It had been a while since our friends from Fujifilm Hellas had send us a camera for a review. But the wait has definitely been worth it as recently I received the amazing little Fujifilm X100F to try out and review. Fujifilm let me keep the camera for 3 whole weeks and I also got to take it with me to Berlin for 4 days! When in Berlin, I didn’t take any other camera with me, on purpose, in order to really get to know this little gem. To find out more about what I think of the Fujifilm X100F for Street Photography, just read on!
Before we jump into the review though, I would like to remind you of our previous camera reviews that you might find interesting. We have written reviews on the, Fujifilm X-Pro2, the Fujifilm X-Pro1, the Ricoh GR, the Fujifilm X-T10, the Fujifilm X-T1, the Fujifilm X70 and the Canon EOS 6D.
As I have mentioned before in the past, all the cameras we review here on Streethunters.net are reviewed in a particular way and under specific circumstances. They are reviewed as street photography cameras specifically. We do not care less about pixel peeping, lens distortions, chromatic aberrations or anything like that. What matters as far as we are concerned is how the camera handles in the streets!
Now that this intro is over, let us look into the Fujifilm X100F for Street Photography!
The Fujifilm X100F For Street Photography
We would like to make perfectly clear that all camera reviews we write are from a personal point of view. Neither myself nor any of the other Streethunters.net Editors are a camera expert. We are not pro camera gurus and we do not have any affiliation with any particular camera brand. All cameras that we have reviewed for Streethunters.net we have used extensively in the streets. In this post you will be reading my personal opinion about the Fujifilm X100F.
If you feel that there is something that is missing from this post, something that you would have liked me to include, please feel free to make your suggestions in the comments section below. During this review I will discuss the X100F’s size & weight (portability), build quality, handling, performance, features, low light performance, image quality and value.
Size & Weight = Portability
At 127 x 75 x 52 mm (5 x 2.95 x 2.05″) and weighing 469 g (1.03 lb / 16.54 oz) including the battery and memory card and lens, the Fujifilm X100F is your perfect companion in the streets. Due to its small size and light weight it is a camera that can remain around your neck for many, many hours. I was wearing it around my neck using a Hyperion Camera Strap (more on these in a future review) and it was so light that sometimes I totally forgot I had it with me. The small size of the camera made it unthreatening, unobtrusive and practically invisible. Also, it made me look very retro, but more on that later in the Build Quality section. The only 2 cameras I have used that are less obtrusive and even smaller and lighter than the X100F, are the Fujifilm X70 and the Rigoh GR, but they can’t be compared to the X100F as far as features and build quality are concerned and their sizes aren’t all that much smaller to be honest. For me, the size of the Fujifilm X100F is just perfect! I don’t see it getting any smaller in the future without losing some of its features and I would hate to see that happen. The camera has the ideal weight / size / comfort combination and for that, it deserves a perfect 10!
Any of you who have handled a Fujifilm camera will be able to attest to their excellent build quality. The X100F is no different to the rest of the Fujifilm camera lineup in this regard. Although classed as a prime lens compact camera and not a system camera (with interchangeable lenses) it has nothing to envy from the others in terms of build quality. The body feels solid, the lens ring, the dials, the buttons and the joystick knob are all perfectly built and when you hold it on your hand you feel that you are holding something of value, not some cheap plastic camera. The reason for this is because the Fujifilm X100F body is made of a very durable magnesium alloy. It has a good grip, it never felt slippery in my hands and because it was also light weight it felt very comfortable too. The optical viewfinder offers loads of information ideal for the manual shooter, it is bright and large with a coverage of 92%! I really enjoyed the smooth click of the dials as they fell into place when I used them, I loved the feel of the buttons that didn’t feel spongy or clicky, they were just great and I really enjoyed the easiness that the joystick offered. I remember using this joystick for the first time when I was reviewing the Fujifilm X-Pro2. I had liked it back then and I feel the same way about it even now. The 3.0 inch LCD screen on the back has a resolution of 1,040,000 screen dots, which is plenty if you ask me, offering high quality image previews. It isn’t as good as the Fujifilm X-Pro1 or Fujifilm X-Pro2 screens, but it is still very, very good indeed. Oh and one last thing. The camera looks really, really cool, especially the silver edition. I had all eyeballs on me most of the time, trying to figure out what camera I was wearing around my neck, especially in Berlin where people are really into film and old film cameras. I am pretty sure that many onlookers must have mistaken it for an old rangefinder.
