FUJIFILM Introduces the X100V

5Share

A brand new camera that needs no introduction? That'd be the FUJIFILM X100V, the fifth iteration of its immensely popular X100 series of premium compact cameras. These cameras have been around for nearly a decade, and the core elements of design have hardly changed over the years. So, how did FUJIFILM improve upon something that's been refined, but hardly changed, over such a long span of time? It added a few more missing features and brought the camera up to speed for 2020. Honestly, though, what more could you want from a camera that is already so dialed-in?

FUJIFILM X100V comes in two colors, black or white.
FUJIFILM X100V comes in two finishes: black or white.

The key update to the X100V—V as in "Five," whereas F was "Four" and T was "Three," and so on—is the incorporation of FUJIFILM's current X-series flagship sensor. This new model features the same 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor that is used in the X-T3 and X-Pro3 mirrorless bodies. Along with the extra couple of megapixels, this new sensor opens up imaging capabilities quite a bit compared to its predecessor, the X100F. Both sensors are FUJIFILM's trademark X-Trans design, which uses a less conventional pixel array to help reduce moiré and improve color and tonality, but the 26.1MP sensor improves in the speed, sensitivity, and clarity arenas.

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

Coupled with the also-new X-Processor 4, this sensor has a back-illuminated design that improves image clarity when working in low light, and helps to reduce apparent noise at higher ISO values. Also, the sensor-processor combination offers continuous shooting up to 11 fps with a mechanical shutter, versus 8 fps with the former model.

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

Beyond photo specs, the X100V is also the first of the series to feature 4K video recording. Supporting DCI and UHD resolutions at up to 30 fps, along with Full HD recording at up to 120 fps, the X100V is by far the most video-capable model of the X100s. Also benefiting video, the Eterna Film Simulation mode is ideal for color-grading applications and the micro-HDMI port permits 10-bit 4:2:2 recording to an external recorder. Even with these upgraded specs, I still wouldn't call the X100V my first choice for a video camera—it only has a 2.5mm port for a microphone, and the fixed focal length lens is a bit limiting for cine applications—but as a complement to a primarily stills workflow, the video enhancements are much appreciated.

The third major benefit of the updated sensor is an improved hybrid focusing system. Compared to the X100F's 91-point system with 325 areas, the X100V has a 117-point system with 425 selectable areas. And besides broader and more detailed coverage, this improved focusing system is also faster and is sensitive down to -5 EV to suit low-light use.

In practical use, the differences between the X100V and X100T, in terms of the sensor, seem to be more realized with the improved focusing performance and speed versus a hugely noticeable improvement in image quality. The X100F already had, and obviously still has, impressive imaging performance, but this new model stands out to me due to its snappiness and flexibility. I didn't put the sensor through its paces in terms of high-speed shooting or ultra-low-light work, since it felt more realistic to use it for everyday shooting; it's the type of camera for everyday use, and in those situations, the sensor enhancements will be appreciated in terms of quickness, improved video, and an expanded shooting envelope for working at dusk and in more difficult lighting conditions.

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

The X100 series has also been one of the more distinct cameras on the market due to its physical design. Resembling a rangefinder, the cameras have always had irresistible looks—and functionality to match. While none of them have been rangefinders, this mimicked design does serve an actual purpose: the Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder. One of FUJIFILM's hallmark features, this unique type of finder is what draws many to the X100 cameras in the first place. It's both an optical window finder and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder—switchable at the flick of a switch. The X100V has been updated to current standards and now has a 3.69m-dot OLED EVF (the same as in the X-Pro3) and, when flicked away, the optical finder still makes use of some electronic information to help recognize settings and even gain some focusing control with the Electronic Rangefinder function. I found myself switching between the two viewing methods all day for various reasons; with the EVF, you get to previsualize your exposure, focus, and Film Simulation setting, and with the OVF, you get a more natural, less straining viewing method that also helps to conserve battery life. The Electronic Rangefinder function, while nice, was more of a distraction for me and I ended up relying on the immensely capable AF system the whole time.

One of the more noticeable changes to the camera comes with the rear LCD screen. It's now a touchscreen! And it tilts! It's a 3.0" 1.62m-dot screen, too—the same as the X-Pro3's hidden screen (are we picking up on a theme here?)—and is honestly one of the improvements to the camera about which I am most excited. Even though it's decidedly not new tech, this is one of the few cameras in the world I think is hugely enhanced by a tilting screen. For street photography, it opens up a new dimension of inconspicuousness; to be able to compose shots accurately without having the camera physically in front of your face—a simple, but effective, update. The touchscreen interface, on the other hand, is not something of which I'm usually a big fan. I know many people enjoy spending their days tapping screens, but I like using tactile controls with my cameras and saving the screen tapping for my phone.

