X100F hands-on report: conclusions, a couple of complaints and some speculation

X100F hands-on report: conclusions, a couple of complaints and some speculation

(This is the final chapter of a three part review; you can read part 1 here, and part 2 here)

At last, here is where we’ll wrap-up the hands-on report on the X100F. In the few weeks that I had the camera at my disposal, and shooting it daily, I had the opportunity to appreciate its virtues and character. I have written extensively in parts one and two of this review, and I sincerely hope I managed to describe the camera from a real-world perspective.

Time for some final thoughts then; including a couple or rants:

“Best compact camera for Street Photography”… ok, stereotypes will never die, but, yes, you can try hard to find a camera that beats the X100F for any type of street shooting. The silent operation, very practical focal length, rangefinder style OVF and speed make it a perfect choice. Some people shoot it from the hip; tried that, using hyperfocal distance, which is stupidly easy with Fujis. For a more “modern” twist, I also used my phone and the remote app to control the camera, and shoot on a super stealthy mode. ‘Nuff said: the X100F will never disappoint for street, urban exploration, travel and similar types of Photography.

“Is it a baby X-Pro2?” – Yes, in some respects it is. X-Pro2 users shall be immediately at ease with the X100F. Some may be tempted to buy one instead of a 23mm lens, getting a second backup body in the process.

“Yes, but can it be used professionally?” – People have used everything professionally, so in effect, this question doesn’t make sense, but I’ll try to “translate” it to a more proper format: if the available focal lengths are adequate for your professional work, I can see no problem. I use the plural form because the available 28mm and 50mm (equivalent) converters are relatively low cost and add to the flexibility considerably. Not to mention the digital TC, if you shoot JPEGs. The X100F will also be fantastic for strobists, due to its leaf shutter. To cut a long story short, a bunch of great photographers have already used the X100 series for a variety of professional work, no worries there.

But there is a catch, and it comes in the absence of weather sealing. This is an issue which could become a deal-breaker for many potential pro users. I do understand it’s difficult and more expensive to make a camera weather sealed but still I’d feel much better if that was the case. I can only imagine how people living in countries with much worse winter weather may feel about this.

There is a quote about the X100, and X-System cameras in general, that refuses to die: “Fuji is the new Leica”. I think this is probably insulting to both companies and their great photographic heritage.

From the first X100 and X-Pro1 I always had the concept of a digital version of something like either the Konica Hexar AF or the Contax G1/G2. In other words, some highly evolved and innovative film cameras, which took the “rangefinder” paradigm and tried to modernize it through practical improvements. “Rangefinder style” Fujis are the same for the digital era; they are not Leica-wannabes, they are Fujis, and that’s more than enough. And, after all, Leica may try to stick to its past glory but still offers a number of very modern photographic tools, totally outside the traditional look and operation. Please stop idolizing camera gear, and start respecting it for what it is.

I’m making this point to support the following speculation: perhaps the X100F will be the last of the X100-series. And, no, it’s not only because they run out of initials for numbers (X100Second, X100Third, X100Fourth).

My personal view (and I have to emphasize that it’s not based on inside information) is that Fujifilm will try to innovate again with the next generation, which will come –at least- two years down the road. It could be called X200 or whatever similar. Will they move away from the 35mm equivalent lens? Personally, I would take a 28mm equivalent any day. Or, why not, a fast, small zoom lens? And why not both? After all, Fuji has a historical precedent with the same model of compact cameras (even MF ones) being sold with different lenses. Also perhaps the next generation should introduce weather sealing and much-improved video features, making it a much more flexible photojournalistic choice.

In any case, the X100 series has already established itself as a part of modern photographic history. And the X100F is the pinnacle of its development; so far. I know Fujifilm will not stop innovating while keeping the main traditional values intact: in fact, it is perhaps the only company already proven to accomplish such a feat.

In closing, here is a final photo gallery with the X100F:

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Photoshoot: Lia; Iron, Sweat and Beauty

Photoshoot: Lia; Iron, Sweat and Beauty

X100F field review: in detail

X100F field review: in detail