Fuji X100F: Fourth version of fixed-lens shooter gets most things right
Here's the thing about reviewing Fuji X series cameras. It can be a bit boring for you, the readers. The problem is, they are good. Really good. They are not perfect, but in most important respects, Fuji gets it right.
The release of a new iteration of the X100 series seems to stir up more emotion than most - even more than the X-Pro2 when it replaced the X-Pro1. We have had months of the usual impassioned to-ing and fro-ing with regard to things like 4k video, weather-resistance and tilt/touch screen. I'm pleased to say that Fuji has resisted the temptation to throw the baby out with the bathwater and "bling up" the X-100F with bells and whistles. It remains true to its roots - a superlative travel, documentary and street tool.
You can read the press release and specifications here and I'm not going to give a laundry-list repetition here. What I am going to do is just look at some of the changes that are significant to me.
Way back in July last year I made some predictions about what I thought we would see in this new model. I got the name wrong, but in most other important respects I think I nailed it pretty well.
- Weather-resistance - wrong
- 24.3mp sensor - right
- Joystick as per X-Pro2 and X-T2 - right
- No tilty screen - right
- No dual sd card slots - right
- Bigger battery - right
Five out of six ain't bad...
I fantasised in that piece about a 27mm (40mm equiv.) lens revamp but what we have is the same 23mm as before — and I'm okay with that. I'm very okay with the bigger battery, as much for the fact that it means I have one less charger and set of spares to carry as for its extra power. The grip is fractionally bigger to accommodate, and that is no bad thing either. Your old leather case won't fit anymore, by the way, and neither will your thumb-rest — have to wait for those nice people at Lensmate to make a new one to avoid fouling the new button grouping, on the right hand side of the camera, again like its big brothers.
Still on power, I'm also pleased to note that USB charging is still part of the feature set. I carry a Zendure battery pack and have got into the habit of topping up when I stop for a coffee. As I have said before, it is a mystery to me why we don't have the same feature on the X-Pro2 — the X100F proves that it can be done with the bigger battery, so...
My main use for the X100F, like the T before it, is as a daily carry/travel/documentary camera. I sold my 100T before Christmas to raise the funds for the X100F (more about pricing in a minute) but I held on to the WCL and TCL adaptors, which means that I still have a 28mm and 50mm capability. The larger sensor on the X100F brings with it a number of dividends (not least the Acros simulation) including a digital crop feature. I was really quite excited by this, since in theory it meant that for many applications I could dispense with the bulky and attention-attracting TCL, but I am disappointed to find that, unlike my trusty Ricoh GR, the Fuji implementation is jpg only. That's a real restriction to me since I shoot raw+jpg 99% of the time. I'm hoping that this will be addressed in a later firmware upgrade — we know it's possible...
I note, incidentally in the press release that there are new versions of both converters that have been announced at the same time. The new versions now allow the camera to automatically sense the converter attached and correct accordingly. I'll see if it's worth the upgrade and report back in due course.
There's a whole shed-load of other improvements but I will cover those in detail when I get my hands on a camera and can report more fully. For now I'm just very happy to see that the X100F is an un-compromised, undiluted and very worthy successor to the T and I am very much looking forward to getting it in my hands.
Price — ah, yes, price. The UK RRP is £1249; that's about £50 above my top expectation but not beyond the bounds of reasonableness. I think the pricing has as much to do with the weakness of the pound as the product improvements this time around.
That's it for now. I'm first in the queue at my local London Camera Exchange and deliveries are currently expected in mid-February. That's ideal timing for me since I have a trip planned to Naples a few weeks later. I'll do a full review with pictures as soon as I can.