7
Feb
2013

Reader review (Iulian): “My thoughts about The Fuji X-E1″

Hi, my name is Iulian and I’m from Romania. I’d like to share my thoughts about the Fuji X-E1. Best regards, Iulian.

 “My thoughts about Fuji X-E1 – what bugs me

No photos, just thoughts

Before I start writing about the Fuji X-E1, I have to provide something about my background skills and gear.

I’m relatively young (33 yrs) and I started photography only three years ago. So, I don’t have the shooting on film background. I started with a Sony Alpha A200, upgraded to Sony Alpha A580 and, after that, to Sony Alpha A77. I had some nice lenses, including the very nice 16-50 F2.8 Sony lens and the excellent Samyangs: the 35 1.4, 85 1.4 and 8 2.8 fisheye. I also had the 50 1.4 Minolta AF and Sony primes. After two years of using the DSLR’s I found out that the gear is too heavy for me and, most of it, the noise that came out from the Sony A77 was obvious even at ISO400, when printed at poster size. The IQ was excellent.

I bought the Nex 5N for keeping it light and paired it with the two Sigmas and the Sony 50 1.8, and I also bought the external electronic viewfinder for it. Since I started using the Nex, I also started using the old M42 lenses, the best of them being the Revuenon 55 1.4. This way I started to love the manual focusing, the focus peaking in the viewfinder making it easier and, especially, faster.

Being so pleased with the Nex, I wanted more. So, I bought the Fuji X-E1, paired with the 18-55 Fujinon lens and the SLR Magic 35 1.4.

Now, about the X-E1, from my perspective:

-          The size, the weight and the feeling – they are all there.

-          The 18-55 lens – it’s a nice lens, similar in build quality and IQ with the Sony 16-50 F2.8 lens (very nice lens, but not exceptional)

-          The autofocus of X-E1 is ok in daylight, but very slow indoors, under the room lightings. In fact, is so slow, that, with autofocus, I simply cannot track my 2 yrs old daughter when running or even walking through the house. [personal note: some FR-readers reported that the latest firmware improved AF in low light conditions]

-          So, I thought I should start using the manual focus instead. No chance at all because of:

o   The manual focus on the 18-55 is annoying – no direct focus like the old real manual focus lenses

o   The viewfinder of the Fuji X-E1 might have the same resolution as the external Sony one for Nex – but, because of the slower refresh rate, the ghosting is disturbing

o   The lack of a real focus peaking is something beyond my understanding

-          Because I thought that, if I cannot rely on autofocus indoor, the autofocus of the Fuji 35 1.4 lens doesn’t provide me any help – I bought the SLR Magic 35.1.4 real manual focus. Somehow, I ended being familiar with manual focus at F2 without the help of the magnification in the viewfinder. So, now, I have around 75% keepers in manual focus.

-          Another thing that I observed is the inaccurate LCD of the Fuji. When I have something bright in the photo (like a paper, or a white toy), when reviewing in on the LCD, the brightest objects have no details. When I look through the viewfinder, those objects appear to have some details. When I check the histogram, everything is ok. And, when I check on my computer, all the details are there. It’s only the LCD of the camera that cannot show me anything.

-          The small flash it’s nice and, when bounced indoors, it’s even great.

Outside, the camera has another face. I think of my Fuji like as a Phoenix bird. It simply reborns every morning. It’s such a nice camera for everything else but indoors and sports.

The photos have colors, vibrancy, sharpness and no disturbing noise.

I give Fuji so much credit, that I bought a leica M to Fuji X adapter and intend to buy two Voigtlanders: the Skopar 25 F4 Pancake and the Heliar 75 1.8 for portraits. Hopefully, one day, Fuji will provide the focus peaking via firmware.

Maybe stupid, maybe not, I sold all my Sony gear, except the Nex 5N and the Revuenon 55 1.4, and I intend keeping and, eventually, falling in love with the X-E1.”

  • http://www.rogerspictures.com Paul Rogers

    Thanks for your insights – with a 5yr old and 2 yr old, I’m interested in how you find the AF with them running around outside in better light. Is the 35mm 1.4 much better in low light than the 18-55?

