Fujifilm X-E2 Review
Controls and Customization
The X-E2 offers an iterative update of the control system previously used by the X-Pro1 and X-E1, with buttons on the back in all the same places, but their functions rearranged. Here we take a closer look at how this all works, and what's changed.
Anyone who thought that the X-M1 marked the beginning of the end for Fujifilm's 'traditional' control layout can breath easily again - the X-E2 continues to use analogue dials to change the major exposure parameters. Shutter speed and aperture dials are found on the camera's top plate, and most of Fujifilm's lenses have a physical aperture ring (which is unmarked on variable maximum aperture zooms). The 'XC' lenses don't have their own aperture rings; instead this is controlled using the electronic rear dial.
Separate AE-L and AF-L buttons
The X-E2 now has separate AE-L and AF-L buttons situated one above the other for control by your right thumb; they're different shapes and AE-L is slightly raised, making them distinguishable by touch alone. They behave much as you might expect; holding AE-L down locks the exposure, holding AF-L down locks focus. If you prefer them to operate as toggle (one press locks focus/exposure, another releases) then that can be configured in the menu (Shooting Menu 4: AE/AF Lock mode), with the setting affecting both together.
|The XE-2 has separate AF-L and AE-L buttons, rather than combining the two functions on one button.
If you don't like the separation of these functions, they can be recombined onto the AF-L button via a menu setting (Shooting Menu 4: AF Lock Mode). With the camera set to manual focus mode, the AF-L button can also be used to acquire AF, although with no explicit confirmation of correct focus in the viewfinder.
Four customizable buttons
The X-E1 originally had a single customizable Fn button beside the shutter release; the ability to use the 'down' key of the 4-way controller as another was added by a firmware update. The X-E2 expands on this by allowing customization of four of its buttons; as well as the top-plate Fn1 and Fn2 on the back, the AF and AE buttons can also be re-assigned in the menus (SET-UP 2: Function (Fn) Setting). By default Fn1 is set to ISO, and Fn 2 to white balance; the full list of available functions is as follows:
X-E2 function button options
| • Advanced Filter**
• Multiple Exposure**
• Preview Depth of Field***
• Image Size*
• Image Quality*
• Dynamic Range*
• Film Simulation*
| • White balance*
• Photometry (i.e. metering, AE)
• AF mode*
• Focus area
• Select Custom Setting*
• Aperture setting (for XC lenses)
• Wireless Communication
|*also accessible from Q menu
**also accessible from Drive button
***camera automatically stops up/down for DOF preview when shutter is half-pressed
Here we've highlighted functions which are already easily accessible via either the Drive button or the Q menu, and it quickly becomes apparent that this level of customization is almost superfluous, simply because the camera is already so well set up. But it does mean is that if you prefer having AF point selection where it used to be, you can simply assign it to Fn 2 and use the AF button for something else.
The Fn1 and Fn2 buttons can both be re-assigned quickly by holding them down for a couple of seconds, which brings up their respective function selection menus. It's worth noting that setting a Fn button to 'Movie' does not turn it into a 'Red button' that initiates recording. Instead it switches the camera to movie mode - recording is still started and stopped using the main shutter button.
The X-E2's drive mode menu has been rearranged; from here you can now access such things as Multiple Exposure and the 'Advanced Filter' processing options. If you shoot Raw the various JPEG-only bracketing options are hidden (ISO, Film Simulation and DR bracketing), but curiously the Advanced Filters are visible, and turn Raw recording off without warning.
|Still Image||n/a||Single shot mode|
|Continuous||High, Low||7 fps, 3 fps|
|AE BKT||+/-1, +/- 2/3, +/- 1/3|
|ISO BKT||+/-1, +/- 2/3, +/- 1/3||Only available when shooting JPEG|
|BKT||• Film simulation bracket
• DR bracket
|Only available when shooting JPEG|
|Advanced||• Motion Panorama
• Multiple Exposure
|- 2 angles (M, L), 4 directions
- Double exposure
|Advanced filter||Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, High-Key, Low-Key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus, Partial Color||Partial Color has six options: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple.
Disables RAW recording.
|Movie||n/a||Still images can't be recorded|
A few more points are worth noting here. The X-E2's exposure bracketing options are still limited to a maximum of +/-1 EV, which isn't great if you like to use wide-range bracketing for High Dynamic Range shooting. The 3fps Continuous Low mode will show live view between frames, and attempt to refocus on moving subjects, but only if the camera is set to continuous focus mode (otherwise it just replays recently-taken shots, like the high speed mode). In Movie mode, recording is activated using the shutter release button, so you can't shoot stills at the same time.
Customizable Auto ISO
The X-E2 allows you to customise your Auto ISO parameters with minimum and maximum ISO limits and, crucially, a minimum shutter speed - something that X-Pro1 and X-E1 owners have been asking for since launch. Auto ISO is selectable from the main ISO menu (which by default is accessed from the top-plate Fn1 button), and when it's highlighted a press of the right key enters the customization menu. The camera offers the following options:
X-E2 Auto ISO options
|Default ISO (i.e. minimum)||200 - 6400 (1/3 stop increments)|
|Maximum ISO||400 - 6400 (1 stop increments)|
|Minimum shutter speed||1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/40, 1/60, 1/80, 1/100, 1/125,1,160, 1/200, 1/250, 1/320, 1/400, 1/500 sec|
One point worth noting here is that the X-E2 doesn't just allow you to select a minimum shutter speed - it forces you to select a single fixed speed, and unlike Nikon's recent SLRs, there's no 'Auto' option that takes the lens's focal length into account. This means that if you're shooting with a zoom like the excellent XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, or continually switching between primes, you have a choose a shutter speed which is appropriate for the longest focal length you're using. This in turn can mean the camera chooses ISOs higher than strictly necessary at shorter focal lengths. The fastest minimum speed of 1/500 sec is also a little slow to freeze action when using a log telephoto.
We're not going to complain too much though; we found Auto ISO previously always selected too-slow shutter speeds that risked image blur from camera shake, so this is definitely an improvement. But it could be better...
Although the X-E2 does allow the use of Auto ISO while in manual exposure mode, the exposure compensation dial is disabled, so you can't specify the image brightness you want.
The 3:2 aspect ratio of the X-E2's LCD means that its live view display have altered subtly. The main exposure parameters are now overlaid on a strip at the bottom of the image, and focus distance/depth of field scale has been made radically less obtrusive (it's now just a thin strip rather than a thick blue bar). But this also means it's less immediately-visible while shooting.
|This is the X-E2's live view display in detailed view. It's revised compared to the X-E1 - note the expanded exposure compensation scale, overlaid strip showing shutter speed, aperture and ISO, and much-slimmer distance / depth of field scale.|
|Half-press the shutter and the camera autofocuses - the AF area lights up green to confirm correct focus, and a green dot also appears lower left.
The camera also stops down the aperture to preview depth of field, and shows the focus distance and calculated depth of field on the scale (here just about visible at the 0.5m mark).
|As with the X-E1 the AF point can be moved around a 7x7 grid that covers almost the the entire frame. It's also possible to select from 5 AF area sizes from small to large, by spinning the rear dial (the one shown here is the default medium size).|
Aug 9, 2016
Mar 1, 2017
Jun 14, 2016
May 25, 2016
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.