Returning to form – The Fujifilm X100VI review

Apr 1, 2024

Jonas Dyhr Rask

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Returning to form – The Fujifilm X100VI review

Apr 1, 2024

Jonas Dyhr Rask

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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FUJIFILM X100VI REVIEW

To think that it has been well over 2 years since I last did a review. Where did time go, huh?

As I’ve outlined in a post some months back, I was really just sick of it all. I even stopped paying the server fee for the site. But slowly during the course of 2023 my desire to start blogging again returned. And I can’t think of a better camera to kick things off than the new Fujifilm X100VI (buy here).

X100VI – Acros+G
X100VI – Acros+G

As some of the more frequent visitors of the blog might know, the X100 series is what started my journey with Fujifilm.

And what a journey it’s been.

I’ve made so many great friends through the ambassador program as well as great friends in the Japanese headquarters. I have continued my collaboration with Fujifilm, even though my ambassadors ship has ended, and I continue to deliver product shots and sample shots for various camera releases for the company.

Out of all the cameras that Fujifilm has produced during the past 12 years, the X100 series and the X-Pro series are the cameras that have always been my tools of the trade. I’ve seen the two lines grow more complete with every new iteration, to the point where I thought that Fujifilm couldn’t improve upon the X100V. It has been that perfect to me. But then again, so was the S, the T and the F.

Design wise the updates have been fairly conservative, with the biggest change being the introduction of the V with its sharp aluminum edges, the flat top plate, and the glorious flush design tilting rear LCD. This time around the design changes are so minor that it’s basically the same camera as the V.

The 6 generations of X100
The 6 generations of X100

Obviously since I last blogged, Fujifilm has put out lots of cameras within their product lines. The X-T5 and the X-H2 as well as the X-H2S and also a lot of new cameras in the GFX line.

Since I took a break from blogging for more than 2 years, I never commented or reviewed any of them but for me the biggest change in all of those was actually the introduction of the new 40 megapixel APSC sensor that found its way into the X-T5 and X-H2.

The sensor is unbelievable and ever since I first started using it, I’ve wanted it built into every Fujifilm camera going forth. This has nothing to do with resolution, but more with the way it renders color. It’s a kind of color rendering that I haven’t seen since the original XTrans sensor in the X-Pro1.

X100VI
X100VI

There has also been a lot of improvements in terms of auto focus, speed and reliability, as well as the implementation of various AI modes into the cameras. This all served to help the photographers to accomplish the tasks at hand.

So, if nothing else, these are the two things that I actually expected Fujifilm to incorporate into a new iteration of the X100 camera. And luckily they did. Those are indeed the two new main areas of improvements, in addition to another very impressive feature, the IBIS!

Well, lets get started shall we? – I’m going to use my old tried and trialed formula of going through the build and feel, the technicalities and then lastly the shooting experience as well as a ton of sample images from my time with the camera.

Before we get going for real, I need to do a couple of disclaimers like I usually do just to set everything straight. Feel free to skip everything but number 3

Disclaimer 1: I WAS an X-photographer. That’s spelled brand ambassador for Fujifilm. But I quit a couple of years ago. I still maintain a very close relationship with Fujifilm, however I don’t get paid for doing these write ups (and I have been doing them even before getting involved with Fujifilm). This still means that I’m just about as biased as I can get, and whether you choose to believe my views or not is entirely up to you. I expect you to be adults, capable of forming your own opinions based on presented information.

Disclaimer 2: All the images in this article has been shot using a prototype of the X100VI camera. Image quality might therefore not be final, although I have been told that it is.

Disclaimer 3: All shots with- and of the product has been shot by me, and is not to be used without my explicit permission.

Design, build and feel

As I wrote a bit further up the new design changes are very minimal at best. When I got the cameras back in October my immediate reaction when unwrapping them was that they sent me a couple of X100V’s – They’re that similar!

It actually took me some days to really find all the minuscule changes between the V and VI.

