Lens flare is something you either love or hate. People who love it seek it out and purposefully include it in their images. People who hate it use a lens hood. Lens flare occurs when there is a light source in front of the lens that is much brighter than the rest of the scene (such as the sun).
The lens on the X100F is “Super EBC” (Electron Beam Coating), which is a fancy way to say that Fuji uses a crazy-looking machine that has a vacuum chamber and electron gun to apply 11 layers of coating onto the lens. This coating is supposed to minimize lens flare.Modern lenses are precision engineered to maximize sharpness and minimize flaws. The less distortion the better. Lenses today are superior to older lenses if pure image quality is the goal.
I loved pairing my old Fujifilm X-E1 with vintage glass. Modern lenses are great, but in their precision they lack character. It’s the flaws that make a lens unique, that give your pictures that extra something that new glass simply cannot.Modern lenses will give you the greatest pure image quality, but in a cold and clinical way. Think of music. A digital song lacks flaws, but it also lacks the warmth found on analog vinyl. Using a vintage lens is like listening to a song spun on a record.
One complaint that I had read about the X100F prior to purchasing it is lens flare. There are some people who think it flares too much and that it’s kind of weird looking (not the typical lens flare that one would expect). An easy fix is a lens hood, but that makes the camera much less pocket-sized.I don’t want to get too technical here, but there are different types of lens flare (and different lenses will render the same type of flare differently). What I find most prevalent on the X100F is called “veiling flare” which is more of a hazy flare. The lens controls what is known as “ghosting flare” (which is probably what most people picture when they think of lens flare) really well, but it can still be found if you point the lens towards the sun. There is also a little bit of “sensor flare” which is caused by the light reflecting off the sensor and back onto the lens (a side effect of the lens element being so close to the sensor), but it’s also controlled well.
I can definitely see why people might not like how the X100F handles lens flare, but I actually appreciate it. It reminds me a lot of how the Russian-made Helios 44-2 renders lens flare. It’s a flaw, no doubt, but it gives photographs character. It’s an unexpected uniqueness. It’s not so cold and clinical and precise. It’s almost as if Fujifilm attached a vintage lens to the front of the camera (except they didn’t). So I like it. You might not, and that’s OK.