Fujifilm X100F – A Real World Review

The X100F is Fujifilm’s new masterpiece and the fourth addition to the famous x100 line of cameras. The X100F seems to have taken the biggest step forward of any of the X100 camera upgrades with a new 24MP sensor and new battery for improved life and performance. Not only that but the X100F is also a autofocusing beast.

It’s what I consider the most versatile fixed lens camera money can buy and a street photographers dream come true.

 

 Camera

Sensor: 24.3 X-Trans CMOS III
Processor: X-Processor Pro
Hybrid Optical / Electronic Viewfinder
3.0″ 1.04m Dot LCD Monitor
Electronic Shutter & Built-In ND Filter
91-Point AF with 49 Phase-Detect Points
No 4k Video

Lens

Lens: 23mm f2 (35mm Equiv)
9-Blade Aperture
8 Elements in 6 Groups
1 Aspherical

Fujifilm X100F BlackAmazon / Adorama / BHphoto

Fujifilm X100F SilverAmazon / Adorama / BHphoto

See all the Best Fujifilm X100F Accessories.

Find the best Fujifilm X100F Memory Cards.

 

Here are my first impressions.

 


Fujifilm X100F First Impressions


I went with the silver body this time instead of the black. I had a black x100T and have a black X-T2 and a black X-Pro 2, so it was time to mix it up. It seems the silver is a different color than the X100T in silver, it’s more shiny where as the old models seem to be a bit more matte. 

 

X100F New Features

New Battery, Design & Heavier

I immediately noticed that the camera is heavier, but I think this is because of the larger X-T2 style battery. 

They’ve also reconfigured all the buttons and switches. The X100F shares the same ISO shutter dial as the X-Pro 2. A lot of people didn’t like this at first, but I assure you once you get use to it, it becomes second nature.

They’ve also eliminated the chatter coming from the lens caused by the constant seeking, or opening and closing of the iris. I imagine we’ll see some firmware soon because I’m already getting some crazy bugs, like the focus motor screaming at me I turned the camera mid focus.

 

New Focus Joystick

The new joystick to adjust the focus point is nice and the rear wheel to check focus is very handy. There are a bunch of other new features and buttons that I’ll get into, but honestly, I don’t use most of that stuff. I keep my camera and my settings pretty simple. 

 

New Sensor And Processor

I think the biggest improvement is the new sensor. 24MP, but more megapixels is a blessing and a curse. A curse in that the files are much bigger, and with the ability to set uncompressed RAW, you’ll find yourself eating through smaller SD cards much quicker. But they are a blessing for the obvious reasons, way more resolution. I like to crop! – and you can always just shoot compressed or JPEG.

All around the camera feels a bit more sleek, almost as though it’s taking some influence from the way Leica designs their cameras. I really like the new look and feel over the X100T.

They’ve also added the Arcos film simulator and the grain control.

 

What’s The Same

This is the X100F not and X200 (F meaning Fourth). So the camera still shares the same overall design philosophy as the three previous models and Fujifilm has done a wonderful job on building onto what’s already there.

This means using the camera won’t feel foreign to X100 shooters. It still has the EVF / OVF with the switch to toggle them. Except now they’ve added the button on that switch to be a programmable function button.

The lens is the same, but honestly lens design can’t be improved really, all they can do is change the coatings, or tune the lens to exhibit different characteristics. They could make it bigger and faster, or smaller and slower, but I think most people would agree it’s kind of perfect.

 

Things That Bug Me

I really love this camera and there aren’t many things that bug me, but there are a few pet peeves I have.

 

The OVF / EVF is hard to use with glasses

When you’re wearing glasses you can’t even come close to seeing the full image through the OVF or EVF. On most camera this is fine and I’ll just flip-up my glasses and look through the view finder without them. (I’m near sided so everything is usually fine). But the lens on the OVF / EVF is set to a far distance so those who are near sided will still need to use their glasses. Even when switched to the EVF and adjusting the focus adjuster, I can’t get it to work with my prescription like I can on most cameras.

 

Memory card slot is in the bottom next to the battery

I just never like it when cameras do this. It makes it impossible to get the card out if the camera is ever on a tripod. But I mean, a lot of cameras do this so it’s pretty forgivable. 

