The Premium Compact King Is Back! Fujifilm X100VI Preview

The Premium Compact King Is Back! Fujifilm X100VI Preview

The successor to the worldwide popular, and rightfully so, Fujifilm X100V has finally been revealed! The new X100VI brings forth some very welcome features while staying true to what made the X100 lineup great. We’ve used it for a while and loved it! How was it? What’s new? What stayed the same? Is it worth upgrading? Will you even be able to get one?

Still Beautiful! Still Unique!

The X100VI builds on what made the entire X100 series of cameras attractive in the first place. The simple, yet beautiful design reminiscent of an older analog rangefinder has been improved upon with each generation, only to be perfected with the latest generation. The X100VI is unmistakable once you see it. The body still features slick straight lines with curved edges, metal, leatherette, a modern feel, and a vintage intuitive look. The design has been praised ever since the X100V came out in 2020, and thankfully, not much has changed with the sixth generation. All the buttons are still in the same place, all the mechanical switches and dials still work identically, and the overall feel has not been tampered with. Even the unique ISO dial introduced with the X-Pro2 and perfected with the X100V is still present. You know the saying, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it,” and boy, am I glad Fujifilm didn’t.

Metal top plate has stayed true to what makes the camera great.

The camera still feels great in the hand. Yes, the front grip is a bit shallow, but I find it a non-issue as the camera is so lightweight there is no problem using it one-handed. For those of you who like a deeper grip, an optional ergonomic one is always a possibility. The only mechanical switch that has seen a slight alteration is the front lever responsible for the hybrid viewfinder modes. Its function is the same, only the design has been streamlined a bit. It is shorter and lacks the red accent seen on the previous model.

We still get the same color choices as we did with the older models. A traditional silver body with a black leatherette or a fully black body. Some say silver is the only correct answer when they order one, some prefer the stealthy look of the black one. Both sides are correct, of course.

Slightly altered front switch.

It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts

We’ve already established not much has changed on the outside, fortunately. The most important changes have happened inside of the camera, and I must say, they are just as welcome as they are significant. The X100VI is the third camera on the market utilizing the 40-megapixel X-Trans 5 HR APS-C sensor, which many of us know and love. It brings the same beautiful detail as the X-H2 or the X-T5 do with the same performance in terms of low light. Of course, each and every one of us has our bar regarding noise/grain in our image that we’re willing to accept. Personally, I use this sensor up to its maximum native ISO of 12800, and I’m still very satisfied with the results. Compared to the X100V, we now get a lower base ISO of 125 and a faster electronic shutter speed of 1/180,000 s with nearly double the resolution. That alone is a considerable difference, but the upgrades have only just started.

The brain of the camera is the new X-Processor 5 capable of more computing power. This allows the X100VI to detect subjects like humans, animals, or vehicles rather easily. Tracking has also been much improved with object tracking now actually being reliable unlike with the previous models. More on the tracking and autofocus later, though. The X100VI still uses the same NP-W126S battery which, when used correctly, can bag you north of 800 images. Especially thanks to the new processor being 20% more efficient.

Still beautiful, still unassuming.

One slight difference in the body design is its thickness. It is a whole and absolutely backbreaking one millimeter thicker than the X100V. I hope you can sense the sarcasm in that sentence. The difference is so minor that just reading these four sentences took more time than I spent noticing the difference. What matters though is what the extra millimeter brings to the inside of the camera. 

A Stable Sensor, Finally!

That’s right! The Fujifilm X100VI features IBIS! Granted, most photographers use the X100 series cameras for documentary or street photography where your shutter speed rarely drops below 1/200 s to keep your subjects, people, sharp. However, having a stabilized sensor opens up the capabilities so much. I was easily capable of getting a sharp image at 1/4 s shutter speed, where the still subject stayed nice and sharp while the passing bus turned into a smooth blur in the background. Low-light images have suddenly become much more attainable or much less grainy. No need to worry about your traditional 1/60 s to keep the image still. Bump that shutter speed down and lower your ISO. Video shooters might get something out of the IBIS mechanism as well.

The tilting screen makes a return.

Still the Same Lens Whether You Like It or Not

The 23mm f/2 lens with its incredibly silent leaf shutter introduced four years ago is back. Its optical and resolving capabilities were discussed in detail when the X100V came out, and everything still applies here. It can utilize the resolution of the sensor beautifully and to its maximum potential, so there was no need to alter it in this regard. Using the exact same lens does hold the camera back a little in a different way, though. The autofocusing speed of the lens is also the same, which means moving from the minimal distance to infinity takes the same amount of time. Don’t get me wrong. It is not a slow-focusing lens at all. But it is not fast either. Once the camera acquires a subject, it can track fairly well, as long as the subject isn’t running towards your camera. The motor sometimes simply has a problem moving quickly enough to keep up with the subject. 

