Update October 9th, 2018
Well, 8 months have passed since I wrote this review, and it’s been quite a journey.
I would have never thought that writing SHITTY in the title could have helped me (I’m jocking, I knew it because I myself would open any review called like that), but to this date it has 21k+ views, quiet a few (and interesting) comments, + many many personal e-mails.
Thank you all.
Sometimes you’ll find some “update” parts in italic that I added later: a part from that, the review is as it was when I wrote it back in february.
I just changed some “product shots”, and added here & there news pics I’ve taken with the Fuji.
Now, on with the reading. Have a coffee, pour some beer: it’s long. Hope you’ll have as much fun reading it as I had in writing it.
Oh boy, where to begin.
Welcome to the most beautiful and useful camera in the world review. I call it shitty little camera because I’m in love with
her it, and you know how being in love is. It’s just a shitty little camera.
[Just a few things out of the way before we start.
The camera in this review is mine, I use it everyday, I payed full price for it (+ two X100Ts, more later), I have no relationship of any kind with Fujifilm, nobody payed me to write this, and there are no affiliate links. I just write because I like writing, and I love this camera.
The X100F is the fourth and at the time of this writing latest iteration of the X100 line.
I know it’s old news, but I bought mine in August 2017 and I can only laugh at reviews by those who don’t own what they review, who review things after a couple of days of use (with gear rented or provided by the manufacturer), or even better who write reviews payed by Fujifilm. You’ll find plenty of shortcomings in those reviews, yep yep.
Anyway, 10 lines in and I’m already digressing.
What I wanted to say was just…
Welcome to my review of the X100F. It’s sexy, it’s sleek, and for the first time it works without major fuck-ups.
The S was a big upgrade from the original, but the T was just a series of small tweaks here and there, nothing major, and not worth the upgrade from the S: well, as a former user of the T, I can safely state that the F runs circles around the T. Worth the upgrade. Definetly worth it.
Just don’t handle it if you say you don’t wanna buy it, because It’s very likely you’ll fall in love with it and will want it. If you have a T and keep saying “Naah, not worth it”, well, alright, just don’t touch the F. Trust me, don’t do it.
It’s beautiful, it’s addictive, and it is definetly not a
woman camera for beginners.
And it’s not even a luxury item, as some people state. It costs around 1400€ full price, you call that a luxury? A fucking Bmw is.
When the original X100 came out I was rocking a Canon 450d with a few cheap primes.
When the S came out, I was madly in love with my first full frame, the 5d II, and wouldn’t have betrayed it with a cheap-ass aps-c (disgusting OMG lacks the 3D look!!1! – that’s me talking a few years ago).
When the T came out, well, it was time for me to join the fun. I sold my 5d II, kept 3 lenses and the 6d that I had added to the 5d, and went in with a black T.
I loved it, but after about 15k shots I’ve had the opportunity to realize
a ménage à trois an old dream of mine, so I sold it to fund the purchase of a used Leica M9. To make a long story short: huge mistake. Massive mistake. Should have known better.
The intelligent man learns from his mistakes, the wise man from other’s mistakes. So bear with me.
The M9 is beautiful, but it’s nowhere as practical and refined as the T, and its sensor collected dust as a magnet.
When I went in a Leica store to have it repaired, they told me that the M9, quote, “it’s a camera for lovers of the Leica brand”, unquote, and that dust, well, it was not an issue for them, although the camera was (better, should have been) covered by warranty.
I sold it immediatly (at a loss), and
went back to my trusty old woman bought back another T (in silver).
At least this painful and expensive experience made me appreciate even more the T (btw, check out my X100T review here. It’s in Italian but there are a lot of pictures, no need to understand Italian for them).
I procedeed to
fuck her brains out take around 60k pictures with it, but last summer during a wedding a guest went full MotoGP podium on me splashing the T with champagne, and it died. Well, sort of.
It still somehow shoots, but the dials are all sticky, they don’t work properly, and the
surgery repair would have been super expensive and not worth it.
Since the couple I was shooting agreed to pay me back its value as a used camera, I used that money and some more cash to buy an F on August 1st, 2017.
After 16k shots with it, I’m happier than I ever was.
Update October 9th, 2018
After 37k shots, eheh.
I wasn’t planning to
betray again sell my T as I’m not rich and it still worked fine, but given the circumstancs… I can call myself lucky.
The F, as all the other X100s, is still a unique camera with no competitors from other brands.
The Sony RX1 and Leica Q might be similar, but are overpriced and lack many things that the X100 has.
A lot of things were perfect from the first X100, so why bother reinventing the wheel. No need to change what’s not broken, right?
The F is even more beautiful than the other X100s.
You can see immediatly that it’s an X100, everything is just more polished and cleaner. More on this later.
The soul is still the same. You do what you did with the original X100, it’s just faster and with less
The F is small and light (470gr).
It won’t fit your jeans’ pocket, but your jacket one, yes.
You can wear it all day (you should if you don’t), without being tired at night. Can’t do that with a reflex.
It’s the quietest camera out there. I can only laugh at those who say that Leicas are quiet… They might be less noisy than a reflex, sure, but they’re no competition for the X100.
Its leaf shutter is barely audible if you keep the camera close to your ear in a dead silent room, and in real world it’s completely silent.
The electronic shutter is 100% silent. You can add fake shutter noise from the menu if you wanna have an audio feedback… That says it all.
