Fujifilm X100VI review: Digital Photography Review


The Fujifilm X100VI is a photographers’ fixed-lens camera that combines a stabilized 40MP APS-C sensor with a 35mm equivalent F2 lens.

Key features:

  • 40MP BSI CMOS APS-C X-Trans sensor
  • 35mm equiv F2 lens
  • In-body IS rated at up to 6EV of correction
  • Hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder (3.69M dot OLED panel)
  • Machine-learning trained subject recognition AF
  • 14 film simulations
  • 6.2K video capture and 10-bit recording
  • Built-in 4EV ND filter
  • Tilt up/down rear touchscreen

The X100VI is available now at an MSRP of $1599, a $200 increase over the previous models. Despite demand initially outstripping supply, the backlog does appear to be easing, somewhat.


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  • Feb 20th: Initial review published
  • May 1st: Body and controls updated, Image quality, Autofocus, Video, Conclusion and Review samples gallery published.

What’s new?

The biggest change in the X100VI is the addition of in-body image stabilization.

Interestingly, Fujfilm says the IS performance drops from 6.0EV of correction to 5.5EV of correction if you use the viewfinder in optical mode. The company has not given any insight into why this is the case.

Very little appears to have changed on the back of the X100VI. Though hunt as you like, you won’t find the phrase ‘Made in Japan,’ anywhere. We traditionally don’t take a position on such issues but feel it’s worth mentioning when it comes in conjunction with a price rise.

The X100VI also sees a move to the 40MP BSI CMOS sensor used in the X-H2 and X-T5. It’s a sensor that delivers high levels of detail capture, and from what we’ve shot so far, we don’t have much concern about the lens’s ability to make the most of this resolution bump.

The VI also features Fujifilm’s X Processor V, that brings with it the machine-learning trained subject recognition algorithms. This means the X100VI has modes to recognize animals, birds, automobiles, motorcycles and bikes, airplanes or trains. As with other recent Fujifilm cameras, human face and eye detection is a separate mode, so you’ll need to configure two buttons or positions on the Q Menu if you plan to swap between photographing people and a different subject type.

Film simulations

The X100VI gains the Reala ACE film simulation first seen in the GFX 100 II. Alongside this are added the Nostalgic Neg and Eterna Bleach Bypass simulations, taking the total number to 14 simulated filmstocks or 20 if you include the faux-color-filtered variations of the mono modes.

This is a lot to choose from, even for experimenting with them after the fact, using in-camera Raw conversion. For the most part, the options available represent film responses that you might actually choose to use, but the distinction between some modes is becoming quite subtle, and there’s a balance between providing useful options and feature-bloat.

Camera to cloud

The X100VI becomes Fuijfilm’s first camera to support the camera-to-cloud (c-2-c) system using its built-in Wi-Fi. This comes in addition to the usual Wi-Fi-to-smartphone options. It lets you pair the camera with a Wi-Fi network and then have the camera upload images and video directly to Adobe’s Frame.io cloud-based collaboration platform. We found it was easy to set up and gives the option to auto upload files as they’re created or to let you manually select the ones you wish to upload. You can select specific file types, too, so that it only uploads video or JPEGs, or just Raws or HEIFs, as you prefer.

Video

The X100 series has always offered video to some degree, but we’ve not heard of a lot of people making use of that capability. The X100VI offers essentially the same options as the X-T5 (itself not the company’s most video-focused model), so you gain 10-bit recording, 6.2K capture from a 1.23x (43mm equiv) cropped region or ‘HQ’ 4K derived from this footage. This exhibits appreciable rolling shutter. Alternatively, there’s sub-sampled 4K at up to 30p from the sensor’s full with or at up to 60p with a 1.14x crop.

Like the recent GFX 100 II, the X100VI now has AF tracking in video mode, and this isn’t restricted to the subjects it’s been trained to recognize.

The X100VI has a mic input and can use its USB-C socket for audio monitoring, though, unlike the X-T5, no USB-to-3.5mm adapter is provided.

It’s interesting to note that many movie mode settings are now accessible only when the camera is in Movie drive mode. This way, there’s only a single page of basic video functions in the menu when you’re shooting stills.


