Best Travel Camera Of 2018: Fujifilm X100F Review

Best travel camera of 2018? Well that’s no easy feat now, is it. Heck, we’re not even halfway through 2018! But if you’re reading this article, I assume that you are looking now for a camera to create travel photos.

So how does one pick the best travel camera? Most professional photographers already know how to select their gear. I want to help the ones of you who aren’t quite sure. The ones of you who want to challenge themselves and improve their skills. The ones of you who are looking for this exciting photographic tool that will push them to be original and will enable them to create.

The best travel camera is nothing but a tool!

I’ve shot with many amazing cameras over the years, each more cramped with features than the other. One needs to realize that a camera is nothing but a tool. You can buy the nicest chisel available, it won’t make you an expert woodworker. A tool allows someone to carry out a particular function. A better tool doesn’t create better results, it facilitates the process for its user to achieve their desired results.

X100F, f/8.0, 1/45 sec, ISO 200, built-in ND filter ON. Using the ND filter reduces the intensity of the light hitting the sensor. This allowed me to create movement when panning. This would’ve required external filters on other cameras or closing the lens down enough that diffraction would reduce image quality.

Based on this truth, one could argue that there isn’t just one best travel camera. They wouldn’t be wrong but it would make for a boring conclusion to this article now wouldn’t it?

How to pick the best travel camera?

A photographer has to consider many variables when picking the right instrument. The best travel camera will be different than the best portrait camera, landscape or studio camera. Defining one’s criteria is critical to this choice, especially if you are buying just one do-it-all tool. The majority of experienced photographers out there already know what they value most. Depending on your shooting style, you might want to prioritize ruggedness over weight, or ISO over ease of use. However, advertisement and consumerism misleads most of us.

Camera manufacturers come out with new toys every year and do their very best to lure potential customers using nice words like “ISO, full-frame, in-body camera stabilization” and so forth. But how much does it really matter? Too many throw their money at something that won’t serve them best just because they were convinced that a full-frame sensor is better than a crop sensor. It’s just not all that simple in real world photography.

Here is a list of what I think matters most for travel photography:

  1. Pleasure and ease of use: duh… but if you’re not excited to use your camera, you won’t take photos!
  2. Simplicity: aka combatting the paradox of choice.
  3. Weight: it can mean the difference between having the energy to capture the sunrise or sleeping in and missing it.
  4. Size: big cumbersome rigs with their big heavy lenses get in your way more often than they help you.
  5. Versatility: since travel photography is the best excuse to shoot portraits, landscape, street, animals, sports and everything else!
  6. Discretion: a small camera makes it easier to be inconspicuous and is less invasive for candid photos.
  7. Ruggedness: because sometimes it does rain…
  8. Image quality: has nothing to do with megapixels.

Based on these values, my pick for best travel camera of 2018 is the Fujifilm X100F (Amazon).

Fujifilm X100F Best Travel Camera 2018

Yep, that’s right. I just picked a camera with a fixed 23mm f/2.0 lens (equivalent to 35mm on full-frame), a crop sensor and no weather sealing as the best travel camera of 2018! Let me be clear before we go any further: I am not sponsored by Fujifilm (or any company for that matter) nor was I given the camera for review (I paid full price for it).

Now that we took care of integrity, let me explain point by point why I think the Fujifilm X100F is the best travel camera.

1. Pleasure and ease of use

If you’re not excited to use your camera, you won’t take photos! This sounds silly but it’s actually much more important than one might think. I’ve shot most of my earlier travels with a Sony A7rII. Yes, it’s an amazing camera and I even developed a minimalist travel kit for it, using mostly rangefinder lenses. Yet I wasn’t really excited to use it. I was stuck in the loop of picking a camera solely based on the specs I could afford rather than looking at it from a more emotional perspective.

In comes Fuji with the sharp retro style, build quality and visible dials of the X100F. Picking one up feels like holding a tool designed for pure unobstructed photography. It just works and, of course, is a joy to use.

Unobstructed photography

When you snap a picture, you make an exposure. The only significant ways to adjust an exposure are shutter speed, aperture and ISO (or ASA film speed). On the X100F, these settings have dedicated engraved analog dials. Along with exposure compensation and a mechanical switch to change focus modes, you have everything you need to create an amazing photo. It’s that simple and right at your finger tips.

Best travel camera Fujifilm X100F dials

The analog dials of the X100F are important but only a fraction of what creates pleasure and ease of use. Each point listed in this article are an integral part of the satisfying feeling one gets using this tool.

2. Simplicity

There is no PSAM mode dial on the X100F. It works by elimination: if all your dedicated dials are on specific values, you are in full manual mode; if you set the shutter speed to AUTO, you are no in aperture priority and so forth. There are no landscape, night, sunset, portrait or other silly “advance” modes.

The X100F has a beautiful fixed 23mm f/2 lens (35mm equivalent on full-frame) built into the camera. You can’t take it off and swap it for another lens, 23mm f/2 is what you get. If you want to capture a super wide or very long shot, you can’t! Either you use your legs as a zoom (which is a great way to think about your shot and see if it’s even worth the effort) or you can carry on with your life and go to the next point of interest.

A Cuban woman walks in the streets of Trinidad, Cuba.

The fixed lens design prevents any sensor dust issue and greatly simplifies packing. I use to wonder all the time about which lens to pack for the next trip, only to end up worrying about what I didn’t bring. With the X100F, that’s not even a possibility. Not being able to change focal length or swapping for a faster prime can be challenging. However, accepting and learning how to be satisfied with the results created within these restrictions has been one of the most rewarding photographic experiences I’ve had.

3. Weight

Weight is often underestimated. People will buy heavy lenses and bodies under the pretense that f/1.2 is worth it (it usually isn’t). Ask any thru hiker how important every ounce is. Thru-hiking might be an extreme of course, but the concept of shaving off grams here and there still applies. If the features of whatever it is you are packing make you ignore added weight, you are bound to feel like you can keep adding weight to a kit. On the other end, if you are much more critical when it comes to the value of weight vs. feature, your are bound to end up with a lighter rig.

Weight is everything. Weight can mean the difference between getting a shot and not even knowing that there was an opportunity for one. It’s not just the obvious fact that you wouldn’t be able to hike as far or as long, it also affects your entire trip. The best travel camera should not wear you out. You might not notice that the anvil around your neck is adding to your overall tiredness, but it certainly does. If it’s heavy enough, it might not only get in the way of capturing photos, it might affect your overall enjoyment of the trip. You’ll feel more tired at dinner time, waking up in the mornings and hiking throughout the day. You might not associate the fatigue with the camera, but its weight is there, affecting every step you take.

Valle de los Ingenios outside Trinidad.

X100F weight comparisons with some contenders for best travel camera (the ones you were told you should buy):

  • Fujifilm X100F: 469g (16.5oz).
  • Sony A7III: +65% w/ 35mm f/2.8 and +180% w/ 24-105mm f/4.
  • Fuji X-H1: +82% w/ 23mm f/2 and +183% w/ 16-55mm f/2.8.
  • Nikon D850: +176% w/ 35mm f/1.8 and +263% w/ 24-120mm f/4.
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII: +48% w/ 17mm f/1.8 and +104% w/ 12-40mm f/2.8.

All these high-end cameras are heavier though some are relatively close when using a simple prime lenses. However, the fact that they are interchangeable-lens cameras creates the opportunity for choice. You will most likely pack several lenses just because the design of the camera gives you the opportunity to do so, and more lenses equals more weight.

On a side note, the percentages listed above could also be used for price comparisons with the X100F!

4. Size

Mirrorless cameras have redefined the industry. The mirror in a (D)SLR has to flip out of the way when taking a photo. That design not only makes the camera larger, it also makes the lenses larger. As with weight, it’s useful to think in extremes when estimating the value of size. The larger the rig, the heavier it is, the tougher it is to pack, to walk around with, to get in museums with, to be discreet with, to not be a target for thieves, etc.

