My review of X-E3

Started Sep 25, 2017 | Discussions
jarek leo
jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
My review of X-E3
6

I was loaned a Fujifilm X-E3 for the weekend and wrote a review jointly with a friend who still uses X-E1 and is very fond of the X-E series. The review at my blog is in Polish but photographs and their captions should be self-explanatory. Here is a link to the entry:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/09/fujifilm-x-e3-uliczny-sztukmistrz.html#more

And here is a summary of the review in English., which you will also find at the end of the entry:

Fujifilm X-E3 - a street conjurer of APS-C format

Owing to its small size and weight, X-E3 is an excellent camera for travel, documentary, street photography and it will work very well as a second – or third - body for wedding photographers. The design is minimalistic, pure form styling with fluid lines is exemplary, and metal construction is great. Ergonomically, the camera misses the mark, but classic rangefinder Leicas, which used to rule the world of reportage photography for decades, did not fare any better in this respect. The touchscreen will be certainly a „love or hate” affair, but control by touch can be switched off. Autofocus is truly improved upon it its predecessor, and JPEGs straight from the camera will make most users happy. X-E3 is the best camera in X-E series by a safe margin. Is it the best Fujifilm mirrorless camera yet? Well, it depends on who the end user is. For those who like the image quality from, and styling of X100F, but prefer interchangeable lens solutions, an X-E3 with a prime is an answer. As X-E3 and X-T20 share a lot of internals and have a similar price, the choice between the two is up to individual preferences; for example whether we want a smaller body with rangefinder styling, Bluetooth, a joystick for AF point selection and an offset viewfinder (X-E3), or a bigger one with SLR styling, tilting LCD screen and central viewfinder (X-T20). My first close encounter with a Fujifilm product showed that it definitely is not the company’s ambition to satisfy all needs with a single camera, true to the thinking that a Jack of all trades is master of none. And although I have recently seen a camera that defies such thinking, I have to admit that with X-E3 Fujfilm created a camera that will be hard to beat for a certain, specific group of users.

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Fujifilm X-E3
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fullstop Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: My review of X-E3
4

Geez when will people learn...it is not a rangefinder the comparison with Leica is dumb unless you compare it with the T series

boomslang Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: My review of X-E3

Hello Jarek! Thank you very much for the review.

What was your experience with the AF-Touchpad (af point adjustment via touchscreen)? I've had a T2 but didn’t like the joystick at all, because the af point scroll speed was waaay to slow. Is the AF-touchpad somewhere comparable to, for example Nikon D5600 or any Panasonic that offers that feature?

thanks a lot in advance

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: My review of X-E3

Let me start by saying that I am left-eyed so operating most digital cameras is a nightmare. Eventually, I had to disable the touch control because my nose would operate it uncontrollably. I am not very fond of substitution of the D-pad with virtual pad to control white balance or film simulations etc. But for AF point selection the touch control is impressive. Cannot comment on Panasonic or Nikon D5600, but I used D5500 for some time and I prefer the Fuji implementation as going into live view in Nikon DSLRs is still not roses all the way. If only X-E3 had a tiltable screen ... but then it would cannibilize the sales of X-T20. And the camera would be thicker and lose its rangefinder-like elegance.

Best

Jarek

boomslang wrote:

Hello Jarek! Thank you very much for the review.

What was your experience with the AF-Touchpad (af point adjustment via touchscreen)? I've had a T2 but didn’t like the joystick at all, because the af point scroll speed was waaay to slow. Is the AF-touchpad somewhere comparable to, for example Nikon D5600 or any Panasonic that offers that feature?

thanks a lot in advance

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akin_t Veteran Member • Posts: 3,320
Re: My review of X-E3

Don't understand Polish, but you have a beautiful dog.

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FTOG Regular Member • Posts: 472
Re: My review of X-E3

jarek leo wrote:

Ergonomically, the camera misses the mark, but classic rangefinder Leicas, which used to rule the world of reportage photography for decades, did not fare any better in this respect.

Can you elaborate a bit on where you think the camera misses the mark?
What rubbed you the wrong way? The touch screen implementation? The removal of the D-Pad? The smaller body size?

Personally, I haven't had a chance to have the X-E3 in my hands yet, but I have reasonable hope that it might work for me. I never used the D-Pad for anything other than AF point selection, so I don't mind the replacement with a joystick and addition of a second command dial in the front. With the touch functions potentially switched off, my only (minor) concern is the camera size and reduced eye point length (glasses wearer here).

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JohnnyLuddite Contributing Member • Posts: 659
Re: My review of X-E3

Have you seen the Leica III, the archetypal rangefinder?  With the M39 LTM?

The lens below was originally on a Leica IIIc, and I'd say the E series has quite a few nods towards the Leica III.