The Fujifilm X100F has adopted the latest X-Camera handling. From the camera menus to the dials and buttons, Fujifilm has managed to create a unified way of handling all its cameras. That way if you can use one Fujifilm then you can practically use them all without too much thinking. I found it was very similar in handling to the X-Pro line, especially the X-Pro2, but better. Here are the pros and cons that I discovered. Feel free to disagree. This is my totally personal opinion afterall.
Just like with any other Fujifilm camera I have used so far, I felt right at home the moment I turned the camera on. There was nothing to it. I could instantly use it to make photos and I knew exactly where to find each feature I was looking for in the familiar Fujifilm menu system. Excellent. The retro user experience of the Fujifilm X100F helped me get acquainted with it so fast. The dials click smoothly into place, the buttons responded perfectly and the joystick was a joy to use (pun intended). I remember expressing my dislike for the X-Pro2 ISO dial and writing how it felt like it was annoying to use. Well, I didn’t have the same issue with the X100F. I think that the ISO dial on the X100F has more breathing space surrounding it. If felt easier to handle without banging my fingers on the on / off switch of the exposure compensation dial. Also, although I am not 100% certain, I think the X100F ISO dial is a bit smaller in comparison to the X-Pro2 ISO dial, but then again, I didn’t have them in my posession at the same time, so I might be completely off in that regard. Moving on to the focus ring, I found it quite comfortable to use. It responded nicely, felt good in my hand and didn’t wobble out of place when I was walking and the camera was bouncing on my chest. So the overall experience of the camera handling was a joy. I only had one issue with it.
Some of us like using external flash guns with our cameras. I have to say that the X100F on board flash is quite good for its size, but I still wanted to use it with the very small EF-X20 flash by Fujifilm, to give the camera a chance to take advantage of more powerful light. Well, the EF-X20 is a very small flash. It might even be the smallest flash on the market, or was the smallest flash on the market. It is no longer available besides on eBay. Anyway, I placed the flash on the X100F and all of a sudden I lost visibility of 50% of the ISO / shutter speed dial. That was something I could accept, albeit with a huff and a puff. I thought, hey ok, I can always use the dial and check the setting from the LCD screen. But, when I tried to do that, I couldn’t move the dial at all. That pissed me off and of course it resulted in me removing the external flash from the camera hotshoe and never attaching it again. Judging from the experience I had with that very small flash, I imagine many, other flash guns will be just as annoying or even more when used with the X100F. For this, I can’t give it a perfect 10, although I really wish I could.
The Fujifilm X100F is equipped with the new 24mp X-Trans III CMOS sensor and the amazing X-Processor Pro! So basically it is packed with the same tech that the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is packed with. All that power in such a small body, is so very exciting if you think about it. The image quality is excellent, however I think that if the lens was a newer version (it is still using the original X100 lens) the results would have been even better. More on this later though. For this part of the review we will examine the Camera responsiveness, Battery life, the Autofocus speed and accuracy and the OVF’s and the EVF’s performance.
I have no complaints whatsoever about the responsiveness of this camera. It fires just as soon as you hit the shutter release. There is no lag, at least no perceptible lag, especially in bright light conditions, even with AF mode turned on. In darker situations there might be a small lag, but that is due to the AF not the responsiveness of the camera. I haven’t used a Fujifilm X-Pro2 for quite a while now, but I feel that the X100F is slightly faster, although the difference might be so small it is hardly noticed. So, this camera is definitely one of the fastest focusing Fujifilm cameras out there, at least at the time of writing this post.