The X100F fits in most large pockets, you arguably don’t even need a camera bag (I just traveled with it to California, shoving it in a sock… a nice wool sock). Even with a charger and other accessories, it would fit in some of the smallest camera bags. Just like many of us, I like to travel with carry-on bags only. This can be challenging if you’re spending a lot of time in a cold country as the clothes you’d bring would take most of the carry on. Now imagine if you decided to pack a DSLR and a collection of lenses. You’d need a significant bag just for the camera rig. Depending on how you pack, you might have to check a bag or deal with two large carry-ons. With the X100F, you don’t even have to think about packing extra lenses, you just go!

Here are some size comparisons using camerasize.com:

Best travel camera size comparison
Best travel camera: Fujifilm X100F vs Sony A7rIII and 24-105mm vs Fujifilm X-H1 and 16-55mm
Best travel camera size comparison
Best travel camera: Fujifilm X100F vs Nikon D850 and 35mm vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 and 12-40mm

5. Versatility

How can a camera with a permanently attached prime lens be versatile? Surely a zoom lens is necessary for the best travel camera! That’s what manufacturers want you to believe but the ability to zoom in and out is only one small aspect of adaptability. Despite its focal length limitations, the Fuji X100F is one of the most versatile cameras I’ve used. In addition to the high-end camera features it already has (see pros and cons at the end of this article), it adds a few more that are specifically valuable for travel photography.

Combining leaf shutter technology with a 3-stop built-in neutral density filter and built-in flash

The leaf shutter inside the X100F is different from standard sideways-moving focal plane shutters found in all other interchangeable-lens cameras. The main advantage of this shutter, which functions more like an iris, is flash sync speed. Standard shutters are limited to 1/180th or 1/250th while the leaf shutter can flash sync at 1/4,000th. Combining the ND filter (which reduces the intensity of the light hitting the sensor) with the built-in flash, the X100F gives you the power to balance harsh light without the need of extra gear. This is extremely useful and always undervalued when picking a camera.

It’s especially useful for travel photography since you are taking photos throughout the day, in bright sunlight.Your subject is backlit with the sunset in the background? No problem. Shadows hide the eyes of your subject? No problem.

The built-in flash works beautifully as a fill-flash.
Best travel camera without fill flash
X100F WITHOUT using the built-in fill flash, f/2.0 1/850 sec ISO 200
Best travel camera: fill flash
X100F using the built-in fill flash, f/2.0 1/800 sec ISO 200

The leaf shutter does have its limitations though. It can shoot up to 1/1,000th of a second for all aperture but can’t shoot wide open with faster exposures. That’s because the iris style shutter doesn’t have time to fully retract before the exposure is done. Fortunately the camera can automatically switch from mechanical to electronic shutter, which enables you to take photos up to 1/32,000th of a second at all apertures. This is very handy in extremely bright environments if you want to shot with the lens wide open. The mechanical shutters found in most cameras are limited to 1/4,000th or 1/8,000th of a second.

Hybrid viewfinder

The X100F combines both the rangefinder and “live view” experience in the viewfinder. The live view provided by the EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) is what we’re used to seeing in all mirrorless viewfinders, nothing new here, but the OVF (Optical ViewFinder), or rangefinder, is completely different. Framing shots that way can be a little challenging since you aren’t seeing exactly what the lens sees though frame lines help and quick pull on a lever brings up the EVF. The beauty of the OVF is that you have an instant and unaltered view of what you are about to shoot, comparable to a DSLR. The advantage of the OVF over the DSLR is that you can see what happens around your frame, which can be very useful for composition and timing. If you want to capture someone walking for instance, the OVF will show them before they even get into the shot.

A building falls apart right on Havana's main waterfront thoroughfare, the Malecón.

You can also combine both viewfinders which is extremely handy for manual focusing. When using the OVF with manual focus, a push on that same lever brings up a small section of the EVF in the lower right corner of the viewfinder. The little screen displays a zoomed-in live view of what you are shooting, allowing for precise manual focus peaking. Brilliant!

What you see through the X100F’s hybrid viewfinder. You can see the corner of the EVF on the lower right of the frame (and Pearl, one of our chickens!)

Fuji’s famous film simulations and RAW vs JPG

We’ve all seen a version of the t-shirt claiming “I SHOOT RAW.” What a bunch of bollocks. Don’t get me wrong, RAW has its laundry list of advantages, but I don’t think they necessarily apply for travel photography. RAW files are huge and need tinkering with before sharing. If you come back from your two-week trip with 2,547 photos (which you shouldn’t!), not only will you have a storage challenge on your hands, you’ll have a sorting, processing and sharing challenge too. The best solution is to get as close as possible to the result you want straight out of the camera. This will help keeping processing time as low as possible. Unless I’m framing a shot I think will be used for extreme printing, I shoot JPG and I do my best not to come back with thousands of photos.

Once you realize that most people don’t need RAW, JPG adjustments become handy with getting the results you aim for as quickly as possible (eg: Color + 4, Sharpness + 4). Combine these adjustments with Fujifilm’s excellent film simulations and you can get exceptional result straight out of the camera. Transfer these to your phone using their app, share them right away and skip the computer all together!

Interchangeable-lens after all?

The lens of the X100F is a stellar performer. Combined with Fuji’s X-Trans CMOS III 24 megapixel sensor, the camera produces beautifully detailed images. Yes, the Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 is a fixed lens, but if you really can’t do without the ability to change your focal length, the camera has a couple of tricks up its sleeves.

Best travel camera Fuji X100F Fujinon 23mm f/2.0

The X100F has the ability to create a digital 50mm or 70mm field of view by cropping the image from the sensor and cleverly upscaling it back to 24 megapixels. I didn’t use this much but people seem to be happy with the results.

And if that’s still not enough, Fuji makes a couple of conversion lenses that will change the 35mm field of view to either a wider 28mm (Amazon: WCL-X100 II) or tighter 50mm (Amazon: TCL-X100 II) field of view. They don’t affect image quality and aren’t that bulky but if you feel that you need these, aren’t you defeating the purpose of choosing the X100F in the first place? They do add to the versatility of the camera, but owning them will most likely make you carry them as well, most of the time at least. Buy at your own risk!

By the way, the lens can focus ridiculously close (under 4 inches) allowing you to do some macro photography!

Additional note about JPGs and editing

All the photos in this review, whether they were captured RAW or JPG (most were JPGs to start with) were edited using Adobe Lightroom on my iPad Pro (Amazon). Part of my workflow when I travel is to dump all the photos on my iPad (I use the iPad Pro 10.5″ as I found that the iPad Pro 12.9″ was just too large and didn’t have USB 3.0 speeds when it came out) and edit them right onto the iPad. It’s actually a more enjoyable experience then doing it on my MacBook Pro (Amazon)!

Additional note about Workflow

When I shot RAW, or using my Sony A7rII, the files were huge and even the iPad Pro could struggle a little. I found myself sorting photos on the little screen of the camera, trying to delete as many as possible to minimize file transfer times. Now that I shoot more JPGs, file transfer and editing on the iPad is super fast! I can sort using Lightroom, which is much better than using the little camera screen. I then export the edited photos from the iPad and upload them here. I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before I sell my laptop, we’ll see.

6. Discretion

The best travel camera should create opportunities and a small camera can get into places bigger ones can’t. The X100F is pocketable, granted you’d need a big pocket but pocketable nonetheless. Not only are there camera restrictions to get in some places, you might not always want to carry a ponderous camera all the time.

Big cameras can also make people uncomfortable. No, this is not another comment about camera weight, it’s about the people you might photograph. Pointing a large lens at the face of someone who most likely never interacted with photographers can unsettle them.

Street photography is also enhanced with the discretion of the X100F, both thanks to its size and sound. The leaf shutter is almost silent, the electronic shutter is completely silent. When you are much less noticeable, you get more candid results. And being noticed in some places with a big expensive looking camera can bring the wrong kind of attention.

Best travel camera: discretion
Cuban soldiers walking off. I was able to snap many photos and different angles before they noticed and eventually kicked me off the grounds. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get more than a few with a larger camera.

Travel photography might mean different things to different people, but I think the goal of most is to capture what the place being visited really is like and the best travel camera shouldn’t work against that goal.

