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A. Digital Camera - Fujifilm x-E1 (and 18-55mm XF lens)

Discussion in 'Fujifilm Cameras' started by bench_ubbster, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    Firstly let's get the reasons for purchasing this camera out of the way. I've been wanting a compact camera for travel for many months, I had a play with many at the last FOI this year and I liked the look and feel of the Fuji right from the start. Yes, it does mean I need to invest in a new set of lenses (unless I get some adapters which I probably will). But I also like the quality and compact nature of the Fujinon X-fit lenses.
    So, I now have Canon 5D mark II and 650D as it's back-up for mainly wildlife, landscapes and video. Panasonic LX5 for the shirt pocket and the Fuji for when I want to travel light. However, I've also discovered some bonuses and it will replace the other cameras in some instances.
    The good - old style shutter speed knob and ring on the lens so you can manually change the aperture. This camera is as close as it gets to my Nikon FM2 for manual handling and to me, that's great! The pictures straight from the camera don't need much work. I've been capturing both RAW and JPEG and setting in camera which film emulation to apply to the JPEG. To me, the Velvia setting doesn't look too Velviaish to me, but there is certainly more saturation. Once DxO has caught up, I don't think I will bother with the in-camera JPEG film emulations, but still, it suits some pictures and saves time later.
    Everything works on this camera as you would want it too.
    The not so good - There are too many buttons where my right thumb naturally falls and there is a tendency to accidentally push these. Focusing for video is about the same as the Canon 650D which isn't so good.
    The bonus - It does hand-held infrared! Not only that, you can frame the shot with the opaque R72 filter attached to the lens as you see the image clearly in the EVF. Yes, the ISO has to be above 1600 to get a shutter speed to allow a hand-held shot, but this isn't a problem as there still isn't much noise at this ISO anyway. There was a hot-spot, but this is a lens phenomenon and cured by converting to black and white. I'm sure other lenses will be OK and I can get an adapter to use with lenses which I know do not have hot-spots.

    There are some recent (full res) examples here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjH8BDwY
    Some are in-camera JPEGs, other converted using the supplied Silkypix software. No sharpening or other corrections have been applied only with the IR image converted to BW using DxO Filmpack.
  2. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    I was at Birdfair this weekend with my X-E1 and stopped by the Pannasonic stand. I was able to look at the new GX7 and my first impressions were very good. Appears to be every bit as well made as the X-E1 and the buttons and dials seem to be better placed. But what realy impressed me (compared with the Fuji) was the EVF. Not sure how everything else stacks up, I bet the video is also better with the GX7, but if you are in the market, I'd certainly compare the two.

    Still loving the X-E1 though. It handles low and difficult very well. lightI don't know if it's the way I'm using it, but it drains a battery rather quickly (but I have two spares).

    I've added a couple from Birdfair here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjH8BDwY
  3. aahimenaah

    aahimenaah Active Member

    Hi bench_ubbster

    Good to see that others are enjoying the X-E1 as much as I am. I posted the following impressions of the camera in the 'No Fujifilm?' thread in the Other Brands section a few months ago, which on reflection I should have posted in here. Would be interested to see if you noticed any of the quirks I found:
    The Cuba trip has happened and the X-E1 got thoroughly road tested. As requested, some pictures have been put up in the Exhibition Lounge and here are my thoughts on how it performed (bearing in mind that I usually take my Canon EOS 5D and two or three lenses with me on this type of trip).

    Overall, I love this camera. Once I'd got used to the smaller body I didn't find the handling to be cramped or fiddly and really enjoyed toting a less bulky camera around. I also found the handling very intuitive - having an aperture ring and manual meant I was rarely more than one or two touches away from all the key functions. If a feature needs a lot of finding, I tend to forget it's there so the X-E1's design encouraged me to take a great deal of creative control over each picture.

    Picture quality is excellent - most of the time I left it on the Velvia setting as it suited the old fashioned air of Cuba. Occasional forays into Provia or b&w went well too.