Update October 9th, 2018
If you use the electronic shutter, what is called “rolling shutter effect” can occur. I managed to obtain only once, on purpose to have something to show in this review, in a train. But maybe I don’t shoot the kind of subjets which provokes it often enough.
This allows you to shoot in situations where you normally couldn’t. Talking about museums, cerimonies (great for wedding photographers), theatres…
And you can shoot everywhere without being noticed.
Still the same 23mm f/2 (full frame 35mm equivalent).
The rendering is the same, the insane macro ability as well. Sharpness is just about righ, it flares beautifully at f/2 (if you don’t like it just use your hand as a hood, it is that small), and the bokeh is smooth.
Update: March 28, 2018
A couple of words more about the lens.
There’s a lot of talk lately about micro-contrast, Zeiss pop, or whatever you wanna call it. You can believe it or not, but it’s indeed true that some lenses have got something to them that’s not easy to define but that’s quite there… and to me, the X100 lens has it.
The only thing I still don’t like it’s the aperture wing: the lens being this small, it’s difficult to change aperture without touching the focusing ring as well. But I can cope with that.
The lens has minimal distortion, and zero distortion when you apply the LR correction profile.
Being a fixed lens camera, you never think about changing lens, or spending more money to buy a new one. You just go with it. (bonus: you won’t get your sensor dirty while changing lens)
Update: April 4th, 2019
It happened. My beloved had an issue.
In december, right in the middle of my Christmas holiday, I noticed an annoying spot in the sky of one picture. I thought: “Please, don’t let it be some dust on the sensor, please please”.
But of course it was. Dammit. I guess that’s an issue when you can’t remove your lens (and yes, I know that in this very review I wrote that the beauty of a fixed-lens camera is that “your can’t get dust on your sensor”).
It happened approsimately after 42000 shots, and I was lucky it was under warranty.
I had bought the camera in a French chain called Fnac, so they take care of the problem and if they can’t solve it they send the camera to a Fuji authorized lab.
Which it happened. The thing took what seemed to me like an infinite amount of time (january 3rd-february 2nd), time that seemed even longer because I had lent one of my two Canon 6d to a friend , and a week after giving the Fuji for repair I discovered that my other 6d had a shutter issue and it showed horrible light-leakings on top of the frames, which was extremely annoying as I had bought the camera in July 2017 and barely used it, good job it was still under warranty as well (bought in the same shop)… Anyway, I seem to be losing track of where I am.
When they gave the Fuji back to me, the “checkout” paper said that they:
So now I have a bit of an hibrid camera, with a battered lower part and a shining top. It works as it should. They did a factory reset so I lost all my settings, and the shutter count was back to zero.
Unfortunately, even the original lens cap hasn’t changed. Very stilish, ok, but it falls all the time. No big issue: I don’t use it. Neither I use the insanely overpriced original lens hood (if you want one, buy an off-brand one).
I use an UV filter on it, and the camera is always ready to go. But pay attention: since the lens moves while focusing, if you screw the filter directly it’s gonna touch the glass.
What you wanna do is take an old 39mm filter, remove the glass, screw the frame on the lens, and then screw the real filter on the old filter frame. Doing this you allow the lens enough space to move without touching anything. Here’s a picture (looks even better than the hood IMO, and it’s smaller).
Update: March 28, 2018
Well, even using a top-quality-high-price UV filter as I was, last week I’ve a done a brief comparison with/without the filter, and withouth the filter the image looks slightly better, especially in BW. Maybe it’s just a mental thing, whatever.
Anyway, I took off the filter and bought an off-brand (JJC) hood+adapter for 16€. I bought a no brand black 49mm clip-on lens cap, which fits perfectly inside the hood when the camera it’s inside the bag. From now on, I’ll use the filter only in sandy/rainy conditions.
Here are a couple of pics of the new set-up.
Update: March 29th, 2019
I had forgot to add: the hood creates some shadows with the built-in flash. If you use the flash, you better take it off.
THE LEAF SHUTTER
Leaf shutter means silent shutter and insanely high flash sync speed. Sync-at-any-speed-high.
Your small flash becomes a powerhouse, you can kill the sun in full daylight, or just use your flash at smaller power settings.
If you don’t know what this means, read this post by David Hobby aka The Strobist, and in general check out his website, starting from “Lighting 101”. I’ve just changed your life. You’re welcome.
Along with the X-Pro series, the X100 is the only camera to sport an EVF and an OVF at the same time.
I use the EVF 99% of the time: you can see the exposure real time, whatever film simulation you have, and the framing is 100% accurate.
The only situations where I use the OVF are:
The framing is way more precise than with a Leica, because the frame lines move. Still, the EVF is on a whole another level.
You can use a little electronic window on the bottom right of the OVF to check focus and exposure, but I don’t like it. When I use the OVF, I go OVF only. And only when I can stay at least at f/8, manual focusing in hyperfocal and then forgetting about it.
I know I should because it works fine, but I can’t manage to trust the autofocus with the OVF. But it’s just me: many do it happily.
Anyway, plenty of choice. You get the best of both worlds.
Incredible. Well, I’m a long time Canon user and Canon sucks at white balance, I don’t need much in terms of wb to be impressed, but the auto-wb of the Fujis is hands-down amazing.
