What happened was, this month includes trips to Tokyo and the Big Island. And lately I’ve been reading about cameras full of shiny new ideas. So I decided to indulge myself; here are way too many words about the state of cameras in general and in particular the one I bought. SLRs are fat-bodied because you need a big glass prism to bend the light from the lens to the viewfinder. If you lose the prism, you free camera designers from a bunch of constraints. Most obviously, you can have smaller thinner bodies that are friendlier to hand and handbag…..
Nice Things About the X-E1
The viewfinder is just brilliant. If I have my glasses on I can compose on the back of the camera. If I don’t, I put the viewfinder to my eye; it’s got a proximity sensor and lights up automatically. The visual readout in the viewfinder is very good, and it’s got a diopter adjustment for less-than-perfect eyes. The ergonomics are nifty; there’s no mode dial! The aperture and shutter speed are visible at a glance and on manual dials, looking down at the camera top. If both are on “A”, you’re in full-auto mode. If you set the shutter speed you’re in shutter-priority, if you set the F-stop, you’re in Aperture priority, if you set both, you’re in manual. Which makes the mode dials on most SLRs feel kind of superfluous and stupid. The menus aren’t that great but you’ll never need to use them. There’s a button marked “Q” that brings up a grid of the most commonly-used settings. It’s stupidly quick and easy to twiddle what you need to. It’s a bit lighter than my K-5, and both the prime & zoom are a lot lighter than their counterparts. In particular, the X-E1/35mm combo is really a treat to hold in your hand, or to sling over your shoulder for hours at a time.
Below from left to right: Canon S100, X-E1 (with the 35mm F1.4), and K-5 (with that Sigma). The Pentax and Fuji are about the same width, but the Fuji (and its lens) are smaller along every other dimension. The camera makes outstanding JPGs, creamy-smooth and with great white-balance guessing. I shoot raw anyhow because I like fiddling with pictures in Lightroom (had to install the 4.4 beta), but you probably don’t really need to, and in some low-light shots the camera might do a better job at noise reduction than Lightroom ……
Of course, you still need to see what you’re shooting. One approach is the traditional optical rangefinder, as in the Leica M; a little window through the camera that looks out beside, not through, the main lens. Or you can take what the sensor is seeing and route it electronically to a screen on the back of the camera, or to a viewfinder you hold up to your eye, or both. Generally speaking, serious cameras which have managed to lose the prism are now called “compact format”. For a while, it looked like we’d say “EVIL”, for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens, but that didn’t quite catch on; a pity.SLRs are fat-bodied because you need a big glass prism to bend the light from the lens to the viewfinder. If you lose the prism, you free camera designers from a bunch of constraints. Most obviously, you can have smaller thinner bodies that are friendlier to hand and handbag. Of course, you still need to see what you’re shooting. One approach is the traditional optical rangefinder, as in the Leica M; a little window through the camera that looks out beside, not through, the main lens. Or you can take what the sensor is seeing and route it electronically to a screen on the back of the camera, or to a viewfinder you hold up to your eye, or both. Generally speaking, serious cameras which have managed to lose the prism are now called “compact format”. For a while, it looked like we’d say “EVIL”, for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens, but that didn’t quite catch on; a pity. I suppose this is partly a review of the X-E1, but if you want to know the most important thing (what kind of pictures it takes) just follow the blog for the next week or two. I’ll do a pictures-from-Tokyo series that covers a lot of different photographic styles. What Once We Called EVIL · For a while there, everything was either a point-&-shoot (meh) or an SLR (good); SLRs compete in a nice linear way around megapixels and sensitivity and ergonomics and lenses. I suppose this is partly a review of the X-E1, but if you want to know the most important thing (what kind of pictures it takes) just follow the blog for the next week or two. I’ll do a pictures-from-Tokyo series that covers a lot of different photographic styles. What Once We Called EVIL · For a while there, everything was either a point-&-shoot (meh) or an SLR (good); SLRs compete in a nice linear way around megapixels and sensitivity and ergonomics and lenses…..
