Our latest test scene simulates both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget switches between the two. The daylight scene is manually white balanced to give neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the lowlight tests. Raw files are manually corrected. We offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Comp', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons by using matched viewing sizes. The 'Comp' option chooses the largest-available resolution common to the cameras being compared.

Raw

The X100F's image quality presents few surprises: it is exactly what you'd expect from the X-Pro2's sensor with the X100-series' lens. This yields much more detail in its Raw files than was possible with its predecessors. We see less false color than with a standard Bayer camera with no AA-filter (though questions are being raised about how this is achieved). It also shows occasional glitching and slight loss in color detail that can occur as a side-effect.

In terms of noise performance, the X100F looks good next to its APS-C peers. Again, the difference in color filter pattern and processing means the images are not directly comparable. The X100F shot is significantly softer than that of the APS-C Nikon whose sensor we're comparing it with. Then again, it's also softer than Fujifilm's own X-T2, so we suspect this has as much to do with the lens not being well suited to flat targets, relatively close-up as it has to do with the sensor or any noise reduction (the effect seems more pronounced on the left of the scene, reinforcing this suspicion).

JPEG

Regardess of the costs and benefits of X-Trans, the X100F's JPEGs are extremely good. As with all the company's X series cameras, the X100F offers a range of Film Simulation modes, which mimic the color responses of various film stocks, giving a range of attractive but not too extreme color modes. The default color is attractive and punchy, especially in skintones, without being overdone. The camera's sharpening brings out the fine detail in the image, despite the slight softness that seems to come from shooting test charts.

The noise reduction in JPEGs at high ISO is well judged; balancing detail retention with noise suppression pretty well. We often found that turning the noise reduction down to either -2 or so (on a ±4 scale) let in a little more noise but with the additional texture giving the impression of detail.

Dynamic range

X100F's sensor adds little enough noise to the scene that it's quite possible keep the amplification low and brighten the image later, while protecting highlights (indeed, that's essentially how the camera's DR modes work). The X100F appears to have a touch more amplification at its lowest setting, so can't quite match the DR that its Nikon peers can offer at ISO 100. Still, it's generally a very good performance and gives Raw files with plenty of flexibility for processing.


Digital Teleconverter

The X100F gains a Digital Teleconverter mode, accessed from the focus/control ring, if the camera is set to capture only JPEG files. It takes an increasingly small crop from the sensor and then upscales it back to 24MP, with exactly the loss of detail you'd expect.


Autofocus

Autofocus has historically been a weak point for the X100 series. The lens, while small and optically rather good (at all but close focus distances), has never been the quickest to move around. The addition of on-sensor phase detection did a little to improve this, but it remained one of the most obvious shortcomings, albeit on a camera not exactly intended for sports shooting.

The X100F, while still not super-fast, takes a considerable step forward. Focusing is noticeably more swift and seems less prone to getting confused by backlighting.

As it is, though, the X100F continues to be primarily a camera for single AF shooting. The AF joystick makes it faster and easier to change AF points than on the older models, meaning you never need resort to focusing-and-recomposing. Hunting is significantly reduced, compared to previous models, even in challenging lighting, though it will occasionally just rack through its focus range and shoot a totally out-of-focus shot in extreme low light. This reduced hunting is generally also the case with AF-C in single-point or smaller zone-focus modes, but AF Wide (Tracking) struggles, much as it does other X-series cameras with slow-to-focus lenses.

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As you can see from the above demonstration, the camera's display doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in its subject tracking; the refresh rate is slow, the tracking isn't very 'sticky' as it jumps from our subjects faces, to their shirts, to the background, and so on. It just simply doesn't look like it's working. 

On closer inspection, though, we found around two thirds of the shots are reasonably in focus, so tracking may be workable for casual use. We still can't recommend it for crucial moments, though, as we can on some competing systems.

Face Detection remains a dead loss, though. It can now be used in burst shooting mode but the camera doesn't recognize faces with any reliability, falling back onto whichever AF area mode you've chosen every time it loses its subject.


Video

We think it's fair to say that a fixed 35mm rangefinder-styled camera wouldn't be many people's first choice for shooting video. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, the X100F doesn't gain the X-T2's (or even the X-T20's) ability to shoot 4K video. Instead it makes do with offering the same 1080p60 specs as its immediate predecessor.

In video mode, as with stills, the X100F offers a good degree of manual control over exposure (and continues to offer Auto ISO mode with exposure comp, if you've manually set the exposure). There's no real control over autofocus, though. AF can be on (AF-C) or off. Face Detection mode is the closest you come to getting control over what the camera focuses on, with even Autofocus Lock rendered unavailable. For short, grabbed clips only, really.