I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about how great Fuji cameras are, so about 3 weeks ago I decided to get a Fuji. I was thinking of getting the XT-1 but I wasn’t so sure yet if Fuji’s are really as great as they say they were so I went with the cheaper XE-2 that has the same sensor as the XT-1. I got a bundled kit with an 18-55 f2.8-f4 lens.
Specs of the Fuji XE-2
- 16.3MP, APS-C, X-Trans II CMOS Sensor
- EXR Processor II
- 3.0″ 1,040k-Dot LCD Monitor
- 0.5″ 2,360k-Dot OLED Viewfinder
- Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
- Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Continuous Shooting up to 7 fps
- Intelligent Hybrid AF System
- Digital Split Image and Focus Peaking
- Fujinon XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens
Out of the box the camera looks very sleek. It has a very nice built, and doesn’t feel like a toy camera unlike some DSLRs that are made out of plastic. Coming from a DSLR space, I seemed lost at first on how to control the exposure modes, shutter speed, aperture and ISO and took a while to figure things out, but once you get used to it it’s very easy to use. I thought that I would get a smaller lens because it’s a smaller camera, but the 18-55 is almost the same size as the Nikon and Canon kit lenses, yet f/2.8-4 is for sure better than f/3.5-5.6. I really liked how light the camera was and I actually want to bring this camera on my trips because of its small form factor (unlike walking around with a D3s and a 24-70 Nikon lens), the only thing that isn’t that comfortable is the way the camera is help, I might need to buy those leather grips if it helps.
The XE-2 has an electronic viewfinder and a live view display. At first I used the electronic viewfinder which is pretty decent, but it needs time to getting used to if you come from using a DSLR. But after a while I realized this – why shoot with the electronic viewfinder when I can just shoot live view with the back display – which is actually a lot better. You get angles and point of view you don’t get often when using a DSLR, and because it’s a small camera it’s easier to move around.
The dials for Shutter Speed and Exposure Compensation are a bit hard to move, which is both good and bad. When I shoot I need to use two fingers to move the dials. I like where the exposure compensation and aperture control is placed, but dislike the shutter dial because I normally use my index finger and thumb to move it, and your thumb gets in the way of shooting. (I’m legally blind in my right eye so I only use my left eye to look through the view finder so that’s maybe why my thumb gets in the way, but this may be the case for other photographers who use their left eye as well)
FOCUSING and FPS
It is my opinion the camera lacks in speed compared to a DSLR. The focusing is quick when your shooting in well-lit locations or when you have enough details in contrast to your subject, but in a low lit areas and with very small details to focus on, the camera sometimes has hard time focusing. I also noticed that sometimes it focuses at the back of the subject because of the big focus area. But still if you don’t compare it to a DSLR it’s still very workable. I didn’t have any success shooting Macro using auto-focus (not that I usually would). The XE-2 had hard time focusing, needed to switch to manual focus to shoot really close subjects. I AM amazed by the 7FPS of the XE-2 and the buffering is very quick which made shooting insects very easy.
Low Light Shooting
The ISO in the XE-2 is a game changer, I can shoot at ISO 3200 without worrying about noise. Actually, I can go up to 6400 and I know that I can still use it. Not worrying about ISO is really big factor, and I only have the kit lens, if I pair this with a Fujinon f/1.2 lens, it would be a low light. The first time I tried the high ISO is on top of a building, I was shooting hand held so that’s the reason for the blur.
Colors and Dynamic Range
The way the Fuji captures color and its dynamic range is just Amazing. Enough said. I don’t think I have ever held a camera that captures this much color and dynamic range before, and I’ve seen and held a lot of cameras after teaching more than 700+ students.
Lens and Sharpness
At first when I was shooting I didn’t really notice how sharp the lens really was until I was doing some post production on one of my portraits. I normally add an unsharp mask to my final layer to make my portraits a touch sharper but after editing one of the images I didn’t need to add this layer because the sharpness out of the camera was enough.
Better get an extra battery right away when you purchase this camera. It has a small battery and if you use the live view a lot you will need it. I covered an event and I got about 4-5hours with one battery when shooting with the back display.
I’ll start with the cons first, the focusing is the one thing that bothers me, even with the recent update it’s still quite slow. Still workable, but slow. I also don’t like the grip of the camera, might get a leather case to see if it helps with the grip. The battery life is fine with me because I can always bring a spare battery, and shooting with the back live view for sure will use the battery more.
The Pros, however outweighs the cons. The quality of the images is superb for a small camera, it makes me want to take pictures outdoors and bring a camera everywhere I go (which is hard to do when your lugging around a Nikon D3s and a 24-70 lens). I can say that the quality of the image is the comparable to a full frame DSLR, maybe even better depending on the camera. The colors, the ISO, the sharpness of the camera are amazing. I’m excited to use this on a paid job because I think it would do a great job, and having a lightweight camera will also be much easier for me. It was a very good decision to get this camera and actually thinking about getting an XT-1.