Fujifilm’s latest X-Processor Pro 4 image processor for faster
When the original X100 was launched nearly a decade ago, it represented a paradigm shift. It has an innovative hybrid (optical/ electronic) viewfinder, a large image sensor and a fast prime fixed lens in a small compact rangefinder-like body. In other words, a light inconspicuous high-resolution camera that will not attract any attention to street photographers, who are always on the hunt for that candid moment on the street.
As evidenced by its “V” suffix, the X100V is the fifth generation of Fujifilm’s highly acclaimed X100 fixed-lens camera series.
For the X100V, the biggest upgrades are mostly in the interior, including the new 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C image sensor and Fujifilm’s latest X-Processor Pro 4 image processor for faster readout speeds (readout speed denotes how fast an image is digitised).
There are 425 autofocusing (AF) points in the X100V, up from its direct predecessor X100F’s 325 points. Shooting speed is 11 frames per second (fps), up from 8fps of the X100F. The X100V can shoot 4K 30fps videos and 1,080p slow-motion videos at 120fps.
While the X100V’s lens has the same 35mm focal length as its predecessors, it is supposed to be sharper. In addition, the rear touchscreen LCD display is finally tiltable after four generations. But it cannot flip back all the way for selfie-taking.
It now uses a USB-C port for charging, instead of a micro-USB port with the X100F. The iconic hybrid viewfinder has also been upgraded – the electronic viewfinder resolution is 3,690,000 dots, up from 2,360,000 dots with the X100F.
Available in black and silver/ black (version tested), the X100V looks similar to its predecessor, but there are some differences in terms of button layout.
The rear button layout is now cleaner with the directional pad of the previous generations gone. The rear mini-joystick has taken over the directional control duty, while still being able to quickly change the AF point when composing photos.
The delete button of the previous model is replaced by a menu button. Next to the hybrid viewfinder is the drive button, for selecting drive modes such as high speed continuous or single shooting. This button also incorporates the delete button function.
Staying put at the top of the camera are the shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial, function button and shutter release. Within the shutter speed dial is the ISO dial. Lift the shutter speed dial and turn to change the ISO setting.
The ISO dial is not spring-loaded, unlike its direct predecessor’s, which actually makes it easier to use.
The overall handling is great, like that of an old-school camera, but with a modern twist.
Camera operations are swift – one second each for start-up and shutdown, compared with the typical two seconds for each operation with most of its peers.
Using an SD card with a writing speed of 45MB per second, the X100V is able to shoot 19 RAW images in 1.9 seconds before the buffer runs out – almost as good as the advertised 11fps.
The early X100 models suffer from AF lag. But the X100V’s AF is almost instantaneous in bright lighting conditions. You are unlikely to miss the decisive moment when prowling the streets with this camera. Even in dim lighting conditions, it takes at most a second to secure a focus with the aid of its AF assist light.
Like its predecessors, image quality is superb with excellent colours, sharp rendition, great dynamic range and crisp details in the darker areas. I particularly like the monochrome modes that mimic old black-and-white film photography.
Noise performance is stellar, with no visible noise artefacts up to ISO 3,200. Only at ISO 6,400 do the noise artefacts become visible but the images are still usable. But anything at ISO 12,800 and above is not recommended, as there are too many noise artefacts and noticeable detail loss.
Rated at 420 images on a full charge, the X100V’s battery life is better than most compact cameras’ 300 images per charge. I take around 600 images and it still has around 20 per cent battery left.
At $2,148, the X100V is a tad expensive for a camera that does not let you change lenses. But what you get is a complete package for what a street photographer needs. And for that, it is worth every cent of its price.