Initial thoughts

And now, readers, it's time for me to eat my words. Back in 2017 (which isn't that long ago, I admit), I said in our previous X100F review:

'Now the camera feels so polished and capable, it almost feels a little more 'professional' and a little less 'fun' than before.'

I should have known that comment would age poorly. Because the fact is, after using the X100V for a couple of weeks, it's clear that it's a far more capable camera than the X100F. Regardless, I just love shooting with it.

This is one of those shots that I simply wouldn't have taken if not for the tilting screen.
Out-of-camera JPEG in Provia film simulation on a pre-production camera.
ISO 160 | 1/320 sec | F8

This change of heart could be due to the fact that I haven't spent any real time with an X100-series camera in a while: I gifted my O.G. Finepix X100 to a camera-less friend a couple of years ago, and have made do with a secondhand EOS M100 since. I got the M100 because it was a fun camera to throw in a pocket and document my life with, and it serves that purpose well. But taking pictures with the X100V is an entirely different experience that I'd kind of forgotten about.

Between the dedicated dials, the joystick, the excellent viewfinder and just how snappy and responsive this camera is, it succeeds in making me feel connected to the act of taking pictures. And that's the difference from a camera like the M100; they're both 'fun', but the X100V is engaging.

I think I'm ready for springtime now. Out-of-camera JPEG in the Provia film simulation on a pre-production camera.
ISO 160 | 1/125 sec | F8

That being said, I personally think the X100V has too many dials. I enjoyed the 'purity' of the early models, for essentially forcing you into using the shutter speed dial and aperture ring to make pictures: and the aperture ring even lacked 1/3 stop detents. But I can appreciate that the additional, clickable command dials front and rear open up further customization options, and could widen the camera's appeal to different types of photographers.

Even after ten years and five iterations, the X100-series hasn't lost its appeal.

And while the latest sensor tech and a redesigned lens are fantastic, the most significant updates for me are the claimed weather-sealing and the tilting screen. The former, because the X100V is a camera you want to take with you wherever you go, weather-be-damned. The latter, because I love shooting from the hip and my life has gotten measurably better by not having to lie on the ground for careful framing of low-angle shots.

Out-of-camera JPEG using the Provia film simulation on a pre-production camera.
ISO 160 | 1/1600 sec | F2

In all, the X100V is shaping up to be the best X100 camera yet, but that's no surprise. What's most important is that, even after ten years and five iterations, it hasn't lost its appeal. It's competitive and compelling, and more flexible and capable than a prime-lens compact has any right to be. If I had an X100F, I can't be 100% sure I'd rush out to upgrade. But seeing as I don't, well, I'm looking forward to finishing this review and finding out if I'd spend my own money on one for myself.