Fujifilm X100F camera: Refining the compact Rangefinder
Fujifilm's X100F - Refining the compact Rangefinder
This article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of HWM.
The X100F is Fujifilm’s latest version of their line of premium compact cameras. It gets the latest 24.3MP X-Trans III CMOS sensor from their top-of-the X-Pro 2 and X-T2 cameras, as well as the top-end X Processor Pro imaging engine, making it much more capable than the X100T it replaces.
For example, where the X100T had a top continuous shooting speed of 6 fps for a paltry maximum of 25 frames, the X100F now goes up to 8 fps for up to 60 frames. It also gains 325 selectable autofocus points in single autofocus mode, and the AF-lever we first saw on the X-Pro2. This makes it easier for you to shift autofocus points, navigate the menus, and change the size of the focus group (by pressing in).
Handling and design updates
Perhaps owing to the fact that the X100F now uses the same batteries as the X-T2 – the NP-W126S – the X100F is now very slightly taller than its predecessor, measuring 126.5 x 74.8 x 52.4mm. The grip is also slightly deeper, but the difference is so little you would hardly notice it.
More obvious changes would be in the shift of buttons and the changes in the control dials at the top of the camera. All the buttons on the back of the X100F have been shifted to the right of the rear LCD, with the AEL/AFL button and the View mode button shifted to the top of the body. These replace the Drive mode button, which has been permanently assigned to the top button of the four-way controller.
You still get a total of seven custom keys that you can assign functions to, and Fujifilm’s excellent Q-menu is still there so general accessibility of functions remains very good. We also like the fact that the X100F gains the same top dials as the X-Pro 2, with the ISO dial integrated into the shutter selector dial, making it instantly accessible.
Something new though, is the addition of a "C" position on the Exposure compensation dial, letting you dial in exposure compensation through the front dial. Operating through this fashion lets you get up to ±5, rather than the ±3 stops you would get through the dial.
Physical differences aside, one thing that definitely stands out with the X100F (apart from the greater resolution count) is how much more responsive the camera is. No doubt thanks to the new processor, the camera is fairly fast and responsive, to the point where we’d say users coming from entry-level DSLRs probably wouldn’t feel the difference.
Autofocus is snappy and responsive, and while it doesn’t gain the improved AF-C system from the X-T2 and X-T20, we certainly didn’t have any issues tracking slower moving vehicles or animals. It uses the same 23mm F/2 lens as in previous generations, which has a very nice minimum working distance of just 10cm, which means you can even use the X100F for close-ups of flowers or insects.
Images taken with the lens wide open seems to produce slightly soft images, but stopping down to f/4 and beyond gives you plenty of detail. As you can see from the image of the butterfly, the camera certainly does take good advantage of the new 24.3MP sensor.
The combination of X Processor Pro and X-Trans CMOS III also means that the X100F gets improved ISO performance, with the base ISO settings now going all the way up to 12800, with 25600 and 51200 available as boost settings.
Images taken at ISO 25600 remain very usable in our opinion, so it does seem that Fujifilm has once again put ILC-level –performance into a premium compact camera body. The one caveat here is price. The X100F costs a fair bit more than its predecessor at S$2,099. And while the digital teleconverter function works well, the same money could get you an ILC with kit lens combination that offers more flexibility.