An X100F real world long-term review

You might ask yourself, why the …. Is he writing a review on a camera, which is from 2017 and will be updated soon with the X100V. You can read all the rumours on this if you visit www.fujirumors.com

It is quite simple actually: the Fujifilm X100F is an amazing camera with really great image quality and as versatile as it can get. Even though it has a fixed lens. Period

That is the extremely short and compact review 🙂

Now let us dig into this a little deeper, shall we.

The Fujifilm X100F is the fourth iteration of the X100 series cameras. The first and original X100 was my very first Fujifilm. I had the X100S(econd) and also the X100T(hird)      and now for the past two and something years the X100F(ourth). You know what? They just got better and better with each new model. Fujifilm really listens to their customers

At first, I was going to write about all the new additions and differences between the four models. I rethought and concluded that you can read all about this somewhere else.

I want to give you a real long term review on this awesome little camera.

The Fujifilm X100F has been with me for around about two years and it has been my companion on several trips including some business trips to different countries of the world. The great thing is that this camera is still compact enough to fit into a laptop bag our suitcase. All you really need is a spare SD card and maybe one spare battery. Put the camera in a body case and pack it into your bag.

This is my travel kit. Small and compact and yet you get very good image quality out of it.

Battery life

Last year my wife and I went on a two-week lasting trip to Cuba and Mexico. One week in Cuba and one week in Mexico. I was quite worried about battery life, especially in Cuba, as I was not sure how the power supply would be, especially in Cuba. The bag had been packed with four, yes four spare batteries. All four where charged to the max at home and you know what? In Cuba, I would have managed one week with just two batteries and not having to charge them.

In Cuba, I took around about 750 pictures in one week. One battery lasted around about 450 shots including chimping, Wi-Fi transfer, using the screen and EVF.

You see, battery life is not as bad as it is written so often. Yes, we are not in DSLR territory where you will get a thousand and more shots out on of one charged battery. However, these NP-W126S are small enough to fit into your pants pocket.

Real world usage

It is just a breeze to use this Fujifilm X100F. Small, lightweight and unobtrusive. Other people don’t realize what you are holding in your hands. A small powerhouse of a camera. A tool for us photographers to get some amazing images wherever we are. 

The simple layout of buttons and dials is second to none. Either change the aperture on the lens barrel, the shutter speed on the top plate and the ISO via lifting the dial of the shutter speed or assign it to the front dial. Me personally? I have set the three AutoISO presets to the camera and mostly use these.

For daytime shooting, I have preset one set to ISO 200 – ISO 800 with the shutter speed set to 1/125s

Preset 2 is set to ISO 200 – ISO 3200 with the shutter speed set to 1/60s. This one I generally use at night time.

Preset 3 is set to ISO 200 – ISO 6400 with shutter speed set to 1/60s. This are the values when shooting with the ACROS Film simulation and the grain effect set to strong as the grain effect just gets better the higher the ISO value is.

My use of the camera is as follows. Most of the time I use aperture priority, setting the aperture to my liking and let the camera decide on which shutter speed and which ISO value to use. In rare cases, I will change the ISO value by hand using the dial on the top plate and changing the shutter speed as well. This I will usually do with my night shooting on a tripod or when I have the camera rested somewhere to get the steady shot I need for the longer shutter speed. In order to get the focus just there where I want it I use the joystick on the back of the camera a lot. And I mean really a lot like in nearly every shot. I choose the focus point according to where I want the camera to focus on. Many people just use the middle focus point and re compose. Yes, that is a way as well, but this joystick is just where it needs to be on the Fujifilm X100F and it is so simple to use. The camera focus is pretty fast and accurate enough for my kind of photography. 

