Fujifilm X100V Review

Introduction

Initially released in the spring of 2020, Fujifilm’s X100V marks the fifth generation of the popular X100 compact series. And it’s the latest camera to take the lineup’s helms, replacing the X100F released three years prior.

Fuji’s Finepix 100 series is known for its retro styling, discrete form factor, and outstanding optical performance. And it has more than proven itself for photojournalism and street photographers since its debut in 2011. But, until now, the optical performance and wide-open sharpness were often deal-breakers from some users. And, historically, the changes between each installment in this series were rather gradual.

Thankfully, this year, Fuji’s played it differently. And their latest installment takes the tried and true form factor, paired with the advancements of the flagship X-Pro3 and X-T3. And it appears to be a substantial overhaul to the lineup that blends invigorating imaging capabilities with the classic and nostalgic design the series is known for. But, is strong enough for everyday photographers wanting more versatility? And is it ready to compete with the likes of Sony’s RX100 VII, Panasonic’s LX100 II, Olympus’ Pen F, and Ricoh’s GR III? Let’s find out.

What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Fujifilm X100V? 

Pros:

Image Quality

It features the 4th generation 26.1MP X-Trans BSI CMOS sensor and the X-Processor 4, a similar setup as the X-T3 and X-Pro3. Like these cameras, the sensor’s backside-illuminated structure reduces noise, improves tonal rendering and overall image detail. Fuji also opted to remove the camera’s Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF), further improving sharpness and fine detail. Compared to the predecessor’s 24.3MP sensor, the image quality is slightly improved though not substantially so. Nevertheless, the 2MP bump does help for large format printing. Otherwise, like several Fujifilm cameras that employ this setup, the image quality remains excellent and a continued strength. Its 14-bit RAW images are sharp, with plenty of dynamic range,natural colors and faithful rendering.

The camera also features a redesigned Fujinon 23mm lens, which is a 35mm full-frame equivalent. And, while it may look the same externally, internally, they’ve overhauled it from the ground up. Below are a summary of the changes.

They’ve added another aspherical element, which flattens the field of view, removing the predecessor’s bowing effect. This redesign also reduces the distortion and improves wide-open corner sharpness. Plus, it offers better resolution than the outgoing lens, while maintaining the same compact size. And it thoroughly removes the softness that occurred when shooting at close distances.

Fujifilm-X100V-camera-specs

 

The lens also has a minimum focusing distance of 4 inches and updated magnification that rivals their Fujinon 16mm, with similar close focusing capabilities. And it’s now quite capable of pseudo-macro photography.

They’ve even added weather-resistance with the optional adapter ring and a protective filter. And weather-resistance, in particular, is a substantial addition here and a first of the series.

The lens also has an updated ND filter, moving to 4 EV stops from 3. And the updated ND allows you to use slower shutter speeds and wide-open apertures without overexposing.

Overall, these changes offer a substantial improvement in image quality, and it’s easily the best lens of the entire series.

It also uses a leaf shutter, which removes the shake caused by traditional mechanical shutters. And this particular mechanism makes the camera quite stable when shooting at longer exposures. Plus, leaf shutters can also sync with flash units at the camera’s maximum shutter speed, without the need for high-speed sync, opening a world of creative possibilities.

It obtains the full gamut of 17 classic film simulations from the X-Pro3, giving your images a distinct and traditional look. And it also offers the Grain Effect and Tone Curve, which, combined, delivers authentic replications. And these are perfect to create that iconic “film look” which closely mimics the pure nature of film in-camera.

It obtains the Photobook Assist, which lets you create books from your favorite photos.

The camera offers continuous shooting speeds of 11 FPS using the mechanical shutter (up from 8 FPS) or 20 FPS using the electronic. You can also shoot up to 30 FPS burst, albeit with a 1.25x crop. And it offers a reasonable buffer of 38 JPEG and 17 RAWs at this frame rate. Overall, it’s a notable improvement over the predecessor.

Video Quality

It offers similar capabilities as the X-T30. In this case, it shoots uncropped DCI 4K video up to 30p and 1080p full HD up to 120p to the MOV format with data rates of 200 Mbps. When recording internally, the camera does so using 8-bit color and 4:2:0 subsampling. 4K, in particular, is a brand new addition to the lineup. And it’s a substantial addition over the predecessor, which only offered 1080p 60p by contrast. Plus, the camera now records 120p in-camera for up to 5x slow motion.

