Fujifilm X-E1 review

Features

Image: The panorama mode is available in a ‘medium' and a ‘large' degree of angle, this being the large setting. Also, the sweep can be performed in a horizontal or vertical movement in either direction

After the FinePix X100 original X-series camera was announced, AP conducted a poll about the camera, the results of which indicated that 45% of those who responded were prepared to buy it before even knowing what the image quality was like. The X-E1, like the X100, is a very good-looking camera that is sure to attract many by its appearance alone. Thankfully, and again like the X100, there are good things going on beneath the surface, too.

The camera's APS-C-sized CMOS sensor has a 16.3-million-pixel resolution. It is a Fuji X-Trans sensor, which has a different colour filter array to that of a standard Bayer type. When the X-Pro1 was announced with this unique sensor type, the company likened the X-Trans pixel arrangement to the random, non-uniform pattern of a film base. Conversely, a Bayer arrangement is made up of a uniform quad array. For more details on the differences between these sensor types, see our test of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 in AP 31 March.

With randomly arranged pixels, the risk of moiré patterning is reduced, because moiré is the result of regular patterns in a scene, be it feathers or a grille in a building, crossed against the regular colour filter array pattern. The usual solution is an anti-aliasing (low-pass) filter, which is designed to reduce moiré patterning by blurring finer image detail. The random array of the Fuji sensor allows for the removal of the low-pass filter, so image quality is very crisp and the sensor resolves more detail than the pixel count would suggest. In our test of the X-Pro1, we suggested that the camera matches, or even exceeds, an 18-million-pixel camera with a Bayer colour filter array.

Image: As a rangefinder camera, the X-E1 will typically be associated with street photography

A camera system is much more enticing when there is a good selection of lenses and accessories. If Fuji keeps to its lens launch plan, there will be ten lenses available within a year. There is also a Fujifilm X-to-Leica M mount adapter available for attaching Leica lenses to the Fuji camera. The new Fuji 18-55mm lens and other planned zooms offer image stabilisation (OIS) instead of stabilisation being available in-camera. As a mirrorless camera, though, the sensor is more exposed when the lens is removed, so the X-E1 thankfully features ultrasonic vibration to clean the sensor at start-up
and shutdown.

The two key differences between the X-E1 and X-Pro1 are their LCD screens and viewfinders. I will explore these in more detail in the relevant sections of this test.

As with the X-Pro1, the drive mode menu offers a comprehensive number of options, including a 6fps high-speed burst, a motion-panorama mode and three-frame bracketing for exposure, ISO, film simulation and dynamic range. Film simulation covers the camera's colour modes, with each option named after the company's Astia, Provia and Velvia film stock.