 

No dedicated Wifi button or video record button

When you first get the camera you’ll have to do some customizing out of the box. If you want to record video you need to use the drive button and change it to video mode, so you can’t set it to a Fn button like you could with the X100T. Also, if you want to easily use the WiFi you’ll have to do the same or set it into your custom menu.

 

You can’t use a UV filter without and adapter

You actually could take a UV filter and screw it on upside down to the lens, but this will mess with the lenses ability to focus for some reason. So you have to get an adapter which adds a lot of size to the lens. 

The camera is beautiful without the UV filter adapter, but I’m just to afraid to mess up a fixed lens so I can’t live without a UV filter. I think a lot of people would be ok with a slightly not so sleek design to compensate for a UV filter without an adapter.

 

 


Fujifilm X100F Details


 A lot of what I’ve covered in the X100T review remains the same, but they have updated how some of the function buttons and menu buttons work.

 

 

What Makes The X100F So Special | Useful Tips

The X100F is so different from any other camera because of its unique features that you don’t really find anywhere else.

 

Macro Lens

Out of the box the lens will shoot macro. Maybe as close as 2-3 inches from the lens. It’s pretty fun but there are a few things to consider. 

First off, Fujifilm got rid of the macro on/off toggle. It somehow now just knows when you’re shooting something close. The problem is, the autofocus seems to be limited to about five inches. If you want to go closer, you need to manually focus. 

Also, when close focusing you’ll need to stop down to get very sharp images. This is not the cameras fault but a limitation to physics. It’s a form of spherical aberration and you need to be at about f4 when shooting macro to get sharp detail. F2 can be sharp but not until about 4-5 feet.

You can see the effects of f2 at a macro distance with this next photo. It’s really not the end of the world, but if you’re wondering why you’re photos of your kids are soft, that’s why. Step back, or stop down.

 

Build-In ND Filter + Leaf Shutter

The camera has a built-in leaf shutter so you can get some insane flash sync speeds. Combine that with the built-in 3-stop ND filter and you can do some pretty fun stuff outdoors.

Combining the ND with the fast sync speeds means you can shoot portraits outside at f2 and sync to a flash at 1/1000 shutter in mid day for a nice fill. 

What I like to do is set the sun as the backlight and use the flash to fill in the shadows.

My formula goes something like this. Mechanical shutter 1/1000, f2, ISO auto or 200. Flash Compensation somewhere around -1 – 0 depending on how close or far you want to get. But of course those numbers change for each situation.

 

Just The ND Filter

Of course you don’t need to use these two features together. Just the ND filter is a nice addition to keep you from using the electronic shutter in bright mid day sun.

If you set the shutter to M+E. The mechanical shutter is only so fast and once the exposure gets out of the range of the M shutter, it will switch to the electronic shutter. But when shooting with super fast shutter speeds of the E shutter, it does a few things

  • increases the rolling shutter effect
  • causes fluorescent lights to band
  • high shutter speeds seem to create some harsher contrast

So using the ND to keep the camera using the mechanical shutter at moderate speeds is a very handy feature for optimizing image quality and camera performance.

 

Just The Flash

If you’re not using the flash for a fill light, you can also turn it way down to just create a little sparkle in the eyes. This something I always forget to do but it’s very nice in the right environment.

Mind you, it’s not the best sparkle, but it’s better than nothing, and will get larger the close you are. This shot was taken far back, and I cropped in heavily to show the effect.

 

The Pancake Lens

The lens is actually really nice. It’s not the best 23mm f2 lens you’ll use or see, but for the size, we see some nice performance with the main flaw being the soft corners. 

There aren’t really any issues with swirling or chunky bokeh. Everything is pretty uniform and smooth.

Flaring is fairly controlled but when it does flare it won’t give you any cool lens flare effects that you’ll actually want to use. 

In terms of sharpness, it’s not to shabby, in fact, it’s great for such a small package. I sometimes get some shots that just blow my mind.