If you don’t wanna cool down or warm the scene on purpose, don’t bother fiddling with it: it’s gonna be right.
I use the manual wb only while shooting artificial light.
Fuji colors rendition is unique. Some don’t like it, most do. I’m one of those. It’s great for skin tones.
I never use it, but if I wanna hand the camera to my girlfriend or some of my friends I just turn all the dials to A, turn the flash on, set face recognition on, and it works flawlessly.
Try that with a Canon.
Fuji constantly improves their cameras with firmware updates. By improving I don’t mean just solving issues: I mean really improving them.
Only brand to do that. There are probably more changes in a Fuji update than in a Sony new camera (I’m only half-joking — try to count how many A7 they’ve dropped since the original).
It’s more rugged (not that the older ones looked cheap, but this is just… better), cleaner, and the shape is slightly different (especially the top).
No more T or S mark on the front of the camera (thanks), and the ergonomics is miles ahead.
The camera is still available in silver or black (my choice), it’s still all metal (feels great in hand, although a bit cold in winter), and still made in Japan.
Update: April 4th, 2019
If the standard X100F weren’t pretty enough (which it is), Fujifilm is now (sort of, since it’s been availble for many months) selling a brown version. It looks stunning if you ask me, and I would have bought it 100% had it been available in 2017.
This picture is from Ivan Joshua Loh (you can find other pictures on his aptly titled post “Gear porn at its best“).
Update: March 28, 2018
The front of the X100T, for comparison.
The back is what changed the most: all the buttons are on the right (don’t need two hands to push buttons anymore), and there’s the joystick!
Wonderful addition: just change the focus point with that (much faster than before), or use it to browse images, options, and menus. It’s great.
Little trick: if you wanna get back quickly to the center point,double click the joystick, done. With the T, I sometimes forgot where I was and had to double check in the EVF, now I just double click the joystick and now where I’m at.
Update: March 28, 2018
This is the backside of the X100T.
Another great addiction: the iso dial.
This, along with the focus point selection, was my biggest complaint about the T. When I turned on the camera, I often forgot which iso it was set at, now I can see it on the shutter speed dial. Perfect.
Just lift it and rotate it. Quick, easy, functional.
Another trick: set the iso to A, and with the front dial (yeah, haven’t mentioned it yet, another welcome addition) you can change the iso from L (100) to H (25600 or 51200), to the three auto options (customizable from the menu). I don’t use auto iso anyway, but it works well.
Practically every button is a custom fn button: add the custom Q menu, and you’ll seldom need to use the (still far from perfect) internal menu.
There’s a new C setting on the exposure compensation dial: when in C, you can use the front dial to go from -5 to +5 exposure compensation. I rarely shoot in aperture/shutter speed priority, but if you do this is another welcome addition.
The body is slightly bigger than the T, and my T case doesn’t fit the F. I wasn’t using it anyway, so I sold it.
Update October 9th, 2018
I am the kind of person who likes to see his camera getting older, adding a scratch here and there, showing that’s been used (and abused, talking about mine).
Still, the X100F doesn’t give me too much satisfaction because all I have to show after 14 months are these little dents on the bottom, and some paintwork off in the corners.
And I’ve literally took it with me every single day except maybe no more than 10.
For her firs birthday I bought her a soft shutter release, and I have to say, I quite like it.
The F houses the same X-Trans III sensor of the X-Pro2 and X-T2.
Yes, it’s an aps-c sized sensor. Yes. So what. It’s fantastic, and for the type of camera the F is, I’d rather have the little added DOF that the aps-c size offers.
It has more resolution (24mpx vs the T’s 16), better iso performance (I’d say around 1 stop better, but the grain looks better at any setting), and you can choose between uncompressed or compressed raw files.
The compressed raw are called “lossless” compressed raws for a reason: if your raw converter of choiche supports them, there’s no difference with the uncompressed ones.
The latters though, are twice as fat in terms of memory. Shoot compressed.
Many people shoot jpeg with Fuji, stating that they are good enough. Well… They sure look good, but hard disks and memory cards are so cheap nowadays, I don’t see the point in shooting jpeg only, unless you’re a sport photographer or pj who needs to send the picture immediatly. The raw has much more latitude for correcting mistakes, and you can always shoot raw+jpeg (fine or normal), and use the raw if the jpeg is not the way you want it.
And I hate the way the processors handles high-iso photos: even with the noise reduction set to the minimum, they do look mushy after iso 2500. I say mushy, I mean flat-out shit.
I’d rather have a noisier pic than a mushy one, any day.
Another hot topic: which raw converter to use?
Apparently Lightroom is not the ideal choice for X-Trans files.
My experience: it’s plenty good enough.
It’s true that:
But it’s also true that:
But… That’s just me. I would only consider switching to Capture One, but since I’m happy with LR, I don’t see the point in changing.
Of course if you’re the type of person that would rather compare 187 different raw converters instead of actually taking pictures just for the sake of having the best brick walls photos on the internet, well… Go for it. To each his own, right?
My two cent: try whatever you want, then use what’s good enough for you (and your
wallet clients if you’re a pro).
Update October 9th, 2018
Another little add-up: I’m sure that with another converter the X-Trans’ files could be even sharper… But for the kind of shooting I do they’re often already sharper than I’d want.
Sharpness is a Bourgeois Concept
Don’t shoot. I’m just the messenger. Henri Cartier-Bresson said that… Oh oh.
