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My Fuji X100V Review


Andrew L (gryphon1911)

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Andrew L (gryphon1911)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-06-2020_df_x100v-pics_dsc_2379.jpg

 

The leaf shutter was awesome, not only being quiet, but allowing for a wider range of flash sync speeds than the DSLRs that I've used.

The hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder was something that we'd never seen before.

While not pant pocketable, it was certainly coat pocketable, or te ability to throw it into an existing backpack or us a small belt like pouch made you want to take it with you everywhere.
 

The original X100 used a Bayer sensor, so IQ was a known thing.

But then the honeymoon ended.


Slow auto focus, slow overall camera response caused us to miss shots or get very frustrated in day to day operations.

The poor battery life required us to have a bunch of spares with us at all times.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-06-2020_df_x100v-pics_dsc_2382.jpg
 

Weird operation quirks and menu issues just left us cold.

And so despite all the great things about the original X100, it was sold off.
 

Each upgrade, I would look at the changes Fuji made. They would keep the spirit of the X100 series and enhance and correct some shortcomings...but I still was left a little wanting. The X100S was still a little too laggy for me.

I had great hopes for the X100T and got one of those. While still being better than the X10 and X100S - still not enough there. The X100F almost got us there. With the upgrades in system performance and auto focus finally in a more acceptable range - I waited for a good deal. Used prices on the X100F were getting into the side of taking a chance on it.
 

Then, I heard that the X100V was to be announced. So we waited some more.

Let's go through the review process together. Has the X100V finally ticked all the right boxes to make this one the keeper? Off we go!

Please note that we are going to give you information about how we got along with the camera. There are plenty of other places to get detailed specs, including the official Fuji site.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-06-2020_df_x100v-pics_dsc_2383.jpg

Introduction

I'm a fan of the rangefinder styled camera bodies.  The Olympus PEN-F, the Fuji XE series, X100 line, and XPro lines all tick the boxes for me aesthetically.

My perspective is going to be from a past and present perspective of those other cameras listed above.

Fuji gave us quite a few new additions in the X100V. We'll explore most of those within the review.
 

Also note, I use the Fuji film simulation engine quite a bit. However, all the images in this review were taken by me. If I used a film simulation created by someone else (thanks Ritchie! from FujiXWeekly), I noted that is where the recipe originated. A lot of hard work goes into building and tweaking these recipes - credit where credit is due!

I have created some recipes myself and have noted such. All my recipes can be found on this same blog, but in separate posts.

Tech Stuff

Body

I've always thought that the Fuji X100 series was a well built camera. It always felt solid, reminiscent of my Yashica E5000 and other range finder cameras of that era. Others have also said that it gives them a kind of Leica type feeling. I don't know from Leica, so I'll take their word for it. What I can say is that this is a solidly built camera - from the top and bottom plate, to the body panels and dials - it is a premium feel.

One thing that we want to point out right from the get go:

WEATHER SEALING. For those that have been requesting it, wanting it, would not buy an X100 series without it....it is here...well, kinda.

Due to the lens design, the fact that it moves during focus - the body is weather sealed...but the lens requires some help. You'll need to add on a Fuji AR-X100 49mm adapter ring and a 49mm Fuji XF 49mm UV filter.

I'm not 100% sure if the Fuji made products are any different than another brands adapter ring and UV filter, but Fuji is stating that the weather/dust sealing requires these additional items to complete the sealing.
I did not wait for the Fuji branded products to hit the market. Instead, I purchased the JJC 49mm filter ring adapter with lens hood and a B+W 49mm XS-PRO UV haze filter.

The choice to add this on is a personal one. Some people will value the weather sealing more than the addition of a few additional mm on the front of the camera, while others won't care about the weather sealing and would rather have the smaller footprint.

 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-06-2020_df_x100v-pics_dsc_2386.jpg

JJC 49mm filter adapter and lens hood combo
B+W 49mm XS-Pro Digital UV Haze filter to add that extra level of weather sealing.

 

Dials. If you love the Fuji cameras, you are most likely a fan of physical dials. You have them all here. The exposure triangle can be completely adjusted without menu diving or having the camera powered on! Nothing new here on the basic front. So why bring it up?

Tweaks have been made to the dials.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-06-2020_df_x100v-pics_dsc_2381.jpg
 

Aperture Ring - 1/3 stops and the positive slicks feel more solid to pop into their slots. This should make it easy for you to switch up the aperture value by feel. I'm a fan of the little fins or protrusions on the aperture ring. I can use one finger to move to the value I want.

 

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Top deck of the X100V.
Added after-market concave soft shutter release.
Decided on silver so it would stand out!

 

Shutter Speed - full stops from bulb and time, 1 sec up to 1/4000. 1/3 stops can be adjusted with a command dial if you so choose. "A" is still there for letting the camera decide the shutter speed when in aperture priority mode.


