One Godox flash with softbox, Fujifilm x100 VI

The Fujifilm x100 VI has been an absolute success for Fujifilm. Its predecessor, the version V, suffered from high demand due to a lack of units, causing many people to want to buy the camera but finding it impossible to find in stores. This led to its price skyrocketing in the second-hand markets, making it much more expensive used than its original new price.

Now in 2024, the hype was high. Fuji expected high demand for this camera but did not anticipate the overwhelming success it has had. What accounts for the Fujifilm x100 VI’s success? I have had the camera since it hit the market on February 28, 2024. Just two or three days after its release, the people from Fotoruano Pro got my unit to me. In this article, I will analyze the best and worst of the Fujifilm x100 VI.

DESIGN

The first thing you will see and notice is that the Fuji is different from any other current mirrorless camera. It is beautiful and made of materials that clearly are not cheap. It also has a completely vintage design, which makes it very attractive to a certain audience who likes to show the world they are the «coolest» there is. But whether you want the camera to appear fashionable or you are simply a photographer who loves classic models, the Fuji x100 VI is definitely a beautiful camera. With a viewfinder that is not centered but to the left, with a fixed lens, dials, a small built-in flash… It’s a trip back in time externally while you have internally the best you can have in 2024. It includes a sensor and a very modern processor, the same as you can find in the Fujifilm xt-5. This powerful processor allows for substantial improvements in autofocus, which we will discuss later. And despite being a 2024 camera, its design is almost the same as the original that came out in 2011. Some not very substantial changes, except for the tiltable screen. However, although the screen is tiltable, if you stick it to the camera, it will be indistinguishable from the original camera whose screen cannot be moved. They have made all the changes without altering the original design.

DIALS

If there is something that characterizes Fuji, it is that many of its cameras still maintain dials as a way of exposing photographs. Some people love this (like me), and some hate it. There is no middle ground. And it is one of the major problems this camera has. Not everyone in 2024 (mainly the younger ones) knows how to use the dials or likes the system. In my particular case, I find it delightful and the easiest and most intuitive way to handle the exposure triangle. But if you are thinking of buying the camera, be aware that this is something not everyone gets used to.

IMAGE QUALITY

While it is beautiful on the outside, it is a monster on the inside. It has very high specifications, a 40Mp APS-C sensor, an optical stabilizer, excellent focus, and a lens that is very good at all its apertures. Overall, it is a very powerful camera that can serve you well for everything. You can do a fashion editorial session, street photography, commercial work, studio photography, in short, you can do many things with it. Those 40 Mp also allow you to easily reframe and still have a file large enough to use anywhere and still have good resolution. In fact, it has a digital «zoom» of 50 and 70mm. It works like this: when you activate the zoom to 50mm, it crops the original image and leaves only what would appear if you had a 50mm lens instead of a 35mm. And it does the same with the digital zoom to 70mm. If you do this digital zoom, what you will get is a JPG file (or Heif, because it also accepts this format) that is smaller than what the original file would be. At 50 mm, the file weighs 20Mb, and at 70mm, it weighs 10mb. Be careful: if you record the file in RAW, you will not have the crop, you will have the original 40Mp file.

A proposal in Barcelona with the Fujifilm x100 VI

A proposal in Barcelona with the Fujifilm x100 VI

THE 23MM

Unlike Fuji’s cameras with interchangeable lenses, the x100 VI comes only with a fixed 23mm lens which, due to its APS-C sensor, translates to a 35mm. This means if you want to zoom in, you’ll have to move yourself. It also means you’ll have to work harder if you want to get the shot; you’ll need to make an effort, to move. The 35mm is perhaps the most universal focal length, one that all photographers possess. If you like portrait photography, you might have an 85mm; if you’re into astrophotography, something wider; and for wildlife, a longer telephoto. But the truth is, I don’t know any photographer who doesn’t own a 35mm, whether it’s fixed or part of a zoom lens. I do various types of photography, and I’ll tell you it’s my favorite lens, but of course, in my other system (Sony), I have the 35mm and many more lenses to work with. Here, you don’t have that possibility. Here, you have a 35mm and that’s it. It is true, however, that there are a couple of options (sold separately) that convert the lens to something wider or a bit more telephoto, but basically, what you get out of the box is a fixed lens. I believe there are two types of photographers for whom a 35mm as the sole lens works very well. Beginners, because a fixed lens forces them to move and look for compositions, training their photographic eye. And then the amateur or professional photographer who is well-versed in different lenses but loves the fixed lens for the quality and focal length that the 35mm provides. For street photography and photojournalism, for example, it’s an ideal lens.

THE COLORS

Unlike Canon, Nikon, Sony, and many other camera manufacturers, Fuji also produces photographic films and is famous for it. This difference is important, as it allows the company to incorporate all that knowledge into the camera, thus generating final JPGs with colors that its rivals don’t have. It’s like having different Lightroom «PRESETS» inside the camera. If you don’t like post-processing, or if you want to take a photo and send it directly to your phone to upload it to social media, Fuji offers you some really fantastic in-camera colors. It comes with 14 film simulations, and within those simulations, some have variations (some black and white films), so among the simulations and their variants, you can say you have a total of 20 simulations. It’s worth noting that in addition to the already famous simulations that came in previous cameras, this camera includes a new one called REALA ACE, which is very beautiful and, to my taste, works very well on skin tones and can be very good for portraits.

