Monday, December 3, 2012

My Review Of The Fuji X-E1

I was fortunate enough to have gotten to my local retailer a few weekends ago and they had the Fuji X-E1 body in stock.  They did not have the 18-55mm kit lens, but I really wanted the 35mm f/1.4 anyway. 
I'm sure the kit lens will be great but I've recently gotten a great appreciation for fast prime lenses.
Fuji X-E1, Fujinon 35mm f/1.4R
1/3800, f/2.8, ISO 800, 1:1 In-Camera B&W+G
For those who love specs and want to see images of the camera and lenses - check all you can digest at Fuji's Official Site.

First impressions.  

I was really surprised how light the camera and lens are compared to my DSLRs, but the whole kit feels solid.  It is also pretty quiet as compared to a professional single lens reflex camera, but no where near as quiet as the X100 or the X10, which have leaf shutters.

The auto focus was not as fast as a DSLR, but it was very responsive and quick enough for its intended purpose(I'm using it as an "always with me" camera for shooting family and street stuff....although I did use it as a supplemental camera on a few jobs and used in the right way produced great files)
Fuji X-E1, Fujinon 35mm f/1.4R
1/50 f/4, ISO 320, 1:1 In-Camera B&W+G
I really liked being able to use the aperture ring on the lens.  I do wish that the click stops on the aperture ring were a little more stiff, as I did find myself bumping the aperture around at times just holding the camera. I just have to get used to it.

Coming from the X10, I like having 7 custom settings banks.  Right now I only have three setup.  I wish that Fuji would have made the custom banks like they did on the X10, where it keeps the crop ratio as part of the settings.
Fuji X-E1, Fujinon 35mm f/1.4R
1/50, f/2, ISO 1600, 1:1 In-Camera B&W+G
Another odd thing is that you have to go into the regular menu to setup the custom banks.  You cannot do it through the Q menu.  I was hoping that it would be like the X10, and you can set it from wherever you are.  Not bad, just something different to get used to.

It will also take some getting used to having to press the AF button in order top move a focus point. I'd rather press a function button to access the macro mode and have the four cross buttons be for changing the focus point.  I am going to write to Fuji and see if this is something that can be changed via firmware (like they are going to listen to a nobody like me!  Lol).

Like you've heard from just about everyone else, this is a great camera to shoot with.  It reminds me of the old film camera ergonomics, but with all the benefits of digital.  Just using it is fun. 
I've not shot a lot with it, but it will definitely be my new take everywhere camera.  I took it top the park and it never once got in my way.  It just took great pictures, with great clarity and nicely saturated colors.  What you would expect from Fuji.  There is just something about it that makes capturing images fun, I cannot put my finger on it yet.  I've not had this kind of feeling since I purchased my first DSLR, the Nikon D50.
When I think about what I like, the following come to mind.
  • The feel of the shutter button and the solidness of the power switch.
  • The sound of the shutter mechanism when you take an image.
  • The solid feel/construction of the body and lens.
  • The look of the JPEG images straight out of camera is amazing.  I've found that I need very little post processing on them.
  • The B&W mode allows me to tweak it the way I want - and I can get 95% of what I need in camera.

The lens hood was a bit of a disappointment. It seems like it does not attach to the lens solid and the rubber cap wants to come off just getting the camera out of the bag. Not a deal breaker, just something to keep in mind.
Fuji X-E1, Fujinon 35mm f/1.4R
1/350, f/8, ISO 200, 1:1 VELVIA Large 3:2
The EVF works great.  It is interesting to have an exposure responsive display.  It definitely makes composing and adjusting settings easier.  I did notice it get a little grainy in the shadows at times, but this is me just being critical for this reviews sake.  It is nothing that would effect your decision making as far as exposure goes.    Just keep in mind thought that it does appear that the EVF is not always accurate.  By this I mean it seems like the X-E1 will sacrifice accuracy of exposure to make sure that you have a visible view of the subject in the finder.
In those situations, I like having the live histogram in the viewfinder.

For those interested(and there seems to be a lot of interest in this next subject on the forums), here are the settings I have setup for my X-E1 right now:
  • C1
    -- Film Simulation: VELVIA
    -- Size and Crop:  Large & 3:2
    -- Sharpness:  +1
    -- ISO: 200
    -- Everything else is default
  • C2
    -- Film Simulation: B&W +G(in camera green filter)
    -- Size and Crop:  Large & 1:1
    -- Sharpness: +1
    -- Shadow:  +2
    -- Highlight: +2
    -- ISO: 200

Overall I'm just very happy with what Fuji had churned out with the X-E1.  It makes shooting a fun experience.

3 comments:

  1. Hi there Andrew

    An interesting read, thank you.

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  2. For easy access to custom bank adjustment, just keep the Q-button pressed for a second or two.

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  3. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for your thoughts, you've more or less convinced to put cash away to buy the 35mm f1.4. That said the "kit" 18-55 is excellent and capable of producing good quality, maybe it's sometimes disregarded on the basis of the kit lenses provided by other manufacturers.
    One thing I've found is that the best way to get accurate and fast auto focus is to press the shutter button smoothly all the way down without stopping to pre focus , at first this is counter intuitive if you're used other digital cameras ( I moved across from an Olympus Pen) but it works and quickly becomes second nature.

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