The Most Hyped Camera… Ever?

By Ava Bourbeau

Photos by Fujifilm

A new investment opportunity has just hit the market. Put options are too confusing, TSLA’s low is still too high, and we’re still waiting for the next crypto bear market — luckily this is none of the above. For a small one-time payment of only $1,599, you can own the new Fujifilm X100VI. Well, assuming it ever gets off backorder. If this camera follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, the X100V — which is still being sold second-hand for way more than its original value — then this is an appreciating asset that will pad your pockets with just enough cash (upon resale) that you might be able to afford the next iteration that comes out.

Of course, we’re joking. You shouldn’t take financial advice from us — we’re in the print media industry, after all — and pushing people to buy things unnecessarily isn’t really our jam. However, we have been itching to get into the intrigue, popularity and now scarcity of the Fujifilm X100V and the new X100VI. So read on, as we take a closer look at one of the most hyped cameras in the history of, well, cameras.

The Drop and Flop…?

When the X100 series was first released to the market, it was a pretty quiet affair. We’re not insinuating that Fujifilm is some underground company that quietly debuted an inconsequential camera, but it is shadowed in comparison to how modern photographers are treating a release in the series more than a decade later. The whole X100 collection is well-loved as a whole, and in 2011, the X100 was a well-enough-liked, but not hyped, release. It won some awards, but also received its fair share of criticism.

The large sensor compact fixed lens makeup of the original X100 was new for Fujifilm but was overall comparable to other point-and-shoots on the market at the time. What made it unique, however, was the nostalgia it inspired. The X100 camera body is reminiscent of gear that would fit in a motif of the ’60s or ’70s. With each new release — on an annual schedule give or take — improvements were made and technological capabilities were upgraded, but the vintage look remained.

Even more to that point, the camera came loaded with film simulations — or “recipes” as Fujifilm calls them — that mimic the effects of a film camera, in a digital body. No post processing or developing were necessary. This added to the ease of use for X100 photographers and made it even more convenient to make the X100 an always-on-you, everyday camera. It also helps that it’s small enough to fit in most pockets. Fujifilm is a film titan, and all of the recipes preloaded in the X100 line are digital renditions of the originals that were created by Fujifilm for film cameras. There are 20 modes on the newest model — Reala Ace, Provia, Velvia, etc. — that encompass 90 years of color science by Fujifilm. In an era where people are constantly craving the past, the X100 iterations appealed to hobbyists, professionals and old souls alike.

The Fujifilm X100VI.

Rise to Fame

In early 2020, the X100V became the newest of the X100 line with updates like a jump in resolution to 26.1 megapixels, the redesign of the optical viewfinder, the addition of a touch screen and new OLED display technology. It was originally priced at $1,399.

That is, until social media got wind of this retro gem.

Long story short, someone made a video touting the X100V and as the views racked up, the surplus product quickly dried up. Countless influencers in the photography space poured on the positive reviews and clamor for the camera grew. Eventually, Fujifilm released a statement that they couldn’t handle the influx of demand and would be forced to temporarily stop accepting orders.

A reality that’s often attached to this series is that it’s the camera that supporters reach for the most often and carry on their person almost constantly. It’s technologically versatile, pocket-sized, doesn’t require a lengthy post-production workflow, and, simply, it looks cool. The popularity might have been catalyzed by social media, but within the storm of virality, was a genuine sentiment of how the camera had reignited a love for the art. Many professional photographers who find themselves a cog in the never-ending machinations of needing camera gear to up their game or to get the shot were drawn to the X100V. Sure, that was in part due to the aforementioned points and its presence all over social media, but it was also a perfect fit for a creative niche that photographers didn’t realize they had let widen. It’s been said that the best camera is the camera you actually use. In that sense, we think the X100 series is definitely among the contenders.

With the announcement of the impending release of the X100VI, the X100V was again possible to get your hands on, but you’re still paying more than its original price. While we’re not happy about the increase, we’re of the opinion that the Fujifilm X100 line is actually worth the hype. Please save your gasps for the end.

The Fujifilm X100VI.

Revenge of the Sixth

As probably the most significant jump in innovation to the X100 series, the X100VI may have inspired some animosity in anyone who got the predecessor rather than waiting for the new release. Enough to turn to the dark side? Let’s discuss.

The X100VI has 1.5x the resolution of the X100V (40 megapixels) at nearly twice the speed. Something else that’s fast AF? The autofocus. Okay, maybe not fast AF but the joke fits, and it’s definitely improved from the X100V. The autofocus also includes more ingrained subject-tracking options to automatically detect pets, cars, trains, bikes and more. What’s probably our favorite upgrade is the up to six stops of in-body image stabilization (IBIS). It added a few grams to the weight, but it’s a sacrifice that allows even more control in low-light situations (and for those of us with a shaky shutter finger).

We’d love to be able to give you a first-hand review — put a pin in that — but we’re still just a name on the waitlist. As it stands at the time of writing this article (mid- March), no one we know IRL has received their X100VI and only a few had the X100V to begin with.

Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, we’re not still waiting for our X100VI to be delivered.

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