The Fujifilm X-E2
It got better it got worse
I changed my Fujifilm X-E1 a couple of six month ago to a X-E2 and image quality of the X-E2 is still amazing, especially when you avoid obsolete RAW and make use of shooting fantastic Filminess's film simulation mode.
With on chip phase detection added you are now able to point the camera at a fast moving object and get a sharp image - bravo Fuji. Also the addition of Wireless help to quickly distribute photos on-trip to you family and friends.
What got worse the man machine interface, the ergonomy of the user interface. When the X100 originally appeared it was described by several reviewers as a horrible implementation of a brilliant idea. Fujifilm worked it's way up to implement a usable work-flow. It has may useful external controls. An controls are to quickly adapt setting to your shooting situation so you won't miss. That is what controls are all about: control. And that is were problems show up. Despite all the controls Fujifilm X-E2 is still a fly by wire camera which in many cases stuck and won't act on input. So I was fed up and changed to a Canon 1D Mark IV 4 month ago. Is not that the image quality is better and even the focus tracing capability is pretty much on par. The decisive difference is the man machine interface. When I use controls on the it immediately responds. That is all the difference and the sad thing is that it is only, more or less, software that Fujifilm needs to adapt. So far I go with my Canon everywhere and wiht a 40mm prime it is pretty pocketable.
Fujifilm X-E2 - Handling - Fly The Computer
Wow - there is beautiful photo motive in the Swiss winter landscape right in front of me. I quickly pick my Fujifilm X-E2 press the AF point selection button to change the focus point - and - noting happens - it stuck there somewhere in its computer. Are that real photographers which do the Requirements Engineering or they borrow a PlayStation team for that were my thoughts. Next I wondered if those Requirements Engineers never used a flag ship Canon or Nikon camera. From the first implementation of the X100, which some leading photograph tests described as a horrific implementation of a brilliant idea, we have well advanced to a solid and well working basic workflow (compose, take, review photo). But when it comes to handling the X-E2 leaves lots to desire. Are the decision makers at Fujifilm really so naive that they believe that there are some old seniors hanging around who want an retro style camera with lots of controls - no mater how useless they are? Frankly speaking I do not care about retro-designing very much. What me concerns a camera is a tool that helps me to cerate beautiful pictures. An a Control is to control. That is what they do on Canon and Nikon cameras. On Fujifilm camera they are more cosmetic. That said there are lots of innovative details which makes it a pleasure to work with the camera.
The Fujifilm X-E2 - Image Quality
Fujifilm X Series is famous for this amazing image quality, and the color rendering (called film simulation) as well as stunning lowlight performance an a reasonable small package. The X-E2 adds a state of the are speedy auto focus system which for the first time enables you to photograph instantly moving objects. On the ergonomic side is as bad as it was and even got worse. For most of the part you fly a computer and stuck somewhere in the software although there is a well working basic workflow (compose, take, review photo). After all the Fujifilm X-E2 is an excellent camera with JPEG image quality superceed larger full frame top class cameras with a downside of
Image Quality and Color Rendering
FUJIFILM X-E1, f/7.1, 1/420s, 55.0mm (83mm), ISO 400 100% crop:
FUJIFILM X-E1, f/3.6, 1/30s, 23.3mm, ISO 4000 100% crop:
FUJIFILM X-E1, f/7.1, 1/420s, 55.0mm (83mm), ISO 400 100% crop:
FUJIFILM X-E1, f/4, 1/800s, 55.0mm (83mm), ISO 1250 100% crop:
Improvements and changes of the X-E2 from the X-E1
- Fast Autofocus
- The X-E2 adds a state of the are speedy on chip phase detection auto focus system which for the first time enables you to photograph instantly moving objects. You instantly point a something switch it on and it locks focus in an blink of an eye and gets you a nice sharp photo. However it still stuggle to lock on small objects.