See on www.tbray.org
- Unique camera design makes you want to take pictures
- Excellent JPEGs, little need to shoot raw most of the time
- Reliable metering and AWB systems, good color (with choice of ‘film modes’)
- Dials for exposure controls allow for easy check of settings by glancing at the top deck, particularly with prime lenses
- Impressive image quality at all ISO settings – good resolution and low noise
- Built-in flash is handy for fill lighting in a pinch
- Film-simulations offer quick access to different color modes and black and white filters
- Use of electronic viewfinder simplifies interface while maintaining most important features
- Quick menu gives fast access to most digital controls not covered by dials or buttons
- Built-in level helps when capturing landscapes
- Various bracketing modes are easy to set via the Drive button
- Relatively quiet shutter
- Excellent available prime lenses
- Built-in level isn’t always as accurate as we’d like
- Relatively slow AF makes photographing children more difficult
- Framerates in continuous shooting mode aren’t completely consistent
- Camera disables RAW shooting without warning in some bracketing modes
- Relatively low-resolution rear LCD compared to some peers
- Panorama mode can result in visible banding in plain tonesAuto ISO often chooses too slow a shutter speed (specifically problematic with the longer primes)
- Minimal control available in video mode
- Continuous drive mode saves files with a different name, sorting them to the bottom
- Large and chunky build won’t suit everyone
There’s a lot to be said for form as well as function and there’s no question the Fujifilm X-series cameras elicit a certain response from those of us who enjoy both photography and well-built gadgets. What’s great about the X-series cameras and lenses is they don’t just look like old photographic tools, they integrate digital and analog controls very successfully. Also, the old-style analog dials are really excellent ways of helping conceptualize things like shutter speed and aperture, the two main elements of photography one has to understand to use cameras effectively. Those who already understand the concepts generally have no trouble understanding numbers on an LCD, but those who are learning can benefit from seeing the numbers laid out in a linear fashion; and the truth is I still find it helpful to turn a dial to adjust aperture, as I can do with the X-E1. For beginners, having that dial wrapped around the lens completely differentiates it from the body-bound shutter speed dial. When using one of the XF prime lenses, the main photographic interface elements are right up front and visible, in the form of physical dials. Photography students would do well to secure a prime lens for this reason (as well as others). Kit lens users will have to pay attention to the numbers on the LCD. But that’s not all Fujifilm did right with the X-series cameras. Their simple button arrangements also make accessing common functions convenient. Important functions like Drive mode, Exposure, and Autofocus are dedicated to three buttons left of the LCD – a good position to adjust each setting. At first having a button for Drive mode seemed unnatural compared to a dial, but Fujifilm’s inclusion of fast access to bracketing modes made those even more useful. The Quick Menu allows access to almost all the other important adjustments the average still photographer will want to make, including things like ISO, resolution, and aspect ratio. Only one analog control needs fixing: the somewhat loose Exposure Compensation dial, which can be rotated accidentally, both in the hand and when being carried around or put in and taken out of a camera bag. Of course, the elephant in the room is video. Although the X-E1’s design philosophy is based around giving you all the direct manual control you could ever need, this does not apply to video, which overall seems as much of an afterthought as it is in the X-Pro 1 and X100. For now, the X-series is simply not competitive with its peers in terms of video functionality. As impressive as the Hybrid Viewfinder is on the other cameras in the X-series, the X-E1’s electronic viewfinder is excellent. Compared to the X-Pro 1’s finder in electronic mode, the X-E1 offers a better and higher-resolution image, but of course it can’t pull of the X-Pro 1’s impressive trick of switching to an optical view for those times when you want a literal ‘window’ on the world in front of your lens. The X-E1’s EVF cannot replace the X-Pro 1’s OVF but if you don’t really need or want an optical finder, the X-E1 is clearly a better choice than the X-Pro 1, thanks to its superior EVF and lower overall cost.
See full review on www.dpreview.com
This should be a fun comparison. I have the pleasure of having three of the best mirrorless cameras around in my possession right now: a newly acquired Fuji X-E1 with 35mm f/1.4, my trusty Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic GH3, fresh into my hands for review. Expect full reviews of the Fuji X-E1 and Panasonic GH3 in the coming weeks. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to pop the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 on the two Micro 4/3 cameras and do a controlled studio shot against the Fuji X-E1 with its Fujinon 35mm f/1.4. Due to the different sized sensors, these setups result in an almost identical field of view, with the 4:3 aspect ratio of the m4/3 cameras allowing for a little wider field of view in the vertical direction. The 35mm on the X-E1 is slightly narrower than the 25mm on Micro 4/3, however (equivalent to the field of view of a 53mm lens on full frame vs the equivalent field of view of 50mm for the Leica). As a result of this minor difference in aspect ratio and field of view, the crops you’re about to see will make the Fuji look like it is rendering things slightly larger. All images were taken on a tripod with 2 second timer, and all were taken from the same position……
Well, the X-E1 is a camera with fantastic image quality, that much is certain. Not surprisingly, it produces cleaner images throughout the ISO range and retains great detail. Is the Fuji the best of these three cameras then? In pure image quality from the sensor? Yes. In other ways? Not so fast…. Wait for my full review of the X-E1 for more detailed discussion, but both the GH3 and OM-D are much more responsive machines when it comes to autofocus. Still, Fuji has a winner on their hands. It’s also great to see Panasonic put out a body with very high image quality to match the OM-D on the stills side.
