Six months with Fujifilm X100V: is a “soap box” necessary in a world ruled by smartphones?

Six months with Fujifilm X100V: is a “soap box” necessary in a world ruled by smartphones?

A little over a decade ago, the photography world began to change dramatically. Then smartphones entered the race for image quality. And if at the beginning of the tenth it looked rather strange, then by today most people will not even think about whether they need a camera. Of course not – they have iPhone / Xiaomi / Samsung / Huawei / Pixel and so on.

The smartphone has become the center of our life, killing, in fact, many different things and products. Starting with mp3-players and iPods, continuing with some plastic cards, as well as those same cameras. Of course, we are primarily talking about "soap dishes" or, as they are correctly called, about compact cameras.

Photo via Fujifilm X100V. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

If in some 2008, going into any electronics store, you saw a thousand and one "soap dish" conventional Nikon, now there is practically no trace of them. All compact models sold by this particular company were announced no later than 2017. And in terms of photo quality, they are often inferior to smartphones.

However, there are companies that still make "compacts". One of the main models that you remember first is the Sony RX100 Mark VII. But just what a thing: very few people perceive this camera as a camera. The RX100 is taken by video bloggers traveling around the world. It provides the owner with a great image that is enough for YouTube.

The situation is similar with the recently unveiled Sony ZV-1 – a camera designed specifically for travel bloggers. It doesn't have such a crazy optical zoom, but it has become even more convenient for travelers: a top-end, compact and at the same time not the most expensive solution.


Sony ZV-1 introduced – a simplified version of the best camera for travel bloggers

Ilya Kichaev

27 May 2020

In general, with an eye on this situation and my love for photography, I decided to find out if there is a place for compacts at the time when smartphones began to take photos that no one could even dream of in 2010. So, our today's hero is Fujifilm X100V:

Fujifilm X100V
Mirrorless, APS-C
23.5 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor (1.11 inches diagonal) with a resolution of 26.1 megapixels and a pixel size of 3.74 µm per pixel
Crop factor
f = 23 mm (35 mm equivalent), fixed, non-removable
f / 2 – f / 16 (f / 3.1 – f / 24.5)
160 – 12 800 (expandable to 80 – 51 200)
Exposure compensation
± 5 in 1/3 EV steps
1 / 32,000 – 30 seconds
3.69M-dot OLED Hybrid Viewfinder
3 inches, IPS with a resolution of 1.62 million points
Memory cards
One SD slot (up to 2 GB), SDHC (up to 32 GB) or
SDXC (up to 512GB)
Dimensions, weight
128 x 74.8 x 53.3mm @ 478g

We got this camera in early March. And I immediately grabbed it for myself before quarantine.

Bottom X100F, top – X100V. Photo on Google Pixel 3. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

I took it to myself for two reasons. First, I needed a camera to work from home. And with the last generation, X100F (F stands for "Fourth" – "fourth"), I have pleasant memories of a trip to Vietnam, where I took it with me. There I took photographs, from viewing which my heart is now breaking, because you cannot travel.

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All photos from this slider were taken by me on Fujifilm X100F with minimal processing before publication.

As a result, the fifth generation, designated by the letter V (V is the Roman numeral 5), I have been waiting for from the moment when rumors appeared that Fuji was preparing it for release.

Klipsch T5. Photo via Fujifilm X100V. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

The very first question that my friends asked when they saw this camera: "Is it a film?" Yes, the aesthetics of the Fujifilm X100V unveiled in February 2020 is really a lot from vintage cameras. And in this there is a kind of hipster thrill (someone else, besides Boyarsky, uses this word?). This thrill I get when looking at vinyl, certain models of guitars or, for example, a good coat.

Left X100V, right X100F. Photo on Google Pixel 3. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

At the same time "Fujik" is not some kind of toy. It is quite a mature device, capable of taking many decent pictures. As in the case of "soap boxes", there is a fixed lens. Its equivalent focal length is 35mm. This means that in direct comparison of a photo from the main camera of your smartphone and this "Fuji", fewer objects will fit into the frame of the latter, and the proportions of the objects being photographed will differ:

Photo via Fujifilm X100V. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom MediaPhoto on iPhone 11/11 Pro. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom MediaPhoto on Google Pixel 3. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom MediaPhoto by Huawei P40. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

You can look at the originals of these photos with all EXIF ​​on Google Drive.

The Fujifilm X100V lens inspires me to be creative. Although 35 mm is not considered a classic portrait portrait, I adore photographs of people taken with it:

Photo: Ilya Kichaev

But due to the small focal length for portrait photographers, this camera is quite well suited for street photography:

Photo: Ilya Kichaev

Compared to the previous generation, the lens is much better. It no longer has the same chromatic aberration that the X100F suffered from.