Fujifilm stated that it would be larger due to the fact that they needed to incorporate the IBIS unit. But seriously, the difference is around 1,5mm in added thickness. You can only notice if you put the V and VI bottomplate to bottomplate and compare.

So let’s start by listing the changes in exterior design that I could find.

  • The OVF/EVF selector lever has a different design. Gone is the little red marker, and it now has a little rugged tab for better grip.
  • The AF assist LED is slightly bigger. Same window diameter though.
  • The Drive/Delete button is moved further to the right for easier access when you have your eye to the viewfinder.
  • The Disp/Back button now has a bluetooth logo next to it.
  • The tripod mount has been moved forward, likely due to the IBIS unit extending downward behind it.

A bit of a bigger change is happening to the back LCD screen.

  • The tilt screen now goes out further and lower which is really great. It also means that the angle of downward tilting is upped to 45 degrees. Something that is VERY usable for those times where you want to do overhead shooting at eg. events and concerts etc.

So as you can tell from that list, it’s pretty evident that Fujifilm took the “Less is more” approach on the design changes on the X100VI.

Just as the Leica M models remain largely unchanged through the different iterations, so seems to be the new design strategy for the X100 series, and I LOVE it.

As I wrote in my X100V review more than 4 years ago:

“I seriously don’t know where to start with the X100V. The design work that Imai-san and his team has done with this camera is beyond amazing. I always loved the look of the X100 series, and I have spoken to Imai-san about how this design came to be. His father had a glass cupboard with a lot of cameras that Masazumi wasn’t allowed into. So he designed the initial X100 from the memory of all those beautiful cameras. He made the perfect camera design from his mind. I love that story, and I think it speaks volumes about why the X100 has become such a design icon.
During the past 4 iterations, Imai-san has gradually, but gently, evolved the design of the X100 into an increasingly refined camera, which still retain the same aesthetics of the original. This must not be an easy task, and I’m in complete awe of the talent of him whenever I see the newest iteration.”

This means that all the beautiful design features from the X100V are unchanged. You still get the super sleek anodized aluminum finish with the ultra sharp and crisp edges. The lovely pull-up-to-change-iso shutter speed dial combo. The luxuriously flush back tilting LCD and the lovely Hybrid viewfinder. Everything is completely unchanged, and to me it’s perfect that way.

What HAS changed however is the innards of the camera…. And oh boy does it pack a punch!

Specifications

Now this is where it gets interesting! The innards of the X100VI is definitely where Fujifilm has put the majority of their work this time, and what they managed to cram into this compact shell is nothing less than incredible.

X100VI – Reala Ace film simulation
X100VI – Reala Ace film simulation

Spec sheet

The full spec sheet can be found at Fujifilm-x.com. I see no point in me pasting it here, cause you’re probably going to be heading straight to that website today anyway… 

Instead I’m going to point out the main new things going on in the X100VI. So let’s dive straight into the deep end and talk about the most obvious new thing going on in the X100VI. The sensor

The 40mp X-Trans 5 HR sensor

The X100VI has gotten a pretty massive sensor upgrade. It now features the absolutely amazing 40mp BSI X-Trans 5 HR sensor.
Since I’ve never reviewed a camera from Fujifilm with this sensor before, this X100VI review will be the first time I’m going to put my thoughts about it onto paper. By now I have extensive experience with the 40mp X-Trans 5 sensor. I first started using it during the summer of 2022 while dragging the then unreleased XH2 through France, then continued using it in the X-T5 prototype and later selling my GFX100S replacing it with the production XT5 to take over all my product shooting needs. It’s THAT good!

So what makes this sensor shine? Well obviously the sensor is nothing without the image processor that decodes and interprets the sensor data. And Fujifilm is combining the high-resolution 40.2MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor with its X-Processor 5. It has a lot of improvements in AI processing technology, it handles next generation HEIF image file format and most importantly it features reduced power consumption.