    • Iullian

      Outside, there is no problem with AF speed of the 18-55 lens. The manual SRL Magic 35 T1.4 lens is better in low light only if: you take photos of static objects or if the person(s) being photographed poses for you. Instant photography in low light … you have to practice a lot to have an above average success rate.

      • Iullian

        One observation: I updated the firmware of the Fuji X-E1 and the autofocus speed of the 18-55 lens is improved. Not much better, but better.

      • Jon R

        lullian, try also adjusting the size of the AF box to the largest size. I think it slightly boosts AF speed in low light. However, I don’t see much of a difference in good light.

        • Iullian

          Done that. But, when you make the green size bigger, you’ll get less accuracy. It’s a fact.

    • Jon R

      Paul, from actually using the 18-55, the AF speed in all lighting conditions is faster and more silent than 35mm f1.4 due to the linear motor in the zoom.

  • autoy

    The comparisons between the Fuji 18-55 and Sony 16-50 are somewhat misguided as you’d need a chunky adapter to hook it up to a NEX system, and the lot would double the Fuji’s size and weight. Other than that, the usual complaints some may be ok with, some may not.

    • Iullian

      I compared the lenses only. I used the Sony 16-50 on Sony A580 and A77, not on my NEX. I wanted only to point out that the IQ is similar with the Fuji 18-55. The size of the lens is another story.

  • Yusuf

    I am using the Fuji XE1 and last week in low light it focused where the OMD did not. It was a static subject, 9/10 the OMD will beat the XE1 for AF. But its not a complete junk. The camera IQ and lens quality is enough for me to finally leave my 5D Mark III with L lenses at home without feeling like i will lose quality. children are sports and you need a camera that can keep up with sports photography, and most mirrorless cannot AF on kids. The NEX5N i have has the worst AF of all 3 mirrorless cameras mentioned. in low light it can focus on a subject so uses the whole screen to approximate focus.

    If i need only one camera and need quality images and fast AF then it has to be Mark 3, for only quality images its between OMD and XE1, and in Lowlight its XE1, i dont really shoot moving subjects at night!

  • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

    3 DSLRs and 2 different MILC systems in 3 years as a beginner? Wow! Personally, it took me over a year to just master one system, and I am still struggling. And I do have almost 25 years of shooting experience. I usually recommend to focus less on gear and more on photography.

    • Iullian

      Agree with that. But I have the passion, I had the money and constant upgrading became natural. Now I settled to the Fuji X-E1 and Nex 5N with serious thinking in Sony RX1. I really believe that I only have one life and photography is my passion, so, investing in gear has a lot of sense to me.

      • Milan

        Thanks for your thoughts!

        But I’m afraid the X-E1 won’t last long either. Sooner rather than later the X-E2 with the much faster processor and PhD AF (plus split image and focus peaking for MF) will come out, solving your main complaints. So upgrading will be inevitable ;)

      • Wen

        Better wait for the next gen of RX1, X100S is the way to go for large sensor semi compact at this moment.

      • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

        Where can we see your pictures?

    • GrauUhu

      Plus one.

  • sharkfeeder

    Lulian, you have Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Many of us have it. It’s a fascination with gadgetry that is completely removed from photography itself. Nothing wrong with it either. But as you develop your photographic skills, you’ll discover that just about any camera that is in working order will produce acceptable photos for you. I agree with Rico. Stick with one camera for a while. Even better stick with one camera and one lens, and give yourself time to adjust to it.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      For starters, I very much recommend this philosophy: http://alesserphotographer.com

      • sharkfeeder

        Agreed. And that’s one of the joys of conquering the X-Pro. It challenges you, forces you to understand just what it is you’re doing before it rewards you with consistent output.

  • http://www.mayaphotostudio.ca Dusan

    I have some thoughts about poor autofocus in low light situation. If it was already discussed or mentioned I apologize. I found that when switching to Manual Focus and then programing the AF-L/AE-L button to lock focus only, works even in very low light. Basically in the same lighting confitions when focusing is switched to S or C and camera’s autofocus system is unable to focus on the subject, swithcing to M and pressing the AF-L buttom works 99% of the time and it is pretty fast. I haven’t tested this with moving subjects yet, but with stationary it always works.

  • rUY

    You got it right on overall comment of XE-1. but to be honest. I would like to suggest you sell Noktor and get a more decent manual lens instead. i.e. Distagon 35mm 2.0 or 1.4.