If there’s one camera category pretty much any and everyone finds themselves wanting and searching for, regardless of vocation, age, or skill level, it’s for travel. At some point or another we all go somewhere for an event, a vacation, or even a work trip that takes you somewhere you’ll want to remember, and a good camera is something you need to do it well. But we’re spoilt for choice, so what do we get? Well, as of this writing I’ve got a suggestion: A Fuji X-E2S, and you can get one now for $499.
The X-E series was originally there as a more affordable offering when compared to the X-Pro1, but the X-E2S is a truly capable and fun camera. It’s not the latest tech, but it has a lot going for it. It has the updated grip, updated AF system with some phase detect ability, electronic shutter up to 1/32000, has all the Fuji film emulations, WiFi that works quite well, and all in a small form factor. It’s also very sharp, given the lack of optical low-pass filter.
Prior to the X-E2 Fuji cameras were 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. 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, and 70’s design is sort of timeless.
It feels decently solid and it looks solid, but its lightness without battery and lens almost makes it feel a little cheap. However, Once you’re packing a power supply and even small lens you do begin to appreciate this fact. Its weight feels just about right, and for travel, that weight saving is appreciated.
The Fuji film emulations are fun, including everyone’s favorite Classic Chrome, and for the casual user this may be enough for you to avoid fiddling with presets in post processing.
I adored the X-E2 for a fun travel and walk-around camera, and the X-E2S was a significant upgrade (granted Fuji brought many to the original via firmware). For $499 you’re getting a LOT of camera and a nice entry into the Fuji ecosystem. You can get it as a kit with the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS zoom which is a nice small and variable travel lens for only $799, which is amazing considering that lens is $700 on its own. But if you want a fast prime then pair the body with a 35mm (50mm equiv) f/2 and still you’re looking at $799.
Truly, this is a great deal, and a camera to enjoy. You can read my X-E2 review here, and know that this version is significantly better.