Update April 15th, 2019
Here is where I eat my words.
I’ve been growing more and more frustrated with Lightroom lately.
It’s slower than the paycheck when your rent is late, there’s an update every couple of days but in the last year or so it’s just getting slower and clunkier, and I’m tired of having to go through shortcuts (e.g. the smart preview trick) for it to perform (sort of) decently.
So, after many years of “I’ll check it out tomorrow”, I gave Capture One a thorough try, considering that in autumn 2018 they announcend a new version in which they collaborated with Fuji.
And… I’m impressed.
So much that after one day I knew I was done with Lightroom.
Many reasons, the main ones are the followings:
Oh, another PS.
Just out of curiosity and given its low price (29,99$), I tried Iridient Transformer.
it doesn’t replace Lightroom, it converts your Raf files into Dng ones, and it does a better job at demosaicing them.
Basically, you add one step at the beginning of your workflow.
So to me, it’s a no-go. You take the World Slowest Software, Lightroom, and you drag it down even more, complicating your workflow with dubious results.
It might make sense if you have a particular image where you see weird stuff happening and you wanna try to correct it. But, but…
Do yourself a favor and try Capture One. Or stick with Lightroom.
Another, maybe last, PS.
I wanted to cancel my Adobe CC subscrition, and when I clicked on “cancel”, the following screenshot appeared.
I shoot raw+jpeg (normal): I develop the raws of the pics I like, and delete the ones of the pictures I don’t like at all or are misfocused, and so on. I’ll keep the jpegs of the latters just as an archive, but don’t wanna fill my hard drives with shit raws I’ll never use.
Another advantage of shooting raw+jpeg is that if you like to shoot square formaat, you can see the square image in the EVF (or screen), and the raw file, althoug full size, will be pre-cropped while imported in LR. Composing is much easier. I don’t shoot square though, it’s just FYI.
Update: March 28, 2018
I’ve been forced to shoot square BW in an assignment shot for the swiss director Hanspeter Ammann, and I like it. I’ll definetly use it in the future. Some more shots in square format here.
Update: February 18th, 2019
Here’s the book that came out from the collaboration between me and Hanspeter.
The F has a new bw simulation, Acros. It’s nice, but my favourite choice for bw is: import the raw file, set the Classic Chrome simulation, then convert to bw.
Talking about bw… Am I the only one to think that Fuji black and white rendering is just gorgeous? No I know I’m not.
One last thing: there’s plenty of talk on the internet about the difference in actual exposure between Fuji files and other manufacturers’ ones.
I was curious, so I’ve done this little test in my flat. Click on the picture to download the raw file.
Pic 1: X100F, 1/13. f/4, iso 6400
(no correction profile added)
Pic 2: Canon 6d + Sigma Art 24-105, 1/13, f/4, iso 6400
(the framing is different, but I haven’t moved the tripod, and the Sigma, has you can see from the exif, is at 35mm. Not sure why)
Draw your own conclusion about this test, but I just wanna say that the noise to me looks better on the F, and the awb, well… enough said.
Update October 9th, 2018
Another thing: the Sigma lens might have a different T/stop number than the X100F one: I have no way to verify this as I don’t have any other 35mm fov equivalent lens.
Way faster than before.
To me the best improvement is the joystick, but the autofocus itself it’s enourmosly better than the T.
Now even the continuous autofocus is reliable (couldn’t say that for the T). I don’t usually shoot subjects that need tracking, but in case I know I can count on the F. It’s not as good or customizable as it’s on the X-T2, but it’s not a sport/wildlife camera.
Many people don’t know it, but the af speed changes a lot with the dimensions of the af point. To set it, press the joystick and then rotate the back dial. The bigger the point, the faster the af. Use smaller points only if you need to precisely focus on small objects.
On the X100F there are even too many (325) focus points available: I use the 91 points option, as 325 are far too many too browse in practical use. They might be useful for still life photography (or any kind of veeeery slow shooting), but to me 91 points is the sweet spot.
Update October 9th, 2018
Here is a very nice learn-how-to-focus-with-a-Fuji post.
If you come from a reflex, focusing with a Fuji is quite different from what you used to.
Don’t try to adapt the Fuji to your reflex-based focusing style: it will be frustrating, the same way you don’t ask a spoon to cut a steak.
Better reset your focus mechanism and re-learn from zero, concentrating on the Fuji’s strong points.
With the Canon, I prefere back-button focusing. To use it with Fuji, you need to set the focus on M (=manual) on the left-side switch, then either you manual focus either you back-button autofocus with the “AEL-AFL” button under your left thumb (much better positioned than on the T btw!).
My F stays in M 99% of the time (bonus: in M mode, you don’t need to turn on the macro mode, it will work by default).
Update: March 28, 2018
This is another aspect in which it’s miles ahead of any reflex: being able to change in a fraction of a second from back-button focusing to shutter-button focusing it’s something I’d really like to have on my 6d… But I don’t.
When you shoot in M mode you have a distance scale with the dof indicator in the viewfinder or in the LCD: it’s not super precise, but it gives a rough idea of where your focus will be, and it’s particularly helpful when shooting stopped down. When I shoot on the street I generally back-button focus on my feet, set the aperture to f/8, iso and shutter speed to whatever needed, and then I know I’m good to go and I just need a quarter of a full rotation to go slightly closer or farther.
