Fujifilm X100F Aperture Series: f/5.6

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f/2  f/2.8  f/4

If aperture f/4 is the sweet spot, then f/5.6 is a close second on the Fujifilm X100F. It’s small enough to achieve a large depth-of-field and it’s large enough to achieve a small depth-of-field when focused close to the end of the lens. It’s very sharp. It’s got nice bokeh when you have a blurry background. It’s versatile, and I use it frequently.

Aperture f/5.6 is good for landscapes. It’s good for street. It’s good for still-life. It’s good for family snapshots. I use it anytime that I need more depth-of-field than f/4, or when there’s not enough light for f/8, or anytime that I need a good all-around aperture. Below are some example photographs of f/5.6 on the X100F.

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Black Conduit – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Where The Fern Grows – Bonney Lake, WA – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Sky Above The Canyon Below – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Watchtower Sky – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fuji X100F @ f/5.6

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Three Old Dock Posts – Edmonds, WA – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Barnacle Heart – Edmonds, WA – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Mount Rainier Behind The Pines – Bonney Lake, WA – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Trees, Rocks & Cliffs – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – X100F @ f/5.6

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Green Tree – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Line Workers – Moab, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Carrot Farmer – Syracuse, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Jonathan Throwing A Water Balloon – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

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Umbrella Overpass – Edmonds, WA – Fujifilm X100F @ f/5.6

 

Fujifilm X100F Aperture Series: f/4

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f/2  f/2.8  

If there’s one aperture that I use more than the rest on my Fujifilm X100F, it’s f/4. It seems to be the sweet spot, with corner-to-corner sharpness and maximum sharpness in the center. Bokeh is quite nice, although not heavily pronounced. It has enough depth-of-field to be useful in almost any situation. It seems like the best all-around aperture on this camera.

Some of my favorite images were captured with the aperture set at f/4. I use it for street photography, still-life, family snapshots, landscapes–anything really. It’s large enough for use in low-light situations and small enough for bright-light scenes. It’s a good set-it-and-forget-it option. If I could use only one aperture on this lens, f/4 would be my choice.

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Ilford Harman Technology – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Walking Man – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Thoughts Grow With A Cup of Joe – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Train Watching – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Look What I Drew – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Man In The Straw Hat – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Fortuity – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Train Ride Through The Christmas Tunnel – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Christmas Joy – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Jump – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Caramel Macchiato – Sandy, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

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Expedition Lodge – Moab, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

f/5.6  

Fujifilm X100F Aperture Series: f/2.8

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f/2

Aperture f/2.8 on the Fujifilm X100F is technically superior to f/2. The corners are not as soft. The center is sharper. Vignetting and chromatic aberrations are pretty much gone. But f/2.8 doesn’t contain nearly as much magic as f/2. Notice that I said “nearly as much” because some of that magic is still there. This aperture is both better and worse than shooting wide open on this camera, and overall not all that much different.

Perhaps the biggest reason to choose f/2.8 is for depth-of-field, which is shallow enough to achieve subject separation and large enough to have lots in focus, depending on how far away the subject is. Sometimes f/2 can be too shallow and f/4 not shallow enough, just depending on the situation. It’s a great choice for portraits or low-light situations. I appreciate the way it renders photographs in a variety of situations.

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Strong Coffee – Seattle, WA – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Hair & Lips – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Torn At The Knee – Mesquite, NV – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Empty Seat – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Holiday Sugar Cookies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Daewoo Microwave – Moab, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Coffee Didn’t Help – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Hanging Print – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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I-15 Overpass – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Contrast of Johanna – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Curtain Abstract – Mesquite, NV – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

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Mary’s Watchtower – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2.8

f/4  f/5.6  

Fujifilm X100F Aperture Series: f/2 – Ordinary or Extraordinary?

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This is the first in a series of articles on the Fujifilm X100F’s different apertures. While I will write words for each article, it is more of a photoessay. I hope that you enjoy the photographs!

When I purchased my Fujifilm X100F last July, I immediately put it through the rigors to figure out how to best use the camera. I wanted to discover its strengths and weaknesses. I took some test shots at all of the different apertures, and looked at things like center sharpness, corner sharpness, vignetting and chromatic aberrations. One conclusion I made was that aperture f/2 was the weakest. The corners were soft. The center wasn’t nearly as crisp. There was some minor vignetting and even a tiny amount of chromatic aberrations. Things improved noticeably by f/2.8.