7. Ruggedness

The all metal body of the X100F can take a beating but it’s not weather sealed. If you are caught in a downpour, the camera will not survive. However, if you are caught in a downpour, you’re probably not taking photos anyway. Weather resistance is critical for those of us making a living with photography AND doing so when it rains. That is not the case for the masses of travelers out there. When it rains, the camera usually doesn’t come out, which means that all you really need is a weatherproof bag. Such bags are readily available, and as usual, are much easier to deal with when the camera is small.

Imagine if you have your camera out with your favorite lens attached, maybe a filter and a flash on when it starts to drizzle. If you have several lenses in your kit, chances are that your camera won’t fit in your bag with the wrong lens attached. Swapping lenses in a hurry, putting the flash away, removing filters just to be able to protect your camera from the elements could get old and risky. With the X100F, you don’t have anything to remove or tinker with, you just put the camera back in the bag or even better, in the pocket of your rain jacket!

So how important is it really to be able to keep shooting when it rains?

Being able to shoot in the rain would definitely be a nice feature to have and a good way to create unique images. Weather sealing is one of the major couple features I miss with the X100F. But shooting in the rain can also be very challenging as a single drop of water on the front element tends to ruin a photo.

8. Image quality

Last but not and arguably least, image quality. IQ (which is fantastic on the X100F) is often overvalued by most of us. The truth is that if you are reading this article, the cameras you have been researching will ALL deliver beautiful results. Image quality is relatively important to someone chasing the light, but it’s much more crucial to manufacturers chasing sales. What is necessary for a photographer is creating the opportunity to capture moments. You could have the most amazing medium format sensor around, if you can’t get your camera out in time, pick the right settings, the right lens or flash when you need to take the photo, that opportunity is gone. That’s why many believe that a contender for the best travel camera is a smartphone, as you have it with you almost all the time.

A man picks floating plastic bottles out of the water in Cienfuegos, Cuba.

The best travel camera should not slow you down when the time comes to press that shutter.

That’s why I listed image quality as the last item in this list. Ironically, it’s usually the very first aspect we debate about, at the expense of everything else. Remember that image quality won’t matter if you’ve missed the shot.

With that said, the X100F is no GFX 50R (Amazon) of course, but it is no slouch either in the IQ department! Its 24 megapixel APS-C sensor produces detailed results, even at high ISO. And the 23mm f/2.0 is sharp at all settings and even has pleasing bokeh. Fujifilm is also known for producing amazing skin tones and having some of the best colors in the market (though that is often subjective).

You can spend your time pixel peeping at images from a dozen different cameras, or you can realize that you’re better off making a choice and sticking with it!

What about other fixed lens cameras?

I picked a fixed lens mirrorless as the best travel camera, so why not one of the others currently on the market?

Fujifilm’s own X70 is an amazing little camera but isn’t in production anymore, lacks a viewfinder and has soso IQ.

The Sigma dp Quattro’s (Amazon) funky ergonomics wouldn’t provide the same joy of use (though some people might enjoy it), also lacks a viewfinder, doesn’t record video and has poor dynamic range and high ISO performance.

A decent contender would be the Ricoh GR II (Amazon) as it is truly pocketable and shares some of the X100F’s features, but is getting old (though there are rumors of a GR III), also lacks a viewfinder, doesn’t have exposed readable dials, performs poorly at high ISO and is unexciting (which is subjective).

The Leica Q (Amazon) is an astounding 24mpx full-frame camera with a gorgeous sharp stabilized lens (though the stabilization has been a subject of debate) with a built-in leaf shutter. Yet even with it’s similar shutter, it can only flash sync up to 1/500s (which to be fair, is still twice as fast as most DSLRs). It also lacks the built-in flash, is significantly larger and costs more than three times as much!

Second best travel camera: Sony RX1R II (Amazon)

The last fixed lens camera to consider would be the Sony RX1R II. It has an incredible and massive 42mpx full-frame sensor which produces some of the finer images on the market. The Sony is smaller (but thicker) than the X100F and weighs about the same. It also has a quiet leaf shutter and can flash sync up to 1/2,000th, has a pop-up quality electronic viewfinder, a tilt screen and its shutter button even has a threaded cable release! It doesn’t have all the basic dials the X100F has, but it does have an aperture ring, exposure compensation dial and a focus switch. So why isn’t it the best travel camera of 2018?

Unfortunately, the camera has very poor battery life, which means that you need to remember to turn it off. It’s also slow to turn on which means you might miss the shot more often than not. It doesn’t have a built-in flash, is sluggish, generates huge files (42mpx is an IQ blessing and a processing curse) and can only shoot up to 1/4,000th of a second. With no built-in ND filter, the camera’s capabilities are greatly reduced in bright sunlight. If these were the only issues, the choice between the Fuji and Sony would be very difficult. However, the $3,299 price tag of the RX1R II, two and a half times as much as the X100F, makes the decision easier. Unless you can get over the hefty cost, the X100F is the best travel camera for you.

The sun sets over Havana, Cuba

Summary

The X100F might be the best travel camera, but it isn’t a perfect either (none are). Here is a summary of pros and cons that apply to travel photography:

Cons:

  • Not weather sealed
  • Not stabilized
  • No flip screen
  • Only one SD card slot (mostly for backups)

Sosos:

  • Battery life: 390 photos isn’t bad and has been enough for an entire day (and spares are easy to pack)
  • Menu system: not the best organisation and takes time to get used to
  • No pitch level (there is a tilt level)
  • Rounded blades: no sunstars with bright points of light
  • No flash switch/button
  • Weird reverse 49mm filter thread
  • Price: $1,299 is relatively expensive for a fixed lens camera, but relatively cheap for the features and capabilities

Pros:

  • Small and (somewhat) pocketable
  • Lightweight
  • Simple
  • Shutter speed dial
  • Aperture ring
  • ISO dial
  • Exposure compensation dial
  • Focus switch (and instant focus override)
  • 1/4,000th flash sync speed
  • Built-in 3-stop ND filter
  • Built-in flash
  • Almost silent leaf shutter
  • Completely silent electronic shutter
  • Amazing hybrid viewfinder
  • All buttons (except focus mode) on the right side of the camera for one hand operation
  • Magnesium/metal construction
  • Facial recognition that works very well
  • Threaded cable release
  • Film simulations
  • High IQ 24 megapixel sensor, sweet spot for image quality
  • Sharp 23mm f/2.0 fixed lens (never deal with dust on your sensor!)
  • Macro capabilities
  • Usable digital converter
  • 8 FPS (60 frames JPG buffer)
  • USB charging (you can charge two batteries with it and the charger)
  • Still useable in a studio setting: laser portraits!
Having fun with laser wire in the studio

Conclusion

It took many trips with many systems for me to realize how important some of these elements are. Most recently I traveled to Cuba for two weeks and the Fujifilm X100F was the only camera I carried. I knew deep down what would make that camera a great travel companion, but it still wasn’t easy to convince myself to bring just one camera and one lens.

As a matter of fact, my girlfriend was using the Fujifilm X-E3 (Amazon) with its great kit lens, a Samyang 12mm f/2 (Amazon) and Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 (Read my comparison between the Mitakon and the Fuji 35mmf/2 WR, or go straight to Amazon). I figured I could just grab that camera if I ever needed to. In the two weeks we spent in Cuba, I used the X-E3 once for a sunset shot which I actually could’ve capture with the X100F. And the two extra lenses, which are amazing performers too, were never even mounted on the X-E3.

I’ve been to Iceland and Thailand with a collection of lenses, all over the USA, Canada, Europe and many other places always carrying a variety of photographic options. The best results I ever got were from these two weeks in Cuba. The most fun I had shooting was during these two weeks in Cuba. The greatest opportunities I had were thanks to the X100F’s features and capabilities. The most rewarding challenges came from the camera’s designs.

And that’s why the Fujifilm X100F (Amazon) is the best travel camera on the market today!

If you have another favorite travel camera, let me know in the comments below.

