The Unattainable: We Review the Fujifilm X100V

The Unattainable: We Review the Fujifilm X100V

The X100V has been on the wishlist of many. So many in fact, the waiting period to even get their hands on one can exceed six months. But why? What is the hype all about? What makes the camera so unique? Is it truly as good as everyone says? Is it worth the wait?

Where to Even Begin?

The Fujifilm X100V could be classified as a premium compact camera. The dimensions are very manageable as well as the low weight of 478 grams including the battery and the SD card. The design is a modern-yet-vintage take on a rangefinder-style camera not dissimilar to a Contax or a Leica M but at the same time unique in its own beautiful way. A sleek magnesium alloy body combined with the leatherette wrapping around the front and back give it a beautiful feel in hand. Once you pick it up you know you’ve got a quality piece of gear in your hand. 

The front of the body is dominated by the newly-designed 23mm f/2 lens surrounded by a tactile aperture ring along a manual focus one. The corner of the body is home to Fujifilm’s unique hybrid viewfinder allowing you to either look directly at your photographed scene through the body with all the necessary information projected into it or, at the flick of a switch, use a bright electronic viewfinder of decent resolution and framerate.

Fujifilm X100V with the hybrid viewfinder

The top of the camera is decorated with mechanical-feeling, clicky, and well-made metal dials allowing you to see your entire exposure settings at a glance even when the camera is switched off. The shutter speed dial doubles as an ISO value dial which can be adjusted by simply lifting it up. Unlike the previous iterations of this design in the likes of X-Pro2, X-Pro3, or X100F, the dial now stays up. This makes choosing your ISO value much more comfortable. Last but not least is the exposure compensation dial on the right side of the body. Easy to reach with just your thumb, much harder to accidentally turn unlike in the older generations.

The back of the body offers a small selection of buttons, a focus point joystick, and a tilting touchscreen. I was never a fan of tilting screens until I actually started actively using one and now I can’t imagine working without one. The X100V’s tilt mechanism is simple. 90 degrees up, approximately 40 degrees down yet the options compared to the predecessor are suddenly significantly expanded.

AF mode switch on the front of the body

The Star of the Show

The camera is powered by a sensor many of us know well. The fourth generation APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS sensor has been with us since the X-T3 through the X-Pro3, X-T4 all the way to the recently released X-S20. It offers 26 megapixels of resolution without the presence of an optical low-pass filter. The X-Trans sensors have their fair share of critics but it has significantly more fans. And rightfully so. The image files produced by the camera are gorgeous. Especially to analog lovers. 

You see, I can never really say what the reason is, whether it is the X-Trans color matrix or the processor doing the demosaicing in the background, but whenever I shoot Fujifilm cameras at higher ISO values the artifacts I get much more resemble film grain instead of the traditional digital noise. The fact that the noise is mainly luminance and no random spots of color helps the fact tremendously. I always say it's not really a photograph unless it's on paper and Fujifilm X100V files just beg to be printed. Once on a nice baryta paper, the images come to life looking film-like.

This is the reason I often just set my camera to automatic ISO with the limits from the lowest (160) to the highest (12,800) and I do not care which value the camera picks. I know I’ll get usable files anyway.

A beautiful piece of kit

A Joy to Use

I’ve sold many X100 series cameras to many happy customers in my time working in various camera stores in London and Prague and I have met even more photographers adoring their own X100V cameras. There is one thing they all had in common. The camera simply makes them want to photograph. It forces them to carry it everywhere and capture whatever catches their interest. The small size and low weight take away any excuses to leave it laying on a shelf at home. The simple yet intuitive controls make it a joy to use and the resulting files speak for themselves. Many of the aforementioned photographers had their DSLRs beforehand but barely touched them. The cameras just gathered dust at home losing value throughout the years. Once they went for the small Fujifilm wonder, they just fell in love with photography all over again.

It’s the little things that also add to the entire experience. For example, the leaf shutter built into the lens not only allows for faster shutter speeds whilst using flash, but it is near silent regardless of the situation. Sometimes it is so silent you need to confirm you actually took the shot. You will not be disturbing anyone with this shutter sound. Or the fact that the NP-W126S battery can last for a solid while before giving out. Officially it is rated to be able to take roughly 420 images. If I am trying to conserve power I can stretch it past 1,000. The trick is to set the power mode to boost giving us the fastest startup times and switching the camera off when not in use. That way it is on and ready before it’s up to my eye.

