X-E2, got it, what a beast!

Started Nov 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
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a l b e r t
a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
X-E2, got it, what a beast!

Just received my X-E2 today.  I've owned or used many X cameras, including X10, X-Pro1, X100 LE, X100s, X-E1.  My other non-X cameras are Sony NEX-6 and Nikon D3s.  Currently, I still own X10 (mainly for the face detection AF part), X100 LE and X-E1.  I never owned a X100s, but I've used it and I know how well it performs compared to other X cameras.

The X-E2's firmware makes it a completely different camera compared to the X-E1.  Not only it is more responsive in just about anything, AF is now the best amongst all the X cameras.

At first, I was worried that phase detect AF may not work in low light indoor condition.  But it actually works quite well.  I found that the phase detect pixels are vertical contrast sensitive only.  If the phase detect pixels can detect a vertical contrast edge, the X-E2 is able to move to the focus position extremely quickly.  In fact, I found it sometimes quicker than a DSLR!  With my D3s, when the camera acquires focus, I can feel the AF motor moving back and forth a little towards the final focus point.  This is especially true with a f/1.4 lens.  With X-E2, I found that very often, it just moves there and stops.  Zero lens hunting.  I was testing the focus with something at 2.5m and 3m away with strong vertical contrast, and it locked focus in an instant, with a single stoke of lens movement.  I repeatedly AF on these two subjects and the distance on the distance scale was consistent too.  There was ZERO lens hunting at all.  With X-E1, it sometimes jumps all over the distance scale as it mis-focused and thinks it has acquired the focus.  The lens I used for testing was the XF 23 1.4.

When compared to my NEX-6, the X-E2's PDAF algorithm works so much better.  On the NEX-6, I really don't feel the camera making use of PDAF much, at least not in the way I see it works on the X-E2.

Also, X-E2, like X-E1, is able to detect horizontal contrast with the latest firmware.  X100 and X100s AF algorithms are incapable of detecting horizontal contrast.  So when you try to focus on something with horizontal contrast, X-E2 will only use CDAF (no PDAF), and the lens will hunt back and forth to find the focus point.  I've tested NEX-6 and Sony A7.  They both cannot focus on something with horizontal contrast.  I read from the Oly forum that even the OM-D EM-1's CDAF fails to lock focus on horizontal contrast.  I think X-E2 is now on the top of the heap in terms of AF speed and accuracy for all mirrorless cameras.

There is now a Pre-AF function.  If you turn it on, it'll perform continuous AF at the AF point you selected.  It'll also continuos AF when you have Face Detect AF + Pre-AF on.  I think this is going to be great for catching movements of toddlers.

One undocumented new feature is the ability to change aperture when you half press on the shutter release button.  None of the X camera can do that and my NEX-6 cannot do that as well.  This feature alone makes the camera behave more like a real SLR.

Fuji also improved the information layout on the screen.  Now the distance scale and EV compensation scale are much less intrusive.  They are now translucent and the distance scale now occupies very little vertical space.  The EV compensation scale does not highlight the scale when it is at 0EV.

EVF as we all know, refreshes quicker.  You can now adjust the brightness of the EVF and LCD independently!  The jagged edge as seen during AF is now a thing of the past.

I found that the AF square is now bigger and I think the 49 AF points are spread further apart (not 100% confirmed, as my X-E1 is with Fuji for sensor cleaning).

I also found that it has a much less tendency to use DR400 when DR is set to Auto.  I found that DR400 can sometimes produce unpleasant contrast on people's face.  I'd much rather limit it to DR200 max in Auto mode and it seems that X-E2 is more intelligent in making the correct DR choice.

Delete button behavior is now different.  When you hit delete, you'll be presented with 3 choices.  Frame, Selected Frames, All Frames.  The default is on Frame.  So you need to press OK to select Frame, and press OK again to delete the current frame.  So there is more button presses than before.  But after you deleted the current frame, it'll move to the previous frame, you can hit OK again to delete it.  You can keep pressing OK to delete a series of frames that way.  And once you finished deleting, you can hit BACK to exit the delete mode and it'll go back to picture review mode or half press the shutter to get out of delete/playback mode completely.

Other minor changes includes a stiffer power on/off switch.  The button feel is different, there seems to be a tiny bit less travel or stiffer.

So far I found two quirks:

1. You take a photo, and press Play immediately to review the photo.  Press the wheel to zoom in on the picture to check on focus.  Now as soon as the X-E2 finishes writing the files (I use RAW+Fine), it will reset the review mode so that the picture is no longer zoomed in.

2.  Set the X-E2 to EVF+Eye sensor only.  The LCD is turned off to save power.  EVF is also turned off until I put my eye next to it.  When both EVF and LCD are off, I can press the buttons on the X-E2 but nothing is shown on the LCD.  I'd think it should turn on the LCD when I press a button to let me perform the setting and then turn off the LCD again after a few seconds of timeout.  Or, it should lock all the buttons and will only activate them when my eye is looking through the EVF.

So all-in-all, the X-E2 is not a minor upgrade.  I don't know how many of the firmware features in X-E2 will get trickled down to the X-E1 or X-Pro1.  I think Fuji will probably select a few features on the next X-E1/X-Pro1 firmware update, such as min. shutter speed for Auto ISO.  But I don't expect them to redo the info layout, or add face detection in the older cameras.

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