Battery life!!! I was blown away completely! Wow! The battery just kept going on and on and on. I remember while I was in Berlin for street photography I could go through more than half a day, shooting and playing with the camera on a single battery, and I used the X100F with the LCD on and the EVF all the time and most of the times I also used the onboard flash! So you can imagine what a pleasant surprise it was for me to discover that this camera was so good with energy consumption, in comparison to other compact cameras on the market. I will not even consider comparing with a DSLR for street photography because that wouldn’t be fair. We all know how long batteries last in those monsters. Practically forever! Anyway, I never had to use my third battery, and I hardly ever used my second one. I was very pleased with the results and mighty impressed. Now, I am not a camera expert or have any camera technical knowledge other than what I read on blogs and see in videos on YouTube, so if anyone out there knows how Fujifilm managed to do this, please drop a note in the comments below. Thanks!
Moving on to AF. The Auto Focus performance of the X100F on the streets was pure gold! I would just point and shoot. I enjoyed the experience so much, I didn’t use zone focusing like I usually do. I didn’t find the reason too. I just had it on AF and fired away! What a joyful experience! Accuracy was excellent, speed was perfect and even in low light, it still delivered without any trouble. It might have been a bit slower than usual, but in no way could I say that it was a slow AF camera in the dark. It never hunted and always grabbed the shots wonderfully. I remember I was in this Salsa club, the lighting was dim and red and I was shooting away without any issues. Yes, the Fujifilm X100F has great AF system. No worries there!
The X100F OVF is pretty much the same with the X-Pro2’s. It is bright, clear, and has all the needed information overlaid onto the glass. It is easy to read and comfortable to use. It covers 92% of the capturing area and has a x0.5 magnification. I tried the picture in picture option too, but I didn’t find it compatible with my style of shooting, so I never used it more than that one time I tried it. The OVF is great!
Ι think that the Fujifilm X100F EVF performed fantastically. It was very fast, responsive and bright and clear. After a while I found myself using that instead of the OVF because I could read the readings better on it and I could frame my shots better, without having to worry about the parallax effect at close distances. From a technical point of view the EVF has a resolution of 2,360,000 dots and the same magnification and coverage as the OVF (at least that was my impression). As with all EVFs though, you should keep in mind that when you use a flash in low light you will either have to switch to the OVF (this is my recommendation) or turn off the live preview in the EVF, otherwise you will only see black due to low exposures. You can read more about this in the Fujifilm X-T1 review I wrote in paragraph Performance > EVF Performance. All in all the Fujifilm X100F rocks! Great job Fujifilm.
This little gem of a camera comes packed with tons of interesting features. There is nothing as far as I am concerned that the X100F can’t do in the street. Although it isn’t ideal for many other fields of photography due to the fact that it has a fixed lens, it is still loaded to the brim with cool options for a compact camera.
One of my favourite features and one I keep on talking about in my Fujifilm camera reviews are the custom presets. Custom presets give you the power to setup up profiles that can be switched through fast and easy, saving you tremendous time while in the streets. So for example you might have a setting for bright daylight shooting and another for indoor photography. Let’s say you are walking in the street, shooting during a very bright day, but find yourself unexpectedly entering a dark alley or a building. Instead of resetting your camera and hunting through its menus, all you have to do is switch to your indoor photography setup, change your aperture and speed and you are ready to shoot just like that! You have to love this feature!
The ISO has a range from 200-12800 even in RAW and expands to 100-51200 if needed just like the X-Pro2. Older Fujifilm cameras would only go as high as 6400 ISO, which isn’t bad, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.
Just like the X-Pro2, this camera also features the new Acros black and white film simulation and also a Grain effect for JPGs. I tried the grain using JPG and Classic Chrome and the results were quite filmic, just the way I like them.