X100Vs top dials

The Few “Flaws”

The autofocus is by no means slow. I used the X100V for weddings, corporate team-building events, family vacations, and anything in between. The AF-S mode snaps to focus pretty fast. I rarely ever missed an opportunity to slow or inaccurate autofocus system. The only issue is with the subject tracking mode. It just does not track reliably when you want it to. The subject detection AF frame jumps all over the place and often even misses the subject completely. This camera was not made for tracking. Especially compared to a newer X-T5 or even X-T4. However, as I’ve already mentioned, using the camera in AF single mode works fine and does not hold you back.

The aforementioned weddings and corporate events are often well-paid gigs. But you really should not gamble on losing any files. I use 32GB cards so if I get a card failure I can never lose all of my images at once since I swap cards mid-event. But it would be really nice to have two card slots. I have had cards fail on me in the past so this feature would take a lot of anxiety away from using the camera professionally.

An unobtrusive camera

Built for Any Weather

The biggest improvement in my opinion is the option to seal the camera against rain and dust by simply attaching a filter to the front of the lens. I love street photography in the rain. The scenes and compositions you can get are often beautiful and being able to shoot without the fear of killing your camera for good is a clear advantage. I’ve taken the camera to the Slovakian High Tatras for a family vacation and I was able to just shoot anything not caring about the ever-changing conditions. The fear of a shorted camera was gone. The only fear that stayed was the one of bears.

A closer look at the top dials

What I Love About the Camera

  • Small size
  • Low weight
  • Beautiful image quality
  • 23mm f/2 lens
  • Great electronic viewfinder
  • Clean optical viewfinder
  • Decent AF-S performance
  • Manageable grain at high ISO values
  • Brilliant film simulations (Especially Classic Negative, Acros+R, and Classic Chrome)
  • Comfortable handling
  • Tilting screen
  • Good battery life
  • Weather sealing with a mounted filter
  • Tactile analog dials
  • USB-C charging

What I Don’t Like

  • Tracking in AF-C is not reliable
  • Only a single-card slot

The 23mm f/2 lens offers sharp image, silent leaf shutter, and compact design

If You Can Afford to, Get One

I’ve never owned an X100V or any previous X100 series camera. But I use them regularly due to being able to borrow one at work anytime I want. The main reasons for me to not get one were the lack of weather sealing and the single card slot. The former has been fixed with the X100V, but the latter still keeps me on edge whenever I’m shooting a wedding with the camera. But even then It is quite possibly one of the best photographic experiences and most enjoyable cameras I have ever shot with. 

I fully understand the hype and the backlog of orders worldwide. Even the used market has noticed. Second-hand X100Vs go for more than new ones nowadays. A colleague of mine managed to get his hands on a decently priced used unit a while back and was faster with his decision than I was and now I kind of regret it. It truly is a near-perfect camera. Hopefully, the successor will be considerably more attainable. And hopefully, it will offer either dual card slots or internal memory combined with one á-la Leica M11.

The most important photography to me is my family and memories. I almost always take an X100V for those specific occasions. It doesn't get in the way and captures the moments perfectly.


Ondřej Vachek's picture

Ondřej Vachek is a Prague based independent documentary photographer and photojournalist with multiple journeys to war-torn Ukraine where he covered everything from the frontline in the Donbass to the civilian life adapting to the new normal. Avid street photographer with love for writing and storytelling.

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I had one and sold it after a year of use. Nice images for sure, but it overheated on me shooting video indoors too many times and the shut-down was pretty early, and you had to wait far too long for it to cool down. It's a small body so slow heat dissipation is understandable, but being indoors in an AC environment and still having heat issues, just won't work for me.

It's a camera with video features but not really built for video. It's clear it was made with photography as its primary purpose. I can see it being able to shoot a short clip when in a pinch but I definitely wouldn't recommend it for serious video work.

If the camera can't operate according to its features without malfunctioning, then don't offer those features!

There are countless cameras that overheat when recording video or streaming. Each at a different time but it's a well known fact for many bodies. Just look at the X-Tx lineup, Canon R5, Sony RX100s, Nikon Z30, I'm not even going to list all the a7 models that overheat. Each can record great video quality or double as a decent webcam, but none of these and many more can't do so for longer periods of time. The small enclosed body of the X100V is no different in that regard.

That's why more and more actively cooled bodies started coming out. Like the FX3/30, R5 C, X-S20, X-H2S, S5 II, GH6...

There's no reason to get angry. It's a stills camera with a few extra video features but they're clearly there just because it'd make no sense to just omit then since the hardware is there. As I've said, good to have in a pinch, but not the main intent. I'm glad my car has a radio, but I don't buy the car for the radio.

Who's getting angry?

Bit of a weird car analogy.

