Why I bought the X-E1 Mini Review

Started Nov 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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ahuyevshi
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Why I bought the X-E1 Mini Review
Nov 21, 2012

I am by no means a professional photographer, even though I've sold some stock photos and have made enough to cover most of my gear shooting motorsports..

My jump into digital started in 97 with a Kodak point & shoot that had a serial connection then upgraded to an Olympus C-2100UZ.. So I've been around the block for a while.. I had always still opted for film, because I just couldn't get the resolution or quality I was looking for.. Then came the Canon 10D and I was hooked..  Digital was finally starting to get to where I wanted it to be.

Long story short after many bodies and glass decisions, I had built up a relatively good collection for every purpose. Advance to my daughter being born and the need for something more portable than a 1 Series or a 5D for going to the park, or for some simple street shooting. No point and shoot would because I'd always be missing something, low light, focal length, can't shoot with LCD and the list went on..

M4/3 comes out and the Oly E-P2 finally seems like a contender.. Picked up a few adapters, a bunch of voigtlander and zeiss lenses and was happy. Even sold a few shots from the camera, but once again I started noticing things in my prints that were bugging me. Shadow noise even at low ISO was apparent and I started to carry the 5D again.. Bought a 5D2 and that was my go to for family events.. I would try almost every body I would find and nothing made me happy. Even ended up picking up a second hand M6 and would shoot film over digital.

Again fast forward until the x100 was announced.. I preordered day one and with the Tsunami and shortages waited a long time for it. The camera was everything I was looking for on paper, but sadly in it's original state it was just too slow. Wire Manual focusing was annoying but I loved everything else about it. I returned it hoping that the next version would be fixed. Then what do you know the X-Pro1 was announced..  What else could I do but wait?

From the moment I picked up the X-Pro1 I was in love. The camera was inspiring from design to execution. I don't know why some people confuse it with a RangeFinder. It is not a rangefinder and the only resemblance is the build. The OVF was a pleasure to use for framing, but it does not assist in focusing. I love shooting manual lenses, so AF to me wasn't a show stopper.. However, switching to the incredibly slow EVF was. Not to mention with the crop factor, minimal focus on the 35mm required Macro mode for relatively any closeup shot and finally poor battery life. I only had it for a weekend and after returning it every shot with the 5D2 felt like it was missing something. The simplicity of not having to worry about which lens to take was the least of it.. Every click on the X-Pro1 felt like I was shooting film again and just having fun with it.

I took these 2 images a few hours after getting my dirty little hands on the X-Pro1, and pictured them with each soulless click of the 5D2 hoping that the successor would be my go to.

So last week my dealer had gotten in the X-E1 body. I wanted to try it against the X-Pro1 with the updated firmware just to be sure I was making the right decision. While the X-Pro1 feels more substantial in terms of features the X-E1 was hard to beat. While AF is not a big deal for me, you can easily tell that the X-E1 AF performs much better than the X-Pro1.

The sensors are very much the same so nothing negative to say. JPEG OoC is amazing.  I don't have the zoom so I can't comment (nor will I be getting one), but to be honest with you I'm not a zoom guy. I have the 24-70L & 70-200L for different purposes but I love shooting primes. It's not all about the speed either, a prime makes you think about the shot differently than you would with a zoom.

Also, I mostly shoot Manual, so just based on the metering I'm fairly confident that Aperture or Shutter Priority would work fine. However, I'm not entirely sure about auto ISO.  I will test it this weekend.

I haven't tested VIDEO mode as I do a lot with the GoPRo

Pros

1) Image Quality even JPG OoC

2) Build.. It's not flimsy like some have said.

3) Film Simulation. I've used Provia, Velvia and all of the Monochrome presets. I absolutely love Monochrome +R as it is almost as good as my B&W workflow.

4) Bracketing for all modes including FILM Simulation is a great idea and works well

5) Once focus is locked there is no lag and it locks focus fairly well in most situations (see con)

6) EVF is BRIGHT! and helps with manual focus especially in dark situations.

7) Price Point (If you buy a kit and sell the zoom, you end up with the camera in the range of 7-800 dollars)

Cons

1)Wake up time is slow, I went and tried another one this morning to see if it was mine and saw similar results with a non Eye-Fi SD card. It is much faster to turn it off and on when you need it.

2)It does want to refocus on each shot even when focus is locked and I believe this might be the EVF and not the camera. However, it only happens in Macro mode in extremely low lightwhen focus point is set off center. As others have pointed out, only happens in Single Shot mode

3)Silent Mode disables the flash and the AF assist light which is weird but yeah.

4) AF Point Selection doesn't seem right one the left side, it could just be me..

5) So after enabling the Level in the display I'm pretty sure San Francisco doesn't have a single street that is leveled. I thought there was something wrong with the camera at first, but no It's San Francisco.

Canon EOS 10D Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark II Fujifilm FinePix X100 Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-Pro1 Olympus PEN E-P2
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