If you need more than 1/4000 shutter you can activate the built in 4 stop neutral density filter or switch to either full electronic or a mechanical/electronic hybrid shutter. That will give you shutter out to 1/32,000 Just note that there are sacrifices for using the electronic shutter.


Flash is no longer available and full electronic shutter can introduce warping of the image with high speed subjects.

The dial is stiff, so you will not be bumping it to another speed by accident. There is no button or switch to move lock/unlock the dial.
 

ISO Dial - Here is something that a lot of people have been wanting for a long time. No, not an ISO dial...but the upgrade to the way that previous Fuji cameras handled the ISO. Previously, you'd need to lift the ISO dial and spin it. When you released the ISO dial, it would automatically lock back down into position.

Fuji enhanced the dial to stay in the up position making the ISO dial free spinning. You then need to push down the outer ring to lock the desired ISO in place. You can feel a subtle click at each ISO value on the dial as you spin it.
 

Exposure Compensation - You have a +-3 stops of exposure compensation as well as a "C" setting. If you need up to +-5 stops of exposure comp, set the dial to "C" and use the command dial to set the desired levels.
 

Shutter Release - you have a threaded shutter release same as the other X100 and XPro cameras. Power switch is found around the shutter release.

I like using a soft release , so have added a VRO concave silver shutter release.
 

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Rear LCD - this is a new LCD for the series AND it is a tilty rear LCD! 45 degree down angle, 90 degree up angle. If you are not a fan, good news for you! The rear LCD sits flush with the body!
If you are a fan, then this will be a welcome feature. Composing a high angle shot or getting low to the ground just got easier for you.

The rear LCD has one other benefit to it...touch sensitive! Set to AF only or let it trip the shutter! Don't want to do either - set it to off!
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-06-2020_df_x100v-pics_dsc_2377.jpg
 

Viewfinder OVF/EVF

To my eye, the OVF is much more crisp and clear. The EVF is a new OLED display, so it is a much richer and crisper experience as well. No issues with either and I love using each based on my desired shooting.

If I want to save on battery life, have a pretty stable shooting condition or shooting off camera flash - I'm going to be using the OVF.
 

I'm shooting a custom film simulation or want 100% framing for my scene? Want to use manual focus? I'm flipping over to EVF. It's great to have access to both!

I found out something during my testing period that others might want to know. The ERF or electronic rangefinder window that shows in the bottom right corner of the OVF when you press the viewfinder mode switch to the left only displays when you are in manual focus mode or single point AF mode. I thought I may have broken my X100V when I was trying to activate this and it was not working. Turns out I had the auto focus mode set to Zone.
 

I like using the ERF in optical mode if I am shooting a custom film simulation but don't want to use the full EVF. I can shoot with the OVF and still check the film simulations effect in the bottom corner.

Note that the ERF only shows the small portion of the screen that falls within the AF point.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-25-2020_x100v_walkabout_dscf7877.jpg

Low angle shot using the fold out rear LCD
1/180, f/8, ISO 160

Lens Line Up (TCL/WCL)

So, this is a fixed lens camera, a 23mm f/2 and a new design at that - why am I bringing up "lenses"?

Well, the 23mm gives you a field of view of 35mm. Some people may want wider or longer. Fuji does make 2 add on teleconverters that screw on to the front element of the camera. A wide, the WCL-X100 and a telephoto, the TCL-X100.
 

There are 2 versions. Optically they are the same. Functionally there is one difference. That is between needing to go into the menu system and let the camera know that the adapter is on and which one, versus the camera knowing which adapter is attached and setting itself up automatically.

If you've used the Fuji X100F, this is not something new to you.
 

The series one converters requires a menu setup done manually. The series two converter do not. I've seen some series one adapters for sale, used for a little bit over $100, while the series two are around $250-$270 used. New, these adapters have an MSRP in USD of $349.

I have a used WCL-X100II coming soon and that will be reviewed in a later post.
 

As far as the lens itself, this is a newly redesigned 23mm f/2. The size is comparable to the previous iterations. Fuji is claiming that the new lens has better (sharper) close focusing performance and improved on the corner sharpness.

This appears to be true and is a welcome upgrade.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-25-2020_x100v_walkabout_dscf7867.jpg

1/60, f/8, ISO 320

Performance

So how does it perform? I'd say imagine this as an XPRO3's little brother. Mostly the same, but not quite there.

