FujiFilm X100V Review

The Fujifilm X100V is a premium compact camera with some great genes – it’s the fifth member of a family that stretches back to the original X100 from 2011, with a design that’s inspired by 1950s film cameras.

The series has long been considered camera royalty. Why? It comes down to a combination of four factors: its stylish, pocketable form factor, large APS-C sensor, unique hybrid viewfinder, and a fixed 23mm f/2 lens. Together, these four things make the X100 series a deservedly popular choice among street and travel snappers.

It’s a tradition that the Fujifilm X100V continues, with a few significant new twists. The X100V brings a new tilting touchscreen (a first for the collection) and a redesigned lens. Inside, there are big changes too, with a fresh 26.1MP APS-C X Trans CMOS 4 sensor, improved autofocus system and the ability to shoot 4K/30p video. But is this all enough to make the X100V as popular while its predecessors? And do you really need one when smartphone cameras are so good? The answer to both questions is yes, as long as you know what you’re letting yourself in for.

Fujifilm X100V (Specs)

  • 26MP X-Trans sensor
  • Redesigned lens (still a 23mm F2 pancake, compatible with previous converters)
  • Built-in 4-stop ND filter
  • Tilting 1.62M-dot touchscreen LCD panel
  • Updated 3.69M-dot OLED EVF, redesigned OVF optics
  • Up to 4K/30p with Eterna film sim and F-Log internal capture (8-bit only)

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Check Fujifilm X100V Price

Fujifilm X100V Digital Camera - Silver
  • Great photography every day, everywhere: X100V features a newly designed, incorporated 23 millimeter F2 lens, ensuring you preserve those special moments at maximum resolution with minimal distortion....
  • Designed for quality and speed: From fleeting holiday moments and family celebrations to hard-hitting visual stories and ever-changing city streets, X100V has been designed to always deliver...
  • Two ways to see an Image: To truly convey the magic of a scene, you need to be immersed in the moment and X100V’s advanced hybrid viewfinder gives you everything you need to do exactly that. At the...

Fujifilm X100V: Build and handling

The X100V looks just as good in the hand as it does in pictures – it’s expensive, but feels very premium. In fact, it has few rivals in the looks department, aside from minimalist rangefinders like the Leica Monochrom M.

If you’re new to photography, it might even look a little intimidating, with its unusual ISO-shutter speed dial and a generous helping of buttons. But one of the X100V’s charms is the creative flexibility it gives you in a pocketable form factor. Sure, you can use it as a point-and-shoot, but that would be like buying a Gibson Les Paul to only play power chords.

The great thing about the X100V is that it adds useful physical features without compromising on its size or looks. The main example of this is its tilting touchscreen. This sits so flush to the back of the camera that it’s easy to miss that you can pull it up by 90 degrees and down by around 30 degrees.

This is very useful for street photography, allowing you to shoot from the hip or above your head to get angles that aren’t possible on previous X100 cameras or smartphones. A tilting screen may make you feel slightly more nervous about its durability when chucked into a backpack, but we didn’t encounter any worrying incidents on this front.

Slightly more divisive is Fujifilm’s decision to remove the D-pad on the X100V. On its predecessors, these control keys acted as useful physical shortcuts to functions like film simulations or the AF mode. What made them particularly handy was the fact that you could use them while looking through the viewfinder.

The X100V supports Fujifilm’s touchscreen gestures – which let you swipe in one of four directions to bring up menus – but you can’t do this while wearing gloves. Still, the ‘Q’ button will compensate to an extent, and more personal preference than anything close to a deal-breaker.

In the hand, the X100V feels not unlike the much more affordable Fujifilm X-A7, in terms of size and weight. The primary differences are that the latter uses interchangeable lenses and lacks a viewfinder. The X-A7 certainly offers better value and is more suitable for beginners. But its plastic build lacks the premium feel of X100V, which utilizes aluminium plates that are built around a magnesium alloy frame. It’s a lovely object that you’ll just want to keep picking up and shooting with.

One final design decision that’s worthy of mention may be the new ISO ring mechanism. To change your ISO settings, you still lift the outer band that surrounds the shutter velocity dial – only now, it remains in position when you lift it, rather than snapping back into place like on the Fujifilm X-Pro3. It’s a small thing but makes it even more user-friendly if you like to shoot regularly in full manual mode.

Fujifilm X100V: Build and Handling

The X100V’s two biggest shooting improvements over its X100F predecessor are its redesigned 23mm f/2 lens and snappier autofocus, which comes courtesy of the new X-Processor 4.

The lens has an identical focal length and aperture to the X100F, but Fujifilm says the one on this camera has two aspherical elements (rather than one). In theory, this helps improve resolution and reduce distortion.

