24 Hours with The Fuji X-E2 and 23 1.4. A quick review.
by Steve Huff
This is not really a “review” of the X-E2 and 23 1.4 but more of a report on using the camera for 24 hours. The X-E2 is VERY similar to the X-E1 and there is not much more to say about the X-E2 besides talk about the AF speed improvement and the overall response time. Has it improved from the X-E1? Read on to find out as I write about my 24 hours with the X-E2 and 23 14!
Here we are in 2014 and Fuji is still continuing to pump out X body after X body with another new one supposedly on the way at the end of Jan 2014. For now I will be talking a bit about the Fuji X-E2 which is the replacement and update to the X-E1, which I found to be a good camera but a little slow to focus.. With that said, the X-E1 had the IQ behind it even if I have not been a fan of the X-Trans sensor for various reasons (I am in the minority here, I admit). Nope, I have always preferred the X100 sensor above all of the Fuji cameras as it just a had a tad of magic behind it that I preferred. The X-E2 continues with the X-Trans sensor but these days the support for processing these X-Trans files has finally grown and one can now use Adobe products to process the RAW files without any issues.
This makes a difference or course and helps to removes some of the “flatness” and odd artifacts I saw in earlier reviews or earlier X-Trans cameras (when using Adobe to process). In fact, I am now really liking what I see coming from these X-Trans sensors and I do not have to download special software or software that I do not enjoy using to get fantastic results.
Fuji X-E2, 23 1.4 at 1.4 and ISO 320
The Fuji X-E2 looks and feels like the X-E1 though it feels better and more solid when in use with the new and fantastic 23 1.4. Thanks to B&H Photo I was able to shoot one for a few days or so and while I originally was not going to review or do a report on the X-E2 I decided to give it a shot as I really wanted to check out the new 23 1.4 lens, which I knew would rock. Fuji makes some fantastic glass and all of their lenses have been stellar even though a couple of them have had focus speed and accuracy issues. Overall they are solid in the IQ department even beating out the Zeiss Touit designs.
ISO 3200 – 23 1.4 wide open
With the X-E2 Fuji brings in a few improvements
For starters the sensor is still 16Mp but is now named the X-Trans CMOS II and the processor is also version II. The AF is also quicker and now included phase and contrast detect AF, which indeed does speed up the focus from the snail days of the original firmware X-Pro 1. The X-E2 adds the gimmicky face detection and the LCD has grown by a smidge as well as the resolution doubling (LCD). Same battery, same charger, same everything else but the body is now $999, same price of the X-E1 at launch. Basically it is what the X-E1 SHOULD HAVE been from the get go! But Fuji is learning and I give them the award for most dedicated support because n other camera company has been as dedicated to firmware updates for their cameras. Fuji improves the performance of their cameras with each and every firmware update, and they are not shy about releasing them like some companies (Leica for one).
In use the X-E2 is indeed an improvement over the X-E1!
Size and Weight
The size of the X-E2 remains exactly the same as the X-E1. In fact, besides some button changes the bodies are almost 100% identical. So the X-E2 feels the same as the X-E1, which as I reported before is a little on the hollowly side of neutral. Both the Sony A7 and Olympus E-M1 feels more solid in the build department and in fact, the X-E2 is bigger than both of them, even the full frame Sony A7! The X-E1 is nice but not quite there yet when it comes to build quality but there has not been any issues reported with the X-E1 or X-E2 so this really means nothing when it comes to shooting and bringing home the image. Just know if you are coming from Leica, Sony A7 or the E-M1 that your 1st impression may be “this feels hollow”. 😉 If Rambo were to shoot a mirror less I see him more as a Leica guy…
What happens in Vegas..gets reported about HERE. Under certain light the Fuji’s always give me this pinkish tone/hue. Talk about bad taste…they do not call it “Sin City” for nothing!
When I decided to give the X-E2 a try a decided I wanted to take a drive to Vegas and shoot the camera. I brought along the X-E2 and 23 1.4 as well as the Sony A7 and Olympus E-M1, both with 35mm (or equivalent) lenses. All I had with me was one focal length and that was 35mm. I wanted to shoot all three and see which one I preferred shooting. Would I enjoy the X-E2 the most or would the E-M1 slaughter them all for usability? For me Usability is very important because if a camera mis focuses, can not focus or is slow to start-up or just plain giving me hassles I will HATE it. That is one reason the X-Pro 1 bothered me so much with the 1st shipping firmware. By now Fuji has surely fixed all of the teething issues..at least that is what I told myself.
The good news is that during my 24 hour stay in Las Vegas I had 3 missed shots with the Fuji out of 100 due to not being able to focus due to low light. This is a huge improvement over when I reviewed the X-Pro 1. I also missed a few from the camera taking so long to wake from sleep mode. By the time it popped back on the subject and photo pop was long gone so beware if you are attempting to shoot on the street when you need all of the speed you can get. When the camera goes to sleep it can take a couple of seconds to wake up. Other than that I had only TWO shots that mis-focused out of the 100. So again, a huge improvement over the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 (in my experience).
This is more like a modern day camera 🙂
The color was typical Fuji and if you love Fuji and know Fuji then you know exactly what I mean. Fuji has a way of rendering colors that can be very pleasing. They can pop, they can give a feeling of “wow” and they can be very contrasty as well. Throw that Velvia setting on and shoot JPEG and you will have some rich and contrasty vibrant shots and IMO a bit too much. But some love the JPEG presets and they are well known to be that “Fuji Look”.
