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Fuji Camera Reviews

Date: 18/08/2014 | By: Heather

Exploring the city of Edinburgh: Thoughts about the Fujifilm X-E2

ILCE-7S, 1/500, f/ 28/10, ISO 100

Exploring the city of Edinburgh: Thoughts about the Fujifilm X-E2

As followers of this blog may know, Mathieu and I spend every summer in Wales where my parents live. Whereas most years we travel straight from Turin to their house, the first stop on our journey back to our “home away from home” this time around was the vibrant city of Edinburgh. Waiting for us there were not only my parents but also two family friends from Canada who I’ve known ever since I was born. To my surprise, one of them had bought a Fujifilm X-E2 especially for the trip after discovering mirrorless cameras through this blog. Since I’d only ever tried the X-E2 once at Fujifilm Touch and Try session in Italy, we decided that it would be fun to switch cameras for the day: he would use our X-T1 and we would take his X-E2 out for a spin.

Though it wasn’t intentional, we ended up spending most of our day at the extremely popular Edinburgh Fringe Festival, walking up and down the same high street numerous times and snapping street portraits of the performers advertising their upcoming performances. It was the perfect setting to casually test a camera like the X-E2.

X-E2, 1/400, f/ 36/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/400, f/ 3.6, ISO 200

For 95% of my shots, I used the 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the X-E2. Though I had the 10-24mm and 35mm with me, I wanted to use the camera as it had been sold to my friend, as doing so would give me an idea of the limits and strengths of only having a kit zoom. In the end, I felt that 18-55mm was a good range for the streets since people were performing at varying distances, and it wasn’t always easy to get close due to the crowds.

At a maximum aperture of f/2.8, it isn’t the fastest lens around but for street portraiture this usually matters very little, especially if you want the elements in the background to act as key players in the image as well. When I did want some shallow depth of field, all I had to do was make sure I got in nice and close to my subject.

X-E2, 1/5, f/ 36/10, ISO 800
X-E2, 1/5, f/ 3.6, ISO 800

In terms of pure feel and ergonomics, the X-E2 is one of my favourite Fujifilm X series cameras. The X-Pro1 has always felt a tad too bulky for my liking, while the lack of a viewfinder on the X-M1 makes it difficult to use in some circumstances such as bright sunny days outside. Like the X-E1 that came before it, the X-E2 balances size and functionality very well.

ILCE-7S, 1/200, f/ 28/10, ISO 100
The Fujifilm X-E2

If you are used to the X-T1 as I am, you may find that the X-E2 is lacking quite a few external dials and buttons such as ISO, bracketing, panorama and so on. With the X-T1, you barely have to touch the virtual menu, whereas the X-E2 will require some minimal menu digging to adjust any setting that isn’t shutter speed, aperture or exposure compensation. It isn’t really a big deal as you have to do the same with all other X series cameras as well, but I must admit that the functionality of the X-T1 has spoiled me.

X-E2, 1/320, f/ 8/1, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/320, f/ 8, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/1900, f/ 36/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/1900, f/ 3.6, ISO 200

As street cameras go, the X-E2 is the cream of the crop. Its shutter generates a low and pleasant-sounding thud that won’t cause a passer-by to look twice and its nondescript chassis renders it unobtrusive, particularly if you own the black version. Unlike the previous generation of X series cameras, the X-E2 has a fast and accurate autofocus that is more than suitable for street photography, and even other kinds of photography involving movement as long as the subjects aren’t too quick and move about in a predictive fashion.

X-E2, 1/1000, f/ 36/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/1000, f/ 3.6, ISO 200 – Capturing the dancers in action

A couple of times, I found myself missing the presence of a tilt-screen on the X-E2. (Yes, once again, the X-T1 has spoiled me!) Many photographers say it isn’t a necessity and makes the camera bulkier than it has to be, but for those who enjoy taking photos from awkward angles, a tilting screen is the perfect aid for getting your composition right in-camera. For the shot below, I was almost kneeling on the pavement to see what my composition looked like on the screen.

X-E2, 1/420, f/ 36/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/420, f/ 3.6, ISO 200

The electronic viewfinder on the X-E2, however, is a thing of beauty, and with the recent firmware update 2.0, it now has a lag time of only 0.005 sec, which puts it on par with the X-T1. Looking through the viewfinder, the colours are bright, vivid and most importantly, realistic. In fact, our above-mentioned friend told us that the quality of the EVF was the main reason he chose the X-E2 over other mirrorless cameras.

X-E2, 1/850, f/ 36/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/850, f/ 3.6, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/250, f/ 36/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/250, f/ 3.6, ISO 200

Many, if not all Fuji-toating photographers have complained about the removal of the View Mode button on the X-E2, saying that they enjoyed being able to switch between LCD, Viewfinder and Eye Sensor with the press of a button on the X-E1 and X-Pro1. This function has now been relegated to a submenu that isn’t the easiest to access. I don’t want to create any controversy when I write this but having not used either the X-E1 or X-Pro1 extensively, for me personally, there is nothing to miss. Added to this is the fact that I almost always use the eye sensor, so it isn’t a problem for me to dig into the menu every now and then to switch over to the LCD or viewfinder. My feeling is that the removal of this button is more problematic for those who already own an X series camera than for those just starting out with the series.

