Review Date: May 15, 2017
Category: Serious to Advanced Amateur
Photoxels Editor’s Choice – Compact Premium
HANDLING & FEELPersonality and performance. In the X100F, FUJIFILM engineers take an already well-loved classic beauty and doggedly smooth over the little niggles and quirks of the previous model as well as improve its overall shooting and image quality performance. The result of all these refined improvements is an absolutely lovely camera to shoot with.
As in previous models, the Fujifilm X100F keeps the analog controls that set it apart from its competitors: the Shutter Speed dial and the Aperture Ring that make selecting and changing exposure direct, simple, fast and intuitive.
In its construction, it’s solidly built with a magnesium-alloy body shell and there is a feeling of high quality to the metal controls. It is not weather-proof.
An advantage of using a leaf shutter (inside the fixed 35mm F2 lens) is that there is practically no shutter lag and the shutter is whisper quiet. Plus, it allows you to synch flash at any of the shutter speeds available, making it possible to use flash in broad daylight to shoot portraits with nice bokeh effects (wide aperture + fast shutter speed + flash).
The X100F also has a built-in ND (Neutral Density) filter that reduces exposure by the equivalent of 3 EV. This is handy to have if you want to shoot in bright daylight at a slower shutter speed (say, to depict blur motion) or to use a wider aperture (to soften background details).
Much welcomed improvements include the new 24.3-MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor used in the X-Pro2 and X-T2; 325/169 selectable AF points/PDAF points and a Focus Lever (“AF joystick”) to quickly select them; the addition of an ISO dial on top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it) of the Shutter Speed dial; a clickable Front dial that can select ISO (when the ISO dial is set to “A”); extended range of shutter speeds in PASM modes; and, the extended adjustment of ±5 stops for the Exposure Compensation Dial (“C” setting).
Along with the X100F, there are the 2nd generation of X100 conversion lenses: WCL-X100 II (28mm equiv.) and TCL-X100 II (50mm equiv.). You no longer have to worry about the different sizes of bright frame or non-matching EXIF as a result of forgetting to change the menu setting. All you need to do is to magnetically attach a conversion lens to the camera and the built-in sensor now automatically recognizes which conversion lens is attached. [Note: applies only to the “II” models.]
You can also turn on the Digital Teleconverter function, and digitally boost the focal length of the TCL-X100 II to 100mm. We don’t really recommend that because as with any “digital zoom,” the image quality will suffer.
The 3.0-in. LCD retains 1.04-million-dot resolution and is (unfortunately) still not tiltable. The LCD gains up very well in low light.
Program Shift is available: use the Rear Dial to program shift. You can use Program Shift even when AUTO ISO is set but not when DR Range AUTO is set, and FLASH must be suppressed to use Program Shift.
The X100F is not small enough to be pocketable. Though it has a nice heft to it, it does not feel heavy. The lack of a large sized handgrip is in keeping with its retro looks, and though the hint of a handgrip works quite well, we still recommend using the supplied shoulder strap (or the optional Grip Belt GB-001) to prevent accidentally dropping it.
On the front of the camera, there’s the beautiful hybrid viewfinder, flash, the AF-assist Illuminator/Self-Timer lamp, and the Viewfinder selector (shaped like an old-styled mechanical self-timer). New is a Front Dial (customizable Fn2) which can be rotated to select an ISO value when you set the ISO dial to A (and set the proper settings in MENU). Around the lens, you’ll find the Aperture Ring (with 1/3 click stops) and, in front of it, the Manual Focus Ring. You can mount a filter on the lens, but you’ll first have to unscrew the front ring, attach an optional adapter ring (AR-X100) and then screw in your filter (49mm diameter). The lens cover is removable and lined with felt for a snug fit; it does not have a tether string to the camera.
On top of the camera, there’s the Shutter Release button with the Power ON/OFF Switch around it. To its left is the Shutter Speed Dial which goes from B, T, 1 sec. to 1/4000 sec., plus A. To access shutter speeds lower than 1 sec., set the Shutter Speed Dial to T, then use the Rear Dial to manually select shutter speeds between 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec. (in other words, you get the full shutter speed range).
