FUJIFILM X100VI Review – A Capable Camera for Video, and Great for Composition Learning

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The FUJIFILM X100VI was announced in February and originally we were not planning to review it. However, a day after the announcement when we saw our B&H affiliate backend full of preordered cameras, and our mailboxes filled with so many questions about the camera’s capabilities to produce “professional” video results, we decided to include it in our review roundup. Curious to find out how the camera performed? Please sit back and enjoy our FUJIFILM X100VI review.

Back in February while traveling to Japan to cover CP+, I also had the opportunity to meet with two top FUJIFILM managers, Yuji Igarashi-san and Watanabe-san, for a conversation about the newly announced X100VI. If you missed this friendly talk about the camera, don’t hesitate to head here and learn more.

Fast forward to the present. We had the camera here at the office for a bit and took it for a spin. While I was concentrating on exploring the video capabilities of the X100VI, I asked my dear colleague Florian to dive into checking the following:

  • How fast will the camera overheat (not so fast – just make sure your setting “temperature” is set to “high”)
  • Occasional use for taking pictures by carrying it around

Together, we tried to understand why people became so hooked on this camera, as we had never seen such a tremendous wave of preorders before.

FUJIFILM X100VI. The silver edition is looking great! Credit: CineD

X100VI – provoking emotions

When holding the camera for the first time, there is no doubt that FUJIFILM managed to create a piece of equipment that stirs emotions. The feeling of holding something that is beautiful to look at and feels classic to the touch immediately uplifts your mood. Top this with relative ease of use, (meaning: fixed lens, compact size, lightweight 512g “point and shoot” camera) and you have a winner. In other words, mobile phones are great for taking photos and videos because they are always with us, but if you are looking for something that does not rely so much on computational image-building, has a much larger sensor (40.2MP APS-C in this case), fits into a (larger) pocket, and contains FUJIFILM’s famous film simulations, then this camera might be interesting for you to explore.

FUJIFILM X100VI. Credit: CineD

Great for learning composition?

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, there are times when “learning with the feet” is much better than “learning through the head”. In this regard, a fixed focal length camera is a great tool to practice getting your composition right. Zoom lenses are fantastic (of course!) but a fixed focal length lens can make one think harder about how to compose the shot instead of simply twisting the zoom barrel.

FUJIFILM X100VI and the SLR Magic 1.33x anamorphic adapter
FUJIFILM X100VI and the SLR Magic 1.33x anamorphic adapter. Credit: CineD

An anamorphic adapter on the fixed 23mm lens?

As I wrote earlier, we are a bit late to the party with this review and as such, I wanted to create something that looks a little bit different, and in my opinion, there is no better way to explore that possibility than by adding an anamorphic adapter to the lens to achieve a more pronounced look (and in all honesty, why make life easy when I can spit blood?)…

It starts with the fact that the lens has an inner thread you can attach any filter to. This means that a “special” ring adapter is required to attach an adapter or any filter to the lens. As the one we ordered from Amazon “got lost on the way”, Florian simply printed one at home on his 3D printer. The anamorphic adapter I chose to work with was an “ancient” one from SLR Magic. This Anamorphot-40 1.33x adapter is supposed to function when working in autofocus mode and also, as the X100VI records video on the 16×9 portion of the sensor, it was best suited for the job in coming up with a 2:35.1 frame aspect ratio.

I love working with soft diffusers in front of my lenses in order to “break” potential digital-looking footage, but this time I did not do so well. My choice to work with a 1/4 black Pro Mist in front of the anamorphic adapter proved to be “not so good”. Don’t ask me why I chose this overly strong strength, but after seeing the final results, I realize I should have used a 1/8 black Pro Mist instead.

The interview with Alp is a good example. I had to run it twice as the strength of the Pro-Mist filter really bothered me so much that I unscrewed it from the adapter at some point.

Compact and stylish
FUJIFILM X100VI.Compact and stylish. Credit: CineD

What to like

First, we have to take into consideration that this camera was never intended to be a “best-in-class mirrorless camera for video”. As such, I (we) have to align our expectations and treat it for what it can best offer. For me, it is its mobility and ease of use. Top this with 20 attractive film simulations including the new REALA ACE, and here you have a camera that you can always have with you, or if needed, serve as a backup device for filming.

Building on my previous comments about the stylish camera and its compact size, FUJIFILM has optimized it to be ideal for the occasional shooter. A 6.2K video (6240×3510) is nice to have, especially when dropped down on a 4K timeline (for additional sharpness and reframing if needed). Also, the 200Mbps is good enough for capturing good-looking videos. F-Log2 for maximum dynamic range and post-color correction are there, too. Like its predecessor, the built-in ND filter is a must, although it has only two fixed positions, “on” and “off”. As such, I occasionally found myself screwing in an additional ND filter to compensate for the strong outdoor light.

Unlike some cameras in its size, this one has a hybrid electronic/optical viewfinder.

Audio terminals could be better
FUJIFILM X100VI. Audio terminals could be better. Credit: CineD

What I would like to see improved

There is a list of things I would have loved to see done a bit better, but in all honesty, I can discard those concerns because I don’t see FUJIFILM implementing such enhancements in future XV100xx models. Simply put, a larger handgrip, a bigger capacity battery, and a fully articulated LCD screen (just to name a few) would affect the overall nature of this camera.

So continuing along the line of “the camera has fixed hardware”, I can only ask for software enhancements. One of those changes will be the ability to switch between the EVF and LCD screen AFTER pressing the record button. Currently, the last position you choose will be locked, which is very inconvenient while filming. I also wish that the autofocus would be improved next to the IBIS performance. (As this is the first X100xx camera to have an IBIS, things can only get better from here).

Attaching a tripod plate prevents quick access to changing the SD card or battery
Attaching a tripod plate prevents quick access to changing the SD card or battery. Credit: CineD

Also taking the camera limitations into account when recording audio in the camera – for monitoring audio, you will have to be equipped with a USB-C to 3.5 female jack cable, and for connecting your mic, you will need a 3.5 to 2.5mm jack adapter. Not convenient at all, but I guess it falls under those hardware limitations that cannot be changed.

 LCD screen
FUJIFILM X100VI LCD screen. Limited tilting position. Credit: CineD

Last but not least, regardless of which recording resolution you choose, when filming in HQ mode the camera will crop the video by 1.23x. Then, the 23mm lens becomes almost a 30mm lens. Now, for me personally 23mm is not wide enough, so 30mm is even less attractive.

For those who are looking for “high data rate video recording”, please look elsewhere. As the camera uses a UHS-I SD card, the maximum data rate is restricted to 200Mbps. Thankfully, for many purposes, this still looks great, and what helps here is the ability to record in 10-bit color depth and 4:2:2 color sampling. (H.264/H.265 codec flavors only).

FUJIFILM X100VI. Credit: CineD

Final words

It was truly nice to play with this camera. Is it a “professional tool”? Well, in my opinion, anything you can work and make money with is a professional tool… Personally, the newly announced X-T50 is a more desirable option (review coming soon), BUT at the end of the day, who can argue with the fact that FUJIFILM has created the most wanted camera in their history?

Now, the key question is whether they can meet the demand within a reasonable timeframe!

A BIG thank you to Alp Ruben. More about his cooking and hosting initiatives can be found here.

What do you think about the X100VI? Did you pre-order one or do you have one already? If so, how do you like it? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.


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