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Hands on: Fujifilm X100V review

The Fujifilm X100V is the fifth version of Fujifilm’s classic compact camera and brings some major improvements

Fujifilm X100V review
(Image: © Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Our Verdict

We were expecting Fujifilm to put its latest 26.1-megapixel sensor into the new X100V, but the company has done a lot more besides. The X100V has a new, sharper lens to do justice to the latest sensor and the tilting touchscreen on the back makes this camera much easier to use at awkward angles, without compromising its slimline design. The improved autofocus and 4K video capabilities bring this classic camera design right up to date.

For

  • Slim and pocketable
  • 26.1MP APS-C sensor
  • New tilting touchscreen

Against

  • Non-interchangeable lens
  • No optical stabilization
  • Luxury price

The Fujifilm X100V is part of Fujifilm’s X series camera range but a bit of an outlier. Unlike other X-series cameras, it doesn’t take interchangeable lenses. Instead, it has a fixed 23mm f/2 lens (35mm equivalent) which offers a classic focal length for everyday use and street photography, and a design slim enough to slide into a jacket pocket.

The X100V is the fifth version of this design, and has Fujifilm’s latest 26.1-megapixel X-Trans processor, a new and superior lens and a new tilting touchscreen. There are some ergonomic enhancements too, but fundamentally this is the same design that has developed a cult following amongst enthusiast and pro photographers. It's clearly set to be one of the best Fujifilm cameras for fans of the brand, and certainly one of the best compact cameras for enthusiasts. The fixed focal length lens limits it a little as a travel camera, but its slim body certainly makes it portable enough.

The X100V has Fujifilm’s unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder which you can switch between with a lever on the front, and external shutter speed and lens aperture dials straight from the ‘old days’ of film cameras. It even has an external ISO dial to go with them.

The fixed lens distinguishes it from Fujifilm's X-mount mirrorless cameras like the X-T3 and X-T30, but the hybrid viewfinder is shared by the Fujifilm X-Pro3 – you could think of the X100V as a slimmer, lighter and more affordable alternative to the X-Pro3 with a fixed lens rather than interchangeable ones.

The Fujifilm X100V has improvements over the X100F both internally and externally. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Specifications

Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4
Image processor: X-Processor 4
Autofocus: 117-area hybrid phase/contrast AF
ISO range: 160-12,800 (exp. 80-51,200)
Max image size: 6,240 x 4,160
Metering modes: 256-zone, multi, spot, average, center weighted
Video: C4K/4K UHD, 30/25/24p
Viewfinder: Hybrid OVF/OLED EVF, 3.69m dots
Memory card: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS I)
Max burst: 11fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 128.0 x 74.8 x 53.3mm
Weight: 478g (including battery and memory card)

A key feature on the new X100V is the rear touchscreen display which can now be tilted. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Key features

There are several new features on the X100V, so let’s start with the lens. Fujifilm acknowledges that the original 23mm f/2 lens needed an update to do justice to the latest sensors, and says the new lens offers better resolution and lower distortion. You can’t change lenses on this camera, but you can use Fujifilm’s optional WCL-X100 II wide conversion lens to get a 28mm equivalent focal length, or the TCL-X100 II tele-conversion lens for 50mm equivalent. 

It’s also possible to attach an optional AR-X100 adapter ring and the PRF-49 protection filter to make the camera weather-resistant. We’re told that the camera is largely weather-resistant already, and it’s just the lens needs the extra protection. (Fujifilm says that making the lens weather resistant too would have made it too bulky for this camera’s slim design.)

Inside, the X100V now has Fujifilm’s latest 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans 4 back-illuminated sensor. This has a modest 2-megapixel increase in resolution over the previous models, but the chief advantage is a big improvement to the autofocus system, faster processing speeds and the 4K video capabilities.

Video features are becoming every more important for photographers and content creators, and the X100V can capture 4K at the usual 30/25/24p frame rates, but also 1080 full HD footage at up to 120fps. And for more advanced filmmaking, it can record 10-bit 4:2:2 quality video to an external recorder via its HDMI port.

The hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder has been upgraded in the X100V, but the biggest change to the viewing system is round the back of the camera, where the old model’s fixed screen has been replaced by a tilting touchscreen display.