The output from this sensor had me blown away from the first images I saw from the XH2. The color tonality is very rich. It’s very contrasty and it has a way of making the golden light of summer feel extra warm and well balanced. It does something in the tonality of daylight kelvin temperatures that I cannot really explain in theory. But I can see it. And that’s what counts to me.

It also has incredible performance in the dark tonal areas of the images. I was very surprised that for my very dark product shots the X-Trans 5 sensor of the XT5 handles the shadows at least 90% as good as the GFX100S. It’s so well balanced and capable that I actually switched to the XT5 from my GFX100S for all my productshots. So all the product shots you’ve seen me do for Fujifilms launches this past year and a half has actually been shot on the X-Trans 5 sensor. Pretty incredible feat for a sensor with a pixel density that high.

X100VI review
Colors be poppin’ – X100VI

Compared to the X100V this new sensor has a lower base ISO of 125 which is a little lower compared to the ISO 160 on the old model. It goes up to ISO12800, with extended ISO down to ISO64 and up to ISO51200.

I was a bit afraid that it would suffer during lowlight conditions, but on the contrary it really handles lowlight amazingly well. It’s almost on par with the 26mp X-Trans 4 sensor, but the added resolution makes the image seem clearer and less grainy. (basically the grains are smaller when viewing the images at the same size on screen / printed.

It features BSI (Backside Sensor illumination) which definitely gives it a slight boost in low light and general handling of dynamic range, to compensate for the slight less light sensibility of the high resolution build.

I LOVE shooting at nighttime, and during my testing of the X100VI it has basically been total darkness in Scandinavia, so trust me when I say that in the dark it delivers the goods!

There are definite benefits of having a high resolution sensor in a compact “jack of all trades” camera like the X100VI, something that the Leica Q2 and Q3 has benefitted from during the past couple of years. I’ll get back to a very specific feature further down in this review.

Lens

Well, the lens is actually the same 8 elements in 6 groups w/ 2 aspherical elements design that is found in the X100V.

When going from the X100F to the X100V, Fujifilm upgraded the lens significantly compared to the original lens that had been on every iteration since the original X100. The old lens wasn’t designed to cope with much more than the 16mp that was offered in those cameras, so when moving to the 26.1MP X-Trans4 sensor it definitely needed an upgrade. But apparently Fujifilm decided to make it future proof, cause it more than handles the new resolution demands of the X-Trans 5 HR 40mp sensor.

The lens exterior is also exactly the same as on the X100V, so all your old custom lens hoods and the WCL-X100II and TCL-X100II adapters will fit with no issues whatsoever.

The adapters actually opens up some very interesting possibilities in combination with the new high resolution sensor, which I’ll adress in a bit.

The lens still needs an adapter ring and a filter for the camera to achieve weather resistance. I had hoped that Fujifilm would have solved this problem more elegantly, but it is what it is.

During fall last year, rumours circulated that the new X100 lens would be redesigned to feature an OIS (optical image stabilisation) system, but it turned out to be completely wrong. What they ended up implementing was even cooler. They incorporated IBIS!

IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation)

The X100VI features a 6 stop IBIS unit. Think about that for a second. In a body that is only a couple of millimeters thicker than its predecessor, Fujifilm managed to cram an incredible IBIS unit that delivers 6 stops of image stabilisation!

It’s absolutely stellar to say the least. It does wonders for low light photography where I can easily handhold the camera at up to 1 second and still get tack sharp images. It’s also a true benefit when shooting the new 40mp HR sensor.

I’ve really come to appreciate IBIS on the X-T5 and the GFX series, but I’ll be the first to admit that in the past I’ve thought this feature to be pointless. I now think that it’s quite invaluable in my digital cameras.

It might seem like overkill to feature IBIS on a small compact, semi wide angle camera like the X100VI, but trust me – when you get used to having it, you won’t want to let it go.

All the things that make it an X100

What has always defined the X100 series for me has been the extreme versatility of the system. Even though the old saying “jack of all traits, master of none“ hints at a certain amount of shortcomings, the fact of the matter is that the X100 camera excels, and is indeed a master at being a true alround camera that you can throw at any photographic opportunity, and it will reward you with great images. During every iteration of the camera, Fujifilm has added things to the list of features that seems to further define and refine what a super versatile camera should be.