More appropriate would the fact that all cars have reverse gears. Even sports cars most used to travelling at high speed in a forwards trajectory. But when you do choose reverse, it should not result in the motor overheating and requiring breakdown assistance, even if not the primary choice to propulsion. ;)

It gets hit quickly just by being on and the on/off switch is poorly designed that it knocks to the on position easily, leading to in bag overheating and battery drain.

I've had that happen to me a few times on the X-Pro3, but never on the X100V nor any other Fuji. And I have a soft shutter screwed into the thread as well increasing the possibility of that happening...

I returned this camera because it became uncomfortably hot shooting photos, even in air-conditioned spaces.

By comparison, the RX1R mk 2 I replaced it with generates zero heat, despite a smaller body + larger sensor + larger files.

Reading these comments is the first time I'm hearing about this and I've sold a lot of these cameras ever since the launch working in big camera stores in London and Prague. I've never had a single return or complaint regarding overheating except in longer video sessions which is understandable.

It may be understandable, But it should not be acceptable!

My X100V was of the very first batch - totally possible it was a defective early model before they'd ironed out the production quality.

I'm reading about a few early models having these issues although I've never come across those personally. Apparently, it was a firmware fix.

Why did you buy a photography camera for video lol

Well MR. Jason, I bought it for both! Considering that Fuji does give you video features, it worked well as Web camera till it overheated. I thought that I would post my experience so that others might, consider it before they make a purchase. Not LOL!

I'm not one to defend this camera like a fan boy (because I aint) but you bought the wrong camera for how you use it. This is in no way shape or form meant to be a camera that is used for video. Quick video clips sure but nothing major. This camera is first and foremost a stills camera. Of course it would over heat. You should have bought a xh-2s if you wanted to do video. Not a fixed lens stills focused camera.

Never said I purchased it mainly for video, I purchased it for both! I said that! in my first Post.

You shouldn't have purchased it intending to use it for video at all.

Then Fuji should not have put Video features in their camera!

You can make that claim until all of the oxygen leaves your lungs but the fact of the matter is all manufacturers try to put features in their cameras to trick fools into buying them. Like saying "X camera shoots 4k!" but in reality it's not usable 4k because the camera over heats, the image is soft, and heavily cropped. That's why you research expensive purchases BEFORE you buy them to make sure they fit your needs. No company owes you anything and they certainly aren't going to cater to a small portion of their user base. They are going to do what sells a product. You fell for the their fools marketing hook line and sinker.

You are full of S__T Sorry I totally disagree with your thoughts and opinions, So let's just leave it at that. We'll agree to disagree. No more needs to be said!

A company "does" owe something - honesty and transparency in their marketing and specifications. That's why we have false advertising laws. I don't know if Fuji specified a maximum video length on their spec sheet, but they should have if the camera overheats past a certain point.

Also, it's not exactly dumb to expect a device to be able to shoot video without heat issues - tiny phone cameras are now recording 4K RAW, with little no room for heat dispersion.

listen mans. I agree with what your saying. Companies SHOULD owe us something. They SHOULD be transparent and truthful about what they are selling, but they never fully will. The problem is it's 2023 and we live in a late stage capitalist hell hole of a society where corporations are barely held responsible for their actions and have way too much influence in government. What consequences they do suffer they consider a "cost of doing business". Like a rich person getting a $300 speeding ticket vs a regular Joe getting a $300 speeding ticket. It affects Joe much more than the rich person. Joe has much less incentive than Richie rich to speed because the consequences affect him a lot worse while $300 bucks is sofa change for Richie. I'm just saying people need to do their research and get user input on products instead of just listening to what the company of the product is saying about the product. Companies exist to sell a product and turn a profit for them selves and share holders so they will do what ever it takes to convince you to buy what they're selling. If false advertising laws really worked there would be loads of companies with lawsuits and consequences heavy enough that it would deter them from doing it again. Once more it's just a "cost of business" so they will keep falsely advertising products for as long as the law is not severe enough to incentivize them to not do so. That's why companies in places like Germany offer full benefits like health care, 30 vacation days, sick leave etc, because if they didn't the German government would bring down the hammer on them. The only thing companies respond to is money and variables they may cause them lose money or gain it. Camera companies have been fasle advertising for ages, as we both know, with deceptive advertising of video capabilities that people don't learn about until an actual user gets one of the products in their hands. you can;t trust what the box says and you can't trust what the company says. Especially when they get popular photographer to do sponsored content that is published on their media channels. They will never say anything bad about the product they are talking about. Again I agree with you, but that's not the reality we live in unfortunately.