STABILIZER

Besides the higher resolution, another fundamental change from the version V is the inclusion of a stabilizer in the body. This allows you to shoot video a bit better and take handheld photos even at slow shutter speeds if you have a steady hand. According to Fujifilm, it offers 6 stops of stabilization. In my case, I’ve taken a photo with a one-second exposure handheld, and it turned out really well. And one second is a long time.

DYNAMIC RANGE

Dynamic range is the camera’s ability to retain detail in both highlights and shadows. The higher the dynamic range, the more detail you can have in your photo. I’ve been testing this camera, and truthfully, for an APS-C sensor, the dynamic range is very good (13 stops according to Fuji); you can recover highlights and shadows without much trouble.

ND FILTER

One of the most interesting features of this camera is that it includes a 4-stop ND filter. This means if there’s too much light in a scene, you can reduce the light intensity by up to 4 stops, and it works very, very well. This allows you to take photos in full daylight with lower exposure speeds.

long exposure 1 second using ND filter of Fujifilm x100 vi

long exposure 1 second using ND filter of Fujifilm x100 vi

FOCUS

In recent years, Fujifilm has made a serious commitment to improving its focusing system. Here you have the same focus as the x-t5, and you have the ability to focus on objects like trains, bicycles, or animals, and it has a very good eye focus system. It’s fast and reliable. However, there’s a detail. The 23mm lens that comes with the camera is not the fastest at focusing. This means that sometimes it takes a bit of effort to focus, something that with current Fuji cameras and other lenses is achieved more quickly. This is not because the camera can’t focus quickly, it’s that the camera tells the lens to «focus here,» and the lens uses a somewhat slow motor to get to where the camera tells it to focus. In high contrast situations, with the sun in front of the lens and a subject in front of our camera, for example, you might experience some «focus hunting.» It’s not serious nor will it cause a major problem, but it’s not as fast as other lenses from the brand.

HYBRID VIEWFINDER

Another unique feature of this camera is the hybrid viewfinder. This means you can take photos with an electronic viewfinder (which all current mirrorless cameras have) but you also have the option of using an optical viewfinder and seeing everything as it really is. For those of us who like the optical viewfinder, this is a delight. And no, you won’t have this in other cameras.

BUILT-IN FLASH

As a good compact camera, it couldn’t lack a flash. It’s very tiny and has limited power, but it’s perfect for getting you out of a bind. Additionally, photos with the camera’s direct flash have a very vintage look that is coming back into style. Be careful, though, because having the flash so close to the lens most likely means you’ll get «red-eye» effects.

Built in flash in Fujifilm x100 VI can produce "red eye effect"

Built in flash in Fujifilm x100 VI can produce «red eye effect»

VIDEO

Before we start, let me tell you that in my opinion, this is not a camera for video. That being said, it is perfectly capable of recording high-quality video. And then, you might ask, why do I say it’s not a video camera? Because if I want to record video, other cameras make it much easier than this one. Additionally, it has some issues with rolling shutter and overheating. The latter is completely logical. It’s the body of a 2011 camera, unchanged since then, into which a very powerful processor has been placed without a cooling output. If you start recording in 6k or 4k 60 for a while, it will overheat and shut down.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

There are things that I would have liked to be different. For example, I have a camera strap that uses a hook that goes into the tripod mount screw. This screw is very close to the cover where the battery and SD card are placed, and the problem is if you have the camera on a tripod or you put something in the screw, then you can’t open the cover. So, if your battery or card runs out, you have to remove it from the tripod or take out whatever is in the screw to change it. Another thing that doesn’t convince me is that it still uses the same battery from years ago and it is very small. So with a few shots, the battery runs out. To solve this, you simply have to carry more batteries. Another thing to keep in mind is that as it comes out of the box, the camera is not sealed against splashes and dust. So if you want to go out and take photos on a rainy day, you have to add things that are sold separately. Another detail is that it doesn’t come with a charger, just a USB cable. The grip is practically nonexistent, but that’s part of the charm of the camera’s design. Lastly, the screen is somewhat retractable, but if you want to take vertical photos, for example, you don’t have a good screen position for shooting from a high or low angle.

WHO IS THIS CAMERA FOR?

I believe it has at least two target audiences:

  1. There’s an audience that wants this camera as a way to appear «cool» to the world. It’s a camera that has sparked a frenzy among influencers, and if you want to be the hipster of the year, then this is the camera.
  2. I believe the professional photographer (which is my case) who is tired of carrying a heavy backpack appreciates a camera like this, with excellent performance and that is very small. Moreover, an advanced or professional photographer will see the limitations of this camera (such as its fixed 35mm lens) as an opportunity, not a problem.

CONCLUSIONS

Be careful. It’s not a camera for everyone, so don’t succumb to the hype. The main problem, from my point of view, is that there will be people who buy it because of the hype but ultimately do not adapt to either the dials or the fixed lens. However, for me, a professional photographer in Barcelona, this is a camera that I am in love with. It’s versatile, I’ve done everything with it, it responds very well, has a very good focus, the image quality is excellent, I love Fuji’s colors, and it has made me fall in love with photography again. In recent years, I’ve become very professional and only take cameras out to make money. Mind you, I love it and have a great time. But the Fuji is something else, it makes you want to go out and take photos without making money from it, to enjoy, to walk… I only get that with this camera.