Chris Wormald – A Photographer's travel blog.

Fuji XE1 – one year on.

It’s over a year since I bought the Fuji XE1. I sold the X100 after reading the specs of the upcoming XE1;  it was something of a gamble which involved also selling my complete GF1 micro-four-thirds outfit including two lenses (the 20mm and the 45mm) which I rated 5 star.  Read the four-thirds pages below for the story of a 3+ year affair with the GF1 and a 2 year infatuation with the X100. Keep reading this page to find out about my sweet little XE1.

http://chriswormald.wordpress.com/fuji-x100/

http://chriswormald.wordpress.com/panasonic-gf1/

There have been some atmospheric mornings for rowers on the River Cam.

There have been some atmospheric winter mornings for rowers on the River Cam, UK.

The XE1 does not have the optical viewfinder of the X PRO1 , so I had to be sure that the EVF was something I would get used to. It does mean however that the focal length (angle of view) of the lens is viewable without squinting at a screen on the rear of the camera, which was something I found annoying on the GF1, to the extent that I bought optical viewfinders for the 20mm and 14mm primes which proved satisfactory for everything but close subjects, where parallax error makes them useless.

Almost monochrome!

Almost monochrome!

I plagued a camera shop for a few days, playing with the XE1 and forming the opinion that I can live with the ELF and that it would complement the 18 to 55mm mid-range zoom that came with the camera. This has proved true, I can live with it, with the proviso of having to stick a sliver of black insulation tape over the tiny wheel that works the dioptre correction of the ELF which has proved all too easy to move by accident when stowing and un-stowing the camera in its Crumpler bag. Reading about the new generation of mirrorless cameras, it seems that the manufactures have listened to photographers and at last the EVF has come into its own and the bulk and weight of a full frame SLR is not as important an issue as it once was. My first professional camera was a 5×4 MPP, 3 lenses and 20 double dark slides, a heavy tripod and a case the size of a small suitcase – how things have changed!

Using the XE1 -

Some very cold starts to the day.

Some very cold starts to the day.

Like the X pro1, the lack of anti-aliasing filters  gives outstanding definition and files with practically no noise, even at high ISOs. 1600 and 3200iso!  I could never have done this using the Leica M8 that I took to India a few years ago. I sold the M8 after that trip, very disappointed with the noise in RAW files even rated at 640iso. Ratings any higer were unbelievably noisy!

A magic carpet, newly laid for me!

A magic carpet, newly laid for me, Gorges de la Rouvre, Normandy. – Nov 2013

The textures found in the Botanic Gardens are wonderful.

The textures found in the Botanic Gardens are wonderful.

Cambridge Market at night.

Cambridge Market at night.

I am used to being able to rate the ISO high on the Canon 5D2.  My recent X100 also allowed quite high ratings, but the XE1 is fantastic in this respect, almost equal to the 5D2 in a small light camera barely any bigger than the X100.

Potter's hands.

Potter’s hands.

My usual technique has proved fine with the XE1 – I always shoot RAW files mostly in aperture priority automatic, using the very accessible exposure compensation dial on the top right of the camera (the setting of which is displayed in the viewfinder). I have kept the function button Fn set to ISO, to allow easy access to ISO settings, when the shutter speed is too slow for hand-holding, or  when small apertures are required for DoF.

Like its little sister the X100, The XE1 is fairly hard on batteries. I had 3 for the X100 and now I have a spare one for the XE1. All too soon the battery indicator indicates it is no longer full – and by the time it changes to red, it is too late and the camera turns itself off.

Ferocactus, Botanic Gardens, Cambridge, UK

Ferocactus, Botanic Gardens, Cambridge, UK

I have small hands, being a small person! I’m glad they are not bigger as it is very easy to press buttons by mistake. If you have “great plates of meat” instead of hands, maybe you will find the XE1 a bit fiddly! The “Q” button is especially easy to press by mistake – however if you do, a touch on the shutter button turns the quick menu off. Having said that, the quick menu is great for accessing functions such as the self timer without having to  use the main menu. Settings are achieved with the little wheel on the back-plate to the right of the view mode button.

Some of the above images were shot in Cambridge between December 2012 and early February 2013, when I was working as a temporary full time volunteer for a charity for the homeless. We had a very wet spell – and a cold spell with real snow!

The more recent images have been taken after my  return to Normandy then to Cornwall and Normandy again – I can hardly believe it is March 2014 – time seems to have flown by.

Even a Local Vide Grenier can offer photo opportunities.

Normandy,  a Vide Grenier can offer photo opportunities.

Please enjoy – and feel free to make comments on any of the pages on this photo-blog. I answer genuine questions, but always delete spam.

My page – “Heritage Days” – was shot exclusively with the XE1 in September 2013.

http://chriswormald.wordpress.com/heritage-days/

A Gentile Picnic Lunch for the artists.

A Genteel Picnic Lunch for the artists.

The XE1 has even proved useful in the makeshift “studio” in the cellar of a friend’s house in Normandy. The long end of the 18-55mm zoom is fine for medium macro shots – the 60mm macro lens will be better!

Her duty done.

Her duty done.

Return - return.

Return – return.

 

Rosemary and fennel, low key.

Rosemary and fennel, low key.

Lovely lugger detail.

Lovely lugger detail, St Ives, Cornwall.

My new series "Red Cabbage Songs" is being shot on the XE1

My series “Red Cabbage Songs” is shot on the XE1

On the  X100 page of this blog,  I said that would keep the little dear!  OK I was wrong. Now I am saying the same about the XE1 – especially if I get rich enough to buy the 60mm macro and the 14mm wide angle – and now the ultra wide zoom and the fast 53mm are an even better prospect. Help – I need some money!

