It has been the longest 2.5 years of my life....other than that one time...never-mind that's a story for another day.
Wading through seemingly endless rumor sites, blog posts, and concept images of what Fujifilm's newest offerings would bring us was like waiting to see if you got selected for backstage passses at your favorite Nickelback concert.
I had been shooting with the X100T for almost 2 years now and was really enjoying my time with it. It was small, produced outstanding images, and was so unobtrusive that there was no reason not to bring it with you everywhere. The fact that it was sexy as hell did not hurt either.
Things were not all amazing though, and there were things about the X100T that I would change if possible...which is not possible, because I do not work for Fujifilm (nor am I paid by them...or even receive cool test gear). I'm just a guy who sometimes ends up sleeping on the couch because of Fujifilm's product releases and my innate ability to type my credit card number into text boxes really quickly.
I had been waiting and yearning for the next iteration. Was it going to be the X200, 100F, 100WR...who knew?
Fast forward to January 19th, 2017. The internet is ablaze with specs, pictures and X-photographers initial reviews of the Fujifilms newest offerings. But only one product caused me to wake up approximately 30 minutes earlier than normal so I could read the reviews before work. That product was the new Fujifilm X100F.
I was impressed with the initial images, and reviews. The camera retained that same classic shape, but somehow the folks at Fujifilm they managed to make it look even better.
Fast forward again to 30 minutes later (my original wake up time) and my wallet had successfully been lightened by approximately 1300 dollars. As I began to move my pillow and blanket out to our black leather sofa, a wry smile crept across my face.
For the next two months I checked my email hourly (possibly more often than that) in order to learn when the camera would ship. It was kind of like watching your bread in the toaster. It always takes longer when you are waiting, but I couldn't help myself.
Then it happened... approximately 1 month later, 18 years in Paul time, I had the X100F sitting in front of me. I was like a kid in a store that kids like a lot.
I was able to take the camera out to Los Angeles to put it through it's paces.
Here are my initial impressions of the camera.
1. It felt like returning to a long lost friend (as I had sold the X100T in order to fund the X100F, and had been using the XPro2 + 23/F2 combo in it's absence). It had more of a heft to it, was a bit more square, the paint, dare I say it, nicer? It definitely looked better than the online photos.
2. Start-up was noticeably quicker, which is a godsend, because there were often time when I would have the X100T turned off, see a moment, flip the "on" switch, only to have the camera lag and thus miss the shot. You all will probably say just leave the camera on, but I am not as smart as you, so shhh.
But for that reason alone and the images I won't miss, it makes the camera worth it to me.
3. The handling has gotten much better as well. All the buttons have been streamlined and place to the right of the LCD screen. If you have a thumbrest it is possible to operate the camera one handed...sick!
4. The iso dial. Some people do not like this feature, but at least it is better than having to go in-menu to complete the exposure triangle. Also, if you really dislike it, the new command dial on the front of the camera can be set to adjust the iso settings.
5. The auto-focus joystick. Holy moly...yes, yes and yes! I had been used to it on my X-Pro2 and XT2 (despite never thinking I would actually use it). I'm now happy that it has come to the X100 series.
6. The autofocus seems to have gotten slightly snappier as well. It's not nearly as quick as say the X-Pro2 23/F2 combo, but it works for what I need it to do. I think this comes down more so to the lens limitations rather than software though.
7. The X-Trans III sensor. I now have no issue having usable files at 6400 iso. The "waxy skin" feature of the X-Trans II is gone and Acros now comes standard. Last but not least, it gives you just that much more leeway for cropping in post (which you are't supposed to do either, but I'm not a pro, and I do what I want).
8. Last but not least, and some may not use this, but I really like the Tele-Converter feature. I don't ever really use it at 70mm, but the 50mm option still looks nice and slick, and images can still be printed at high quality. Also, you can set this function to the focus ring and it makes it really easy to frame at the focal length you desire.
Now it wouldn't be a real review if I didn't post what I disliked.
1. My biggest gripe is that this camera did not come with weather sealing. I want to bring this camera with me everywhere, and making it WR makes it a no brainer. Street Photography becomes even more amazing in the rain with all the reflected lights and umbrellas about. It would be nice having the piece of mind that I could still shoot when the weather takes a turn. Until then I need to bring the X-Pro2 along as well, or an umbrella, which I don't actually own because LA is in a drought and why waste the money #rambling
2. The lens is the same as all the other X100 series models. I love this lens and the images it produces but it could be sharper up close, and I imagine a new lens might be able to auto-focus on the level of Fujifilm's XF 23 F2 WR, but also know this means the camera might change.
3. Battery life is better but still not great. It would be a good idea to carry 1 to 3 (or 18) back-ups with you.
There you have it. My review of Fujifilm's impressive new X100F. No camera is perfect, but Fujifilm's fourth iteration of X100 get's pretty close.
TL:DR: Buy this camera...now.
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