    The camera was perfect for a fast paced tour holiday like this one when there was usually not much time to stop and think about how best to photograph a subject. I ended up taking a lots of grab shots, which befits the XE1's marketing as a street photography camera. It was also good to have a less conspicuous camera in Cuba, where all tourists stick out like a sore thumb and I found myself being constantly chased by locals who wanted to sell me something or marry me. If I had been fully in control of the time I spent taking pictures, I'd probably rather have had a DSLR for its steadiness and superior viewfinder but as things were I didn't miss the 5D that often.

    Slight bugbears:

    • The XE-1 has a strong tendency to underexpose. More often than not I found myself dialling in a +1 on the exposure compensation dial. At first I was worried that the screen wasn't giving an accurate view of the exposure, so used the histogram to help which gave me some reassurance I wasn't going to come home with hundreds of over exposed files. The screen and histogram proved accurate for judging exposure, thank goodness, but the tendency for the meter to underexpose was confirmed.
    • Depth of field was noticeably not as good as my 5D. It's probably only worth using aperture priority at the extreme ends of the scale, i.e. when you really need a blurred background or to be sure it's in focus from back to front. I ended up using shutter speed priority most of the time - no bad thing as it's sharpened up my pictures and cut down on the number that get rejected due to camera shake.
    • It was more difficult to keep the camera level, probably due to its lack of size and weight. I ended up using the straighten tool a lot afterwards in PSE. The display includes a green line to indicate a straight shot - I later realised how important it is to make sure you take heed of it.
    • Raw files need to be converted before opening in Photoshop Elements. They're big too - a haul of 1500 pictures from a 16 day trip nearly filled my hard drive and caused memory problems until I took them off PSE. Cue a trip to buy a separate hard drive to keep them on.
    • As per other reviews, battery life isn't great. I took two batteries and was only getting a day and a half of shooting out of each one. In comparison, my 5D batteries would probably only have needed two or three charges in the 16 days, rather than 8 or 9. The non branded one I bought as a backup had noticeably less life than the Fujifilm one. Luckily hotel power points were reliable, but this isn't a camera you'd want to take into serious wilderness for more than a couple of days, unless you want to spend lots of money on a pocketful of spare batteries.

    In the main the XE1 is a great camera and apart from the battery life issue, it was a pleasure to use and easy to find workarounds for its little quirks. Still, for me while it's an invaluable tool in the camera collection, it's not a DSLR replacement. But I was surprised at how close it came.
  4. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    Yes, I'm finding there is a slight tendency for under exposure in outdoor shots, but over exposure in poor lighting indoor shots. But it isn't a problem since I look at the histogram in the EVF and turn the exp comp knob accordingly. It's instinctive behaviour now and saves a lot of faff in Silkypix or PS Elements.

    I do like the film emulations and like you, I leave it mostly set to Velvia. If in doubt I set it to bracket. I haven't found handling to be an issue. At least, I haven't missed a shot because it was on the wrong setting. Battery life isn't an issue really either as it is predictable.

    I've now garnished the X-E1 with a Samyang 8mm fisheye :) But, I haven't had much chance to use it yet.

    I got the X-E1 primarily in preparation for a few days in Iceland, but I will give it a full pressure test with a trip to the Lake District and haul it up a few fells. Then I think it will come into it's own. Now, I need a small tripod. Any experience with Mefoto tripods?
  5. aahimenaah

    aahimenaah Active Member

    It'll be perfect for the Lake District and Iceland - great for capturing unhurried beauty and light enough to haul around all day without acquiring a hernia.

    No experience of MeFoto sadly - I have a Manfrotto which I've only used with my DSLR so far, and even then only sparingly because I'm a tripod dodger.
  6. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    I figure that if I have a portable enough tripod it will get used more. But it's the trade off thing again (as with camera size and sensors), too flimsy and the tripod is as useful as a chocolate teapot, too heavy and it gets left at home. Such are the dilemmas :D
  7. aahimenaah

    aahimenaah Active Member

    I hear you. Maybe a monopod (which could double as a walking pole) or a gorilla pod would be a good compromise?

    Hope you enjoy the fisheye lens. I've got the 18-55mm lens with mine and am wondering whether it's worth getting one of the fast primes as well.
  8. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    I had a play with a Gorilla pod at the weekend, it doubles as a good head massager :D

    I was waiting for the wide zoom 10-24 and see what that would be like. But a wide prime would be ideal for IR work.

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