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FujiFilm X-E2S | Maybe The Best Deal In Travel Cameras Right Now At $499

By Kishore Sawh on August 28th 2017

(X-E2 (nonS) pictured above, and images in-post are from X-E2)

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.

[REWIND: Fuji X100T & Fujifilm 50mm Adapter | Travel Review]

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.

Gear Mentioned:

Fujifilm X-E2S

FujiFilm X-E2S + Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Zoom (Kit)

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Zoom

Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR 

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

14 Comments

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  1. Larry Fasnacht

    Where did you get that cool looking bag in the background?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Larry, I get asked about it all the time. It’s a shoulder bag from Belstaff. I don’t believe they make them anymore as I’ve tried to find a second to buy. I believe the model was the 559 and the smaller version was the 554. It was featured in films (Batman Begins and I Am Legend), I later found out, which made them hard to find when looked to buy the second. It’s about 10 years old. I saw one on eBay selling for $1,000 recently, which is about double what I paid for it. But man it can take a beating…like all things Belstaff, really. 

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    • adam sanford

      Ah, Belstaff.   It’s what you get when a new Billingham bag digs into the trust fund and travels the world for a year. 

      I typically buy things new and then distress them myself from use.  Paying someone more money to beat up my gear seems a bit silly, IMHO.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      adam sanford you hater haha. This didn’t look distressed when new. My bag was just beat up. It was my constant companion in rain, snow, hikes, etc. And Billingham mentioned in the same vein as Belstaff? They should be so fortunate ;-)

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  2. adam sanford

    Fuji’s #1 selling point: they take crop seriously and offer awesome higher-end glass for that mount.  I dream of my Canon doing the same.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      No argument there. Fuji glass is so good. Canon can, it’s whether they will or not

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    • Lenzy Ruffin

      Why dream, Adam? Come to Fujiland where dreams are reality. My dream lens was a 24-85. I was already looking hard at Fuji and saw they had a 24-84mm equivalent. Dream come true. I’m coming up on a year with my X-T2 (which I bought just to have something small to shoot for fun) and I realize I may have bought my last Canon body. 

      The lens selection, primarily the 27mm equivalent pancake lens, is why I bought the X-T2. It makes my 5D3 and 28mm lens look like a massive ’80s era cell phone. Add the battery grip and the 24-84 lens, and I have half of my standard event photography kit. I use the 5D3 and 70-200 for the other half, for events that require it.

      All that Fuji is missing (for me) is a flagship speedlite (4 batteries, TTL, support for an external battery pack). Once that flash exists, they’ve met all my needs. As much as I love Canon, I’m tired of their recent cameras underwhelming, compared to the market at large. I’m really excited about the D850 and I’m not a Nikon guy. I can buy two X-T2s for the price of a 5D4, which eliminates the CPS benefit (for me). Canon needs to get its act together. I no longer recommend Canon to people just starting out. This Fuji X-E2S is a much better choice than any Rebel. If you’re going to invest in glass, Fuji or Sony are the place to do it, in my opinion. 

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    • adam sanford

      K:  Canon will not.  :-P

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    • adam sanford

      Lenzy, my 5D3 + 35 f/2 is a nice enough small combo.  I’m too vested in EF glass to want a new mount, new batteries, new charger, etc.

      But Fuji gear looks terrific.  I’d jump in were I not so vested in EF.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I’m with you Adam. They won’t. And Lenzy, there’s no argument Fuji does some nice stuff, but for many like myself, getting around the concessions is hard. Certainly fewer with the XT2 and XPro2 but….

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    • Lenzy Ruffin

      I get it, Adam. I have a ton on Canon glass, too. But  if Canon sticks to its current philosophy of not going all-in with each body, any money I spend going forward will be on Fuji. It’s not unimaginable that in five years, the 5D5 will come out and not have features that are in the D850. That’s where the concessions are for me, Kishore…sticking with Canon and getting less than their best effort at innovation when everyone else is going all-in with every camera they release. 

      Oh, and Adam, when I say small, I mean my XT2 and 27mm equivalent pancake fit into a cargo pocket in my shorts during the summer and in a coat pocket during the winter. I can pull it out at a brunch or whatever and not feel like I’m going overboard and people don’t get “big camera anxiety” when I point it at them. Mirrorless cameras are great in that regard.

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    • Alex Petrenko

      Lenzy Ruffin take a look at last Godox flashes/triggers they support all latest nice stuff (HSS, Lithium batteries, remote settings, groups, channelss) on Fuji in reasonably priced packages.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Lenzy Ruffin both Canon and Nikon underwhelm me lately. Not because they don’t make great cameras (Nikon for sure. D850 will be a great piece of old tech), but lack of innovation. The lack of IBIS to me is deliberate because it suggests to me what they do to keep buying new VR lenses… I dunno.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      IBIS is a big one i’ve been looking for in a new Nikon too Kishore! I’ve always been more of a fan of good clean simple optics in a smaller lens. VR/IS bulks the lens, makes it complex, less reliable, and inflates the price. After the Pentax K1, I was really hoping the D810 replacement would utilize the same.

      With IBIS, Nikon’s relevance in video may be a little better as well. Especially with their old manual focus lenses.

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