Evolution…..the Fuji X-E2 First Impressions

The Fuji X-E2

I’ve had my Fuji X-E2 for a short while and I just wanted to post a few images, and talk about my initial reaction to using this update to the very popular X-E1.

Firstly, and very importantly;  I am NOT paid by Fuji.  I am not an official ambassador, I’ve never received any money from them. I have a good relationship with Fuji based on their equipment.  Which I love.  And yes, I evangelise but you know what, I tell it as it is.  If there is a negative point, I will talk about that too.

Right, that out the way.  I recently took the newly launched Fuji X-E2 on a wedding shoot with me.  Now, as it was a new camera I took a very select amount of shots with it.  Preferring of course to use equipment I’d tried and tested.

However, the images presented below were all taken at the wedding and I think you’ll be impressed with the image quality and ISO capabilities which in my mind are a step above both the X-E1 and the X-Pro1.

This is a very quick overview (I will do a fuller review in due course, so please do sign up to my feed using the subscription form at the bottom of this post).  Note that the images are all from the camera JPGs – click the links at the end of the post for the original images.  Lightroom does not support the RAF files at this time.

Look & Feel

Physically the camera is very similar to the X-E1. I opted for the all black version and I will tape up the X-E2 logo too to make the camera as “invisible as possible”. I kind of wish all the branding was on the top plate as with other models but can understand the marketing reasons for this.

There a couple of minor changes of note such as the Q button is in a different location and the camera has four fn buttons in total (two standard, two re-programmable). I would like to see the option to control the EVF/LCD display option as a Function button option.

Focusing

Snappy. That’s the word I’m going to use. Compared to the X-Pro1 and the X-E1 the camera focuses very quickly in my opinion. The EVF now has a refresh rate in the region of 50 frames per second compared to the 20 frames per second of the X-E1. This makes lag much less of an issue.

The X-E2 uses the same X-Trans CMOS II sensor that is in the X100S, which includes on-chip phase detection elements for autofocus. This makes a very notable difference in my opinion when focusing. The AF is extremely reactive and for me, it’s a huge leap forward.

In low light, the camera will automatically revert back to the contrast detect system that is seen in the X-E1. AF in low light is still much improved however.

The phase detect system also enables a much more accurate focus tracking system and whilst I’m not going to be using any X-Series camera pitch side at rugby games soon the new AF-S functionality makes chasing the kids around much more likely to yield good images.

Low Light

I think Fuji have worked wonders again here and I’m constantly amazed with the JPGs that the camera produces out of the box. I don’t have accurate tests on a camera by camera bases but by my reckoning the processing of elevated ISO images is greatly improved.

The images in my samples below are all take from the JPGs created by the camera. Note these are processed images. However, the original full size JPGs can be seen by clicking the relevant links.

My settings, for your reference are:

 

  • Highlights – 1
  • Shadows -1
  • Noise Reduction -1
  • Sharpness +1
  • Colour +1
  • Auto WB

 

Is it going to replace my X-Pro1? You know what? I think it may. I LOVE the OVF on my X-Pro1 and my X100S. I shoot almost everything in the OVF mode but the Fuji X-E2 is pulling at those heart strings.

I need to give it more of a full run for its money of course, but I can see this camera, along with the X100S being a staple of my shooting diet. Now, when the 56mm F1.2 lens comes out next year I can effectively revert to the 35/85 combination I used for years with my Canon kit in terms of focal length.

A few other features that I found useful yesterday:

  • The three stops of Exp Comp.  Very useful for my style
  • 180th Second SS Dial marker.  Came in handy later on when trialling the flash.  It worked well
  • Separate AEL and AFL buttons.  Helps with my back button focusing technique.
  • The Zoom in Focus check is very useful
  • Obviously the almost ubiquitous focus peaking

There is something I’m sad to see lost though, which is the View Mode button.  I really use that a lot and I’m hopeful that can be added as a Fn button toggle in a future firmware update.

Feel free to leave comments, or questions below and I will do my best to respond…..in short, another “corker” from the chaps in Tokyo.