The X100V has a revised ISO dial which now stays up when you pull it and makes ISO adjustments much easier than with the old spring-loaded dial. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Build and handling

From a distance, the X100V looks just like the previous cameras in this series. It’s no smaller in width or height than the average mirrorless camera, but much, much slimmer. The 23mm f/2 lens protrudes only a small distance from the body, and this is a camera you could easily keep in a coat pocket.

It’s well made, too. The top and bottom plates are milled from single pieces of aluminium and the body has a classy-looking ‘Alumite’ satin finish (it will also be available in black).

Close up, the differences from previous models become obvious. The controls on the top plate have a neater, ‘levelled off’ look, and the ISO dial now stays up when you pull it up to change the setting – previously, it was spring-loaded and trickier to use. This sounds like a small point, but will be exciting news to the many fans of the X100 series cameras.

The X100V has no D-pad on the back, but the joystick and 'Q' button do a similar job but without the risk of so many accidental button presses. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Round the back, the screen sits so flush with the camera body you could easily miss the fact it can be flipped out and tilted. There’s no D-pad on this camera, but there is a small joystick for AF point selection and menu navigation. Four-way D-pads seem to be disappearing from Fujifilm cameras (there isn’t one on the new X-T200 either) and they’re no great loss because many of  their functions can be accessed via Fujifilm’s ‘Q’ menu anyway, and they are a little too easy to press by accident.

The Q button the X100V is surprisingly small, and located on the far right side of the body where your thumb rests. It’s not that easy to find by touch, but it’s likely you’ll soon get used to its position. You also have to hunt around to find the focus mode switch, which is in an unusual position on the left side of the body.

The hybrid viewfinder is quite fascinating. In EVF mode, it’s sharp, clear and undistorted – this is a high-quality electronic display. In OVF mode, however, the magnification switches to show a wider view of the scene with bright framing guides a little way in from the edges.

The lens is super-slim but still has room for a manual aperture ring – or you can turn it to the 'A' setting and let the camera set the lens aperture automatically. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

There is some distortion in the OVF mode, but that’s soon forgotten – and what we do like is that you can see what’s happening outside the frame and anticipate fast-moving subjects much more easily. The hybrid electronic/optical display also means you get much more shooting information around the edges of the framing guide that you do with a conventional optical ‘finder.

Otherwise, the X100V is very much like its predecessors to use. The external exposure dials encourage you to pay much more attention to shutter speeds and apertures (and their creative potential), and the slim body makes it a perfect everyday take-anywhere camera. 

The 35mm equivalent lens means you have to get quite close to smaller subjects, but it does have a very short minimum focus distance. (Image from pre-production sample.) (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The X100V does not have a macro lens, but it can still capture very small subjects at high magnification. (Image from pre-production sample.) (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The X100V has a small built in flash, but the color rendition and image quality are great even at medium to high ISO settings, so natural light is usually preferable. (Image from pre-production sample.) (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The f/2 lens is very useful indoors and in low light, though there's no optical stabilization, so you need to keep a close eye on the shutter speeds. (Image from pre-production sample.) (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Performance

We have been able to spend a little time trying this camera out, but ours was a pre-production sample, so although we could take some pictures they don’t necessarily represent the quality of the final camera.

First impressions are that the new lens visibly sharper at close range and wide open than its predecessor, which was a bit weak in these situations. The new lens does actually focus very close indeed, so that although it’s not a true 1:1 macro lens, it can still capture shots of small objects.

We were hoping the new lens would cure another criticism of the old one – its sluggish and noisy autofocus. It is a lot snappier, though it still doesn’t quite have the speed and silky smoothness of Fujifilm’s best X-mount lenses. If that’s the price you pay for an f/2 lens slim enough to make this camera pocketable, though, it’s a perfectly acceptable compromise.

The X100V is the fifth version of Fujifilm's X100 camera – the original X100 is shown here right at the front. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Early verdict

We were expecting Fujifilm to put its latest 26.1-megapixel sensor into the new X100V, but the company has done a lot more besides. The X100V has a new, sharper lens to do justice to the latest sensor and the tilting touchscreen on the back makes this camera much easier to use at awkward angles, without compromising its slimline design. The improved autofocus and 4K video capabilities bring this classic camera design right up to date.

Preorder the Fujifilm X100V at B&H Photo
Preorder the Fujifilm X100V at Adorama
Preorder the Fujifilm X100V at Park Cameras
Preorder the Fujifilm X100V at Wex Photo Video

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