X100V thoughts after a month of ownership

pdk42

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Interesting write up - thank you for taking the time. It’s confirmed, once again, the Fuji impressions I formed years ago with an XE1:

- X Trans is a pointless technology that just gets in the way for no discernible benefit

- Retro controls might be cute and, well, retro, but PASM is demonstrably a better system ergonomically

- IBIS is a massive benefit that suits many shooting situations, esp for me as a landscape and cityscape kind of guy. It took Fuji 10 years but they eventually got the joke!

- Fuji make some fantastic optics

Fuji aside, if I were to get a fixed lens compact, it would have to be a zoom. The LX100 gets close, but the lack of a tilting screen and its poor quality EVF still hold me back.
 

John King

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Interesting write up - thank you for taking the time. It’s confirmed, once again, the Fuji impressions I formed years ago with an XE1:

- X Trans is a pointless technology that just gets in the way for no discernible benefit

- Retro controls might be cute and, well, retro, but PASM is demonstrably a better system ergonomically

- IBIS is a massive benefit that suits many shooting situations, esp for me as a landscape and cityscape kind of guy. It took Fuji 10 years but they eventually got the joke!

- Fuji make some fantastic optics

Fuji aside, if I were to get a fixed lens compact, it would have to be a zoom. The LX100 gets close, but the lack of a tilting screen and its poor quality EVF still hold me back.
Paul, I tend to agree with you.

Adding the tiny E-PM2 to my kit rounds it out very nicely. Put a wrist strap on it today.

Tiny kit is E-PM2 + 14-42 EZ with or without f/1.8 25.

Small kit is E-M1 MkI + 12-50, 40-150R, 75-300 MkII.

Bigger kit is E-M1 MkII + 12-100, with or without my other high grade lenses.

Suits me ...
 

Gromit

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Mumu - thanks for the write-ups, nicely objective and informative.

Re the X100*, I'll lay my store out here...

I'm a huge fan of the series, having owned every one up to the F - a couple of models I've owned twice in fact. The original X100 was the little camera which held out its hand and lured me off the DSLR treadmill, and for 6 months after getting the Fuji, my EOS 7D never (or hardly) came out of the bag.

Sadly, I haven't even picked up a V so cannot comment on it. I was tempted, but the one thing which annoys me (and isn't unique to the 100V in the Fuji line-up) is when hitting 'menu' it's not possible to have it pop up on the LCD if in EVF mode. There's no view mode button now - Fuji did the same with the X-E2 after the X-E1.

Vs the 100F, I owned both it and my Pen F at the same time so had a lot of time to compare the 2. Sure the 100F's noise performance is better, but for the same shot the Fuji's files are nearly one stop darker. Shoot the Fuji to give the exact same EV as the Pen F, and there's probably about 1 stop difference in noise level. The Pen's jpegs aren't quite a match for the 100F's (Fuji jpegs are legendary when all's said) but the Oly's are still rather special, and extremely adjustable with the colour-setting on-screen 'circle' in the menu.

I do hear that the new lens is a decent improvement on the old one. On the F, it was pretty awful when used close up when going wider than f4. I'm with Paul regarding X-Trans - it is pointless, and just means a PITA when using Lightroom as a stand-alone converter. I use Capture One for my Fuji RAFs where the difference is not subtle (It's also rather special with Oly ORFs too but I can't use some plug-ins which fit LR). A friend of mine uses an X-T100 with Bayer sensor and its images are gorgeous.

As a tool, I think I prefer the Pen F - it has the same 'pick me up and shoot' feel of the X100 but has a better balance of controls between old & new.

Do I have a downer on the X100? Not a bit, it's a wonderful, joyous camera and a staggeringly beautiful bit of kit but I just kept coming back to the Pen F. However, if the X100V is a camera which encourages folk to discover the freedom a small, immensely capable camera can give - then it's done its job.
 
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threeOh

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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!
I also have a GX9. The entire ui is much better thought out than the Fuji. Since the Bayer, hardware has substantially evolved while the ui hasn’t kept up. The Fuji's are more comfortable in static setups.

I’ll have to try the limiter. I lock focus now. Seems to do everything I need. Maybe I’m missing something.

