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Nov 25

Review: Fujifilm X-E2

Conclusion

Pros

  • Well-built and lightweight body
  • Excellent EVF: high-resolution, low lag and nice and clear
  • Large, clear and high-resolution rear LCD with excellent viewing angles
  • Outstanding old-school control scheme with everything in easy reach
  • Camera is responsive with low shutter lag and quick operation
  • Autofocus has been improved, with incredibly fast phase-detect AF and improved and decently fast contrast-detect AF.
  • Continuous Autofocus works fairly well, and can track moving objects with good accuracy
  • 7 frame per second high-speed burst mode
  • Excellent dynamic range and color with real depth to the images
  • Low noise means shooting at high ISO is not a problem
  • WiFi for transferring images to your mobile device or geotagging your images
  • Outstanding manual focus aids, with a good implementation of focus peaking and a truly unique and capable digital split image focusing aid.

Cons

  • Buffer is shallow when shooting RAW in burst mode
  • Tripod socket is too close to the battery door
  • WiFi lacks remote control capability and connection can be a little finicky to set up
  • Only 3 frames per second burst when using continuous AF
  • Fewer bells and whistles compared to the competition
  • Video mode still lacks direct shutter speed and ISO controls
  • Auto bracketing is still very limited
  • View Mode functionality is not assignable to a function button

When Fuji released the X-E1, they created a camera with great image quality and great controls, but a lot of small issues with performance and operation.  With the X-E2, Fuji has addressed nearly every complaint I had about the X-E1.  They’ve improved focusing speed, made usable continuous autofocus, improved the EVF lag, improved the rear screen, made the camera more responsive, both in shutter lag, processing, image writing and operation.  They’ve added a few nice features like the digital split image focusing and WiFi capability while improving the core user experience all around.  The result is a very polished and capable mirrorless camera. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that many other cameras have, but the ones it does have are focused on improving the shooting experience.  Nikon’s new Df was supposed to be focused on ‘pure photography.’  The X-E2 does that concept right.

One of the big questions for existing X-E1 owners is should they upgrade to the X-E2.  It’s not a real cut and dry answer because everyone’s needs are different, but for most people, I’d say yes.  The improvements to the EVF, the increased speed, the better autofocus and other changes make the X-E2 a camera that melts into the background and allows you to simply focus on the photography. The Fujifilm X-E2 really has nothing aside from a lackluster video mode that holds it back in the mirrorless space.  If you’re a stills shooter like me, that’s a pretty minor point.  The Fujifilm X-E2 is a pleasure to shoot.  It is a responsive body with wonderful, focused controls, and the resulting images are outstanding.  Highly recommended.

Image Samples

Click on an image to enlarge

Capitol Statue - Fujifilm X-E2 with Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Speed Booster @ ISO 5000

Capitol Statue – Fujifilm X-E2 with Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Speed Booster @ ISO 5000

Park! - Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Park! – Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Sunset on the Scioto - Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Sunset on the Scioto – Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Puddle - Fujifilm X-E2 with Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Speed Booster @ ISO 6400

Puddle – Fujifilm X-E2 with Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Speed Booster @ ISO 6400

Tree at the Courthouse - Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Tree at the Courthouse – Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Bench at Sunset - Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Bench at Sunset – Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R @ ISO 200

Leaf at Sunset - Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 @ ISO 800

Leaf at Sunset – Fujifilm X-E2 with Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 @ ISO 200

Bikes - Fujifilm X-E2 with Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Speed Booster @ ISO

Bikes – Fujifilm X-E2 with Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Speed Booster @ ISO 4000

Dapper - Fujifilm X-E2 with Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 @ ISO 1600

Dapper – Fujifilm X-E2 with Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 @ ISO 1250

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

27 comments

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  1. Wolfgang Lonien

    Great review, and superb images like always Jordan. In fact some of them look that good that I keep telling myself: “No, you won’t need that camera!”… 😉

  2. Wilco

    I am NEX-5N user. In terms of focus speed does XE-2 is better than NEX-5N?

  3. Jordan Steele

    I haven’t used the NEX-5N, so it’s hard to say. I’d imagine the contrast detect on the 5N is probably a little bit faster than the X-E2’s CDAF (based on my experience with the NEX-7), but it’s not a huge difference (with a fast focusing lens). With PDAF, it’s probably a little faster than the Sony.

