XE-1 vs. NEX-6 for three week backpacking trip?

Started May 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
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jfriend00
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XE-1 vs. NEX-6 for three week backpacking trip?
May 14, 2013

I'm looking for some advice on choosing an X-E1.

I'm a long time Nikon dSLR shooter (three DX bodies and eight lenses), now looking for something smaller and lighter for a challenging 3 week backpacking trip (212 mile John Muir Trail in the Sierras - Yosemite to Whitney) where weight is a premium and I have to select every ounce of weight carefully to make sure I can both complete the trip and enjoy the trip (I'm also no spring chicken any more at age 55).  I am really into photography though and this country is amazingly beautiful so I'm willing to carry as much as the ~1.5lbs that the X-E1 + 18-55 + extra batteries weighs.  I'm hoping to bring back some images that I can print large (20x30).

I want a quality APS-C sensor with good controls and a zoom lens so I've pretty much narrowed down the choices to the NEX-6 or X-E1.

I was initially favoring the NEX (really like the features on the body), but when I looked into lenses I was quite disappointed with both the 16-50 and 18-55 which is the zoom range I'm looking for (I'm used to shooting Nikon 17-55 on my D300).  Ironically, it appears that the best IQ in a zoom that covers that range for the NEX is the Sony 18-200.  While the extended range of the 18-200 would be fun, I don't really like the extra weight or size.  It appears that if you really want pretty good IQ with the NEX line, you need to go to primes and that just isn't practical for me on this trip.

So, I went looking for better zoom lenses and found the X-E1 with the 18-55.  From the charts on slrgear.com, it's a pretty darn good lens and gives me 1-2 stops more aperture than the sony options too.  I went to the camera store and played with the X-E1 and liked it a lot.  It handled very well, the EVF worked great and I liked the controls.  My only gripe on handling was the undersized grip.  I'd prefer something with a little more depth of grip to it for more secure handling.  I guess I could get the add-on grip, to bulk it up a bit, though it seems like a silly amount of $$ for a piece of plastic with a screw in it.

Since I shoot RAW and process with Lightroom, I was initially concerned about the RAW processing issues for the X-Trans sensor layout.  It sounds like LR 4.4 has much improved that situation, but I can't really tell if it's yet fully up to snuff vs. other sensors or not.

I generally like what Fuji is trying to do with the X line, leaving the pure consumers to go to other less expensive brands and trying to build a premium quality line where you pay a little extra, but get premium IQ with very good lenses.

Right now, my main reservation about the X-E1 is that it's not really very good at video and it doesn't seem like it's nearly as big an ecosystem (3rd party lenses and accessories) as the NEX.  In fact, Fuji hasn't even finished building out their own lens line yet, though the roadmap looks promising.

So, I know this is the "X System" forum where comments are likely to be favorable to the X-E1, but I'd appreciate any feedback on choosing the X-E1 + 18-55 for this trip vs. the other choices out there in the market or any opinions on any of the pros/cons I've commented about.

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Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon D300 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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