The sheer enjoyment of using the cameras and the files keep bringing me back. My gf shot a series of portraits the other day. Good lighting, jpeg only, the sooc files looked like you could touch them and feel skin. On the basics, WB, metering, the render of the lens, color science they’re solid. But get out of the narrow envelope Fuji software engineers seem to live in and they can get frustrating. Not a camera for everyone. Fair enough.
 

mumu

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I also have a GX9. The entire ui is much better thought out than the Fuji. Since the Bayer, hardware has substantially evolved while the ui hasn’t kept up. The Fuji's are more comfortable in static setups.

I’ll have to try the limiter. I lock focus now. Seems to do everything I need. Maybe I’m missing something.

The sheer enjoyment of using the cameras and the files keep bringing me back. My gf shot a series of portraits the other day. Good lighting, jpeg only, the sooc files looked like you could touch them and feel skin. On the basics, WB, metering, the render of the lens, color science they’re solid. But get out of the narrow envelope Fuji software engineers seem to live in and they can get frustrating. Not a camera for everyone. Fair enough.
Follow up: since your suggestion, I've had the AF Limiter selection and auto-ISO / min shutter speed selection assigned to physical buttons and that has softened the pain point of frequently adjusting those settings. re: the GX9, the X100V really made me appreciate Panasonic's UI. I mean, I liked their UI before I got the X100V but I appreciate it much more now that I have had the opportunity to compare it to a camera that so many people have praised as being a "photographer's camera."
 
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I also would like to share some first impressions, please note I haven't fully gotten used to the camera as of yet and might update this in the future, so these really are just some initial few days impressions, mostly compared to my Pen-F.

As a short backstory, there were a few reasons why I bought this camera. First off, I've been intrigued by Fujifilm's X-System for a while, I'm interested in the more retro styled controls, the Film Simulations, the hybrid viewfinder, build quality as well as performance and last but not least weather sealing.

Weather sealing:
As you might know, the body is fully weather sealed to a similar extent as the XT and X-Pro series, however the front of the lens isn't fully sealed due to the external focussing mechanism. You'll need to buy an adapter ring and a protective filter. There are a number of 3rd party counterparts, but none of them says anything about weather sealing. It took me a bit of research to find out, the official Fujifilm products have no special parts to them, they are just bare metal items, without any o-rings, rubber seals or silicone layers.
In short you can buy any adapter ring and a filter of your choice to achieve the same level of weather resistance as you'd get from the more expensive Fujifilm add-ons. Personally I went with a square hood / adapter ring combo from Haoge and a B+W Nano UV filter. Haoge's adapter actually does have an o-ring which sits between itself and the hood, further securing the latter but also helps keeping it water tight.
I just wish this kind of information was easier to get, I guess the 3rd party brands are just careful of not getting into any warranty trouble in case of water damage to the camera.