XF 35mm F1.4 1/160th Second ISO 640

Fuji X-E2 Review

XF 35mm F1.4 1/160th Second ISO 1,600

Fuji X-E2 Review

 

XF 35mm F1.4 1/160th Second ISO 400

Fuji X-E2 Review

 

XF 35mm F1.4 1/160th Second ISO 1,250

Fuji X-E2 Review

 

XF 35mm F1.4 1/160th Second ISO 2,000

Fuji X-E2 Review

 

XF 23mm F1.4 1/160th Second ISO 6,400

Fuji X-E2 Review

 

XF 23mm F1.4 1/40th Second ISO 400 (Macro)

Fuji X-E2 ReviewFull Res Images from the camera:

 

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29 Responses

  1. Colin Nicholls

    Thanks for this Kevin, really nice to see the real world applications of this new camera, really can’t wait to try this out, and that 56mm, well thats just going to be incredible. Cheers!

    Reply
  2. Paul Rogers

    Lovely crisp images with that 35mm at f/1.4. Interesting to hear that the EVF is good enough to tempt you away from the OVF in the XPRO1. I’ve found myself using the EVF in the X100S more and more to confirm focus is locked – have had some moments in the OVF when the focus has completely failed (in decent light) and I wouldn’t have known without the image review. Look forward to seeing more of your work from this camera.

    Reply
  3. Tony Cullinane

    I’m very impressed with the image shot at ISO 6400, I worry about noise at high ISO, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem here. Thanks for the review Kevin, but having bought the X-Pro1 recently I guess I will stay with that for the time being.

    Reply
  4. CGL

    Thanks Kevin! Please pressure Fuji hard about the View Button – it’s a DEAL BREAKER for me–it’s that important. I shoot professionally with 2 X-Pro 1s and hope and pray they don’t do the same with the X-Pro 2! Actually every every serious X-E2 review/preview I e read has said the same thing–even some other X-Photographers. BAD move by Fuji. It was NOT thought out well nor discussed with pro photographers it doesn’t seem. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Kevin Mullins

      One would think this is an easy thing to add the FN options in due course. Let’s hope so as I rely on the View Mode button too (though it’s not a deal breaker for me).

      The battery life is improved with the new intelligent auto-switching viewfinder…..but I miss the View Mode button too.

      Reply
  5. jovelino

    thanks for sharing
    with the XE1 i hate the needing of pushing a button to change the focus points, instead just moving the dial command
    is it the same with the XE2 ?
    thanks again

    Reply
  6. Mark Adams

    Recently started to follow your blog and web site. Brilliant candid images and helpful reviews. The settings you mention in your post – are you still referring to ProNEG High for the colour and B+W+red for the monochrome images? Early days in your testing of the X-E2 but did you feel you needed to take down the Shadows a bit as the blacks are clipped early on the Trans-II? I have have similarly found on my X100s that taking down the highlights and shadows by one notch then gives similar results to the fist generation of Trans sensors with out the blacks being clipped too soon. Very much look forward to your further review of the X-E2. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. Best Regards.

    Reply
    • Kevin Mullins

      Hi, yes I was shooting in ProNeg HI for this test. I set my standard in camera processing based on my X-pro1 settings so when i get a bit more time with the camera I will see if I need to adjust those accordingly. Cheers

      Reply
  7. Helen

    Hi Kevin – great review, thank you! So, if you own an EX-1, do you think it’s worth the upgrade? I want to use the raw conversion in camera to create great jpegs out of camera. I like a warm Mocha like black and white as you have in images 1 and 2. Any advice on how to achieve that look, as whatever film simulation I’m choosing they’re not so warm with that hint or red/brown and when I choose Sepia it’s more yellowy. Thank you in advance. Helen.

    Reply
    • Kevin Mullins

      Hi Helen,

      I believe it’s a very worthwhile upgrade to the X-E1. I add a touch of warmth in post processing (Lightroom in this case).

      Cheers

      Reply
  8. Warren

    Kevin, nice to see a working review of the X-E2. Your images are superb.
    I have a body on order here in the states and I am excited about the new autofocus system & better EFV response. Although I do not shoot weddings, I do shoot other events quite often with a similar subject matter. It is too bad about the view mode button, but if enough of us complain that will change. I am looking forward to future posts from you.

