As in previous years, we have put together a series of RainyDayTastic GiftGuides for this holiday, full of suggestions for our readers. As with every one of our Guides, all of the items in this guide are either things we looked at, ones we reviewed and liked, or brand new gear we haven’t reviewed yet but we think you would like.
The one thing that stays the same year after year is our selection criteria: all of these recommendations are things we have actually touched and things we would actually want.
We have been a huuuuuge fans of Fujifilm’s X100 series since its debut in 2010.
We got the X100S in 2013 and upgraded to the X100F in the Spring this 2018. After using this camera for nine months, we can say without a scintilla of a doubt that the X100F is the best of the X100 series and likely the best in its category. That is the reason why we are dedicating the entire 2018 RainyDayPhotography Gift Guide to things X100F!
X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera (Black Body)
When upgrading from the X100S to the X100F, we decided to switch from the silver to the black body. We loved the classic look of the silver/black combo, but we are really happy with our all-black decision. The main reason for the upgrade, though, are the advances Fujifilm has put into the X100F.
The X100F has:
- 24MP X-Trans™* CMOS III & X Processor Pro
- Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder
- 3.0-inch LCD screen
- Intuitive Analog Operation
- Focus Lever for Quick Selection of Focus Areas
- Film Simulation “ACROS“
We can go on and on about the X100F, but this is a gift guide, not a review. So we’ll just say: go buy it, either for yourself or for someone who has been REALLY good this year.
It will be a huge hit for anyone who finds one under the tree on Christmas morning.
X100F Camera – Fully Accessorized
Yes, the designers of the X100F did an amazing job, but the camera can be made even better with a few accessories.
We offer you a collection of must-have and nice-to-have items, based on our experience with the X100S. We are certain they will serve X100F owners as well.
Our criteria for an item to be worthy of the the “must-have” list is simple: it must either protect the camera or make it easier to handle. Three accessories that meet the criteria: half-body case, thumb grip, and filter adapter/lens hood.
There are many well-made cases for the X100 cameras across a wide price range ($20–$300+). We have tried both ends of the price spectrum and ended up loving one priced in the middle from the Australian company Gariz.
We like the Gariz case for its use of real leather, excellent design, and superb workmanship. Note the stitching, the cutouts, and the metal base. Also, the Gariz half case is cut in such a way that it does not interfere with the attachment/movement of the camera strap.
A key thing we look for in a case is not having to remove it when we in order to access to the battery/SD card.
Many would be surprised that even high-end makers overlook this aspect when designing their case. The Gariz not only passed all of our selection criteria with flying colors, but they have upped the bar with a metal base which offers a better gripping surface for tripods and monopods.
Like the half-case, metal thumb grips are a must-have accessory for the X100F. Also, like the half-case, metal thumb grips are available at prices ranging from a few dollars to a bit more. The Lensmate Thumb Grip is an excellent example of “you get what you pay for.”
This grip, while at the high end of the price range for items of this type, is specifically engineered for the X100F camera. Two key design features makes this grip worth buying over all the others:
Having a small patch of silicone in the hot shoe tab of the Lensmate thumb grip may seem trivial, but is actually something which could only come from people who use what they make. We say this because we have lost our fair share of the cheaper thumb grips as they will work themselves loose and “disappear.” Someone at Lensmate understands this.
In addition to the silicone insert at the hot shoe, there are silicone pads at both the thumb area and the side that makes contact with the control wheel on the body. There is also a notch machined into the hot shoe tab for easy removal. You are not going to find these details in cheaper versions.
If we have to nitpick, we have to admit that the X100 cameras comes with a pretty useless lens cap. We have never used it—ever—because a friction-fit cap is just begging to get lost “out in the field.” Also, if you want to use a filter with the camera, an adapter will be required, and the lens cap becomes obsolete anyway.
The lens hood does not attach to the lens directly, but to the adapter ring, which will also hold any standard 49mm filter in front of the Fujifilm lens. This hood+adapter set will add some depth to the camera, but we feel the tradeoff is well worth the extra protection offered.
Also, we don’t have to worry about losing the lens cap.
The manual which comes with the Fujifilm X100F is pretty good explaining the camera’s features and capabilities. Even if you read the manual cover to cover, though, the X100F is the kind of camera you can spend years figuring out all it has to offer.
Having tips from experts like Rico Pfirstinger is one way to shorten the learning curve. The Fujifilm X100F 101 X-Pert Tips from RockyNook is a great gift for anyone fortunate enough to own the camera.
We especially like his “Recommended Settings for your X100F.” That got us up and running with the camera right away.
The X100F is excellent in low light, but sometimes having a steady camera can be a huge advantage, especially if a faster shutter speed or a deeper depth of field is desired. We have had great success pairing the X100 with monopods, especially the Vanguard ABEO CM-284. Made with carbon fiber makes this unit light and stiff. It weighs less than a pound, is less than 21″ long when collapsed, and can extend to 60 inches.
Other nice-to-have items are extra batteries, a fast SD card, and an odd little item which fits over the shutter button. We have had excellent experiences with the following accessories:
Extra batteries and a fast SD card are obvious, but what’s up with the “little red button?” The whole “red button” thing might have had its start with the iconic Leica cameras, but everyone is doing it now and in all kinds of different colors.
What is it? It is a screw-on add-on for any shutter button which has threading for a release cable. This little gadget is definitely decorative, but it is also pretty darn functional. The concave surface fits perfectly with the tip of the finger and gives an improved feel/control when pressing the shutter button. Not a life-changer, but very pleasant and wonderfully unexpected.
Stainless steel clips
Most straps come with split rings for attaching it to the camera body. Split rings are very secure, but they make it tough to take the strap on/off quickly.
On the back of the X100F is a 3″ LCD display. While the glass is pretty tough, we wanted to add a screen protector. Expert Shield is a specialty company which has custom-cut screen protectors for the exact camera model including the rounded corners for that OEM appearance.
The X100F is not sealed against rain or spray so a cover is needed when shooting in the wild. The best protection we have found are the sleeves from Kata (now part of Manfrotto). The E-690 has a crystal clear panel, openings on the side, and works over a tripod.
The number of camera bags on the market are almost beyond counting, but clearly they are not all created equal.
We have looked at more bags/cases than we can remember, but the two here stand out.
The two that make the cut for the X100F are:
Hands down the best equipment bag, in our opinion, is the Billingham Hadley Pro. It is extremely well constructed, superbly functional, and incredibly flexible. It is equally at home carrying a Nikon DSLR and a few lenses for a day shoot, or the smaller X100F and some extra clothes for a weekend away. Every photographer would love one of these beauties.
For those looking for something thinner, Domke and Fujifilm have collaborated on a customized co-branded bag for X-Series photographers, featuring unique accents and high quality materials. It is a great looking bag that should last and last.
Amazon links to “must have” items mentioned:
- Fujifilm X100F Camera Black
- Gariz HG-X100FCM Camel Brown Leather Half Case
- Lensmate Metal Thumb Grip
- Vello LHF-X100 Lens Hood w/ Adapter Ring
- Rocky Nook X100F 101 X-pert Tips
- Vanguard ABEO CM-284 Monopod
- Wasabi NP-W126S Battery Pack (2)
- Concave Shutter Release Button
- Lexar 64GB 633x Pro SD card
- Expert Shield LCD Protector
- Manfrotto MB PL-E-690 Elements Cover