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Fuji X-E2

My Photography with the Fuji X-E2

Jim Radcliffe

November 22, 2013

A little history first...

I bought the Fuji X-Pro 1 during the first week it became available. I was excited to own and use something different from a DSLR or Micro Four Thirds camera. I loved using it. I passed on the X-E1 as it did not offer more than what the X-Pro 1 was already provided other than a better EVF. I did not think that the Fuji X-E2 would be enough of an improvement over the X-Pro 1 to warrant its purchase either.     I was wrong.

Good things come in small packages. That saying has never been more true than when I use it in reference to the Fuji X-E2. What an amazing little camera... at a good price point.

I am a still photographer so I cannot speak to the video capabilities of the X-E2 nor do I care about them. That said, let's get on with my thoughts about the Fuji X-E2.

First and foremost.. it's a fun camera and you can carry it all day without shoulder or back pain.. this is important to both young and older photographers. One of the reasons I ditched my Canon 5D MK II was the bulk and weight. No such worries with the X-E2.

The good:

The X-E2 is a small nonthreatening camera, easily carried in a small bag. Perfect for those who wish to travel light and still be able to get very high quality photographs.

The IQ is truly stunning. The photos produced by the X-E2 have amazing detail, great color rendition and dynamic range.

Noise is kept to a very comfortable minimum once you pass ISO 800 and little or none below ISO 800. The noise control appears to be better to my eye than what the X-Pro 1 offers (and it is good) and also appears more manageable with noise reduction software at higher ISO settings.

The EVF on the X-E2 is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of using. It is much better than the EVF on my X-Pro 1.

The X-E2 has a built-in diopter. The X-Pro 1 does not. You must use a screw-in diopter on the X-Pro 1 and they don't always stay screwed in.

The new, larger LCD is very good. Be honest, we all chimp a bit while shooting and the LCD really is an important part of every digital camera… but wait… there's more!

The ability to now see EXACTLY what you will get in the EVF is so very welcome. There is nothing like adjusting the aperture ring and seeing exactly how the shot will look in that wonderful EVF. This feature, to me, is the most outstanding feature of the X-E2 other than the amazing image quality. Anyone using the camera in this manner will find their keeper rate going way up. No need to chimp after the shot because you can get it right the first time with this feature. You really don't even need to view the histogram. WYSIWYG is here at last with the X-E2.

It offers magnification, focus peaking and split image for manual focus. Fuji listened.

It offers built-in WiFi. You don't have to use a WiFi card.

It allows for the use of a mechanical as well as electronic remote shutter release.

Shutter lag has not been an issue for me. I haven't noticed it.
Your needs and/or perception may differ.

It's quiet. You won't be waking the dead with the Fuji X-E2. The shutter has a very understated "thwip" when the shutter release is pressed.. and you can turn off all the electronic sounds if you so desire.

It's built very well. When you hold it in your hands you immediately get the impression that the camera is built well and by no means another point and shoot.

The built-in flash is there if you need a little extra light. I rarely use a flash but there are those times when it might come in handy.

Battery life appears to be good. I never really worry as I always have four batteries for each camera I own. That insures that I will never run out of batteries during a full day of shooting. People often talk about having a back-up camera but then go out the door with only one or two batteries. That doesn't make sense to me.

The "Oh Wow!" factor. My first day out with the X-E2 produced that a number of times. It's not something Fuji markets but they included it in the X-E2.

The not so good…
notice I did not say "The Bad":

RAW support is still not at the level it should be for the Fuji RAF (RAW) files but that is really not Fuji's fault. But honestly, the JPGs are so stunning that RAW may not be required by many who buy this camera. The JPGs are that good. Good RAW support is sure to come as there are just too many photographers switching to the Fuji X cameras. My understanding is that the latest Lightroom candidate does support the X-E2 RAF files. I've not tried it yet.

The LCD is not articulated. Many do not require an articulated LCD but for those of us who sometimes shoot with arm extended over our heads or shoot from ground level or other awkward shooting situations where an articulated LCD would make getting the shot so easy… we would welcome it.

Auto focus is improved over the X-Pro 1 and very accurate but there are those times when even faster AF would be a blessing. For 95% of what I shoot the AF is fine.

The tripod mount is still not centered with the lens as it should be. You will need the accessory grip to achieve that.

It is NOT weather-sealed.. this is not by any means a deal breaker for me even though I shoot in inclement weather at times.

All in all I am extremely pleased with my decision to buy the X-E2, so much so that I have cleaned and boxed up my X-Pro 1 with the intention of selling it in the next week or so. No need to keep it as I will not be using it.

The X-Pro 1 is a great camera but in all honesty I think the X-E2 is even better. I don't use the OVF on the X-Pro 1 so the lack of an OVF on the X-E2 is not an issue for me.

The Fuji X-E2 has many other features and GearHeads can find all of those specs and features online at any number of review sites. I'm just telling you how I feel about the camera as I use it and how it works for me. Technical reviews bore me to death. I prefer to use the camera and show you what I have been able to produce with it.

Final Thoughts

The Fuji X-E2 is a serious, well thought out mirror-less camera. If you want great IQ and the ability to travel light and get rid of that big, honking DSLR, get a Fuji X-E2! It's fun to use and easy on the bank account or credit card.

I will say again what I said about the X-Pro 1 as it applies to the Fuji X-E2: It's everything I like about a rangefinder.. without it actually being a rangefinder. It's a small, boxy camera. It's quiet, has great lenses, it's non-threatening, it has outstanding image quality and dynamic range, terrific high ISO performance and it's quite affordable.

Fuji's lenses are outstanding.. even the kit lens. I keep the 18-55mm mounted most of the time due to its versatility. Most of the photos here were taken with that lens. I also have the 35, 18 and 60. They're all good and the lens road map is looking very good.

Some may say "But it's not full frame"... So what? Unless you print huge photos you'll be saving a ton of money and enjoying this camera for a long time. Just make sure the X-E2 meets your needs. Don't buy a hammer when you need a saw.

For me, the Fuji X-E2 works on so many levels. I have no problem in recommending it to anyone. It's not perfect but it's damn good!






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