The X-E2S promises to go one better than the X-E2. Michael Topham looks at how if differs to the original and reveals why X-E2 users have reason to be thankful
Fujifilm X-E2S review – Build and handling
The X-E2S might look like a carbon copy of the X-E2 with its magnesium die-cast top and front covers, milled metal top-plate dials and faux-leather plastic, yet on closer inspection you begin to notice a few subtle differences around the body.
Take the handgrip for example, which is redesigned in a similar fashion to the X-Pro2. The profile isn’t hugely different to the X-E2’s grip, but the new flat rubber section that has been added where your middle fingers lay to rest helps to improve the feel slightly over the X-E2’s faux-leather rubber grip.
On the top-plate the engraved metal dials that are used to manually control shutter speed and exposure compensation notch into place with a satisfying click and the on/off button wraps itself around the shutter button where there’s an inherent thread for attaching a traditional screw cable release. Towards the rear there’s a new plastic scroll dial, which is now finely grooved and doesn’t have the same high-pitched click when depressed. Anyone familiar with the X-E2 will notice the Macro and AF labelling has been removed above and below the Menu/Ok button. Compared to the X-E2, which offered four function buttons, there’s the option to customise seven buttons on the X-E2S – ideal for anyone who’d like to personalise the camera.
The X-E2S is suitable for both novice and enthusiast photographers. Beginners may want to use the new Auto SR mode that replaces what used to be the Fn2 button on the X-E2, however those looking to develop their photography will quickly find that the X-E2S encourages users to take manual control. To enter Program Mode you are required to set both the aperture and shutter speed to its ‘A’ setting. With the shutter speed set to ‘A’ mode and the aperture set via the aperture ring, the camera will actively perform in aperture priority mode, whereas with the aperture set to ‘A’ on the lens barrel and the shutter speed set via the dial, the X-E2 performs in shutter priority mode. It’s the same setup as with all Fujifilm X-Series cameras and though it might be a slightly different approach to the standard P, A, S, M shooting modes many will be used to on a DSLR, it doesn’t take long to get accustomed to.
Comparing the feel of the X-E2S with the X-Pro1 reveals just how much lighter and smaller it is. Those who don’t require the X-Pro2’s pro-level spec and muscular build quality will appreciate the gains to be had from the X-E2S’s smaller size. This does come at the expense of it feeling a touch nose-heavy though, particularly when it’s used with long lenses. During my testing I found small, lightweight primes such as the Fujifilm 35mm f/2, complemented the feel of the camera in the hand. Even the kit lens has a tendency to make the X-E2S feel a little front heavy after a prolonged spell of shooting. Although we’re yet to take delivery of Fujifilm’s new 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, I did get a chance to marry it with the camera. Just as I’d envisaged, the X-E2S felt rather awkward coupled to such a large telephoto zoom, emphasising my earlier point that overloading it will have an effect on the handling.