Dec 01

Fuifilm X-E1 vs X-E2 – Write Performance

One of the big questions with the release of the new Fujifilm X-E2 is whether existing X-E1 users should consider upgrading to the X-E2.  If you’ve read my review of the X-E2, you know that I feel that the improvements the X-E2 offers are substantial enough to warrant an upgrade, though this will vary for each user.  One area that is easily measurable is the general performance of writing images to an SD Card.  Anyone who’s had an X-E1 and has tried to shoot multiple burst photos with the camera knows that it can bog down a bit while writing to the card.  Given that it also locks up the magnify function when using manual focus while writing, this can be a fairly big deal.


To get an idea of the performance increase with the X-E2 vs the X-E1, I shot high-speed burst mode using RAW to fill the image buffer and then timed the release.  Since the X-E2 uses 14-bit RAW files and the X-E1 uses 12-bit RAW files, the X-E2 files are larger, but the X-E1 can handle a few more photos in burst mode before filling.  The X-E2’s RAWs are 30% larger (32.2MB vs 24.9MB) than the X-E1s, while the X-E1 can shoot 11 frames  vs the X-E2’s 8 frames before filling the buffer…  Total write size in the buffer is approximately the same, though the X-E1 is writing 6% more data…if write speeds are equal, we’d expect a 6% performance improvement on the X-E2. The third column in the table below are extrapolated times based on this difference.  I think both share an approximately 280MB buffer.

I also tested three different SD cards.  First, a SanDisk Ultra, “Class 10” 15MB/sec card; Second, a SanDisk Extreme UHS-1, 45MB/sec card; Finally, a PNY Elite Performance UHS-1, 90MB/sec card.

Here are the results:

SD Card/Camera X-E1 X-E2 X-E2 (+ 6%)
SanDisk Ultra 30MB/sec


SanDisk Extreme 45MB/sec
PNY Elite Performance 90 MB/sec

Times required to clear image buffer after high-speed RAW image burst

There are two things evident here.  First, getting a UHS-1 card is a good idea for both cameras.  The slower SanDisk ultra card is very slow to write in both cameras, though the X-E2 enjoys a good edge even with the slower card.  With the UHS-1 cards, the X-E1 is able to write nearly twice as fast as with the slower card.  The X-E2, however, is just massively faster, clearing the buffer 2.7 times faster than the X-E1 with the 45MB/s card and a whopping 3.2x faster with the 90 MB/sec card.

So, it seems Fuji was a bit conservative when they said the X-E2 had write times 1.8 times faster than the X-E1.  In practice, when the card isn’t a limiting factor, it’s closer to three times faster.

If write times are important to you, the X-E2 clearly offers a big upgrade.  Also, if you’re using slow SD cards, go out and get some nice fast UHS-1 cards and you’ll see a significant improvement with either camera.

As an aside, I know many readers will want to have timings for autofocus, but it’s just not something I can do accurately.  The human error in timing autofocus would be too great to get a solid number on the speed improvements.


About the author

Jordan Steele

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


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  1. Dirk

    Very interesting.

    This passed a bit unattended to me. The RAF’s are 14bits – 2 bits more than the X-E1 or X-Pro1. If the size is 30% more, given the identical resolution, this can only mean that not only the dynamics are better by the larger bit-words, but also compression is less, which should be effecting in a better IQ.

    I’m not owning an X-E2, as I still have an X-Pro1, but I’m both curious and suspicious what is Fujifilm up to, in the next X-Pro.

    Neither in the press, on forums or web tests I’ve seen any confirmation that the X-E2 has a better IQ. But quite a few are only looking at jpg’s. RAF’s could be showing something quite different.

    Do you have a view on that? Possibly by comparing pictures?

    1. Jordan Steele

      That will be my next test (and last thing before letting my X-E1 go).

  2. lorenzo asso

    Ciao Jordan
    I sent you an email last week…did you received it?

    1. Jordan Steele

      I did not.

      1. lorenzo asso

        Just Tried again
        thanks in advance!


      2. lorenzo asso

        Hi Jordan
        did you received my email?


  3. viktor

    Steele, while the Fuji X-M1 writing speed is the same as the X-E2

    1. Jordan Steele

      I tested the X-M1 with this, but it’s very hard to compare, since the X-M1 has a slower burst rate, so it takes more time to fill the buffer. When saturating the buffer with a fast card, though, the write times were very close between the X-E2 and X-M1.

  4. viktor

    Steele, what time of filling and emptying the buffer X-E1 / X-E2

  5. Amnon Govrin

    I’d be super interested seeing the timing for Sandisk Extreme 95MB/s as a direct comparison to the PNY.
    Any chance you can add that?


  6. david

    any comment on write errors with Fuji X-E2 and 64 GB cards vs 32 GB? I’m using a sandisk ultra 64 and keep getting write errors… just bought an extreme 32 GB to see if the problem is the card, and maybe related to write speed… I wasn;t really pusjing the camera too hard… just bracketing film mode with 3 jpgs when the card stopped working…

    also notice the timestamp is wrong by 13 hours with the xe2 and that card… hopefully the new card will fix the problem, or i’ll return the camera for a new one (only 2 weeks old)

    would love to hear your thoughts…


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