This is the X-E1′s, Fuji’s latest compact system camera. It’s an addition to Fuji’s premium X range and is the second camera in the series to feature interchangeable lenses. It features the same 16 million pixel sensor, processor and lens mount as the popular X Pro1. Looking at the two cameras side by side reveals lots of similarities, but the X-E1 is smaller, partly due to the lack of the hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder found on the X Pro1.
Instead, the X-E1 uses an electronic only device. While some may object to not having the option to use an optical viewfinder, in practice we’ve found that the high resolution device is more than adequate, and in fact even preferable in some cases to using the optical finder which is a part of the X Pro 1’s hybrid device.
There’s no mode dial on the X-E1, instead you control various parameters via an aperture ring on the lens, shutter speed dial on the top of the camera and an exposure compensation dial here.
Although there’s no “fully automatic” mode, you can get pretty close by setting both the aperture and shutter speed wheel to automatic.
The body of the camera is fairly large, with a nice chunky grip and an imitation leather covering. These make it pretty easy to shoot with the camera one-handed if you need to. On the back of the camera there’s also a fairly extensive range of buttons. The majority of regularly used settings can be accessed via this Q button. It’s recessed into the grip, which makes the camera nice and sleek but unfortunately can make it a little tricky to find the button when using the camera with the EVF. You can change the drive mode via this button – so you can choose between single shooting, the various bracketing modes and continuous shooting. Right at the bottom here you’ll also find video mode – there’s no direct buttons on the body to activate video shooting, which may be a little frustrating if you like to shoot movies often. This button on the bottom is what you need to use to change the autofocus point. After pressing it, use the arrow keys here to choose the point you want. It’s fairly easy to use – even when holding the camera up to the eye – but a touchscreen would have made selecting a point much quicker. The rear LCD screen is slightly smaller than the X Pro1′s, and a has a much lower resolution at 460 thousand dots. That said, it’s still a good performer with reflections and glare kept to a minimum, even in bright light. It can also be seen from a wide range of angles, so although it’s not a vari-angle or articulating screen, you can still shoot reasonably well from awkward positions. An eye sensor next to the EVF recognises when you lift the camera to your eye to automatically switch off the LCD screen and activate the EVF. Handily, if you hit this View Mode button, you can switch the Eye Sensor on or off, meaning if you only want to use the EVF or the LCD screen for some reason, it won’t keep switching between.
One of the key criticisms of the X Pro1 was its focusing speed. Fuji has addressed that issue with a new firmware version, available for both the X-Pro1 and already installed on the X-E1 as standard. This significantly improves focusing time, making it as quick and easy to use as many other compact system cameras on the market.
We anticipated great things from the Fuji X-E1, since it shares the same sensor as the excellent X Pro1. Happily, we’ve found that the camera is capable of producing images which are punchy, sharp and full of detail. The new high quality kit lens – an 18-55mm optic with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the widest end – is a great addition to the line-up and makes the whole system a lot more flexible for use everyday.
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