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Fujifilm X-E1 High-End EVF Interchangeable-Lens Digital Camera First Look

Fujifilm X-E1 High-End EVF Interchangeable-Lens Digital Camera First Look

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Like the X-Pro 1, only no optical finder, and nearly $1,000 less expensive

September 6, 2012

As a follow-up to its premium-priced and highly-rated X-Pro 1, Fujifilm today announced the X-E1, an interchangeable-lens EVF camera that shares the same sensor, but is priced $700 less.

 

Fujifilm X-E1 camera

 

The new Fujifilm X-E1, which was introduced today in Black and Silver bodies, and is available for pre-order both with and without lenses in several configurations at Adorama, is the first interchangeable-lens Fujifilm “X” camera body priced under $1,000, and is designed to appeal to photojournalists, street photographers, and others who want a fast, unobtrusive camera. In fact, by replacing the X-Pro 1’s unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder with a super-high-resolution EVF-only eye-level finder, Fujifilm managed to trim the camera’s price, as well as its weight and size (by 30%), widening its potential user base.

 

Fujifilm X-E1 camera

 

Based on information provided by Fujifilm, we present an Adorama Learning Center exclusive first look at this intriguing new camera.

Fujifilm X-E1 Key Features:

  • 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor
  • Magnesium Alloy body
  • Manual ring, Aperture and Shutter Speed Dials
  • 2.36 million dot resolution OLED EVF viewfinder
  • Compatible with XF Lenses
  • Built-In Flash
  • Claimed 0.1-second autofocus acquisition with f/2.8 zoom lens
  • External Mic Jack

 

Fujifilm X-E1 camera

 

Fujifilm X-E1 offers the same 16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor found on the X-Pro 1—a sensor that wowed us in field tests in both low and high speeds. Fuji says the sensor’s highly random array of pixels—said to emulate the array of silver halide grains in film, and explained in the above graphic—reduces moiré patterns and false colors, and eliminating the need for an optical low pass filter. The results in the X-Pro 1 were indeed spectacular, and everything else being equal, one can assume similar results from the X-E1.

The camera’s ISO range is 100-25,600, and Fujifilm claims noise is greatly reduced compared to other sensors with more standard pixel arrays. Again, based on the results we got from the X-Pro 1 in this exclusive Adorama Learning Center product review, this is likely to be true.

One advantage the
Fujifilm X-E1 may have over the X-Pro 1 may be responsiveness. The X-Pro 1’s responsiveness was sluggish until a firmware update, but Fujifilm claims the X-E2 will acquire focus in as little as 0.1 seconds, with shutter lag of only 0.05 seconds—virtually eliminated. Power on is said to be half a second, and the camera can shoot as fast as 6 frames per second in burst mode.

 

Fujifilm X-E1 camera

 

For traditionalists who desire familiar controls, a manual aperture ring can be found on the latest lenses designed for the camera’s X-mount while shutter speed is controlled via a top plate dial, both very familiar control designs. However, the same traditionalists might balk at the idea of using an electronic viewfinder. Fujifilm has apparently gone to great lengths to ease that transition, offering a 2.36 million-dot resolution finder with a high contrast ratio of over 1:5000 and a claimed rich gradation; the field of view is 25 percent, larger than a typical eye-level finder, and the eye-point is 23mm, both pro-level specs. Fujifilm says the viewfinder display is comparable to that of an optical viewfinder, a claim we are eager to test in the field.

Other features include: a small built-in flash with a guide number of 7 meters at ISO 200; film simulation modes that emulate the looks of classic Fuji films Provia, Velvia, Astia and color negative films; multiple exposure in camera; Monochrome capture that emulates the effects of green, yellow, or red filters; and the ability to apply film effects to HD videos.

 

Fujifilm X-E1 camera and lenses

 

Two New Lenses

In addition to the X-E1, Fujifilm introduced two new lenses today, expanding the total number of lenses available to five: the system’s first zoom, a Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS lens, which has a 4-step optical image stabilizer, three aspherical and one ED glass elements, and takes 58mm filters; it will be available at the
Adorama price of $699.95; and a new Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens (21mm 35mm equivalent), which features 10 elements in 7 groups including 2 aspherical and 3 abnormal dispersion glass elements, close focus to around 2 inches and accommodation for 58mm filters. It will be available at Adorama for $899.95. The new lenses join the Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4, 18mm f/2.0, and 60mm f/2.4 models, all of which are available now at Adorama.

Comparison with the X-Pro 1

Although the
Fujifilm X-E1 lacks the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder found on the X-Pro 1 and its LCD monitor is a smaller, lower-resolution 2.8-inch, 460k dot screen, it offers several features that the X-Pro 1 lacks. In addition to the pop-up flash, the X-E1 offers an external microphone jack and electric remote release. HD movie capture—1080p at 24 fps—remains the same, as does the 6fps burst rate. The X-E 1 lacks a shutter speed dial lock and an X-sync terminal, and its front and top panels are magnesium construction while the X-Pro 1’s entire body is magnesium. The X-E1 weighs 350 grams, 100 grams less than the X-Pro 1, and measures 129x74.9x38.3mm, slightly smaller than the X-Pro 1’s 139.5x81.8x42.5mm.

Competition

The
Fujifilm X-E1, at first glance, seems similar in design to the Sony NEX-7, also available at Adorama, which is the X-E1’s main competition. Both cameras feature APS-sized sensors; both claim remarkable image quality at high speeds (this was verified in our Adorama Learning Center review of the Sony NEX-7); both have high-resolution eye-level EVF monitors, and a growing system of interchangeable lenses. But there are important differences. The Sony Sensor captures 20MP images vs. the Fujifilm’s 16. The Sony’s dual control dials are unmarked and functions can be assigned, while the Fujifilm’s top control dials are clearly marked with shutter speeds and exposure compensation settings, respectively. There is also a key price difference: The Sony NEX-7 body costs $1,198 at Adorama, while the Fujifilm X-E1 comes in at an Adorama price of $999, a considerable difference that could be a deal-breaker.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The
Fujifilm X-E1 looks like it will give the much-liked Sony NEX-7 some real competition. At under $1,000 for the body, this camera may pull in photographers who liked the X-Pro 1 but balked at the price and early pre-firmware update performance issues. While the jury is out on the X-E1’s responsiveness claims (we will do a field test as soon as we can get our hands on this camera), for budget conscious photographers eager to get a piece of the high image quality action and for pros who have already invested in the X-Pro 1 and want a back-up body, the X-E1 looks like a winner.

The Fujifilm X-E1 and the two new lenses will be available in November. Adorama is accepting pre-orders now for the Fujifilm X-E1 in the following configurations:


In addition, the two lenses will be available through
Adorama separately:


Please note that Adorama will fulfill pre-orders as the product arrives on a first-come-first served basis.  Credit cards will not be charged until the order ships.

 

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