Let´s recap a little. The first and original X100 was really bad at the beginning of its life circle. Focus was, well, shitty. It was slow, could be inaccurate at times and yeah slow. Then the day came when Fujifilm introduced a new firmware version. I think it was 1.3 and the camera changed. Focus was noticeably faster and a lot more accurate. It was very usable after that. The X100S was faster to focus, but my copy was so inaccurate that at the end of the day I sold it and was done with Fujifilm´s X100 series. Even when they introduced the Fujifilm X100T, I was sure I would not by one. You know what happened, don’t you. Yes, I did by one and it was the best decision I could have made. In my humble opinion the X100T was so much better than the S. Button layout, autofocus actually just everything was better. Even the images and that although Fuji was using the exact same 16MP sensor as in the X100S. The Jpegs where better, had nicer colour and better vibrancy and contrast. I loved this camera and it followed me everywhere.

Then Fujifilm introduced the X100F. Again, I was sure I would stay with my X100T. Until the day I went to my camera dealer and he put it in my hand with the words. “Son, this is just the X100 you have been waiting for”. He was and still is right. It is by far the best X100 made and it is the X100 Fujifilm should have made right from the beginning. Supposedly the tech was not there at the time of developing the first and original X100. Don´t get me wrong. The sensor inside the very first X100 was and still is amazing. Sorry for drifting off a little. Back on track with my real world review.

What are the pictures I take with this small camera hanging off my shoulder? Easy, everything I want. Well not everything of course. Take into account that you will not be able to take every picture you want. Traveling to Kenia and want to take a picture of the lion in a distance? Take something else. Want to capture the bird sitting on the torch of the Statue of Liberty? Well, you might want to think of something like a Sony RX10IV. Want to document your travel or want to document behind the scenes of your best friend’s wedding? This is the camera for you. You want to travel light and don´t want to be sitting in the hotel room thinking of which lens you should mount on your big fat DSLR today or even better. You just are sick and tired of lugging around that 20kg heavy rucksack full of camera gear and at the end of the day notice that 90% of your images where taken with just one focal length?

You got it. The Fujifilm X100F is the camera for you. Go on a city trip with nothing but the Fujifilm X100F, take those stunning pictures you and your camera are capable of and just take a glance at other peoples gear. Honestly, every time I see a girl or a guy with one Canikon whatever and a 24-70 2.8 lens on one side and another Canikon with the 70-200 2.8 on the other shoulder (not to forget the backpack where you can literally see how heavy it is) I instantly get a backache just out of sympathy. Na not likely. I feel sorry for them as at the end of the day one must be so tiered of lugging around that heavy gear. 

With its Fujinon 23mm F2 lens mounted in front of the X-Trans III 24 MP sensor you will surely be able to get some stunners for your empty walls at home. 

Just a side note, do not worry about print size. With a file out of my first and original Fujifilm X100 I printed a picture as big as 120cm x 90cm on paper and the client was blown away. And that camera only had 12 MP on the APS-C sized sensor.

Traveling with just one camera and one lens

Before my wife and I travelled to Cuba and Mexico last year, it was not an easy decision for me to leave all the other gear at home. We planned the round trip through Cuba and Yucatan/Mexico months in advance and I had countless sleepless nights on what to take with me. One evening it dawned on me. I was in contact with a friend and we got talking about gear and travel. To cut a long story short I´ll tell you what happened.

At the end of the evening, I typed a message to him via WhatsApp that I was deeply considering on only taking the Fujifilm X100F with me on this trip. “Yeah right”, he answered. “I would never go on a once in a lifetime travel with just one camera and especially only one lens”. That is just what I did. I took the Fujifilm X100F and it was so very liberating. Not having to decide which lens to mount on your camera body. Take this 23mm f2 lens and be happy.

Just a few weeks ago, we had a weeks’ vacation in New York City. Guess what? I only took the Fujifilm X100F, some spare SD cards and one spare battery that I could have left at home, as I never needed it. I just charged the first battery in the evening. 

Once again, it was just so liberating. Carrying a heavy bag full of camera gear when walking 20km or more every day was not an option for me. The X100F weighing no more than 470g was the best choice. Most of the time I did not even notice it hanging off my shoulder. At the end of the day, I put the camera on the sideboard and just did not have a shoulder pain. Man I remember the days, long ago, with my Nikon D80 and the Tamron 17-50 2.8. After a day’s walking my back was not the best, my neck was hurting and my legs where tiered. In addition, the Nikon D80 with the Tamron is not really a heavy piece of gear. Now imagine lugging more than that around. Sorry, not for me anymore. I´d rather miss out on images. You know the thing is that I never have the impression that I am missing pictures, as I am very happy with the ones I get. If I think about it, I did not even have a tripod with me, and yet I managed to capture this.