Beauty and fragility amongst the strong.

Beauty and fragility amongst the strong on a hot July morning at St Aubert.

The continuing weight and wait of winter, St. Aubert in March.

The continuing weight and wait of winter, St. Aubert, Normandy in March.

Both “One Cambridge Winter” pages were photographed exclusively with the FUJI XE1 –  as was the “Cornish Mining thoughts and pictures” page from May 2013.  In fact the XE1 is out of the case as often as the Canon 5d2.

There have been substantial firmware updates recently (version 2.2 for the body & 3.11 for the 18-55mm) which has improved the AF, and restored the level indicator (which had disappeared mysteriously after a previous update). My thanks and congratulations to Fuji for its continued support and upgrades to the XE1.

Cape Goosebury Lanters on ancient wood. Newest body/lens  firmware - rated 1600iso.

Cape Goosebury Lanters on ancient wood.
Newest body/lens firmware – rated 1600iso.

The Motion Panoramas are impressive too – Look at these! (I have not tried one with the very new firmware yet!)

Morning light on the Mount, seen from the beach at Marazion.

Morning light on the Mount, seen from the beach at Marazion, Cornwall.

Motion panorama of West Looe from East Looe.

Motion panorama of West Looe from East Looe, Cornwall.

Motion panorama of the Royal York Quay.

Motion panorama of the Royal William quayside in Plymouth, UK.

Motion panorama of pretty Polperro.

Motion panorama of pretty Polperro, Cornwall, UK.

Evening tide - quiet day, Bosham, UK

Evening tide – quiet day, Bosham, UK

And after the longest of winters there will be warmth again.

And after the longest of winters there is warmth again in St. Aubert.

The new pagehttp://chriswormald.wordpress.com/cornish-mining-some-thoughts-and-pictures/  was shot with the XE1.

Asian Lilly - low key

Low key Asian Lilly,  July at St Aubert.

Almospheric engine houses at Wheal Grenville and Fortescue Mine.

Whoopee the sun's out - let's dance!

Whoopee the sun’s out – let’s dance!

The Godolphin Estate has Tudor stables and some wonderful heritage carts.

The Godolphin Estate, near Helston, has Tudor stables and some wonderful heritage carts.

All RAW files processed in Lightroom 4.4 edited in P.S. CS4. As an aside the update (4.3) to Lightroom took quite a while to install – I downloaded it 4 times thinking I had a corrupt copy but it still would not extract. Eventually a friend downloaded it on his Macbook Pro – I copied it to my USB stick and extracted it and installed it from there. What a performance. 

Pause to enjoy the colours of autumn before the winter whiteness.

Pause to enjoy the colours of autumn before the winter whiteness.

Lightroom 4.4 installed without the fuss of 4.3. It is supposed to give better rawfile conversions from Fuji X (RAF) files,  I believe it does, but it still takes quite a time after a CTRL/E command to open the file as a 16 bitTIFF in PS CS4.  Bigger RAW files from my Canon 5d mk2 open in a much shorter time.

To my chagrin Lightroom 5 will not run on Vista, I bought the update but cannot install it until I buy a Windows 7 laptop. Adobe are deliberately setting out to annoy professional photographers such as myself; their long-term clients, who have no intention of renting their software, but have always tried hard to update when funds allow.

Mother of Thousands, Botanic Gardens, Cambridge, UK

Mother of Hundreds, Botanic Gardens, Cambridge, UK

8 Comments »

  1. Hi Chris, great images, good review, i was looking for a few reviews on the XE1 as i am on the brink of buying one, obviously looked at other models and specs, but i believe it,s the fuji for me, thanks for the review. Steve

    Comment by steve — May 4, 2013 @ 10:45 am

  2. Outstanding images, simply wonderful views of my favourite places..
    I’m sat on the fence wondering when I should replace my GF1 .. maybe I should just go for it and by an XE-1

    Comment by Guy Walsh — July 17, 2013 @ 10:08 am

  3. Very nice Chris …..on balance I think for me the XE1 is better than the Xpro1 as I want a small option to my K5. I have the X100 bought recently so i have an OVF when I need one …. and i love the size of the XE1 and these images … wonderful Tom

    Comment by Tom Bell — September 5, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

  4. Great review, Chris. I just purchased the Xe1 and am still getting used to it. Do you always shoot in raw on it? I’ve only shot jpg so far as I heard the file quality was so hot sooc.

    Comment by Joe — October 1, 2013 @ 3:44 am

    • Hello Joe, Thanks for your comment. I definitely recommend shooting RAW files and processing the files in Lightroom 4.4 or later. The files quality is fantastic – still in love with my little XE!

      Comment by chriswormald — October 1, 2013 @ 8:16 am

  5. these are exquisite images. did you take them with the 18-55? i, too, am a x100 guy. looking for more reach. the xe1 kit is a killer deal; basically a hundred bucks for the xe1 body. do you see any reason to go for the xe2? i do not need the camera for action as i use a canon 40 for those occasions. thanks.

    Comment by bill simpson — March 17, 2014 @ 7:54 pm

    • Hello Bill, Thanks for your comments. Yes – the only lens I have is the 18-55. Like you I shoot on a Canon for shots the XE1 would not do as well.
      I am sticking with Fuji and will buy the wide zoom and 60mm macro when I can afford it. The XT1 also sounds a lovely piece of kit. Kind regards, Chris

      Comment by chriswormald — March 18, 2014 @ 9:40 am


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