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.
 
Last edited:

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.
 

MichailK

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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.
 

MichailK

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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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