Rich Fuji Colors will explode from the X-E2. These are colors that do NOT come out of a Sony or Olympus. If you like it you buy Fuji.
Shooting it with the A7 and E-M1..which did I prefer?
While I was having fun walking around Vegas and looking for a shot or two I was taking turns shooting between the X-E2 and Sony and Olympus. For starters I can say that the fastest and most complete feeling experience came from the Olympus E-M1. To be honest, it feels and shoot with such speed and grace and feels so good doing it many would never need anything more. It does lose quality as the lights get low though and the Sony and Fuji was able to keep plowing through. Still, the 17 1.8 on the Olympus was able to shoot without issue in any light and remained fast in doing so no matter if it was dark or light. The Fuji and Sony slowed down in the AF department when the lights got lower but as stated, the quality stayed high.
So it is a give and take and all depends on what you desire more..speed and usability or the best IQ in all situations. All cameras delivered images for me that I was 100% happy with. None of them left me wanting anything more. I enjoyed them all.
Auto Exposure..a quick comparison
As a quick test for my own curiosity I wanted to shoot each camera and lens wide open with Auto ISO set to ON. The 23 1.4 at 1.4, the 17 1.8 at 1.8 and the 35 2.8 at 2.8. What exposure and ISO would each camera choose? How much higher would the Sony have to go in the ISO dept to get the shot? The results are below. Be sure to see my full size file comparison of the X-E2, Sony A7 and Olympus E-M1 HERE.
First the Fuji. Set to 1.4 the ISO chosen by the camera was ISO 1600 and the Shutter Speed was 1/60s.
The Sony was set wide open to f/2.8 and the camera chose 1/60s and ISO 6400! Yes, ISO 6400. Due to the slower lens the ISO had to be jacked up. As you can see the Fuji DOF looks the same as the Sony but the Fuji need a 1.4 lens to match 2.8 on the Sony. If I threw a f/1.4 on the Sony it would have been much better with a lower ISO, more shallow DOF and more pop.
And the Olympus E-M1 and 17 1.8 at 1.8. You would think the Olympus would fail here but it chose ISO 1600 and 1/30s. A little more noisy but still looks great considering the circumstances and low light. This shot has the MOST DOF for obvious reasons.
The thing to remember here is that I had an f/2.8 lens on the Sony. If I brought along the 50 1.5 Voigtlander or the Sony 55 1.8 the Sony would have the most WOW factor and neither the Olympus or Fuji could have touched it. for sharpness, noise or 3D pop. In other words the Sony can do better as it has much more in the reserve tank but the Fuji and Oly are maxed out to their limits here.
To sum it up..
To sum it up..the Fuji X-E2 is the BEST fuji X body at the time of this writing. I may still prefer the X100 and X100s but if you want interchangeable lenses then the X-E2 gets my nod for best body today (until the new X-T1 arrives at $1700 US). At $999 it is a good buy and fairly priced for what you get. Many like to claim that the Fuji’s have the best IQ of any camera today. I do not agree with that at all but can say that these Fuji’s have a look all of their own and can pump out fantastic beautiful quality images that have the Fuji signature stamped on them. If you happen to adore that signature then there is nothing better than the X-E2 to get you there.
Fuji is pumping out quality fast primes as well. The 23 1.4 is the best lens from Fuji that I have shot with and the aperture dial on the lens is the icing on the cake. I think ALL camera manufacturers should do this as it just adds to the whole shooting experience.
Today we have choices like we would have never dreamed of just a few years ago. Sony, Olympus, Fuji, Pentax, Ricoh, Leica are just a few that come to mind when I think of high quality small mirror less. Each one of those manufactures have a solid offering that can deliver images that rival just about anything out there, and imagine..it WILL be getting better in 2014 and beyond.
My only niggle with the Fuji X-E2 is that the auto white balance can be pretty off in some lighting where the A7 and Oly did fine. I sometimes get a pinkish and harsh hue in low light situations (see the nuns above of the table balancer below) which I have only seen in the X-Trans sensors. Other than that I had no problems with the Fuji X-E2.
So yes! I can highly recommend the Fuji X-E2 and especially the 23 1.4 lens.
Where to Buy the X-E2 and 23 1.4 Lens.
More images below from my 24 hours with the X-E2 and 23 1.4! Enjoy!
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Full size from the Fuji X-E2 and 23 1.4. EXIF is embedded. Right click and open in a new window to view correctly.
I’m a bit late to the ball here but I’ll ask my questions anyway.
– X-E2S has been released early this year. Would they dare release a new vwesion at Kina anyway?
– A style question: Black or Silver? I absolutely love the silver on my PEN-F but fear the Fuji might look plasticky in silver.
If you’re fearing the silver Fuji wear matching shoes. Now you will be able to actually take it out of the box and shoot with this fine camera
I wear army boots or 80s all-stars depending on the weather here.
Maybe you like silver shoes with a blue/white striped “Jean-Paul Gaultier” T-shirt? :=)
Anyway, thanks for the helpful answer, you must be a joy to the people around you.
Actually Luna I AM a joy to those around me-camera colour is nothing to “fear”. Get some help.