The same goes for using just a single point in AF-S mode. It can acquire focus pretty fast. But moving from a subject further back to one close to you can take half a second. We’ve seen this with the X100V, and the X100VI is no different. My best guess is that this is the cost of keeping the body and the lens so compact. Still very much usable for most scenarios but don’t go shooting sports or dog races expecting to be able to get frontal running shots unless you prefocus.

Only a millimeter thicker but now featuring IBIS.

Pretty Damn Good for Video Too, Mostly

X100 series cameras were never truly intended for video use. They are photographer’s cameras. The small body mixed with the built-in lens, and a smaller battery usually means short recording times both due to the battery dying or even shorter due to the camera overheating. That being said, the sensor and the processor are capable of some serious video specs so why not enable them anyway? And Fujifilm did. 

The X100VI is capable of recording 4K video up to 10-bit, 4:2:2 internally at 60 fps, or if you lower the fps to 30, you can even record 6.2K. These video specs are near-identical to the X-S20, or the X-T5. The only difference is the HDMI output. The X100VI cannot output raw video. You can connect an external microphone but only using the smaller 2.5mm audio jack. So yeah, it can record pretty good video, just expect it to get fairly warm, and don’t expect to be able to record for extended periods. This is a stills camera first and foremost.

The unique hybrid viewfinder is back.

Fujifilm Lied To Us

When we finally got to see Fujifilm’s latest medium format offering, the beautiful GFX 100 II, a few months ago we were introduced to a new film simulation called Reala Ace. It combined the color tones of the Provia simulation with a smoother contrast and less aggressive shadows. At that time, we were told that all of that was thanks to the capabilities of the newly developed 102-megapixel medium format sensor of the GFX 100 II. Luckily for us though, that has proven to be false, as the simulation has now found its way to the APS-C cameras. Yes, the Fujifilm X100VI comes with the Reala Ace film simulation out of the box. There is no official word on the simulation being retroactively brought to the X-T5, or X-H2 models via a firmware update, but it would be a most welcome update.

Still Unattainable? Or Finally Available?

Fujifilm claimed that the reason the X100V cameras were so hard to come by was an issue with the hybrid viewfinder being made by a third party and not being able to keep up with the demand. Many believe that was the reason the X-Pro3 has been discontinued without a clear replacement on the horizon. Well, Fujifilm has now apparently moved the production of the hybrid viewfinder in-house to make sure there are going to be plenty of units ready to ship as soon as possible and to keep up with the demand. So, while none of us can with 100% certainty say the supply will be large enough, it seems that the days of seven-month-long wait periods are over.

Fujifilm X100VI. An extra letter to tell the difference.

Hard to See Any Downsides

The design is still beautiful, the specs are even better than before, and it seems that the availability issues have been sorted. Looks like Fujifilm has got a winner on its hands. Will you be getting one? Will you be upgrading? Or maybe the used market for X100Vs is finally going to offer decent prices. One thing is certain. I’ve already preordered mine. In the few days I had the pre-production unit it made a lasting impression, and now, I have to have one. It’ll complement my X-T5 perfectly. If only it had a second memory card slot. Still, the X100VI is a fantastic camera.

What I Liked

  • 40-megapixel X-Trans 5 HR sensor
  • IBIS
  • Improved AF and tracking
  • Same weather-resistant body
  • Same intuitive controls
  • Tilting screen
  • USB-C charging
  • Reala Ace simulation
  • Sharp images
  • Silent mechanical shutter
  • 1/180,000s electronic shutter

What I Disliked

  • Still only a single card slot


Ondřej Vachek's picture

Ondřej Vachek is a Prague based independent documentary photographer and photojournalist with multiple journeys to war-torn Ukraine where he covered everything from the frontline in the Donbass to the civilian life adapting to the new normal. Avid street photographer with love for writing and storytelling.

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I'm one of the weirdos who prefer the look of the 26.3mp files over the 40mp. Rats. The ibis and Reala Ace would've been cool.

Agree. I don't like the way camera manufacturers are constantly increasing megapxels in their lower priced models. 24mp for FF and 26.3mp for cameras like Fuji aps-c is the sweet spot. The mp increase also increases file size.

I thought the same. I wasn't a fan of the shift to 40 megapickles until I tried it and now I'm very happy with the decision. In terms of low light, my X-T5 performs the same as my X-T3, X-T4, X100V, or X-Pro3 did. I just get more detail, especially in textures.

I saw Matt Granger's Youtube video on this camera and he didn't feel like he got more detail, especially as the lens is the same as the X100V. I personally don't like increases to file sizes when cameras keep increasing megapixels.

Saying that, at the end of the day, if you like the camera and notice more detail in the photos that's all that matters, not my opinion that's not based on first hand experience.