Overall System Performance

The camera fires up quickly. The touch screens are very responsive and all the shortcomings of the previous versions as far as speed is concerned are gone for me. Now, is that to say that this camera is the fastest out there? No, by no means. However, it is not something that should concern anyone in getting the job done.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-22-2020_x100v_inniswood_dscf7856.jpg

custom Ilford HP5 film simulation (Acros based)
1/320, f/8, ISO 320

Autofocus

The X100V, much like the X100F gained a significant improvement in auto focus performance with the on sensor phase detect auto focus (OSPDAF). Sound wise, the auto focus motor is not silent, but not overly loud either. My feeling is that the only person that is most likely to hear sound of the AF motor is the photographer using the camera.

For sure, this is not the fastest focusing camera that you'll ever use, but it does very well. If you need a bit more snappiness in the AF performance, there is a Boost mode that can be activated. The penalty for activation? Battery life takes a hit.
 

Single Point

This is the mode I use most often. I pick the focus box size that is 2 turns bigger than the smallest.
 

Zone Focusing

I use this occasionally when shooting moving subjects or I do not need to be super precise. I set it to the 3x3 grid, or the smallest zone focusing setting.
 

Wide Area

I've not yet used this as I tend to not be very trusting of cameras deciding which subject to focus on for me. This mode uses all the AF points and automatically determines which subject it should focus on.
 

Face Detect

I use the function button next to the shutter release (Function 1) as the toggle to turn the face detect on and off.
 

Manual Focus

I will use manual focus on occasion, but I've had a hate relationship with fly by wire manual focusing. It will get you where you want to be, but being used to the old Nikon manual focus lenses, it is hard to appreciate the fly-by-wire implementations. This is not just a Fuji thing. I’ve not really seen a camera company get it right. The closest for me have been the pop ring clutch mechanism on some of the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Lenses like the 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro or the 17mm f/1.8 prime lens.
 

Even with that being said, I do like the focus aids (split prism, peaking) that Fuji provides. On the interchangeable lens bodies, I use focus peaking for adapted lenses. Currently, I'm loving using the Nikon 135mm f/3.5 and 200mm f/4 AI lenses on the XPRO2.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-22-2020_x100v_inniswood_dscf7832.jpg

close focusing
1/280, f/8, ISO 160

Battery Life

With the introduction of mirror less cameras, I've been wanting the CIPA rating to change from number of images taken to "power on time". By this I mean that most mirror less cameras deplete the battery more so when they are powered on than the number of shots taken. For example, I've had the same mirror less camera in one outing net me 200 shot before I needed to switch the battery and then again on another I got close to 1000.

I started to analyze why and it came down to how long the camera is actually on. To that end, the camera does decent, but is not the best when compared to other mirror less cameras. Against say a Ricoh GRII or GR III, the X100V has the better battery and better out of the box options to conserve battery. You can shoot with the OVF and not be running the battery down with the EVF activated. The Ricoh offerings would need for you to buy an optional and unintelligent optical viewfinder that takes up the hot shoe. I'd recommend having 2 additional batteries for a day of still shooting and possibly more if you intend to do video.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-17-2020_x100v_test_dscf7796.jpg

Digital Teleconverter @ 70mm
1/120, f/4, ISO 160

Ergonomics

For me, the size of a camera is important. There is a point of diminishing returns on size. You can only go so small before the controls are hard to reach and the camera is difficult to hold.
 

Feel in The Hand

I already mentioned that the camera feels solid. grip wise, I would say that it is not really slippery, but I would have liked a bit more of a rubber grip on the right side. Even so, I tend to go after market for a half case or bottom plate plus grip type device. I will be getting one of those for this camera as it is borderline too small.

Losing the D pad and adding a more pronounced hump on the right side is something that I like. More space for my thumb to have a positive grip on the camera. It also gives you more confidence if you plan on shooting the camera one handed. Not something I do often.
 

The exposure compensation dial falls right by your thumb and is easy to actuate.

The "Q" button has moved more to the side to prevent accidental activation.

For the most part, if you like the feel and controls of the X100 series, this to me is a more refined version.

The rear LCD allows for swiping gestures to activate certain functions. I'm not a fan of that so I disabled it first thing. I did the same on the XE3.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-14-2020_x100v_test_dscf7786.jpg

1/7, f/2, ISO 800
My custom Kodak Panatomic X film simulation (Acros based)

Image Quality - Stills

The newest Fuji sensor technology is all here. The 26.1mp X-Trans with the series 4 processing engine. Same as what is in the X-Pro3. Some tweaks can be found in other areas as well. Sharpening has been tweaked so using +3 or +4 does not give you the same kind of haloing or over sharpening artifacts as in X-Trans II or III.

You've got some good dynamic range and Hi ISO processing is right up there with the best of the best APS-C size sensors on the market.