Update: April 5th, 2019
In the last months I’ve been using the autofocus on shutter button a little more, especially at wide-ish apertures.
About back-button focusing: my X100F is now even top and front button focusing, as I set the front and top fn buttons to activate focus as well. I use all three depending on the situation. You can really taylor the camera on yourself.
Actual manual focusing, due to the focus-by wire mechanism, is still quirky at best. Don’t really use it a part from low light wide open shooting sometimes.
The F new processor is much faster than the F in everything, from turning the camera on, to menu browsing, to setting changing.
It’s just more responsive.
Even the buffer is better. I always turn the auto-play option off, so I can keep shooting even while the camera is recording images.
I can’t understand why they don’t copy the Canon ones, the Fuji menus are still all but perfect (everbody hates multiple sub-menus, and this camera is full of them).
At least now there’s a “MY MENU” setting (about fucking time), where you can set your most-used settings. When you enter the menu, the my menu page is the first to show up.
I use it for my off-camera flash settings (more on that later).
What’s still slow and annoying is the format card option. You can’t add it to my menu (please fix this with a firmware update), and to acces it you have to:
Update April 16, 2018
As M said in the comments (thank you!), there is a way to quick-format the damn camera.
Press and hold the “delete” button for a couple of seconds, and then press the back dial: the format menu will appear, just select yes >> ok. Thank you M!
Haven’t mentioned this in the body chapter, but the F sports the same battery as the X-Pro2 and X-T2.
This is great news. First thing: if you own other flagship Fujis, you can share the same batteries and chargers.
Update October 9th, 2018
Valid for the new Fuji X-T3 as well.
Second: the T battery was small and lasted next to nothing. The F battery is bigger and more powerful.
Even setting the camera to “High performance” (which you should) it lasts longer than the T.
I used to carry 5 batteries with me (the original + 4 off-brand spares), now I just go with three, and rarely need to change the first one.
With the T very seldom I made it to the end of the day with my first battery.
I still own 5 for weddings, but usually I go out with just three.
As always with Fuji, original accessories (including batteries) are outrageously expensive.
I bought 4 Patona batteries and one charger for less than the price of one original Fuji battery. They’re slightly less powerful, but I can buy four. That will do, thanks.
The T battery indicator was useless: it had 4 segments, but when it was at 3/4 it could fall to 0 any minute. Now it has 5 segments and it’s much more reliable.
When you shoot from the screen, if you press DISP BACK you can even see the percentage of battery left (welcome to the 21st century Fuji).
Ah, the charger. Looks better, but it’s still inadequate.
When it’s charging the light is green (doesn’t make sense to me), when the battery is full, the led turns off. One day the cable wasn’t connected very well (my fault), I just plugged it in and forgot about it, in the morning I saw that the light was off and thought the battery was full, but of course it was still empty.
Why can’t they make them like Canon, with red blinking light while charging (1 blink = 1/4 battery charged, and so on), and green fixed led when charged? Beats me. Fix this please. It is an issue.
Another little quirk of the new batteries: in the old ones I used to put little tape marks to number them (1, 2, 3, 4): I had taped the new ones on the side, and they wouldn’t come of the battery housing anymore! The housing is tighter than before, so if you wanna tape the batteries do it on the bottom. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning.
Not much, but the F is not perfect.
Of course complaining on the internet as I’m about to do is much easier than designing and manufacturing a camera: for a behind the scenes look at what goes on at Fuji while deciding what features to include in a new camera, read this post by David Hobby. It’s about the X-Pro2, but the same goes for the F or any other camera.
NO DOUBLE SD
Major complaint of many. Not an issue for me, I always buy good quality cards and change them every couple of years just in case, they’re cheap enough today.
For years photographers have coped with one roll of film or one sd, now apparently you can’t venture out of the door without a double sd…
I think it’s fine as long you don’t do stupid things like:
If you wanna learn the memory card bon-ton, read this post by the former Lexar marketing director.
Update: March 28, 2018
This are the cards that I use on the F, and that I used on the T.
NO WEATHER SEALING
I think it’s a body design issue. Everybody wants it, but if Fuji hasn’t implemented it yet there has to be a reason.
I use the F under light rain all the time anyway, but I wouldn’t pour champagne of it, as my story with the T shows. Lesson learned, until the next drunk wedding guest.
NO TILTABLE LCD SCREEN
This is the feature I really miss. Again, probably a body design issue, but after trying a friend’s X-T2 I want that damn tiltable screen. I want it, period.
SETTINGS ARE EASILY CHANGED WITH THE CAMERA HANGING FROM YOUR NECK
Especially the joystick. It moves really easily, so the focus point it’s gonna change just by bumping on your jacket.
Update October 9th, 2018
This is probably the most annoying thing about the Fuji in real use (along wwith then next point): I now have developed a sort of tic, everytime I rise the camera to my eye I automatically double-press the joystick, so it will center back the focus point.
NO MENU ON THE SCREEN WITH EVF ONLY SETTING
I keep the camera on Viewfinder Only setting 99% of the time, but I’d like to see the menu on the screen when pressing the menu button. Easily adjustable via firmware, but maybe I’m the only one with this issue.