I did a comparison a little over a year ago between both of the 5th gen sensors using the X-H2S and X-H2 and while I did not see a difference in grain on SOOC jpegs, the detail in the textures was clearly better. Of course, only seen when printed or zoomed in at over 100%.

Left is X-H2S, right is X-H2. The battery is shot at ISO 3200 and the lens detail is shot at ISO 12800.

(These are 200% crops btw)

Yep. Me too. I had a GFX100s I traded in for a Nikon Zf. One of the best decisions I ever made. 100mp was way over kill for anything I shoot as well as some technical issues I was having with the camera and technical issues I had been hearing other people deal with helped make the decision a pretty easy one for me. I have Nikon D800E with a 36mp sensor and that's more than enough resolution for me when I need a camera with more resolution. I use the Zf for everything else I shoot.

Although I am not planning to buy one – what kind of technical issues did you have with the GFX 100s?
Because I saw a video of Scott Choucino and he just got a GFX 100 II (if I recall it right) and he also had some issues he did not specify.

So I am wondering what the general issues with these medium format cameras are.
thanks in advance.

If you are doing a review then include the price as well... and that this model is $300/300 euro more expensive then the 100V.

As the title suggests, it's not a review, but a preview. I was working with the information I was given before the official release. I didn't know the price when I used the camera and wrote the preview. True, it does cost more, but not by a huge margin considering the improvements.

I don’t really get it. A crop sensor camera with a lens that can’t be changed for $1600. Sure it looks cool, but I don’t see any practical reason to buy this. Almost every camera manufacturer has a crop sensor camera that is cheaper and better - and don’t restrict you to a single not very wide angle lens.

I'm curious to see which cameras you've got in mind. In terms of compact of fixed lens cameras you've got a Q3 which is considerably larger and much more expensive, the GRIII(x) from Ricoh which is a great option but not for everyone and then that's pretty much it.

The great LX100II (D-Lux 7) has been discontinued and then pretty much the rest is either a Type 1.0 sensor or smaller. I may be missing a camera in the list but there really isn't anything remotely close to what the X100 offers, looks like, controls like, or gets you the same image options.

I get it, it's not for you. And that's ok. I'm among many who are already looking forward to getting our own units when they ship next week.

What I really can't get past is the price point. I wasn't particularly comparing apples--to-apples when I mentioned the other cameras.

I was comparing this camera (non-interchangeable lens) to interchangeable lens, APS-C cameras. That might not be fair, and it definitely misses the point about this camera, but even Fujifilm has one that costs under $1000.

So again, that price. If this was around $1000-$1200, I'd be intrigued and could see a lot more value.

For $1600, I'd want better weather sealing, better autofocus and (this is just me) I'd prefer to see something like a fast 15mm lens instead. Then you have something that can handle tight angles, like the inside of buildings, and would give you a very nice landscape perspective.

My apologies. I misunderstood your comment and thought you meant other fixed-lens cameras.

The weather resistance I'd say makes perfect sense. The lens extends a few millimeters depending on the focus distance so enclosing it fully to seal it would make the camera a bit thicker. This way you get to choose whether you prefer a thinner camera or a sealed one. You don't even need to use the Fujifilm official adapter and filter. Nisi makes really nice filters specifically for the X100V(VI), that seal the front element without adding too much bulk.

The price is a highly subjective matter. For many it's more than fair for others it's too much. I fully appreciate what the camera offers and am willing to pay for it. Fujifilm currently says that the amount of preorders they got is considerably higher than expected. WEX in the UK even says it is about to break all of its records regarding preorders.

I was more than happy with the AF performance. Yes, it's not A7 IV, R6 II, or X-H2S level, but it is very decent and reliable.

Lastly the focal length. 23 (35) millimeters is the sweet spot. Not too wide, not too narrow. The camera is mainly aimed towards street photography, weddings, documentaries, generally people, candids, and similar. 15 would be too wide. This was one of the reasons the Leica Q3 never clicked with me. It has a 28mm lens and that is just too wide for my comfort. However, you can tighten or widen the lens using the TCL or WCL.

I didn't get along with the LX100 at all. Can't quite remember why. Partially the handling and Panasonic colours.

I think if it came with a fixed lens instead of the motorized zoom it might be more interesting. I agree with the Panasonic colors, but I mostly shoot b&w so I've never had an issue with that :)

Had the original and loved it mostly. Eventually got frustrated with the fixed focal point of 35mm. After a couple of 1 inch sensored cameras I've settled on a Sony a6400 with the 16-50 lens for my walk around camera. Fast af and Really nice image quality. Super slow to shut down on the first shutdown of the day though (an odd quirk of the alpha series). I also have the 55 - 210 lens for the total package. I have full frame DSLRs for more serious work but this is light, fast and convenient.