Fujifilm X100V initial review: The most capable fixed-lens compact camera, ever
What's new and how it compares
For all the big feature upgrades on the X100V, there are a significant number of small refinements that may fly under the headline radar. Let's take a look at some of them here, and we'll look at how updates to the controls will impact the camera's handling on the following page.
- Sensor and processor from X-Pro3 make this the quickest X100 yet
- New autofocus system brings better tracking and more reliable face and eye detect
- Redesigned lens promises improved corner sharpness and close-focus performance
- New, bigger viewfinder has an OLED panel and provides better eye-relief
- Rear screen is now tilty is touch-sensitive
- This might just be the first X100 camera you'd want to shoot video with
New sensor, processor and more speed
The X100V inherits the same basic sensor and processor combination we first saw on the premium X-T3 and X-Pro3 interchangeable-lens cameras. This means you get 26MP of resolution from a BSI-CMOS sensor with the company's trademark X-Trans color filter array. You also get a new lower native ISO value of 160, though the native maximum remains 12800.
Among the main benefits of this sensor is the very fast readout speed it's capable of. When using the electronic shutter, you can access very fast burst speeds of up to 20fps using the full width of the sensor and 30fps with a 1.25x crop. Whether the personality of the X100V really lends itself to these sorts of burst speeds is up for debate, but for those street shooters looking for the most decisive of moments, they may come in handy.
The new sensor brings with it a new on-sensor phase detection autofocus system (also borrowed from the X-Pro3), which has 425 AF points that are spread across almost the entire frame (up from 325 points on the X100F). Tracking autofocus is responsive, performing similarly to Fujifilm's interchangeable-lens flagships. Face and eye detection should also be improved, but we'll delve deeper into that when we have a production camera to test.
The X100V also gets the X-Pro3's customizable focus range limiter, which could also be handy for street shooters in particular.
Redesigned lens (on the inside, anyway)
At first glance, the 23mm F2 lens on the X100V looks identical to its predecessors'. It has, in fact, been completely redesigned to offer better performance when using wide-apertures close-up (a weakness of the older models), as well as generally better corner performance. We haven't been able to test the new lens fully, but in our initial shooting, it looks like these claims have merit.
Fans of Fujifilm's WCL-X100 and TCL-X100 wide-angle and telephoto conversion lenses will appreciate that the new lens design on the X100V will still work with these adapters, so you won't have to buy new ones. On the other hand, you could argue that this compatibility arguably tied the lens designers' hands in that they couldn't diverge very far at all from the physical constraints of the original design.
For those that were hoping a lens design might bring a faster autofocus motor, unfortunately, our initial testing doesn't show a dramatic improvement: we'll take a closer look when we get a final production camera. But to end on a positive note, there continues to be a built-in ND filter, making it easy to shoot under bright light at wider apertures. It could come in handy for movie shooting, too.
Viewfinder and screen
Fujifilm has said that the viewfinder on the X100V is essentially the same as that on the X-Pro3, and for this camera, that's generally a good thing. It's still a hybrid optical-and-electronic unit, it's bigger than the older viewfinder and now has an OLED panel.
This means that the information overlay in the optical mode can be brighter for easier viewing in bright light, but also that when you use the viewfinder in electronic mode, you get much better contrast than with the older LCD panel.
One concern we have with the optical viewfinder is that, like the X-Pro3, the camera no longer relaxes back to showing the infinity-focus framelines and focus point when you release the shutter button. This is fine if you're repeatedly focusing at a similar distance, but makes it impossible to predict where your focus point is going to go if you focus on something more distant.
In a duo of firsts for the X100-series, the X100V's rear screen is touch-sensitive and a tilting design. This allows for you to place your AF point with you finger, drag your finger on the screen to place the AF point when your eye is to the finder, and utilize Fujifilm's swiping touch-functions, first seen on the X-E3 (and we'll go into more detail on that shortly).
But very significantly, the screen tilts out, making shooting from high and low angles a breeze. The screen remains flush against the back of the camera when it's folded away, keeping the design slick and uncluttered.
The X100V comes with the most complete video feature set you'll find on any camera of its type. You get 4K/30p internal recording at up to 200Mbps, with an option for F-log recording for those that want to grade footage in post (keep in mind, it is 8-bit only). For those that want a more usable out-of-camera look, the camera comes with the Eterna film simulation profile, which we're big fans of.
As with some previous X100 models, you can attach a microphone to a built-in 2.5mm port on the V, but new to this model is the option to use the USB-C port to adapt to a 3.5mm headphone jack, first seen on Fujifilm's X-T30. You get continuous AF including face detection in video, and there's focus peaking for manual-focusers and zebra warnings for exposure.
|Fujifilm's 'Movie Silent Control' interface first appeared on the X-H1, giving users complete control over shooting settings using the touchscreen.|
Lastly, the touchscreen allows for Fujifilm's 'Movie Silent Control' option, which passes off exposure settings to the screen: so you can keep your physical dials set as you prefer for stills shooting, with a completely separate set of settings and controls for movies that can be controlled silently.
Keep in mind, the new lens doesn't have built-in stabilization, and nor is there digital stabilization of any kind, so your footage will come out a bit shaky unless you're using a tripod. But all of the camera's other features make the X100V a more compelling option for grabbing video clips than its predecessors, and its light weight should make it a good option for gimbal work.
|The X100V (left) and the X100F.|
The field of fixed-lens large-sensor compacts is a bit of a motley crew, differing in sensor size, physical size, equivalent focal length, price, and in some ways, intended use. Here's how the X100V compares against its predecessor as well as the most recent competing options.
|Fujifilm X100V||Fujifilm X100F||Ricoh GR III||Leica Q2||Sony RX1R II|
|Sensor size||APS-C||APS-C||APS-C||Full frame||Full-Frame|
|Lens||35mm (equiv.) F2||35mm (equiv.) F2||28mm (equiv.) F2.8||28mm F1.7||35mm F2|
|ISO range (expanded)||160-51,200||200-51,200||100-102,400||50-50,000||50-102,400|
|Yes / tilting||No / fixed||Yes / fixed||Yes / fixed||No / tilting|
|Burst||20 fps||8 fps||TBC||20fps||5 fps|
|Weight||478 grams||469 grams||257 grams||718 grams||507 grams|
|Battery life||420 (OVF), 350 (EVF)||390 (OVF), 270 (EVF)||200||370||220|
*Claimed sealing contingent on addition of lens filter ring and filter.
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