Update: March 28, 2018
I don’t like the eye-sensor mode, where you the viewfinder turns on when you approach your eye to the sensor near it. It’s faster than on the T, but not fast enough for me when shooting in fast-paced enviroments. I don’t like neither the viewfinder/lcd alternaate mode, for the same reason.
I’d like to being able to disable the two sensor modes and change from “lcd only” to “viewfinder only” in one click with the “view mode” button, but it’s not possible yet. Firmware? Am I the only one with this problem?
At the time of this writing, the only way is press the “view mode” button three times in a row, but not too fast if not the camera will skip a beat. Quite annoying! (Yes I know, I’m nit-picking)
It’s in the “up” selector, and can’t be moved somewhere else or disabled. A couple of times it changed to video while bumping on my t-shirt, and it took a couple of seconds for me to realize what happened. Annoying. I’d rather have it hidden in the menu or in some fn button.
It doesn’t look very nice, and the quality is low. The inside after a while starts losing bits and becomes scratchy.
Update October 9th, 2018
I now have a unique strap made by a friend, which is better than the original.
CAN’T SEE HOW MANY PICTURES YOU’VE SHOT
Not sure if I’m too stupid to find this setting, but I couldn’t in the T neither. While in playback mode, I can’t manage to have the number of picture I’ve taken (e.g. 1/64). Woud be practical.
USE WITH GLOVES
I live in Paris. Winters are pretty cold here, but if I wanna use the F (as I do) I know I can’t wear gloves withouth pushing 54 buttons at the same time.
In the rare occasions the F won’t lock focus, it will hunt back and forth for a couple of seconds and the only way to stop it quickly is to turn the camera off and back on. It’s frustrating when you see the scene developing in front of your eyes and can’t do anything but wait while the camera goes bzz-bzz back and forth. At least in M/back-focusing mode, it should be possible to manual-override the af, but it isn’t.
Not precise. I set it with my two 6ds, and already after a couple of weeks it’s off by a few minutes, while the Canons are still on point. It was an issue with the T, it’s still an issue with the F.
A good trick if you’re shooting multiple cameras jobs: don’t bother changing the in-camera clock.
Install on your smartphone a “global phone” app, shoot a picture of it with every camera you’re gonna use, and then change the acquisition time in LR referring to that picture. Done.
Many say that Fuji is the new Leica. I don’t agree. Fuji is a better Leica.
Let’s see… what are the major points that made Leicas the camera of choice for documentary and reportage photographers back in the days?
Leicas are insanely overpriced. Even if you wanna talk about “historical heritage” and similar bullshit, they will still be overpriced. How many people can afford a normal Leica kit (with a backup body)? Mmh. Leicas, unlike Fujis or other cameras, are luxury objects.
Lenses are great, no doubts, but so are Fuji lenses.
With a Fuji you leave for a trip knowing that the camera will work, with a Leica you leave wondering whether you’ll have to realign the rangefinder mechanism (a friend of mine went to China with his M240 and misfocused all of his shot under f/4 due to a rangefinder mislagninment), and hoping that the heavily flawed electronic won’t bug or let you down.
And in general walking with a Leica means walking with 6000+€ hanging from your neck. I didn’t feel completely at ease walking in dodgy areas with the M9.
They’re more boutique objects than real world cameras. Step into a random Leica store to see what I mean: their main business is selling expensive cameras to old people who won’t use them.
The so-called rangefinder experience is indeed very nice, but there’s no point in denying that a Fuji works better than a Leica in pretty much every aspect.
The M9 is still a broken dream for me, but going back in time I would never buy it again. No close-focusing. No live view. No precise framing. Buggy electronics. Ridiculous “high-iso” (ah-ehm) performance. Laughable dynamic range. And I won’t even mention again the dust on the sensor problem.
The main point is: everything you do with a Leica you can do with a Fuji, most of what you can do with a Fuji you can’t with a Leica. Period.
Last thing. Leicas are beautiful to see, but holding them you get the feeling that they are delicate objects. You get that feeling because, well, they are. To each is own… But Fuji is a better Leica.
I would buy a Leica just as an investment, if I had enough cash to spare: every couple of years or so they come out with special limited editions like the Lenny Kravitz Leica. I would buy one of those, not touch it, put it in a closet and forget about it for 20 years, and then sell for twice the amount of money I’ve spent on it. Unfortunately at the moment I can’t afford to do this.
Now back to the F.
Random bits, as many settings are already described above.
I use the F almost always at iso 1600, as I find this its sweet spot. The grain is almost non-existent, and since in Paris the light changes a lot I’d rather play with the shutter speed than with the iso. Sometimes I’ll use “stupid” settings like f/8, iso 1600, 1/2000, but who cares. Iso 1600 is beautiful in black and white as well.
Somehow I rarely shoot vertical with this camera, don’t know why.
I always keep the shutter on the “m+e” (mechanical+electronic) setting. By default it will use the mechanical, but when needed (e.g. full sunlight wide open) it will switch to electronic, allowing crazy fast shutter speed. Flash doesn’t work with the electronic shutter.
I set the auto power off to 5 minutes. To turn it back on, press the shutter release. You’ll know it’s on because it will slightly vibrate.
I actually keep the Q menu half-empty, as I don’t need as many items and thus I’m faster to browse among the ones I use. Here’s my setting.