Other changes:

In addition to updating some of the camera’s main specs, the X100VI also inherits many of the smaller refinements and updates that Fujifilm has developed in the four years since the last model was released. These include:

  • HEIF capture
  • Skin smoothing effect
  • White priority and Ambience Priority Auto WB modes
  • Custom AF zone areas
  • Option to limit available AF area types for AF-S or AF-C shooting
  • Pre-shot bursts (E-shutter + Cont H)
  • Self-timer lamp on/off
  • Interval shooting with an external timer
  • Interval priority mode (prioritizes chosen interval, irrespective of exposure time)

Body and controls

The X100VI is 2mm deeper than the existing X100V, and 43g heavier. In practice, neither of these changes is especially noticeable. The camera still doesn’t feel overly heavy.

The body’s dimensions are similar enough to still fit in the existing LC-X100V leather camera case. It’s also still compatible with the existing tele and wide-angle converter lenses. It uses the same lens as the previous model, so you can weather-seal the camera if you add the filter ring adapter and a filter of some sort.

The rear screen on the X100VI is a refinement of the tilting touchscreen on the previous model. It now tilts down a little further (45° rather than 30°) and pulls away from the body and viewfinder a little when tilted up for waist-level shooting. It’s a small change, but a welcome one.

Controls

The control layout is identical to the previous model, with dedicated controls for aperture, shutter speed, exposure comp and ISO (albeit an ISO control that’s fiddly to the point of primarily being decorative). As with previous models and many historic film cameras, the exposure mode is dictated by the position of the dedicated dials. Essentially you turn the dial to ‘A’ if you want the camera to control that value:

Manual Aperture Priority Shutter Priority Program
Aperture ring setting F-number F-number A A
Shutter speed dial setting Shutter speed A Shutter speed A

Exposure compensation is available in all modes, including Manual, if you have Auto ISO selected. And, since the shutter speed dial only has whole-stop steps, you can use a command dial to give you 1/3rd stop precision, ±2/3 EV from the value selected on the dial.

Command dials

In addition, there are two pressable command dials on the front and back of the camera, which can have a series of functions applied to them if the dedicated controls aren’t being used.

By default, the camera’s front clickable dial is set to control aperture, ISO and exposure comp (with a click of the dial cycling between the options). However, it doesn’t actually let you control any of these things unless you consciously hand off control from the dedicated dials first.

This is where things get a little complicated: the exposure comp and ISO dials have dedicated ‘C’ positions to pass control over to the command dials. The shutter speed dial doesn’t have a C position, so instead should be turned to its ‘T’ (Time) setting. The aperture ring doesn’t have a C position but its ‘A’ (Auto) position can be reconfigured to act as ‘C’, via the menus. This may not be obvious, given the ISO dial has both an A and a C position, but this is where the X100 series development has brought us to.

We find it hard to imagine many people are assigning three settings to the command dials, and hence needing the pressable dials to make their function toggleable, but for most permutations we can anticipate, we think you can configure them only to the functions you want to control, so at least you won’t accidentally press the dial and adjust anything unexpected.

Disappointingly, if you set ISO to ‘A’ you can’t use a command dial to select between the three Auto ISO presets that you can configure. For that you’ll need to select ‘C’ and be careful not to scroll the command dial too far and disengage Auto ISO altogether.

Hybrid viewfinder

The X100VI has the same hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder as its immediate predecessor. This has three modes: fully electronic, fully optical and optical with an inset electronic display.

As with all viewfinders that are offset from the lens and sensor, the optical finder is affected by parallax: when focused at infinity, the difference in position between the lens and viewfinder is irrelevant, but it becomes increasingly important as the focus distance decreases. Not only does the framing of the photo diverge at closer focus distances, the position of the AF points effectively moves down and to the right as you focus on closer subjects.

The X100VI finder includes the improvements made in firmware 2.0 for the X100V. A ‘Corrected AF point’ option (AF/MF Settings pg 3) displays a bracketed indicator in the OVF, showing where your AF point will move to if you focus close to the camera. Another menu option, ‘Bright Frame Position Memory’ (Setup/Screen Setup pg 1) lets you decide if you want the AF box to revert to infinity after each shot or stay at the correct position for the last time you focused. Between these two options, you should be able to get the OVF to work the way you’re most comfortable with.