I actually would buy black to match my 60’s mod boots
Hope this helps Luna
successful shooting my friend (no silver tho, OK?)
Naah, already tried to get some help from a shrink and after one session they put the poor fella’ in the looney bin.
But maybe it’s time to “out” myself: I wear a glittery silver man-bag. There you have it.
I’m just so very afraid the silver of this camera will look like plastic and not match my man-bag. Gosh! Can you imagine? ;P
I have a silver x100s and its actually painted silver from the factory. Yes-kinda cheap but still a great camera-nickel on brass would have been awesome!!
as usual, awesome review! 🙂 Now that a couple of years has passed since the launch of the Xpro 1 and Xe2, which do you recommend as an overall better camera? Im prob looking at IQ and focus speed plus build quality. EVF is not really an issue for me since I’m used to it. I would think that in terms of high iso, these 2 would be the same? these Hope to hear what you think. Cheers
I would not ggo with an X-Pro 1 today, personally. Nor an X-E2. The only Fuji I like is the X100T and the X-T1. Im sure the Pro 1 will be great as well. Thats just my opinion though.
I have spent days on your website researching as well as doing research on my own. Now I am very torn on a final decision. I am torn with what camera to choose. If I could I would combine the Fuji EX2 and the Oly OMD EM5, but of course it’s not possible.
I do mostly landscape ph. I love that the Fuji does produce awesome IQ, but aside from that Oly has all the specifications I want. If you were to choose between the Fuji XPro and Fuji EX 2 and Olympus OMD EM 5 which one would you choose to take with you if you only choice to take traveling with you?
Me, I would take the E-M5 as long as I could have 2-3 of the fast primes that go with it. The X-E2 is ok but feels hollow and cheap, is slower, has no IS, no weather seal at all, no real video to speak of, etc. List goes on. Larger lenses, slower AF lenses, etc.
No brainer FOR ME, but its a personal choice.
I completely agree and even though I’m late on this review, I agree 100% with your choice of Olympus.
The IQ in Olympus is very close to this even if it does have more noise at higher ISO, the built in stabilizer system allows you to shoot lower in the ISO range and throwing in fast primes only further drives that wedge home.
Nice review man, keep it up!
It would be nice if you didn’t have to mention the word Leica in every single review. Leica’s are way overpriced and the quality/sharpness most times isn’t noticeable until you do a 100% crop.
I have a solution..if it bothers you that much do not read my reviews 🙂 Or, if you would rather me turn this into a paid membership review site I will gladly take requests. But that will never happen so back to the original suggestion.
Maybe Fuji can incorporate the xt-1 viewfinder (huge) into the next XE body (XE-3)-that would be awesome…
Steve, PLEASE encourage those who have never owned a particular camera from commenting on it. I can not tell you what Leica, Nikon, Sony, or Olympus files or how the cameras themselves perform as I do not own them. I enjoy YOUR insight, but there are too many jerkoffs on this site who seem to be EXPERTS on anything they know nothing about. Fuji files ARE flat shot on standard mode, but that’s the best part. You can WORK with them to achieve the look you want, nothing is baked in. Leica monochrome files are flat some say, NOT ME AS I DO NOT OWN ONE, but they are manipulated into stunning files. I have been a photographer for 40 plus years, and every camera I have ever owned from Nikon, Mamiya medium format, Hasselblad or God Knows 4X5 view cameras, has had a learning curve. Looking at someone’s website gives a glimpse of a camera or its files, but no where near a complete picture of its build, usability, or the quality of the images it will ultimately produce. Encourage your viewers to look at the work of the masters from Magnum Photography. By todays standards they are not sharp, perfectly exposed, and can not be blown up to 100% to pixel peep. But they have substance and soul unlike so much of the clinical crap we argue about on photo boards today.
Very cool results here. Really nice comparison.
Note that the slow f/2.8 Sony lens produces the same amount of background blur as the fast f/1.4 Fuji. This is really interesting. Does this mean that equivalences are not exact and lens design plays an important part? Or is it because the f/1.4 Fuji is probably closer to f/1.6 (f/2.4 equivalent) and the difference is too small to tell?
I paid $600 for my Sony 35mm f/2.8 in Tokyo and the lens is kicking ass for this price point.
It is also very interesting to see how well the E-M1 keeps up in all of these comparisons. Too bad the images are black and white because my opinion is that the Olympus’ colors and DR suffer at any ISO higher than 400. I also think that while the Sony shows more noise than other cameras, the colors accuracy is stunning at any ISO.
It is also interesting to note that the Sony and Olympus cameras are using compact (slow) lenses while the Fuji is operating at the limits of the system with expensive, fast, large glass. Everything changes if you mount a Voigtländer 35mm f/1.2 to the Sony, or wait for the inevitable native 35mm f/1.4.
No it is -partly because the Fuji 23mm is equal to the Sony A7 35mm lens in terms of field of view.
Yes, that was pretty surprising to me too. I would’ve thought that a 23mm 1.4 on aps-c would give the same depth of field as a ~35mm f2 on ff, not f2.8. But the comparison shots between the A7 at f2.8 and Fuji at f1.4 shows almost exactly the same depth of field. I wonder why?