As stated above, I normally use back-button focusing in M mode, but when using normal autofocus mode (S), I’ll keep face detection off and use single-point focusing and recompose. I seldom use Zone or Wide/Tracking modes, but if I want to I can quickly access them from the Q menu.
Ah. You see that “ND OFF” setting? This camera, as the T had, has an in-built ND filter (a real one, not some electronic gimmick). Very useful for flash and landscape photography.
My go-to film simulation for colors is Classic Chrome.
Ok, this is where the My Menu option really comes handy.
First thing, this is how I’ve set it.
As off-camera flashes, I use two Canon 430 EX II, triggered by Yongnuo RF603CII triggers (it’s the Canon model).
The hot-shoe is somehow tighter than the Canon one, so there’s no need to tighten the trigger in it, it won’t move anyway.
In order to actually fire the flashes, you have to:
If you don’t do this the flash won’t fire.
In My Menu I’ve put the Shutter Type setting: in case it slipped on Electronic Shutter, I can quickly set it back to M or M+E, if not the flash won’t work.
I’ve added the Wb setting as well in order to have more control on color temperature in case I’m using gels or mixed light sources.
I set the EXP Preview off when using off-camera flash because I often want to keep the background underexposed, and with the exposure preview on I wouldn’t see anything in the Evf. This setting was hidden in the menu with the T, now it’s much more practical to reach.
Just a couple of words on the Built-In flash. It’s small, but with the hi-speed sync of the F it can be very powerful. Used in TTL it’s super intelligent and rarely miss the exposure. The news with the F is that you can also set it manually. If I go flash, I usually go off-camera flash though. But it’s nice knowing that when I need a small and reliable flash I can just turn it on and know it will work.
To me, the fixed lens notwithstanding, the X100F is the most versatile camera available now.
It can do so many things, and do them well. Of course a great camera in the wrong hands becomes useless, of course the most important piece of gear is that mushy thing between your ears, but…
It’s a joy to use.
The thing it does best: recording memories. This is my go-to camera for persons and situations that mean the most to me. You won’t see those pictures in this review, but they’re the ones that I go back to more often.
Update October 9th, 2018
Indeed. This is the hardcore personal camera. I mean it. My hard-drives are PACKED with personal pictures taken with my trusty shitty X100F… boy, oh boy, do I love it.
It’s a camera for love, friends, a camera for tears, heart-aches, regrets, smiles.
If it sounds like bullshit and you don’t believe me, well, so what?
I know it.
In general it’s a great documentary cameras: small, light, quiet, great in low light. It can go wherever you go, and record what you see without IQ compromises. Yes, phones are getting better every day, but no phone is gonna be as pleasurable to use as this camera is.
You can use it for work, if you’re fine with the 35mm field of view.
It’s the desert island cameras for the majority of street photographers out there.
It’s the camera that will make it through controls in events where “No professional cameras” are allowed. Oups. Of course if your pride is hurt by not being recognized as a PRO you can always walk around with a D5 and 24-70 + 70-200 kit. You’ll be walking outside the gig, but hey, everybody will know. You’re a PRO. Oh oh.
It’s the ideal camera for holidays and trips. Ok, maybe not the best choice for a safari, but I can’t think of bringing anything else when I travel. All the travel pictures you see on my blog have been shot only with an X100 (T, and then F).
The X100F, as the T, has an internal shutter count. It’s not super precise, but it gives a rough idea of how many shots you’ve taken with the camera.
I normally keep the camera in a Billingham Hadley Digital, along with my everyday items (wallet, keys, metro card, power bank, usb cable, Patona battery charger, two spare Patona batteries, lens cloth, e-reader, phone, backup SD). I bought it black (50% discounted), and it goes really well with my black F.
When I need to bring more stuff, I use a Billingham f/stop 2.8, where I can put, along with everything I put in the Hadley Digital, even a Canon 6d with a 85mm f/1.2 or 200mm f/2.8 lens. They’re stylish, robust, durable and waterproof. There are only two kind of persons in the world: those who like Billingham bags and those who never tried them.
The X100F can shoot videos, but it’s not the best camera for that purpose. Go Canon or Sony if you do videos (I don’t).
Talking about Sony… Just a couple of lines. [personal opinion alert]
They can have the most incredible dynamic range, they can be full frame, you can adapt pretty much every lens on them… But…
My god, aren’t they ugly. To see, to handle, to use. I just can’t cope with them. No doubt you can produce wonderful work with them, but, call me hipster if you want (although I can’t even grow a proper beard and I don’t have a fixed bike), I wouldn’t touch them with a cattle prod.
The interface is orrible, the dials and buttons are all in the wrong place, and they look more like computer than cameras to me.
A wee story: I was shooting a wedding, and one of the guests was a girl from New Zealand. She had bought a Sony A7R (I think the original one, not sure as they come out with 4/5 new models every year) because someone told her that it was the camera to have and she wanted a serious camera.
Of course, being a beginner, she couldn’t understand anything about that
laptop camera, and she asked me to help her.
I explained her how her Sony worked, and she was already beginning to have an headache.
She then pointed at the X100T hanging from my neck, and asked me if she could try it. Of course, go ahead sweetheart. Well, I’ll never forget her words after 10 seconds with the Fuji: “Wow, this feels like a real camera.”
Because it fucking is a real camera. It’s not a computer!
End of story.
The F has no IBIS.