The X100VI is certainly not swaying from this path of evolution that Fujifilm seems to be on. The IBIS and new high resolution sensor are both additions that takes versatility in terms of cropping capabilities and low light performance even further than ever before. It still has a 4 stop ND filter built in, a close distance macro-range focusing lens, a hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinder, a compact size and super intuitive handling.

Some people online have already started whining about the fact that the X100VI is made in China and not Japan. Let me say this right now. Build quality is as good as ever. And what about if we all started letting go of that old prejudiced line of thought that chinese made products is nothing but cheap crap. I see only benefits to this. Fujifilm can rely on a much larger production capacity, even while making QC on site ensuring the same level of quality that we’re used to. (Your iPhones or Teslas aren’t worse off just because they were assembled in China now are they!)

Battery and SD card slot

Fujifilm kept the same battery as in the X100V – the NP-W126S. I was rather surprised by this as all the other X-Trans5 / X-Processor 5 cameras have been updated to the newer, higher capacity NP-W235 battery.

I was afraid that battery life would suffer quite a bit from this descision, which I definitely think was made out of necessity due to size constraints. They did NOT want the X100VI to grow in size.

However in all my testing of the camera since early october 2023, in both warm and (very) cold conditions, the battery consumption of the X100VI seems on par with the X100V. And that is definitely good enough for me. I can get a full day of street shooting on a single battery without having to change. If I know I need to be out for extended periods of time, I just carry an extra battery. I’ve done this for 10 years, and have NEVER run out of battery. Your milage might vary of course, but then again. The X100V isn’t exactly made for professional sports photography  :)

X100VI – Acros+G
X100VI – Acros+G

In the same context Fujifilm has kept a one SD card slot setup. It’s a UHS-I standard. It’s nothing fancy, but it works, and it’s more than fast enough to handle bursts and the new 40mp HR RAW files. Again, it’s a non issue, that any good “internet camera expert” will make you believe is a massive deal breaker. I think they should go outside and spend some time shooting images.

Features and usage

Just like the hardware side of things has been upgraded to almost 1:1 mimic that of X-T5, so has the features on the software/firmware side of things. Although in addition there are a couple of things thats are quite unique to the X100VI. So let’s start off by talking about one of those features that I find to be by far the coolest feature.

X100VI – Acros+G
X100VI – Acros+G

Crop modes

Because of the newly incorporated HR 40mp sensor, Fujifilm can FINALLY realize one the features that made me purchase and use a Leica Q2 a year ago (I later sold that camera because I never achieved quite the “connection” to it that I had hoped)

The crop modes!

Fujifilm had tried to incorporate it with the X100V, but in a very crippled form. Mainly because they didn’t have the sensor resolution, what they did was make upscaled versions of the jpeg files, to keep resolution.

What Leica did with its Q2 was introduce cropmodes for 35mm, 50mm and 75mm. It would give you the full raw file, but it would bake the crop-info into the raw file, so it would appear cropped in Lightroom, when in reality it had just placed the lines for you. All of this with a push of a button on the back of the camera. It’s probably the one feature that I loved most on the Q2.

With the new high res sensor Fujifilm can FINALLY do something sort of similar. They didn’t do it by baking in crop-lines into the raw files, instead they leave them uncropped and just gives you cropped JPEGs.

I really want Fujifilm to add crop lines to the RAW files too, like Leica does. I’ll have to check whether or not it’s my early firmware that doesn’t do it or if it’s the same in the final version.

In the viewfinder or on the screen you will get confirmation of the current crop mode you’re in, by a square icon with the cropped focal length inside (in full frame equivalents) and in the OVF you will get the changing framelines shown just like on any true rangefinder.