Amen! But; sometimes is a lot of fun to be stupid – and I’m having fun with my camera addiction. My wallet is not, I confess…
Does no one on this site give a rats behind about the ART of photography? Give HCB ANY camera produced in the last 10 years and he would make impactful images of substance while the rest of us shoot CRAP with our latest & greatest gear. STOP THIS MADNESS. Learn to use what you have and go take pictures that motivate and demonstrate the variety of the human experience, and no one will care about which lens is BEST or pixel count. Gear does matter, but the more you think about gear the less you will think about your photography and what it is that you want to communicate and share.
yeah yeah….. but if a camera i bought for 1000$ give me flat results, i will trow it in your head!
To do art, you first need to know how the pictures will be. With fuji can not, he make them as he wants.
Yes, the Fuji files look pretty bad to me. Definitely some of the worst samples Steve has posted. They look very p&s with odd color and tone. Hech even a Nikon V1 blows these away. Ouch !
Steve; any plans for looking at the Pana GM1 – could it be an even better “travel light” strategy than Sony RX100 or Ricoh GR?
I’m considering the same, gm1 or GR. I’m leaning to the GR
I just want to know the Fuji lens 34mm f1.4 vs 23mm f1.4
which lens you will prefer if only can choose 1 lens
It seems that there is an expectation that files remain completely unprocessed. This is bizarre, even for JPEGs! Just as complaining about flat files from the Leica Monochrom is missing the point. The flatter files are, typically, the more they can be manipulated, or the more that can be got out of them. For JPEGS, just alter the standard set up to your taste, it’s all unde your control. The white balance is great and dpreview said that. Just change your settings Steve.
Steve, let me bring another comparative evaluation of the Fuji vs. the Sony:
So depending on condition, processing conclusions can be somewhat different….
Moreover, there are some other FF cameras or just APS-C cameras which are just larger than Fuji/Sony so for those who count on the small size the Fuji (an the Sony) will make the difference.
As I said..studio lighting (which is what was used in that comparison – see the shadows?) is what the Fuji thrives with. Also, I never ever use Noise Reduction in any of my ISO tests. In real world shooting..say street, family, indoor..things will be much much different.
Correction! The Fuji XE2 is not bigger than the other two, this is just misinformation. Width wise, they are almost the same – Fuji 129mm, Sony 127mm and the EM1 is the widest at 130.4mm. Both the Olympus and Sony are considerably taller, and even have an awkward protruding hump. Both The Olympus and Sony are considerable deeper at their deepest points with deep handgrips and protruding viewfinders.
Please correct your comment.
As I stated, with these lens attached to each camera the Fuji is the largest. I have them here in front of me now, and this is fact.
Well sure….the Sony only has a 2.8 lens on it:)
Anyway, I think there comes a point where cameras are too small and difficult to use (at least for me). Personally I would not use an A7R unless I bought the grip for it. Similarly I don’t like using my X-Pro1 without a grip…I guess I’m in the minority.
” the X-E2 is bigger than both of them, even the full frame Sony A7!”
This is what you actually said – no mention of the lens.
Anyway, what sort of comment would it be if you compare the size of one camera with a 1.4 lens and another with a 2.8 lens? Are you serious! You could just as easily put the 27/2.8 lens on the Fuji and it would be even smaller stll than the Sony.
In Steve’s previous article, he stated that he was going to compare all three cameras with a 35mm lens since he was testing the Fuji 23mm f 1.4.
Yes, of course, and that is very welcome, when it is about IQ. But when talking about size, then for interchangeable lens cameras, measuring one against another, one with a slow lens, and the other with a premium fast lens, seems an arbitrary comparison, especially in the context, as quoted, there is no mention of the comparison of size being with lens.
It would be much clearer and fairer to the actually smaller Fuji to compare body size. Then it’s up to the user to add either a tiny 2.8 lens or a larger 1.4 lens.
Put a Zeiss ZA 35/1.4 plus adapter, of course, on the A7, and then compare for size, at least you would have equivalent speed, but even that would make just as little sense, and would make the Sony look ridiculous.
In other words, he was comparing their portability with their respective 35 mm equivalent lens.
Does anyone know how well the X-trans sensor and predominantly overcast weather combine? I mean, Vegas is great and all, but is it any good if everything had a touch of grey over it?
I don’t understand why the Sony A7 needed iso 6400 to match the shutterspeed of the fuji at iso1600 ( only one stop difference due to f/1.8 vs f/2.8 ?
I assumed the Fuji would overstate iso rather than the Sony?
The Fuji was at 1.4 which is two stops faster than 2.8 and therefore ISO 6400 vs 1600.
Correct… my mistake..
No real interest here. IQ is decent enough, but for the price and size there are many superior options, like a 3-year-old NEX7 and the formerly expensive CZ 24 Sonnar f/1.8. That combination, imo, yields far better IQ, has more accurate color and just has fewer quirks. Only real downside is the lens and body together are somewhat awkwardly shaped for carry.
I often regret selling mine.
It’s a personal thing, but the 16mp NEXs had much nicer results above about ISO 400 than the NEX-7. If Steve is worried about Fuji flatness, it’s there in spades on the sony 24mp sensor…
At or below ISO 800 the NEX7 was better than the 5n I had before it. At ISO 1600 they were very close, with slightly less noise in the 5n, but more noise if up sampled to 24MP. It was only at ISO 3200 that the 5n was noticeably better.
Much nicer? I don’t think so.
