Of the 15 or so camera bodies I’ve owned over the past decade, the Fuji X100V has been the most fun to shoot with, and has quickly become my ‘go-to’ option on a camera shelf that also includes a Fuji X-T3, X-Pro3, and X-S10. My love for this camera was a bit of a surprise to me, as I went into my purchase with doubts about the fixed focal length, small grip, and high price tag. Over the past year, I’ve taken the X100V with me just about everywhere, and it has helped keep my love of photography burning hot despite a challenging year of Covid-related lockdowns and cancelled travel plans. In this comprehensive photography review, I’ll be detailing my experience with the X100V as a photographer that has used the camera daily for close to a year. This will not be a spec dump review, but a personal account review from a real user.
Construction, Handling, and Controls
The Fujifilm X100V is a beautiful camera to look at, and feels very solid in my hands despite its small size. The top and bottom plates are aluminum, and the front of the body has a textured satin finish. I have experienced no premature wear or markings on the body, and like all of my Fuji cameras, the X100V appears to be built for long term use.
The X100V has a very small ridge for a grip that can cause a little hand cramping on long days of shooting. I pair the X100V with the Peak Design leash and let the camera hang from my wrist to minimize the amount of time I have to manage the camera body in my shooting hand. There are also hot shoe thumb grips and attachable side grips one can purchase as accessories, but I find the standard build of the X100V comfortable enough.
Underneath the milled aluminum plates and textured finish, the X100V body is weather sealed. The 23mm f/2 lens is also weather sealed, but requires a filter to fully complete the weather-proof package. I’ve used my X100V on mountain trails, in thunderstorms, in hot dusty deserts, and in temps just below freezing without issue. I have also noticed no dust or specs in the viewfinder or showing on the filter. This is very important since I’m not able to open up the camera for cleaning.
Handling and Controls
The X100V puts all of the controls for photography on my right hand side. The shutter button has a screw mount for a soft shutter button or remote release, and the camera provides a satisfying click with the leaf shutter. Behind the shutter button is the exposure compensation dial. This can be set manually, or set to C to control exposure with a scroll wheel dial for a range of -5.0EV-+5.0EV in 1/3EV steps.
The X100V supports a few bracketing options via the Drive menu button, with the most important for me being exposure bracketing. The X100V also supports ISO, film simulation, WB, and dynamic range bracketing.
To the left of the exposure dial is the dial for shutter speed and ISO. To set the ISO, you just need to pull and scroll. These dials are accurate, provide nice tactile feedback, and most importantly, stay put while coming in and out of my hiking camera bag. The ISO has an extended range of ISO 80 to 51200. I find the files on this sensor clean up until ISO 3200, but I’m not a fan of any noise in my photos. I know others that are okay with the files a ISO 6400. Your mileage may vary. The mechanical shutter speed maxes out at 1/4000sec and can be set to up to 60 minutes in bulb mode. The electronic shutter pushes the max speed up to 1/32000sec. For continuous shooting, the X100V hits 11-frames per second, but the AF-C isn’t really optimized to take advantage of this.
The X100V has a scroll wheel on the front and back and has multiple customizable buttons to personalize your shooting experience. The Q button is off to the side and hard to press, which is a nice improvement over the similarly sized XT-30.
The X100V manual controls for focus point and menu navigation are handled with a small joystick. I prefer a d-pad, but given the size of the X100V, I’ve accepted the joystick as a serviceable alternative. If you’re initially put off by the joystick like I was, give it a try, and it will more than likely grow on you. I do miss the extra 4 shortcut options of the d-pad, but the available physical buttons and Q-menu have proven to be enough.
OVF / EVF / LCD
The standout feature of the X100V is the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder that is also found on my X-Pro3. This is a feature that initially intrigued me about the X100V, as it is much easier to shoot with an OVF while wearing polarized sunglasses on high elevation mountain trails. The OVF is also fantastic for street photography, as you can see people moving around your frame and time up your shots accordingly.
