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.
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.
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 -
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The Motion Panoramas are impressive too – Look at these! (I have not tried one with the very new firmware yet!)
The new page - http://chriswormald.wordpress.com/cornish-mining-some-thoughts-and-pictures/ was shot with the XE1.
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.
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.