X-E2, 1/1100, f/ 32/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/1100, f/ 3.2, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/250, f/ 36/10, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/250, f/ 3.6, ISO 200

Would I recommend the Fujifilm X-E2 to a photography enthusiast thinking of venturing into the mirrorless world? Without a doubt, yes. And the great thing about the X-E2 is that it has come down in price since the release of the X-T1, and its price will only continue to drop after Photokina 2014. Not only, but we can also expect Fujifilm to continue providing firmware updates for the camera just as it has done for all its models so far.

Note: the latest firmware update is the version 3.00 released in December 2014 that adds several features including the Classic Chrome picture profile. Click here to see a list of all the different firmware updates for the Fuji X-E2.

X-E2, 1/200, f/ 8/1, ISO 200
X-E2, 1/200, f/ 8, ISO 200 – One of my only super wide angle shots with the X-E2. The 18-55mm just didn’t do the Scott Monument justice!

Do you own the Fujifilm X-E2? If so, what do you like best about the camera? What would you fix?

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About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • karl

    This was very informative, thanks!

    I own a Canon 60D, which I haven’t used in ages as I’m simply tired of lugging around all my gear during travels.

    This camera looks to be a great replacement, but I’m curious as to whether or not I should wait until Photokina next month. Is FujiFilm expected to announce a new model? If so, I’d rather wait until then to see the price drops for this model.

  • Heather

    Thank you, Jeff, for giving our X-T1 a workout! :)

  • Heather

    Sadly, I don’t Keith. I had a look around Amazon but they don’t seem to sell one. Mathieu has a similar issue and I know it frustrates him at times.

  • Heather

    Thanks Azmi. I’ll be sincere when I say that I prefer the GX7 but that’s mostly because I prefer the ergonomics and I can trust the AF more. That said, the X-E2 is a very pleasant camera to work with, and the IQ is second to none.

  • Azmi Archer

    Thank you for the very practical & interesting walkabout review.. i have a GX7 and wondered how these compare in your hands.. as i am considering the XE2 as an allternative?.. ps, lovely images of the Fringe & city Heather… many thanks..Azmi.

  • Keith Taylor

    Hi, I decided to sell off my Canon gear as I was fed up of lugging heavy bags around. I bought an XE2 after finding your site and reading about mirror-less cameras, I am over the moon with it. I bought it knowing that it would not be very good for fast moving subjects and I proved it on Sunday. I went to the Whitby Motor Cross meet and took around 400 shots most of them moving subjects and I don’t think that I got a really sharp action shot, but as I only go once a year that is not a problem. I use the 18-55mm lens and it is far better than my Canon lenses, on static or slow moving subjects it would be hard to beat. A slight problem that I have is that I am left handed and use my left eye, that leaves my nose squashed against the screen. Does anyone know of an eye cup that would fit the XE2 to keep me clear of the screen?

    Keith Taylor. Guisborough N/Yorks

  • Jeffrey Cipin

    As the owner of the X-E2 that Heather borrowed in Edinburgh I’d like to say that I agree with everything she wrote about the camera. I have to say that what I enjoyed most about my day with the X-T1 was the tilt-screen. That’s what I missed the most leaving behind my Canon 60D on our trip to Scotland and Iceland. But I’m very pleased with the overall functionality of the camera and the quality of the photos.
    More interesting than the camera swap was seeing the images Heather and Mathieu shot of the same event I was walking around shooting. I like to think I’m an ok amateur photographer but it was very humbling to see their photos. Money will buy whatever equipment you like. However, the outcome of how you choose to interpret what you see through the lens and when you choose to press that shutter release has less to do with the equipment than most of us would like to admit. But that’s ok.
    Thanks Heather for taking my camera for a spin.


  • Aleksandr

    Thanks for interesting articles.
    Sony nex-5 was my first mirrorless camera. I tried to use samsung nx1100. But samsung nx1100 have no tilt-screen. It seemed to me inconvenient. When I took to try the X-M1 tilt-screen affected a model choice (X-T1 then yet wasn’t).
    Looking as the prices fall on X-E2, sometimes, I think to take it the spare camera 😉

  • Mark Ittleman

    Since buying my new Olympus with prime lenses I can now see the difference between them and the zooms. Having shot Nikons before I was accustomed to having most focal lengths covered. But my images are so much crisper and they really tend to “pop” more that I’m solely using the primes; they are also more cumbersome, but i the long run am much happier with the primes. EM-1, 17 2.8, and 45 1.8.
    Have some awesome images from a trip up the Eastern Coast of the U.S. into New Brunswick and PEI.

    Thanks for this site. It was helpful in determining the need to upgrade my equipment before we left for a trip of a lifetime!

    Mark A. Ittleman

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