I don’t give a shit I’m happy with that, and I hope it will stay the same even in future iterations. I can hand-hold it to really slow shutter speed, it has great low-light performance, and an f/2 lens. IBIS is not the best thing for your sensor, I’d rather be without it.
The F, as the T, has wi-fi. You can shoot from your phone, or transfer images to it. I’ve never used it nor felt the need to, so can’t talk about it.
It has no gps. I don’t care.
You can mount the same additional lenses (WCL and TCL, 28mm and 50mm equivalents) that you used on the T, or use the new versions. They’re optically the same, the only difference is that the camera automatically recognize the new ones and you don’t have to set the converter option in the menu. I wouldn’t bother buying the new ones if I already owned the old versions.
I’m not a big fan of the 50mm fov so I’m not interested in the TCL, but for about a year I owned the WCL and used it on the T. I’ve sold it as I found myself preferring the 35mm fov, and not liking the extra bulk on the camera.
If you’re a 28mm fan though, I highly recommend the WCL: IQ is the same, aperture is the same, af speed is the same. It blocks the bottom-right of the OVF and distorces a bit more (easily solved in LR).
Update: March 28, 2018
For those who have never seen it, here’s how the WCL looks like on my old X100T. Here are my pics shot with it.
Generally speaking, I love what Fuji is doing.
Call me a fan boy, but I really do. I’d like to jump completely in the Fuji world, and the only reason I haven’t yet goes by the name of his majesty the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II. That lens… OMG, that lens. It’s hands-down my favourite lens, I love everything about it. Yes, the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 is very nice, but… They’re not the same. Not even close, if you ask me. The Canon is in a league of its own.
I’m a sucker for nice gear, and my favourite toys are, guess what, the X100F and the Canon 85mm. I would love to use the 85mm on an X-T2 (it’s a so much better camera than my 6d!) withouth cropping it, and if anyone does it via these new Speedbooster adapters, please, hit me in the comment section or via e-mail. Please do.
Update October 9th, 2018
Well, fuck Canon. I was really hoping they would knock it out of the park with their long(LONG)-awaited full frame mirrorless
I was really hoping they would give me a damn reason not to ditch them completely and keep using their marvelous 85mm and 200mm (talking about their EF 200mm f/2.8 L II, probably one of the most under-rated lenses ever — it’s a jewel) on a Canon body with no crop and an EVF… but the Canon R sucks big time. God it sucks. And it’s expensive.
And Fuji at the very same time came out with a one-two combination that set my camera future in one day: the new Fuji X-T3 and GFX50R.
They both kick some serious ass.
Listen to me, and tell me what you think.
My kit right now stars:
You see where I’m headed? No? Ok, this is the plan.
I won’t sell a damn thing. I always regretted selling anything, including my Canon 450d: what I now learned is that I want to keep all of my cameras and lenses. Used digital cameras are worth next to nothing anyway, and my Canon kit is nice & useful for work.
So my plan is: put aside some money and then start to build a Fuji kit. First step: Fuji X-T3 with 18-55, 23mm f/2, and Voigtlander 40mm f/1,2.
Second step: Fuji GFX50R.
Why the X-T3? Because it’s as good as they come. I’m struggling to find some shortcoming to the camera… I’m even afraid that when I’ll have it it will make my X100F collect some dust.
The 18-55 would do what the 24-105 does for me on the Canon right now. The 23 f/2 would be my everyday lens, to mimic my X100F adding a better EVF and (can’t wait) tiltable LCD. The last point is the main thing for me and for the way I’m shooting, especially lately.
The Voigtlander 40 1,2 is a gem. I had the 35 1,2 on the Leica M9 and it was jaw-dropping, the 40 is even better. On the X-T3 it would become an equivalent 60mm, which is a very different focal lenght from 50mm. I prefere it.
Ok, and the GFX? It would be my full-frame camera. I would stick the Canon 85 and 200 in it, and use the GFX in crop (ahah) mode. Don’t care if the AF is not fast, I use them mainly in manual focus on my Canon anyway. So… Fuck you Canon. Fuji, you got me.
Update July 14th, 2019
Not yet. If you read this much, first of all congratulations. Second, I’m gonna advertise something very special and dear to me.
I’m very proud and happy to announce that this shitty little camera shot 61 out of 136 images of my new photobook (the remaining 69 are divided between my Canon 6d (5) and my old Fuji X100T (65)).
It’s called WOW Vol.1 – Paris Chambre de Bonne, and it’s the tale of the three years I spent in Paris.
You can read the story behind it and buy it at this page. It’s as drunken as a book can be. Ok, end of the advertsing section.
Not much to add after 7000 words.
Update October 9th, 2018
More like 8990. Shit
The X100F, for what it aims to be, is as close to perfection as they come.
It reached a maturity that the previous X100s lacked, and has no major shortcomings.
Everything can be improved, but this camera goes completely out of the way and gives one of the most beautiful shooting experiences available today.
While using the T, I often thought: “Oh, if only Fuji fixed this, or that…”
Well, they fixed this and even that.
Not sure whether they can significantly improve this camera without a major design change. Bravo Fuji.
Final thought about the price. It’s not cheap, but it’s not even expensive. You get a flagship (and unique) camera (+lens) for less than 1500€. Completely worth the money. There are worse camera sold at much higher price.
You can see other pictures taken with my F, including the ones taken after this review, at this Flickr link.
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