    As a whole it doesn’t focus quite as fast as the fastest mirrorless bodies I’ve used because you don’t get the top speed all the time, but the PDAF focusing is extremely fast. But the big thing is that AF speed doesn’t get in the way even when defaulting to CDAF…it’s perfectly fine for most any use, IMO.

  4. Wilco

    Thanks Jordan. Your review is pretty encouraging me to get XE-2. For OOC jpg color, does it comparable to Fuji S5pro? or compare to OMD, which one gives better OOC jpg color?

    Compare to Nikon 70-200/2.8 or 4 with XF 55-200mm does it comparable sharpness at same aperture?
    NEX-5N AF struggle and default to infinity when there is only street light at night. Have you tried that scenario with XE-2? I just want to know how it will perform.

    Thanks for the great review :)

  5. Armanius

    Thanks for the review Jordan. Does the split prism work for all manual lenses, including lenses used in conjunction with the Speed Booster?

    1. Jordan Steele

      Yes, the split prism works for any lens attached to the camera, whether it communicates with it or not. The images of the screen showing the split image were of the X-E2 and my FL 55mm f/1.2 + Speed Booster.

  6. cosinaphile

    another fine review….as a fuji x1oo xf1 x10 x20 and xe1 owner with 14mm 35mm and 18-55 native lenses as well as a speedbooster wth 35-70 2.8[f2]nikkor ….im very excited to be getting this camera in black

    thanks for a good read

    paul

  7. denton

    could you share the LR import settings you developed?

  8. Brian

    Thanks so much for this review and your Speedbooster review earlier.

    I know you cannot tell me what to buy/do!

    However,

    I have an X-E1 and a Speedbooster for Nikon G Lenses. (I own the 24 35 and 85 f1.4’s plus the 50 D f1.2).

    My Fuji lenses are 14 27 18-55 and 55-200.

    It looks like the X-E2 will be a very useful upgrade, if only for the manual focusing issues which seem better sorted on the 2.

    I also notice you did not much discuss the LMO feature on the 2. Do you have a comment you can share?

    Brian

    1. Jordan Steele

      I haven’t shot enough at small apertures using JPEG to really notice a difference, to be honest. Most of the Fuji lenses are pretty well corrected to begin with, so minor software corrections aren’t really something that you’ll see immediately anyway. I shoot RAW 99% of the time, so for me, the LMO capability is a nice thing to have, but I wouldn’t miss it either.

      1. Brian

        Thanks for responding. I Shoot RAW most of the time as well including on my D800e, X-E1, GX1 (IR converted), and my RX100.

        So I guess it’s a feature I’ll knock off my list of why the X-E2.

        Just got into the X system in June this year and am loving it. The only real issue is manual focus where I guess I’ll just have to practice more.

        I’m sort of on the page on enjoying the X-E1 for a while and wait and see what a potential X-Pro2 brings. I bet if/when it comes, it will knock our socks off. This, despite the improved manual focus over the 2.

        Still tempted by the X-E2 but so much to still exploit with the 1.

        Regards,

        Brian

  9. Pär

    Thank you for your great review! I’m feeling even more confident with the arrival of my ordered X-E2, coming today!

    Could you please share that color profile please?

    Pär from Sweden

  10. Lorenzo Asso

    Hi Jordan
    I sent you an email. Hope it has arrived you.
    Thanks

    Ciao
    Lorenzo

  11. Jon Lane

    Jordan,
    I have the XPro-1…which I love…but the reviews of the XE 2 are so compelling that perhaps I should add the XE 2 rather than waiting for the X Pro 2. Not that the images will be better, but that some of the operational quirks of the X Pro1 sound as if they have been smoothed. And I’m sure the X Pro2 will be at a higher price point. Do you have an opinion?
    Thanks Jon

  12. Ahmed Marzouk

    Nice review, Can you please share the color profile ??

  13. Wenge

    Very nice review-it’s exactly what I was looking for on this model, except I think respectfully there maybe a typo under “pros/cons”

    “Fewer bells and whistles compared to the competition”

    This should perhaps be under “Pros” ( rather than “Cons”)?

    :o)

  14. Chris

    Thank you for this review — it’s very well-written. I especially appreciated your comments regarding the differences between focus peaking on this camera vis-a-vis previous X-series cameras and the NEX series. (You’ve probably convinced me to get one of these to replace my X100, which has developed a cold solder joint behind the sensor.) Also, your sample images are very, very well done.