The corresponding file resolutions are as follows:

  • 35mm (23mm APSC) – 7728 x 5152 px – 40mp
  • 50mm (35mm APSC) – 5472 x 3648 px – 20mp
  • 70mm (50mm APSC) – 3888 x 2592 px – 10mp

To switch modes you simply turn the focus ring on the lens. So easy! And a much cooler implementation than the button on the Q2/Q3

These modes make this camera so much more versatile for me. Especially since I could never decide between 23mm and 35mm. And I always end up carrying both my X100 and my XPro. Well with the X100VI I don’t really have to do that no more. And yes, yes, yes I know that it’s just a digital crop solution that can be achieved in post. But I just shoot different images if I frame them with a certain focal length in the field. So for me having the different modes in camera makes a world of difference. I’m also well aware that you won’t have the same optical compression of field as you would with optical tele-lenses, but it’s a non-issue for me.

FUJIFILM X100VI REVIEW082
All of the above are shot at various crop modes. It’s a brilliant feature!

Converter lenses

When discussing the crop modes I also need to talk a bit about some add-on hardware that you can buy for your X100VI. It’s the WCL-X100II and the TCL-X100II conversion lenses that you can attach to your X100 series camera. The MKII versions were introduced with the X100F and features magnets so that when you attach them, the camera will automatically detect , and switch into, the corresponding mode. It does some correcting to the files to correct for optical distorsion.

FUJIFILM X100VI REVIEW082

Fujifilm are not launching new converters, since the existing MkII resolves the 40mp sensor, as well as attaches to the X100VI lens just the same as on the X100V.

When you have these converter lenses attached, the crop modes also change accordingly.

WCL-X100II crop mode resolutions:

  • 28mm (18mm APSC) – 7728 x 5152 px – 40mp
  • 41mm (27mm APSC) – 5472 x 3648 px – 20mp
  • 58mm (38mm APSC) – 3888 x 2592 px – 10mp

TCL-X100II crop mode resolutions:

  • 50mm (35mm APSC) – 7728 x 5152 px – 40mp
  • 72mm (48mm APSC) – 5472 x 3648 px – 20mp
  • 100mm (66mm APSC) – 3888 x 2592 px – 10mp

So if we include the less usable (however usable for all your online social media needs etc) 10mp resolution you have a very impressive “lens arsenal” to chose from by just throwing the two converters into your camera bag, or pockets when going out shooting. There are some focal lengths overlapping, where I would definitely choose the optically altered focal lengths – but this is just to say that you have TONS of options for shooting very versatile images in such a compact system. The Fujifilm X100VI does this like no other camera on the market right now.

Autofocus / AI features

The autofocus capabilities have gotten a huge upgrade from the X100V. It’s now even faster and even more precise to lock on to a target. This has also been trickled down from the X-T5 and it’s the same focusing system between the two cameras.

This also means that all the new AI focusing features are present in the X100VI. Animal tracking and object tracking etc. You have it all. And it works so amazingly well.

X100VI – Reala Ace film simulation
X100VI – Reala Ace film simulation

I especially enjoy using the subject recognition mode / eye / face recognition modes. So much so, that I have even assigned that function to the AEL/AFL button on the back. It’s just so good for nailing focus on the faces of people when doing fast paced street photography. Way faster than my usual focus and compose routine.

If you havn’t yet tried the X-T5 and you’re upgrading from an X100V to the X100VI you’re in for a treat with this new focusing system. It feels quite modern, and it’s at a point now where it just works with no hassle.

Reala Ace (Nostalgic Neg. & Eterna Bleach bypass) Film simulations

Since the introduction of the X100V a lot of things has happened in regards to film simulations. First of all the community that revolves around making your own custom looks from the Film Simulations has exploded in popularity, largely due to the popularity of sites such as FujiXweekly.com. Fujifilm has always touted their Film simulations as being something much more than the standard image looks that a lot of other manufacturers put into their cameras. Fujifilm takes great pride in their heritage, and every new Film simulation is developed with great care, knowledge and attention to detail.

