Striving for light weight and high quality camera bodies and optics
For a great many years having worked in the photography industry for several companies, mainly 33 years with Nikon. Nikon makes terrific products and they served me well for a long time. But time had taken its toll and I just could not deal with heavy gear like the wonderful Nikon zoom lenses and pro bodies.
I needed to find something that would work for me that provided quality optics and cameras which would provide me with Dslr build and great optics in a lighter weight, less bulky package. My search led me to the retro designed Fujicolor X100 fixed lens camera is incredible and has now been replaced by the X100s. Then the Fujicolor X pro 1 with interchangeable lenses made its debut. Wow. Built like a tank but lightweight. I added it to the collection. I thought it could not get any better and then the Fujicolor Xe-1 appeared. It is well built like the X pro 1 but smaller and lighter and now Fujicolor has replaced it with the Xe-2. While these cameras are small and light the controls and the handling is exceptional. I have large hands and the cameras and lenses are very comfortable to handle. The most important thing is that I am having a blast doing my photography again.
My take on the system
Just to be up front this is not a technical review. This is a user slant on why this camera and lens system is way ahead of the smaller, lighter mirrorless systems. There are countless numbers of review sites that really enjoy nitpicking the details as well as forums that you should do your best to avoid. I love street photography and the challenges it presents. Fuji advertising like all the other camera companies makes all kinds of claims about their products. One of the Fujicolor claims is that it is the fastest autofocus system around. I have worked with the Fujicolor autofocus and while I am not sure if it is the fastest AF system, I know for sure that it works for me when I am on the streets capturing the movements of life. People walking, transport moving, kids playing, life.
The Xe cameras are really small compared to Dslr Bodies so they could take a short period of time getting used to. There have been days when I had the Xe camera and a lens hanging from my shoulder and had to check, in a panic if it was still there.
Just The Facts
- Image Quality. The Xtrans sensor that Fujicolor uses is one of the best I have ever shot with and the Jpeg files that it produces are virtually perfect right out of the camera. The latitude on the raw files is beyond anything I have worked on. It took a while for raw processors to accept the fact that the Fujicolor sensor was here to stay, but now the most popular raw processors have developed to the point of doing a good job on Fujicolor raw files. That would be Capture one, Lightroom, Aperture, and one of my favorites, but only for Mac, Irident Raw Developer.
- The ability of this system to capture detail in shadows and highlights is easily equal to the best Dslr cameras I have used and I am talking an Aps sensor compared to a full frame sensor.
- Manual Focus is done through focus peaking is okay but far from perfect. You get a high contrast outline when you manually focus other brand lenses. You can also magnify the image, which helps a lot. The Xe2 has a new and much improved manual focusing capability.
- The viewfinder refresh rate is acceptable but not perfect, but I have not had any problem following through on moving subjects. But the Xe2 is much faster.
- The Xe2 has a new sensor modulation feature that guarantees even better edge-to-edge imaging. There was of course nothing really wrong with the Xe1 edge to edge. But a feature is a feature.
- Fuji since the inception of the product has continued to do firmware upgrades to existing X100, X pro 1, and Xe1 models giving them improved performance such as better and better autofocus.
- The Xe1 uses a new phase detection as well as contrast focus for a more improved system.
How much faster are the new AF systems in the Xe2 and 100s?
From what I have experienced I can only say I do not know.
For me the focus in the past cameras is fast enough. I have not really had any issues
Having worked with and still work with an X Pro 1 and Xe1, I can say that the XE2 is an improvement over that models as far as quicker AF is concerned, but not that much. With the new firmware updates for the XPro1 / XE1 I found very little difference. When I played the XE2 side by side with the XPro1 and Xe1, felt slightly quicker, but the searching seemed to be the same.
The XE2 being the newest and greatest only has marginal improvements over the Xe1. It is faster.
Where does that leave you when it comes to choices?
The Fujicolor X system is more than capable of replacing the big Dslr cameras and lenses for some people but not for the photographer who requires 10 frames a second, and optical viewfinder to do their work. It could well serve as a secondary system for those times that it is not practical to carry all that heavy gear around which for me is all the time.
For someone looking for a high quality, lightweight, perfect image producer, this is the first place to look. Fuji will not disappoint anyone who is looking for exceptional image quality and fun.