See on admiringlight.com
English Photographer Ben Evans compares the Fuji XE1 and XPro1 cameras in Barcelona. Hand-on photography with several photographs made with the cameras during the review.
The balance is that the Fuji XE1, while lacking the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder makes up for this with a cheaper price, upgraded EVF (electronic viewfinder), built-in flash and slightly smaller size. It was therefore the ‘winner’ in this little hands-on camera test.
Many thanks to Hiromi from www.HiromiTorres.com for shooting this video! If you’d like to get in touch and contribute to a microphone for her so that future tutorials and reviews sound better, she’d really appreciate it!….
See on www.youtube.com
I joined the Fujifilm X-Photographers team at the beginning of 2013 so I decided it would be great do a quick hands on review, and talk about the things I love and don’t love about the Fujifilm X-E1. Although it’s not the perfect camera there are a lot of things that make this camera great for users that want good photographs, retro/clean styling and a variety of lenses to invest in.
See on www.youtube.com
First time I worried – can I shoot with Fuji X-E1 just like I can with the Panasonic G1? Maybe I can’t shoot good enough with anything but the Panasonic (I’ve gotten used to it) and that means I have to stay in the system and get a GH2 or GH3. I know there is compatibility much like it happens with lovers or friends or co-authors. There can be a camera or lens incompatible with me (as Jupiter-37A) — it can be great or high-grade but I can’t do anything with it. But when I saw pictures from X-Pro1 and X-E1 in reviews I was blown away like several years ago with Lumix G1 and later with Panaleica 25mm f:1.4. So X-E1 couldn’t come out of my mind. And I feel this is the time to try anything else and to be clear — this Fuji. At first it was clear that Panasonic with its pro DSLR-like controls is superior in ergonomics. But most of the Fuji’s annoyances disappeared in about a week or two when I tried to know the camera better. Some things were done in the other way, some were not so important.
So the things that stayed are: slow autofocus and operations (not so slow in some conditions — see below), a lack of 3-4 buttons for quick access to important settings, and… mostly unusable auto-ISO that have lost custom shutter speed limit somehow. (At the moment of writing we were waiting for the 1.04 firmware, by now autofocus accuracy and speed were improved, read below.) ….
See on www.stevehuffphoto.com
So, a little bit about myself… I became a camera enthusiast about one year ago. What I mean by this is I, unwittingly, purchased my first DSLR. Mostly, because I thought this is what you had to do if you wanted to get into digital photography and come up with “awesome” results. Aside from the past year, my photography experience is limited to my junior and senior years of high school some 18 years ago or so. While I did learn how to develop film and make prints – which were pretty rough – my efforts were mostly focused on shenanigans. Obviously, a lot has changed in nearly two decades of technological advancement and digital post processing. My point: I was the perfect consumer that fell right into the huge DSLR marketing trap. And, man, did I drop some of my hard-earned dough on DSLR what-have-you.
Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras certainly have their place in the world. I’ll never contest that. In fact I still love mine. However, for me, something wasn’t quite right. I genuinely don’t like carrying mine around with me in public. It’s huge, heavy, and I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb with it. In contrast, one of the reasons I bought it in the first place was to capture those seemingly random moments in life when you think to yourself “man, I wish I had a camera right now.” The other reason I bought it was in an attempt to get into landscape photography…which has proven to be significantly harder than I expected. I suppose that’s part of a different story, though. Either way, if I wasn’t on a planned photo outing, the camera stayed at home. I quickly realized I was at least partially defeating the purpose of getting it in the first place. Then I found stevehuffphoto.com. Fast forward several months, and I am now the proud owner of the Fuji X-E1 teamed up with the Fuji 35mm F1.4. Sure, I’d like to score a Leica M9 or the new RX-1 but the cost was just too unreasonable for me. A couple of weeks ago, my fiancé and I returned from a week and a half long road trip pulling our vintage Airstream trailer up and down the Northern California Coast. It turns out that trailer camping in the winter is barely fun. However, it gave me a chance to put my new rig to the test. Please don’t confuse this write-up as a technically based review of any sort. It isn’t. I aim to let everybody know what my experience with it has been like thus far. A quick recap: my camera experience is limited to approximately one year of DSLR work, much of which has been on the tripod. The X-E1 is the first camera of its kind that I’ve ever used. Here goes…
