Fuji X-E2 Camera Review
Walk around camera. Pocket camera. Capturing memories camera. (Fuji X-E2 camera review)
About a month ago I started my search for such a camera. My needs were:
- It has good IQ at high ISO. I would use it dimly lit dinners, parties etc. So sensors size less than APS-C would not work for me. This ruled out some excellent cameras like the Olympus OM.
- I needed built in flash. There is no point buying a compact/light camera and then carrying an external flash. So this ruled out another excellent camera – Sony A7.
- A wanted the smallest possible camera for portability and this ruled out the Canon Rebel.
- I wanted a viewfinder and that ruled out the Canon M.
My lens requirements were:
- A 35 mm equivalent to full frame camera with a wide aperture. I find 35 mm to be the best focal length for indoor photography. It is not too tight and does not really distort. This lens would have to have a minimum f-stop of 2 and I found one that opens to f1.4. Perfect!
- A mid range zoom with IS.
Based on the above requirements, I bought the Fujifilm XE2 from my favorite Adorama in NY. They had a demo piece for sale at $200 off for the camera with the kit lens 18-55 (27 – 84 mm on full frame). They also had the 23 mm f1.4 at $100 off. How did they know I wanted just this?
IN THE HANDS – camera review
For someone like me who’s idea of a walk around camera and lens was a Canon 5d3 with 24-105 mm and who works takes wildlife photos with 1Dx attached with a 600 mm lens, XE2 felt very light indeed. The weight difference between the 5d3 with 24-105 and XE2 with 18-55 is almost 1 kg!! 1 kg by the end of the day walking around talking pictures in an interesting city or the mountains is 5 kg. Try it.
The discussion over menus and navigation, that a certain device – camera/cell phone/computer has better or worse menu system means nothing to me. It is all about getting used to and knowing where what is. Read the manual and practice. That said, to me having the shutter, aperture, exposure compensation dials right their easily accessible works better. Perhaps this is because I started with the older Canons and Nikons where the dials were similarly placed. The menus on XE 2 are just fine.
The camera has a fantastic LCD along with a lovely built quality. It does feel a little small for my hands but I am sure I will adjust to that rather quickly. The sensor is totally exposed because there is no mirror, so I would pay attention and do not change lenses in dusty situations. But again since this is not my war zone camera, I think I will manage just fine.
I will not use my Fuji for sports or wildlife so please keep my focusing notes in context.
The long and short of it is that focusing with XE 2 is amazing. The auto focus is fast enough and locks focus in dim light almost always at first attempt and sometimes after a few attempts. I do not think I will ever miss out on a shot because of auto focus issues. I remember 5d2 focus that was just so awful.
For times when auto focus is not practical – shinny surfaces, real low light, lots of foreground things to throw the camera off, the camera provides manual focusing aids which are delightful. My favorite being ‘split focus’. The camera actually zooms in, lets me align the split image and then zooms out just before clicking. It is fantastic. How I wish Canon provided a feature like this. To do something like that with my Canon I need to turn on live view, hold the camera away from my eye (agony!) zoom and check focus while my arm shakes and I keep loosing critical focus. Fuji is much better in this regard.
I like the idea of electronic viewfinders and Fuji has as good a finder as any. I can see the exposure changes as I make them, no need to take a photo and look at the LCD screen. Here I know the results without taking my eye away from the viewfinder. I just can’t understand why many people resent EVF’s.
What gives me the righaphed similar shots from both the 5d mark 3 camera with 35mm and Fuji XE2 with 23mm and took two sets of photos one with ISO 200 and the other with ISO 3200.
Here are 2 shots from 5d mark 3 camera and XE2 each at ISO 200 and 3200 with crops. What do you think?
The things that do not work for me in this camera/lens combination:
- Size. It is bit too large to be a pocket camera. I thought I would detach the lens and put camera in one pocket and the 23 mm in other when I did not want anyone to know I was carrying a camera until I started using it. The camera does barely fit into my jeans but the lens does not. If I stuffed it in most girls would think that I was happy to see them. Not nice.
- Exposure compensation dial tends to be a bit stiff when trying to adjust without taking eye away from the eyepiece.
- It is not weather sealed. For a camera that is being marketed for street photographers, that is a real downer as downpours and splashes are part of outdoor street photography.
- I use back button focusing technique always with my Canon, unfortunately the Fuji does not allow this. I wish it did.
The Fuji does not fit in my pocket but is light enough for me to carry it everywhere and I am totally happy to have it as my carry around camera. The Fuji will also replace my Canon 5D3 as my holiday camera, but I will always have a nagging feeling when I click a nice ‘street photo’ that perhaps my photos would be better (at least for the pixel peepers) if I had carried the heavy alternative. For casual day-to-day photos of friends and family I do not know anything that is better.
- This is not a scientific review, just my quick observations.
- This is not about great photos, just some test photos to check IQ.
- I would appreciate any thoughts on how I could improve my tests in future.
Here are more sample Pictures to Compare Fuji XE2 & 5D Mark 3