Fuji X-E2 | First Days & Initial Thoughts

Gear & App Reviews May 13th 2014 1:11 PM 9 Comments

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Since inception, the ‘X’ series has been a hit with users, and thus, for Fuji, and the build up around the release of any new addition to the family, such as the most recent X-T1, produces a fair amount of fanfare and photographic pomp. The X-E1 arrived providing a handsome mirrorless APS-C soul in an equally handsome, throwback body, and the adaptability of the build to Fuji lenses and those of others, made it a compelling offering.

Somewhat tainted by a mediocre rear LCD, EVF and AF speed issues, the X-E2 was a welcomed replacement as it sorted out a lot of what Fuji followers, and would-be followers, were asking for. We’ve recently got it in to see where it stands in the Fuji Line-up, and in the industry. I’m actually in the market for a mirrorless system myself, so I’m interested to see if this is what I’ve been looking for.

This is an introduction and initial thoughts. Full review to come where I’ll take a close look at details like the new EVF modes, LMO (Lens Modulation Optimizer), wireless communication, firmware upgrades etc.

Paired Lenses

Fujinon 23mm f/1.4
Fujinon 18mm f/2
Fujinon 60mm f/2 R Macro

Initial Thoughs

Well, it’s sexy. Yes, an object can be sexy and this is one such with its bold lines and sleek form factor, coupled with its black textured leather(ette?) securing the retro body. And it’s just enough retro, as you never go ‘full-retro.” [insert applicable DF humor here]. If the Leica T went for organic flow with it’s wavy Sophia Lauren curves of the 60s, this is a blend of more brutish looking shoulder pads of the late 70s. It’s the antidote to the feminine. That being said, more than any camera I’ve ever walked around with, this garners a good amount of attention from women, who on many occasions were interested in what it was, and wanted to see/hold it.

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It feels solid. It looks solid, but its lightness without battery and lens almost makes it feel a little cheap. Once you’re packing a power supply and even small lens you do begin to appreciate this fact, however. Its weight feels just about right, and for the few days I’ve had it, I’ve walked around with it in places by me I would never take a DSLR for fear of looking like a tourist – South Beach. It felt balanced, and easy to walk around with, and the style and black finish doesn’t draw attention as much as it does hold it, once its got it.

[REWIND: How the Fujifilm X-T1 Shocked Me: A Quick Hands-On Overview]

Sample Shots

I should interject here that I’ve strictly been using the firmware it came with (Body Version 1.00) that needs an update. I want to see how it fares compared to the much touted fixes of the upgrade. So far, I can tell it can have AF issues in low light when it switched from its rather impressive phase detection system to contrast. Interesting how when ISO is bumped up, the EVF is brighter, focusing improves as well. Speaking of ISO, that’s something the Fuji does well right out of the box. I’ve shot it at 5000, and 6400 with surprisingly good results. You won’t likely  be blowing those up and framing those, but

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18mm, ISO 2000, 1/20 @f2

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60mm, ISO 2000, 1/20 @ f/2.4

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18mm, ISO 2000, 1/8 @ f/2

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60mm, ISO 400, 1/40, f/2.4 – literally pulled camera and lens out of the box and snapped

Lastly

I like it. I’m very partial right now to the Sony a7 and it’s still winning my vote. I know some of you won’t classify them in the same realm due to sensor size and price, but the X-E2 certainly is in my favor. I like how it feels, how it performs as an urban shooter, and I like the film simulation modes which actually, surprisingly seem to work well. I have to say, I love the sound of the shutter too, and the rather intuitive and customizable nature of the layout and settings. More to come soon.

If you’ve got one, we’d like to hear how you use it, perhaps your likes and dislikes, or if you wanna share some cool tip, I’d love to hear it. Cheers

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About

Kishore is a photographer and writer based in Miami, though he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. With a passion for beauty and aviation photography his work is all at once focused and eclectic. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

9 Comments

  1. Henry

    What makes a camera “feminine”, exactly?

  2. Gary

    i rented one with 18-55mm zoom and took it to Cuba. Loved the look and handling, especially the exposure comp dial. Back home I really liked how it rendered the colors, including of the old, pastel-colored cars. On the other hand, I burned through one battery in about half a day, although I was shooting moderately heavy. Low-light wasn’t superior, although I was using a slow zoom and not a fast prime And I didn’t like the viewfinder and rear screen options. Specifically, if you select the viewfinder as the main screen, that’s were you had to review your photos and access the options menu. Colleagues were constantly asking me, “Are you taking a picture of the street?!” The firmware update changes the options to allow quicker selection of either viewfinder or rear screen, so it’s a little better. But it would be nice to have a finder option: Use the viewfinder for taking photos, use the rear screen for menus and photo review.

    • Matthew Saville

      Gary, the whole viewfinder thing is a big issue right now with mirrorless across the board, I too am having trouble with the limited options: “automatically switch, or just one or the other” is NOT GOOD ENOUGH in my opinion. Like you said, they should more closely mimic a DSLR- playback and menus on the rear LCD, and the viewfinder is the viewfinder. All they have to do is dis-join the “auto-switch, or take your pick” option for each of the following: Shooting, playback, and menus. That way I could set my camera so that menus and playback DO automatically switch, but viewfinder-ing does not.

      This is exactly the solution I’ve put in my Sony A6000 final review, ironically.
      =Matt=

    • Kishore Sawh

      I’m surely in agreeance with you both. The display options for the EVF are lacking. As Matt said this is a problem not isolated to this camera, and it’s frustrating seeing as the fix would seem on the simpler end. Gary, I haven’t done any heavy shooting with it, but as per my test model I’ve actually been surprised at the battery length because I’ve heard complaints similar to your own, prior to its arrival. . Mind you, I’ve kept it on the EVF Eye Sensor mode almost entirely (actually makes me feel a bit less like I’m using a p&s).

      Matt, that A600 I played with recently and I really liked it – and at that price point it’s hard to beat. As I stood there playing with it I actually wondered if a certain selection of prospective A7 purchasers may find in the A6000 all they need. I still like Sony’s EVF in that and the A7 superior to the Fuji also – even with calibration via diopter I’ve noticed that at times the X-E2 seems sliiiightly off.

    • mugur ic

      great comment

  3. Roguie

    dude, nice bag, what make is it? a good read, thank you.

    • Kishore Sawh

      Hey Roguie, you’re most welcome. And thank you for the kind words. I’ll have a few more follow up articles coming on the X-E2 so look out. The bag is a Belstaff messenger bag. It’s an old British military company and I don’t know if they still make this rugged looking type, but it’s the 554, they have the smaller 556. It’s not a camera bag really, but I hate 99% of camera bags since they look too feminine for my taste. This is good, it can take a beating, and miltary grade canvas. Cheers man.

  4. Tim L

    I look forward to reading your further thoughts on the X-E2. I too am an admirer of the A7 and at one point thought I would be moving to it or the A7r. Then I started looking at lens selection and lens size, which changed my perspective a bit.

    The Fuji lens line up is, on the whole, just phenomenal—though Fuji users will tell you that the 60mm you’re using is sssslllllloooooowwwwww. The new 56 f/1.2 is vastly superior for all but true macro applications. The 23mm f/1.4 is truly special.

    • Kishore Sawh

      Tim, thanks for joining the thread. There’s much more to come soon, and you couldn’t be more spot on with those lens comments. I do find the 60mm to have some read focus hunting issues in anything but the brightest light, and the 23…well, I hardly ever want to take it off. More to come, cheers!

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