I don’t question your views on noise, but I’m not talking about noise. I’m really talking about images looking flat at higher ISOs. My NEX-7 suffered from this frequently, it made me miss the NEX-5N I sold to get the 7. In the end I sold my NEX-7. For me at least it was a disipointing camera, particularly compared with the 5N. Had I stayed with NEX I would have bought a NEX-6 to replace it.
XE2 is more capable camera than what you imagine from those samples. I have seen much better images (sorry Steve). I think it’s all depends on the taste. Sony and Fuji offer very different rendering. Fuji is not sharp, but close to what I can see from the film.
Well it is what it is..images shot like I do with EVERY camera I have ever shot. It is the Fuji X-Trans look that I have described over two years ago and more over the last year. Did not have issues with the A7 or the E-M1 or the Leica M or the Nikon or the Canon 6D. But the Fuji always puts out “flattish” files unless you have certain light that the X-Trans sensor likes. In other words, in some light it will look muddy and flat, in some it will appear dirty with odd color casts and in studio light, nice sunlight or some window filtered light it will look gorgeous.
Steve, in fairness it does well in nice indoor light and nice outdoor light. That includes the kind of grey winters we get in the UK which can often give quite diffuse, even light through the clouds. The problem, in my experience, is in contrasty conditions with harsh light. It seems to send the meter bananas. That said, many cameras suffer in those conditions, but the Fujis are worse and more inconsistent. I would, however, add the X100 to that bracket, mine was the same as the later Fuji x cameras I owned in that regard.
Steve , if you are using the LR you are lost with Fuji. Part of what we call “flat” is because of the LR conversions that are less detailed. You just make a comparison with C1 and suddenly everything will comes alive in tones and especially resolution. It’s a big difference , not a small one. As you are not a Fuji user, you don’t have any reason to search further and I can understand this. But most Fuji users including me, as we have invest in this systems , we use the best tools. When I want maximum resolution I’m using AccuRaw with Fuji XE2 and C1 with M8. Unfortunately it seems software play a major role in what we are looking and describe here …
Does B&H really sell diapers?
I owned a fuji xe1 briefly it was so inconsistent ! I was planning on using it as a travel camera needless to say I sold it and bought the sony a7r and I’m very happy with that so far
Steve, it looks like you may have been premature on the X-T1 price. The latest information is that it will be less than 1700 USD. The Euro price has been leaked as 1200 for the body only.
No one knows the price but that is a rumor as I posted yesterday. $1200 euro is $1520 US. So it will most likely be between $1300 and $1600 – somewhere in there but we will not know until it is official.
As we all know, 1200 euros means 1200 dollars in the heads of camera manufacturers
Euro prices are never converted to dollar prices. They are usually the same number – so 1200€ will almost certainly be 1200$ or less.
Hmm, the colors look indeed washed out, almost like a slight Instagram retro filter (kill me for that). Else the pictures look incredibly FLAT. I’m not talking about shallow DOF, but even with a blurred background and forground I can’t get any feeling of depth in any of the pictures as I do with a Leica or the A7r. Is it the FF sensor or the Zeiss and Leica lenses? Is it lack of contrast or dynamic range in these pictures?
FLAT..I have said that since the 1st X Trans sensor. The Fuji look. Some love it..few hate it but they do come across as being flatter than other files, even the X100. The original X100. If you study files form that camera next to a X100s you will see the differences.
Steve, try using Capture One 7 for converting the Fuji Xtrans files. What you can get is surprisingly not flat.
Well to be honest these still look flat to me. MUCH different than what comes out of full frame cameras and even some APS-C competitors. It is the sensor itself. Shallow DOF alone does not make an image 3D and yes, even with shallow DOF an image can be sort of flat. The Fuji X-Trans sensor, no matter what shots I have seen, from anyone, still have that flat look. The samples you linked to look just like all other Fuji files in color, rendering, etc. No real “depth” to the images. They look nice and the photos are great, nothing go do with that at all as I am just talking about the depth of the files in which the X-Trans always falls a bit flat for my tastes.
The Fuji files are “flat” in a GOOD way. There is a TON of headroom in the 16mp X-Trans files. DR and detail is there in spades, you just have to reveal it with the highlight recovery and other sliders. To get the most out of X-Trans, you do have to take a few seconds – can’t just hit the “auto” button. 😉
It seems that there is an expectation that files remain completely unprocessed. This is bizarre, even for JPEGs! Just as complaining about flat files from the Leica Monochrom is missing the point. The flatter files are, typically, the more they can be manipulated, or the more that can be got out of them. For JPEGS, just alter the standard set up to your taste, it’s all under your control.
Well said Rob…I completely agree. Whether I shoot with my 5D2 or my XPro1 I always shoot RAW and look for the flattest file I can so that I have the room to manipulate in post.
That said, on occasion when I just want quick Jpgs I just adjust the colours and contrast in-camera….not that hard to do.
The colors really aren’t for me, and I’m thankful that Eric asked his question in a well laid-out and thoughtful way.
That said, was that really THE Mr. T!?
Hi Steve. Thanks for the great quick honest review.
I also wanted to thank you as a result of your coverage of Fuji as well as other cameras. I received a X-E2 for Christmas based on my apparently obvious camera lust. I would say your reviews and approach to Camera gear were somewhat instrumental in my mindset and decision to go mirror less (perhaps Mike Johnson needs a nod too) word!
