Fujifilm X100V initial review: The most capable fixed-lens compact camera, ever
Body, controls and handling
Fujifilm has made plenty of external changes to the X100V, some obvious and others subtle: but all of them will impact how you take control of the camera.
- Touchscreen function swipes and additional function buttons effectively replace the 4-way controller
- The X100V can be considered weather-sealed when equipped with a filter and the
AR-X100 lens filter adapter
- Small design tweaks, customization tweaks and materials changes abound
- Update to USB-C port from Micro USB
Hello touchscreen, goodbye 4-way controller
With the arrival of an AF joystick on the previous X100F, users could safely use the enduring 4-way controller as a suite of custom buttons to bring up film simulations, white balance, and so forth, but the X100V's new touchscreen takes over that behavior. This is likely to be the most significant change for at least existing X100 users, though we have to admit, the touch swipes work better than you might expect: we didn't miss the 4-way controller too much on the X-E3, which debuted the same control scheme.
But it must be said, there are a lot of options you can assign to customizable buttons on the X100V, and so it could have been nice to have the customizable swipes in tandem with the 4-way controller to better utilize all of the available functions. In the end, it really comes down to user preference. In terms of design, though, there's no denying that the rear plate of the newer camera looks a fair bit cleaner with fewer buttons, and the flush design of the tilting LCD is appreciated. Incidentally, this is is arguably in keeping with the 'focus on the photo' ethos this camera shares with the X-Pro3.
Body and materials updates
With the X100V, Fujifilm has moved from magnesium to aluminum for the top and bottom plates. I suppose this is a nice touch, but our main qualm with previous X100-series cameras was the lack of weather-sealing: so it's our great pleasure to announce that the X100V is the first in the series with claimed weather-sealing!*
*Okay, there's a catch. For the camera to be considered 'sealed,' you need to purchase a filter ring adapter for the front of the lens, and attach a filter of some sort. But then, according to Fujifilm, the camera can be considered sealed to a higher degree than its predecessors. And it must be said, sealing a camera like this with tons of exposed dials while keeping size and cost increases to a minimum isn't an easy task, so we applaud Fujifilm for making the effort.
The grip has been very slightly updated as well, with a bit of a sharper contour on the front of the camera, and a new, shallow ridge on the rear of the camera (the rear of the previous models were flat). These are welcome changes, but make no mistake, there's still not much of a grip on the X100V. It feels secure enough in the hand, but we recommend a strap of some sort regardless.
Other body changes include the move to a larger, rounded viewfinder surround, a USB-C port for charging, file transfer and adapting headphones, and subtle tweaks to the size of the flash and the texture on the sides of the dials and knobs.
Controls and customization
Aside from the shifting of the 4-way controller's functions to the touchscreen, there are a number of other control considerations to go over.
Firstly, the ISO control within the shutter speed dial has been reworked. It now clicks up to a fixed adjustable position, so you can more easily spin it quickly to your desired setting. Previously, you had to hold the dial up as you turned, and with so many ISO settings and zero tactile response to indicate how far you'd turned in, it was kind of an ineffective way of working. This change makes a bigger difference than you might expect, depending on how you shoot. There's also a new 'C' setting, to quickly pass off ISO control to one of the customizable control dials on the front or rear.
Next, the 'Q' button has shrunk and shuffled off to the side a bit, which should make accidental operation much less likely: it's also now customizable, so if you don't use the Q menu, you can assign it to something else.
You can now assign a custom function to a
'long-hold' of the viewfinder lever
On the front of the camera, the viewfinder lever still switches between optical and electronic modes and the pop-up electronic preview tab, but you can now assign a setting to a 'long-hold' of the lever to the right. It's handy for something you don't need to access super quickly with a button press, but its far quicker than diving into the main menus. I personally assigned it to activate/deactivate the ND filter.
It bears mentioning that, on the X100F, you could assign one of 36 functions to any customizable control. On the X100V, that's grown to a whopping 64 functions. The focus ring continues to be customizable to a handful of functions, and on our preproduction unit, it's much more damped than previous models, so harder to knock accidentally.
Battery and card slot
The X100V continues to use a single SD card for storage, and uses the NP-W126S battery that powers the rest of Fujifilm's X-mount lineup. We do see see a nice battery life boost relative to the older X100F. Using the optical viewfinder, the camera is CIPA rated to 420 shots; that drops to 350 shots if you use the electronic finder. Against the competition, these are impressive numbers.
As usual, it's very common to experience numbers as high as double the rated value, depending on your shooting style, but the figures tend to give a reasonable way to compare cameras.
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