Here are a few of my favorite shots made with the X100F while in Cuba. To see the rest of them and learn about this amazing country, read my post: Visiting Cuba: A two-week trip report

Additional photos with the X100F:

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79 Responses

  1. I had a X100S and got rid of it. Simply couldn’t bond with it. Fixed VF and ditto screen are very limiting if you want o shoot from the hip. I also did’t find it small, but rather chunky and clunky. Most reviews also point out the need to stop down for the lens to be sharp across the frame. (Not that sharpness is everything of course.) And still I read your review with great enjoyment and feel the siren song calling once again! Much lighter though is my Leica X2 even with add-on tiltable viewfinder. And the IQ allows for plenty of cropping. My favourite travel combination is the Sony a6000 with a Zeiss 14-70 (= 27 to 105), a tiltable screen and brilliant EVF. Very versatile.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I’m glad to hear from other people’s perspectives. I don’t have experience with the X2 though I get plenty of cropping power with the 24mpx of the X100F. I used to shoot on a Sony NEX-6 and NEX-7. I’ve also gone through the A7r, A7s, A7rII and now the A7rII with a modified sensor for rangefinder lenses. All great cameras but I still feel like the X100F, its features and accepting its limitations led to better travel photo results than all other cameras I’ve shot with so far.

      1. That is correct Steffen, these photos are indeed edited. As a matter of fact, almost 100% of photos displayed on photographer’s websites are edited. Even film work is edited in dark rooms with dodging and burning. Ansel Adams did that. “Heavily” though? Maybe, that’s always subjective.
        I do want to restate though that this review has almost nothing to do with image quality. Most cameras in that price range will have comparable image quality for most consumers and even for pros who know how to use them. Sure some are slightly sharper, some have slightly better ISO performance and some take more images per second. There are dozens and dozens of reviews online showing pixel peeping results. The point of my review is repeated in item number “8. Image quality.” There I insist on the fact that a camera having features that enables opportunities is way more important than the sharpness of a lens.
        However, for the sake of clarity (pun intended), you can find the JPGs straight OOC here: https://galleries.photoxplorer.com/Other/Cuba-Originals/n-CBhD67/
        Most of the photos were shot in Fuji’s Classic Chrome which tames the colors quite a bit and brings up the shadows. I liked the look when shooting and realized that I preferred bringing colors back in the shot in post processing. All of the photos were processed and exported with Lightroom Mobile on my iPad by the way.
        Here are two comparison, this shot was taken with Classic Chrome (the actual scene was more colorful): https://galleries.photoxplorer.com/Other/Cuba-Originals/n-CBhD67/i-6j3t74f/A
        In hindsight, I preferred re-injecting colors into it: https://www.photoxplorer.com/2018/04/13/best-travel-camera-review-fujifilm-x100f/#jp-carousel-1627
        That’s pretty common for photos of “stuff” which tend to do better with more colors, it was my mistake to think I’d like them dulled out.
        For people it’s not as obvious and the processing was more about dodging, burning and contrast. OOC: https://galleries.photoxplorer.com/Other/Cuba-Originals/n-CBhD67/i-KHcSfFg/A
        Final version: https://www.photoxplorer.com/2018/04/13/best-travel-camera-review-fujifilm-x100f/#jp-carousel-1631
        Anyhow, the point of the review was more that I crowned this camera as best travel camera of 2018 mostly because it enables the photographer and doesn’t get in the way, not necessarily based just on image quality.
        I hope this helps shed some light on my reasoning.

        1. I was gonna ask if these were SOOC or if they were edited heavily. Didn’t feel the need to call them out though as the results are beautiful nonetheless.

          1. Hey Alvin, thanks for your kind words, and these are most definitely not SOOC shots. They were all significantly edited in Lightroom, exclusively using my iPad by the way (I’m trying to find excuses to get rid of my laptop). You bring up an interesting point that I hadn’t really thought about too much. I don’t intend to claim these shots are SOOC (as a matter of fact, click HERE to see some original files that were used in this review), and I don’t know if it really matters since this review isn’t a lab test of the X100F. Heck, even my arguments about IQ are last. However, it is a review of a camera intended to show it’s the best travel camera I could find. If the images I show aren’t SOOC and it is not disclaimed, I am omitting a piece of information, aren’t I?! Thanks for making be brainstorm about this, I’m pretty sure I’ll add a little snippet somewhere in this article to clarify that these images are edited. Happy shooting!

  2. Thank you so much for this great review/article. I also have an X100F, but I also have a Leica Q and tend to use the Q far more, leaving the Fuji home. BUT, your article reminds me that I shouldn’t neglect using the 100F for all the reasons you include here. I’ll be taking it with me more now. So, thanks for the nudge.

    This is the first time I’ve seen your website. I’ll be here again, for sure,

    1. Ha! That’s gotta be one of the best compliments I could receive for this article. I’m sure the Q is amazing and I’m thrilled to hear that what I wrote motivates you to pick up the X100F again. Thanks for reading Fran!

  3. I don’t like the dark shadows of the trans sensor of the x100f. I prefer the Bayer sensor of the x100. Much brighter world.

  4. Had the Fuji and really liked it. It has a lot of integrity. Decided to try the Q, bought it, and haven’t picked up the Fuji or any camera (except my Nikon FE film camera) since. The Q is absolutely poetry, if you’re into that sort of thing, which I am. Not only the haptics, but the IQ is just draw-dropping. Plus incredible macro. I can work around what it doesn’t have. What it DOES have challenges me to be a better photographer, rather than a better tourist picture-taker, which I always felt I was with the Fuji. YMMV

    1. That is great to hear, especially reading what it “does” to your photography experience. I wouldn’t mind walking around with one, but as with most Leica, the price is a serious consideration. If someone can afford a Q though, I’m sure they won’t be disappointed.

    1. I have not had the need to charge the camera via USB yet but it has the built-in capability. Which is pretty awesome as you can use the X100F to charge two batteries at once if needed! Just plug your camera in and use the charger that came with it to charge a second battery.

  5. Hi – great article, just questioning one thing you wrote about the Leica Q (which I own, as well as an original X100) – it jolly well does have a leaf shutter!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and your note about the Leica Q! I made the correction on the review. It adds a nice little advantage to the Q though somehow is still limited to 1/500 fo a second. I tried to find why that was but couldn’t find anything but speculations. It’s twice as fast as most DSLR’s but I wonder why it’s not as high as the Fuji. Maybe because the full frame sensor is physically larger and the leaf shutter would have to travel more distance in the same amount of time? Not sure.
      I’ve considered both the Q and the RX1R II instead of the X100F, but just couldn’t get over the price tag. It’s a bit tough though, especially after having shot on the Sony A7rII for so long. I do miss the glorious sensor but not enough to pack the Sony instead of the Fuji.
      Anyhow, thanks for the comment about this.

  6. Your weight comparisons are not fair. An Olympus E-M10 Mk II + Panasonic 14mm pancake is lighter than the X100F. It has a full frame EVF, IS and interchangeable lenses. At a fraction of the cost it is a better travel companion in my view.

    1. You are absolutely correct, an Olympus E-M10 Mk II + Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens is indeed lighter than an X100F. And to put things in perspective, the Olympus combo weighs 465 grams (410 for the camera + battery + card, 55g for the lens). A full 4 grams difference, or 0.14 ounces.
      Now let’s be fair all the way:
      – The Panasonic lens you are referring to has been discontinued and is not really available new anymore. It was a nice little lens, though a little on the slow side.
      – I also chose to compare the Fuji and it’s built-in 23mm lens to equivalent focal lengths of 35mm on full-frame. That means a fairer weight comparison with the E-M10 would be with the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens which weighs 120 grams, putting the Oly kit at 530 grams, making a fairer comparison 61 grams heavier than the Fuji system. Or if you wanted the Panasonic version, 17mm f/1.7 weighing in at 87 grams, you’d still be 28 grams heavier than the Fuji. However, that lens also has been discontinued. Panasonic currently makes a 20mm f/1.7 which also weighs 87 grams (without the lens cap) but would be a 40mm equivalent (slightly tighter).

