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Things to Note:
- Fujifilm will announce the X100VI in February.
- It will have in-body image stabilization and a 40-megapixel sensor.
- These new features will turn digital zoom into a legit workaround for the X100’s single-lens design.
Fujifilm’s X100V debuted in 2020 and was an instant success. It was almost perfect—small, highly capable, and beyond charming. Now, with its next sequel, the X100VI, it may have achieved perfection.
The current X100V is the most recent addition to Fujifilm’s X100 series, a line of retro-styled fixed-lens cameras with knobs and dials that allow photographers to adjust all of the critical parameters–focus, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Despite its limitations, the original was a smash hit, a camera you could use without thinking too much about. The next iteration, the X100VI, is expected to debut on February 20, 2024, and will have two features that will alleviate some of the compromises: image stabilization and a larger 40-megapixel sensor.
“These are excellent additions to an already outstanding series of cameras. I don’t think any camera is perfect. After all, individual demands vary. However, in terms of overall utility, these enhancements will make this camera more suitable for a far wider range of individuals.”
All the Single Lenses
Before we get into why in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and a 40MP sensor make such a difference, let’s take a look at what makes the X100 series stand out and what it lacks. As previously stated, the X100 is both pocketable (in a jacket pocket, not jeans) and competent. It also makes use of Fujifilm’s film simulations, which produce stunning JPGs right out of the camera and are based on the company’s decades of expertise in producing B&W and color film.
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And, of course, the camera is stunningly designed. It’s simple to use and looks wonderful hanging around your neck. This combination of outstanding looks and great outcomes made the X100V a TikTok hit a few years ago, and Fujifilm struggled so much to keep up with demand that it stopped accepting new orders.
So, if the current X100V is so perfect, how could it possibly be improved with the X100VI? Well, one of its design compromises is that it has a single, fixed 23mm lens. You can screw adapters into the front, but that kind of ruins the whole small-camera vibe. The easiest way to “zoom in” on an image, then, is to use a digital zoom, which chops out the central part of the picture and throws away the rest. The problem is that you lose quite a bit of resolution from the X100V’s 26.1 MP sensor.
Enter the 40 MP sensor, which Fujifilm has already used in some of its other cameras. This enables higher-resolution images in general, although the X100 series doesn’t really require it. It does, however, allow you to crop away a large number of pixels to produce a digital zoom while still producing a good, sharp photo with plenty of detail.
However, a higher-resolution sensor introduces new technical challenges. When you zoom in, either with a crop or by using a long telephoto lens on your camera, you highlight any camera movement, resulting in blurry images.
If you have ever used high-powered binoculars, you’ll know how hard it is to keep the image steady. You can also do a test right now. Open up the camera app on your phone and zoom to the maximum. Then, try to train it on a faraway object and see how much the image shakes.
In Body Experience
This is why cameras with many megapixels require IBIS. It detects the shakes of your hands and corrects for them by shifting the camera sensor. The result is much sharper images. It’s even more important in low light, where slower shutter speeds capture blur with chronic enthusiasm.
“Its combination of in-body image stabilization and a larger 40MP sensor in a compact body is remarkable. The incorporation of IBIS is a game-changer in small cameras. It substantially improves image quality in low-light conditions and when shooting handheld, expanding the range of situations where the camera can excel. The 40MP sensor, on the other hand, offers exceptional detail and resolution, making it suitable for everything from street photography to detailed landscapes,” professional photographer Jeffrey Wang told Lifewire via email.
According to the insider reports from the reliable Fujifilm Rumors site, Fujifilm has managed all this while keeping the X100VI almost as small as the current model.
So we see that Fujifilm has managed, pretty successfully, to bypass the fixed-lens limitation by adding some other modern features, both of which have their own uses in general. We expect the announcement to come during this year’s Fujifilm Summit in March, and as the owner of an old Fujifilm X100s (the second in the series and still a superb camera), I’m extremely excited about the X100VI. Maybe I’ll even be able to acquire one before the TikTok scalpers buy them all up.