X100V thoughts after a month of ownership

mumu

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This is from the viewpoint of a street photographer:

(In the Real Street thread, Monika O asked me how I was enjoying my X100V. I'm posting my response in this forum since it seemed more appropriate.)



It has some nice features over my GX9 but I still find myself a bit disappointed in the zone focusing and its menu options.

Nice things:
  • 26mp so even more opportunity for cropping.
  • Better high ISO and dynamic range so better low light shooting and shadow lifting. IBIS is nice, and I wish the X100V had it, but for photographing people, it's not really important to me.
  • Weather sealed body is a nice-to-have feature this time of year when I'm frequently shooting in the rain.
  • Body is lighter so, despite its small grip, I'm finding it more comfortable to carry in the hand for hours at a time vs. my GX9 which "needed" an add-on grip.
  • Autofocus range limiter allows me to define the min/max focus range. I can even set min/max to the same distance to force the camera to stay focused at a specific distance.
  • EVF is quite nice: decent size, colour and resolution.
  • Lens appears to be quite sharp and is more resilient to flare when shooting directly into light.
  • Leaf shutter is near silent but also doesn't cause banding in some artificial light sources like an e-shutter does (e-shutter is my default mode on the GX9 because it's much quieter than the mechanical shutter).
So-so things:
  • The retro control layout...it has its good points and bad points. I grew up shooting with old school film cameras so I'm fine with using them but I find the modern PASM control layout to be much faster and more convenient to use. With the X100V, I use aperture priority 99.9% of the time so the only retro control I use is the aperture ring. ISO is handled automatically (in conjunction with a minimum shutter speed) and for the exposure compensation, I use the rear command dial for that because its faster to use than the stiffer, dedicated exp comp dial. In other words, its basic operation is set up the same way as my GX9 + Laowa 17/1.8 or Panasonic 15/1.7.
  • While the X100V is more configurable in some ways (eg: there are 3 auto-ISO modes, each of which allows you to define a min and max ISO along with a min shutter speed), it's also more limiting: My Menu and Quick Menu seem limited in what you can assign to them. Also, there are no custom presets can encompass a broad range of settings such as AF mode, ISO, min shutter speed, drive mode, metering mode, etc.
  • Optical viewfinder is cool but I rarely use it.
  • Raw files containing lots of fine detail (eg: small leaves in a bush, or blades of grass) can have weird artifacts when processed in Lightroom if I turn up the sharpening. This hasn't proven to be an issue so far but using Iridient X-Transfer to convert the raw files is supposed to be the solution and it's around USD$50-60 so I'm not too concerned.
  • DxO's Deep Prime doesn't work with Fuji raw files that are produced with the X-Trans sensors. A real shame.
  • As for auto focus (which is completely separate from my zone focus discussion), it works quite well. But the GX9's AF is faster and possibly a wee bit more reliably accurate.
  • Fuji's menu system isn't horrible but I think Panasonic's is very good. I'm sure that's partly because I've been using it for 10 years BUT I also thought that Nikon's menu system was good (I've had 4 Nikon DSLRs) and I've also owned a Sony and Olympus so I'm familiar with their menu layout as well.
  • The film simulations are fun to play with and I do like Classic Chrome, but I'm surprised to find that I still enjoy and use my other LR presets even for some of my Fuji images. As a raw shooter, I don't think it is worth buying into the Fuji system primarily for the film simulations. I'd probably look into 3rd party software solutions (eg: Nik) instead.
Working On It:
  • I mentioned the autofocus range limiter. I'm still not 100% convinced that it is truly accurate (ie: will it always focus at the distance I set it to?). I should do more experimenting.
  • Higher resolution means that when I view my zone focused images at 100%, the out of focus bits will be more apparent. It's possible that this reduction in the perceived depth of field is the real reason my zone focused images sometimes look soft, and not because the range limiter is inaccurate.
  • I'm thinking of trying a different focusing technique for street photography:
    • Set the range limiter to focus between 1m to 3m.
    • f/8
    • Use a large zone focus area (basically I'll divide the frame into roughly 3 boxes from left to right).
    • Use the touch screen to quickly select which general area of the screen in which to focus.
    • I think the combination of the range limiter and a large AF zone will allow me to quickly guide the camera to autofocus at approximately the correct distance.

Until I zero in on a preferred focusing method, I'll have to say that zone focusing with the Laowa 17/1.8 on my GX9 was more reliable than zone focusing with the X100V. But when the shot is in focus is on the X100V, then I'd rather work with its files than m43 files.

It's entirely possible that I might switch back to the GX9 for my street shooting in the spring/summer seasons. I'll have to see. The X100V is more enjoyable to use (a lovely shutter sound, nice ergonomics, light weight) but the GX9 is, IMO, a shockingly good street camera. I say "shockingly" because you almost never see it mentioned in the street photography community but, in my experience, it is very, very good in that role. On top of that, it also has IBIS which makes it quite suitable for shooting video plus it can mount different lenses, so it's more useful for travel as well, IMO.