Another feature that is very handy is the WiFi connectivity Fujifilm app. I used the iPhone version and it worked great! It never crashed and never disappointed. I am really glad that this is the case because when I tried it with the Fujifilm X-T1, I was so frustrated with its bad performance. Luckily that performance is a thing of the past now and the X100F is perfectly compatible with Fujifilm’s app.
The electronic shutter is another nifty feature that can be very helpful if you like shooting wide open during really bright days because it can raise your shutter speed up to 1/32000 sec. To make things even easier it also comes equipped with a handy ND filter too. You have to remember though that the electronic shutter isn’t for shooting on the move because it suffers from rolling shutter effect making photos look as if they are leaning towards one side.
The mechanical leaf shutter reaches speeds up to 1/4000 sec and because it is a leaf shutter you flash can sync with it at any speed. This is a really cool feature for Flash Street Photography, because you don’t have to worry about flash syncing speeds, a constant pain in the neck for me when shooting during the day with a flash and the Fujifilm X-Pro1.
One more thing. Even though the X100F doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, it can mount 2 different lens converters for additional focal length. There is the WCL-X100 II (28mm) wide converter and the TCL-X100 II (50mm) tele converter. So basically it is like you have 3 prime lens options for the X100F.
For more details on the X100F features, I recommend you visit the Fujifilm website.
Low light performance
When I used the X100F in low light conditions, I found I was amazed by the results. Not only did it perform great, but the high ISO pictures it took looked great! The work that the Fujifilm boffins have done in this area is amazing and has reached new heights. I think that is at the same level with the X-Pro2 in this regard. If only it didn’t have a fixed lens, I am sure that with a faster piece of glass the results would have been even more impressive. I mentioned before that the full ISO range is supported in RAW mode now, so if you are a RAW shooter this is great news for you! Since it is a fixed camera lens, I can’t rate it with more than a 9.
Each time I write a review about a Fujifilm camera I find that I repeat myself. The image quality is excellent. There is nothing more to say really. I can’t imagine how much better it can get that what it is now. The way the highlights, shadows, blacks and whites are presented is just perfect. And the 24MP gives you plenty of room to play with and crop away if that is what you like doing without losing significant IQ. There is no doubt about it, this camera delivers amazing photos! You will not be disappointed.
The X100F is a great camera. It is compact, light, packed with features, has amazing responsiveness, and great power consumption. It delivers amazing image quality and performs superbly in low light conditions. But there is one thing that I don’t really like about this camera and that is its value. I confess, the Fujifilm X100F is like no other compact camera in the market, it is unique and offers an experience that is nearly magical, but hey, it is a bit overpriced in my opinion. The camera retails in Europe at around €1345, in Britain at around £1199 and in the USA at around $1299. What?! This is a fixed lens compact camera and it costs more than mirrorless system cameras with a starter kit! At that price I would expect it to be at least waterproof too. Sorry Fujifilm but I think you are joking! I will give it a 7 because it is a great camera, but it’s cost is just silly. For a few hundreds more you can get Fujifilm X-Pro2 with the Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR. Both body and lens are weather sealed and you can switch lenses and also get to own a system camera.
The Fujifilm X100F could be the perfect camera for street photography. If you don’t mind the fixed lens, you will love it. As I mentioned before you have the options of the conversion lenses if you need a wider or narrower focal length. So you are not totally out of options.
Should you buy it? Yes you should if you can afford it. As with the X-Pro2, the ergonomics, the weight, size, performance, features, image quality, low light performance and handling are all top notch. This is a superb camera, a Street Hunters perfect tool, no doubt about it.
For me however the price is a deal breaker and I don’t see myself purchasing one. As I have said in the past many times, I think that Fujifilm needs to start bringing its prices down a bit. I truly think that if the camera was priced lower, its demand would be so high that it would hard to find any available.
If you want to know more about the Fujifilm X100F, just ask me in the comments.
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!