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

Luckily for me, the physical controls of the X100V are still an important and integral aspect of the overall design. And even though they've been changed a bit from the X100F, they still feel natural and intuitive. The main change is the complete removal of the D-pad in favor of just the rear joystick. This is perfectly fine by me since the joystick is the natural evolution of the D-pad. Some other buttons have been moved around, which will take just a few minutes of getting used to for X100F users, but the main button change is the relocation of the Q button to the way far right-hand side. It's now in a place you can't reach very easily with your thumb, but you also can't easily press it accidentally. So it's not a bad change, but also not a great change, in my eyes. On the top of the camera, the only real change appears to be that it now reads "V" where it used to read "F." 

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

Among some other cosmetic and exterior changes, the most noteworthy update is that this camera is now weather-sealed. However, please note that it is weather-sealed once you add the optional AR-X100 Adapter Ring and an optional 49mm filter, such as the PRF Protective Filter. Still, with these caveats, it's great news for street photographers in rainy places like Bergen, Manchester, and Seattle. Additionally, since the X100V is compatible with that handy AR-X100 Adapter Ring, you can also continue to use the TCL-X100 II Tele and WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion Lenses, too.

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

Speaking of lenses, we finally arrive at one of the other characteristic elements of the X100 cameras—the prime Fujinon 23mm f/2 lens. This new model keeps the same focal length and aperture, but it does feature a new optical design and is designated version "II" on the front of the lens. It shares an eight element, six group design, but a new optical layout features two aspherical elements that should help to reduce aberrations and distortion further, for high sharpness and clarity. Besides the added specialized element, the 35mm equivalent prime is physically the same as previous generations. It's a comfortable focal length that so many people enjoy and, with an apt f/2 design, it's ideal for isolating focus and working in low light. At the other end of the spectrum, when conditions are extra bright, the internal neutral density filter has gotten a one-stop boost, too, and now attenuates up to four stops of light versus the three-stop version of the X100F. And, of course, there is still a leaf shutter, so syncing flash is possible at all mechanical shutter speeds.

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

Looking over the camera now, the remaining updates to the new model include the addition of Classic Neg to the Film Simulation modes. Similar to the popular Classic Chrome mode, this new Classic Neg setting renders similarly muted tones, but with punchy colors and maybe a bit more of a vintage feel, reminiscent of Superia films. Having a chance to work with this camera reminded me how fun all of these modes can be, and how it's definitely among the best cameras for producing SOOC (straight out of camera) imagery. As silly as it feels to even write that, it's one of the assets I cherish about FUJIFILM's cameras, all around. Anything that keeps me from having to spend hours editing on the computer is something I want in my camera.

FUJIFILM X100V Sample Photo

So that's it. That's the new FUJIFILM X100V. It's a difficult camera to really wrap my head around after only spending a few days with it. On one hand, I knew it was going to be good. That was a given. On the other hand, is this new update good enough? I think it is, but with the slightly backhanded compliment of "what else could they have really done?" I can think of some things I wish were different about the camera, but those would be fundamental changes to what has made the X100 series so popular and successful for nearly a decade now. So, when I sit and think hard about what's wrong with this camera, I can't come up with anything substantial or even worth mentioning. It's an excellent camera for what it's intended to do. It's perfect for you street shooters out there, those one-lens travel photographers, those photographers looking for a bit of style to go along with impressive imaging, and those photographers just looking for a really solid, simple, and straightforward camera.

What are your thoughts on the new FUJIFILM X100V? Are you already an X100-series shooter? Or what is your favorite advanced compact camera? What do you use for street photography? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

5 Comments

Here's a quick question.  I have heard many people say this camera has a four-stop ND filter built in.  You wrote " . . . the internal neutral density filter has gotten a one-stop boost, too, and now attenuates up to four stops of light versus the three-stop version of the X100F."  Up to would indicate that you can choose, perhaps one, two, three or four stops.  Is that the case?  

I have the 100T (6fps) and although it is only 16MP it is pretty slow at processing and saving images which makes it hard to use in continuous shooting (95mb/s SD card). Did they fix that issue? Do you know how many frames it can shoot before it slows down. Thanks 

Probably because of a very small buffer in that camera.

Hi Rany, You're right, what you're describing more pertains to the buffer rather than an issue with the camera. The X100 series aren't really designed for high-speed continuous shooting for extended takes in the same way a sports-intended camera would be. That said, the X100V does have improved continuous shooting (up to 11 fps with a mechanical shutter) and an improved buffer (up to 17 consecutive raw frames or 38 JPEG frames). If you move down to 6 fps, you get up to 458 JPEGs in the buffer, and by 4 fps you'll be able to buffer unlimited JPEGs.

Thank you!

Close

Close

Close