      Regardless of splitting hair with grams though, one of the main point of my reasoning for picking the Fuji as a better travel camera is the fixed lens and the inability to actually change it. If someone feels an interchangeable lens camera is a better choice for their photography style, that’s fine. And if that’s the case, the E-M10 with the pancake lens is a beautiful combo. I’ve shot the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II with their PRO 1.2 lenses and 2.8 lenses lineup, and even though it’s an amazing camera, the image quality didn’t quite cut it for my eyes. The 16 megapixels of the M4/3 sensor of the E-M10 won’t create results better than it’s bigger brother. But again, regardless of image quality, which is somewhat subjective, better arguments for the E-M10 are the sensor stabilization (which was amazing on the E-M1), flip screen and smaller size (without lens at least).

      The E-M10 and 17mm combo is a great little combo, especially for under $1,000. It is indeed a great travel companion and has amazing features. I’d personally pick the PEN-F over the E-M10 but they are all great little cameras. However, based on the arguments I listed in my review, these cameras don’t have enough advantages to make it in the comparison. I also can’t claim to be able to compare every camera on the market, so choices had to be made. Truth is, it’s better to have a camera to use than figure out which one is the absolute best. If you already have the E-M10, have at it, take it out and shoot. You’ll get much better results than the person who is still stuck picking a camera. If you don’t have a travel camera however, and want to challenge yourself in taking better travel photos, I still think the X100F is a better choice.

      Thanks for the additional comment and comparison though!

  7. Hi! Great read. I will be traveling to Costa Rica soon and was thinking about taking old Canon T2i with a new lens, either Tokina 11-16 or Sigma 18-35. Then I remembered how bulky this thing is and how much I did not like carrying it around on another trip. So now I’m thinking about the Fuji, but of course not sure if I should shell out the cash. I do like how compact it is, but I guess I’m hesitant due to the fixed lens. Thoughts?

  8. Hi! Great read. I will be traveling to Costa Rica soon and was thinking about taking old Canon T2i with a new lens, either Tokina 11-16 or Sigma 18-35. Then I remembered how bulky this thing is and how much I did not like carrying it around on another trip. So now I’m thinking about the Fuji, but of course not sure if I should shell out the cash. I do like how compact it is, but I guess I’m hesitant due to the fixed lens. Thoughts?

    1. Hey Juan, it is a tough thing to commit to the “restrictions” that come with the X100F, especially at a premium price. If you’re unsure about it, you can always purchase the affordable ($129) Canon 24mm f/2.8 (which people really seem to love) and commit to traveling with just the T2i and that lens. It’ll be slightly tighter (38mm equivalent instead of 35mm) but will challenge you to see if a fixed lens camera is good for you. You’ll have a setup that is much more restricted than the X100F but it’s a good challenge. If you have fun with it, then purchase the Fujifilm X100F and don’t look back! If the X100F is too much, you can always buy an X100T or buy one of the previous models used.
      Remember though that 35mm/38mm field of view is pretty tight if you’re not used to it. Let me know what you decide!

  9. Very nice article!! I have one question, why did you not be able to do the landscape pictures with x100f during your holidays in Cuba?
    Thanks

    1. Thank you! Mostly it was because we didn’t really visit outdoorsy landscape places in Cuba. And the X100F does fine for landscape work but I do prefer a slightly wider focal if all I shoot are landscapes.

  10. Thnxs for making my choices less difficult, i own a x10 for many years now with so much pleasure. But now i want a new camera with the same retro look and feel. I was looking at the ex3 becouse the interchangeble lenses and the overall good specs. But…. I cant get over the look.
    I know the inside is so much more important but still its more of a emotion i think.
    And you pointed out, that we the customers get the ideer we need many lens choices, but i had some sldr camera’s with lenses and still i picked my x10 almost everytime when i walked out the door to go shooting pics.
    So i do know what to but know without doubt, thnxs for your story.

    1. Wow, that is awesome to hear. I’m glad my review could make the choice clear for you. And don’t get me wrong, I love the X-E3 but, as with you, I don’t walk out the door with it! You should be very happy with and X100F!

  11. Hi. Came across this review and wanted to comment. I’m retired and traveling in Southeast Asia for the last six months on a never-ending voyage. I chose the X100F for a few reasons. One is the beautiful images SOOC with the film simulations I get. I don’t edit images since I am no way a professional photographer and only use the camera for my own enjoyment and fulfillment as I now travel through Vietnam and soon Cambodia. I do have the two lens which I bought on ebay but never use. I pack the camera everywhere I go. On buses between cities, at night-time in Hanoi or wherever. As a complete novice, the cameras has this “soul” and appeal to me to learn. I go out each day to learn, see the cities, and just have fun. That brings me to the last point. The X100F is fun! Since I am not a serious photographer and only do this for fun; I need a camera that’s fun and that has that soul. This camera does it for me. I have looked at other Fuji X series cameras and the new ones coming out. I just cannot see replacing or having a second camera. I travel with a 45L carry-on backpack and that’s it. Space is at a premium. Perhaps another thing about this camera in the end is its portability. Its not easy to learn but I would ask what thing of value is easy? I want to struggle a bit, perhaps to get better, and in the end share my photography with family and friends in the countries I visit or at home. I think I made the right choice!

  12. Bought my X100T a couple months after it came out four years ago and it’s been with me whenever I travel. Except this one trip earlier this year when I took my new XT20 and 18-55 kit plus Samyang 12mm instead. Looking at the pics, regardless of IQ I still definitely appreciate the X100T more. I like how the photos reflect somewhat a street/reportage style of showing what the trip was about. Kinda like bringing me back and taking my friends and family with me.

    Granted, I could get a 23 f2 or even f1.4 for the XT20 but why bother if the X100T is on the shelf right next to it?

    1. Right! It’s just a lovely camera to use. It’s funny, I was using my X-E3 a few days ago with an 85mm macro lens to do some product photography. Then I had to take shots of the X-E3 to put it up for sale (I have an X-T3 on order). I figured I’d use the X100F to see how the shots come out. The combo X-E3 with 85mm macro is a clear winner on IQ for product shots compared to the X100F. I used the built-in zoom feature to 70mm to have a better field of view for products than the equivalent 35mm, at the cost of a tiny loss of quality. But I enjoyed using the X100F much more, and I wasn’t even using speedlites. I don’t have a very heavy duty tripod as most of my shots are travel and the X-E3 with a forward heavy lens is more cumbersome to adjust. The X100F’s center of gravity is much closer to the tripod’s head and the whole thing feels so light!
      And I agree with you too on having a 23mm f/2.0 and another body. I will order the Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 when I receive the X-T3, I already know that. But I’m shooting myself in the foot by adding an additional choice in my arsenal for potential cameras. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I do need a better rugged and weatherproof option for daily outings, backpacking and studio use. But when I’ll be heading to a warmer country or needing to travel extremely light, I’ll have to chose!

  13. Its a great camera, the Fujifilm X100f. I have had it for a year now, and have used it in Havana, Moscow and Paris especially. For me its the best street photography camera currently available.

  14. Today i have just ordered a silver F after owning one last year and just missed its IQ
    I noticed that many of my most recent work was with a mint copy to its predecessor the T i hardly touched the other cameras so sold everything today for a mint used F in silver – the best colour!
    Lovely work BTW your images just prove what a powerhouse the F really is.
    Thanks!

  15. Read this and your excellent exposé on Cuba. Fantastic images and storytelling! When I don’t need my full frame Sony gear, I always have a Fuji X70 in my bags or car (silver, of course). The images that the 16MP APS-C sensor produces continues to amaze me, and a good reminder that a 24 or 42MP full frame sensor is not always necessary to produce beautiful results. The simple compact format of this camera with fixed lens brings joy anytime I use it.

    The X100F interests me, but the lack of a flip screen is a dealbreaker for me. I actually taped down the flip screen on my X70 with some gaffer tape on a recent to see if I could live without it, but peeled it off in less in an hour. I guess I’m just too used to shooting from my waist or lower and can live without a viewfinder others would prefer to have.

    Wishing you continued success and safe travels!