X-e1 with Nippon Kogaku P.C. 8.5cm f2 M39 LTM

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fullstop Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: My review of X-E3
1

JohnnyLuddite wrote:

Have you seen the Leica III, the archetypal rangefinder? With the M39 LTM?

The lens below was originally on a Leica IIIc, and I'd say the E series has quite a few nods towards the Leica III.

Still not a rangefinder what matters is the focusing system that makes it a rangefinder

Nothing like it other than being cameras with lenses you must be kidding yourself

FTOG Regular Member • Posts: 472
Re: My review of X-E3
1

fullstop wrote:

Geez when will people learn...it is not a rangefinder the comparison with Leica is dumb unless you compare it with the T series

I own a Leica M2, and generally agree that the term gets thrown around a bit too much.

But: The OP explicitly said "rangefinder style", referring to the design aesthetic and not the focusing mechanism. I wouldn't go so far to say, that the cameras look very much alike, but there are certainly similarities:

  • viewfinder placement
  • flat top plate (compare to SLR camera or SLR design)
  • (in case of Leica M) somewhat minimalist and clean camera surfaces
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fullstop Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: My review of X-E3

FTOG wrote:

fullstop wrote:

Geez when will people learn...it is not a rangefinder the comparison with Leica is dumb unless you compare it with the T series

I own a Leica M2, and generally agree that the term gets thrown around a bit too much.

But: The OP explicitly said "rangefinder style", referring to the design aesthetic and not the focusing mechanism. I wouldn't go so far to say, that the cameras look very much alike, but there are certainly similarities:

  • viewfinder placement
  • flat top plate (compare to SLR camera or SLR design)
  • (in case of Leica M) somewhat minimalist and clean camera surfaces

You cheated and  described my Panasonic GM5 ..........

jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: My review of X-E3

akin_t wrote:

Don't understand Polish, but you have a beautiful dog.

Thank you, she is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Best

Jarek

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: My review of X-E3
1

I have never used any Fujifilm camera so I colloborated with a seasoned X-E1 user and a few other people on the review. Most of them ended switching the control by touch off. By "misses the mark" I mean that if Fujifilm intended to make the camera more ergonomical than X-E2/E-X1 it succeded only in part. X-E3 is better but could be much more so. It gets slightly too small and lightweight especially when paired with fast lenses, with which it is so front-heavy. And menus are for me even worse than in Sony A7 series. It is a lovely looking camera, with excellent image quality and very good AF, but did not make my cry: I want it. My review is highly subjective and YMMV.

Best

Jarek

FTOG wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

Ergonomically, the camera misses the mark, but classic rangefinder Leicas, which used to rule the world of reportage photography for decades, did not fare any better in this respect.

Can you elaborate a bit on where you think the camera misses the mark?
What rubbed you the wrong way? The touch screen implementation? The removal of the D-Pad? The smaller body size?

Personally, I haven't had a chance to have the X-E3 in my hands yet, but I have reasonable hope that it might work for me. I never used the D-Pad for anything other than AF point selection, so I don't mind the replacement with a joystick and addition of a second command dial in the front. With the touch functions potentially switched off, my only (minor) concern is the camera size and reduced eye point length (glasses wearer here).

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: My review of X-E3
3

fullstop wrote:

JohnnyLuddite wrote:

Have you seen the Leica III, the archetypal rangefinder? With the M39 LTM?

The lens below was originally on a Leica IIIc, and I'd say the E series has quite a few nods towards the Leica III.

Still not a rangefinder what matters is the focusing system that makes it a rangefinder

Nothing like it other than being cameras with lenses you must be kidding yourself

I think you misread me summary. I said "rangefinder styling", never said it has anything other than "looks" in common with rangefinders. I was born in 1962 so I know what a rangefinder, combined rangefinder and viewfinder, SLR, TLR, view etc. cameras are. I just think that just as photographes hitting the streets opted for Leicas e.g. in 1950s, their today's counterparts might consider such cameras as Fujifilm X-E3, but this has nothing to do with how those cameras are focused or - for that matter - how they record images.

Best

Jarek

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FTOG Regular Member • Posts: 472
Re: My review of X-E3

fullstop wrote:

You cheated and described my Panasonic GM5 ..........

I described what feels like half of the mirrorless market.

My point is, all camera designs are inherently inspired by what came before them.
For rangefinders, the mechanism required the viewfinder to be at either end of the camera. Since (right handed people are the majority and) one hand is permanently at the right side of the camera, the viewfinder was put on the left side of the camera.

While no longer technically related to rangefinder focusing, the X-E (and Sony alpha, and...) viewfinder placement is similar. I don't mind the term "rangefinder style" so long as it is clear, the camera is not a digital rangefinder camera such as digital Leica Ms or the Epson R-D1.

Imho, the confusion is more frequent with the X-Pro line, not X-E.
Too often (linguistically) people use rangefinder as a synonym although the hybrid viewfinder is no such thing.