The OVF/EVF can be easily toggled using the flick switch on the front side of the camera just under the shutter. That switch also has a programmable button, which I use to activate eye and face autofocus.
The OVF is a Reverse Galilean viewfinder with electronic bright frame display showing gridlines, horizon level, and exposure data. I find the OVF very easy on the eyes in all but the brightest and darkest conditions, when I’m not able to see the framelines. In those situations, I’m able to toggle on the 3.69 millions dots OLED EVF. The EVF is the same found on my X-T3, which I have absolutely no complaints about. For pure photography, this OVF/EVF combination is fantastic.
Moving away from the viewfinder, the X100V has a tilting 3-inch 1.62 millions dot LCD screen that is enabled for touch. This is huge for me, as I dislike the side tilting selfie-screen of my X-S10 and am still baffled by the functionality of my X-Pro3. For photography, the tilting screen makes much more sense. I don’t use the touch features much, but I do like touch autofocus when the X100V is on a tripod. In every other shooting situation, I disable the touch features entirely. There is a sensor to the right of the viewfinder to detect when to use the viewfinder or LCD. The sensitivity of this sensor is just right and hasn’t caused me any frustration.
Sensor / Processor
I’m pretty new to Fujifilm cameras, with my first body being an X-T3 I purchased for a trip to Thailand in Fall of 2019. Since then, I’ve purchased an additional X-T3, an X-Pro3, an X-S10, and this X100V. Every single one of these cameras comes with the same 26.1 megapixel sensor. This APS-C uses Fuji’s X-Trans color filter array, which in my use isn’t that different from a bayer array (despite the chatter I’ve read on forums). Alongside the X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, Fuji uses their X-Processor 4.
This back-illuminated 26.1 mp is simply amazing. For an APS-C sensor, the dynamic range is very impressive, and doesn’t leaving longing for the performance of my full-frame Sony kit very often. To see how this sensor performs, jump down to my image samples below, or check out any of my other Fuji lens reviews.
There is no IBIS for the X100V, which is something I don’t mind, as the sensor handles quite well up to ISO 3200. I do love the performance of the IBIS on my X-S10, but I don’t do much video and tend to shoot with fast primes, so this is not a deal breaker for me. From my shooting experience, I’m able to get sharp shots on my non IBIS Fuji’s consistently at 1/80 shutter speed, and only a little less at 1/60. On my IBIS enabled X-S10, I’m able to get sharp shots reliably at 1/40, and have been impressed with shutter speeds as slow as 1/20.
The Fujifilm X100V is also a capable performer for video, but you’ll definitely want to check out YouTube to see review videos detailing this cameras video performance. I shoot video clips every now and again, but use my cameras for strict photography 99% of the time.
One of the more polarizing features of the Fujifilm X100V is the fixed lens. The fixed lens on the X100V might be a tough sell for some, when you consider that for the same price (and similar size), shooters can pick up the interchangeable X-S10 with the Fuji 27mm or Fuji 18mm. Shooters would also be able to add the 16mm f/2.8, 23mm f/2, or 35mm f/2, without adding too much size or weight and having the freedom to alter focal lengths at will. Unlike the fixed focal length Leica Q2 or Sony RX1R II, the APS-C 26.1 mp sensor doesn’t allow for a lot of cropping to make up for the fixed lens. All this is to say, the X100V is for shooters that know and love the 23mm (35mm full frame) focal length, and for shooters like me, that have other bodies for outings that require different focal lengths.
The X100V does have lens attachments to provide a 18mm(28mm FF) and 35mm(50mm FF) field of view. But at $350 each, you’re much better off buying an X-S10, with the 18mm f/2, 23mm f/2, and 35mm f2.
If you are a shooter that can live with the fixed focal length of the 23mm (35mm full frame) f/2 lens, the X100V will quickly turn into your favorite camera for on-the-go shooting. The X100V lens internals pack 8 elements in 6 groups, can close focus at 3.94″(10cm), and has an aperture range of f/2 to f/16.
