Those of you who follow my blog or my posts know that I shoot with Leica cameras or primarily the Leica SL at the moment, but today I will be going over my experience with the Fuji X100f. With my move to a Leica SL from a Leica Q, the one aspect that I lost in between that decision was portability for times when I am on the go or need to travel light. With this my decision came to try and give the Fuji X100f a shot as a companion camera to my main set. For the days when I need a semi pocketable camera that I can take along to places like amusement parks, family get together's and so on. This gives me a camera that's way better than just a smartphone for times when I do not want to bring the Leica SL. What I will go over in this post is how well the Fuji X100f complements my Leica SL from functional and technical perspective.
body & build
Owners of Fuji tend to gravitate towards the Leica brand and vice versa, both camera brands have similar reputations in the photography world. Great camera design and build, renowned image quality, tones and colors. Both give you either a unique Fuji look or unique Leica look. So this makes my decision to try out the Fuji X100f a natural and comfortable progression. I own the silver X100f and body and build wise the camera is definitely solid, my Leica SL is a tank and you definitely feel the difference but for 4X-5X times the cost you better be getting that. That's not any knock on the X100f, its definitely a high build quality and the feel in the hands is nice and solid, dense but light. Coming from the Leica world having another manufacturer brand with the same manual dials and knobs is great, having the same benefits of a Leica where you can make the ISO, Shutter and Aperture adjustments with the camera off is a real benefit. Its keeping photography in a simple, analog feeling form. I used to be a DSLR full auto focus photographer but as I have moved to Leica you tend to start appreciating the slower process of framing and making an image. At this point I tend to overlook the manual dials but with the Fuji system, this is one of the reasons for having this as an addition to the set of photography tools I possess.
The more I touch and feel the camera, the more I appreciate the details and thought process that went into building and designing the X100f. The focus ring and the knobs all have a diamond pattern that gives you a grippy tactile feel which is great. Button placements are easy spots to get to or remember while shooting. The one thing that's causes me to take my eye off the view finder is the ISO ring, needing to lift it and turn is a different process than having its own separate dial, but this does not cause any heartburn. More so just a minute hindrance. Look and feel of the camera feels like a vintage camera which I dig which is the same with the Leicas, you often get the average person asking about your camera and if its a vintage camera where in turn its a modern mirrorless camera. If your into aesthetics, which I am, then this is defintely a plus for the Fuji. Pair it with a nice braided strap and you are good to go.
Performance and Image qUALITY
Going into performance as I compare the Leica Q with the Fuji X100f, I am comparing a $4,000 dollar camera to a $1,200 camera, but I wanted to see how the Fuji held up with on the go, everyday use. IQ on the Fuji so far has been pleasant, there's a look and soul to the images, and is by no means a far step down from my Leica SL system. The Leica SL obviously has more richness with the files but for when I need a light system I have no complaints about the quality of images I have been getting from the Fuji. Comparing to the Leica Q, I would say the Leica Q is still in my opinion a higher quality IQ and definitely a higher sharpness with the micro contrast resolution, but for $1,200 bucks and used as a backup on the go system, I will take it. The Fuji can definitely hold its own in the image quality department.
As for performance, there have been a few hitches so far but nothing that is a deal breaker. Auto focus is definitely slower than the Leica Q, and does some hunting at times. With this the difference in AF is acceptable and nothing of a major issue, its still fast enough for my taste. Accuracy of the auto focus was good as well. A few other areas of concern are where the EVF does lock up on me and stick to a half optical / half evf state, but a simple on-off of the camera does the trick. This is probably something that I need to have Fuji fix, but as of the moment I can live with it. Still this does distract me at times when I want to turn on the camera and shoot on the fly. Battery life is good and I have not seen any issues yet running on one battery for the day, although I have not been using it in a full day of just shooting.
Waiting to board
Low light performance of the camera is good, I have pushed my camera to 3200 and files are nice and usable. With the camera maxed at F2 for low light situations, I rely more on ISO performance when dealing in darker situations. With the Leica Q, I could push the camera to f1.7 and ISO performance was really good. So far with f2 and 3200 ISO on the Fuji, IQ of the files has been really nice, even the grain on the files when pushing further is good as well. Overall this camera has been I would say a B+ performer where I considered the Leica Q more of an A. But for over $3,000 less in price, I cant say that you get that much more with the Leica Q.
USABILITY AND pORTability
Now to where this Fuji really differentiates itself. From a usability and portability perspective this camera is a blessing. Its for surely a lot smaller and lighter than the Leica Q, and much more pocket-able as well. Both really are not pocket-able but at least the Fuji has much more of a chance. Ok maybe a jacket pocket vs a pants pocket... The Fuji X100f really is a camera to pick up and use on the go. From a usability perspective, the placement of the controls, dials and overall interface design has a lot of thought put into it both from designers and from feedback from actual camera pros. I appreciate the thought put into it. Now there are a few things that would be nice to have such as touchscreen or tiltable screens as well but nothing of a deal breaker here.
Using the camera through different situations, landscape, street, architecture, low light, harsh lighting etc the camera just performs. I initially thought that this will just be a camera I use for specific situations, like family events where I want to enjoy the time more than shoot photography or days where I am just going out doing errands. But the more I shoot with the camera and see how it performs to my needs, the more I realize that this camera can at times replace my Leica SL for the day of a solid shoot. If I want to do architecture or landscape photography, I can 100% get quality images that meet my need with this camera. So instead of feeling like a backup system, this camera is slowly feeling more like a complementary system to my Leica SL.
Overall, the camera continues to grow on me. Its a camera that can do it all, and a jack of all trades. It's not a superior camera system, but its an excellent overall camera. Its grown from a meh, to maybe, to an actual contender for consideration to shoot for a day vs my Leica SL. That line alone should speak to the quality you get from the Fuji X100f. If you are looking for a camera that can do 90% of what you need from a camera and do it well, then this is the camera for you.
Watching a sHOW