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FTOG Regular Member • Posts: 472
Re: My review of X-E3

jarek leo wrote:

I have never used any Fujifilm camera so I colloborated with a seasoned X-E1 user and a few other people on the review. Most of them ended switching the control by touch off. By "misses the mark" I mean that if Fujifilm intended to make the camera more ergonomical than X-E2/E-X1 it succeded only in part. X-E3 is better but could be much more so. It gets slightly too small and lightweight especially when paired with fast lenses, with which it is so front-heavy. And menus are for me even worse than in Sony A7 series. It is a lovely looking camera, with excellent image quality and very good AF, but did not make my cry: I want it. My review is highly subjective and YMMV.

Best

Jarek

Thanks for more details. It sort of makes sense and also "relieves" me a bit.
I use smaller lenses and am not planning to use bigger lenses.

I'll have to hold it in my hands, to experience if it is right for me, or not.

As for the menus, it hurts to hear you think they are worse than the notorious Sony menus. But let's see. I don't spend much time in the menus of my X-E2, because the Q menu has so far allowed me to bind everything to either physical controls or the Q menu.

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Miki Nemeth
Miki Nemeth Senior Member • Posts: 1,504
Calling the X-E3 a "rangefinder styling" is really controversial term; it has just a soap-box shape

jarek leo wrote:

I said "rangefinder styling", never said it has anything other than "looks" in common with rangefinders. I was born in 1962 so I know what a rangefinder, combined rangefinder

Hi Jarek,

Great review. What is your feeling about the build quality? Does the X-E3 feels plastic/hollow/cheap or sturdy/metal/dense/quality piece of equipment?

As for the "rangefinder styling". I'd tend to agree with those who say that it is really not a meaningful name. Why not simply call it soap-box shape or something like that. Proud rangefinder owners could be really upset when calling any camera rangefinder styling, just because it has a soap-box shape.

It's really a bad terminology, for a long time I had the impression that the X-PRO and X-100 cameras have rangefinder OVF, because of the loose, negligent, careless, improper application of the term "rangefinder styling", because it conveyed the false connotation that this camera is a kind of rangefinder. To my utter disappointment I've learned later that the X-PRO and X-100 have only a peephole, I wouldn't even call it optical viewfinder, honestly. The X-E3 is even farther away from the term rangefinder styling, it simply has a soapbox shape and an EVF, that's all. Millions of camera existed with that shape, and no one called them rangefinder styling at that time. I have an Olympus mju-II film camera, with a rounded soapbox shape, I'd never call it a rangefinder styling.

Who started using this controversial/debatable term for Fujifilm cameras? Was that Fuji's marketing department or DPR reviewers?

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fullstop Regular Member • Posts: 121
term; it has just a soap-box shape

yes

JohnnyLuddite Contributing Member • Posts: 659
Re: My review of X-E3

fullstop wrote:

JohnnyLuddite wrote:

Have you seen the Leica III, the archetypal rangefinder? With the M39 LTM?

The lens below was originally on a Leica IIIc, and I'd say the E series has quite a few nods towards the Leica III.

Still not a rangefinder what matters is the focusing system that makes it a rangefinder

Nothing like it other than being cameras with lenses you must be kidding yourself

This is getting bizarre, honestly.

I've used the Leica IIIc rangefinder, and its focusing system. I think it's "kidding yourself" that anyone would even image a digital camera doing that, or that the rangefinder focusing defines rangefinder style.

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: My review of X-E3

You hit the nail on the head so I do not need to repeat my explanation of what I mean by "rangefinder styling" and that I have never intended to confuse anyone into thinking that I consider X-E3 a rangefinder camera.

Best

Jarek

FTOG wrote:

fullstop wrote:

You cheated and described my Panasonic GM5 ..........

I described what feels like half of the mirrorless market.

My point is, all camera designs are inherently inspired by what came before them.
For rangefinders, the mechanism required the viewfinder to be at either end of the camera. Since (right handed people are the majority and) one hand is permanently at the right side of the camera, the viewfinder was put on the left side of the camera.

While no longer technically related to rangefinder focusing, the X-E (and Sony alpha, and...) viewfinder placement is similar. I don't mind the term "rangefinder style" so long as it is clear, the camera is not a digital rangefinder camera such as digital Leica Ms or the Epson R-D1.

Imho, the confusion is more frequent with the X-Pro line, not X-E.
Too often (linguistically) people use rangefinder as a synonym although the hybrid viewfinder is no such thing.

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guzzi850m2 Regular Member • Posts: 318
Re: My review of X-E3

Don't understand somebody getting pxxxx of if calling a left positioned viewfinder a rangefinder styled camera, ha-ha.

I prefer the viewfinder on the left side of the camera as a left eye shooter, but that's me.

So if I like the XE3 when I can get my eager hands on one, I will likely buy one.

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