Note that because of the similarities between the X-E1 and X-Pro 1 in many of its key systems and specifications, some of the material in this review is adapted from previously-published content on the X-Pro 1.
When Fujifilm launched the X system in January 2012, it did so with an unusually high-end body: the X-Pro1. With its unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, solid metal body and analogue dial-led control philosophy, it was clearly targeted at professionals and enthusiasts looking for an updated take on the classic rangefinder concept. The X-Pro1 was generally well-received, but its price was always likely to limit its appeal. Fujifilm's X-E1 aims to broaden the line's appeal to wider range of enthusiasts, and will compete directly with the likes of the Sony Alpha NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Fujifilm X-E1 key features
- 16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor
- ISO 200-6400, 100 - 25600 expanded (JPEG only)
- 2.36M dot OLED electronic viewfinder
- New kit zoom: 18-55mm F2.8-4R
- Same control layout as X-Pro1, including top-plate shutter speed and exposure compensation dials
- 2.8" 460k-dot LCD
- Built-in pop-up flash
- Full HD movie recording with built-in stereo microphone
- 2.5mm stereo microphone socket
- Compatibility with wired remote control units (via either the USB port or mic socket)
- Available in silver or black
The X-E1 is in essence a slimmed-down X-Pro1, with the large, complex and expensive hybrid finder replaced by a purely-electronic viewfinder. Not any old EVF though - it uses a 2.36M dot OLED unit, out-speccing the X-Pro1's 1.44M dot LCD finder. In return its rear screen is slightly downgraded in terms of both size and resolution, to a still-respectable 2.8" 460k dot LCD - according to Fujifilm this is necessary to keep the camera's size down. The result is a compact body that's broadly similar in size to both the much-loved FinePix X100, and its most obvious competitors like the E-M5 and NEX-7.
X-E1 - the more affordable X-Pro1
|The X-E1 joins a developing family of unique cameras that truly stand apart from the pack. The major omission from the X-E1 is the hybrid optical viewfinder found in the X100 and X-Pro 1. Left to right are the Fujifilm X100, X-E1 and X-Pro1.|
The X-E1 gets a few new features relative to the X-Pro1, commensurate with its class. There's a little built-in pop-up flash, a 2.5mm stereo microphone socket for movie recording, and the ability to use an electronic shutter release cable in addition to the signature threaded shutter release button. But otherwise it's nearly identical to the X-Pro1, using the same 16MP X-Trans CMOS APS-C sensor and EXR Pro image processor, and almost exactly the same control layout and interface.
Firmware tweaks - including improved focusing
It's not just new hardware that Fujifilm has been working on; it's made some significant tweaks under the hood that promise better performance. The good news for existing X-Pro1 owners is that they'll benefit equally from this, with the co-announced firmware version 2 offering all the same updates. File write times have been halved, and the camera can now enter playback to check focus and composition within about two seconds of shooting a single frame. Auto ISO now allows use of ISO 6400, but sadly there's still no way of influencing the minimum shutter speed. The most significant changes, though, have been made to focusing, both auto and manual.
The Fujifilm X-E1 uses a new autofocus algorithm and different sensor drive mode, which promises significantly-improved speed, especially with the XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro lens or when shooting in low light. Indeed Fujifilm claims the X-E1 and X-Pro1 now offer AF speeds competitive with benchmark cameras such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5. The 'feel' of the electronically-driven manual focus has been improved, and critically the camera now sets the aperture wide open in manual focus mode, finally allowing truly accurate focusing using the EVF. There's also a new 3x magnification mode to assist manual focus, which should be less prone to problems with shake when using long lenses.
Overall, this makes the X-E1 on paper a very strong competitor to other high-end EVF-equipped mirrorless models. Its traditional control layout means it should appeal strongly to stills photographers, although its movie capabilities still lag behind the competition (you can manually set the aperture, but have no control over the shutter speed the camera will use).
Size and design compared
|Here's the X-E1 compared for size against its most obvious rivals, the Sony Alpha NEX-7 on the left and Olympus OM-D E-M5 on the right, all fitted out with their respective kit zooms. All feature built-in EVFs and multiple control dials; the NEX-7 and E-M5 both have tilting rear screens. The E-M5 also has in-body image stabilization that works with all lenses, but on the other hand lacks a built-in flash.
The X-E1's 'kit' zoom offers the same 18-55mm (~28-80mm equivalent) range as the NEX-7's, but a rather faster aperture, which should be good for both low-light shooting and providing a degree of background blur for portraits. The E-M5's 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 kit zoom offers a wider range, a choice of manual zoom or power zoom for video, and a useful macro setting, but at the expense of maximum aperture.
|This is the X-E1 with its 18-55mm kit zoom, alongside its big brother the X-Pro1 equipped with the lovely XF 35mm F1.4 R lens. The X-E1 is substantially smaller due to the elimination of the optical viewfinder, but the two cameras' overall family resemblance is striking.|
|Forever Stalled by Domenick Creaco|
from The End of the Road
|Lost, But Not Forever by Domenick Creaco|
from Lost and found
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.
Manfrotto has introduced a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree lineup. Called the Befree 2N1, this new addition is both a tripod and monopod in one and is available with both of Manfrotto's locking mechanisms.
This new high dynamic range editing software comes with an AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine for improved photo merging.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of its iPhone X in the form of three variants: the 5.8" iPhone XS and 6.5" iPhone XS Max with OLED screens, and the 6.1" iPhone XR with an LCD and single rear camera.
Ahead of the launch of the CamRanger II the company has announced a mini version of its wireless remote control system that it says has a longer range than the original in a body half the size.
Lens manufacturer Sigma has announced a trio of fast cinema lenses for full-frame camera systems, that it says will also be available in the future in the LPL mount for Arri’s large format camera system.
LumaPod is a a new tripod being funded on Kickstarter that takes just four seconds to set up and uses patented tension technology to keep your shots steady in a compact design.
X-Rite ColorChecker Video XL is an oversized color target for wide-angle, long distance, and aerial shooting.
ExperimentalOptics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second lens design, a 35mm F2.7 lens it claims is the world's 'smallest fastest pancake lens.'
The new XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR are aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, and add considerable versatility to Fujifilm's growing XF lens lineup. We've been taking a look.
The Getty family is working to regain control of stock photo agency Getty Images, according to multiple reports published late last week.
The Phoneslinger line, a modular bag system for mobile photographers, has been launched on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.
CamRanger has announced the impending arrival of its CamRanger 2 wireless tethering and trigger system, complete with redesigned apps, updated wireless features, and support for select Sony and Fujifilm systems.
As well as high-resolution stills, the new Nikon Z7 also shoots 4K video and 120p HD video. We recently spent two days with director Chris Hershman, shooting a music video on the Z7 for pop artist Emily Blue.
London’s National Portrait Gallery has released the shortlist for its annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, ahead of the winner being announced in October.