I often read your reviews and appreciate your matter of fact approach. I like you always buy and use “what works for me” as a number one rule. So in this way I was able to take your criticisms with the appropriate grain of salt and look at the considered choices with facts that were not solely biassed toward Fuji.
So far I have to say it really meets my needs perfectly which really is the point at least for me. Myself being an Aperture user am patiently waiting for the update that will come in due time. But for now I am really liking the PhotoNinja App by PictureCode. I have so far not encountered the pink cast at all even in low light street shooting. I did read this may be an Adobe conversion thing, but I get how you or any persons are content to stay with Adobe for convenience.
I also find the Jpeg conversion in camera really benefits from Pre tweaking the DR or shadow/Highlight tone pre shooting
Bottom line what you honestly feel about Fuji cameras does not really shed a bad light on them. In fact I would argue that you set up the reviews or posts in a qualified way so the reader can make up their own mind.
“The aperture dial on the lens is the icing on the cake. I think ALL camera manufacturers should do this.” This part of Steve’s review is one of the key reasons why I and many others have bought into the Fuji way of doing things. So much of photography is about the connection with the camera, as Steve says time and time again. Being able to set and see aperture and shutter speed without a PASM override or menus (and with the new T1 offering ISO via a dial too) puts all the control in my hands and lets me concentrate on the scene in front of me. This to me is a definitive advantage and means I will live with the shortcomings. On slow start-up times: not sure that Fuji really is that slow if you switch off and on rather than try to wake up from sleep, but I use that split second to check and adjust my settings. I can do that because it’s all there on the dial. Not taking anything away from any other system, but for me it just works.
Fully agree. I have lots of friends who have lamented the lack of direct controls for the advent of digital. With film we many different new cameras to choose from. The Fujifilm X system brought salvation and now has the best ergonomics of any camera. Close second place are Leica and the Nikon Df with ais or af-d Nikkors.
“Design is not how something looks but how it works.” S. Jobs
Steve, thank you for the well-balanced and yet fair review. It is fantastic filling that we have quite a few great cameras we can really chose per the “colour signature” preference rather then per quality needs which are basically satisfied with the all best cameras these days.
@ Steve “I have always preferred the X100 sensor above all of the Fuji cameras as it just a had a tad of magic behind it that I preferred”. Mine still has (the magic that is)!
Maybe, just maybe, the new XT-1 will have the ‘organic’ sensor Fuji and Olympus are working on?
The XT-1 uses the same sensor as the Xe-2 , I’m getting it for the new EVF can’t wait….. I’m a old Em5 & D600 shooter and only now have the x100 & Xe-1 , I’ve quit light room for x-trans and use Capture One Pro never had a problem since with output
Steve, I know where you are coming from with the ‘Fuji colours’. I LOVE my XPro-1 (warts and all), but I distinctly remember being a little surprised and sometimes disappointed with the colours I was seeing a few years back when I first got the camera. I have to say though….I don’t really feel that way anymore. I don’t know if the colours have grown on me, or if I just happen top get more ‘good light’ pics than bad but I really enjoy the colours out of the Fuji now.
In fact in a lot of cases I think the colours I get are much more accurate to life than what I see from my 5D2 or especially my old M8.
If you want more neutral colors select the ProNeg Hi film (not chrome) simulations. Or convert with Capture One 7.xx.xx
Nice write-up Steve. What surprised me though in your quick comparison of X-E2 and A7r is, that given the difference in sensor size (APS-C vs FX) I would expect a difference of 1 f/stop to get comparable DOF, not 2. At least that is what physics would suggest. Maybe the difference of 1 f/stop is simply too subtle to see clearly, but the olympus shot (which given sensor size and lens speed) should ‘gain’ a little more than a stop of DOF relative to X-E2 – and this can be seen clearly (qualitatively) from the photos. Just an observation.
As Matus comments- the DOF difference is one stop, not 2. So for the Sony you would have to bring an F2.0 lens to match the Fuji. You can see the Fuji actually has shallower DOF (a bit) in the lights/bokeh circles.
Somehow the Fuji colours seem strange to me. So washed out (overexposure?) and no real reds but a lot magenta and orange tones and the yellow has a green tint etc. I don´t know whether these colours are true to the ligthning or simply false. But the don´t look like what I like. Steve, have the ooc jpegs the same colours like the raw files? Do you like these colours?
The JPEGS have even more of what you describe. I talked about this over a year ago and was attacked for doing so then. The fact is that the Fuji files can be magical in perfect light that suits the sensor. In light that does not, the files can look dingy, dirty and off color. This was not the case with the X100 but is with all of the X Trans sensor cameras. It is better with Adobe support but it is still there. For comparison, if you look at my Canon 6D review with images shot at night in NYC the color is so much nicer and natural IMO. But many love the Fuji look it seems.
Here is what I said quite a while ago in my Touit review..
“One thing I notice with the Fuji X-Trans is that if you give it beautiful light it will reward you with a rich, 3 dimensional file and pleasant colors that are second to none. Feed that sensor some harsh or low light and it will give you flat dull files. Where my OM-D or Leica M would give me good results in almost any light, the one beef I have with the Fuji X-Trans is the flat output most of the time, if you are not in “just right” light.”
