Fujifilm X100F - Camera Review

Fuji X 100F Review vs. X-Pro2 with an XF 23mm f/1.4 R

How does the X 100F stack up in today’s market and would it be a decent travel mate?

Thanks to Leo’s Camera Supply in Vancouver for making the Fujifilm X 100F available to me for my reviews. I was able to take it for a spin over a weekend.

 
First things first. A proper inspection conducted by Meli.

First things first. A proper inspection conducted by Meli.

 

I have been curious about the X 100F since it was released in January of 2017. The camera is probably due for a refresh soon, but according to Fujirumors, we won’t see a new version of the X 100 until sometime in 2020. So there is still time to enjoy this camera.

History of the Fujifilm X100 Series

The X 100F is featherweight and smaller than my X-Pro2 and X-H1 and this is probably the strongest selling point. The best camera is the one you have with you and admittedly, lately, I’ve been leaving the house without a camera and have used my iPhone 6s instead. Camera phones are so good now and make it easy to share social media content on the fly. As a Fuji user, the X100F instantly feels familiar. I was able to dig into the menus and have it set up for my liking in just a few minutes. I dialed in my preferred auto ISO settings. A feature I used to resist but have become a big fan of. My preferred shooting mode is aperture priority. The compensation dial is very similar to the one on the X-Pro2 and easy to adjust. The aperture ring now allows incremental 1/3 stop settings but I do find the two handles on the aperture ring cumbersome compared to the seamless aperture ring on the XF lenses. A counter-argument to this would be, that you would be able to learn which aperture you have the camera set to without looking at any settings. I am sure I could get used to it. It’s a sturdy little camera and built quality is not far behind an X-Pro2. It’s good, but not quite on par. The Fuji leaf shutter makes for near silent operation.

Handling the X100F

The X 100F is featherweight and smaller than my X-Pro2 and X-H1 and this is probably the strongest selling point. The best camera is the one you have with you and admittedly, lately, I’ve been leaving the house without a camera and have used my iPhone 6s instead. Camera phones are so good now and make it easy to share social media content on the fly. As a Fuji user, the X 100F instantly feels familiar. I was able to dig into the menus and have it set up for my liking in just a few minutes. I dialed in my preferred auto ISO settings. A feature I used to resist but have become a big fan of. My preferred shooting mode is aperture priority. The compensation dial is very similar to the one on the X-Pro2 and easy to adjust. The aperture ring now allows incremental 1/3 stop settings but I do find the two handles on the aperture ring cumbersome compared to the seamless aperture ring on the XF lenses. A counter-argument to this would be, that you would be able to learn which aperture you have the camera set to without looking at any settings. I am sure I could get used to it. It’s a sturdy little camera and build quality is not far behind an X-Pro2. It’s good, but not quite on par.

 

Fujifilm X 100 F ready for action

 

The X100F In Action

When I hear X100F, I think street photography and decided to head out on a gorgeous summer solstice day here in Vancouver. The X100F is inconspicuous and easy to carry, either in your hand or with a neck strap you barely feel you are carrying a digital camera. The leaf shutter is near silent and you can snap away without getting noticed in the streets. I could certainly see this as a competent travel camera. I have often debated the option of travel with just one camera and one lens. The only thing stopping me is; FOMO. The fear of missing out. On one hand, traveling super light means freedom and yet there would be times I would wish for more options I am afraid. You do have the option to buy converters for the X 100F. There is a Fujifilm X100 teleconverter with a 50mm focal length equivalent, Fujifilm TCL-X100 1.4x II and a wide angle converter, 28mm focal length, Fujifilm WCL-X100. I did not test these and would rather go with an X mount body with two or three lenses given the choice. AF was not as fast as I had expected but I never felt I missed shots because of it.

Comparing the X100F to an X-Pro2 with an XF 23mm f/1.4 R

The X100F has a fixed lens, a 23mm and wide open at f/2 it should be sufficient for most situations including some low light photography. Below are comparison shots from the X100F to and X-Pro2 with an XF 23mm f/1.4 lens. Similar focal length at 23mm, one-stop advantage, but the X100F in a much smaller package. It would have been fair to compare with the XF 23mm f/2 R WR, but I have the f/1.4 version, so for me, this is what the X 100F is up against. There is an obvious size/weight difference. The X-Pro2 setup weighs 795g and the X 100F, 469g. So roughly 70% heavier. The sensor is the same. Camera body layout is similar.

 

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with an XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujifilm X 100F size comparison

 

X100F Size

When you talk about camera size there is no right or wrong. It comes down to personal preference. It is hard to argue against the smaller size and weight for the X 100F, especially if you purchase with travel in mind. The X-Pro2, however, is by no means a huge camera compared to the digital SLRs I used to lug around. The LCD is better on the X-Pro2, the grip is better but with time I am sure I’d get the hang of the X 100F.

Let us take a look at a few photos taken with both combinations. See the captions for the photos and read on below…

 
 
 

Fujifilm X100F image quality

The X100F exceeded my expectations. The X-Pro2 images, processed in Capture One Express, are slightly warmer despite the same RAW settings. As for sharpness, there is no meaningful difference for web size images such as these. At least to my eye. You have to view at 100% to see that The XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens is a notch sharper with more contrast.

Fujifilm X100F Price

At the time I wrote this article the X100F is listed at CAD $1649.00 but I have seen it on the used market as low as CAD $1000.00. I’d say if you can find a pre-owned copy in decent condition it would make for an appealing choice.

Conclusion

So which setup comes out the winner? The answer is both. It depends on your starting point with the Fujifilm system. Are you looking for your first camera, a one and only camera, or are you looking to add the X 100F to your setup to compliment other cameras? Personally, I’m tied into having several XF lenses and I am already covered at the 23mm focal length with a lens, slightly better than the one on the X 100F. The lure of the X 100F would be to leave all the bulk behind and settle for a light/stealth/slick setup, which would produce perfectly acceptable image quality. When we purchase gear, however, we also try to look into the crystal ball. What is on the horizon. According to Fujirumors an X-Pro3 will likely be released in the fall of 2019 and X100 V or X 200 sometime in 2020. In the meantime, the X 100F is still an excellent choice. Watch for deals as the camera nears the end of its cycle or check the used market.

Below are few shots from Vancouver on Summer Solstice, all X 100F. Processed with Capture One Express. Some images are slightly cropped and on some of the images I have been using Fuji’s film simulations, such as Classic Chrome, Velvia and Acros.