Compared to a DSLR, the X-E1 is tiny. I have girl hands and I still found myself fumbling around with it at first. I quickly got over this and, now, really like its ergonomics. Plus, I’d trade discreetness for a little fumbling any day of the week. Even still, I still sometimes accidentally end up pressing the AE-L/AE-F and Q buttons from time to time being that they’re located right where my thumb naturally ends up…not a big deal though. The X-E1 is very easy to use. The menus seem intuitive and straight forward and I can get into them and out again quickly without feeling like smashing the camera to bits because I forgot where a setting was located. Obviously, one of my biggest frustrations with the DSLR experience is all the menus and settings and adjustments and blah, blah, blah…sometimes I just want to take pictures. The X-E1 allows me to do exactly this. The only thing I typically adjust on it is aperture, ISO (I’ve assigned ISO to the FN button), and exposure compensation. Side note: I LOVE the little knob Fuji uses for exposure comp. I’m sure this isn’t exclusive to Fuji, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. Perfect. I’ve tried auto ISO a few times, but in low light it tends to try to make the shutter speed 1/50 sec and then just adjust ISO around this. For 50mm focal length equivalent, this speed is marginal for those of us with shaky hands. So, I tend to sacrifice higher ISO to get a higher shutter speed. This just means I need to be paying attention to shutter speed. This was actually a challenge for me since I’m used to shooting almost exclusively at wide angles where you can get away with slower shutter speeds, especially if you’ve got Image Stabilization. Needless to say, I botched several shots do to slowish shutter speeds. My fault, not the camera’s…..
See on www.stevehuffphoto.com
Fujifilm’s elegantly retro X-Pro1 wowed us with great images, a cool hybrid viewfinder, and a comfortable set of controls when we tested it for our June 2012 issue. But its slightly sluggish autofocus and irksome manual focusing tempered our excitement. Plus, its $1,700 price tag (body only) put it out of reach for many photographers. Fujifilm’s new X-E1 uses the same APS-C-sized 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS sensor as the X-Pro1, ditches the hybrid finder in favor of a 2.36-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, and adds a built-in flash in a physically smaller body—with a nearly identical control layout. While at $1,000, street, body only ($1,400 with 18–55mm f/2.8–4 OIS kit lens), it’s still a pricey camera, but the X-E1 costs hundreds of dollars less than the X-Pro1. Is it worth your dollars? Let’s see….
The Fujifilm X-E1 is a great addition to the company’s line of premium ILCs. Rangefinder diehards might miss the optical finder provided in the X-Pro1, but given that this isn’t a true rangefinder, we were perfectly okay with the X-E1’s EVF. It’s wonderfully crisp, bright, and gives you a good preview of the effects of setting changes. Its refresh rate could be quicker—you’ll notice a bit of stuttering on fast pans—and we wish it didn’t black out during bursts, but it’s among the best electronic finders out there. We’d say Sony’s OLED finders are the only ones that are appreciably better.
If pricing has made you hesitant to enter Fujifilm’s X-Series, the X-E1 might be just the thing to draw you in. And if you’re just looking for a really nice rangefinder-style ILC, you should give the X-E1 a try. We think you’ll like it.
See full review on www.popphoto.com
The X-Pro1 was 2012’s most fun new camera, but if you’re one of those people that thinks saving money is fun too, Fujifilm has the answer. By reducing the X-E1’s footprint and stripping out the novel—but unhelpful—hybrid viewfinder, the company has shaved $400 off the X-Pro1’s already-reduced price tag, all without sacrificing much of that model’s stellar performance. For better or worse, our most enthusiastic praise is reserved not for the camera itself, but for the new kit lens. When the X-mount debuted, Fujifilm showed a commitment to high quality glass with its first three prime offerings, but many wondered if this performance would extend to a zoom lens. Now we know the answer. The X-E1’s 18-55mm kit lens is almost exactly as sharp as the XF 35mm f/1.4, which is really quite amazing for a zoom lens. We only wish the aperture and focus rings were mechanical. As for the most important tests, many scores match the X-Pro1’s numbers. Noise reduction is almost as strong, and white balance is nearly equivalent between the two. Dynamic range is also roughly equal, although the X-E1 is able to carry its performance further down the ISO range. We were surprised by the camera’s just-okay color accuracy score, and our high weighting of this test will drag the overall score down, however this is but one blemish against a backdrop of impressive results. Minus the X-E1’s smaller frame, hardware is also similar, most notably the “X-Trans” APS-C sensor, which omits a low-pass filter to trade video moire for sharper stills. Video is sort of an afterthought on this camera anyway, but at least continuous shooting speed is still a respectable 5.5-ish frames per second. Of course the X-E1 is still a lot of fun too. All of the retro mechanical dials are back, and they turn everyday photography into an empowering, hands-on experience. Apart from these dials, the button layout is not without its quirks and problems, and we do wish Fujifilm had made at least some effort in this area, but rest assured the X-E1 has wholly carried over the X-Pro1’s distinct shooting experience. Autofocus is also fixed. The X-Pro1 got a lot of flak for its lackluster focus system, especially when compared to the Olympus OM-D E-M5, its close competitor. While the X-E1 is still no match for Olympus’ autofocus efforts, and the camera still probably isn’t appropriate for fast action, excessive hunting isn’t nearly the problem it was for the X-Pro1. The Fujifilm X-E1 is all of the fun and none of the frivolity of the X-Pro1. The decision to exchange the hybrid OVF for lower costs will make a lot of consumers happy, but keeping performance at basically the same level is the real achievement here. We loved having this camera in-house and hate to see it go. Anyone who’s been watching this series but put off by the price should take a second look. We recommend this camera for those hoping to more fully enjoy the photographic process, or really anyone who wants to capture sharp photos and have a good time while doing so.
