It’s now coming up to 1 month since my Fuji X-E2 arrived and I’ve had a very productive few weeks with it. So I thought it was time to share some photos and first thoughts. I’m a long time Fuji X-E1 user (long time mirrorless terms - which means approx six months), and love that camera. Like most people who now have adopted the Fuji X system, I loved the X-E1’s image quality, colors, lens options and so on… However, despite the vastly improved firmware updates, I wished that the camera’s AF was better, as well as a number of other things. The X-E1 was great, but not perfect.
Here’s a quick recap of the lenses I’ve been using:
- Fuji 18-55mm f2.8-4 kit lens (although it does not do this great lens justice to call it a “kit” lens as it’s really semi-pro quality)
- Fuji 14mm f2.8 which is one of the best prime angle wides available on any system today
- Fuji 35mm f1.4 for a normal angle lens. A million words have been written about this little beauty
- Fuji 23mm f1.4 - probably my favorite of all the lenses. I used to shoot a Canon 5DMk2 and my favourite lens was the 35mm f1.4 L by a country mile. Since I sold that combo a couple of years ago I’ve been waiting to be replace it with something of similar quality and this lens has finally satisfied that need
When the X-E2 was announced, I was a little skeptical. There were a number of improvements (approx 60 by the official count I believe), but none seemed overwhelming. I’d wished for a slightly higher pixel density, articulating LCD, etc - but instead we were promised faster AF, a faster refresh rate in the EVF, 14 bit RAW, better firmware options (incl min shutter speed) and a few other operational improvements. As I’d had such a good experience with the X-E1, I decided to give the upgrade a shot but wasn’t yet convinced it’d be worth the extra dollars.
Now I’m a month in, and I’m delighted I did. There’s nothing on paper that suggests that the camera should feel so much better - but it does. This includes AF, which is vastly improved. My quick summary would be that contrast detect in low light is about the same as the previous camera (that is to say, accurate but not as fast as an OM-D for example). But in good light, phase detection kicks in and the camera focuses far faster than before. I’ve shot it side by side with my X-E1 in a variety of situations and the difference is v noticeable. It’s to the point now where I don’t think and simply shoot. The camera “gets out of the way” which is what you should hope to expect. Similarly, the EVF refresh rate is now great. I tend to compose with the LCD more than most, perhaps due to the subjects I shoot, but having a higher quality EVF (particularly for low light) is a real bonus - particularly for certain conditions. The biggest difference though is that everything that you do on the camera feels faster. From turning on, to being ready for the next shot, to responding to controls. The X-E2 feels more, for lack of a better word, analog.
I shot micro four thirds for (E-P1 -> G3 -> OM-D E-M1) for several years with the best lenses the system had to offer and I always felt that that the micro four thirds system was the best compromise between image quality and size. But I also always felt it was a compromise. When asked for recommendations on what camera to buy from friends, unless they were really concerned about size, then I recommended a Canon or Nikon DSLR.
However, I now believe the Fuji X system is the new best balance of image quality and size. More importantly perhaps, I feel it’s no longer a compromise. The images I shoot with this system are every bit as good as I could possibly hope to shoot with any other system, and that includes my old Canon FF gear with L glass. Now when asked for recommendations, I always suggest one of the Fuji range (and tailor my recommendation based on price).
Ultimately there’s a million reasons why someone will choose one system over another, and the reality is there is no bad choices nowadays. But for me, in terms of image quality, portability, lens options, ergonomics / controls and pure fun, there’s a very clear leader now - Fuji. And at the top of the Fuji pile now sits the X-E2.
The 10 photos above are my top 10 photos taken with the Fuji X-E2 in the past month.