Professional DLSR camera have and sophisticated auto focus point selection system which selects a focus point on an object that is near to you. This is very helpful to get you a sharp shot under time pressure. Fujifilm calls this AF-Mode Multi' in constast the Area mode where the user selects the focus point. Unfortunately Multi-AF-Mode still works to close to 0%.
- You can use Wifi to transfer photos to an tablet computer of smart phone in conjunction with a Fuji App that needs to be installed on the device. Usability is no great but ok (First select Wifi then start the app and transfer).
- Low Battery Indicator
- When the red low battery indicator appear you can still take around 30 to 40 pictures, not only two or three like with the X-E1.
- Exposure Compensation
- Exposure Compensation has now +/-3 F-Stops that can be selected with the dial.
- Art modes
- called advanced filters are a nice addition.
- Focus peek now in Auto focus modes to.
- Still no movie button
- AF-Button now on the Cursor
- Shutter Speed for Flash
- Now the is a 1/180s stop in the shutter speed dial to select the max flash sync shutter speed.
- When selecting a focus point pressing the OK-Button was a quick way to select the center focus point. Now ouy have to press the display button.
Things that got worse on X-E2 compared to the X-E1
- Q Button moved to the former View-Finer select button button which not positive feel of a click.
- Manual focus scala is so small to recognize that it is unusable in real shooting condition.
- When pressing three seconds on the Display button on the X-E1 the came switch to silent mode, were all light and noise sources are switched off (Beep, Flash, Focus helper). This useful function disappeared on the X-E2 and is only only reachable menu entry.
- When in review mode Drive and AE now implement a idiotic zoom function.
- When pressing accidentally the AE-L button (which used to be the Q-Button) the camera stuck. You are very puzzled in a real shooting situation why the pressing then the Q-button or most other button does nothing.
Things that are still bad on X-E2
- Still no Aperture scale on the kit lens. The fly the computer alternative: Switch the button on the lens. Locate the Aperture on the screen and turn the dail on the lens until the aperture reached.
- Complicated Banks
- Professional cameras have storage banks where your save settings for . These manufacturers, like Nikon, realized that the implementation must be simple to be usable under real shutting condition. This knowledge has not jet reached Fujifilm. Nikon has a simple color coded banks named ABCD. Fujifilm named them, not user friendly, C1 to C7. You load them simply by zapping though them in the quick panel Banks menu into the camera master bank called BASIC. This approach is silly. You never know what you have loaded and you overwrite what was in the master bank. To change a setting for one banks there are severa complicated ways witch invoke navigating to the custom settings that are hidden deep in the menu tree. This is not practical at all.
- Pointless Macro mode
- The pointless macro mode, required for focus below 40 cm, is still there.
- Focus helper light
- Focus helper light is easy to cover wit the finger
- Touch screen
- No touch screen "point to Focus" which would be a real improvement
- Movie button
- No movie button to capture ad-hoc situations. It's worth noting to be able to set a Fn button to 'Movie' since you still need to start and stop the movie using the main shutter button.
Fly the Computer behavior
With the the X-E2, like the X-E1, buttons are often not responsive and you ask your self often Why it does not do what I just?, Why is stuck here? which makes us feel like we fly a computer rather then camera:
- You stuck in permanent review mode after taking a picture.
- Permanent review mode is extremely useful but you can not change settings (select different focus point, exposure mode, aperture), press the q-button or even delete the photo but you have to satisfy the computer by pressing Ok or the shutter first. What is the point of review if I can not change anything?
- You stuck in the focus point selection panel
- When selecting a focus point you can not change settings directly (exposure mode, aperture, drive) or press the q-button but you have to satisfy the computer by pressing ok or the shutter first.
- Quick Access Panel does not appear
- Unlike on the X-E1 the Quick Access Panel does often not appear when I pressed the Q-Button. This might have to do with the fact that on the X-E2 you need to press for a long time until it works, which is impractical in real world shooting situations.