The Fujifilm X100 series is a popular fixed-lens, hybrid rangefinder system now in its fifth generation. The new X100V comes with some much-needed improvements over the previous model, the X100F, while the overall look and feel remains largely the same.
A staple of the X100 series is the 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent) f/2 prime lens, and this hasn’t changed for the X100V. However, Fujifilm has redesigned the lens to make it sharper, something fans of the series have been waiting for since the original X100 in 2011. It’s not the only new thing the X100V offers, but it’s likely the biggest reason to upgrade. For photographers who were already satisfied with the X100F, though, is the new model worth it?
At a glance:
- 26MP BSI X-Trans sensor
- 90-degree articulating touch screen
- 11 fps continuous shooting
- 4K/30 video
- Weather-sealed body
- 24MP X-Trans Sensor
- 8 fps continue shooting
- FHD/60 video
- Face detection autofocus
The X100F has a 24-megapixel APS-C X-Trans III sensor, the same one found in the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the X-T2. Fujifilm has upgraded the sensor in X100V to the newer 26MP backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor that’s also in the X-Pro3 and the X-T4. The extra 2MP won’t have much real-world impact, although we did notice improved dynamic range and color accuracy in the new sensor when testing it on other camera models.
Part of this is thanks to the lower base ISO of 160 on the new sensor, compared to 200 on the X100F. Both cameras, however, top out at ISO 12,800, and both can be expanded to 51,200. Despite the BSI design and the new X-Processor 4 image processor, our experience with previous models shows a slight noise advantage to the older sensor at high ISO settings. The difference, however, is minimal.
Autofocus and performance
Along with the new sensor, the X100V inherits the same 425-point phase-detection autofocus system that now covers 99% of the sensor. The X100F had fewer total points, at 325, but the phase-detection area was also limited to a smaller central region. Although face and eye-detection is present in both cameras, the improved algorithm in the X100V provides better tracking and accuracy.
While burst shooting isn’t what people first think of when they see a camera like this, the X100V shoots at an impressive 11 frames-per-second, whereas the X100F maxed out at 8. For the type of photographer that tends to use the X100 series (travel and street photographers), the continuous shooting speed of both cameras is more than adequate. However, when combined with the improved autofocus, the X100V has a better chance of delivering more “keepers.”
LCD screen and viewfinder
The X100V features a tilting LCD screen, but don’t get too excited. Unlike the fully-articulating monitor on the Fujifilm X-T4, it can only tilt 90 degrees. Sure, this will give better viewing angles when shooting in live view, but if you were thinking of vlogging with an X100, well, you’re out of luck. Arguably, given the X100’s target demographic, this may be a non-issue. Still, some potential customers would have loved a 180-degree articulating screen.
But the tilt action isn’t the only new feature of the LCD. It is also now a touchscreen, allowing you to select the focus point, trip the shutter, and navigate the Quick Menu with the tap of a finger. Resolution has also been increased from 1.04 million dots to 1.6 million dots for sharper, more detailed previews of your images.
The electronic viewfinder has seen a similar increase in resolution, from 2.36 million dots in the X100F to 3.69 million in the X100V. That brings the X100 series in line with the X-T series, which has had the higher-resolution EVF since the X-T2. The X100V optical viewfinder has slightly better coverage, too, up to 95% from 92%. It’s a slight increase, but every little bit helps.
As we wrote before, the X100 series has never, and likely will never, be the go-to system for videographers. But that doesn’t mean it can’t serve you well if you do decide to use it to shoot video. The X100F shoots up to Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60fps and HD (1280 x 720) up to 60fps. The X100V shoots 4K video up to 30fps and Full HD up to 120fps (with High-Speed Mode) — a clear improvement on its predecessor.
The X100V has functions specifically designed for video such as the Eterna film simulation and F-Log, a flat color profile that preserves more dynamic range and is suitable for color grading. The latest model also has a bitrate of 200Mbps in 4K and Full HD, smashing the X100F out of the park in comparison to its 36Mbps. The X100V’s video mode goes above and beyond what is asked of this type of camera, and we’re impressed Fujifilm made that decision — even if few customers will take advantage of it.
Design and build
The weight and dimensions of the camera are almost identical, but the the X100F is a bit lighter, at 16.54 ounces compared to 16.86 ounces. Don’t read too much into this, as when holding the cameras, you’re unlikely to notice the difference.
There is one obvious change when it comes to the build quality of both cameras, however. The X100V is the first in the series to feature a weather-sealed body, so when harsh weather hits, you can continue to shoot with confidence. Well, kind of.
Although the body is weather-sealed, the fixed lens isn’t. So to make the lens fully secure against harsher elements, you must add a filter and adapter ring to it. This seems to be a compromise made to keep the lens compatible with the same adapters used on previous X100 cameras.
Other than that, there’s been some moving around of the controls on the back of the camera. Fujifilm has opted to remove the four-way keypad that was present on the X100F. Instead, the X100V has toggle, menu, playback, and DISP/Back buttons. Users can change shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation on the top of both cameras.
The inbuilt flash remains at the front-center of the camera, and both systems have the option of attaching an external flashgun for those that require more control over their artificial lighting.
A common gripe with Fujifilm shooters is the rather underwhelming battery performance. Fujifilm claims although the battery is the same NP-W126S in both cameras, the X100V can shoot 350 frames when using the electronic viewfinder, and 420 frames when using the optical viewfinder per charge. That’s an increase on the 270 (EVF) and 390 (OVF) frames on the X100F. Still, the performance on each isn’t great. Considering the new X-T4 promises 600 frames per charge, the new X100V is well under par by today’s standards.
Of course, the X100 cameras also have the option of using just the optical viewfinder, which we expect will extend battery life significantly when combined with turning off automatic image review, although official numbers are not provided.
Worth the upgrade?
If you’re not a current X100 owner and are looking at buying one of these two cameras, go ahead and get the X100V. The cost difference is just $100 at the time of writing, and that seems well worth it for the improved lens, sensor, build quality, and other new features.
However, if you’re a current X100F owner looking to upgrade, the answer is a bit more difficult. The new lens and sensor, as good as they are, may not improve image quality in meaningful ways depending on what and how you shoot. The physical features, like the tilt screen and weather-sealing, are also certainly appealing but, again, won’t affect every photographer. You’ll have to examine your needs closely to see if the X100V is worth it.
At the end of the day, the X100V is a striking camera and perhaps the most significant update to the X100 line in years. But the X100F was already a product of small iterations and improvements that made it feel very refined. If you’re happy with it, keep it around, but if you’re ready to see what the new generation offers, the X100V won’t let you down.
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