Thanks for your reply, Steve! Indeed, the Canon 6d and even my old Oly e-Pl1 has nicer colors to my eyes. Well, no offence to Fuji fans – to each their own. I really like your site, I check it daily 🙂
Well I´m thinking about buying the new Fuji X-t1 because it´s exactly the camera I would like to use but I am unsure about the colors. I´ll be optimistic – I even would use some exotic raw converter if that would help…
Eric, I think what you describe comes down to metering. I do think the Fujis are capable of stunning image quality, but if the metering is off you really notice it. That said, when you nail exposure, the colours are (to my eyes) much better than the alternatives. That said, all mirrorless cameras suffer from this to an extent, I’ve seen it in E-P5 and E-M1 files. The X100 had it a wee bit less, but that’s probably because when you missed exposure in the X100, the shot was ruined.
If you want rock solid exposure, get a Nikon Df. It has amongst the best metering I’ve seen.
Great write up Steve! Im loving my 23mm 1.4 on the xe1, it hasn’t really come off my camera since I bought it. Not sure if im getting the xe2 or xt1 because I’m drolling over the 56mm 1.2, I hope you have a review for the 56
Two weeks after I received Sony A7R, I decided to keep it. On the begining, I needed to use the tripod/monopod to keep it more stable. Now I can shoot it hand held. With its 36MP FF sensor I did a lot of cropping on most of the shots I took. The extra fine JPEG output looks quite good to me. For now and next few years I don’t need to upgrade the body nor I want to downgrade it.
I may buy a lens with auto focus capability. Once I decided which focal length to go with.
No problems with shutter vibration induced unsharpness, as widely reported?
I have also seen examples of internal sensor reflections with the A7 cameras. They can occur with a dark / night sky with light sources in or just off frame.
I noticed that problem. The camera body is too light. When I press the shutter button, it tend to press down the body also. So I have to hold it tighter against my forehead on the EVF. Some exercise on that issue.
Get the grip if You dont have one, with the grip its awesome!
I use the A7r with the native FE 35 an FE55 lenses as well as APS-C Zeiss E16-70 F4 and Sony 18-200. Handheld I never had any issues with this so called shutter vibration on any of the lenses. The only situtation I could see it was on a tripod (good manfrotto one) on the 18-200 at the tele end between 1/125 to 1/200 seconds. At shorter and longer shutter speeds no problem. Strangely handheld with in lens OSS at the same shutter speed I got sharp shots with the same lens. However for 1/100 to 1/200 shutter speed I won’t use a tripod, I only use it for longer exposure times. Because handhelding the camera fixes the issue I doub’t the sensor itself vibrates.
So yeah, a real non issue for me. Way overrated in web discussion in my opinion.
And: Other cameras have exactly the same “problems”, also M43 Olympus.
In Steve’s test of the A7 and A7r, he got sharper photos with the A7 on the model shoot. He could not explain it at the time, but now it seems to have been shutter shock.
“Note both are from the A7 as the same shots I did with the A7r were actually softer for some reason. So to those who were afraid of lack of detail in the A7, no worries “
Still seems like a strange and moreover unnecessary and unwanted problem to me. What other full frame digital camera suffers from this ailment? Oh wait, a Leica?
Anyway, this is a serious design flaw.
“What other full frame digital camera suffers from this ailment? Oh wait, a Leica?”
I’ve never either experienced it or heard of it with a Leica. Have you just made it up?
It’s certainly something I could have made up, but I read that at Diglloyd, a site conveniently ignored here. Very very critical pixel peeping, but useful info nonetheless.
Thanks for the low light comparison. It definitely shows the superiority of the x-e2 23mm 1.4 combo compared to the a7 35mm 2.8 combo in low light shooting. Albeit there is a two stop difference in lens it shows that the full frame sensor can’t come close to making that difference up.
You should compare it with 1.4 to 1.4. Not 1.4 to 2.8. Steve review is pretty good, and shows that at 2.8 the Sony not only matches Fuji and Olympus at 1.4 with lower ISO’s but has reserves that aren’t available to Fuji or Olympus. Even with a cheap voigtlander 35mm f 1.4 in a Sony A7 you couldn’t match the IQ toe to toe with a Fuji. Different tools for different experiences. “definitely shows the superiority of the x-e2 23mm 1.4 combo compared to the a7 35mm 2.8 combo in low light shooting” You are really missing the point.
Well Sony don’t make a 35mm 1.4 and not everyone wants to use manual focus lenses. If you want to use manual rangefinder lenses the a7 will always win. But if you want auto focus Fuji is clearly in front with its lens offerings. Fast lenses with auto focus will be massive on the a7.
Try the E 24 1.8 Zeiss APS-C lens then. It doens’t use the whole sensor but provides the same DOF as the 35 2.8 but is 1.5 stops faster. I use both the FE 35 2.8 and the E24 1.8, depending on the situation. I know that’s not the main purpose of the A7r, but who needs 36 MP in a handheld lowlight shot? I for myself go to 15MP JPEG mode in these situations and get very nice results out of camera.
But a faster native FE 35 for the A7 will come I’m 100% sure.
“But a faster native FE 35 for the A7 will come I’m 100% sure.”
Probably, but it will make the Fuji look small.
“Steve review is pretty good, and shows that at 2.8 the Sony not only matches Fuji and Olympus at 1.4 with lower ISO’s”
No, it doesn’t. It shows that the Sony needs to up the ISO two stops to compensate, just as would be expected.
