January 19, 2017, Fujifilm announced their new upgrade to the X100 series, they are calling it the X100F as it is the fourth iteration of this camera. However, it is a considerable upgrade over the last three models, the last one being introduced int 2014. The biggest change is the sensor which like the X-T20, X-T2 and the X-Pro 2 has moved from 16 megapixels to 24 megapixels increasing the resolution significantly. In addition to this, the sensor is using a copper substrate rather than aluminium which decreases the noise level coming from the camera getting much better performance at high ISOs.
X100F Compared to the X100T
New Dial Configurations
There are also some important differences in the ergonomics of the camera starting with the external controls. First, the camera has used the retro style ISO dial build into the speed dial like you would find on older film cameras, although very elegant it is not a practical as the method employed on the X-T2 but it is in keeping with the “retro” style of the camera. The exposure compensation dial has also been modified to allow for a “C” position which allows the camera to go beyond the three stop plus or minus adjustment to five stops. On the back of the camera, you will find the buttons have been all been reconfigured onto the right-hand side making it much easy to make adjustments with your right thumb. But the best change is in this array is a focus lever the “focus lever” which is also found on the X-T2 and X-Pro2. It allows for very quick adjustments in selecting the autofocus point. I think this is one of their best innovations to date.
Another change that does not show up in the specifications is the drive modes. Typically Fujifilm cameras have had two ways to set the continuous drive basically fast and slow. This camera has introduced four modes of continuous drive 3fps, 4fps, 5fps and 8fps, something that will be extremely useful in shooting portraits and taking action shots.
The camera, of course, includes the expanded jpeg engines which include Provia, Velvia, Astia, Acros, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg Hi, Pro Neg. Std, Monochrome and Sepia. If you are used to shooting RAW plus jpeg, you will likely have noticed that sometimes the jpeg results are often hard to reproduce when processing a RAW file, and often so good that you can simply use the jpg and “bank” the RAW file.
The chart below highlights only the differences between the two cameras and overlooks any specifications that remain the same.
Looking at this list the important change, of course, is the sensor, the processor and the resulting improvements in high ISO image quality. The change in auto exposure bracketing will also be a welcome change for those who work with a wider dynamic range in their images.
Unique Features to the X100 Cameras
The camera has a built-in neutral density (ND) filter a feature that is an asset when shooting wide open in bright light or if you are taking slow shutter shots. This ND filter cuts down on three stops of light. Like previous versions of this camera one can acquire conversion lenses something that some shooters will appreciate. It also still has the famous hybrid viewfinder that allows either an optical or electronic viewfinder at the flick of a lever. Like other Fujifilm cameras when focusing manually you can either use focus peaking or the digital split screen method. The camera also has a macro setting for shooting as close as 10cm like the previous models, however the literature now says this is automatic in the new model.
This is a great upgrade to the X-100 series and brings it into line with the X-T10, X-T2 and X-Pro2 one can only hope the next upgrade will be the X70 gaining the 24-megapixel sensors that these three cameras now have. One can not avoid observing that if the quality of the 23mm (35mm format equivalent to 35mm) lens in this camera is either equivalent to the XF23mm F2 lens or better, carrying this camera with your existing X-T2 or X-Pro2 kit might be an option, rather than carrying that lens. Especially when you see how much smaller this camera is when compared to the other two with their lens on. Seems to me it would almost fit into the same space where my 23mm lens currently lies.
There are of course always things you feel would make the camera better such as an articulating LCD, a better cup around the viewfinder or the toggle on off dial locks found on the X-T2, but this does not take away from the elegance and usability of the camera. Like the X-T2 and X-Pro2 it will no double be a please to use and that is also, I think, important when picking a camera. If a camera is a pleasure to use then it melts into the background so you can concentrate of the pleasures of photography.