Two Months with the Fujifilm X100F Camera

I’ve had a Fujifilm X100F camera for about two months. After the first month, I wrote this review, but now that I’ve become familiar with the camera, and comfortable with the way it works, I thought an update would be useful. So here are some thoughts on using this camera for two months, together with some of the photos I’ve taken.

I bought the X100F about a month after buying an Olympus Pen-F (my first impressions of that camera). I upgraded from an OM-D E-M10, and had been familiar with Olympus cameras for a long time, since back in the 1980s when I shot on Olympus film cameras. I wanted a second camera that worked differently, from a different manufacturer, and I liked the feature set in the X100F. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

It’s never easy adapting to a new camera system. The ergonomics are different, the controls are in different places, and the menus are organized and named differently. So it took a while to get used to the X100F, but not that long. The camera is comfortable and well-balanced, the controls are in easy reach, and once I wrapped my head around its logic, everything made sense.

The main advantage to the X100F is what many people would see as a disadvantage: the fact that the camera has a fixed lens. As I have written here, this can be liberating. The 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens on the X100F is very sharp, and is excellent for many types of photography. However, there were situations where the Pen-F was useful (see below).

I was initially quite smitten by the film simulations in the X100F. At first, I got used to the camera by shooting JPEG only. Here is one of the earliest photos are shot with this camera; it uses the Velvia film simulation (note that all photos here have been downsampled for web use):

This is a very nice photo, but I wish I had shot raw so I could tweak the shadows and highlights a bit. A lot of people use this camera to only shoot JPEGs; this is fine for some types of photography, but it does limit your ability to edit photos afterwards. Nevertheless, the JPEG’s are beautiful, and the film simulations give you a wide variety of options for how your photos can look. (Read this article to learn how to apply film simulations after you’ve shot your photos.)

This camera is not really designed for close-up photography, but it acquits itself well if you focus carefully:

Here’s another example of sharpness at close distances:

When shooting raw, the dynamic range allows for a great deal of contrast, which works very well with black-and-white photos. Here’s an example:

What I find most interesting about this camera, however, is the ability to use it in almost automatic mode. As I explained in this article, I have everything set to automatic and I use the back dial for the program shift function, which changes combinations of shutter speed and f-stop. Since I usually prefer shooting in aperture priority mode, this allows me to effectively change the aperture and let the camera do everything else.

This is particularly useful in conjunction with the X100F’s optical viewfinder. This is one of the most interesting features of this camera: a rangefinder-like viewfinder that lets you shoot a scene without being distracted by the live view. Once you get used to the camera’s exposure — I find it underexposes a bit, so I often use a 1/3 stop EV correction — you can use this camera quite instinctively. I have the camera set up so I can walk around with it, raise it to my eye, frame, and shoot. All I need to switch is the back dial if I want to change aperture and shutter speed. This allows me an immediacy that I don’t get with the Pen-F. I don’t shoot street photography, but for those who do, this makes the camera an ideal tool for that environment.

I mentioned earlier that the wide-angle lens isn’t ideal for all situations. Here is one example:

While I was able to get this overall shot of Stonehenge with the X100F, the fact that you can’t get very close to the stone circle means that I couldn’t get any shots that focused on individual stones. I also had my Pen-F with me that day, and was able to use it for different perspectives. But the X100F is limited in that you can only zoom with your feet.

So, after two months, I am comfortable with this camera, and I find that it works well with the type of photos I like to shoot. It is not the perfect camera, it has limitations, notably because of its lens, and I wouldn’t want it to be my only camera. However, I enjoy using this much more than the Pen-F, because of the instinctive way that I can operate this camera, as I described above. The Pen-F has a similar program shift mode, but I think the optical viewfinder of the X100F makes this process feel less cluttered, more immediate.

As you can see from the photos in this article, I do not shoot portraits. (Actually, I do, occasionally, but only of friends and family; I do not publish those photos.) So I cannot really judge how the camera works for that type of photo. But from the examples I have seen, it is an excellent camera for shooting people as well as shooting landscapes and other scenes.

As with all cameras, the Fujifilm X100F might not be for you. Depending on the type of photos you like to shoot, and how flexible you want to be — such as having a zoom lens, for example — it might not work for you. But if you do want a simple, high-quality camera that is easy to use and takes great photos, this is an excellent choice. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

Here are a few more photos shot with the X100F:

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