Overall Score: 7.6
See full review on www.digitalcamerainfo.com
Not too long ago I decided to buy the FujiFilm X-E1. I originally wanted to go full frame, but the Fuji was so impressive, that I went for that instead of questioning myself throwing money at a full frame, instead of the medium format camera that I really want, but not yet can afford.
To love or to hate
I have a love/hate relationship with my Fujifilm X100, and the X-E1 carries on that tradition. Autofocus is still, although better, not impressive. But the overall feel and manual approach you have to attack this camera with, is highly rewarding. When you get it right, and eventually you will get it right, then you’ll start to love the X-E1 for what it is.
My approach to the Fuji X-E1 is to use it manually. The AF is a ‘drive by wire’ system, that has become much more useful, than the more or less unusable ‘manual’ focus ring on its X100 sibling. I get annoyed when an AF has to refocus completely from shot to shot, and it interrupts the flow of a shoot. So I use the ‘manual’ almost all the time. Using the focus ring, to fine-tune the focus point.
The X-E1’s strongpoint, is its appearance. It doesn’t scare off anyone and you can walk the streets, photographing without interruptions. But the most important feature of this camera is its image quality. I’m stunned by the jpg’s that comes out of this camera, the JPG converter in the camera surpasses any in computer software I’ve tried yet. Still have to check out the Capture One 7 though. But I can come very close to what I want directly out of the camera.
With the X-E1, the sharpen feature in e.g. lightroom is put almost to rest. I do sharpen images a bit, when I resize them for web, but not nearly as aggressively as before. That is due to both the sharpness of the images from the camera and that the camera forces you to really concentrate on focus, when you use it.
A tool that doesn’t help you
It is not your point and shoot Olympus Micro 3/4’s speed beast, It is a camera you have to get involved in to get the images you want. The good thing about this, is that you have to become much more involved, instead of machine-gun spraying all over the place. You have to think and have to look at the light and the scene with a passion. The X-E1 forces you to learn the art and technique of photography properly, because it will not enhance anything by using in camera magic. It is simply a very, very good tool, that you have to make the best of, to get great pictures.
With the X-E1, YOU are the photographer and the artist. There are no Instagram magic, that makes a dull picture exiting. You have to think up what you want to show in the scene you capture, you have to be an artist and a photographer. And that is why I like it so much. I do believe it forces me to be a better photographer.
Some negative points
There are very few flaws with the camera. If you shoot pictures in an environment with strong side spotlights, and have the camera set to M, it can trick the viewfinder completely, and you can’t see what you are framing, because it is overly lit up. What to do then? I’m a left eye, and the rare times this happens, I shift to my right, look at the scene with my left, and release the shutter. If you are right eyed, open the left eye and your brain composes the two images together, and you can sort of frame your subject correctly.
Maybe it would be a good thing, if Fuji let you set a lowest acceptable shutter speed, when using auto ISO. As it is now, if you use automatic ISO, the camera too often sets the shutter speed way to low. The camera doesn’t produce much noise at high ISO levels, so it renders the auto ISO function more or less useless, that you end up with blurry pics, because of a low shutter speed. Therefore, I don’t use auto iso in this camera. The X100 handles automatic settings superbly, and you can shoot almost blindfolded in any condition, and still get great pics. That is not an option with the X-E1, you have to be alert at all times.
Love & Hate
It keeps you on your toes, and you love the X-E1 for it….. and sort of hate it also, like an annoying sibling. :-)
See on palleschultz.dk