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Fujifilm X100v – Long Term Review

Fujifilm X100V

After using the X100V for over a year and a half, it seems like a good time to summarize my experience with the camera. I had strong feelings about the camera when I purchased it, and apparently it has now become the trendiest camera on the internet.

The following are my impressions of the camera and images, followed by more general thoughts about the camera. Click here to jump directly to the full image gallery.

Zoltar Fortune Teller
Zoltar Says “I see a new camera in your future!”

Why did I buy one? At the time I purchased the camera, I was trying to decide how to consolidate my Micro 4/3rds and Nikon cameras and lenses into one system. I actually considered selling off everything and going all in with Fujifilm. I liked their dedication to the APSC sensor size, and they basically were splitting the difference between the advantages of my 2 systems. In the end, I realized that I was mostly using the Panasonic 17mm f/1.7 (40mm equivalent) lens on the GX85. Whenever I went out to do “serious shooting” I packed up the D800 and big lenses. I sold off / gave away all of my Panasonic gear, and snapped up an in-stock X100V when I got a 10% off discount at Best Buy.

Walking in NYC
Walking in NYC

Design and Build : Obviously, the looks and ergonomics are a big selling point. For me, the camera has some magic in the build quality and aesthetics that makes me want to hold it, use it, and sometimes just put it on the desk and look at it. This still holds true for me – the camera is a classic. I always put a screen protector on my cameras, so the LCD is scratch free. I did a check for dust on the sensor, and I am happy to report that there is nothing visible at F/16. This is probably due to the cameras weather sealing and having filter attached 100% of the time. I sometimes see the rear scroll wheel skip backwards when zooming images on playback when rotating the wheel quickly. There are reports in the forums about the rubber coating on the eyepiece peeling off, but so far I don’t see any peeling.

Lots of Mushrooms
Mushrooms and Moss

Dials and Menus : My bread and butter camera has been the Nikon D800 for many years. It has many dedicated buttons and a “press a button and turn a dial” philosophy. It took some time to decide on what my Q menu settings would be. Initially I had the settings setup to create recipes, and later changed to a more concise menu with things like self timer, focus mode, wb and other settings I found myself actually using day to day. I use the camera dials to change shutter speed, aperture and exposure comp and leave the ISO dial in auto mode, and I have the lcd set up to move the focus point.

Plant in Natural Light
Plant in Natural Light

Film Simulations : I have played around with the built in film simulations and recipes. This feature will appeal to those that want to post images straight out of the camera and want to choose a look before they press the shutter. I tend to shoot with the built in Provia profile, and spend some time in Lightroom. While Lightroom does have camera matching profiles for all of the built in simulations, they are not an exact match for what Fuji is doing in the camera. You will need to shoot raw, and process the images in X Raw Studio (with the camera connected to your pc) if you want to use the “real” Fujifilm simulations post capture.

Trouble (Using a free Kodachrome LUT in Lightroom)

Image Quality : The 26mp BSI XTrans IV sensor is used in many Fujifilm cameras, so there are many in depth reviews around on the web. The raw files have a nice malleability in Lightroom with the ability to recover some slightly blown highlights. The auto white balance works pretty well, and you have the ability to easily shift it if you prefer warmer or cooler images. Color noise seems a little better than some other cameras at high iso settings and cleans up nicely with the sliders in Lightroom. I find the luminance noise more “film grain” like than some other cameras I own.

Abandoned Building
Abandoned Building

The lens is sharp enough at all apertures. Looking at my lightroom data, the majority of my shots are at f/4 and f/2.8 with f/2 reserved for really low light, and smaller apertures for added depth of field as needed. Like most high-end large fixed lens cameras I have used, the lens seems well matched to the sensor. For stills photography, I have no complaints about the autofocus

Night Out
Night Out – Using the built in flash iso 2500, shutter 1/60th, f/2.8

Built in Flash : The built in flash is one of the must-have features for me. When shooting in poor lighting, or even outside when the subject is in a shadow, the flash can make or break some images. In TTL mode, the camera will increase the ISO to make the background look more natural, so don’t be surprised if the images have more noise than expected. You can also set the shutter speed very low and lock in the ISO if it bothers you (aka “dragging the shutter”).

Flash Hack : I use a warming gel from the Rosco Filter Swatch book with some clear 3m tape cut to fit over the flash. This can be used to tweak the flash color to taste.


