I am scouting for a good lightweight camera to lug around with me everywhere I go and so far I’ve narrowed down my choices to couple of Fuji models. More specifically X-E1 and X100s. I will be giving you a quick assessment on the Fujifilm X-E1 that I have in my hand. This is not a scientific test because I simply have no time or even knowledge to do any kind of detailed scientific assessments. I’ve probably spent a total of two hours with this camera. And most of what I will be talking about is based on first impression. To carry a DSLR with you everywhere is not easy, and I’ve learned quickly that it is not the best camera for street photography, or any kind of photography outside of professional work.  People are generally intimidated and even startled at the scene of your big gun, but they are not so afraid of you if you show up with a pistol. A professional camera is that big gun. Usually spectators maintain the notion that a little camera is harmless; made to shoot buildings and birds, and so they feel comfortable around you as you go about your business taking pictures of them instead of the buildings and birds. With a small camera you’re perceived as a harmless lovable little fuzzball. With a big camera, you are up-to-no-good paparazzi type of intruder on the street.

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When I grabbed the X-E1 for the first time, it felt pretty solid and well built.  If you’re coming from a DSLR than figuring out controls should be very easy. A point-and-shoot upgrader will spend a lot more time figuring this thing out because the camera does not have a true AUTO mode. I felt right at home after fiddling with controls for a few minutes. So I took it to the street, and did some random shooting to get my review going.  I shot mostly JPEGs, but the difference between RAW and JPEG output is very close. In fact in some cases JPEG output outperformed the PP work of the RAW file.  On my DSLR I would never consider shooting JPEGS.  With X-E1 it is safe because the JPEGs are the best I’ve seen from any camera. The AF felt pretty snappy, although I have to admit, that my Nikon J1, which I also own, has better and faster AF, and actually knows how to track a subject. Don’t even think about using X-E1 for tracking or any kind of action stuff, because this camera is clearly not for sports. It made to take individual composed shots.

 

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  • Java Cafe Downtown Boise
  • Java Cafe Downtown Boise
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The black and white filter works very good for the JPEGs as seen in the photos above. X-E1 has four B&W modes. So what’s next for me? Well, The X-E1 will not be replacing my DSLR anytime soon, but it doesn’t intend to. I wish for the AF to be a little bit faster especially in low light situations. It works less predictably and slower in low light. The ergonomics could also use an improvement. For example, to change a focus point requires you to push an extra button before moving it. Because of that, I used a center point and focus-and-recompose technique at all times.  I will be giving Fujifilm X100s a try as soon as one becomes available. But so far I’m impressed with the IQ from X-E1. Below are some more pics for you to asses.

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Shooting with Fujifilm feels a little bit like shooting a film camera and that is because the camera obviously has this retro quality to it, and the controls layout certainly suggests that. I also found that the fill flash works better on it than on my DSLR.  IQ wise this camera rivals my Nikon D700 DSLR even in low light situations. RAW performance does not seem to have the DR leverage of the D700.

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  • Boise State Capital Building
  • Boise State Capital Building
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