. The X-Pro2 has a similar dual dial. While this is a neat, space-saving solution it is a little awkward to use and read the selected value. Consequently some photographers may prefer to set sensitivity via a command dial and this can be enabled via the menu.
I found that for the majority of my time with the X100F I used it in one of the three Auto ISO options – this is set by turning the dial to the ‘A’ setting. The beauty of the Auto ISO settings is that you can specify a default sensitivity, minimum shutter speed and maximum sensitivity value so you can always be sure that you’ll get sharp images without excessive noise. It makes shooting in manual exposure mode much more flexible.
The traditional exposure controls on the X100F mean that sensitivity, shutter speed, exposure compensation and aperture can all be to be set and checked without having to power-up the camera.
In addition to the aperture ring, the lens has a Control Ring that enables the white balance, Film Simulation or Digital Teleconverter setting to be changed quickly and easily. I like to use it to switch between the Film Simulation modes.
Fujifilm X100F review: Screen
While the 3-inch 1,040,000-dot screen is fixed, it provides a clear view of the scene in shooting mode and images in review mode. It would be nice if it were tilting or articulating to make it easier to see from above or below head-height. Touch-sensitivity could also speed making setting adjustments.
Fuji X100F review: User interface
The X100F’s main menu will be familiar to anyone who has used a recent Fuji camera. It looks a little old school but is pretty logically arranged and easy to navigate. There’s also a My Menu section to which you can assign the parameters that you want access most often.
In addition, pressing the Q button near the thumb rest on the back of the camera activates the Quick Menu, giving access to up to 16 key features. I like the fact that with Fuji’s Quick menu you only need to navigate to the option you want, there’s no need to confirm its selection before you can adjust it.
The default Quick Menu set-up makes a good starting point but as there are a total of 27 parameters that can be assigned to it, it’s worth spending some time looking options available. If you regularly shoot in bright conditions and like using a wide aperture, for example, you may want to have a fast route to the built-in 3-stop neutral density filter – you could swap it for the Sharpness control for instance.
Fujifilm X100F review: Viewfinder
One of the key selling points of the Fuji X100 line is that the cameras have a hybrid viewfinder that allows you to switch between an optical and an electronic finder. Fuji has given the X100F an Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder which allows you to change the magnification of the electronic rangefinder shown in a small section of the bottom right corner of the optical viewfinder. It makes it easier to check focusing accuracy when the optical finder is in use. In addition, Real Time Parallax Correction is applied to the focus area and guide frame (in other words the frame shifts in the finder) for better image composition and focusing in manual focus mode, especially with close-ups.
I prefer to use the electronic viewfinder (EVF) over the optical finder in most situations as it shows the impact of camera settings and better reflects the captured image. A switch on the front of the camera lets you swap quickly between the two.
Helpfully when you look in the EVF you can see the AF point layout with the central 49 (in a 7x7 grid) phase detection points being marked with slightly bigger squares than the two banks of 21 (in 3x7 grids) contrast detection points on either side.
The X100F has three power management options in its set-up menu, High Performance, Standard and Economy. Using the High Performance setting gives the fastest AF speed and highest display quality in the LCD and electronic viewfinder but it reduces battery life to 260 shots when using the LCD, 250 shots with the EVF or 390 shots with the optical viewfinder. Dropping to the Standard setting extends battery life to 280 (LCD), 270 (EVF) or 390 (OVF) shots and gives the same AF performance but drops the screen display a little. The Economy setting gives battery life of 340 (LCD, 330 (EVF), 730 (OVF) and reduces the AF speed but gives the same screen performance as the Standard setting. In some instances I found the drop in the EVF/screen performance wasn’t noticeable but on others I detected a slight lag in the display showing the scene. It wasn’t a major issue for me but it could be a problem for street photography. I would be inclined to buy an extra battery and keep the power management setting on High Performance.
Fujifilm X100F review: Performance
We have seen the X100F’s sensor and processing engine in action before so it’s not a surprise to find that it’s capable of producing high quality images with noise that’s controlled well throughout the native sensitivity range (ISO 200-12,800).