Compared to the fourth generation, Fuji has redesigned the controls, making the screen tilt and touch.

Photo via Fujifilm X100F. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

Someone may not like both of these facts, because, for example, the screen will one day fall off, and in the cold it will be difficult to control the shooting with gloves. However, this is not a hindrance for me. Firstly, it will not fall off (unless, of course, you try to tear it off), and secondly, I only used the touchscreen for quick and accurate adjustment of the focus area. And even for these needs I often used a small joystick on the back of the camera.

By the way, when you open the settings, the touch screen turns off and here you need to select items the old fashioned way. This is a great solution – you won't accidentally change anything, and the settings for the touchscreen are pretty small.

Photo via Fujifilm X100F. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

By the way, the menu here, in my opinion, is very clear. This is, of course, not Sony.

Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

But the physical buttons on the back of the camera could have been larger – they are not large enough to be found by touch. On the other hand, the sheer number of buttons kills that same film aesthetic. For example, the last generation, X100F, does not look very interesting in comparison with the five:

X100F on the left, X100V on the right. Photo on Google Pixel 3. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

By the way, all buttons, except for viewing captured images and menus, are customizable. Even if there are some inscriptions on them.

Photo via Fujifilm X100F. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

For example, you can assign Quick Menu Q to one of the buttons on the front of the camera. You can even change the function of the focus wheel if you use autofocus, and set, for example, the change of the simulated film, which I will discuss below.

Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media


The Q button provides access to the quick menu where you can select shooting modes, autofocus, different degrees of dynamic range, white balance, quality, and more:

Photo via Fujifilm X100F. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

An interesting thing that Fujifilm promotes in all of its cameras is "film simulation." Here you can adjust the picture as if you took this photo on a film camera. There are 18 different presets in total, each of which vaguely resembles one here or another tape. When activated, the colors, white balance, contrast and other parameters of the image change.

In case you shoot in RAW, Lightroom knows these color film presets, so you can choose one of them right in the photo import. At the same time in "Lightroom" you can distinguish by the names of the film itself, produced by "Fuji" – Astia, Velvia, Acros and others:

The aforementioned "shooting mode", available in the quick menu by pressing the Q button, changes only the basic image presets.

The usual change of modes such as "Aperture Priority", "Shutter Priority" or "Manual" is not here. But all this can be customized. For example, you can set everything to auto and open the aperture to f / 2.8. And that will be aperture priority. The shutter priority is set in a similar way – turn the wheel to the desired duration, the aperture on the car and fly!

Photo via Fujifilm X100F. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

I did almost all the photographs this way: I opened the aperture at f / 2 – f / 4 and took pictures. Exposure – auto, ISO – auto with a threshold value of 3200. From time to time I had to adjust the exposure, reducing the brightness of the picture. That is, the control seems to be there, but minimal.

This decision, in my opinion, is correct: no one uses a variety of modes, photographers often choose between manual and aperture priority. Why then, for the sake of something stupid, give so much usable space on the camera body?

Photo on Google Pixel 3. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

You can also choose from burst shooting, HDR shooting (new to the fifth generation X100), multiple exposure and other shooting options.

You can shoot using the screen or the hybrid viewfinder. Its field of view is much larger than the lens actually sees, but all the information necessary for shooting does not interfere with the search for the frame, which is highlighted by a rectangle:

Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media


The fifth generation of the camera has received the possibility of video recording in 4K 10-bit 4: 2: 2 30 fps. But this was done, it seems, purely for the sake of it.

Firstly, autofocus is constantly jumping. This happened due to the fact that the camera does not have any optical stabilization, and the autofocus speed when shooting video is slowed down. And so it seems that you can either put the X100V on a tripod, or hang it on the stabilizer. But the stabilizer did not help me – the camera constantly loses focus and cannot decide what to shoot.

There is eye tracking, but how do you like this: once the camera found eyes in the fold of skin between the thumb and forefinger.

The second reason is the sound with which the lens adjusts autofocus. It is very loud and audible on audio. Of course, the problem can be solved by connecting a third-party microphone. Fortunately, there is a 2.5 mm jack for this.

In theory, the problem of floating autofocus can be dealt with by setting manual focus adjustment, since there is such an opportunity:

Letters stand for Manual, Custom, where you choose the approximate focusing location, and Standard — entirely up to the camera's choice. Photo via Fujifilm X100F. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

However, considering how Fuji hid the video mode, it is purely nominal here. But for example, I will show a video recorded as a demonstration of the capabilities of the AKG Lyra microphone:


Any modern Fujifilm camera connects to a smartphone without any problems. This is done using the Camera Remote application. Judging by the comments, many users are puzzled by the fact that when synchronized with a smartphone, the camera throws photos in 3 megapixels onto it. I also wondered: where are my honest 24 megapixels?

