Shop for Fujifilm X100V

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Lori Grunin/CNET

Fixed-lens compact cameras based around APS-C-size sensors have come and gone. But Fujifilm's X100 series has persisted for five generations since it first debuted in 2011, thanks to a combination of a good lens, beautifully-retro-but-functional design and excellent photo quality. With the X100V, it gets some pretty significant and welcome updates inside and out, including a tilting LCD, a lockable ISO dial, better weather sealing, an improved viewfinder, a new version of the 23mm f2 lens and the 4K video and image pipeline -- X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, X-Processor 4 and more -- of the XPro3.

You'll be able to get it by the end of February for $1,400 -- that's $100 more than the price at which previous models have traditionally debuted in the US. (Likely £1,350 and AU$1,900 based on past pricing.) While it's weather-sealed throughout the body, in order to complete the sealing on the lens you have to add the AR-X100 Adapter ring and the PRF-49 protection filter, which will add a little less than $100 to the price of the system.

I had a brief chance to walk around with a preproduction version and the photos definitely do show the lens improvements over the previous model. Quality differences between the new, slightly higher-resolution 26-megapixel sensor and the X100F's were a bit more subtle, as was the autofocus improvement, since I didn't have equivalent shots to judge. And since it's essentially the X-Pro3 as far as files are concerned, it's already supported by Lightroom's (and likely others') raw codec -- so no waiting.

The tilting LCD makes the camera much more flexible to use, plus the switch to OLED for the EVF lends it extra contrast. I've never been a big fan of the optical aspect of Fujifilm's hybrid viewfinder, but the reverse-Galilean, straight-through rather than through-the-lens view can be an acquired taste (or a habit that needs to be unacquired).

The new lens has better sharpness and less distortion at the edges. (Shot with a preproduction model and scaled down.)

Lori Grunin/CNET

The body also has a noticeable curve on the right rear, so it feels more comfortable to grip for an extended period. Fujifilm switched from magnesium alloy to coated aluminum for the top and bottom plates, giving them a slightly grippier feel as well. Another useful touch is the lockable -- lift to turn, lower to lock --  ISO dial.

On the other hand, Fujifilm moved the Quick Menu button to the surface of that curve but flattened it so it's difficult to feel on the fly -- and almost impossible to feel with gloves on. And, as usual for Fujifilm, the metering ("Photometry") setting is buried in the menus, which is a pain for those of us who use it, though you can add it to the custom menus for faster access.

Other notable upgrades include the ability to record 4K/30p video, both DCI and UHD, at 8 bits internally or 4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI, plus a switch to a USB-C connection.