Interestingly enough, Fujifilm lists the softness of f/2 as a feature on the X100F. I figured that this was nothing more than marketing drivel, claiming a weak point about a product as a reason to purchase it. I dismissed this aperture, deciding to use it only when absolutely necessary. Of all the apertures, f/2 seemed the most ordinary, the one to be the least excited about. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It wasn’t until recently, after many months of using the X100F, that I discovered there is actually something very special about f/2. There were a lot of pictures that I could have used this aperture with, and they might have turned out even better. Instead, I opted for f/2.8 or f/4, which are fine apertures, but they don’t contain the magic that is found at f/2.

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Island Joy – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

I liken f/2 on the X100F to Antelope Island State Park in Utah. Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. As you drive in you are greeted with a rotten egg smell. The landscape is often bleak, like it drew the short end of the stick, almost-but-not-quite desert. Then you discover the bugs: biting and non-biting flies, swarms of mosquitoes, brine flies that literally cover the shore like a cloud, wolf spiders, black widow spiders, and orb weaver spiders that seem like they’re everywhere. The beach looks inviting, but it’s a long walk out there and when you finally arrive to the water you realize that it’s kind of gross. But put all of that aside, and the place is amazing with a unique beauty. There’s something about the reflections in the still water and how the mountains and rocks rise from the grass that can be breathtaking! Wildlife abounds, including bison and deer and so many different birds. It’s hard to put into words, but the place has the “it” factor for me that keeps me returning over and over with my camera. Even though Antelope Island shouldn’t be a great place to visit with all of its shortcomings, it really is wonderful.

Aperture f/2 on the X100F has plenty of shortcomings, but it also has the “it” factor. The way it renders photographs, which is sometimes almost dream-like, can be stunning. The shallow depth-of-field, which, when used correctly, separates the subject from the background wonderfully. One has to set aside the test charts and other such nonsense and just use this aperture in the real world to appreciate it. Now that I know this, I want to use it all of the time. It is indeed extraordinary!

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Pillars – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Joy As Sacagawea – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Girl Fingers – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Tirelessly Determined – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Jon Laughing – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Eight Car Joshua – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Flamingo Baby – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Aspherical – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Max Illumination – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

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Fireplace – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/2

f/2.8  f/4  f/5.6  

Fujifilm X100F – The Best Aperture

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Permanently attached to the front of the Fujifilm X100F is a Fujinon f/2 23mm Super EBC Aspherical lens. It’s an excellent 35mm (equivalent) prime, but, like all lenses, it’s not perfect.

I’ve owned many different lenses by different brands over the years. One thing that I have learned is that every lens has its sweet spot. There is an aperture where the lens is at its peak performance.

Ever since my X100F arrived two months ago, I’ve been trying to figure out just where the lens is at its best and worst. I wanted to know its strength and weakness so that I can maximize the one and minimize the other. I discovered pretty quickly where the “worst” apertures are, and that’s f/2 and f/16.

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Man In The Straw Hat – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

Not that f/2 is necessarily a bad aperture, but it is indeed noticeably softer than the others. Not just at the corners, but center sharpness, too. It lacks the crispness at f/2 that one expects from a Fujinon lens. But I’ve used plenty of other lenses, primes and zooms, that were just as soft if not softer. So just because it’s a soft aperture for this lens doesn’t mean that it’s an aperture that should be avoided. In fact, Fujifilm actually calls this softness a “feature” in the manual, so perhaps it is something you might find useful for some images. You can also find some chromatic aberrations at f/2.

Things get better as you stop down. There’s significant improvements by f/2.8, although there is still some noticeable corner softness. By f/4 the lens is crisp all over.

I noticed diffraction when the aperture is smaller than f/8. It’s not really pronounced until smaller than f/11. The smallest aperture is f/16, and I would avoid it because the diffraction is pretty obvious.

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Ilford Harman Technology – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4

My opinion is that the sweet spot on the Fujifilm X100F lens is at f/4, including the intermediate stop on either side (f/3.6 and f/4.5). At this aperture the lens is corner-to-corner sharp, and at its sharpest in the center. It produces lovely images, and bokeh, while not heavily pronounced, is still very nice.

I would also say that image quality is excellent between f/2.8 and f/11, and I freely use these apertures without thinking twice about it. I don’t go higher than f/11. I do sometimes go lower than f/2.8, albeit not often.

The lens on the X100F is excellent. If it were an interchangeable-lens camera and the lens could detach, I imagine that you’d proudly use it often. Like all lenses, it has its strengths and weaknesses, and you get the most out of it if you understand what those are. With this lens, the strengths are many and the weaknesses few. Still, if the situation allows, keep it around f/4 and you’ll see the best that it can do.

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Train Watching – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F @ f/4