Fujifilm X100VI Review: The street photographer’s camera just got even better

Having reviewed all previous five iterations of Fujifilm’s retro classic rangefinder-styled X100 fixed-lens camera series, I am really thrilled to be able to review its sixth version – the X100VI.

Why thrilled? Because the backorders for this camera are so overwhelming that Fujifilm said it might take months to fulfil the demand. If you have money though, there are some flippers selling the camera at up to S$3,999 – which is more than S$1,000 compared to its S$2,499 retail price – in Carousell. So why is the X100 series so popular?

  • PRICE: S$2,499, available at authorised dealers
  • IMAGE SENSOR: 40.2-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5
  • LENS: 35mm f/2.0
  • DISPLAY: Tiltable 3-inch touchscreen LCD with 1,620,000 dots; hybrid viewfinder – electronic viewfinder with 3,690,000 dots and optical viewfinder
  • SENSITIVITY: ISO 64 to 51,200
  • SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 11 frames per second
  • CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • WEIGHT: 521g (body with battery and memory card)

History lesson! When the original X100 was launched nearly 14 years ago, it was something the camera industry had not seen at all. It has an innovative hybrid (optical/ electronic) viewfinder, a large image sensor and a fast prime fixed lens in a small compact retro rangefinder-like body.

Fujifilm X100VI is the combination of the past and present. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

In other words, you get a lightweight inconspicuous high-resolution camera that will not attract any attention. This is what street photographers, who are always on the hunt for that decisive moment on the street, look out for in their cameras.

The first X100 has its fair share of hiccups but they were rectified later through firmware updates. Subsequent versions built on the success of its predecessors. And with the retro trend in full swing with people using film cameras and even disposable cameras, the X100 series started to gain a cult following among professionals and serious amateur photographers.

In-body image stabilisation (yeah!)Still does not use a full-frame image sensor
Rangefinder-like stylingSlightly more expensive than its predecessor
Higher resolution image sensor than predecessorDisplay still not 180-degrees tiltable
Superb image quality
Great handling
A photographer’s camera

For the X100VI, the biggest upgrades are mostly in the inside. These upgrades include the new 40.2-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 5 APS-C image sensor (up from X100V’s 24.3 megapixels), the latest X-Processor Pro 5 image processor for faster processing and more accurate subject recognitions like animals, cars and trains, powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Other features include AI subject recognition autofocus (AF), tracking non-recognised subjects and tap-to-track AF during video recording.

Perhaps the most important upgrades of all is the in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). IBIS is one feature that X100 series fans have been asking for years and Fuijifilm has finally delivered. This IBIS system is supposed to offer up to 6.0 stops of correction or prevention of camera shake.

However, many things remained the same. There are still 425 AF points, and maximum shooting speed is still 11 frames per second (fps) like the X100V. X100VI also has the same 23mm (35mm in 35mm equivalent) f/2.0 lens with the same 3,690,000-dot hybrid viewfinder and rear 3-inch touchscreen LCD display. This touchscreen still only tiltable but down to 45 degrees instead of only 30 degrees in X100V. But it still cannot be flip back fully for selfies. Guess the target audience is not one to take selfies often.

The rear touchscreen display is good for waist shooting, but not for selfies. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Available in black and silver (version tested), the X100VI looks identical to its predecessor. The only way to decipher if this is the new model is by looking at the X100VI logo itself. On paper, the X100VI is 2mm thicker and 43g heavier. That said, it is still very lightweight when you sling the camera on your shoulder.

Button layout is similar to its direct predecessor. On the right of the display, you will find a column of controls with the mini-joy stick on top followed by the Menu/OK, Play and Disp/Back buttons. I love the mini-joystick, as it allows for easy directional control and changing of AF point quickly.

You can easily customise almost all the controls. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Next to the hybrid viewfinder is the drive button, for selecting drive modes such as high speed continuous, single shooting or video recording. Staying put at the top right of the camera are the shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial, function button and shutter release. Within the shutter speed dial is the ISO dial. Lift the shutter speed dial and turn to change the ISO setting.

The top right controls remain the same for easy changing of settings. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

There are also two command dials – one sited in front and one at the rear. You can also customised the dials to change aperture or ISO. You can even change the front focusing ring to custom functions like changing the film simulation modes (which I did). Overall, the overall handling is great, combining the feel of an old-school camera with modern flexibility. It is just such a delight to use this camera.

Charging of this camera is via a USB-C port sited on its right side. Convenient! (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Its operation is equally delightful. Camera operations are swift – one second each for start-up and shutdown, compared with the typical two seconds for each operation of its peers.

The subject recognition of the X100VI is really smart. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The X100VI’s AF is almost instantaneous in bright lighting conditions. You are unlikely to miss the decisive moment. Even in dim lighting conditions like in Sentosa Sensoryscape at night, it takes at most a second to secure a focus. Plus, with the aid of subject recognition, you can always count on the camera to make the right focus.

Even in such a dark scene, the X100VI was able to secure a focus while ensuring the right exposure. 1/20sec, f/2.0, ISO 3200 (Photo: Trevor Tan)

With the new image sensor, image quality is superb with excellent colours, sharp rendition, great dynamic range and crisp details in the darker areas.

Even at ISO 6,400 in this night scene, you can hardly see any noise artefacts. 1/230sec, f/2.0, ISO 6400. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Noise performance is stellar, with no visible noise artefacts up to ISO 3,200. Even at ISO 6,400, the noise artefacts are hardly visible and usually more than good enough to use. But anything at ISO 12,800 and above is not recommended, as there are significant noise artefacts with some detail loss.

Videos shot are equally superb, with the IBIS no doubt helping to ensure sharp and smooth frame rates.

The situation at Sentosa Sensoryscape shot using Fujifilm X100VI. (Video: Trevor Tan)

Rated at 450 images on a full charge, the X100VI’s battery life is better than most compact cameras’ 300 images per charge. I took around 370 images and it still has around 50 per cent battery left.

The bigger downer though is the higher price tag. It is S$351 more expensive than the X100V. Not to mention, X100VI is now made in China instead of Japan, which its predecessors are made.

It looks gorgeous however you look at it. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

While the place of manufacture is not that important, “Made in Japan” has always been a badge of honour and inspires more confidence among consumers. Probably, this makes the higher price slightly hard to swallow for some.

VERDICT: At S$2,499 (or more if you want to grab one on Carousell), the Fujifilm X100VI is undoubtedly a tad expensive. Especially when some interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras are cheaper than that. But what you get is a complete package for what a street photographer needs. And for that, it is worth every penny of its price. Easily Editor’s Choice, for me.

More photos (resized for web) taking using Fujifilm X100VI.

1/90sec, f/2.0, ISO 6400. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
0.3sec handheld, f/8, ISO 1600. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
1/640sec, f/2.0, ISO 6400. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
1/40sec, f/2.0, ISO 1600. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
1/570sec, f/4, ISO 400. Using Acros Film Simulation. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
1/800sec, f/2.0, ISO 400. Shot in colour and converted into monochrome. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
1/320sec, f/8, ISO 400. Shot in colour and converted into monochrome. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
1/20sec, f/2.0, ISO 800. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
1/610sec, f/2.0, ISO 12800. (Photo: Trevor Tan)