The X100F — The Little Camera That Could!

Fujifilm's X100 was arguably one of the most innovative cameras to immerge from the field of mirrorless camera designs in the last several years! The rangefinder style camera with ƒ-stops on the lens, manual controls, and a unique hybrid viewfinder was an instant hit. The latest iteration of the camera, the X100F, continues to refine the design and upgrade the X-Trans sensor! This camera occupies an odd niche in that its a fixed lens mirrorless, that is much more than just a point-and-shoot, but not an interchangeable-lens "system," with a cool, retro "old school" vibe.

X100F Article

Fujifilm's new X100F aims to be just enough camera for most everything in a form factor that recalls classic rangefinders with all the features of a high-end mirrorless camera! Pretty much the same size as the original, with exactly the same 23mm ƒ2 lens, the X100F, never the less, contains significant improvements . Most of the changes are under the hood, with the new X-Trans III, 24 megapixel sensor, with a 4000x6000 pixels capture size, and all the latest film simulations. The most noticeable physical changes can be seen on the back of the camera, seen below with the older X100S on top, X100F on the bottom.

The X100F has a larger LCD screen, and organizes the button controls in a more elegant manner. The new focus lever just to the upper right corner of the screen is a most welcome addition, giving the photographer easy control over the position of the focus point with the thumb, without needing to take the eye from the viewfinder. The retro style places familiar controls on the top of the camera for easy access without dipping into the menus. The biggest change here is the ISO selection placed inside the shutter speed dial, a feature I enjoy, though many users might prefer to program the new front dial to change ISO instead.

X100F Article

A particularly nice, elegant, retro designed mirrorless camera that seems to fit the point-and-shoot category, but what makes this camera so special is it is just so much fun to use! This cool little camera is designed to be just enough camera for perhaps 80% of all candid picture taking situations! The unobtrusive, casual nature of the classic styling, is comfortable for the photographer, as well as the subject, making this a perfect street-camera for walkabouts, photo-journalism, and travel. The kind of camera you can just grab and go!

I first used the X100F on a walkabout during the supermoon on Nov 13th 2016 – This shot was taken on an evening stroll in Plymouth, MA during the supermoon November 13th, 2016…

I had the camera at ISO 400, using the Velvia film simulation, and the result was spectacular! The detail and color is impressive! Here is a cropped view:

X100F Article
Cropped view

The advantage of Fujifilm's mirrorless cameras is the exposure and white balance preview you see in the detailed viewfinder. It is very simple to adjust the exact look you desire on-the-fly, with your thumb on the exposure compensation dial. The X100F offers +/-3 EV, with an extra 2 EV (for a total of +/-5 EV) when you set the dial to "C," and use the on-screen menu.

The X-Trans III sensor with improved processor includes all of the newest film simulations —my favorites are ACROS for B&W, and Velvia for color! Again, you see the effect of the film simulation in the viewfinder, which is especially helpful with B&W pre-visualization, or rather simply... visualization!

X100F Article
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X100F Article
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The 23mm lens on the APS-C sensor size delivers a 35mm equivalent angle-of-view that is perfect for street shooting—the quality of this glass is impressive! Great contrast & sharpness:
 

X100F Article
X100F

Though one doesn't normally think of a 23mm lens as a great bokeh producer, at ƒ2 the limited depth of focus can be especially attractive.

X100F Article
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X100F Article
X100F

I found that this little camera was perfect for candid shots of my grandsons during a recent visit. Quick focusing and easy to handle, the X100F is ideal for fast moving kids in chaotic environments. I almost always shot wide open and never worried about whether the shot would be soft—the focus lever is so fast and easy to use! 

X100F Article
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X100F Article
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The Fujifilm X100F is really just enough camera—versatile, without additional complications, and ready to capture in an instant. Quite adaptable to almost any shooting style thanks to its hybrid viewfinder that offers both optical and EVF views, and ergonomic, unfussy manual controls. With practice the camera becomes effortless to adjust, and selection of preset shooting styles is quick using the handy "Q" menu (Q button on the back of the camera.) There is even a perfectly adequate built-in flash for those impromptu party pictures!

The beauty of having a compact quality image making machine, as apposed to a mobile phone with picture taking capabilities, is convenience that doesn't sacrifice quality. Yes, one has to spend a little more to get that kind of quality, but for someone who is passionate about photography, yet doesn't want to lug around a full system every time they go out, this is a fantastic choice. Sometimes it’s liberating to not have to think about what lens to use, and having only one focal length can simply composition decisions, and strengthen your technique!

About the author

Lee Varis is a photo-illustrator now working in the Boston area. He has been involved in commercial photography for over 40 years. He started working with computer imaging over 20 years ago and currently works with digital as well as conventional photography in conjunction with computer graphics to create images for use in print advertising.

Lee’s work has been featured on movie posters, video box covers, CD covers, numerous brochures and catalogs. He is responsible for the moth on the "Silence of the Lambs" movie poster! His creative imaging has been featured in National Geographic, Newsweek and Fortune magazines as well as trade journals like PDN, New Media, Micro Publishing News, Rangefinder and Photo Electronic Imaging. Most of Lee’s work starts off as photography that is manipulated in the computer using a wide variety of imaging software. Images are often re-combined with digital painting and effects or with additional photo elements to create digital images that transcend the original source materials. Clients, art directors and fellow artists look for inspiration at Lee’s web site:

http://www.varis.com

There he displays recent imaging work and updates on his numerous classes and workshops, as well as links to his blog and book websites. You can learn more about Lee's extensive career as an imaging artist from his presentation at Adobe:

http://bit.ly/Varis20yrs

Lee has also been involved with consulting and training activities for numerous corporate clients. He did two series of imaging seminars for Apple Computers that took him around the country to most of the major metropolitan areas and is currently active in seminar programs with APA, ASMP, LACP, ICP, and CPW. You can purchase a video download of a 3-day workshop he conducted at creativeLIVE here:

http://varis.me/Nobunl

Lee’s first book was "Digital Photography for Creative Professionals" with Rockport Publishers 2003. This is an examination of professional applications of digital photography for commercial graphic artists and art directors concentrating on workflow issues and creative solutions for graphics workgroups. His best know book is the best seller: “Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies” Wiley Publishing 2006 & a 2nd edition in 2010. This book has become a must-have reference for every portrait and fashion photographer. His latest book is "Mastering Exposure and the Zone System for Digital Photographers, Cengage, 2010―an detailed examination of calibrating and shooting for ideal quality in digital captures. He has written numerous articles for Design Graphics, PEI, PC Photo, Rangefinder and Digital Photo Pro.

As a fine artist, Lee has been working on a series of images based on the Tarot. Current progress on this project is on display at:

http://www.newmillenniumtarot.com

Lee's 40+ years of experience in photography spans the transition from film to digital giving him an invaluable vantage point for teaching and inspiring future generations of artists.

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