The camera does, however, have recording limits. And you can only record 4K at 200 Mbps for 10 minutes, 1080p 60p for 15 minutes, and 120p for 6 minutes.

But, overall, the video quality this camera produces is excellent. And the footage is quite sharp, with the same pleasing color rendering without extreme contrast or saturation. It’s also free from artifacts and compression. And it’s incredibly competent for casual use.

It also obtains Fuji’s F-log, which uses a soft gamma curve with a wide gamut to retain details, and that’s more suited for post-processing. However, when shooting in this mode, the minimum ISO is 640.

It has zebras for a highlight warning indication, and you can adjust the brightness threshold via the menus.

The camera’s AF illuminator doubles as a built-in tally light for video recording, and you can customize whether it blinks or stays steady.

It has built-in time code settings.

You can apply any of the 17 film simulations when recording and leverage their color reproduction. And the Eterna profile is an excellent option for this purpose.

The camera outputs a clean 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 signal via HDMI. And recording in this format offers unlimited recording time.

Low Light Performance

Low light performance is on par with recent Fujifilm cameras. It features a native ISO range from 160 to 12,800, further expandable to a high setting equivalent to 51,200. And users can expect usable images up to ISO 3,200 with minimal processing.

Focusing Performance

It uses the latest 425-point Intelligent Hybrid AF system with support down to -5 EV, a similar setup as the X-T3. However, its latest algorithms have increased tracking functionality and Face and Eye-detection. And now, the camera confidently tracks subjects as they move across the frame or turn in profile. You can also choose whether the camera detects and focuses on either the left or right eye when Intelligent Face Detection is on. And if it’s unable to detect the subject’s eyes, it automatically defaults to face-detection instead. These features also translate to video recordings, not just stills alone. Compared to the predecessor, the overall AF system is greatly improved and is far more accurate with less hunting. And these improvements are a key selling point and a notable update.

It has the Focus Limiter Function, limiting the range of available focus distances for faster AF performance and speed. It’s helpful when subjects remain steady, and you want better AF performance.

It also obtains AF-C Custom settings, allowing you to adjust the Tracking Sensitivity and Speed Tracking Sensitivity for the best results.

It also offers a full suite of manual focusing aids. These include focus magnification, peaking, the Manual Focus Indicator, and two MF assists,  Digital Split Image and Digital Microprism. Overall, if you enjoy manually focusing, this camera provides a robust feature set to help.

Battery Performance

Battery life has improved over the predecessor and is excellent for a compact mirrorless camera. It uses the long-standing W126S battery, which Fuji rates for 420 shots per charge when using the OVF, and 55 minutes of continuous 4K video.

Display & Viewfinder

It obtains the Advanced Hybrid OLED Viewfinder from the previous model. But, it borrows much of the configuration found in the X-Pro3, with some changes. In this case, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) has a resolution to 3.69M dots (a 56% improvement), a 0.66x magnification, a 120 Hz refresh, and 100% frame coverage. And it still flicks away, revealing an optical viewfinder (OVF) with a 0.52x magnification and 95% frame coverage. The OVF is an excellent option for the purist who prefers composing in this fashion. But it does offer a digital overlay with helpful on-screen information and an electronic rangefinder (ERF) window for focusing.

The camera also has a dedicated switch to switch between the EVF and OVF quickly. And they’ve modified the eyepiece, which is now a round shape compared to previous models’ square design. And it makes composing slightly more comfortable. Plus, Fuji’s updated both the OVF glass and EVF panel, which are now brighter, sharper, and have less distortion. Overall, together these are substantial improvements, and both displays are the best in the series to date.

It also features a 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen LCD with a resolution of 1.62M dots, a 58% improvement over the predecessor 1.04M display. But, crucially, this display now has a two-way tilting articulation, which helps when composing at high or low angles. And it’s an excellent addition that adds needed versatility. The display is also flat, thin, and flush to the body, blending smoothly into the overall aesthetic, without adding any bulk. It’s clear Fuji has spent a lot of time thinking about these minute details. But, the design is excellent and works brilliantly with the aesthetic. Otherwise, the rear screen in itself is good. It’s very sharp, accurate, and bright enough to use outdoors. And the touchscreen supports touchpad AF, touch focus, touch tracking, swiping in playback, pinch to zoom, and movie silent control.

Note: Like the X-T4, you can also customize both the EVF’s color and brightness; the same applies to the LCD. 

