My first impressions of the x100v

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LucaPCP Contributing Member • Posts: 859
My first impressions of the x100v
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I got my x100v, and this is an initial review. The other cameras I use most frequently are the Olympus (mostly an E-M1ii with 12-40 and 75-300), and a Ricoh GIII. The x100v is an addition, not a replacement, to these.

The Olympus is simply phenomenal for macro and wildlife. Its 60/2.8 macro is super sharp, goes to 2:1 (in 35mm), and can be used with hundreds of steps of focus bracketing automatically to do focus stacking; the results are incredible. The 75-300 is a 600mm equivalent that weighs a little bit more than a pound. Just this week I took fantastic photos of a bobcat with it, and before you come up with “oh but you can do this also with this lens”, consider that I took the photos after one and a half hours of climb on my mountain bike: would you be willing to climb with that lens (and binoculars, and water, and satellite messenger, and first-aid kit, etc) in your backpack?

The Ricoh GRIII is phenomenal as a truly pocketable yet super high resolution camera for hiking and skiing. It fits both in the front pocket of my wind jacket, and in the side pocket of my backpack, and protected in its hard-shell Ruggard case, it’s nearly indestructible. It is super sharp and delivers outstanding landscape photos. I find shooting it is a bit of “shoot and hope”, as I need reading glasses to look at an LCD and I never wear them while hiking. The Ricoh was also quite troublesome in getting a decent color profile; I dislike the standard profiles, and it took me a lot of complex tuning (doing things like shifting some color hues) to get decent results.

I got the x100v to take photos while hiking, and also photos of people, family, while traveling, etc. The x100v finally gives me, via the OVF, that immersive experience of shooting while “in” the scene that I so much craved. I can look at people’s expressions in real time. I can shoot frames quickly, without any blackout and hardly any noise. The basic controls are completely simple (I use aperture priority for most things, setting it on the lens ring) so that they are not in the way. The camera is quite slippery; the rubber is not really rubber but hard plastic. I opted for the Meike grip, which works wonderfully well and does not add to the thickness of the camera (only to the height). I also use the Nisi filter. I put on the camera a simple wrist strap, as I find the neck strap too cumbersome in a pocket or backpack.

So how are the results? So far I have used it for family photos, and for landscape. The results are fantastic. The tonality, contrast of the lens, are simply great; I think for family and people photos, this is the best I have used so far. This is likely a mix of the tonality and contrast, of the color rendition, and of the fact that looking through the OVF I find it much easier to frame capture the moment. For landscape also, the color and tonal renditions are superb. I develop with Capture One, and with it I see no signs of the “worms” in vegetation.

After a bit of experimentation, I settled on a workflow where I take photos simply in RAW, and then process with Capture One, where I can replicate all the various film effects (Provia, Astia, …); at the moment, I am quite happy with Astia. The lens is very sharp, up to the edges. The lens of my Ricoh is a little bit sharper (I have never seen a lens quite as sharp), but the difference is somewhat irrelevant to the ultimate quality of the images.

Positives:

  • The shooting experience! The OVF! Being able to be “in” the scene and looking in full real time at faces, and clicking on an extremely responsive shutter button. This leads to much better people photos.
  • The colors! The tonality! These are just fantastic. I am getting absolutely great landscape photos in my hikes.
  • Low-light performance! I took photos of Xmas lights on houses at night, and the chroma noise was essentially absent; much better than with my Olympus.
  • The workflow. I have always been a Capture One user. With my other cameras (Olympus, Ricoh), it was sometimes a battle to fine-tune the profiles to obtain the results I wanted. With Fuji, to have already all the camera styles in Capture One is a great bonus, and makes photography much more fun.
  • The results! These are superior, for all of the above reasons.

Negatives, or better, gripes:

  • The AF is occasionally imprecise: it confirms focus, but the photo is then out of focus. It happened to me twice: once in a landscape photo, where the landscape is just a tiny bit soft; I know it because I took two photos in a row, and the second one is perfect. The other time it happened with a night photo, which is quite out of focus even though the focus was confirmed.
  • There is no button that instantly magnifies the view to confirm sharp focus.
  • The magnification of the focus confirmation insert in the OVF is not programmable.
  • The OVF and EVF require slightly different diopter settings (two ticks of difference) for optimal view; I keep it in the middle as a compromise.
  • The self timer is buried in a menu. Why the self-timer settings are not accessible from the Drive button menu is a mystery! The problem is that the self-timer is most often useful in social occasions, when one is in a hurry, and when the willingness to dive into menus is lowest.
  • The camera can connect to a Macbook via USB, but not as a storage device. This is really quite useless, as one cannot use apps such as Capture One to download the photos.
  • The menu system is terribly disorganized, and it’s difficult to make sense of it. Some options came with no explanation (“display corrected AF frame” -- why would I want to display a wrong AF frame?). The manual is also rather unhelpful; it seems to be written by people with no command of logic (see the description of “Display corrected AF frame” for an example). It shouldn’t be that difficult for Fuji to find someone who can clearly express a concept.
  • If one uses the aperture ring and shutter speed dial to set aperture and shutter, there is no useful function left for the front dial. So one of the main dials of the camera has no use at all; it’s not even as configurable as the rear one.
  • There is no one-button movie record! This is truly sad. Quite often occasions for movies arise quickly, and one has no time to go dive into menus to choose movie mode. It is not even possible to assign movie mode to a button! What do I care about 4k movies if I cannot take movies anyway?
  • There is no one button that quickly toggles flash on/off at the given settings. It would be extremely useful for instance to do fill flash -- one could set the flash with -⅔ exp comp, and then toggle it on/off as needed.
  • Changing the flash exposure compensation requires diving back into the flash menu. It should be possible to do it via a programmable dial.
  • The front lever to switch between optical and digital viewfinder is confusing for new users. It should simply have two positions, one for EVF, one for OVF, with perhaps a button push to toggle autofocus frame on/off.

Non-issues:

  • Heat. Some users report heat when using the x100v. The camera never got even lukewarm in my use.
  • Control ring noise. It doesn’t make much, and at any rate, I hardly ever use the control ring.
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Luca

 LucaPCP's gear list:LucaPCP's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Ricoh GR II Ricoh GR III Olympus E-M1 Olympus PEN-F +1 more
Fujifilm X100V
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