In Use...

Do you want a camera that people around you are going to ask about and maybe even want to hold/try? Because that tends to happen when shooting with the X-E3. The classic styling, coupled with a responsive touchscreen and high-resolution electronic viewfinder seems to be a winning combo, at least among curious pals at the pub.

Social

Even in low light, the X-E3 can generally acquire focus in Single Autofocus. Out of camera JPEG shot in the Veliva/Vivid Film Simulation.
ISO 5,000 | 1/125 sec | F2 | 23mm

But how does the X-E3 handle being used in social situation, not just shown off? In short, quite well. The camera is easy to bring along because it is reasonably small and light, especially with a prime like the kitted 23mm F2 attached. And it produces some of the nicest-looking JPEGs in the game with 15 different 'film simulation' to chose from. Low power Bluetooth allows the X-E3 to maintain a constant connection to one's smartphone or device. Once the camera is turned off it will instantly transfer all images shot via built-in Wi-Fi. Alternatively you can manually transfer images one at a time.

In general we found the X-E3 makes intelligent decisions in its fully automatic mode.

The camera has Face Detect, but it is not very reliable - we recommend leaving it off. If you'd like to track faces, the camera's 'Tracking' AF mode - available when using continuous AF (AF-C) - is much more reliable, at least in good light. In low light, we recommend sticking to good old fashion single AF (AF-S) and using either a single point or a zone (array of points) placed over your subject. The joystick and/or touchscreen makes doing this very easy.

Fujifilm has been including an 'Auto' mode switch on a lot of their entry and mid level cameras, which we think is a great way to draw in beginners to the system who might otherwise be intimidated by all the buttons and dials. In general we found the X-E3 makes intelligent decisions in its fully automatic mode. A flip of the 'Auto' switch and cameras picks the appropriate AF and exposure settings from one of 52 presets. Users can still control Exposure Compensation in this mode, but the camera does the rest.

Travel

The X-E3 is a light camera, especially with a prime like the 23mm F2 attached, and battery life is decent, making this a solid choice for travel. Edited to taste in Adobe Camera Raw.
ISO 200 | 1/180 sec | F5.6 | 23mm

Fujifilm slimmed the X-E3 down over its predecessor. This was done by removing the pop-up flash and swapping the four-way controller for a joystick. Even before going on a diet and gaining a touchscreen, the X-E2S was a camera that felt great to carry and shoot with. And now the X-E3 handles even better.

In lieu of a pop-up flash the cameras ships with an accessory flash that has a guide number of 11 at ISO 200 - not super powerful but still useful. Sadly, this flash can only be pointed directly at one's subject, with no ability to tilt, swivel or bounce.

In addition to good ergonomics, we think the X-E3 is a tempting camera for travel as lenses for the system are generally small, battery life is decent and the camera is light enough (with most lenses) for the average user to comfortably carry around all day. Plus, it has USB charging ( a charger still ships in the box). On the down side, there is no weather sealing, which is to be expected at this price.

Action

The X-E3 uses the same AF system as the X-T2, the brand's flagship sports camera and can shoot at up to 8 fps while maintaining focus. If you are looking to simply hold a point or zone (array of points) over a moving subject and keep them in focus, the X-E3 can do so with a good, but not perfect hit rate. The buffer kicks in at around the 25th Raw file in an 8 fps burst (depending on card speed) and the 60th JPEG. The camera also has a 'Tracking' AF mode, but using it can be very hit or miss when it comes to fast moving subjects.

The AF joystick allows one to easily place an AF box within the Phase Detect region of the sensor, which covers 50% of the frame horizontally and 75% vertically. You can also use the touchscreen to do this. For best results, keep your AF points or area within this region.

Landscape

Out of camera JPEG shot using the Astia/Soft Film Simulation. ISO 6400 | 1/180 sec | F2 | 23mm

For dedicated landscape shooter, the 24MP APS-C chip used in the X-E3 may not be enough resolution. Still, Raw files have good dynamic range, allowing users to brighten shots taken at lower ISOs in post, with little noise penalty, while retaining highlights. And when shooting JPEGs, the camera has Dynamic range modes that essentially do the same thing for you automatically. Speaking of which, for the more casual landscape shooter, the camera's outstanding JPEG color make it an appealing choice. And the mode dial includes a bulb mode, useful for astrophotography and there is a panorama mode as well.

Unlike some of its peers from other brands, there is no sensor stabilization in the X-E3, though many Fujifilm lenses offer IS. If you are looking to tripod mount that camera, it's worth noting that the socket is off-center from the lens, and one can not access the battery/card door while mounted.

Video

The X-E3 has the ability to shoot 4K video at up to 30p and Full HD video at up to 60p, but its fixed screen and lack of a headphone jack mean there are cameras better-suited for video capture. Still, 4K video quality is competitive, as is the Full HD video quality. Most casual users will be pleased with what the quality they get.

The touchscreen is useful for selecting a point of focus during video capture and the camera does a surprisingly good job avoiding hunting when using AF-C in video mode. Face Detect can be used, with decent results when shooting Full HD, but is not available in 4K. Plus it has a built-in 2.5mm mic jack.