The level of detail in ISO 25,600 raw files from the X100F is also impressive. At 100% on a computer screen there’s a slight granular texture but it’s within acceptable boundaries. The jpegs are also good but even when they’re sized to around 7x5inches the simultaneously captured raw files look a little sharper and more detailed.
Lower sensitivity raw files also have good dynamic range and you can successfully brighten dark images by at least a couple of stops should you need to and still see good colour, tonal gradation and detail. Brighter areas can also be recovered in many instances provided the highlights aren’t clipped. Using Fuji’s Dynamic Range mode at its highest setting (DR400) means pushing the sensitivity to ISO800 or more but as the name implies, it brings greater dynamic range giving you more detail in the shadows and highlights without an overtly HDR look.
As we would expect, at ‘normal’ shooting distances the X100F’s lens delivers sharp images with sharpness being maintained well into the corners even at the widest possible aperture (f/2). If you want to get close to your subject it’s best to close down the aperture a stop or two as it produces soft results wide-open at the nearest focusing distance.
On the subject of focusing, the X100F’s AF system makes a significant step-up on the X100T’s, getting subjects quickly into focus in daylight conditions, especially if you use the central 7x7 grid of phase detection points. In Tracking AF mode it can even keep up with some moving subjects, which could be useful for some street and documentary photography. But despite the maximum shooting rate of 8fps with continuous autofocusing capability, with a 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens, the X100F isn’t the natural choice of camera for sport or action photography.
Thanks to the joystick on the back of the camera you can shift the active AF point quickly, but you may find it’s better to stick with the standard 91 instead of the full 325. When light levels start to dip it’s also best to stick to the central phase detection points, but for generally outdoor, daytime photography the full 91 work well either individually or in zones.
The automatic white balance setting does a decent job of reflecting the shooting conditions but images shot under heavily overcast skies can look too cool although the result depends upon the Film Simulation mode you’re using.
I’m a fan of Fuji’s Classic Chrome Film Simulation mode, but the Provia/Standard setting is a reliable general purpose option and Velvia/Vivid is useful if you want more saturated colours. Acros also produces some very nice results either in the default setting or when the Highlight Tone and Shadow Tone are used to adjust the contrast.
I found that in Multi mode the 256-zone metering system is generally reliable in bright sun conditions but in overcast conditions it tends to protect the highlights and produces slightly dark images. Given the latitude of the raw files, many photographers will prefer this approach. However, if you want your subject to look right in-camera you have to dial in 1/3 or 2/3 extra exposure to brighten the image.
Fujifilm X100F review: Verdict
The sensor, processing engine and autofocus changes made by the X100F in comparison to the X100T make a significant difference enabling larger, high quality images to be captured with well-controlled noise levels.
The changes to the handling, especially the addition of the joystick on the back of the camera also make a nice improvement. Although some people find the sensitivity dial arrangement a bit fiddly, I don’t mind it as I like to be able to see and change the setting without powering-up the camera and I appreciate the space-saving it offers.
With the possible exception of the sensitivity dial, the traditional exposure controls are joy to use. They help you become immersed in photography in a way that the more commonly used command dials can’t. And while some might think the fixed focal length is restricting, it encourages you to use your legs and explore your subject. It doesn’t take long before you’re revelling in the capabilities of a 35mm equivalent lens, but if you want there’s the wide conversion lens and telephoto conversion lens to give you more variety in framing.
My only disappointment with the X100T is with the screen as I would’ve liked that to be a vari-angle or dual tilting model like on the Fuji X-T2 to make shooting from high or low angles easier. Making the screen touch-sensitive like on the Fuji FGX 50S would also speed setting AF point when using the screen to compose images. Of course if those two wishes had been granted the X100F would seem more suited to shooting video and I would want 4K recording as well.
To summarise, I like the X100F a lot. It feels good, lets you concentrate on the most important aspects of photography, has an excellent viewfinder, has a superb lens that gives you plenty of control over depth of field and it produces high quality images.