OVF inset tab

A quick note on the tab at the bottom right-hand corner of the OVF, which can be popped-up to have an electronic display projected onto it. In MF and AF-S modes, its default behavior is to show a magnified view of your chosen AF point, and you can press the rear dial to change the magnification. In AF-C mode, it simply shows the entire scene, so it isn’t terribly useful.

Battery

The X100VI uses the same NP-W126S battery as the previous few X100 models. It’s an 8.2Wh unit from which the camera is rated to deliver 450 shots per charge using the optical viewfinder or 310 shots if you use the EVF. The usual caveats come into play: in many shooting scenarios you can expect to get around double this number.

As you’d expect of a modern camera, you can charge the battery in the camera using a USB-C cable. As is becoming increasingly common, no offboard charger is supplied in the box to avoid electronic waste.


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Image quality

As part of the work on our review of the Fujifilm X100VI, we’ve shot and processed our standard studio test images with the camera.

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you’ll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

Given the camera is based on a sensor we’ve seen before, there are few surprises in terms of its performance. It produces more detail than the 26MP sensor in the X100V, though perhaps not to the degree you’d expect of its 24% increase in linear resolution. Inevitably it shows more noise at the pixel level than lower-res sensors, but is comparable when viewed at the same output size, up until the very highest ISO settings.

Lens performance

The studio scene is not intended as a lens test: we typically use very high-performance lenses at an aperture that delivers high levels of cross-frame consistency with little risk of diffraction limiting the performance. However, with the X100VI, we have no choice but to use the built-in lens.

The 35mm equiv field of view means we have to move much closer to the target but this is still at over 40x focal length, so isn’t especially close-up. An aperture value of F5.6 means the test isn’t as aggressive as it could be.

And the X100VI’s lens appears to acquit itself well in these circumstances. In the JPEGs it’s comparably detailed near the center as the X-H2’s results, using the 56mm F1.2 R lens we use for X-series ILCs (though the X100VI is possibly having to apply more sharpening to deliver this result). Things get a little softer towards the corners and exhibit some (easily corrected) lateral chromatic aberration and a degree of vignetting in the Raw conversion. For a lens that’s as compact as it is, it appears to be doing a good job in front of a high-resolution sensor.

The X100VI’s tiny eight-element lens isn’t the absolute sharpest, and a 40MP sensor means pixel-level performance noticeably drops away if the light isn’t pretty bright. But Fujifilm’s JPEG engine and its wide array of interesting and attractive ‘Film Simulation’ color modes give excellent results.

Fujifilm X100VI | ISO 250 | F2.8 | 1/1500 sec
Photo: Richard Butler

As with all the other 40MP X-Trans cameras, the Adobe Camera Raw conversion isn’t showing the same levels of contrast or sharpening that the camera’s own JPEGs do, so it’s worth downloading the Raw files to see whether your preferred software and processing workflow produce results you’re happier with. But overall, we feel it does well.

Most importantly, we have found it to show solid (if not outstanding) results in real-world shooting, which tends to be a lot less demanding than a highly detailed chart that allows side-by-side comparison with some of the best lens/sensor combinations money can buy. It’s not especially sharp when used wide-open at close distances, but we weren’t unhappy with the results.


Autofocus

Autofocus is one of the most expanded areas of the X100VI and yet, somewhat paradoxically, one of the least changed.

The X100VI gains the subject recognition system first introduced in the X-H2S. It’s been trained to recognize your choice of subjects. This is guided by the underlying AF controls, so you can still select anything from a single, variable-size AF point, via customizable AF zones up to the whole image area, and the camera will focus on the recognized subject nearest your specified area. In AF-C mode, there’s also an AF tracking mode that gives a mid-sized AF point that will then follow the selected subject around the frame if they move.

The addition of subject detection AF can make it quicker to select a target or be more confident that the camera will focus in the right place, but it doesn’t particularly improve AF performance itself. We mainly found ourselves using the X100VI in AF-S mode.