    1. Well thank you for your kind words Robert! As you read, I agree with you that the lack of flip screen is on major downfall of the X100F. However I found that it was only a minimal issue when used for travel photography and still believe the X100F is as good as it gets for my style of travel photography. As you mentioned though, it’s a matter of shooting style. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy the X70 so much, I’ve always wondered about that camera. Honestly if Fuji made an X70/X100 style camera with a flip screen, a faster (small) lens and made it weather-sealed, that’d be all I’d want. For more demanding work, I recently acquired the X-T3 and I love it (so much that I’m selling my full-frame Sony gear). But if that rangefinder fixed lens camera had these two elements, I’d probably resell the X-T3 and lenses!

  16. Guillaume, I’m a little late finding this article and discussion but it’s excellent as are the photos. I completely agree about the X100F… I’m an old guy whose first big purchase after high school was a Fujica 35mm film camera back in 1971 and in recent years have been sucked in by the retro look of some digital cameras… it’s probably the main reason I wound up with an X100F and earlier an Olympus E-M5 II which I still own. I have fallen in love with the X100F for some reason and it’s always the camera I want to grab on my way out the door even though I think every time I’d be better off taking the Olympus with a few lenses. I’m only a hobbyist / grandfather camera enthusiast and use it mainly for general use and family functions, etc, but the look and feel of the X100 along with, IMO, the results of the photos have me hooked. It’s just a fun camera to handle and use… and not to mention cool looking. 🙂

  17. Thanks for your review! I’m headed down to south America next month and will be taking this camera with me! In my opinion, the fugifilm blows away canon, sony or any other manufacturer on image quality.. Just love it! I had a ricoh gr ii for my trip to asia, and although I did like it, I think the 35mm will suit me much better. Plus the camera just looks amazing! Thanks for such a great review!

    1. Thanks for your kind words Mike! Glad you enjoyed the review so much, and I’m even happier to hear that you’ll be enjoying the camera in South America soon. Have a blast and share some photos when you return!

  18. For a while I have been debating whether to get the x100F or the RX1R II. I have read a lot of articles and a lot of reviews. I found your view to be extremely helpful and illuminating (pun intended). By the time I was close to the end of your review, I had concluded that I should get the x100F. But then I read your paragraph on the RX1R II and I came away thinking that, but for the price difference, you would prefer the RX1R II as a travel camera. Am I right about that or, if the price of the two cameras was the same, would you go for the x100F? I would really like to hear your reaction. And thanks again for writing such a great review!

    1. Thank you Tom, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this review so much! You bring up a very interesting question which I think is tough to answer. As I’ve mentioned in the paragraph, if it wasn’t for the price tag, the choice would be very hard, especially if you’ve already “tasted” Sony’s full-frame sensors.
      If both cameras were the same price, it would really come down to the following question: is image quality more important than usability/features. My understanding is that the RX1R ii feels slow (including turning it on) and has terrible battery life. That alone means that you’d probably make sure the camera is always off when not shooting, and since it’s slow to wake, the moment for travel photography (especially street) might have passed. IQ means nothing if some characteristics of the camera prevent you from getting the shot in the first place. However, these compromises can be lessened with practice and habits.
      Here is my opinion on this dilemma:
      Since I was getting rid of my Sony A7rII, I was used to Sony’s system, menus and buttons and I do absolutely love the image quality of the A7rII sensor, I most likely would’ve bought the RX1R II for the same price (though it wouldn’t have been an obvious or easy decision). However, now that I’ve been shooting several Fujis, the X-E3, X100F and the X-T3, I find that I don’t miss the A7rII. Sure the Fuji files aren’t as crisp, but for my use, IQ is excellent and the pleasure of use is beyond what Sony can offer. If I had to make a choice between the X100F and the RX1R II today, with the experience I’ve had with Fuji, I’d probably go for the X100F (which is $1,199 on Amazon right now). But if IQ is of the utmost importance, at the expense of user experience, go with the RX1R II (which is $3,298 on Amazon right now).

      I hope that makes some sort of sense and helps you in your decision rather than complicate things!! Again, it’s not as easy a choice when the price is the same.

  19. Thanks for the great review – most illuminating!! One small question: if the x100F and the RX1R II had exactly the same price, would the x100F still get your vote as the best travel camera?

    1. Hey Tom, I just realized it doesn’t look like I responded to your comment (though I thought I had). Your suggestion creates a difficult choice for me. Coming from the Sony A7rII, I probably would have bought the RX1R II if it was the same price. However, now that I’ve shot with the X100F and embraced Fujifilm as a whole, I might’ve not had as good of an experience or as many keepers with the RX1R II. The slugginess of the camera would get in the way of quick street photography, though the sensor itself would make up for it if technical photography or massive printing was required (think astro stuff, fine art printing, cropping, etc).
      As far as saying that one would be the best over the other, it would have more to do with personal shooting style. If you like to slow down in order to get the best image quality there is, the RX1R II beats the X100F for the same price. If you realized that most of your photos are viewed on phone screens and you don’t need surgical sharpness at 42mpx (that’s me, and almost every other person taking photos out there, but not necessarily everyone), then the ergonomics, features and pleasure of use of the X100F easily beat the RX1R II, even at the same price.

  20. That’s a great review for a great camera. Of course I second to your opinion, so my comment is rather biased, but that camera is so much package that you have to start using it day by day to appreciate it. I also come from Nikon and sold my D800. I tried the XT1 and XT2 but there’s something about simplicity and minimalism which makes the X100S/X100T/X100F fantastic.

    By the way I’d love to see your EXIF for all pics, the X100F has some strengths and weaknesses so I like to compare what aperture you used to get the crispy shots.

    1. Thank you! It is a lovely camera for sure. I’m not sure why all the exif didn’t transfer into these photos in a visual way, even in the gallery at the bottom. However you can find the original files from this review, unprocessed photos (including exif) here.
      Enjoy!

    1. Thank you very much!
      To be perfectly honest, I have personally taken the X100F (or any other camera for that matter) to such cold temperatures. Here are camera’s official operating temperature specifications:
      – Fujifilm X100F (Amazon): 0°C to 40°C (+32°F to +104°F)
      – Fujifilm’s flagship rugged and weather-sealed X-T3 (Amazon): -10°C to +40°C
      – Nikon’s massive pro D5 is also 0°C to +40°C (like the X100F)
      – Olympus’ rugged and weather-sealed Om-D E-M1 mkII is -10°C to +40°C (when in operation) / -20°C to +60°C (when stored)

      Even pro level cameras aren’t rated different or much better than the X100F. I’m sure it’d work, especially if it’s sunny, but battery life would definitely suffer. The X100F is, however, not a camera designed to be rugged. If these were the conditions you were shooting in most of the time, I’d pick a more rugged camera.

  21. Love these images, and the fact it was done in Cuba is even more of an interest to me. I am off to Cuba in a few weeks time, primed with my faithful but a lot heavier Canon 5d + 40mm Prime (nice discreet prime).

    I would like to ask, how did you go about asking for street portraits of the people of Cuba? Was everyone friendly enough for you to ask?

