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The previous generation of Fujifilm's popular enthusiast "compact" with an APS-C-size sensor, the X100T, had been around for over two years before Fujifilm debuted the X100F, and the camera had only gotten one significant update since it launched in 2011, when the original X100 graduated to the X100S. And while the X100F has essentially the same design, albeit with a few layout tweaks, Fujifilm has made some notable improvements in the camera. That, combined with a dearth of cameras in its category -- fixed-lens compacts with large-ish APS-C sized sensors -- makes the X100F pretty much the only game in town at a reasonable price. Thankfully, it's worth the money.
That price is $1,300 (£1,330 and about AU$1,800). That's almost twice the price of its older sibling, the $700 X70, which seems to be discontinued in the UK and Australia, but is still available in the US. That's too bad, because all that's really left at that price are 1-inch compacts like really old Sony RX100 models and the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II.
The big upgrades to the X100F include the same 24.3-megapixel X-Trans III CMOS that's in its X-Pro2 and X-T2 mirrorless models and the far-better autofocus system inherited from the X-T2. The result is an excellent camera for enthusiasts who want the best stills possible without having to spend serious bucks on a full-frame model like the Sony RX1R series or Leica Q or X-series APS-C.
It helps that Fujifilm has finally updated the sensor in the line, increasing resolution from 16.3MP to 24.3MP, and the combination of the new sensor and the sharp, fixed focal-length lens delivers excellent photos. There's a bit of wide-angle distortion on the edges that's to be expected from a 35mm lens (especially one that's physically 23mm), but otherwise it's sharp edge to edge and has graceful background defocus with round highlights.
The manual warns you that shooting at the Low expanded ISO setting can decrease dynamic range, and it really does blow out more highlights. That's too bad, because you need lower sensitivity the most when the scene is very bright; there's a built-in neutral density filter, but it reduces exposure by 3 EV. And I highly suggest you spring for the optional lens hood (which requires the optional adapter ring) if you plan on shooting in bright sunlight. Flare!
Fujifilm is still referring to its tonal presets as Film Simulations (even though most people have never shot with any of the films simulated), and because there really aren't any "neutral" films there's no neutral preset. The default (Velvia) increases contrast, which results in some blown-out highlights and clipped shadows and darkened midtones, especially at higher sensitivities. The look can be pleasing, but you should probably shoot raw+JPEG in case you need to bring back detail in those areas or you want more natural-looking colors, especially skies; they can get annoyingly washed out. You can bring back quite a bit in the shadows, but not a ton in the highlights.
All but one aspect of performance is as good as you need for this type of camera: battery life. It barely makes it through a day of shooting unless you're the type who only takes a shot every now and then. (But if that's you, you probably don't want to pay $1,300 for a camera.)
Unlike previous models, the X100F can now use autofocus and autoexposure for continuous shooting, and it averages a reasonable pace of about 7fps for JPEGs. It doesn't maintain a consistent speed, though, speeding up and slowing down randomly, which can mess with your timing. On the other hand, I don't know that there are a lot of situations where you'd want to burst at such a wide angle; unless you're right on top of the subject, most things are pretty small in the frame.
The autofocus is faster, but the full wide-area AF isn't smarter. It still picks the closest clearly delineated items in the scene, unless there's a face -- then it chooses the face and the closest items. Otherwise, the AF system is nicely responsive.
Some things haven't changed: It's still a solid but hefty-feeling camera at over 2 pounds/470 g, and could still stand to have a slightly deeper grip. It's got an aperture ring on the lens (now it can be adjusted in 1/3 stops) and ISO sensitivity has moved into the shutter speed dial, which you lift up and twist to adjust in order to change sensitivity.
While it's optimized for photographers who like buttons and dials and levers and whatnot, you can use it in complete auto if you want; just set the shutter, aperture and ISO to A. Like many a Leica, the X100F is designed so you can choose exposure settings with the camera off -- some street photographers like to be able to (somewhat ironically) simply point and shoot without looking, and I occasionally work that way. However, the shutter-speed and ISO sensitivity dials have small text that may frustrate some people, and I really, really wish they were illuminated or glow-in-the-dark, because they're almost impossible to see in low light. That means you have to look through the viewfinder while changing settings.
One of the camera's continuing highlights is the versatile viewfinder, in which the front lever toggles between electronic and reverse-Galilean optical with an electronic overlay that can display the frame offset caused by parallax, focus areas and other information. It includes a rangefinder-like split-image for manual focus, which operates by switching to the EVF and magnifying the center. You can choose to have it display in monochrome, as well. It's quite nice; I've never been able to focus via split-image, even back when it was the only focus option on cameras, but the X100F's is quite usable. It also has good focus peaking. I do wish the focus ring was a little bigger and tighter, though.
An issue with dials is there's a physical limit to the number of options you can put on them. So there's now a "C" (custom) option on the exposure compensation dial that provides digital access to a couple more stops of adjustments, from +/-3 EV to +/-5. The ISO sensitivity dial only has one "H" for the expanded range, so you have to preset in the menus whether you want that to be ISO 25600 or ISO 51200. And video shooting is still an afterthought; it's considered a drive mode and uses the shutter button to start and stop.
Both the front and back dials now function as jog dials -- for instance, you access the extended exposure-compensation range by pressing the front dial and turning -- and the back controls have been much simplified. I don't really like layouts where important buttons are on the left side of the display; to use them you usually have to look at the back of the camera. Fujifilm removed all the buttons you use while shooting, leaving just those you use while reviewing images on the right side of the screen. A new joystick (called the "Focus Stick" or "Focus Lever") allows you to select your focus areas.
Fujifilm also has a pretty robust app for remote shooting, reviewing and transferring via Wi-Fi.
The Fujifilm X100F remains a top choice for people who want something (relatively) affordable and who prize the experience of manual photography as much as the photos.
|Fujifilm X70||Fujifilm X100F||Ricoh GR II|
Sensor effective resolution
16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II
24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III
(23.6 x 15.6mm)
(23.6 x 15.8mm)
(23.7 x 15.7mm)
ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 -ISO 6400/ISO 51200 (exp)
ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 -ISO 12800/ISO 51200 (exp)
ISO 100 - ISO 25600
Lens (35mm equivalent)
3.9 in/10 cm
3.9 in/10 cm
(8fps for 10 frames JPEG)
60 JPEG/ 25 raw
unlimited JPEG/4 raw
92 percent coverage
0.48 in/12.2 mm
77-point phase-detection AF
49-area Contrast AF
1.5 - 17.5 EV
|Shutter speed||30 - 1/4,000 sec (1/32,000 electronic shutter); bulb to 60 minutes||20 - 1/4,000 sec; bulb to 60 minutes||300 - 1/4,000 sec; bulb; time|
1.8 - 17.8 EV
H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p @ 36 Mbps
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p, 30p, 25p 24p
Motion JPEG AVI
1080/30p, 25p, 24p
Stereo; mic input
Manual aperture and shutter in video
Maximum best-quality recording time
3 in/7.5 cm
3 in/7.5 cm
3 in/7.5 cm
1 x SDXC
1 x SDXC
1 x SDXC
Battery life (CIPA rating)
270 shots EVF; 390 shots OVF
4.4 x 2.5 x 1.8 in
113 x 64 x 44 mm
5.0 x 2.9 x 2.1 in
127 x 75 x 52 mm
4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in
117 x 63 x 34.7 mm
Body operating weight
Release date (US)