What about in practice? While we didn’t have an X100F to compare it to, the X100V certainly offers great sharpness in the centre of its images, even when you shoot wide open. One of our main complaints with the X100F was that its photos tended to be a touch soft when shooting at f/2, particularly if you were close to your subject. This often meant stopping down to f/2.8 or f/4.

But the good news on the X100V is that capturing widely open feels much less like a compromise. The minimum focusing distance is still 10cm, but you can now feel more confident about leaving it set to f/2 to achieve some lovely shallow depth of field.
This flexibility is supported by the strong autofocus performance. We tested it side-by-side with a Fujifilm X-T3 fronted by a 23mm f/2 zoom lens, and it’s certainly not quite up to the level of that combination – the X100V has been noticeably slower and noisier, particularly in low light situations.

The difference wasn’t drastic, though, and the X100V rarely missed focus or resulted in missed shots. The Face/Eye detection is confident and reliable when shooting people, while in tracking autofocus mode it tenaciously follows objects if you flick it into continuous AF using the switch on the side.

For a pocketable camera with an f/2 lens, autofocus performance is overall very good. And while the X100V certainly isn’t a sports camera, there is decent burst overall performance to help you capture fleeting moments. Using an SDHC UHS-II card with 250MB/s write speeds we managed to get slightly under the claimed 11fps maximum burst rate (around 10fps), with the buffer filling up after around 40 JPEGs and 20 Raws.
The other big practical improvement on the X100V is weather-sealing. Now, this isn’t full weather-sealing, because the lens moves in and out by a few millimetres to focus, making this part of the camera impossible to fully seal. However the rest of the body is weather-sealed and some retailers are offering the digital camera with a weather-resistance kit that includes an AR-X100 adaptor ring and PRF-49 filter.

We certainly felt comfortable taking it out in light rain without those accessories, though, and simply kept the included zoom lens cap near hand.

Two more minor, but still really welcome, improvements over the X100F are the X100V’s viewfinder and battery life. Like the Fujifilm X-Pro3, this camera has a hybrid viewfinder – this means you can use it as a modern EVF or, with the a flick of the switch on the front, a more old-fashioned optical viewfinder.

In both modes you get exposure information shown around the edges of your view, which can be turned on or off utilizing the ‘disp/back’ button. While there have been improvements to the optical viewfinder setting (a boosted 0.52x magnification), it’s the electronic viewfinder that really impresses – its sharp, 3.69 million-dot quality and 0.66x magnification is excellent for a camera of this size. Particularly when some rivals, like the Ricoh GR III, don’t even have a viewfinder.

Lastly, the X100V’s battery life offers been given a boost over its predecessor. The industry standard CIPA rating, which is usually a pretty conservative estimate, will be 350 shots per charge, up 270 on the X100F. In the real world, this equated to almost exactly five hours of fairly intense street shooting during our tests. This means it’s well worth carrying a spare battery (it takes the Fujifilm NP-W126S) or an external power delivery charger, which can charge X100V directly via the USB-C port. If you’re planning a long day of capturing, it might even be worth having both.

Verdict

The Fujifilm X100V is the best compact camera or point and shoot camera of its kind and a brilliant street photography sidekick, but it’s important to know what you’re letting yourself in for. This isn’t a travel all-rounder or point-and-shoot king, because the X100V’s fixed focal length and emphasis on manual shooting make it much more niche than that. Instead, it’s the ideal walkaround camera for keen photographers who see that 23mm f/2 lens as liberating rather than a frustrating limitation.

If that sounds like you, then there’s a lot to love here. The X100V’s tilting screen makes it more versatile than any of its predecessors, its new zoom lens and sensor combination produces excellent images, and it’s weather-proof if you’re either careful or use it with a filter. Beyond all of this, it’s just incredibly fun to shoot with. Many X100 owners find that this camera gets more use than their supposedly ‘better’ main camera, simply because its pocketable size outweighs its limitations. The price of admission is certainly high, but the X100V pulls off this trick better than any other fixed-lens compact camera so far.

Check Fujifilm X100V Price

Fujifilm X100V Digital Camera - Silver
  • Great photography every day, everywhere: X100V features a newly designed, incorporated 23 millimeter F2 lens, ensuring you preserve those special moments at maximum resolution with minimal distortion....
  • Designed for quality and speed: From fleeting holiday moments and family celebrations to hard-hitting visual stories and ever-changing city streets, X100V has been designed to always deliver...
  • Two ways to see an Image: To truly convey the magic of a scene, you need to be immersed in the moment and X100V’s advanced hybrid viewfinder gives you everything you need to do exactly that. At the...

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