However, I will say that I quite enjoy having a fixed lens. I eschewed the trendy square hood (that I think is BEAUTIFUL) and went with a low profile filter, instead. This keeps the camera very flat (similar to my GX9 + 20/1.7), making it easily pocketable (in a jacket). I would love for a higher resolution sensor version of this camera; basically an affordable Leica Q2. A fixed wide angle lens but with enough resolution that it is feasible to crop down to get an effective 50mm equiv field of view. Oh, and if it could have a true mechanical focus ring with a long throw and a focus tab and price around USD$1500-1800, well...take my money.
 

Mountain_Man_79

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I’m still forming my opinion of my new X100F, mostly in comparison to my Pen F. There’s a lot I don’t like, and in many respects it’s not what I thought it would be. However, I find the images I’m getting with it straight out of the camera are hard to argue with; which is good given the major raw editing limitations.
 

LilSebastian

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Thanks for taking the time to write this up. No direct experience with Fuji other than a close friend with an XT-3. You remind me how I’d miss interchangeable Pen-F lenses and the DXO software. Still, I’m glad that camera exists and makes so many people happy to take photographs.
 

mumu

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It just occurred to me that I can shoot medium resolution jpg files that will give me 13mp. I'll try that and see what the zone focusing looks like at 100%. That should answer my question about whether the shallower apparent depth-of-field (despite using a distance + aperture that should be the same as what I was getting with m43) is related to the image's resolution.
 

threeOh

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That’s an accurate and excellent review. I’m on my 4th X100 with the V I recently picked up. I also have a GX9. As I’m quite familiar with the camera, it’s my main shooter with m43 being my travel kit.

You might try using mf and the afl button to lock focus in your zone of choice. It's a lot simpler and quicker than trying to zone focus with the distance scale.

For raw I use XTransformer as a front end to Lightroom. Even with the current Lightroom, I find the Iridient demosiaced files far better. Raw process is Smoother. My settings for Sharpening and NR are: Default for Iridient and check the box to turn off Lightroom/ACR for both. Obviously play around with your own settings but, for high iso files, I find those settings provide me with a significantly cleaner file, with rendering I prefer.

Once in Lightroom you might want to consider this article. There are a myriad of conflicting articles regarding Lightroom and Fuji raw. I think this conflicting article, especially regarding sharpening, works: https://www.exploringexposure.com/blog/fujifilm/my-fujifilm-sharpening-workflow-in-lightroom/

There used to be a forever free trial period with Iridient. Probably still there. The dngs contain a watermark until you decide to buy a license.

Full disclosure, I try to shoot jpeg only with the Fuji. Not to avoid raw but the jpeg files are to die for and the only way to get them is in camera or using Fuji’s XRaw Studio app.
 
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WT21

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Thanks for the write up!

after experimenting with the X-E family (1,2,3) I realized I don’t like the retro controls. I don’t even like the aperture dial on the PL15. Give me good DSLR style thumb and finger controls well laid out.
 
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I don’t think it would be any useful to your case use, however I want to point to the NiSi square filter system for the X100 series - I find it fun to occasionally use during my too few photo taking these days
 

mumu

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That’s an accurate and excellent review. I’m on my 4th X100 with the V I recently picked up. I also have a GX9. As I’m quite familiar with the camera, it’s my main shooter with m43 being my travel kit.

You might try using mf and the afl button to lock focus in your zone of choice. It's a lot simpler and quicker than trying to zone focus with the distance scale.
My thinking on the distance scale is that, if it's accurate, it allows me to have the distance stored in-camera at all times. If I'm using MF and I unknowingly bump the focus ring while taking a shot, the focus distance will be changed for subsequent shots. But with the range limiter-defined focus distance, it always gets reset to what I saved it as whenever the shutter button is pressed.

For raw I use XTransformer as a front end to Lightroom. Even with the current Lightroom, I find the Iridient demosiaced files far better. Raw process is Smoother. My settings for Sharpening and NR are: Default for Iridient and check the box to turn off Lightroom/ACR for both. Obviously play around with your own settings but, for high iso files, I find those settings provide me with a significantly cleaner file, with rendering I prefer.

Once in Lightroom you might want to consider this article. There are a myriad of conflicting articles regarding Lightroom and Fuji raw. I think this conflicting article, especially regarding sharpening, works: https://www.exploringexposure.com/blog/fujifilm/my-fujifilm-sharpening-workflow-in-lightroom/

There used to be a forever free trial period with Iridient. Probably still there. The dngs contain a watermark until you decide to buy a license.