User Interface

It uses classic Fujifilm menus, which are quite similar to the X-T4. And, as always, they remain clear, well organized, and easily mastered. Newcomers or existing shooters shouldn’t find them particularly challenging.

Like the X-T4, the touchscreen offers four touch gestures, similar to dedicated function buttons, where flicking the screen recalls a programmable operation. And these effectively replace the rear d-pad.

It obtains the My Menu setting, allowing you to create a personalized menu of frequently-used options that becomes the default once configured.

It has two customizable function buttons, Fn1 and Fn2. And the rear command dial also acts as a function button, and you can assign an operation via the menu’s DIAL settings. Plus, you can even use the control ring on the lens for quick access to various camera functions, such as white balance, film simulation, and the digital teleconverter. Overall, there’s plenty of physical customization with this setup.

It obtains the Q (Quick) Menu, accessed by the Q button located on the side for quick access to a customizable list of frequently-used camera settings.

Physical Layout & Ergonomics

Physically, the camera retains the tried and true rangefinder-style body design and analog inspired controls that’s made this series popular. And it also gives the camera quite a timeless and historical design. However, unlike other cameras in the series, Fuji’s milled the top and bottom plates from a single aluminum piece. And both plates also have cleaner edges and a sleek satin coating. Combined, it’s that much more attractive, sleek, and handsome. However, the camera remains exceptionally compact and lightweight at only 428g body alone. But, otherwise, the layout is mostly unchanged from the predecessor. And the only exceptions are the removal of the d-pad and repositioned Q button.

Even so, Fuji’s made some subtle design changes with this new model. Below are these changes.

They made the grip on the camera ever so slightly larger and more comfortable than before.

It maintains the dedicated knurled dials for intuitive exposure control, including shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, and aperture ring on the lens barrel. However, the stacked shutter speed and ISO dial now has a locking feature, which unlocks for a smooth scroll then presses in to lock. It’s a small change, but one that dramatically increases its practicality. And the dial itself is also larger.

Fuji’s also simplified the rear panel by removing the d-pad, leaving more room for you to grip the camera without accidentally changing settings.

It’s now thoroughly dust and weather-resistant, with a similar resilience as the X-Pro3, X-H1, and X-T3. And this becomes a key selling feature over earlier models.

Note: for full weather sealing, you’ll need the optional AR-X100 and PRF-49 lens covers. The camera by itself is only 90% protected. But attaching this protective sealing to the lens gives it 100% sealing. 

But, otherwise, the camera maintains the dual adjustment dials with push functionality for menu selection.

It also has an AF joystick for menu navigation and quick AF point selection.

And it has a back AFL (autofocus lock) button which is useful for back-button focusing.

Niche Features/Extras

It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) connectivity. And you can wirelessly transfer, geotag, and browse images and remotely control the camera when paired to the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app.

It has a USB-C port for faster data transfers and USB charging. And this port also doubles as a headphone output with the optional adapter.

It has a microphone input, albeit a 2.5mm sized one. But do know, the camera doesn’t support microphones that require plug-in power. Nevertheless, you can manually adjust the levels via the menu, add a limiter, and a low-cut filter or wind filter.

It has built-in panorama.

It has built-in multi-exposures.

It has built-in HDR.

It has a built-in flash.

It has a built-in interval timer for time-lapses, and you can customize the duration, number of shots taken, and the start time. Plus, it also offers exposure smoothing.

It has Flicker Reduction to reduce the flickering of fluorescent lights.

It has a built-in digital teleconverter, which transforms the lens into 50 and 70mm full-frame equivalents, albeit at a slight loss in detail.

It has the Depth-of-Field Scale, which helps make assessments for images you plan on printing or viewing at high resolutions.

It offers several Auto Bracketing options, including exposure, film simulations, dynamic range, ISO, white balance, and focus bracketing.

It has extensive in-camera editing functionality. And you can convert RAW images, crop, resize, and perform red-eye removal, to name a few.

The camera obtains the Voice Memo Setting to add a voice memo to the current photograph.

It has in-camera image rating.

Cons:

Video Capabilities

The camera’s ND filter doesn’t work when filming video, only when shooting stills. And sadly, enabling the filter also reduces sharpness.

The camera overheats during long-form 4K video. But, you can shut it down and install a cold battery then continue recording. Alternatively, firmware V1.1 brings the Auto Power OFF Temperature setting to the menus, where setting it to “high” offers longer recording times.

Autofocus Performance

Fuji’s come a long way with AF, but the camera still struggles when shooting in backlit scenes, where it easily loses track of faces. And it also does the same when recording videos.

