XE4 - I was wrong

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jhorse Veteran Member • Posts: 5,404
XE4 - I was wrong
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Those who have followed the various XE4 threads may have seen that I was on the fence about the XE4 inclining not to upgrade. Well, I was wrong – here’s why I now think I was wrong.

For background, I have used a XE3 and various f2 crons, zooms and the 27 Mk I since 2018. It is, and still is, a fantastic camera. So, why was I interested in the upgrade? Partly because I wanted the improved AF system and partly because I have a weakness for the latest. I have argued in other threads that the poorer ergonomics versus the indistinguishable difference in IQ was not worth the cost of change. I had stated that the removal of the MSC switch (I change from S to C a lot), the removal of the rear dial (I use it to change aperture on the 27 Mk I and the XC 16-50) and the removal of the front and rear grips added up to a dumbing down of ergonomics for the sake of vanity and marketing.

However, I looked at the XE4 in my local retail shop and the trade-in deal (XE3 and 27 Mk I against the XE4 and 27 Mk II kit), plus throwing in the XC16-50 (I have a 18-55), was better than I had expected. So, I did the deal – my heart won over my head!

So, what is my first impression of the XE4? Very positive.

Build Quality. With one exception, I find the build quality to be slightly better than the XE3 and it has a wonderful tactile feel. The only concern is the somewhat flimsy battery door, but it will be covered by a leather half case, so should not be an issue.

Ergonomics – Holding. I was concerned about the removal of the front and rear grips, which would (and does) make holding the camera problematic, not so much in the shooting position, but when handling it generally as it is susceptible to slipping and falling. I have a leather half case on order, which is the same make as I have on my XT4. It has a front vertical ridge over which one’s fingers can grip and a rear ridge from which one’s thumb can get better grip. It improves the holding a lot and for me shows that such a case will make for far better and securer holding. Personally, I did not want the Fuji thumb rest or grip. So, hopefully this will improve the ergonomics for holding.

Ergonomics – Controls. Most of my shooting is in aperture priority, mostly stills and a mixture of static and moving subjects.

  • First, I have disabled the touch screen, which I find flaky, inconsistent and a marketing ploy (I await the comments on that one!).
  • Second, I have customised the Q menu with my most used settings in the field (mirrored in My Menu). Like all Fujis it is easy to access and quick to change a setting.
  • Third, I use exposure compensation a lot and set the EC dial to ‘C’ and use the front dial to adjust EC on the fly. I also change ISO a lot and again I have this on the front dial. So far this set up is the same as on the XE3 and on my XT4 (less the ISO with its own dial). To change the two settings, EC and ISO, if using the same setting as that last used one just rotates the front dial and to change to the other setting one presses the dial and then rotates it to set the setting. Quick and simple.
  • So, what has changed from the XE3? Two things. The absence of the rear dial meant I could not change aperture on the 27 Mk I or XC 16-50 lenses. I did not want the front dial being used to change three settings. But the new 27 has an aperture ring and as I have the XF18-55 I decided the trade-in the XC16-50 in the deal leaving me with no XC lenses, so problem dissolved. The other change is the omission on the XE4 of the MSC switch. I have set the Fn button to the Focus Mode (AF-S, AF-C or MF) and one press and a whiz of the front dial and the AF Mode is changed. Again, quick and easy.

My Ergonomics Conclusion. For my style of shooting, with a half leather case to give better handling and the right set up for control the XE4 is fine – fast, easy, intuitive. So, my hitherto untested observations on ergonomics were wrong.

AF. It is as fast, accurate and sticky for moving subjects as my XT4. A plus. The camera is snappier with focus being the most noticeable improvement.

Lenses. Of course, the new 27 is a joy to use, but so too are the f2 Crons.  The XE4 balances fine with the 18-55. It is also fine with my 10-24.

All in all, I am now very happy with the XE4 and my ergonomic solutions to holding and controlling are not work arounds, for that implies a problem, but instead learning to adjust to the new control layout. So, while I was on the fence, I am now firmly off it!  Hope that helps others who may be on the fence.

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 jhorse's gear list:jhorse's gear list
Fujifilm X-T4 Fujifilm X-E4 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS +6 more
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