X100F Review 2019: Best Travel Camera for Minimalists

So I have had the X100F for about a year now. I’ve used it for portraits, for landscapes, for video. And I want to take the time right now to tell you why I feel it has been the ultimate travel camera — at least for me! So my first impressions of the X100F were
that it was just way overpriced for what it was. I mean, $1200 USD for a fixed lens, 35 millimeter camera?! It just didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me! But then, once I started to do a bit more research into cameras that were small enough — or smaller — than what I had
before which was a DSLR, I just thought it was stupid! Who would ever pay $1,200 for being stuck with 35 millimeters?! So then I took a look back at my portfolio shots and I started to realize that all the best shots — all of my favorite shots, in fact, were taken with the 35 millimeter Canon L lens and so then I started to realize: well, wait a second…if I take the majority of my shots at 35mm anyway and it’s my favorite focal length, then maybe the X100F actually starts to make sense…! Because I’d be able to get a prime lens, which is amazing, built into this small body. And so the very thing that I initially knocked it down for became the biggest advantage. So let me tell you why that is such a big deal — at least for me. Because a prime lens is usually pretty heavy and I got used to carrying around the Canon 6D along with that 35mm that I was talking about and when you put the both of them together, it comes in at about three and a half pounds which is really, really heavy, especially if you want to go out into nature into places like this and shoot for extended periods of time and carrying all that weight on your back really starts to take a toll and I started to notice that I took my camera out less and less and I wanted to take trips out less and less and I just wasn’t taking as many shots as I could have. Now, the quality of that combination is absolutely stunning — don’t get me wrong — but I just started to think: there has to be a way to do this in a smaller and lighter package. And that’s when I started my research that eventually got me to the X100F. And when I was doing my research, there were four categories that I had in mind in terms of what my needs were: now for me in my case, it was travel portraits and video. so when it comes to travel, I have found that 35mm to be the most versatile focal length. If you want to just carry one prime, for me, it’s always come down to 35mm. The only limit that I have found is when I want to get a true telephoto shot and compress layers in a landscape, for example, or a bunch of trees or a bunch of mountain ranges, then you really want to get like a 135mm but I take so few of those shots anyway that I didn’t really end up missing it all that
much. And I think the second thing is that the X100F has a built-in ND filter so that’s huge for me because it’s one less thing that I have to worry about carrying around. So when it comes to shooting portraits, it’s
all about that f/2 bokeh and being able to get that nice depth of field and that separation between the foreground in your subject and the background in the environment. And 35mm again is so great in this case because you’re able to get close to your subject and not worry about distorting the face and if you take just take a few steps back you can get more of the environments in. So for me, at least, 35mm works great for portrait shots. A lot of the tech reviewers that are out there will say, if you look out there and you don’t have to look all that hard, but they will say that the X100F is just not the best choice for video and I can totally see why now especially after a year with it why they would say that. For example there’s no 4k at all; it’s
not even available as an option and slow motion is limited to 60 frames per second, there’s no headphone jack, the microphone jack is limited to this 2.5mm thing which is annoying and there’s a 15 minute limit on 1080p but with all that being said, and I know those are a lot of downsides, but I have been able to shoot entire interviews and trailers and online courses even and I’m gonna be shooting even more — all with only the X100F, so you know that just proves the point that the best camera that you have is the one that you have with you and my priority, my requirements were being able to have as much of this functionality and a single package as possible and having to sacrifice all of those other things…it’s a bit of a bummer at times but I’m able to work with
it. First of all, the build quality. This thing is just built to such a high quality standard; it feels so good to hold it in the hand. I mean just little things like the buttons have this kind of nice rubbery tactile feedback to them, it’s just little details that Fujifilm has really thought through that makes me feel inspired to come back to it and use it over and over and over again. And then the second thing is the design, and particularly the retro aesthetic that it has because I found that in the past one I have brought out my big DSLR people just feel intimidated and it’s like: “Whoa, whoa! What are you doing, paparazzi?!” And if you’re bringing in a camera that’s big and intimidating, then it just increases more of that tension between yourself as the photographer and your subject. I found that the X100F is just like, it’s so diminutive and just cute that people just have this kind of, you know, like this reaction to it! And it’s been great on that end. The first thing is that if you’re a minimalist kind of traveler, you just want one camera, you don’t want to have to carry multiple bodies and multiple lenses, then this is a great option for you to consider. The second is, you definitely have to be more of a photographer than a videographer. Like I said, I’ve been able to make the video work but if you lean more towards photography, this is probably a better bet for you. The third is if you just love prime lenses, you love having that bokeh and you love 35mm and and you want it all in a single, small package, then this is another great option for you to consider. And the last thing is if you really value great design and great build quality, you will not be upset by the X100F. I certainly am not disappointed in that regard. As a designer myself, I really value those types of things and it’s just been a joy to use. I would say that it is absolutely professional-grade. This is something that I was sort of questioning in the very beginning and yeah, I can say emphatically that you know you can achieve professional results on the X100F for sure and it is done so well as my single camera over the last year or so. But with that being said, will I continue with the X100F as my only camera? I have to be honest and say, at this point…no. Because like I said the biggest thing that’s lacking is the video capabilities and I am looking at getting the XH1 and the XT100 to serve different needs. I’ll still be keeping my X100F for sure just because it’s so great as that small little companion that I can carry around with me everywhere but yeah, stay tuned. I’ll probably end up posting first impressions videos and short-term and long-term reviews eventually so make sure you subscribe to my channel and check it out!

27 thoughts on “X100F Review 2019: Best Travel Camera for Minimalists

  1. Hi Molyyim, Thanks for your impressions, I love my x100F. What I find really interesting is that after a while of using the x100 I think I need to go back to my Pentax and Ltd primes. Then after a while I realise how much I love the x100F and put my lovely Pentax gear away again. That's how it has been for the last couple of years since I got my "F".

  2. I'm surprised there was no mention of the fantastic film simulations especially the wonderful Acros B&W.. and the high quality jpeg files it creates. Only the x-series cameras give you photographs that do a convincing job of looking like actual photos and not these oversharp, clinical, digitally perfect "images" that come out of every other camera on the market.

  3. Alopex
    You are not comparing apples with apples. The X100F 23mm is 35mm equivalent.
    The 35mm on your Canon is 56mm equivalent.

  4. Which video editing software do you use? The way you put things on the screen is simply amazing. It is beautiful and also to the point. A tech review with such an aesthetic quality like yours is hard to come by. Looking forward to seeing your upcoming vids and learning from them.

  5. I think this camera is awesome and freeing , not enough is being made of the leaf shutter and the high speed sync capabilities, not to mention build in ND! Nice video. πŸ‘

  6. Hi. I just found you. I love your commentary…good points. Love your voice…very soothing. Love the aesthetics of your video…calming. In short…I’m in love with you lol. Good job πŸ‘πŸ½

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