Fujifilm X100VI | ISO 125 | F4.0 | 1/640 sec
Photo: Richard Butler

As mentioned earlier, subject recognition is a distinct series of settings from human face/eye detection, so you’ll need to configure two of the camera’s scarce custom buttons if you wish to regularly swap from face/eye detection to and from one of the subject detection modes.

Subject detection and eye detection do not work when you are using the optical viewfinder, where you have only a single AF point size. AF tracking (without subject recognition) is available, though. This means you lose most of the camera’s more advanced focus capabilities if you try to use one of its defining features.

AF performance

However, while subject recognition works very well at identifying subjects, the X100VI’s heavy, unit-focus lens can’t move quickly enough to sensibly maintain focus on moving targets. So, despite its interface being very similar to cameras such as the X-H2S, its AF system as a whole is much, much less effective.

While subject recognition makes it slightly easier and quicker to focus on an animal or bird in your image, it doesn’t particularly improve the likelihood of you getting your shot if your subject moves.

As with the X100 cameras that came before it, you’re better off learning to pre-focus and anticipate movement than you are to place too much faith in continuous AF.

The X100VI is a little faster to focus than most of its predecessors, but it’s still very much a camera where you work around its AF system’s performance, rather than depending on it.


Video

The X100VI offers essentially the same video features as the X-T5, which means footage at up to 6.2K at up to 30p from a 1.23x crop of the sensor, line-skipped 4K at up to 30p from the full-width of the sensor, 4K 50 or 60p from a 1.14x crop or a high-quality 4K mode at up to 30p derived from the cropped 6.2K footage. The main limitation being that the camera’s older UHS-I card slot limits bitrates to a maximum of 200Mbps, lower than the X-T5’s highest quality settings.

As with the X-T5, each mode is a trade-off between detail, rolling shutter and the need to crop: which not only means more noise but on a fixed focal length lens also dictates a new angle-of-view.

Video crops & rolling shutter timings

Fujifilm X100VI Equivalent focal length*
6.2K 1.23x (native) crop / 24.9ms ∼45mm equiv
4K (HQ) 1.23x crop / 24.9ms ∼45mm equiv
4K 60p (sub-sampled) 1.14x crop / 13.5ms ∼42mm equiv
4K (sub-sampled) Full width / 15.3ms ∼37mm equiv

*Based on diag AoV, such that full-width 16:9 footage implies a 1.04x crop

The line-skipped standard 4K footage won’t stand up to intense pixel peeping and will be more prone to moiré and noise than a low-res sensor that can read out all its pixels suitably quickly, but for most applications, it looks pretty good.

Our notes about AF not being the fastest mean we would tend to use the AF on the X100VI only for slow focus pulls, rather than trying to rapidly refocusing to stick on a subject but the newly-added tap-to-track system is pretty good at sticking on your intended subject. The camera’s IS is also a significant bonus, and can be combined with some digital correction (with, necessarily, an additional crop) to further smooth things out. And the ability to use the camera’s ND filter when shooting video can be handy, too.

If you’re really determined to shoot with the X100VI, you can use a USB-C dongle to connect some headphones for audio monitoring and an adapter to connect a mic to the 2.5mm socket, but we feel there are probably better (and probably less expensive) platforms if video projects are your thing.

Camera-to-cloud

The X100VI is the first Fujifilm camera to be able to upload photos and video directly to Adobe’s Frame.io platform. This is primarily a collaboration platform, originally designed for video production. And, while there certainly are workflows for situations such as wedding photography, where constantly uploading files so that an off-site editor can get to work immediately, it’s also worth considering as a simple way of uploading your photos if you don’t have the time or skills to set up your own SFTP site.

For now, at least, Frame.io has a free service that gives up to two people access and allows you to upload 2GB of files. This may be useful to a lot of people who want to automatically offload their latest photos after a shoot, as an alternative to using Xapp to transfer low-res or small batches of images to a phone.