Full disclosure, I try to shoot jpeg only with the Fuji. Not to avoid raw but the jpeg files are to die for and the only way to get them is in camera or using Fuji’s XRaw Studio app.

Thanks very much for the file processing info. I didn't know Iridient provides a trial period for their software. I will download it this week to see the difference between it vs LR.
 

mumu

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I don’t think it would be any useful to your case use, however I want to point to the NiSi square filter system for the X100 series - I find it fun to occasionally use during my too few photo taking these days
Thanks for the suggestion but you're right, I don't foresee myself using filters with this camera, aside from the protective one (which happens to be the low profile Nisi integrated "hood" + filter). If I need to use a filter, I'll probably just handhold it over the lens.
 
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(which happens to be the low profile Nisi integrated "hood" + filter)
Yes, that is a great accessory as well - until I got it I was always afraid my thick fingers would block lens movement or leave stains on the glass each time I handled my used precious T - eventhough I shoot it too little up here I always enjoy handling it - that small boy toy joy is what I enjoy the most with the X100, if only I lived in a town/city!

Do you feel the lens converters hold any value for your use and the updated lens and 26mpx sensor in the V? The crops you have showed so far look so good that the teleconverter seems like a redundant fat piece of glass...
 

mumu

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Do you feel the lens converters hold any value for your use and the updated lens and 26mpx sensor in the V? The crops you have showed so far look so good that the teleconverter seems like a redundant fat piece of glass...
Your question prompted me to look back at the photos I've taken with the camera. The street photos are primarily cropped down to around 50mm equiv. At that size, the images still have almost 12mp of resolution. So I'm finding that the 26mp + 35 equiv lens are fine for cropping down for my street photography. In addition, if I wanted a narrower FoV I'd just bring along my GX9 + 25/1.4 (50 equiv). That way either FoV is quickly available to me.

I actually prefer shooting with a wider FoV and then cropping down because the way I shoot doesn't give me much time or ability to accurately frame the shot.
 

Richard_M

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I purchased the X100V last year as a companion camera. I'm hopeless taking photos with my mobile phone. I find the X100V great for taking with me in the bush when I'm birding, or taking macros. The X100V does quite well with close-ups of small subjects.
 
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To my knowledge, the X100V shares the same viewfinder and similar internals with the X-Pro3. Would any X100V (or X-Pro3) users mind sharing some thoughts about the auto focus, especially in poor / dark lighting conditions and also the quality/size of the EVF compared to some Olympus models? I have been considering either of these since quite a while but haven't made up my mind, because both models, even used, are still fairly expensive. With Covid restrictions and partial lockdown still in place, it's also pretty much impossible to get a hands-on experience in any store.
 

threeOh

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Auto focus speed has never been an X100 strength. It still isn’t. Using the O25/1.8 or PL15, my GM1 can best the X100V’s AFS. My GX9 can keep up with the X100’s AFC or face recognition. In low light, as with any PDAF mirrorless, it will switch to CDAF. The algorithms are not as well developed as Panasonic's. Low contrast situations will cause some hunting. Overall, think a great leap forward from a P20. Not exactly a challenging reference point. Probably more to do with the lens. But not much can be done about that.

I wear glasses. I can see side to side in the GX9's evf, I cannot with the X100. Decent evf but needs more eye point.

If you judge an X100 on specs, features or ui, it’s probably not the camera for you. Along with my GM1, I simply enjoy using it. That, in and of itself, is good enough for me.
 

mumu

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To my knowledge, the X100V shares the same viewfinder and similar internals with the X-Pro3. Would any X100V (or X-Pro3) users mind sharing some thoughts about the auto focus, especially in poor / dark lighting conditions and also the quality/size of the EVF compared to some Olympus models? I have been considering either of these since quite a while but haven't made up my mind, because both models, even used, are still fairly expensive. With Covid restrictions and partial lockdown still in place, it's also pretty much impossible to get a hands-on experience in any store.
AF on my X100V doesn't seem to be any better (in terms of accuracy and speed) than my GX9 and *definitely* not as good as my G9 or my G85. It's not terrible but, for the price of the camera, I expected better. FWIW I'm read some Fuji users who have said the X100 series typically has lower performing AF then the other Fuji cameras. In low light, I'm not sure if there is much difference between my GX9 and X100V aside from the GX9 possibly being faster to focus.

