The Specifics of the X100V
Even after thousands of shots around the globe, this camera still feels as robust as the day it was delivered. The buttons and dials maintain that premium resistance you'd expect from a product of this valor. Kitting this camera with the adapter ring and a 49mm filter, like the Cinebloom 10%, will give this camera the ability to operate in turbulent weather conditions. The new tilting LCD continues to be a welcome addition that makes capturing low angle shots nearly effortless. Further, the efficiencies built into the guts of the body allow you to capture more images on a single charge than its predecessor. The move to FujiFilm's fourth generation sensor has dramatically improved the optics to match the sharpness and resolving power of the XF 23mm F2.0. You capture richer images with better clarity that can be paired with unique film simulations, like Eterna and Classic Negative, to bring more character in the image. Additionally, the ability to focus faster in darker environments with phase-detect autofocus is comparable to even some of the most elite camera bodies available. In turn, the use of an ND filter and leaf shutter allow you broaden the aperture in brighter environments and snap pictures in near silence.
The engineers at FujiFilm have outfitted this camera with some killer video features. Being able to capture stellar 4K footage coverage shots in F-Log, or the aforementioned Eterna, allow me to get even more out of this camera. The video is something I rely on, but given the form-factor, it often finds its way to every production I attend. You can record quality slo-mo footage at odd angles that often feel more free-flowing than a two-handed camera rig. To my surprise, FujiFilm has also added the ability to use the built-in neutral density filter during video recording, something you wouldn't expect but are delighted to have. This simply means that you have a robust video capture tool that can give you 4-stops of light reduction in a flick of the switch when needed. While the video pales in comparison to photography, the suite of filmmaking features adds notable differentiation between this camera and its competitors.
With all that said, after some serious mileage on this camera, there were a few items that left me wanting more.
While I didn't expect to use the X100V as a primary video solution, the current reality of Covid invited this opportunity of flexibility. However, it proved to be challenging in multiple ways. Due to the tighter body, it was difficult to use a micro HMDI and USB-C cables at the same time; there simply wasn't enough space between the ports. After I eventually found a pairing that worked, I would get temperature warnings and occasional shutdowns during extended us. Did this leave me a little disappointed? Sure, I would've loved to get more benefit out of the camera, but by no means was this something I had anticipated to accomplish upon purchase. Through some settings and creative cable management, this is a camera you *can* use as a webcam but probably not something you would.
The biggest gripe I have with the camera doesn't have anything to do with the camera at all. The FujiFilm app needs a serious upgrade and perhaps a re-write. Even with an iOS device, this app is quite picky and temperamental. The promise of firmware updates on-the-fly and wireless operation are almost never delivered, and something as simple as transferring images has now turned into a game of roulette. While I am aware that I own over five different FujiFilm bodies, my expectations may be delivering a more significant load than the average user — that shouldn't matter. It should just *work*. The beauty of great design is that the user doesn't have to think about the abstract actions, they simply navigate through them with a sense of ease.
Even with the myriad of issues using the FujiFilm Remote app, the X100V is widely loved because of how well it delivers on the primary functions. For better or for worse, it's a camera that will continue to get compared to offerings from the Leica Q & M series. However frivolous that whole conversation may actually be, the truth is for many people this camera is the better option. Sure, this is not a *real* rangefinder, and the sensor is noticeably smaller, but the experience documenting your surroundings, you could argue, is largely preferential.
This camera is often more forgiving, noticeably smaller in form-factor, offers better end-user support, and all at a fraction of the cost. While there's a clear and noticeable gap in the image quality to something like the Leica M10-R or Q2, that gap is quickly mitigated by one's own technique and creativity. For Fujifilm to be continually compared to their German counterpart is a statement in itself. This isn't some lacklustre Pepsi challenge where one brand is desperately trying to ride the coattails of another. This is user feedback through stunning visuals and real-world adventures. The product speaks for itself.