Now on to a few thoughts:
  • The camera is very well built, as expected. There are some minor downsides, some buttons have a rather stiff and mushy press to them, especially the Q-button.
  • The AF joystick is great! I got used to it so quickly, I now miss it on my Pen-F.
  • The ergonomics are a mixed bag, while the camera does have a small frontgrip, the rear thumbgrip isn't really well thought out in my opinion. My medium sized hands can hold the Pen more comfortable thanks to the near perfect thumbrest compared to the X100V.
  • Low-light AF! There is almost a huge improvement when it comes to low-light AF compared to the Pen-F. I often shoot at or after dusk and that's when the Pen starts to struggle quickly. The X100V's focussing slows down quite a bit, but it still is getting focus, in some extreme conditions it hunts a bit, but still manages to get at least a usable focus on the selected subject. The Pen often just hunts back and forth a number of times and gives up.
  • At the same time, it's kind of ironic there is no image stabilization, be it optical built into the lens or some sort of IBIS. So while the X100 manages to focus, yet actually shooting often is at ISO 5000+ to achieve shutter speeds of at least 1/30s. The Pen-F in combo with a 17mm I can shoot at about 1/10s without any issues and already got sharp enough shots at 1/2s.
  • The EVF is pretty large and the quality is great. Although I have to say the step up from the Pen-F isn't quite as dramatic as I expected.
  • The OVF is a nice thing to have and I especially like using it in lower light conditions, the small focus patch is very helpful in this regard, I was using the hybrid viewfinder much more than I thought I would.
  • A reliable working eye-sensor! Both my Pen-Fs struggle with their eye-sensors and strong, direct light. While that might not be a problem for left-eye shooters, it is for right-eye shooters.
  • Fujifilms menu system looks a bit more modern, but I didn't find it any better at all compared to the often dreaded Olympus menus. Olympus even has a small benefit: Pretty much every option on Oly cameras has a quicktip available, giving you an idea about what the setting is used for. On the X100 you'll need to grab your manual.
  • Speaking of manual, the camera comes with a fully sized, detailed printed instruction manual. Which is great, however it doesn't come with any battery charger, which is a real bummer. You either have to rely on the camera's internal charging or buy your own charger.
  • The Film Simulations are fun, but they aren't quite as superior as I thought they would be. Fuji uses a very different approach compared to the Color Profiles used by Olympus. While on Olympus you create your profiles purely by color saturation, Highlights, Shadows and Midtones, on Fuji you really rely on each Film Sim as a base which you can only futher saturate or desaturate globally, change Highlight and Shadow control (no Midtones). There is no way of changing individual colors. On the plus side, you have more advanced WB options, have better artificial film grain control (which isn't limited to Monochrome only), as well as additional effects like clarity levels or chrome color.
    The camera offers seven IQ profiles which you can save and even (re)name, I keep one profile as a standard, neutral setting, while I have configured the others from Film Simulation recipes I found across the web. As said, Fujis approach is very different than Olympus' and maybe it just takes some time getting used to it.
  • As expected working with the RAW files is more inconvenient due to the X-Trans sensor. My go to processing software, DXO Photolab, is out of the question - no X-Trans support. So I downloaded the free Capture One Express, which gives basic controls over processing, however it really pales when it comes to noise reduction.
  • So far I barely take advantage of the retro control scheme, which is a huge surprise, in most situations it's just slower and more cumbersome to me. Maybe I'm also just used too much to traditional PASM style with front and rear dials. Essentially I'm mostly using aperture priority by indeed using the actual aperture ring on the lens, however shutterspeed is mostly on auto, while ISO is either on auto or is adjusted via the front dial - just like on my Pen-F.
  • The leaf shutter! I never used a camera with such a shutter mechanism, so it is new to me. The shutter is so quiet and subtle, it's almost inaudible and you can barely feel it. No need to use the silent e-shutter: Maybe a person sitting next to you in a quiet library could hear it, but outside or a few meters away - no chance. Fujifilm actually has set a digital shutter sound by default, something you'd usually find on smartphones or some typical compact P&S cameras - of course you can disable the sound completely.
    The downside of course is the more complex shutter speed: At f.2 you are limited to 1/2000s max, as you stop down, it gradually increases to 1/4000s - which the camera also doesn't seem to use on auto in my experience, you have to set it manually. From what I understand, very fast speeds can mess with out of focus areas and give them a motion blur-like look. If you are shooting wide-open in daylight, 1/2000s often isn't fast enough, in these cases the lens can enable a built-in 4-stop ND filter. It can either enable it within the menu, add it to the Quick Menu (Fujis counterpart to Olympus' Super Control Panel) or assign it to a button for quick access.
Keep in mind I've been shooting more or less exclusively the Pen-F for more than five years now, a camera which by now I more or less know blindly and which became natural in terms of use to me. Having said that, I really like the X100V: It's a handsome, very capable and somewhat unique camera, very fun to use. It is now my "take everywhere" camera which I pretty much carry with me all the time, something I've previously used my second Pen-F plus the 17mm f1.8 for. Yet as I said that combo isn't weather sealed and the X100V simply gives that additional "peace of mind" when using the camera in stormy rain.

It won't fully replace the Pen-F though: It still is much more flexible due to the fact you can use any lense you want. Working with the RAW files is much easier, the IBIS really helps in a number of situations. I actually prefer the fully articulated screen, as I sometimes shoot close-ups on ground level in portrait orientation - the FAS makes looking at the screen so much easier.
In addition the Pen-F, while being heavier with a lens, isn't actually bigger than the X100V. Combine the latter with a lens hood and it is almost as long as a Pen-F with a small f1.8 prime without a hood attached.
 