A fun, stylish and performant camera in as compact a package as possible for a 23mm f/2 in front of an APS-C sensor. I've had it twice, sold it twice, enjoyed it thoroughly but it's hard to justify buying an X100V with todays prices, and hard to resist not selling given the hyper inflated used prices.

If there was one thing I truly miss besides the leaf shutter and overall design, it would be the 23mm f/2 lens itself - the closeup image quality is fantastic, and far better than the XF 23mm f/2 at its minimum focus distance. If Fuji releases a "mark II" interchangeable 23mm f/2 that performs as well as the X100V at close focus, I would slap it on an X-E4 or X-Pro3 in a heartbeat.

Whilst I do agree with you on the sharpness I do find the XF 23mm faster in terms of AF.

And yeah. The used price being higher than a new unit is just dumb... But I guess if someone isn't willing to wait a couple of months before their camera arrives and they're willing to pay the premium who are we to tell them what to do with their money? I'm just hoping Fujifilm will learn and speed up the production of the successor when it inevitably arrives.

True, the AF on the XF 23 is faster and silent. I agree on the need to boost production - the X100...VI? H? R? Z? Whatever it is, it will be a barn burner at launch. And we'll probably see a flood of X100V back into the used market!

That's one of the huge advantages of new Fujifilm releases. The older models get often really cheap second hand yet they're still capable options. The X-T2 or X-T3 are great cameras for really low prices nowadays. I still use an X-T3 as a second body to my X-T5.

I have an XT-1 and an XT-2 that I got fantastic deals on used before the fuji craze hit. bought the XT-1 for $175 and the XT-2 for $250 I could sell both of them for a profit today if I wanted to. I aint gunna though lol. I love these cameras. I use my XT-2 for BTS Still images on film sets and I tell ya hwat this thing is a performer even with as old as it is. I do have to raise the ISO super high for the lowest light situations and I manual focus with it but man I get some fantastic results especially since I can't use my DLSR's during audio recording. Really the only down side to the XT-2 that I can can see for my uses is that the battery life is total ass. I have to carry around 15-20 batteries and keep them on chargers while I'm shooting BTS. My pockets are always FULL of batteries. I will eventually upgrade from it to a Z8 specifically because of the battery issue and also the Z8 has that awesome global electronic shutter that would help me leaps and bounds with BTS photography. It would almost eliminate rolling shutter and banding from LED bulbs. Other than that I REALLY enjoy these cameras. It's amazing how far APS-C sensors of come over the years.

How many images do you usually take? I usually got usually between 700 to 1,000 on a single charge when I was still using X-Pro2 and X-T2 (basically the same camera internally). The image quality of the X-Trans 3 is still very good even by today's standards. But yeah, once you make the leap to Z8 you'll be in a different world. I don't know if you've read my review from a while back but that one was the first ever camera I could see replacing my Fujis. Truly a great release.

REALLY?! I only get about 200-400 on one charge. how are you squeezing out that much life? I really do love these cameras and i can't see the image quality ever being an issue haha. it's just too good. Maybe there's something wrong with my cameras. I did have to toss one of my batteries due to bloating. I'll check out your Z8 Review thanks!

I set the power mode to boost giving me the fastest start-up time and I turn the camera off once it leaves my eye. Then I turn it back on as I'm lifting it back up and it is ready to go before I'm looking through the viewfinder. Once I got used to that mindset I doubled my battery life.

I see! I'll try that out and see if helps me out. thanks!

Like many have come to realise the Ricoh GRIII and IIIx bottles the concept of street better, but there's no denying the allure of the x100v and its own set of unique features. It's more documentary than street, where there are even more options.

Still, don't think Fuji will release a replacement for a while. It can only really tweak the x100v without changing the camera. IBIS or OIS would lead to bulk Fuji has already said it wasn't prepared to do. New version with the 40MP should lead to better better battery life and heat management and maybe better AF... but the lens is as much the root of any ponderousness.

But GRIV or x100vi, which will come first...

I hope Fuji actually just manages to get production going again for the x100v, and waits a couple of years with that one. But part of the hype is of course related to the exclusivity and that it's difficult to get hold of. Will it be as hyped when it's being reduced to sell?

Rather, hoping Fuji takes it to Ricoh with an x80. The x70 was truly compact which featuring many of the feature of the x100v, but in a more svelte package and a bit less poseur.

X70 is a great little camera! A little slow for today's standards, but fun to use with wonderful results.

I've got a re-review of the X70 scheduled in three days so keep an eye out 😉

The truth is that this camera hasn’t been available for three years. At least where I’ve tried to get it. It was on my B&H Photo list of merchandise to be alerted when it was in stock for that long. And whenever I visited camera stores anywhere in the US or Japan, I couldn’t find this camera.

