Andy Westlake examines the fourth generation of Fujifilm's classic fixed-lens rangefinder-style compact
Fuji X100F review: Autofocus
Fujifilm likes to standardise features across its models, so the X100F gets the same AF system as the X-Pro2. By default, it uses 91 AF points in a 7×13 grid covering most of the frame. The central 7×7 square includes phase detection, but the outermost points are contrast detection only. If you prefer you can switch to an even finer 325-point set-up, but on the X100F this feels like overkill.
Alongside the conventional single-point selection mode, Fujifilm provides an expanded 3×3 grouping that’s designed for continuous focusing on a subject moving towards or away from the camera. In addition, there’s a wide-area tracking mode that attempts to follow a subject as it moves laterally across the frame. These are borrowed from the X-T2 on which they work very well, but on the X100F they’re unlikely to get as much use, simply due to the lens. Aside from its moderate wideangle view, it’s never been known for its AF speed, as the majority of the lens moves back and forwards for focusing.
If you stick within the phase detection area, the X100F is actually quite nippy, and quick enough to capture fleeting grab shots. It’s never going to match more modern internal-focus lenses for speed, but that’s a trade-off of the camera’s slim design. I was impressed by how reliably it continued to work in low- light conditions such as a dimly lit bar, where previous generations would have struggled. However, going outside the PDAF area is another matter entirely, with much slower AF and a greater tendency towards hunting. I’d have liked to have the option of disabling these outermost points entirely.
This is the fourth X100 on which we’ve seen the same 23mm f/2 lens, so it’s very much a known quantity. On the whole, it’s very good, with impressive corner-to-corner sharpness and minimal distortion or chromatic aberration. But it does have a couple of flaws; it’s rather prone to veiling flare with oblique light sources, making use of a hood highly advisable, and it starts to look very soft when shot wide open at close focus distances. For portraits, this can be flattering, but for macro shots you’ll need to stop down to f/4 or smaller to get anything resembling sharpness. The X100F’s boost in resolution means that this flaw looks more pronounced when viewing your images at 100% on screen, but in reality the image quality isn’t any worse than previous models. You just don’t always see the full potential of the 24MP sensor.