 

 


Technical Overview


 

 

Sharpness Chart

Sharpness is great in the center, but drops of slightly towards the edges and even more at the corners. This was shot at f5.6 at about 4-5 feet from the wall. 

I used Adobe Lightroom to convert the Compressed RAW.

 

 

Flaring & Ghosting

Like with pretty much all of Fujifilm’s modern lenses, flaring and ghosting is very well controlled and you’ll actually find it difficult to get the lens to flare out on you. Here are a few samples of the most extreme situations of flaring while using a B+W Nano Multi-Coated UV filter. If you use a UV filter I recommend the B+W Nano Multi Coated filter for maximum quality.

 

 

Auto Focus

Autofocus has improved over the previous model. We now have the option for 325 focus points, and AF-C works a lot better.

You could actually leave the camera in AF-C permanently and it will function fine in most situations, although auto focus in general does miss a lot in low light (ISO 2000+), so some patience is required. 

 

Diffraction

Diffraction is a phenomena that affects the image quality depending on where you set your aperture. The more closed down you get the softer the image becomes. This effect is exaggerated when you increase the megapixel count since the size of the photodiode sites smaller. So diffraction on the X100F with the higher megapixel sensor will be more extreme than on the X100T.

On the other side, spherical aberrations tend to effect sharpness depending on how wide open you are and also how close the camera is to the subject. 

When you combine the negative effects of diffraction with the negative effects of spherical aberrations you end finding a lenses sweet spot. It’s usually f5.6.

Notice the image is soft at f2-f4. This is because I am only about three feet away from the chart. When shooting wide open the image can get sharper, but I would have to move back to at least 5-6 feet. If you want sharp images close up, you need to shoot f5.6. But f5.6 will yield the best results all around. 

For shooting landscapes where you want as much depth as possible, you probably don’t want to shoot much higher than f11.

 

 

Distortion & Vignetting

As you can see above in the sharpness chart, distortion isn’t an issues since the camera corrects for it automatically and bakes that data into the RAW.

Even with the baked in lens correction we still get some vignetting which isn’t totally clear until about f8.

 

 


X100F vs the X-T2 23mm f1.4


There has been some crazy discussion about the X100F sensor not being as good as the X-T2 because of a bogus test that favored the X-T2. This was probably unintentional since testing stuff with laser precision is hard.

There is also something that is often overlooked by people reviewing cameras that unfortunately influences the community into having a false opinion. That something has to do with lens characteristics.

If I tested every lens on a chart at 3-5 feet away and compared them based on that chart, you would be getting an inaccurate representation to what each lens is truly capable of. Why?

Because some lenses are better at close focus and some lenses are better at infinity focus.

The Fujifilm X100F has a pancake lens that excels at farther distance or infinity focus. Up close it doesn’t do as well as many other lenses, like the XF23mm f1.4. The X100F just doesn’t handle spherical aberrations very well, which affects close distance sharpness.

You can see this here in this quick test vs the Fujifilm X-T2 and the 23mm f1.4 lens.

If you test these lenses up close, say 3-4 feet, the X-T2 23mm f1.4 should give better results. But at infinity focus, as you can see here. the X100F produces much nicer center sharpness.

I went through several images with the X-T2 and this is as sharp as I could get it, it’s possible the X-T2 image could be softer because of shutter slap but who knows, it’s hard to precisely manually focus these fly-by-wire lenses.

Note: I personally think the 23mm f1.4 is not a great lens because it’s prone to problems. But I also think could be due to Fujifilm’s quality control, which sucks. This being my second XF23mm f1.4.

I’ve also seen X100Ts with some serious lens problems and have had too many problems with their cameras and lenses, like my shutter button on my X100F is now sticking.

X100F vs X-T2 comparison

Fujifilm X100F @ f5.6 vs the Fujifilm X-T2 23mm @f5.6 – ISO 200 – 100% crop.

 

Here is another sample at about 15 feet. It’s a lot easier to focus closer and the results are more similar.

X100F vs XF23mm f1.4 comparison

Based on these results, you can see that the X100F is just as good as the XF23mm f1.4 and the X-T2 in the right situations and actually better in others. At least when comparing my copies.