The Shutter Speed dial now sports a small window that allows you to view the ISO dial underneath. You lift the Shutter Speed dial and when you rotate it, it’s the ISO dial underneath that rotates to allow you to select an ISO through the small window.
To the right of the Shutter Release button is the customizable Fn1 button. To the right and behind the Shutter Release button is the Exposure Compensation Dial which is stiff enough that you will not turn it inadvertently. It now ranges from +/- 3 EV, plus an additional “C” setting that expands the range to +/- 5 EV on screen; you then click the Front dial and rotate it to select the expanded range. Unfortunately, when you set the dial to “C”, you restart back at zero and have to scroll all the way up or down to reach +/- 4 EV or +/-5 EV. Hopefully, in a firmware update, this can be fixed: it should be only a simple matter to store the previous setting before the dial is turned to “C” and default the exposure compensation to that setting on screen.
To the left of the Shutter Speed Dial is the hotshoe that will accept an external speedlight. The stereo microphones have now been moved from either side of the flash on the X100T to in front of the hotshoe on the X100F. The rest of the left top section is beautifully left clean, except for the engraving of the camera’s name and model.
Startup is less than 1 sec. from Power ON to LCD ready for capture, i.e. time-to-first-shot (whether Power Management is set to High Performance, Standard or Economy). Shot to shot times are about 0.4 sec. (@ 25 shots in 10 sec. in M mode, 1/125sec., manual focus) — i.e., as fast as you can press the shutter button.
In good lighting, there is no practical shutter lag and AF is fast and precise. In low lighting, AF can take up to 1 sec. to lock.
(On its website, FUJIFILM posts these performance numbers: Startup time = approx. 0.5s, Shortest Shooting Interval = 0.2s, Shortest Shutter Release Time Lag = 0.01s, Fastest AF Speed = 0.08s.)
On the back, the buttons that were previously on the left side of the LCD screen on the X100T are now moved to the right of the LCD screen on the X100F. We have the 3.0-in. LCD with a 1.04M-dot resolution. On the top of the LCD are the View Mode Button, the AEL/AFL button (customizable) and the Rear Dial (customizable). On the far right side of the LCD are the Q (quick menu) button and the Selector / function (Drive, plus customizable Fn3, Fn4, Fn5) buttons. Near right of the LCD are the Focus Lever (AF joystick), Playback, Delete, and DISP/BACK button. The hybrid viewfinder has a Diopter adjustment control and Eye sensor.
In all there are seven Function buttons: Fn1, Fn2 (Front Dial), Fn3 to Fn5 on Selector dial, AEL/AFL, and the R-DIAL (Rear DIAL).
All of them are customizable to one of the following functions, grouped into 4 screens:
Screen 1: Image Size, Image Quality, RAW, Film Simulation, Grain Effect, Dynamic Range, WB, Select Custom Setting
Screen 2: Focus Area, Focus Check, AF Mode, Face/Eye Detection Setting, Self-timer, Photometry, Shutter Type, ISO Auto Setting
Screen 3: Conversion Lens, ND Filter, Wireless Communication, Flash Function Setting, TTL-Lock, Modeling Flash, MIC Level Adjustment, Preview Depth of Field
Screen 4: Preview Exp./WB in Manual Mode, Preview Pic. Effect, AE Lock only, AF Lock only, AE/AF Lock, Control Ring setting, Playback, and None.
The tripod mount at the bottom of the camera is not centered with the lens and you won’t be able to change batteries/SD card with the camera mounted on a tripod.
Another improvement over the X100T may seem small, but the X100F now uses a more powerful battery. The NP-W126S is the same one used in the X-Series Interchangeable Lens cameras and boosts the battery life to approximately 270 frames (with EVF) / 390 frames (with OVF), a gain of about 60 frames from the previous battery. A battery charger BC-W126 recharges a depleted battery in approx. 150 min.
The Fujifilm X100F uses the SD / SDHC / SDXC(UHS-I) memory card.
The Fujifilm X100F remains one of most beautiful camera ever designed, whether in our digital era or back in the film era. It’s even better now with the new sensor and performance improvements. I like the silver model but, if you want inconspicuous, go with the all-black model.