The Fujifilm X100V Phenomenon
To be honest, I only noticed the fact that the Fujifilm X100V is sold out everywhere a few weeks ago. And at first I thought, well, Corona aftermath, supply chain issues, etc. We’ve had enough of that for at least the last three years…
But then it struck me that this is not – or at most partly – the reason why you can’t buy the X100V. The real reason is that quite a bit of hype has been built up around this camera, which no longer just includes the typical suspects of the photo scene. Young people, influencers on YouTube, TikTok Instagram & Co. have at least helped shape this hype.
Does that surprise me now? Yes and no! No, because I myself described this camera in my X100V review as the “sexiest digital camera in the world“. And yes, because I still thought it was a niche camera that appeals (only) to a certain type of photographer.
For German-speaking readers, I again recommend a similar and more detailed article by Florian Renz.
Obviously, it was not clear enough to me that a) there could be a growing longing for things that address the essence of photography in a very essential way. And b) I probably underestimated the power of the social media hype itself, which can bring something like this up. Actually, I shouldn’t have been that surprised. If you look at the video of the Leica Q2 by Peter McKinnon, for example, you know what I mean.
I somehow didn’t expect that a Fujifilm X100V would also develop this special potential. I thought this was only reserved for “luxury brands” like Leica.
Now a much cheaper and far less myth-shrouded brand has also created some hype with the Fujifilm X100V. What is actually behind it? And is it worth it? I don’t exactly know, why all the people by this camera at the moment. I partly suspect that it’s all about “hip” and “stylish”. But actually, I don’t want to and can’t make that judgement. I only know, why I have bought it and that I did not regret for even one second.
Taking “The Truth” as the title of a headline is certainly a little bit presumptuous. To take it as the title of a post, it would even be classic clickbaiting, so I refrained from doing so. I just wanted to say that I had some thoughts about what is so special about this camera that it would also justify the hype. It’s my truth, so to speak… 🙂
This camera is a beauty. From my point of view, it looks really gorgeous. Period!
Does that matter? I don’t care, it does for me…
I bought an iPhone13 Pro because I am excited about the photographic possibilities that mobile phones can offer today. And I actually use it as a real “always-on camera”. From everything I hear, I’m sure a Ricoh GRIII is great too (but I’ve never used one) and it’s even smaller and flatter than the Fujifilm X100V. I totally understand why so many people love this camera.
But neither the iPhone nor the Ricoh can even come close to matching the X100V when it comes to embodying the spirit and soul of photography. The camera just feels different and so is the user experience. For me, it’s only comparable to cameras like the Leica Q2 or the Fujifilm X-Pro3. It’s great fun just to pick up that camera – let alone be out on the streets with it.
It’s something you either feel or you don’t. And it is something that is important to you or not – see also my text the other day on the soul of cameras. If you’re the kind of person who cares about that – then you’ll understand.
To come down from this meta-level: The Fujifilm X100V has a lot more (nerdy tech stuff) to offer, which in my view makes it absolutely unique among current digital cameras.
The Fujifilm X100V is like no other camera on the market. None! This uniqueness comes from its combination of features. It is the only fixed lens camera on the market with a hybrid viewfinder. The pancake-style 23mm F2 MK II lens is equipped with a virtually inaudible leaf shutter. In addition, the optical performance of this new version has improved considerably, so that this small disadvantage of earlier days is now a thing of the past.
The camera also has a built-in ND filter (4 stops) and an electronic shutter with a fastest shutter speed of 1/32,000s. This makes the Fujifilm X100V not only very small and unobtrusive, but tremendously flexible and powerful. Using the same sensor and processor as the X-series system cameras, workflow and image quality are also the same. The icing on the cake are the well-known and unique film simulations.
This all makes it not only – as some might think – a nice and stylish retro toy for influencers. The Fujifilm X100V is an extremely serious digital camera. I bought it pretty much the first day it came on the market in February 2020. And today, more than three years later, it still would be my Desert Island Camera.
It’s simply that good!
(Even though I still wish it had a compact 18mm F2. But I’m probably in the minority there.)
Get the point?
If you want to buy a Fujifilm X100V because it looks awesome, is damn cool and somehow makes you feel better: Hey, just do it!
If not, that’s perfectly OK too. But please don’t think that everyone who buys an X100V is just a retro-loving hipster. This camera is to be taken as seriously as any other modern digital camera. Honestly, in my view, almost more so, because there are few devices out there that embody as much photographic soul as an X100V.
Thinking about a real alternative to the Fujifilm X100V? Good luck, there is none. Or, well, at best it’s still called the Fujifilm X100F… 😉
The X100V on the road – in Antwerp/Belgium
Because I like to travel without a lot of equipment, the Fujifilm X100V is still often the tool of choice for private travelling. So it was this weekend in Antwerp, Belgium, and so it will be when we leave for Rome and Sardinia this summer.
I’m being honest: It’s always a bit of a tug of war between the X-Pro3 (with 18 and 35mm) and the Fujifilm X100V, but often the smaller camera wins out. And I don’t really miss anything then, especially since as a wide-angle person I had the WCL-X100II adapter with me. So, I don’t have to do without my favourite angle of view of a 28mm lens.
And even in this combination, the Fujifilm X100V still fits very well in my small bag, so that even a whole day on my feet in the city is no problem. Speaking of small bags: the ONA “The Bond Street” is made for this camera – it then also fits bottle of water or a mobile phone and wallet. Expensive as hell, but good as hell.
Finally, here are a few impressions from Antwerp, the hometown of Harry Gruyaert… 🙂
There is always light somewhere – go out and shoot!