My last Olympus camera was an EM5.2 which I sold a few years ago; my recollection of that camera is that the X100V and EM5.2 have similarly good EVFs. I'd say it's on par with my G85 EVF.
 

mumu

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Also, a few more thoughts on my X100V now that I've shot with it for another month:
  1. The autofocus range limiter seems to be quite consistent. For zone focusing, I've been using f/8 and limiting focus to 3m. It's definitely more reliable than my GX9's "resume lens position" feature where I'd sometimes notice that the lens was nowhere near the last-used focus position.
  2. On paper, the high ISO performance _should_ be about 1-stop better but in some cases I feel like it's 2-stops better. I depends on the subject, light, and resulting high ISO noise.
  3. I'm really enjoying having the additional 6mp for cropping as well as the extra dynamic range.
  4. If I had to switch from micro four thirds to another system, it is less likely to be Fuji. Why? Because most of their cameras, including my X100V, do not have common user-defined custom presets. When I'm street shooting, my default is to have AF range limiting set to 3m, aperture at f/8 and auto ISO's minimum shutter speed set to 1/400s. But if I move into an environment where the light is much lower (eg: I've just stepped into a building) I can no longer use zone focusing so I need to: 1) use a wider aperture, 2) switch to AF mode (not range limited) and 3) shift the min. shutter speed to a slower speed (1/125). To do this requires a twist of the aperture ring and then two sub-menu dives (1. switch to AF non-range limited and 2. change auto-ISO setting to change the min. shutter speed). If Fuji implemented the typical customer user presets, I could probably avoid the two menu dives entirely by simply switching a mode dial to a Custom preset of my choice.
    In other words, for my shooting style, I don't get any benefits from their choice to eschew custom presets.
    Strangely, they do have presets (or profiles, as they call them) but they only include image-related settings such as film simulations, curves, etc.
I would LOVE for the GX9 successor to have an accurate AF range limiter like the X100V. I think it would make it a more enjoyable street camera than the X100V although the GX? would still be less effective in poor light.
 

damianmkv

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Like many others, I’m ( GAS ) fascinated by the x100 series. I had the T several years ago and absolutely loved it. But..

no flip screen
fixed lens

now obviously everyone knows these when they buy the camera. However, the camera can produce fantastic images whilst remaining pocketable and discreet. The fixed lens makes you think about your shot rather than just pointing..you “see” what you’re taking..That really appealed to me

So after 18 months I sold. Now, I’m looking again but can hardly buy an S for the price I sold the T for a few years ago. The camera has become somewhat romantic and sort after on the used market.

So where does that leave me ? Could I process my m43 images to give me x100-like memories ? Should I put down my rose coloured specs ?

Time will Tell..
 

threeOh

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Also, a few more thoughts on my X100V now that I've shot with it for another month:
  1. The autofocus range limiter seems to be quite consistent. For zone focusing, I've been using f/8 and limiting focus to 3m. It's definitely more reliable than my GX9's "resume lens position" feature where I'd sometimes notice that the lens was nowhere near the last-used focus position.
  2. On paper, the high ISO performance _should_ be about 1-stop better but in some cases I feel like it's 2-stops better. I depends on the subject, light, and resulting high ISO noise.
  3. I'm really enjoying having the additional 6mp for cropping as well as the extra dynamic range.
  4. If I had to switch from micro four thirds to another system, it is less likely to be Fuji. Why? Because most of their cameras, including my X100V, do not have common user-defined custom presets. When I'm street shooting, my default is to have AF range limiting set to 3m, aperture at f/8 and auto ISO's minimum shutter speed set to 1/400s. But if I move into an environment where the light is much lower (eg: I've just stepped into a building) I can no longer use zone focusing so I need to: 1) use a wider aperture, 2) switch to AF mode (not range limited) and 3) shift the min. shutter speed to a slower speed (1/125). To do this requires a twist of the aperture ring and then two sub-menu dives (1. switch to AF non-range limited and 2. change auto-ISO setting to change the min. shutter speed). If Fuji implemented the typical customer user presets, I could probably avoid the two menu dives entirely by simply switching a mode dial to a Custom preset of my choice.
    In other words, for my shooting style, I don't get any benefits from their choice to eschew custom presets.
    Strangely, they do have presets (or profiles, as they call them) but they only include image-related settings such as film simulations, curves, etc.
I would LOVE for the GX9 successor to have an accurate AF range limiter like the X100V. I think it would make it a more enjoyable street camera than the X100V although the GX? would still be less effective in poor light.
There are 2 presets for the AF Limiter and 3 for ISO range plus SS. Both can be assigned to function buttons. I would think in the example you presented, an environment change would be fairly straightforward.
 

mumu

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There are 2 presets for the AF Limiter and 3 for ISO range plus SS. Both can be assigned to function buttons. I would think in the example you presented, an environment change would be fairly straightforward.
Sheesh...this is embarrassing but your post just reminded me that I already had the front button programmed to control the AF limiter. But your suggestion encouraged me to also change the top deck button to control the Auto ISO. It was previously set to control the Viewfinder mode because I can't seem to add that to My Menu or Quick Menu. But since I don't change it as often as Auto ISO, I'll force myself to menu dive for it when I need to change it.
I'd still prefer a custom preset instead but this will remove some of the friction and for that, I thank you for your suggestion!
 

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