They're most likely never to return to available stock until the successor arrives. The best way to get one is to not have an alert set up but to actually order one and wait your turn. Because they do come. A fairly steady stream of X100Vs arrives to most retailers each month. But they're all already backordered for awaiting customers so you're never going to see the "in stock" light up in the online stores. Pretty much every X100V that arrives to a shop is already waiting for someone who's in the queue. I just had a guy pick one up that was ordered back in November.

George, I think you're correct. The camera is missing in action. It hasn't been on the market in years. After waiting so long, I lost interest. It is vaporware at this point. A camera that's not available for years is a grand failure.

Excellent article. As I say in my blog: many people want this camera because of the recent hype received from Instagram. Most of them they dont know why they want it but its a marvellous piece, especially for carry with me everyday and everywhere.

P.S: still trying to find a good b&w recipe. Do you have to propose anything for street and day to day use?

Hi mate ive found the Leica M10 monochrome recipe "i think its on youtube somewhere" is very usable. ive made a couple of adjustments to it myself but loving the results. I wasnt a real fan of the TRI X recipe

Thank you! I'm not much of a recipe guy. Fujixlove would be my go-to for recipes, but I shoot everything raw anyway and then just use Lightroom built-in Fujifilm profiles.

I managed to get hold of a brand new one before the tiktok hype made them impossible to get hold of. Hype aside its genuinely one of my favorite cameras I've owned and i find for myself its true about the article when you say it makes you want to go out and capture images. I shoot more with it then my Nikon Z7 now and even took t as my only camera to Indonesia a few months back. needless to say that's the lightest camera bag I've ever traveled with.

A review of a camera you can't get.

You can. You just need to wait a few months... It's worth the wait though 😊

The reviewer makes clear it's a camera he borrows from time to time. Living with it is a different kettle of fish.

It's not compact. It doesn't matter if your other camera is a Full frame or even bigger Fuji camera, that doesn't make this camera compact. It's bulky and chunky. The x70 was compact.

But really it's just not worth the money. I was hoping to pick one up for below €1000 in 2021 when the stores started discounting them. In the end I felt I overpaid when I did pay a little over €1000 for a used one while the shops had them for €1200. But I just sold it for €1750. Sorry dude who bought it, but it's just not worth that money unless you're in the camera as a status symbol group.

What it does it does well enough. The lens is sharp. The OVF can be useful for flash and street shooting, but the EVF is not great for everyone else. You feel good shooting with it, until you wish you had your real camera with you. It's disarming but draws attention also. The x-trans III would have been a better sensor, as it has better colours, the more neutral colours of the x-trans IV are more suited for primarily RAW shooters. But given the attraction for many seems to be the film Sims, jpeg is important with this camera.

Build quality is overall very high, but the multipurpose SS/ISO dial feels as well built as my son's Lego, and the on/off switch gets knocked to on way to easily, leading to overheating and battery drain, already issues in their own right, whether shooting stills or video.

It sure looked pretty ready for action, on my sideboard, but when push came to shove I nearly always ended up taking the x-t3/5 and a small lens. If I need to take a strap or bag anyway, I may as well take the better performing camera and lenses.

For around €1000, I could justify hanging on to it as a second camera for traveling light when there really isn't space otherwise. Or for situations where subtlety is key and just looking like you have a crappy film camera is an advantage such as at birthday parties and near military installations. But when the price is still so high, and a new one probably coming in 18 months or so, I'm taking the money and running. I think the prices are starting to fall though.

Next iteration should be smaller, it should have an 18mm with the 40MP chip for cropping and better heat and battery management. And it should cost the same as the x-s20. Sadly, if it ever comes it will probably be closer to €1800.

I'm waiting for the X100mk6 with 40mp to get more out of the digital tele converter.
Until then, I'll keep using my X70.

I've contemplated selling my X70 many times since the other cameras I own are much more advanced. But I just can't do it. It's such a good little everyday clicker with beautiful files and the controls I have to say are superior to the GR III. At least for my use. I'm sure many prefer the GR.

Yes, with 18mm lens!

This camera is so over hyped lol. It is good but it's not "out of stock for months or years" good. I haven't seen a camera that good since the D700/ D3. The Z8/Z9 are close.

Best thing about it if you got one pre-covid is the price you can sell it to the hipsters for!

The photographers will wait for the price to drop.

hahaha i got lucky with my XT-1 and XT-2. I can sell both of them for a significant profit. When I bought them they were dirt cheap. Now the hipsters and youtubers have over hyped them to crazy inlflated levels. They are good cameras but good lord they are not worth what they are going for on the used market right now.

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