The Fuji X100V has a stepped aperture ring that provides a nice click at each stop, and never gets accidentally moved or budged when coming out of my camera bag. The textured metal focus ring is very well dampened and does a great job when called upon. The front of the lens takes a standard 49mm filter, and completes the full weather proofing of the camera.
Flash and ND Filter
The X100V has a built in flash that can sync up to 1/4000s, but to be honest, I never use flash, so can’t say much about the performance.
The X100V has a built in ND filter for use cases when you want to shoot wide open in daylight, but are limited by the max shutter speed on the X100V. The ND filter provides up to 4 stops.
Fujifilm marketed the X100V as having boosted AF performance over its predecessors with ‘precision face and eye detection right down to -5EV’. I have found this to be untrue and the most underwhelming performance aspect of the X100V. In low light, this camera really struggles to find focus points. In AF-S, the X100V handles well lit landscapes without issue and at close to 100% accuracy. In dim light though, the X100V can struggle to focus on architecture or landscapes with smooth or uniformly colored areas. This should be one of the easiest things for cameras to focus on, as the subjects are dead still. In AF-C, the low light struggles of the X100V are much the same. In good available light, the X100V is quite, accurate, and pretty quick. As soon as available light starts to dip at dusk or dawn, the AF gets lost and really suffers for accuracy.
If you do most of your photography in well lit areas, you won’t notice these AF issues. I’m hoping Fuji can address this via firmware updates in the future, as it seems to be more related to the software and not the hardware.
Ports and Battery and Connectivity
The X100V has a limited number of ports, but as a photographer, everything I need is provided. Video people might feel differently. Under the flap on the right hand side of the X100V, you’ll find a 2.5mm Sub-Mini, HDMI D (Micro), and USB Type-C (USB 3.0).
On the bottom plate of the X100V there is a tripod mount, and a single door. Under the door you’ll find a single SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot and the battery port. Fuji uses the old NP-W126S battery for the X100V which is rated at 350 shots, but I’m regularly able to get 400-500 shots since I don’t shoot video and prefer the OVF.
The X100V connects to the Fuji smartphone app, but to be honest, the app could use some serious work. On my iPhone, the connection takes work and never just links up without effort on my part. I do like being able to quickly pull up a shot to share on social media, but I find it’s not worth the effort in most cases.
Size and Weight
One of the best features of the X100V is its compact size and weight. The X100V only weighs 1.05 lb (478g) with the battery and SD card, which is incredibly light for a camera with this performance and feature set. The X100V is also small, measuring 5.04 x 2.94 x 2.1″.
Despite its small and compact size, the lens on the X100V is very sharp across the frame. One of the major complaints I read about the X100V’s predecessors was that they were soft wide open and when close focusing. The X100V has neither of these problems and is a very solid performer at f/2 and while focusing on close subjects.
In the sample below, you’ll see that the X100V is pretty sharp wide open at f/2 in the center, and by f/2.8 the center is razor sharp.
In the corners, the X100V is a solid performer. At f/2, the corners are a little soft, but things get better as you stop down. By f/5.6, the corners are nice and sharp. You’ll notice below that the extreme edges lack contrast even when stopped down, but this is only when focusing on things close up. At a distance (>2ft), the images are razor sharp across the frame from f/2.8 and beyond.
It’s tough to test for vignetting with Fujinon lenses since the RAW files and jpegs are processed with a built in lens profile that removes it. I’ve read that you can remove these profiles with editors like Iridient Developer. As a photographer that is already using Lightroom and Capture One, I’m going to pass on a third piece of software and just live with the built in corrections.
Bokeh and subject separation aren’t lens review topics that most would rank high on fixed lens camera with a 23mm (35mm) FOV. But since many are buying the X100V as a sole use travel camera, portraits and other subject isolating shots are worth discussing. Before I say more, I’ll mention as I always do: I see bokeh in two ways, It’s either a compliment to the photo or its a distraction. I’m not interested in onion rings, cat eyes, aberrations, or astigmatisms, and steer clear of technical evaluations of bokeh.
