As soon as I heard that the new Fujifilm X100V was water-resistant and sported a flip screen, I knew I had to have one! I have been in love with the X100 series cameras since my first Fujifilm purchase of an X100T back in 2016. That camera was paramount in re-kindling my love of photography during a bit of a creative slump. My next purchase was an X100F a year later. The X100F and I have a very close working relationship; it is always with me. So when I got a call from our local camera shop that my new X100V had arrived and was ready for pickup, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.
I picked up my camera on Thursday and spent Friday bonding with it while shooting downtown. Below, you will find my first impressions of my Fujifilm X100V. If you are looking for a detailed technical review, you won’t find that here. And for all the specs, there are umpteen articles where you can find those. If you would like to know what my user experience was like, and if I think the upgrade was worthwhile, then keep reading.
A Couple of Shortcomings
Let me get these complaints out of the way upfront. I feel there are two places where the Fujifilm X100V falls short. Well, not the camera actually. It’s what you won’t find in the box that I find frustrating.
When I am out doing street photography, I use both my X-T3 with a 50mm f/2 on it and my X100F. However, if it starts to rain, which it does quite often in Vancouver, my F gets relegated to the safety of my bag. The most substantial reason for me to upgrade to the V was its weather sealing. What a game changer this would be for the way I shoot. Now I knew before I purchased the camera that it was not fully water-resistant out of the box. To make it so, I would have to buy an adapter ring and a filter. Why Fujifilm didn’t include these in the box is beyond me. It is not very often that I feel Fuji falls short, but this is one instance where I think they did.
My other disappointment was that the camera does not come with a battery charger. The X100F does. I know that I can charge the camera through a USB port in my computer. However, when I travel, I do not always have a laptop with me. It is much more convenient to plug several chargers into the wall and simultaneously charge three or four batteries at once. Doing so saves me from getting up in the middle of the night to rotate batteries through chargers. Again, I fail to see why Fuji decided to do this. I can’t imagine that throwing in the charger would break their bottom line.
The Love Affair Continues
So with my short venting session behind me, let me tell you what I love about the camera. Firstly, the lens is fabulous! As many other reviewers have said, this lens is remarkably sharp, even into the corners. It also focused extremely fast, even in low light. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to see how well the new Super EBC coating controlled flare and ghosting as the sun refused to make an appearance on my first day out with the camera.
Full Tilt Ahead
When I’m using my X-T3, I probably use the tilt screen 50% of the time. I love being able to shoot from the hip and shoot from low perspectives without sprawling on the ground. It wasn’t until I had spent an hour setting up the new camera that I realized I hadn’t checked out the new tilting screen. That is how inconspicuous the screen is. I hadn’t even noticed it! It does feel a bit more delicate when tilted down than the screen on the X-T3. But it is so much thinner that this is to be expected. After shooting with it for a few hours, I became more confident that I wasn’t going to break it every time I tilted it down.
The screen only articulates two ways. You can flip it out and look down or use it to frame overhead shots. However, it doesn’t work in portrait orientation. For me, this isn’t an issue at all. I’m sure that putting in a fully articulating screen, such as the one on the X-T3, would have added substantially more bulk, ruining the aesthetics of the camera.
No D-Pad, No Problem
I must say I was quite skeptical about losing the D-pad. It was my goto method of navigating the menus. And more importantly, I used it to store three of my most frequently used functions. However, after I spent some time customizing the new camera to how I shoot, I became completely comfortable using the focus stick to navigate and confirm selections. When I would try to centre-click the focus stick on the X100F, I often ended up pressing it at an angle inadvertently. This action moved the cursor, as opposed to making a selection. The focus stick’s new placement is somewhat to the right of where it is on the F, and it is also a touch stiffer. These changes make it much easier to control.
The rear command dial was also much easier to use. I found that when rotating the rear command dial on my X100F, I often pushed it in by mistake. On the X100V, it takes an intentional push to use the dial like a button. This extra stiffness made it much easier to rotate through items in the Q-menu or change the size of my focus spot without accidentally pressing the dial.
The new location of the Q button is also far superior to where it was on the F. It is now recessed and slightly to the right. It would be tough to press it accidentally now. I also like how you can choose how many functions you would like to display in the Q-menu. Having a bit of an A-type personality, I felt as if I needed to assign functions to all sixteen holders on the menu. Now I can choose to display four, eight, twelve, or sixteen slots.
A Bit of Finger Yoga
All in all, the new button and dial placements are more ergonomic. Although, the only combination I found to be more inconvenient was when formatting SD cards. I typically use the 3-second press of the delete key combined with a touch of the rear command dial to do this. The delete key is coupled with the drive button now, just to the right of the viewfinder. So I found that whenever I went to format a card, my left thumb covered up the eye sensor. With the LCD off, I could not see the format screen! It didn’t take long to find the correct hand/finger placement that avoided this scenario. However, it still feels slightly awkward.
So Many Ways to Customize the Fujifilm X100V
On the X100F, there are seven buttons you can customize. While on the X100V, there are six plus four touch gestures. So overall, the V gives you much more customization.
However, one of the function buttons on the V is the Q-button. Since I rely on the Q-menu quite a bit, I am not going to reassign it to another function. And I prefer a more tactile experience, so I don’t use the touch screen. That means for the way I’m used to shooting, I have lost two dedicated function buttons. However, with a bit of rethinking, and moving two functions to the Q-menu, I am delighted with the setup.
A Sensitive Soul
I love the way the new ISO sensitivity selection dial works. On the old camera, I found it very finicky to lift the dial, hold it in place, and select a new ISO. I was forever knocking my shutter speed as I rotated the dial. The new ring now stays in place when you lift it. You can now turn the ISO dial smoothly and push the ring back down when finished. No more accidentally adjusting shutter speed.
The First Scratch is Always the Hardest
I thought I would just add this before I wrap up this post. If you have a folding Lensmate thumb grip from your X100F, it will not work on the X100V. Do not try it. I repeat, do not try it! I did and quickly regretted it. If you try and flip out the grip, it will carve a small flesh wound into the beautifully machined body of your V! This is the first of what I assume will be many battle scars for my X100V. I just wish it had been delivered on the battlefield and not self-inflicted!
Tell Me How You Really Feel
Am I glad I upgraded? Absolutely! Apart from the two shortcomings listed above, the new Fujifilm X100V addresses all the wishes I had for a successor to the X100F. In fact, it goes above and beyond. Besides being a drop-dead gorgeous piece of kit, its design is ergonomically perfect, in my opinion. When I photograph, I want my camera to become an extension of my eye. I do not want to fuss with menus or bring the camera down from my eye to make adjustments. Fujifilm’s new X100V enhances my creative process. It reminds me of how I felt when I first fell in love with the X100 series cameras.
Here are a few images taken over the past three days with my new toy. In a future post, once I have had more time to fine-tune my settings, I will let you know how I set it up.
Thanks for reading, and cheers until next time.