 

 


Fujifilm X100F Review | Bottom Line


If you’re looking for a single camera that can do everything, then this might not be the camera for you. However, this camera can do just about everything. Especially if you combine it with some of Fujifilm’s lens conversion kits to give you wider or more telephoto views.

Now, if you’re looking to get into photography for the art of photography, this is the best option. In fact, if I could only have one camera and lens combo for the rest of my life, this might just be it. I can’t think of any other camera out there that makes me as happy as the X100F – and I own a lot of cameras.

If you like this review, please share! – Thanks for stopping by!

 


Fujifilm X100F Sample Images


  • I saw that. I’ll be getting into that today!

  • Koox

    I look forward to your full review. As always I love your photos. What did you mean when you said the sharpness is not too shabby? I thought that then lens, despite its shortcomings, was kind of perfect. DO you feel like it is less sharp than on the Fuji X100T? Thank you.

  • It’s not less sharp than the X100T, it should be the same but is hard to compare because you’ll actually get more detail because of the higher resolution sensor in the X100F.

    Its a great lens and I’m very happy with the sharpness, but it’s not the sharpest lens I own. That doesn’t mean it’s not perfect for what it is. Lenses can be tuned and tweaked to give all sorts of different characteristics. I own a few old Helios lenses and you can see different characteristics with the different production models. Some have softer corners, more swirling bokeh, some are sharper etc. All the same lens, just tweaked different.

    In terms of sharpness, I think my Zeiss Sonnar 35mm is my sharpest lens in the center, but the lens has a lot of problems with soft corners, vignetting and strange color circle patterns. The X100F has no major flaws like this and is balanced very well. Fujifilm is smart like that.

    So while the X100F is sharp, it’s not going to knock your socks off like some Zeiss Sonnar, Batis or Loxia lenses do. But those lenses usually also end up having a few negative characteristics. Except maybe the Batis.

    I’ve also yet to put it on a tripod, so maybe it’s sharper than I’m seeing because I’ve been shooting everything handheld.

  • Koox

    Thank you for this detailed explanation. It definitely makes sense. Sounds great. I cannot wait until I get mine. By the way, what filters do you use? I really like the way you process the pictures (more specially the color ones).

  • Most of these I’m using either Classic Chrome shot in JPEG, or Arcos. Otherwise I”m using various VSCO looks. Kodak and other Fujifilm stocks.

  • Koox

    Thanks for the info!

  • Jonas M. Kipfer

    Hi Alik
    One of the most informative reviews I found so far, thank you. Many reviewers do not suggest owner of the x100t to upgrade to the x100f. What is your opinion about that? I own an 100t, an x70 and an XPro-2. I assume that the xpro2 with the 23f2 gives me more a less the same IQ and shooting experience as the x100f would do. So I am not sure if an upgrade would justify the cost.

  • Hey Jonas. If you already have a Xpro 2 with the 23mm then you will probably out perform the X100F in terms of IQ and in that case the X100F would only be a complimentary camera when you feel like carrying around something smaller and lighter. But I haven’t tested the 23mm f2 yet, It should be better than the X100F lens, I know the other 23mm is.
    Still the advantage of the X100F is the size, built in ND filter and the leaf shutter.

    I think it’s worth the upgrade over the X100T only if you use it a lot. The new sensor, improved autofocus and bigger battery make a noticeable difference.

  • Louis A. Sousa

    I just received my silver X 100F. Haven’t shot more than a few test shots but having owned the original X100 then the X100T, first impressions. The camera is great to hold in the hand. Wider than the others from the larger battery. Build quality is first rate. Everything seems like it is built to last for a long time. I also own the XT2. Personally I love the ISO dial and this one with the windowed dial is excellent, much easier than menu driven ISO. I love the simpler organization, all the buttons can be accessed with one hand. The camera is just ok to hold in the hand. A bit of a grip on the front right for my hand would be good. The LensMate shoe mounted thumb grip from my X100T fits fine but projects over the new rear command dial. Does not interfere with access to the new AEL/AEF button though. As I put the camera through its paces I will report more.

  • Thanks Louis. There should be a new thumb grip from lensmate soon.

