Review: the Fujifilm X100v

Editor’s Note: Chris Gampat is a New York City based photographer who founded The Phoblographer in 2009, where he serves as Editor-in-Chief and Publisher.

Therapy is a beautiful thing – it’s why we have soul-soothing hobbies like horology. The winding action of a Seagull 1963’s crown is a meditative process that reminds us to sometimes slow down when the seconds of a day are still ticking away. It’s a lot like turning the shutter speed dial on a camera – except that those are broken down into fractions of a second. 

Ask any photographer: if there were any iconic camera of recent years on the mind, it would be the Fujifilm X100v (MSRP $1399). Most of us appreciated it like a constant partner to walk hand in hand with as we documented everyday life. This appreciation spurred love letters and video vignettes by the TikTok community, of whom many perhaps discovered the deep love one can have for an aesthetic camera such as this. But can this romantic gem capture the moment that a watch lover can understand?

There’s an appreciation for mechanical devices that we establish through our hobbies and pastimes. That appreciation is realized when you pick up the Fujifilm X100v. In cold weather, it feels like a cold memory documenter that will be with you through the most beautiful moments of your vacation. Looking at the front, we’re immediately understanding the retro appeal. The iconic shape of the camera is recognizable by nearly anyone. It’s here that we also see the only aesthetic weak point of the camera: the front lens element. Put a lens filter on there, and you’ll complete the camera’s weather resistance to the elements – as long as all the flaps are closed.

The top of the camera is adorned with beautiful dials to change things like the shutter speed and ISO (light sensitivity). Spin it around and you’ll see the LCD screen, buttons, a joystick, and the viewfinder. This viewfinder is one of the most special on the market. It lets you see the world in front of you with an augmented reality control overlay. With the flick of a switch on the front of the Fujifilm x100v, you can see the camera’s artistic interpretation of how the world looks in front of you.


This is a key feature of the camera: their film simulations have made Fujimfilm famous. With a few setting changes, the world can look like the images you used to see in National Geographic growing up. With another change, they’ll look like the photos your parents used to shoot from disposable film cameras. And with yet another change, they can look like the beautiful photos that you’ve probably seen shot at weddings. That’s the thing about the Fujifilm X100v – it’s ready to meet your emotions and energy in a way that a good, communicative partner does. Every time you fire the shutter, you two are capturing memories together. 

And, of course, none of us are perfect. This iteration of the series suffers from deep scars – by that I mean that the autofocus is nigh equivalent to the deep sadness that Nico Leonard feels about Hublot. No amount of shutter therapy or firmware updates are going to really fix that. So, instead, you’ll need to learn how to work with it. As long as you primarily use the center focus point and recompose the scene or center your subjects, you should be content. Think of it as a practice in centering yourself: photography can be a meditative hobby that, when embraced artistically, can make you creatively see the world instead of passively look at it.

Besides the good looks and dials that just click with you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what’s inside. The Fujiiflm X100v sports a 26.1 megapixel X-Trans APS-C sensor. Lots of marketing tells budding photographers that full-frame is better. I mean, who needs full-frame when you have vibes and rizz to charm the hell out of anyone staring at your photographs? Best of all, you can more or less put the camera in the Program-Auto mode and still make pictures that tug at someone’s heart. That’s because of the film simulations. Because Fujifilm used to make film emulsions (and still do) they apply that science to the sensor’s output. Some of my favorites are:

-Classic Chrome: The look that vintage magazines like National Geographic and LIFE had.

-Classic Negative: This film simulation reminds me of the moments that my aunties and uncles would capture using disposable cameras.

-Astia: When I crave a bit more saturation in my images that give more pop on the screen.

-Pro Neg Hi: When combined with a bit of overexposure (brightness) this setting can bring tears to the eyes of anyone. The pastel feeling that this gives off is priceless.

-Acros: For several years, there was a joke that if an image wasn’t very good, all you’d do is convert it to black and white. But with Acros, it isn’t a joke. It’s a saving grace and a second chance that anyone would wish for. 

In front of the sensor making these images is a 23mm f2 lens. It’s what we call a pancake lens in the photo industry – and they’re important in the same way that a watch’s thinness is. If it’s too thick, you might just need to adjust the sleeves on your shirt. 

This lens is special because it gives off the same view that many of us see with – depending on how your vision works. Put a lens filter on it like some of the iconic Pro Mist or Glimmerglass filters and you’ll embrace the dream-like pictures that this camera makes.

Lots of reviewers might talk about image noise – which is like the grainy stuff that you get when you shoot photos in really dark scenarios. But with Fujifilm film simulations, you simply just embrace the noise as it looks like film grain from your favorite vintage movie. 

There’s a lot to love about the Fujiiflm X100v. It’s a small camera that you’d want to wear anywhere like a piece of jewelry – like a watch. The X100v also sports mechanical and retro appeal that makes a photographer really need to think and become an active part of the picture-taking process. Plus, there’s a unique image quality that you can’t get from any other manufacturer. Seriously, Fujifilm, hands down, uses the best APS-C sensors on the market. There are great reasons why they’ve been at the heart of cameras shooting some of modern-day’s most important images.


The only thing that some people might not like is that the autofocus is slow. But if you keep this in mind, it won’t stop you from making photographs you’ll adore.

Since its introduction in late 2019, the photography community has been eagerly anticipating a successor. And with Fujifilm’s recent moves away from retro appeal, we hope they realize why sometimes, the old ways are best. Fujifilm

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Chris is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer, a website dedicated to photography that seeks to bridge the gap between art and tech.