    1. Hey Dan, glad you like the images and glad to hear people are motivated about visiting Cuba! It’s such a wonderful place in its own way. Do you know where you’re going?
      It’s interesting you ask about taking street portraits, it’s always been a difficult thing to do for me. Cuba is a great place to practice and hone your skills for people photography and everything that it involves. There are many Cubans in the popular tourist areas that are around probably just because they get tips from tourists. I suspect these guys were doing exactly that (these two dudes in Trinidad, this lady in Havana showing off her dog’s skills, this stud in Havana, this character in Havana who actually asked for payment)! These people have peculiar “airs” about them and I’m sure they know they can get some money from it. Make sure your carry around small change (CUCs, don’t give them dollars as they can’t easily convert them).
      Other Cubans I’ve taken pictures of definitely weren’t looking for tourists to take photos of them.
      This man was the first one I took a photo of. He was sitting in the shade by a big church in Cienfuegos. I actually realized too late that I gave him a few US quarters instead of Cuba currency.
      This guy was just a chance encounter as my girlfriend and I were walking random side streets of Cienfuegos. He’s the one who said hi as we walked by. I eventually turned around to chat a little and ask if I could take his photo. He was thrilled and even invited us to see his shack. We gave him a few coins and some gum and soaps (it’s our understanding that things like soap are a little pricey for locals, though I’m not 100% sure this is still true or that they appreciate these things as much as they used to).
      This man was sitting in a side street in Havana where not many tourists walked, just selling 3 pairs of shoes and 10 different articles of clothings (that’s it…). I started chatting with him and asked if I could take photos. He was shy but accepted. I took a little longer to get the shots I wanted with him and my girlfriend later told me that some younger Cuban on a bicycle rode behind me and faked slapping me, saying something. Probably a local not appreciating that a tourist would take advantage of a poor man in order for me to get a photo I like, or at least that’s my guess. Nevertheless, we actually gave him a few CUCs, more than any other people I photographed while visiting Cuba, as well as some fruit leathers. He was thankful.
      This guy was just watching a high school baseball game in Cienfuegos. I think we were the only tourists who walked into the weird and oversized Russian built stadium while the game was happening. I honestly can’t remember if he, or I, started the conversation but he was super friendly and didn’t have a problem with his photo being taken. We even got another Cuban to take a photo of us with him and his wife (yes I handed my camera over to a random Cuban right there!)
      This young fellow approached us in off-streets of Cienfuegos, speaking excellent English. We conversed quite a bit before I asked to take a photo of him. He had tried to make it to the USA but was picked up by the coast guards and sent back to Cuba.
      Bottom line is that in most cases, people were extremely friendly! I had a couple people who didn’t want their photos taken, even when offering money, but they were very friendly about it. I think they were shy. Speaking Spanish is a must to make things easier. Depending on your level of Spanish, you can even try to explain how in the USA, we say “cheese” for people to smile, but it doesn’t translate well for a smile in Spanish: “Queso!!!” That seemed to break the ice somewhat. In our experience, Cubans really enjoy tourists from the USA. The ones we’ve talked to, whether I’ve taken photos of them or not, had no problem separating the USA government from the USA people, and I think it’s only fair to do the same with them. They are all about people to people interactions. Sure, we weren’t visiting small streets in unsafe areas at night but we also didn’t just stick to tourist areas. I remember a Cuban wanting to talk to us and saying “we love only two things about the USA: the movies…. and everything else!” Often, when people approach you, they will have another motive in mind, such as selling you something or trying to get you somewhere, and sometimes it gets old. But overall, I found it pretty easy to approach people, genuinely ask about them, try to find something to talk about and eventually ask to take a photo.
      Good luck to you! Please share your photos when you’re back, I like your style from your website.

  22. Hello Guillaume,
    Firstly I’d like to mention how amazing I found your photography to be. It’s just beautiful!!!
    Secondly I’d like your advice/comment on a hesitation I have in purchasing an x100f.
    I do believe it’s a wonderful piece of equipment and I’d like it to be my main camera but I hesitate due
    to so many horror stories I’ve read about failing quality control and problems users experienced
    with this camera. What are your thoughts on this problem, any advice ?
    Many thanks,
    C.

    1. Hey Collin, thanks for reading and for your kind comments, I really appreciate it!
      Honestly, I haven’t heard any of these stories so I can’t really relate too much. It’s funny though, as I try to think about anything that could indeed relate, I remember a time when I was helping a friend photographer with a product shoot. I was only there to help him with the shoot, moving lights around and such. He was shooting with his trusted Fujifilm X-T1 connected to a couple strobes through an antiquated pc-sync port. Nothing was working properly, the strobes would trigger only sporadically, most often not at all. While he ran to a camera store to look for a remote setup, I rigged up my X100F (Amazon) that I had somehow packed as a backup. I set up the strobes to work as slaves triggered by the built-in flash on the X100F and started shooting. It worked wonders and we finished the shoot with the X100F!
      It’s not necessarily a story that illustrates one camera’s reliability vs another but maybe just a story that would offset the balance a little. As I mentioned, I personally haven’t experienced any horror issue or dealbreaker user experience problems. I also almost only shoot the X100F while traveling so it currently doesn’t get as much use as my X-T3 workhorse (Amazon).
      Here’s how I would look at it. If you’ve gone this far and you’re ready to pull the trigger on a camera like the X100F, don’t let a few stories out there stop you from getting that tool. Choosing a camera such as the X100F is no small feat. You must know ahead of time that you are committing to what most out there consider compromises. You can’t change lenses, it’s not weather sealed, it doesn’t have a flip screen, etc etc. Despite all this, yes it is an amazing camera. I’m not sure where you’re buying it from but I would just buy it and test it heavily within the return period. Nowadays, you can return these things relatively easily and if something happens after that, there are always warranties. It’s probably not the best answer but I meet so many people who often convince themselves not to do something. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes it’s just a missed opportunity!
      Anyhow, whatever you decide to do, let us know what it is!! And good luck to you.

  23. This review is fantastic and helps me understand my own reasons for connecting with the X100F. I’ll add my own thoughts in case it helps anyone else who’s on the fence. I rented one to try it out and have been missing it ever since returning it. I hope to have my own to keep very soon. I currently have an interchangeable lens camera (an aging OM-D E-M5) that has been great for travel (including a photo trip to Cuba), but I find more and more I want the simplicity of a fixed lens camera. I mostly use prime lenses anyway, and in the end my favorite photos, the ones that feel the most real to me, are in the 35mm range. (I will miss my gorgeous 90mm-equivalent prime but I was very impressed with the X100F’s digital teleconverter at 50mm. Because the X100F upsamples back to a 24MP file, the quality really is quite nice and very usable.) The X100F will be a welcome upgrade in terms of IQ but — more importantly — in the photographic experience. I noticed when using the X100F that my eyes were not buried in the screen of the camera and I was much more open to the world around me. Because all the important controls are physical, and because there’s never a choice to make about lens or zoom, it’s much easier to stay present in the moment. That transforms the travel photography experience.

    1. You saw the nail and hit it square on the head! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      The X100F is a challenge that will reward its user if they can deal with these (so-called) compromises. If one can’t find comfort in the X100’s design features, they will fail. However, if they can understand the concepts you’ve highlighted and work with them, they will be rewarded greatly by this clever little tool.

  24. Fantastic article!

    Like you, I love the Fuji X100F. I love it so much that I make videos about it despite the fact that I am a full-time pro who only uses the Fuji for travel and fun. (No, this isn’t a comment to plug my channel I promise, I just want to illustrate how fervent the fan base is for this camera). I read reviews like your’s even though I already own the camera! The love that people have for it is really unique.

    It’s nice to see that you admire the fixed lens for one of the reasons that I do… it keeps me from carrying more gear. I never thought I would buy a camera specifically because of it’s limitation until I bought the Fuji X100F. I toy with getting a camera with interchangeable lens but I never do because I want to stay true to the mantra of portability and low-profile.

    I agree that not having a dedicated button for the flash is a pain so I mapped it to a button on the back. Still, it only brings up the menu and then you have to scroll to turn it on which is not as quick as I would like.

    I would love to know how you set your camera up (sharpness, color, etc). Also, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who loves Classic Chrome. Shame they can’t call it what it is… Kodachrome. 🙂

    Thanks for a great read and more inspiration to get to Cuba as soon as possible. 🙂

    My You Tube channel is my website link on this post if you are interested. 🙂

    1. Ha, that’s awesome to hear. Glad you like the article so much. I do the same and still keep an eye on reviews and content relating to gear I already own.

      I honestly haven’t changed the image settings much. I’m usually happy with Fuji’s built-in film simulations and switch between Classic Chrome and Acros (Red mostly). I bump up the sharpness and color a couple notches and leave the NR as is, or lower it sometimes. That’s about it.

      Nice channel by the way, thanks for sharing!

  25. Great article and photos. This brings up some memories.

    I got one of the first X100s in Canada. I loved that camera. Then the X Pro-1 came out with the three primes, and I traded in the X100. That was the longest I ever used one camera … over five years. I traded that system a couple of years ago for a m43 kit (Pen-F). At the time, Fuji seemed to be gravitating away from the small primes (this has since changed).

    However, I missed the Fuji aesthetic. I REALLY missed the 35/1.4. So I sold the Pen and got back into Fuji with an X-E3. I do really like the camera … small, light, responsive. But I do look longingly at the X100 from time to time.