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RAH

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I've recently been watching YouTube videos and reading reviews of the Fujifilm X100V. Gee, it sure is a beautiful looking camera. Gets my GAS going in spades. I WANT it! BUT, just thinking about the specs - lack of Image Stabilization, and a fixed 35-equiv lens - stops me cold in my tracks. If I had to be saddled with one focal length, it would be 28. I know this is just a different strokes thing, but lack of IS is a non-starter for me. Surely there's enough room in that robust body for an IS gizmo! Seems a shame...
 
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Surely there's enough room in that robust body for an IS gizmo! Seems a shame...
They keep it for the next X200 incarnation
I've recently been watching YouTube videos and reading reviews of the Fujifilm X100V. Gee, it sure is a beautiful looking camera. Gets my GAS going in spades. I WANT it!
I’d suggest to get a T to quench the GAS if it gets too strong to fight back but only for the proper price (they seem to be picking up as time passes). This way you get most of the fetish X100 tidbits and you keep your pennies for the future X200
 
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I'm pretty sure they left out the IBIS more or less on purpose so they have something big on the feature list of the next X100 model, whatever it'll be called. The missing IBIS is a bummer, especially if you are so used to it, but at least for me it wasn't a deal breaker, of course everybody's mileage will very.

There is another camera, fully weather sealed, with a fixed 28mm lens, however it's also missing IBIS and also costs quite a bit more than the X100V. :roflmao:
 

threeOh

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I've recently been watching YouTube videos and reading reviews of the Fujifilm X100V. Gee, it sure is a beautiful looking camera. Gets my GAS going in spades. I WANT it! BUT, just thinking about the specs - lack of Image Stabilization, and a fixed 35-equiv lens - stops me cold in my tracks. If I had to be saddled with one focal length, it would be 28. I know this is just a different strokes thing, but lack of IS is a non-starter for me. Surely there's enough room in that robust body for an IS gizmo! Seems a shame...
It’s a 35 equivalent, hardly an issue holding steady even for my essential tremors hands (essential means they don’t know what it is but politer than suggesting I’m old). Far less noise is worth much of what ibis delivers. Simply lovely in hand.

I'm on my 4th. Started with the first, tried to give it up when I left Fuji ILC's, lasted a year, now have the V.
 

RAH

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It’s a 35 equivalent, hardly an issue holding steady even for my essential tremors hands
Well, not to be argumentative, but I have never bought into that common idea that wide-angle lenses don't benefit from IS. Granted, they don't benefit as much as teles do, but for inside photography (say a church, a night club, etc, etc), IS can be very useful and allow you to use lower ISOs than without it, and thereby get even less of the noise you mention. :)
 
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Sure at 35mm equiv. IBIS isn't that important, however it still can be a benefit: As I said earlier, with my Pen-F and the 17 f1.8 I can easily shot at around 1/5s, sometimes even slower and got some keepers at around 1/2s. With the X100V sometimes even 1/40s isn't fully enough, although I got some keepers at around 1/20s.
The ISO benefit is there for sure and cranking that one up to 3200 or even higher in my opinion is less of an issue than it is with the Pen-F, however for ISO noise alone I can use DXO Photolab 4 to clean the pictures nicely - not an option with Fujifilm. However, even though it again might sound somewhat cliché, I think the high-ISO noise patterns on X-Trans aren't as annoying or distracting. I'd rather have to option to also being able shooting my X100 at around 1/5s or 1/8s while having the ISO in a more moderate range.

For me the addition of a half-decent IBIS solution for the next X100 would be a compelling reason to upgrade, the rumored new sensor on the other hand isn't at all, as I am very satisfied with the X-Trans IV output.
 

mumu

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I have an X100V and I would definitely upgrade to a newer model for IBIS alone. I find that I get a surprising number of camera shake shots even at 1/60s where as that is usually not an issue for me with my GX9 or G9. *Possibly* it is also due to the higher resolution (26mp vs 20mp) but I don't think it's enough to solely account for the noticeable blur. Besides which, if an X100 had IBIS I could use it as my sole travel camera for stills/videos, or use it in conjunction with my G9 for stills/videos. For me, the added versatility of IBIS would make it a more useful camera.
 

iPete

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