The Fujifilm X-E1 :: Hands On Review

There's more similarities between the X-E1 and the X-Pro1 than not, so I won't go over old ground here. You can find plenty on both the X-Pro1 and the X100 elsewhere on this blog, so I'll just give a brief roundup of the few differences and how this new camera feels.

I chose the black version for one reason...stealth! I recently tried to take photos at a murder scene and only had the X100 with me. Although it was dark, I was we'll aware that the silver body would be noticed by the police around the area far more than a black camera would, so for me, the X-E1 had to be black. I will probably put black Gaff tape over the front name plate of the camera to cover the white letters too.

First reaction when I unboxed the camera was that the packaging was a big drop down from the X-Pro1 (which was a drop down from the X100’s). The second thing I noticed was how light the camera was. I've had this initial feeling with all the X's, but like the X-Po1, when you add the battery and a lens, it starts to feel quite nice! I'm eagerly awaiting a Gariz half case to be made available, which will not only protect the body, but add a bit of weight and make it a bit more comfortable in the hand. The X-E1 is almost identical in size to the X100, but feels a bit easier to grip, thanks to the front rubber grip and the raised section that houses the Q button. Like the X-Pro1, I feel that the AE-L button would have been better placed to the left of the thumb wheel (where the View Mode button is). I would have liked the play button to have stayed in the same place as the X-Pro1 (just for consistency between cameras).

You notice the OLED viewfinder is obviously much higher resolution as soon as you look through it! The addition of a diopter is great too, but the one big thing that annoys me (apart from the lack of minimum shutter speed setting in auto ISO) is that unless you are using the rear LCD screen for shooting (why would you?) when you press the Q button or Menu button, you have to look into the viewfinder to see the display. This is a bit un-natural. For me the viewfinder is for shooting and the LCD is for menus. I know I'm not alone in this as I've read the same thing on blogs about the X-Pro1 when using the EVF.

The X-E1 is a cracking little camera and in my opinion the best in it's class! A firmware updates could sort out a couple of niggles, but there's nothing that should prevent anyone from buying this camera. If I didn't own any X cameras, I would buy the X-pro1, but if you're looking for something smaller, lighter, less expensive or to compliment an X-Pro1 or X100, then this is the one to buy. I have the 35mm f1.4 on the X-Pro1 and the 18mm f2 on the X-E1 right now and it's a pretty sweet setup. I'll buy the 23mm when it comes out next year as I love the 35mm point of view, but for now, this is a s good as it gets! Fuji are on fire right now and there commitment to existing products and customer feedback is unmatched by any other brand in my opinion.

One thing I should point out is that although the shutter sound is as awesome as the X-Pro1, there is an extra noise as the shutter closes that sounds almost like a rapid wind on of film, very short, but I wasn't sure if it should be there. I checked with Fuji UK and they confirmed that it was the sound it should make.