It turns out that it was necessary to rummage through the camera settings. To do this, go to the item with a wrench → "Connection settings" → "General settings" → "Change the image size (CM) 3 Mp". Turn off this thing and copy your photos to your health in their original resolution. But they will be copied only in JPEG.

The application allows you to copy photos to your smartphone relatively quickly (actually slowly, extremely slowly), as well as use your smartphone as a viewfinder if you suddenly want to take a picture of yourself:

The photo was taken on Fujifilm X100V using a smartphone. Photo: Ilya Kichaev

However, the image in the viewfinder mode is displayed at a frame rate of 15 seconds, constantly disappears, and focusing on the tap of the smartphone screen works every other time. And the connection doesn't always work. And this is the story with both the X100F and the X100V. Fujifilm, do something with the app, please. Leica has a pretty good application, which, however, only allows you to copy photos.


This camera, for me personally, has four drawbacks. The first is the pain of the application. I am lazy, I do not like to edit photos on the computer. I throw them onto my smartphone or iPad and edit in Snapseed and Lightroom. And the application is good, it is not buggy, but the camera-smartphone connection works very badly.

Photo: Ilya Kichaev

The second drawback is that the video is purely nominal. Of course, this camera can take amazing pictures too. But only in static and only with manual focus.

The third drawback is the small buttons on the back. Although this is a matter of taste.

And the most important drawback. Price. This is what breaks my heart: 120 thousand rubles from the officials and 100 thousand from the "gray" dealers. It is very, very expensive. Not for a specific camera, but in general.

Smoking is harmful! Photo: Ilya Kichaev

But here's the thing: during the six months that I've been using this camera, I've come to love it. More precisely, like this: I fell in love with Fujifilm. I liked the huge GFX100 for a million rubles, I still like the X100F, and I really want to try the X-T4. The last camera is very similar in filling to the X100V, which became the hero of this operating experience, but only it has a matrix stub and interchangeable lenses:


Thing of the day: Fujifilm unveils X-T4 with sensor stabilization and HDR

Ilya Kichaev

27 February 2020

It seems to me that the X100V is not meant for the photographer. This does not mean that the shots taken on her do not suit me in some way, no. Here the question is more likely to fix 35 mm. But for amateurs – just right.

Redmi Note 9 Pro. Photo via Fujifilm X100V. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

It is as an amateur that I show pictures taken with the X100V in this text. It is as an amateur that I have used this camera to capture the subject of most of my text reviews published on this site over the past six months.

Photo: Igor Yasakov / Wylsacom Media

This camera will take great travel shots. Or at the birthday party of one of your friends, you will catch wonderful emotions. Or just take some photos to remember a particular day. Or take an incredible portrait of someone you love. Or take off your smartphone to review it. Or take a cool photo on the street, which turns out to be quite worthy of some reporter's spread. Did I say this is a photography for amateurs? Why?

Photo: Ilya Kichaev

Smartphone or camera?

Most of you don't need this camera or any other. Because you have a conditional iPhone / Xiaomi / Samsung / Huawei / Pixel.

Most of you, if you suddenly buy this or any other camera, will forget about it after a couple of days: you have to take it with you, and this, by the way, is 500 grams of weight with a strap!

JBL Pulse 4. Photo on Fujifilm X100V. Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

Smartphones will give many more options than this "Fuji", because even they have several lenses, as well as the main thing that street photographers appreciate: stealth. Fujifilm X100V is noticeable. She draws attention to herself.

However, this camera provides a quality incomparably better than any of the smartphone cameras. It doesn't matter how many megapixels your iPhone / Xiaomi / Samsung / Huawei / Pixel has. Bokeh when shooting portraits on smartphones constantly messes up, but here – no. The texture of the skin is not drawn in the same way, sorry for the pun, textured, as does Fuji:

Photo: Ilya Kichaev

For some reason, smartphones do not know how to display age-related or emotional wrinkles with dignity. And this camera can.

He also knows how to take great photos right after turning on the camera. And this is something that cameras really lacked, but smartphones had.

Photo: Ilya Kichaev / Wylsacom Media

Is it worth 120 thousand rubles? Everyone will decide for himself, depending on the love of cameras. But now I have to return this camera to the Russian representative office of Fujifilm, which makes me incredibly sad. Thank you for these six months. This camera has shown itself to be excellent. In the meantime, I will probably return to the X100F.

Photos of the two cameras were taken simultaneously with the Google Pixel 3, as it is the only camera on hand that can shoot RAW right out of the box – due to the metal body there were a lot of highlights that could only be dealt with this way.

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Chief editor of the blogErika J. Wells .

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