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[A Photographer's Notes] The FujiFilm X100V: Is it Worth the Hype?

A professional photographer's honest review of the FujiFilm X100V. Does it live up to the hype, and is this the best camera for you? Let's find out.

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Looking online on YouTube and Instagram these days, I see a lot of videos and posts regarding how amazing the FujiFilm X100V camera is. I was honestly quite surprised at the sudden hype, so I wanted to check it out for myself.

A couple of technical notes about the camera. 

The FujiFilm X100V was first released in Feb of 2020, making it almost 3 years old. It has a 26.1mp APS-C sensor and a 35mm fixed lens with a max aperture of 2.0. The X100V also has an internal 4-stop ND filter which is great for shooting video during the day, especially when you want to shoot on larger apertures like the camera's f.2.0.

Why All The Hype For The FujiFilm X100V?

From what I can see online, a few TikTokers started to release videos talking about the greatness of the camera. And from there it snowballed like so many things online do these days. A couple of TikToks grew to hundreds, which grew to countless videos on YouTube, and well, you get the picture.

The sudden craze-like attention drove up the camera's price on the second-hand market, making it very difficult to purchase. The price was going as high as $3,000 USD in the last few months alone. Kind of crazy for a camera that looks to have been originally sold new for $1,400 USD, wow!

With so much hype around the camera, and as someone who has used a lot of FujiFilm cameras in the past, I really wanted to try the camera out for myself to see if it lives up to the hype.

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Luckily, a friend of mine had the camera and graciously lent it to me for a week. I tested the camera out in Tokyo for a few hours and should say right here that I do like this camera. It was fun for street shooting, and am quite happy with the images I got.

But is it the best camera in the world that will instantly improve your photography? Well, let's discuss that. 

Point 1: Ease of Use

Yes, the camera is very easy to use and very straightforward. I like the physical dials on the camera and the analog style of shooting.

Being a fixed lens at 35 mm forces the photographer to "zoom with their feet." This, for me at least, really made me concentrate on my composition and framing when taking pictures.

The internal menu is well laid out and is the same as all FujiFilm cameras. This makes picking up this camera super easy for current FujiFilm users. Also, its compact size makes it fun to just toss in a small bag, your jacket pocket, or put around your neck when heading out into the street. 

Is The FujiFilm X100V For Beginners?

Having said that, one issue I do have with this camera is the claim that it is great for people just starting out in photography. Although that statement is true, I feel that many beginner photographers will quickly outgrow the fixed 35mm lens.

One great thing about photography is the ability to change the look of your images by changing your lenses. So if someone is really looking to get into photography and learn all there is to learn, I would actually recommend spending a little more for, say, a FujiFilm X-T4 or the new FujiFilm X-T5.

Start with a simple 35mm or 50mm, and then you are able to upgrade your lenses as you develop your style. If you have the X100V but want to try different focal length lenses, you will actually have to buy a new camera anyway.

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Point 2: Film Simulations

Some people mention the ease of use of the film simulations and the fact that with these you can use your images "as-shot" for things such as social media.

These film simulations are fun and do look great. But as you grow as a photographer, you will quickly learn that even though it's easier to just use the film simulations, there is a good chance you will still want to tweak your images in post to get a look that is unique to your style. 

Also, these film simulations are in all FujiFilm cameras and are highly customizable as well. Don't think you will be missing out if you choose to get a different FujiFilm camera. 

Bonus: RAW and JPEG Images

One thing I really liked about shooting with the film simulations, however, was that I could set the camera to capture both RAW and jpeg images. And I could set the jpegs to have the film simulations. I highly recommend doing this when shooting.

The film simulation might be the look you like right now. But as you grow as a photographer, your editing skills will also grow. You will be very thankful you have the RAW files to edit if and when you want to re-edit some of your favorite past images. 

Point 3: It Looks Slick

Yes, the FujiFilm X100V is a very good-looking, well-designed camera. It's great to hold in your hands while shooting. And it even looks cool just strapped around your neck.

To be honest, I am one of those people who are tempted to buy a camera for just that reason. And if that is why you want it and you can afford it, who am I to say otherwise? 

However, if you are a beginner photographer and want to grow your skills and ability, I think you need to look beyond the "cool factor" and the social media hype. You need to see how you and your camera can grow together through upgrading your lenses in the coming years.

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And honestly, the other FujiFilm cameras on the market all look slick. I am sure you will enjoy showing off whatever camera you decide on. 

Remember: Photography is a Lifelong Marathon

In the end, it does come down to personal preference. I myself already have all the gear I need for my professional work so picking up a camera like this for fun shooting would be really great. Maybe I will pester the people I know at Fuji and see if they have any lying around.

But if you are just starting out, I would highly suggest looking at other bodies in your price range that allow for the use of multiple lenses. This will help you develop as a photographer in the long run.

Photography is not a sprint. It is a marathon you run for your entire life, so don't get washed up in the hype. Go with something that really fits who you are and what you want to do as a photographer.

Having said that, the FujiFilm X100V is really cool and I really don't want to give this back to my friend.

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Author: Jason Halayko

Jason Halayko is a professional photographer specializing in action sports and portrait photography. Follow him on Twitter (@jason_halayko) and Instagram (@jason_halayko).

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