I had a Fuji X100, and have a X100s.
Like you, I see something STRANGE in this X trans sensor.
And, for me, this has not changed.
This “sharpness” is full of “artefacts”.
Again…FOR ME…Canon 5D III and Leica M are much much better, when the RAWs are viewed at 100%.
Because I love the way I shoot with the fuji cameras!
And keep hoping that strange sensor is actually fixed for us.
I have owned the XE-1 and X100s and had the same issues. I found the results to be very inconsistent. When they are on they are fantastic, but when they are not the colors and x-trans processing are frustrating. I also ran into the magenta color issue in low light. It’s a shame because I love the design and ergonomics of their cameras, but in the end was just too frustrated because I knew one of my other cameras would have given me the results I wanted.
+1 My issue, too. When it nails it, the Fuji X-Trans sensor pushes into 5DIII and D800 levels of overall IQ and “depth”. Many photographers are getting stunning results from it; heck, I’ve gotten pleasing results from it >> http://www.falconercommunications.com/2014/01/06/18-months-shooting-with-the-fujifilm-x-pro-1/
The problem is that the cameras are operationally sluggish — leading to missed shots (aka frustration) — and processing the X-Trans files is a PITA if you’re used to the ACR/Photoshop/Lightroom workflow.
Steve mentioned above that you can now use Adobe products to process the RAW files without any issues. I respectfully disagree. Adobe still hasn’t mastered the demosaicing algorithms yet. Much better results can be achieved from Phase One and Iridient…but I don’t want that hassle. When the Fuji/Adobe issue is fully sorted, life will be much better.
As many have said before, I believe the X-System needs another year or so to fully mature.
Are you using the latest Lightroom 5.3? I see no issues.
Yes. Iridient provides superior results, but there’s a learning curve and it takes me out of my workflow ecosystem.
Aperture & Iridient are very similar in result for X-trans RAW conversions. LR is showing artifacts and is less sharp. I’d recommend Aperture regarding ecosystem over any other tool, tried them all, in several opportunities and I’d only consider C1 as a second candidate. LR is only good for photographers shooting massive numbers of pictures, wanting to select one or two for further press purposes, there lies its original power, Aperture and C1 are much more high value picture repositories. With a Fuji, it’s ridiculous to stay with LR. That’s at least how I’m thinking about it, a shame how poor the end result can be in some pictures.
Personally, I see ZERO difference between jpegs and raw files with my XPro. I find raw to be a complete waste of time. Raw made a significant difference in the dynamic range of my Canon 5D, but raw is a whole lot of work for no good reason with the Fuji.
That’s been my experience with the XE-1. I won’t say there’s zero difference between jpeg and raw images, but it’s only that they are slightly different, not that the raw result is “better.”
I work entirely in jpeg with the XE-1, unlike Canon and Olympus.
Maybe that will change when the software venders really figure out the Fuji files.
Try recovering pale sky and you’ll see a huge difference in favour of the raw file!
I’ve got to say that in this day and age complaining about artefacts in relation to the x-trans sensor is both inaccurate and passé. You can get much better results through Lightroom, if you approach the settings a bit differently – you have enormous exposure latitude, but less latitude to sharpen or add clarity than a bayer file. You also need to reduce the default colour noise reduction to almost zero.
Those issues were resolved a while back, what is an issue (IMO) is the metering, which gives inconsistent results, though not materially worse than the Olys (again IMO). Metering is one area where the Sonys do shine.
As to operational speed, there’s nothing sluggish about the X-E2, it’s much faster in operation than the X-e1 or x-pro1. The centre point AF is DSLR quick in good light too. If the metering were better it would be a must have.
Uh, no. My X100s files are still my least favorite files from my cameras from the last few years. I use the newest version of LR, but even trying other converters yields different, but equally bothersome results. X-Trans is still my least favorite thing about the X system.
I think im getting a case of GAS fatigue.. Ever since the Df came and went, it seems like the new offerings are more of the same 🙂
Maybe if nikon came out with a new Nikon SP-d rangefinder? Now that would be something!
A digital Nikon rangefinder, a digital make of the SP or S3 with accompanying lenses? D you have any idea of the investment, financial and technical, that would require?
Would be nice though. Keep on dreaming. Or just buy a Ltd ed or Millennium ed, new unused from eBay.
Yeah of course its a dream. But can you blame me? 🙂 Maybe canon, with all her quietness on the mirrorless front might just knock our socks off with a canon P-d, looking like a rangefinder like the x100, but actually performing more like an a7…
I don’t blame you Jay, not at all. But Nikon won’t do it. Look at the Df, nice enough, but doesn’t come close to an FE2 or F3 in feel. If I had an arm or kidney to spare I’d get one of those Nikon rf remakes, unused. Don’t know why, as I’m sure my D800 and compact F’s will perform easier and at least as good…;-)
Right on, Jay.
A digital Sp or S2 remake, smaller of course (and smaller than the M9 or M240), but with some of the looks and build quality of the originals, would be winner, big time.
“Ever since the Df came and went”
When did that happen? It’s still very much present to those of us who use it and have concluded its a great camera 😉
I am a Nikon shooter and bought a x100s 2 years back. I treaded it for XE2 and love the flexibility with other lenses. Happy camper