  • Louis A. Sousa

    Update on my X100F. Out of the box it was stuck in AFC. The switch for the focus mode (MCS) is non-responsive. Back to Adorama it goes……This is apparently a common hardware problem with the camera as I found in the Fuji X Forum…..

  • Gerry Orkin

    I hear that the focus distance ersets to 7′ whenever the camera starts, or wakes from sleep. That’s VERY annoying for us zone and hyperfocal distance shooters. Did you encounter that?

    Also, the Gariz half-case from my x100t won’t fit – have you heard anything about their timeline for updating the case line?

  • Check out the Kaza-Deluxe cases, they are ready.

    Gariz doesn’t usually send me notifications like some of the other guys, so I’m stuck refreshing their amazon site regularly.

    The default focus thing can be frustrating but I’ve noticed a lot of cameras are doing this, even when the lenses are set to manual. I think it has to do with all these new lenses being fly by wire now. It’s pretty annoying though, especially if you like to shoot with manual focus. It can make the whole process a little bit discouraging so I mostly stick with auto focus on the X100F unless I’m shooting something macro, or in some low light situations.

    But what I’ve started doing this last year when shooting landscapes where I like focus to be at infinity, is to just set the sleep time to its max, or turn it off so that the camera doesn’t shut off between shots. It sort of solves this problem for me, as long as I remember to turn sleep back on when I’m done.

    I’m sure it’s possible for this to be fixed, if the camera can remember your shutter, aperture and ISO, surely it can remember your focus. If enough photographers start making some noise about this maybe Fujifilm will put out a fix.

  • Did you get your replacement yet?

  • Gerry Orkin

    Thanks 🙂 Yeah, my x100F arrived today and it’s VERY annoying – almost a deal breaker for me. I’ll see how I adapt to AF before deciding 🙂

  • Louis A. Sousa

    Hi Alik, the return is still processing. I will probably be put back into the waiting line…..

  • Roboto

    Gariz half cases for the F now available on ebay.

  • Koox

    Hey Alik, I just got mine from Amazon after waiting for two months. Can definitely feel the AF boost compared to X100T. I have a question / concern, it seems that when opening the aperture to greater than F2, shutter is a bit erratic and causes some micro flickering both visible in evf and lcd. Is this normal? Did not seem to have this on my X100T. I want to make sure this is not a hardware problem. Thank you so much for any input you may have on this matter.

  • Hey Koox, I haven’t noticed anything like that. You may want to contact Fujifilm as ask them if it’s a potential problem. Their repair department is pretty responsive, or just send it back to Amazon as a replacement. They’ll send you the new camera before you have to send the old one back so you can do that to make sure they have them in stock. That’s usually what I do when I suspect even the slightest issue.

  • Koox

    Hi Alik, thanks for your reply. In France and UK, it has been out of stock almost from the start (still is). I did find a video showing the same issue here: https://flic.kr/p/Spo5mP
    Not sure if that speaks more to you. Besides that, I don’t see any problem and enjoying a lot my first full day with the camera.

  • Ok, mine does that. I believe that’s normal. Fujifilm changed up the way this lens works a little bit to reduce the focus and aperture chatter.

  • Lennard van den Berg

    Thanks for your review! Which one do you prefer: X100F or X-T20? And why?

  • Koox

    Thanks so much. That’s a relief.
    As a consequence, as iris returns to initial position, there is a slight flickering on lcd / evf but nothing major. Just wanted to make sure it was considered “normal” behavior. Many more people describe similar behavior here: http://www.fuji-x-forum.com/topic/4826-x100f-aperture/
    Thanks for looking into this. Have a great easter holiday!

  • Koox

    Hi Alik, that’s a huge relief. Thank you. I had found a discussion around this behavior here http://www.fuji-x-forum.com/topic/4826-x100f-aperture/
    Thank you for looking into this. Happy Easter!

  • I only had the X-T20 for a few days, but, if I didn’t have any camera I would probably pick the X-T20 first just because you can change the lenses which can give you better image quality.

    Considering I already have many other cameras, I prefer the X100F because of how compact it is, its versatility with the leaf shutter and built-in ND filter, plus it’s very fun to use.