    Cheers

    Reply
  9. Sergio Sorrentino

    Excellent quick review Kevin.
    This year I added the Fuji X-Pro1 to my equipment, and it actually works side by side the 5DII+35L.
    My next purchase will surely be the latest 23 f/1.4, and the 56 f/1.2 the next year.
    I’m glad Fuji finally separated AF-L and AE-L. I can’t wait to try the new phase detection AF too.
    I’m sure we’ll see something really interesting with the upcoming X-Pro2…

    Reply
  10. Richard Oliver

    Thanks for the early review Kevin. Very helpful. I’ve just got mine and the 23mm arrives tomorrow.

    I’d be very interested to know how you’ve set up the AF-L and AE-L buttons.

    Regards

    Reply
  11. jerryR

    Kevin,

    Thanks again for helpful information and the great images! I can’t wait to get my hands on an X-E2.

    In your presentation video for Fuji you mentioned a couple of times that you keep your X100/S on a “hook” so you can quickly grab it during a wedding. What kind of “hook” or strap are you using?

    Thanks again!

    JerryR

    Reply
  12. Kevin S.

    Hi Kevin,
    As a ‘photographer’s camera’, how do you feel about the lack of an OVF in the X-E2, when comparing it to the X-Pro1? Maybe you’ve not had time to come to any conclusions one way or the other (and I guess you’d have mentioned it otherwise), but, being ‘Old Skool’, I’d be interested to know if you feel that the picture-making process is compromised, or made less enjoyable, because of the EVF. Thanks, oh and nice work!

    Reply
    • Kevin Mullins

      Hi Kevin – I love the OVF in the X-Pro1 and the X100S. However, the X-E1/2 are not fitted with those for specific reasons. The only benefit I get from the OVF really is quickness. It’s quicker to operate the camera in OVF mode, but as the X-E2 is so much quicker now then that is mitigated somewhat.

      Cheers

      Reply
  13. Rhys Parker

    Hi Kevin

    When you do you’re full review. Can you test what auto focus is like using the outside points. I’m currently using D800’s which have spoiled me in terms of performance so I don’t focus recompose with the centre point.

    When mirrorless is good enough I’m looking to downsize. Depending on how good the X-E2 is, this might be the camera to make me do it.

    Thanks

    Rhys

    Reply
  14. Andy Holdsworth

    Thanks for taking time to post your findings Kevin. Its great having the large files to pixel peep as well.
    Sorry if this has been asked before but are the B&W conversions been done in Lightroom ?
    All the best,
    Andy.

    Reply
  15. Jake Schoellkopf

    Hello from wintry New Mexico…

    Just acquired the X-E2 – you had an influence in that – and am getting used to it after years of Canon-ing it. I have a question: you mention back focus, aka thumb focus; for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to set that up in the menu. I thumb focused with my Canon cameras for years and don’t want to try and re-train myself. Any advice is gratefully appreciated.

    Thanks much,

    Jake

    Reply
  16. Nishi Sharma

    Hi Kevin, there is currently a very tempting bundle available that consists of Fuji X Pro 1 + 18mm lens+ a bellingham bag AND the choice of one free lens 35 or 60mm from Fuji. I am tempted to make the most of this offer but realise the XE-2 body seems to be superior. What would you do if you were in my situation? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Kevin Mullins

      Hi Nishi,

      Thanks for stopping by. The X-E2 offers advantages over the X-Pro1, but not a huge ammount. I think if I were in your sitatuation I’d go for the X-Pro1 bundle. You are effectively buying the lenses and getting the body and the bag free. In time, you can at least sell the X-Pro1 body to move to a new body but have a system of lenses in place already….

      It’s a tough call though

      Reply
  17. Nishi Sharma

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for taking time to reply and for your advice. The X-pro 1package is now on order!

    Reply
  18. Karl Bratby

    Thanks for the info you are giving on the Fuji system, I’ve got a trial coming from Fuji HQ in next few weeks of the full system and fingers crossed we will get along.

    Reply

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