Conclusion

What we like What we don’t
  • Good image quality in JPEG and Raw
  • Excellent array of color modes for stills and video
  • Engaging direct control dials
  • Distinctive hybrid OVF/EVF
  • Combination of size, quality and styling
  • Image stabilization makes the most of high pixel-count sensor
  • Strong video capabilities
  • Decent battery life
  • Built-in ND lets you use the aperture of your choice even in bright light
  • Camera-to-cloud and smartphone app both reliable in our testing
  • Lens doesn’t focus fast enough to make the most of its new AF capabilities
  • Arguably more dials than necessary
  • Face/Eye detection separate from subject recognition, so awkward to switch back and forth
  • Function/Focus dial easily knocked (we disengage it)
  • Lens isn’t the sharpest, especially when wide-open and close-up
  • Have to use EVF or rear screen for face/eye detection
  • Not all Raw converters can get the best out of the X-Trans design

The X100VI is, as you might expect, an iterative update to the much-loved series of cameras. The higher-res sensor and image stabilization, along with some other little tweaks make it the best yet.

By now you probably know if you’re the target audience. If you find yourself wondering whether it makes more sense to buy a mirrorless camera, for the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, or find that its looks prompt the words ‘Hipster’ or ‘TikTok’ to spring to mind, then this isn’t the camera for you.

From a glass half-empty position, it’s a camera of compromise. Its autofocus, while the best performing and most useable of the series yet, is a world away from the best contemporary mirrorless cameras. Its (tiny) lens isn’t as sharp or as edge-to-edge consistent as a top-notch 35mm equiv could be. And, fundamentally, it’s a camera whose fixed lens places limitations on your photography.

The X100VI isn’t the most practical or flexible camera, meaning you have to really want the one thing it does. But the experience of shooting and the attractiveness of the JPEGs can leave you smiling.

Fujifilm X100VI | ISO 250 | F5.6 | 1/250 sec
Photo: Richard Butler

But I found the experience to be refreshing. A camera that just tries to be one thing makes you focus on the thing it does. Even though the OVF isn’t actually very practical, it helps the camera feel distinctive and special. And for all that it’s possible to worry about the corner performance of the lens, I regularly find myself looking back at the JPEGs thinking: ‘that looks great.’

As a reviewer, tasked with investigating its every feature and control point, I found myself wondering if borrowing too much from other X-series models has detracted from its purity of focus, but I also found that I soon enough just ignored all the stuff I didn’t want to use and got on with shooting.

As with previous X100 models, it’s probably a camera you choose with your heart, not your head. But if you go into it with that knowledge, the X100VI might just help remind you of how much fun photography can be.

Scoring

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about what these numbers mean.

Compared to its peers

We’ve already looked at the differences between the X100VI and the Ricoh GR IIIx in some detail but, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s mainly a question of whether you want the classic looks and hybrid viewfinder experience of the Fujifilm or the neat pocketability of the GR. The Fujifilm wins hands-down in video, for what that’s worth. The X100VI also has the edge in terms of JPEG output, we feel, but ultimately we think the underlying design concept of each camera, rather than any aspect of performance, will decide this one.

The X100VI’s closest competitor is arguably its predecessor, especially now they’re starting to appear on the second-hand market at less inflated prices. The 40MP sensor of the X100VI doesn’t offer a devastating increase in quality, nor does the addition of image stabilization definitively seal the deal. Likewise, we could live without the Reala ACE film simulation and subject recognition modes, if we had to. But collectively they, and details such as camera-to-cloud and seemingly improved Bluetooth and Wi-Fi reliability just keep nudging the needle further towards the new camera.

So what about a mirrorless camera with a 35mm-equiv lens? Sony’s a6700, for example, is pretty small, has an electronic viewfinder and a decent choice of lenses (including options such as 85mm-equiv primes that the Fujifilm can’t match). It also offers both autofocus and video that significantly outperform the X100VI, making it vastly more flexible. But within the bounds of what it’s trying to be, the X100VI offers a more coherent, consistent and distinctive user experience than a mirrorless camera does, and a hybrid viewfinder that can set this experience apart. We think both approaches can be very good, but they’re terrible substitutes for one another.

Sample galleries

Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter/magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review); we do so in good faith, so please don’t abuse it.

For the review gallery we’ve primarily shot using the new Reala ACE profile, which offers a fairly subtle color response with less contrasty shadows. The Film Simulation used for each image is indicated.

Pre-production sample gallery



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