  15. Mguel

    Best review I’ve read so far, with very useful information for actually using the camera (and not only specs listing and repeating the same things). Thanks for covering the Lightroom/ACR Raw conversion issue, which is my main reason not to have bought the Fuji X-E2 already. I’m a Nikon shooter (Raw only), and I can’t imagine trying to change my workflow which is very centered on Lightroom and Raw. I’m waiting to have better support there. I hope Fuji could assist Adobe with this to benefit themselves in the long run.

    Besides that the other thing that bothers me is the limited +/-1 bracketing. I am a portrait shooter mainly, but I have fun sometimes with handheld HDR, ie travel landscapes. I hope this could be fixed on a firmware update.

  16. Matthew

    Thanks a lot for this practical orientated review. I am very tempted by the Fuji-E-system and wonder if switching from an Olympus OMD EM-5 would be a good idea. The fixed focal length lenses, especially the 14mm f2.8, fit my needs better. I am just afraid that I will miss this very good IBIS of the OMD. So which system (Fuji vs. Olympus) do you prefer?

  17. Sam

    Hi, great review and very helpful! On the topic of the viewfinder, I just got the X-E2 and noticed that the viewfinder image sometimes lags or becomes jittery for a second or two when moving from a dark scene to a bright scene or vice versa. It seems the camera adjusts exposure and this impacts the refresh rate for a moment or two then it becomes smooth again. Have you experienced the same thing? Any fix for it?

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  19. Gary

    Great review, I love my X-E2. I have been using with a Metabones, Nikon G to X and my Voigtlanders and Nikon AFS lenses. Focus Peeking works great, a little difficult on the 20mm, but great from 40mm and up. The AFS 50mm f1.8 works great, but the killer is the AFS 85mm f1.8. Another note, I have tried my Tokina 11-16 f2.8 and the X-E2 handles this lens works well as a 17-24 FX equivilant for Landscapes.

  20. Juan

    Hi Jordan,

    I have a NEX-7 and this week I have bought a 2nd hand X-E1 and one thing I don’t like about X-E1 is the shot-to-shot waiting time, Is too long (with AF/AE bloked) and sometimes makes me feel a little frustrated, specially shooting portraits, when I tried to catch the expression I want.

    I’d like to know how much the X-E2 have improoved this point.

    On the NEX-7 there is no apparently shot-to-shot lag, and It shots as fast as my finger can press the button again, same as a midrange/pro DSLR (with AF/AE bloked). Obviously until the buffer is full.

    I’ve read your review but this point it’s not clear at all. Shooting in RAW, with AF bloked (or MF) and with a fast SD card (90Mb/s): Does the X-E2 behaves as the NEX-7 does? (Either on single shot or burst mode.)

    Thanks a lot for your reviews, are very usefull.
    Greetings from Spain.
    Juan

  21. Howard

    Thanks for the review. It helped convince me to buy an XE-2 last year. And I’m really liking it.

    Years ago I was an active street photographer in the San Francisco area. I was using a Leica M2 and M3. My first digital camera was a Canon G3 and more recently a G11. Since I was using them almost entirely for family/travel photos and posting to the Internet they worked quite well. And the G11 was certainly easy to carry around. But I was getting fed up with the delay between pressing the shutter button and the time the photo was taken. Last year I decided to look for something else.

    I never liked SLRs because of their size and weight along with the noise of the mirror moving up and down. That’s why I kept my point-and-shoot Canons for so long. When mirrorless cameras showed up I began to think about upgrading. The old-school design of the Fuji X series caught my I and I started to investigate them. After looking at reviews — yours was the most thorough — I decided to buy an XE-2 with the kit lens. It’s the first interchangeable lens camera I’ve owned since I sold my Leicas. The 18-55mm lens is excellent but after using it for a while I wanted something smaller for street photography. I was able to pick up the 27mm F2.8 “pancake” lens when it was on sale and liked its size and weight. With that lens the XE-2 is an easy to carry rig for street photography. It’s the first “serious” post-Leica camera I’ve used and I’m loving it.

    Thanks again for the review.

    Cheers and regards from the San Francisco Bay Area,

    Howard Harawitz

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