Image Copyright Fujifilm Corp.
Image Copyright Fujifilm Corp.

I think it’s also quite a big part of what has made the X100V such a hugely popular camera with the “young crowd” from eg TikTok. The film simulations makes it very easy to achieve a very unique, complete looking image without having to mess around in a raw converter.

I for one ALWAYS shoot my black and white images as Acros jpegs, with the raw as a sidecar. The Acros film simulation brings a lot of unique features that cannot be replicated in post, for example the luminance-dependent grain structure. You can read more about this particular film simulation here

I’ve heard so many people saying that they want an X100 monochrome akin the Leica M monochrom. To these people I always say. Switch to Acros, It’s such a unique B&W rendering that it oftentimes blows the M mono out of the water. And trust me, I’ve been to LalaLeica land for many years. And it’s not all it’s made up to be.

So given the popularity of shooting jpegs with these film simulations, it only makes sense that Fujifilm keeps developing these and putting them into their cameras.

Since the launch of the X100V, Fujifilm has developed and released 3 new film simulations, and those 3 have all made it into the X100VI.

  • Eterna Bleach Bypass.
  • Nostalgic Negative
  • Reala Ace

All of these film simulations have been introduced on various GFX cameras at the time of their release, and have since trickled down to later X Trans cameras. Mainly the ones with the XTrans 5 sensor. (XH2, XH2s, XT5).

I absolutely love Nostalgic Neg. It gives a real “Fred Herzog” vibe. And the orange/reds and the blue separation in that film simulation is to die for. On the other hand I never really liked or used Eterna bleach bypass. I just never got back into that whole 90’s MTV look.

FUJIFILM X100VI REVIEW

I didn’t get much time to play around with the GFX100II when I did the productshots almost a year ago, so the X100VI is for me the first time trying out the Reala Ace film simulation. I must say it didn’t catch on at first. It seemed very yellowish to my eyes, and not all that true to life. But I think that was because of the very grey lighting conditions that Denmark had to offer this winter, cause after having stuck to it and used it in much more varied lighting conditions, it’s actually become quite the favourite of mine.

During sunshine, it gives off a very soothing saturated golden image. Very nice clear tonality. During night time, I set the WB to around 3000K and it presents a very cool green cast to the artificial light sources. I really dig this look a lot. All in all I think it’s one of the more usable film simulations that has been added during recent years, and it will be cool to see what kind of expressions and mashups the film-simulation community can do with it.

We’re at that point in time where any update to any digital camera is merely an incremental update to an already very capable product. In a world where phones combined with their powerful processors, amazing software with full AI capabilities one could even ask the question “Do we need premium compact cameras such as the X100VI?”. If you ask me, a photographer, with a passion for all things photography, the answer is OF COURSE!

But when catering to the general user segment the above question will likely result in a very different answer. However, somehow the X100V seemed to catch on to a market of young online users that really likes it and loves using it, and actually promotes using it. My best guess is that it’s part the look of the camera. It looks fantastic, and it’s a real fashion accessory. But I also think the whole philosophy of film simulations and the “carry with you everywhere, in any situation” approach of the X100 series is catching on with this audience.

Will these users gain much improvement with the updates in the X100VI? No, certainly not. But for those of us that use the camera as an everyday photographic tool, the updates are amazing and relevant. The camera feels much more technically refined and modern.

Yet again I need to express my awe of Fujifilm. How did they once again mange to improve upon a camera that I already thought was pure perfection? I really have no good answer to that. Anyway that’s what they did, and that’s where we’re at. An already wonderful do-it-all camera just got made even better.

The X100VI is absolutely fantastic.

I have shot the X100VI since early October 2023, and I have put it into almost any situation and enduring circumstances. It has been delivering flawlessly. Every time.

Bear in mind that I have been using a prototype camera, so IQ might not be final. Since no raw converters out there can read the RAF files from the x100VI yet, all the sample images in this review are jpegs. This is of course a limitation to the IQ, but it is however exactly within the philosophy of the 100VI.