Menus

Strangely, the rear display doesn’t support full menu navigation like the X-T4.

Ergonomics

Even with the updates to ergonomics, the camera remains quite small, and the grip shallow. And given its size, you’ll quickly find it uncomfortable If you have large hands. It’s also quite slippery and could easily slip accidentally. We highly recommend getting a camera strap to avoid dropping this camera.

Fuji’s removed the rear d-pad entirely with this camera. Instead, you navigate the interface using the AF joystick. It’s a small change that enhances the camera’s simplicity but could be a nuisance to some users. This removal also means you’ll have slightly less customization over the camera’s physical layout, which may prove limiting if you don’t enjoy the camera’s touch gestures.

The exposure compensation dial lacks a lock, and it’s quite easy to change accidentally.

Like many compact cameras, both the battery and SD cards live in the same compartment underneath the camera, which makes quickly switching either tedious when using accessories.

Lacking Features

It only offers a single UHS-I SD slot, not the faster UHS-II standard. And due to size, it doesn’t offer dual card slots either.

With only a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000, some users may find it challenging to photograph in bright conditions. You’ll have to use the camera’s built-in ND filter, but it’s quite strong, so it can be tricky to achieve proper exposure quickly. And it’ll take a bit of trial and error.

It lacks built-in stabilization.

Due to size, it uses a micro-HDMI port. But, sadly, these are usually flimsy and less reliable than the large mini-sized ports.

Is this a good beginner camera?

Possibly.

But, as the flagship of the line, it’s quite pricey. And it’s important to know that it doesn’t offer any program modes with helpful on-screen tips or guides. Sure, this camera provides the full PASM shooting modes and a fully automatic option. But, it isn’t implemented the same way as, say, their entry-level X-T100. And that’s because Fuji aims this camera at enthusiasts and existing shooters who have a general understanding of photography. So, if you’re a complete novice, consider the X-T30 or X-T200 cameras instead. Otherwise, if you’re willing to trade the on-screen guides and tips, this camera delivers an excellent package. And one that brings a tactile shooting experience with a fixed lens that will force you to slow down when shooting, and that’s powerful.

What are the best lenses & bundles for the Fujifilm X100V?

Lens Converters: 

Fujifilm Fujinon Tele Conversion Lens
Fujifilm AR-X100 Adapter Ring 49mm
Fujifilm Protective Filter PRF-49S

Extra Batteries:

Fujifilm NP-W126S Battery

SD Cards:

SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB
SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB
SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB

Tripods & Gimbals:

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod
E-Image 2 Stage Aluminum Video Tripod
Zhiyun Weebill S Compact Gimbal Stabilizer

Microphones & External Recorders:

Zoom H1n Portable Recorder

Grip:

Lensmate Thumb Grip

Is this a good camera for you?

Yes.

For photographers, this camera is the ideal traveling and day to day companion. With its 35mm field of view, small compact weather-resistant body, it’s quite the versatile package well suited for any condition.

While this isn’t a dedicated video camera, Fuji’s packed it with a strong feature set that makes it a suitable hybrid shooter, and one that’s equally as capable as the X-T30. As such, it’s a good option as a b camera for a quick second angle or slow-motion shot, without lugging around too much gear. And if you want a capable travel video camera, this is surely one to consider.

Current X100 users should consider an upgrade. The improvements made here are worthwhile. Even more so, if you want the 4K video, 1080p 120p, better articulation, weather sealing, stronger AF, and a superior lens. And this camera is also an excellent b camera for existing Fujifilm owners wanting a lightweight and discreet option.

Current film shooters should also consider this camera. With its analog controls and excellent film simulations, it delivers a digital experience that closely matches. And it’s equally as capable, without the massive tax on your wallet.

In the end, Fujifilm’s X100V is quite a substantial improvement over earlier models. And it performs leaps and bounds over the X100F. They’ve redesigned the lens, added 4K video, a new sensor, and an updated design. And as a package, this is the culmination of almost ten years of the X100 philosophy. It’s clear Fuji listened to their user’s requests this year. Hence, it’s not surprising it’s the best of the series. But, even so, it’s also a powerful camera that offers both character and style. Frankly, if you’re looking for the ultimate everyday carry camera that’s both technically and aesthetically superb, look no further.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
4.1

Summary

Fujifilm’s X100V is the culmination of the best the series has to offer. And as a package, it’s arguably their best everyday camera to date.