Thoughts on the Internet Hype : The X100V is in a shrinking group of fixed lens, large sensor compact cameras. Besides the retro styling and build, it has one main party trick… the hybrid viewfinder. The lens is nice, if you like the single focal length. Yes, you can use the digital zoom or stitch a panorama together but that may not be ideal in all situations. There are so many great cameras available today, that I personally wouldn’t recommend it without pointing out what your money can buy. Is the X100V a magical unicorn that will make you an Instagram or TikTok star? Probably not. At this point, the camera has become a clickbait meme. Here are some examples of the madness on YouTube :

Summary : The X100V is a fantastic camera that makes a fun addition to my larger Nikon gear. I am more likely to pick it up, and take it out for a walk around town, or a night out with friends. I like the 35mm focal length, I love the retro design and I am very happy with the raw images. I personally would not pay anything over the list price for it, and if you don’t really care about the hybrid viewfinder, or the retro styling, there are so many other options to consider.

X100V Review Gallery

Making Polaroid / INSTAX Style Prints With An Epson EcoTank Printer

I purchased an Epson ET-4700 Ecotank Printer back in January of 2020. We needed to replace an old HP Color printer that we mostly used for occasional color documents and kids projects. The ink cartridges were super expensive, and the color cart would need replacement if any one of the CMY colors ran out.

My Epson EcoTank ET-4700

I did a little research and picked up the 4700 for less than $250 which included a full set of 4 Inks. It works great for the intended use, and amazingly, I have not needed to buy any ink yet… the black ink is down to about 40% left, and the color inks are all at about 70% remaining.

I also print side by side 3D photo cards (see this post) and occasionally 5×7 prints on this cheap HP Photo Paper. I gave up on printing large prints at home and use WhiteWall for anything I will hang up on my walls.

In April of this year, I picked up a FujiFilm X100V and started looking into FujiFilms Instax Printers. I was interested in the new Instax Share Wide, but the X100V can’t do direct prints (you need to use the App) and the SP-3 which can be used directly, but appears to be discontinued.

So what are the qualities of a Polaroid / Instax image that makes us nostalgic?

A scanned film image from my collection, with scratches and “gritty” color… cropped to a perfect square for Instagram or ???
  • Being able to take a photo, watch it develop before your eyes, and share it almost immediately.
  • The form factor (that people remember) consisting of a square image surrounded by a white border, with a heavier bottom border. in other words, the prints came with their own “matte” right out of the camera.
  • Each image was a unique moment, that unlike negative film could not easily be duplicated. Of course today, we can easily convert them to a digital format, but in the ’70’s and ’80’s, even if it was possible, it was not easy or convenient.
  • The image quality on the consumer film was not that great, but people were ok with that because of the novelty.
  • The film itself was very glossy, durable, and made of plastic. Basically inside of each photo was a pocket that held the developers.

So while I was getting frustrated looking for the right Instax printer, not excited at the price of a pack of film (around the same price as 60 sheets of 5×7 photo paper), I decided to make my own “polaroids” with what I had on hand. 5×7 paper, Epson ET-4700 printer, paper cutter, and a DataColor SpyderPrint in a box in my basement.

I created an ICM profile for the HP Paper, and did some highly complicated math to create a slightly enlarged version of the “standard” Polaroid framing…

Lightroom Print Template Created for a 5×7 page size.

The above settings for a 5×7 print in LightRoom will give you very Polaroid-esque print. After printing, just cut exactly 1 inch from the bottom border, making a 5×6″ print with a 4.44 inch square image.

I printed the photos below in less than an hour (that included picking the photo, cropping, and printing). The custom profile works great. Because the ET-4700 does not have a photo-black ink, the blacks lack some contrast… just like the film! Combined with the fun FujiFilm film simulations, you can get that nostalgic feeling with ease, and the print quality is probably a bit better than instant film.

Prints made on Epson EcoTank 4700 and 5×7 photo paper

I really enjoyed this stroll down Instax Lane. While the printing process is not quite as fun as watching a Polaroid develop, and the tactile feel is not even close to the original, the prints still “feel” like Polaroids when i look at them. I still might buy an Instax printer, or maybe even a camera down the road. Fujifilm… make a combined “Camera/Printer” model and I’ll buy it!

Lessons learned :

  • I should have purchased the EcoTank printer that has a photo black ink.
  • Next time I order 5×7 photo paper, I will spend a little more money and get heavier paper stock… it would be better for prints I want to give to people.
  • I need a good way to display these prints!

Camera Obscure Huh? – Sigma DP3 Merrill

The Sigma DP3 Merrill was released in 2013 for a list price of $999. The camera uses the very unique Foveon 3 layer sensor with 45 million photo sensors, producing 15 megapixel images. Since each “pixel” in the image has the full color info from the 3 stacked sub-pixels, there is no need for any AA filter, or bayer mask requiring demosaicing. The DP Merrill cameras came in three versions, each with its own fixed focal length (DP1: 28mm DP2: 50mm and DP3: 75mm equivalent focal length lenses). Foveon cameras have an almost cult-like following, with claims of 3D-like images, magical colors, medium format quality, and razor sharp images…

Continue reading Camera Obscure Huh? – Sigma DP3 Merrill