For the X100V, the bokeh is really nice in most situations. The only time the bokeh gets noticeably busy or distracting is when I’m using high shutter speeds. This is a function of the leaf shutter on the camera. In these situations, I’m able to use the ND filter and shoot wide open at lower shutter speeds.
To get a good test of my compliment vs distraction evaluation, I’ve selected a few sample photos with busy backgrounds. In these photos and others, I find that the X100V does a pretty good job with rendering out-of-focus areas, especially when you consider how small the lens is and how wide the focal length is.
Real World Performance
Real world photo samples are what drive every one of my camera and lens purchases these days. I’m sure there are people out there making decisions based on charts, graphs, and brick wall photos… but I’ve yet to meet one in person. It’s important for me to see how a lens performs in situations that are similar to how and where I shoot. I also like to see photographers post photos using a style of shooting I’d like to learn from. As a landscape photographer that spends most of my time on hiking trails, it helps me a lot to see photographers of street, studio portraiture, real estate, etc., talking about how the quality of a camera or lens compliments their style of shooting. I’ve learned a great deal from these reviewers and am very grateful that they take the time to share their experience. For that reason, I want to cover my personal experience with the Fuji x100V in the situations I’ve used it most: environmental family portraits, walk-around, street, travel, and landscape. Obviously there is a lot of crossover in these categories, but I will try to organize my photo samples as best as I can below. I’ll also note that I wasn’t able to shoot this lens in travel situations as much as I had hoped due to Covid travel restrictions, so you’ll see a lot of usage in Southern California in the photos below.
For candid family photos and environmental portraits, the X100v is the perfect camera. The wide FOV allows for distortion free environmental portraits, and the fast f/2 max aperture allows for some pretty nice subject separation. The X100v is sharp across the frame and provides distraction free bokeh. I wouldn’t recommend this camera for a portrait photographer, but if you’re looking to improve on your phone’s portrait ability while traveling and on the go, the X100v delivers fantastic results.
Street Photography, Travel, and Architecture
During the waves of Covid lockdowns over the past year, I’ve been walking around 5 miles each morning and taking photos every day. The X100v has been my most used camera, just ahead of my X-Pro3 (with 27mm) during this time. The light weight and small size of the X100v make it a camera that goes with me everywhere. The wide 23mm lens is perfect for architecture, but is tight enough to grab shots of people as they pass through the frame.
The X100v is a ‘jack of all trades’ camera, but landscape and travel outings are where it’s at its best. The small weather proof body gives me the confidence I need when out in the mountains in dusty wind or thunderstorms. It’s also a joy to bring on backpacking trips, as it packs away nicely, and only adds 1 lbs to my pack weight. I had planned on taking the X100v on at least one international trip last year, but Covid dashed those plans. I have been able to use the x100v on a few staycations and local trips, and have nothing but positive things to say.
X100V JPEG Film Simulations
JPEG film simulations are one of the key features of Fuji’s X-mount system, but as a pure RAW shooter, something I never use. I can see the advantage of having ready-to-post JPEG photos that look great, I just prefer to have my own editing and workflow in Capture One. If you’re the type that enjoys ready to go filters, make sure to check out this film simulation guide by FujiFilm.
The Fujifilm X100V retails for $1400 and is available in an all black or black and silver option. At this price, the X100V is a tough sell when compared to the new X-S10. The IBIS enabled X-S10 is similar in size, can be purchased for $1000 (body only), and can be paired with a focal length of your choosing. The X-S10 is especially desirable when paired with the Fuji 27mm or 18mm. Having said that, and as a Fuji X-S10 owner, I still think the X100V is more fun to shoot with and worth the money. Why? First, the rangefinder style OVF/EVF is vastly superior to the center hump of the DSLR style viewfinder found on the XS10/XT3/4. Second, the weather sealed X100V still has a smaller form factor. And third, I love the 23mm (35mm FF) focal length. If you’re looking for a versatile, durable, and capable camera in a small form factor and can live with a fixed focal length and high price tag, the X100V is the camera for you.