All lit up

An updated review of the Fujifilm X-E2

DCraig_131202_PB-LE_003

Since writing a review, of sorts, of my first impressions of the new X-E2, I have had a chance to shoot extensively with the camera. In many situations and with every XF lens, except the 23mm and 27mm lenses. This experience has solidified my first impressions and further impressed me with this camera, but also with what Fujifilm has been doing with the X-camera family.

For work, I have been using the X-E2 in a number of ways and with both zooms and two or three primes. Relying more and more on the OOC JPEGs, means that I have to get my exposure and white balance settings right before I shoot a job. That is one of the reasons I appreciate having two Fn buttons now. With the X-E2, I have one Fn button set up for WB and the other set up for multiple exposures. So, one is for work and the other is for play!

Another feature that let’s me reliably shoot JPEGs for work now is the exposure preview. Since I was shooting without flash for all of these events, I kept the preview exposure in manual mode turned on. Switch to spot metering and I had a very good idea of what my final image would look like. If the image looks over exposed, then I meter off of a brighter area. Under exposed, then I meter off a darker area. The result is out-of-camera files that require very little post processing, which means faster delivery to my client and less time spent on the computer.

As always, I mostly use manual focus with the great Fujifilm focus aids. Primarily I use focus peaking and zoom in to fine tune. However, the AF is very accurate, and fast, which means that I have also been using it quite a bit. In my non-work life, the AF on the X-E2 has worked incredibly well on fast moving toddlers, sports, speeding boats and distant planes (in case you have that need).

Due to the types of events I shoot, I often use continuous shooting mode. The new processor makes this a world of difference from the X-Pro 1. In fact, it feels a bit too quick at times, as I only want a sequence of two or three at a time (no complaints, though). I am learning to adjust my shutter release pressure to reduce the number of frames I shoot like this with the X-E2. And I love that the numbering sequence and the image review has been changed to make it the same as when shooting single images. It may seem like a small thing, but it is one of those changes I have asked for since I first picked up the X-Pro 1.

Auto ISO has also been an issue for me with the XP1. The X-100(s) has always had a good implementation of this feature, but on the XP1 it was inadequate. Well, the X-E2 has the best implementation of Auto ISO of any camera I have ever used. Period. The range of minimum shutter speeds is very generous, which makes it work for a wide variety of shooting situations.

Holiday Lights Across Canada

It seems odd to relegate the mention of image quality for an X-camera so far down in a review. Well, it is always worth mentioning, because the bottom line for many photographers is image quality and the X-E2 does not disappoint. A nice bonus is that Lightroom has a release candidate beta of 5.3 available with support for X-E2 RAF files. Yay!

For all of the pleasure I have had in using the X-E2, there is one problem with the camera. I have been working around this problem, but I’m not happy to have to do that. The problem is the removal of the View button (replaced by the Q button). I know that Fuji has heard from a number of photographers about this and the hope is that they will offer a solution in a future firmware update. It can’t happen fast enough in my opinion.

Having the X-E2 means that I can work with two interchangeable lens bodies at the same time. I can use the XF18-55mm zoom on the X-E2 and the XF55-200mm zoom on the XP1. Or, I can use a couple of different focal length focal length primes on the two bodies, depending upon the circumstances. This is the scenario that I envisioned when the X-Pro 1 first hit the market. I am really happy to be in that position now.

It has been really exciting to work with the new X-E2. However, I am nearly as excited to have the new firmware for the X-Pro 1 which will implement nearly all of the features mentioned above on that older body. The updates to firmware for older equipment means that with each new firmware download, you have a virtually new camera. It doesn’t hurt brand loyalty either.

Just a thought:
The more proficient you are with the technical aspects of photography, the less important they become. More important is knowing when to press the shutter.

Notes: These photos were shot over two nights. The first night was the annual lighting of holiday lights on the provincial capital buildings and tree, shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and Fujinon XF35 f1.4 lens (all JPEGs). The second night, I shot a few long exposures of the Parliament Buildings with the X-E2 and the XF14mm and XF35mm lenses (all RAW files). All photos processed in LR RC 5.3. Oh, just so you know, that XF35mm lens is still one of my all-time favourite pieces of glass. Ever!

Canadian X-Photographers on the X-E2

Fujifilm X-E2 Specs

2 Comments

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  1. Great follow-up Don — I’ve added it to my original review page :)
    I find myself missing that camera quite a bit… Something I’ll probably remedy after the holidays. I love using two bodies as well and the combo XP1-XE2 was extremely pleasant to work with.

    Btw: my friend Flemming feels the same way we do about the View Mode button… I think we’re looking at a consensus on that one. Can’t wait for the XP1 update…

    • Thanks Patrick. I have been leaving the view in the eye sensor mode, so that I can make camera adjustments, until the job starts. Then I switch to the EVF-eye sensor only to shoot the job and save battery life. Not ideal. It has been great to have both bodies to work with. I tend to put the bigger, heavier lens on the X-P1, which seems to be better balanced for them. And then there will be the XP1 update…

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