I received this camera right before the height of the COVID19 outbreak here in the United States. My ability to get out and about to use this camera was severely limited. I plan on doing several other posts about the IQ and shooting experience with the X100V. I will post those results later as well.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-22-2020_x100v_inniswood_dscf7849.jpg

custom Ilford HP5 film simulation (Acros based)
1/450, f/8, ISO 320

 
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-07-2020_x100v_porta160_dscf7967.jpg

Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation from FujiXWeekly (Classic Chrome based)
1/4000, f/2, ISO 640

 

Shutter shock

Never have I had an issue with shutter shock on a leaf sensor camera or on any Fuji X100. You do have the option of using the electronic shutter (which will let you run all the way up to 1/32,000) or a hybrid electronic/mechanical. This will use the electronic shutter for shutter speeds over 1/4000.

There are sample photos all throughout this review. You know the drill, so check out the images and make a decision on what you think of the quality.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-17-2020_x100v_test_dscf7798.jpg

1/70, f/8, ISO 160

Image Quality - Video

Being honest, the Fuji X100 series is not something I would grab for video. Fuji has includes some pretty impressive video features, so if you had to use it in a pinch to capture some video you could do so. Lack of IBIS or OIS would leave you wanting to stabilize the camera in some other way like using a tripod or a gimbal.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03-22-2020_x100v_inniswood_dscf7851.jpg

Ilford HP5 (Acros based) from FujiXWeekly.com
1/2900, f/4, ISO 320

Unique Features and Changes

Film Simulations

I'm a huge fan of the way that Fuji implements different color profiles through the film simulations. I've found many great simulations that I use on FujiXWeekly.com and I have also started creating my own. The X-Trans IV processing engine adds some additional options to get the film like look dialed in even better!
 

Built-In 4 Stop Neutral Density (ND) Filter

If shooting with the electronic shutter is not your thing and/or you are running out of shutter in bright conditions and want to keep within the 1/4000 mechanical shutter, the X100V now has a 4 stop neutral density filter. Previously, the X100F had a 3 stop built in ND.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-07-2020_x100v_porta160_dscf7972.jpg

Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation from FujiXWeekly.com (Classic Chrome based)
Built in ND Filter Utilized
1/640, f/4, ISO 640

 

I have the rear command dial setup to activate/deactivate the ND by clicking it.
 

White Balance Adjustments Saved and Setting

I love using the film Simulations on the Fuji X cameras. I've found a inch of recipes on the internet from Fuji X Weekly. Definitely spend some time checking out that site. I've also built a few of my own. An issue that I've always had was with remembering to setup the custom white balance settings or not turning them off when I didn't need them.

In the X100V, you can now save the custom white balance setting with the custom preset! Thank you Fuji for making this change!
 

Changing the red and blue values in the white balance required using the D pad or thumb stick. The X100V interface allows for using the touch screen to swipe or use on screen buttons to change the values. It still doesn't allow for touching the part of the grid directly, but the enhancement is better than the previous way of doing it.
 

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Kodachrome 25 Film Simulation from FujiXWeekly.com (Classic Chrome based)
1/240, f/8, ISO 640

Digital Teleconverter

I'm not sure why people overlook this feature on the Fuji I first used in camera digital teleconverters on the Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras. The image quality was not something I could live with so I stopped using it.

I tried it out when I first checked out a Fuji X100F. It was more than just usable and it seems to be still very good on the X100V. If you pixel peep, you can see some slight degradation in the image, but it is not bad at all.

I have the digital teleconverter function setup to activate by using the focus ring. The 35mm field of view frame lines are on by default, then a twist of the AF ring goes then to 50mm field of view and then to 70mm. At the top right of the OVF/EVF, an indicator will let you know which field of view you are currently using.
 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 04-07-2020_x100v_porta160_dscf7962.jpg

Kodak Portra 160 from FujiXWeekly
1/900, f/4, ISO 640

Final Thoughts

It took me a long time coming back to the Fuji X100 series. The X100V ticks a lot of boxes with the substantial upgrades to sensor, lens, body and weather sealing.

If I were coming from the X100F, I may not upgrade. Anything older than that and I would seriously consider it.

This kind of camera is a great companion or take with you when you don't want to take a larger kit. The near silent shooting of the leaf shutter or going full electronic gives you options of shooting discreetly.
 

Silver was my first choice, but I did not make the decision to buy this camera early enough to get a silver one during the first go around. I was able to get a black one. There is just something about the look of the silver that really appeals to me...but at the end of the day - the important thing is the camera itself and not how it looks. So the black on will do me just fine!

Do I recommend the Fuji X100V. Highly! Get the X100V if you don't already have a previous iteration. If you have one already, the update may not be enough to get you to depart with your money.

No matter, the X100 series are a great camera and most that use one fall on love with it and have a special attachment.

Edited by Andrew L (gryphon1911)
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The leaf shutter was awesome, not only being quiet, but allowing for a wider range of flash sync speeds than the DSLRs that I've used. The hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder was something that

Great review, Andrew. Thanks for sharing. 

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