For years, the Japanese photo company Fujifilm has been a pioneer in mirrorless cameras that bring the look and feel of analog photography to life. It has now released the Fujifilm X100V, the fifth version of Fujifilm’s high-end compact line that has overcome most of the weaknesses of its predecessors.
So what’s new with the X100V? It may look relatively identical to the X100F, but there are some subtle differences. The biggest changes are the tilting screen and the newly developed lens and sensor. This model has also taken a substantial leap in video quality and autofocusing.
In this review, we discuss how the X100V looks, feels, performs, and compares with other high-end mirrorless cameras.
Despite the increase in size, the X100V still fits into your (albeit, large) pocket. Fujifilm’s developers have made sure that the size ratio of the individual parts, such as buttons, remains roughly the same. At just under half a kilogram, the weight is reminiscent of the good old days of mechanical marvels in photography.
The Fujifilm X100V’s frame is made of aluminum, which makes it light and sturdy. The outer material covering the frame is not made of real leather, but it feels nice just the same.
You should note that the weather resistance kit is not included with the camera. A PRF-49 filter and an AR-X100 adapter can seal the camera well against splashes, but purchasing these separately shoots up the cost of an already expensive camera.
The tilting screen makes working with an X100 camera from a tripod easier – no more spastic bends to compose the photo from particularly low and high angles. It doesn’t ruin the camera’s clear, sleek lines either. Fujifilm neatly fitted the display into the frame so that it doesn’t stick out in any way when folded.
Something that stands out in the Fujifilm X100V is the 35-millimeter fixed lens, which takes some time to get used to if you don’t use prime lenses actively. Interestingly, 35mm was the preferred choice of lens for photography maestros like Robert Capa and Steve McCurry.
A fixed focal length forces you to train the photographic eye – you have to look for your own point of view to find the perfect composition. At times, you have to walk towards your subject instead of zooming in.
Fujifilm’s decision to remove the D-pad has received mixed reactions from its users. While you can navigate through the menu using touchscreen gestures, it’s difficult to do so while wearing gloves or looking through the viewfinder.
The X100V still has the joystick that was introduced in the X100 series, so at least it’s easy to select autofocus points. Due to slight changes in the ISO and shutter speed rings, it is now much easier to shoot in manual settings.
Unlike most digital cameras, Fujifilm continues with the leaf shutter, which is so quiet that even the photographer can barely hear the click. In contrast to the focal plane shutter, you can also flash at any shutter speed.
The Fujifilm X100V in Use
In addition to the tilting touchscreen and the revamped 23mm f/2 lens, most key changes, as compared to the Fujifilm X100F, are within the camera. With the X100V, you get the combination of a 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor with an X-processor 4.
And what does that mean? In simple terms, image quality, ISO performance, and autofocus have improved, especially in low-light situations. Fujifilm claims that the X100V can focus up to -5 exposure levels, which is equivalent to the performance of the X-Pro3 and is sufficient for any shooting situation.
One of the performance advantages of the new X-Processor 4 is the improved burst speed. The X100V is not a sports camera, but it can still shoot an impressive 11 fps in burst mode or 20 fps with the electronic shutter.
The buffer is moderately limited with a maximum of 38 JPEGs or 17 RAW photos. At lower resolutions, however, the X100V can process several hundred JPEGs without pausing for breath.
The autofocus system offers a broad spread of focus points over the entire breadth of the screen. And with the ability to adjust their size, they work fairly accurately.
The large hybrid viewfinder, which is one of the essential elements of the X100 series, has been further developed. You can use it either as an optical viewfinder with 0.52x magnification or as an electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 3.69 million pixels. You will also find it quick and easy to switch between the two modes while taking photos.
Although the camera is primarily made for photos, Fujifilm has also upgraded the video performance of the X100V. Now you can record 4K videos at 30 fps up to 10 minutes, in addition to full HD videos at 60 fps. For maximum color precision, you can use an external recorder to record via HDMI with 10-bit and 4: 2: 2 color scanning.
One of the major weaknesses that still exist in the latest X100 model is the lack of image stabilization. As a result, even minor jerks can be noticeable.
How Does the Fujifilm X100V Compare?
Leica’s M10 and Q2 are probably the only models outside Fujifilm that are worth comparing to X100V’s design and performance. The Leica M10 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless, which sports a full-frame sensor against X100V’s APS-C sensor and offers a more extensive ISO range. But it is also around four times pricier than the X100V, which makes you wonder if the extras justify the price tag.
|Fujifilm X100V||Fujifilm X100F||Leica M10|
|Maximum Shooting Rate||11 fps||8 fps||5 fps|
|Maximum Video Resolution||4096 x 2160||1920 x 1080||N/A|
|Battery||420 shots||390 shots||210 shots|
|Sensor||APS-C X-Trans CMOS IV||APS-C X-Trans CMOS III||Full-frame CMOS|
With a 35mm fixed lens, retro look, and a relatively higher price tag, the X100V is not a mainstream camera, and it doesn’t pretend to be. However, with the next-generation sensor, compact size, hybrid viewfinder, and an f/2 lens, Fujifilm has put together an excellent overall package.
Together, these make the X100 series an ideal choice for travel and street photography. The X100V shows that Fujifilm is evolving this series for the better, which keeps us optimistic for future releases.