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the read and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      I love all the different stories people have around the Fuji system. I had an X100 when it first came out but I think I was not ready for a single lens system. I did like it a lot but always found myself grabbing my Sony or Nikon that I had back then. Used Sony for a while then Fujifilm released the X-E3 (Amazon) and that got me right back into Fujifilm. That X-E3 was also somewhat what made me purchase the X100F (Amazon). Right before a that trip to Cuba, my girlfriend mentioned she would enjoy using a good camera (she studied photography in college and only had an old Canon bulky and outdate DSLR). I had been itching for an excuse to buy the X100F and there it was! The only thing I missed with the X-E3 were a dedicated ISO dial and weather-sealing. When Fuji released the X-T3 (Amazon), the upgrade was a no brainer. While the smaller X-E3 is an awesome rangefinder-style camera, its design ended up being too close to the X100F for me to own both.
      All that to say, watch out if you buy an X100 camera, your X-E3 might not see much use after that 😛
      Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and glad to hear so many people enjoy the Fuji system!

  26. Wow, what a great article. I was impressed with everything… your unbiased look at the camera, the honest pros and cons (and so-so’s), your photographs, your editing, the tone of your photos and the tone of your writing. It’s late August of 2019 and this article is still 100% relevant: I’m going to purchase a silver 100F, despite knowing a new version is (reportedly) due next year (and after all, a new version will be due after 2020’s, and another after that… lol). I have a 5D3 and 1000lb’s of lenses… I LOVE IT/THEM… buuuut It’s rarely used for all the reasons you mentioned. I’m excited about the 100F’s limitations (sounds like a marketer’s dream… get someone excited about what a product lacks ;), for all you mentioned… it “challenges me to be so much more intentional about that I choose to shoot and how I compose. I WANT that. I’ve spent too much time in life searching for the perfect chisel… I want to rediscover woodworking… i.e., I want to feel re-inspired by the joy and ART of photography and have a feeling this is the perfect camera (for me) to do just that. Oh, and by the way… kudos to you for your thorough yet still-kind responses to all of the Captain Obvious’ and Tech/Pixel Peeping “Compensators” out there who use comments to try and poke holes in everything. Stumbled across your blog this evening… I’m impressed. Humanly presented by a human… so some of us can capture those works of art called humans. Bravo.

    1. Hey Todd, thank you so very much for your thoughtful comment, I truly appreciate it! I am thrilled to hear that my views on this camera can help people come to the realizations you’ve described. The chisel vs woodworking comment is on point, I like it! And kudos to you for buying a tool that’s been on the market for a little while, knowing that the “next best thing” is around the corner. It takes the right dedication to know how to benefit from these choices, and it sounds like this camera will serve you well! If you truly want to reconnect and go rangefinder film style, you can probably deactivate the LCD viewfinder and leave the rear LCD on the settings page (no image review) or have it off (not sure what’s possible now). Then you’d just review what you shot once you get on a computer, could be a fun experiment.
      It also warms me up to see that what I wrote can still have an impact too. Life kinda took over and this website has been somewhat neglected. It’s too bad, I have some more material to write, I just need to find the time between a million other things. So whether I pick up the pen/keyboard again, thanks for reinvigorating me with your kind words.

  27. Hello-

    I enjoyed this review, and the many comments that have been posted over time. My camera of choice for many years was a double stroke Leica M3, with a Summicron 2.0 DR (the close focusing attachment was long gone by the time I bought the camera). I am currently shooting the Fuji x100f and find both cameras to be very similar. I am really looking forward to the Fuji x100v.

    Best regards,
    Brad

    1. Hey Brad, I’m glad to hear you enjoy this review and your X100F, it is a super sweet camera! We’ll see what the future holds but I love hearing how this little tool is still relevant today.

  28. Great review and excellent images! I was interested to see your unedited pics (which are still excellent) but was fascinated by the enhanced sun stars you put in the high viewpoint one of the man paddling. Can you tell me how you did it?

    1. Well thank you Laurie! Are you talking about this image of a man walking through water with sunstars all around him? This is the unedited image by the way.
      If that’s the case, the sunstars aren’t necessarily enhanced. I did add clarity to the entire image, which makes them pop a little more, but sunstars are best achieved directly in camera. These sunstars are more pronounced at smaller aperture and with lenses that use straight aperture blades, instead of curved ones. They also have more points if your lens has an odd number of blades instead of an even one (which was one of the disadvantages of many Canon lenses). The X100F isn’t the best camera for this, unfortunately. It does have 9 aperture blades which creates 18 pointed stars, however the blades are curved which makes these stars a little mushy and not very defined. To create these stars, you need very small but very bright points of light and shoot at a small aperture. I knew before getting the shot that I wanted to get this man silhouetted with sunstars. The sun was high and bright and the water had small ripples. I set the X100F at f/16 and hoped for the best. I hope this helps!

  29. I traded in my Sony A7 kit last year for an X100F. I only buy a camera every 5 years or so and took a long time to make the decision. But I’m oh so glad!

    The ease of use and versatility mean I am bringing my camera more places and using it more often. The additional simplicity provided from RAW+JPEG and film sims means I am spending less time editing on the computer, too. This is where the experience comes together for me. Fuji has made a camera that lets me take great photos and share them quicker than I used to pick them up at the drug store.

    I have another career and photography is a personal hobby. After a trip I would spend weeks editing vacation photos from my A7, and to get nice colors out of an image it tended to look overdone and fake. The Fuji sims are perfect every time, and I can change using the in camera processing if I want to.

    Found your site from the Fujifilm featured photo – congrats!

    1. Hey Andy, thanks and glad to hear you’ve enjoyed your decision to switch from Sony to Fuji. I know the feeling about dealing with files (though I still do it with Fuji, but at least they aren’t 42mpx files). I love hearing about these success stories and how it seems that it usually involves a much deeper connection to a camera than with other brands.

  30. I had the x100s and hated it for travel use…
    bought the x100f and really like the images…
    fixed lens is a problem for me… but am getting used to it.

    when I am able to ‘zoom with my feet’, I get some really nice shots

  31. I usually shoot a 5DMkiii w/ equally as heavy L glass (f1.2 & 2.8), a Hassey 500cm again w/ a few heavy lenses and a prism finder and a tripod. I have decided on a lighter option and just bought a X100F and a Rolleiflex 3.5A for a travel as the travel set-up as I am sick of carrying the usual 10+kg. Time to simplify however only the next trip will tell if I have done the right thing.

    1. Congratulations! I can somewhat relate to the challenge you’ll face on your next trip. I’d spend so much time imagining what an upcoming trip would be like. Is it going to involve hikes in nature, cities, scenery, people, adverse conditions, discretion, etc. I could come up with so many scenarios that would justify carrying my X-T3 with a few lenses, or my Sony A7rII with a few lenses when I still owned it. It has always been hard to make the commitment to take only the X100F on travels but it’s been incredibly rewarding! There are only a few situations where I wouldn’t pack it, such as Iceland in winter (just too wet). I’d say, if you make that commitment, shape your trip to take advantage of it. If you are saving yourself 10kg of camera weight, do the same with your backpack and schedule a longer hike than you might’ve considered if you had your heavy gear. Go to that event that you’re sure a big camera would be intrusive as opposed to a small X100F. Make sure you do things in your trip where larger gear would’ve hindered the experience, it’ll make it all that much more rewarding!

  32. Great images and a wonderful analysis of the x100F — which is still my favorite. I call mine the “mini-beast” because it packs such an amazing push for being the tough little package that it is.

    I tell people that this camera will make you a better photographer. Why? Because, instead of worrying about which of your (heavy) extra lenses to use, ya use the one you came there with! And you use your eyes and head and heart to see what is in front of you. So many people say “Oh, if I just had that telephoto or if I could afford to buy that wide lens.” OK, there are certainly times when those lenses have great usefulness. But nothing replaces the simplicity of using what you’ve got and spending time on composition, lighting, texture, contrast — what’s happening in front of you!

    Again, thanks for this great write-up of the F. And yes, I know there’s a V out there but for me, the F is still the “mini-beast!”

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