Believe me, there was only one thing I missed on this trip to New York. No, it was not any other focal length at all. It was a tiltable screen on the X100F for those low POV shots and Puddlegrams. Besides that, there is not much I would change on the new and upcoming X100V. That on the other hand is a completely different topic.

Anyway, my beloved X100F has been with me in different places such as:

  • My home town
  • My Neighbourhood
  • Taken Landscape shots
  • Cuba
  • Mexico
  • New York
  • Tuscaloosa
  • South Africa
  • And more.

You know what I never missed? A different focal length. This 23mm f2 lens is so versatile. The reason is that I have started to see in this focal length and I am sure you will as soon as you start using this wonderful small powerhouse of a camera.

It has never let me down, never froze, followed me as a silent companion to my travel destinations and rewarded me with wonderful pictures. 

What´s interesting is the fact that so many people refer to the Fujifilm X100 series as thee street camera per se. In my opinion, it is so much more than just a street shooters camera. It can do a lot more than that. Don´t stick the X100F in one category of photography as it can do so much more than that. With the 23mm focal range, which will give you the 35mm angle of view in full frame terms, this camera will regard you with countless great images.

Take a look at the videos on my YouTube channel and you will see what I mean or take your time to browse through the gallery in this long-term review of mine.

If you should come across any questions regarding this camera do not hesitate to drop a line in the comments below. You can write an Email via the share button in the top right-hand corner, browse my Instagram account or just let the past 2400 word long review settle in.

Thank you so much for your time reading my findings on a camera which is as versatile as it can get for a single focal length wonderful tool which Fujifilm gave us.

Your

Stockografie

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8 Comments

  1. Great article! The X100f is such a special camera 🙂 I’m pretty new to the Fujiverse, but I just love the feeling of the cameras. Got the X100f, X-T3 and the X-T30. I write about my experience and show a lot of photos over at my blog at weholt.org and my Instagram account @thomaspresenterer.no. Happy for anybody looking at my work 🙂

  2. Fabulous pics! I’m waiting for the next release. Water resistance is the only thing holding me back. Heck I may not wait after look g at your pics again. Are firmware upgrades pretty much done? Does it do B&W simulations?

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. Yeah, water resistance would be the icing on the cake. I would say that firmware updates are done on the X100F.

      It does great black and white simulations. You might want to google for X100F and Acros.

      Cheers
      Stockografie

  3. Just got one used. Hope to re-invent my love to photography. Looking forward to get at least a very little bit of your enthusiasm. 😉 Have a great time!

    • Hi Oliver,

      You will notice very soon that using this camera is something very special.
      If you have any question regarding the X100F do drop a line.
      I will help if I can.

      Have a great time

      Daniel

    • Just to chime in on this one; When you look at youtube, how many videos do you see about other camera brands than Fuji with a similar degree of enthusiasm and joy? Very, very few. There’s something about these cameras that makes some go nuts and that’s a good thing in a time which everybody is using their phone as “photographers”. I bought a used X100s and it just snowballed from there, as I’ve written about here http://weholt.org/2019/10/16/my-photographic-journey-and-why-fujifilm/

      Enjoy your camera and new passion for photography 🙂

  4. Laurence Goldman

    35mm is a boring focal length. Seeing your pix makes 50mm seem adventuresome. You’ve discovered that sunset and magic hour makes even Fuji’s weird color look good. If you shoot for great light quality situations you get bearable photos-I.e. strange Grand Central colored glass windows, the Times Square street steam. I’ve had the 100F in my hands and no doubt it’s cool. BUT: I’d rather have 28mm with the option of a 21mm conversion and crop to 35mm if I want.. Let’s face it, 100F next to Leica Q2 which is the real test-come on!

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