The Fujifilm X-E1 is the second mirrorless camera from Fujifilm after the Fujifilm X-Pro1 was launched earlier this year. The X-E1 is a more compact model, with an electronic viewfinder instead of the optical/electronic hybrid in the X-Pro1, and sees the introduction of a new 18-55mm lens with optical image stabilisation. The Fujifilm X-E1 is introduced at a lower price than the X-Pro1, but is around £1100 with lens, so is still priced in the Premium mirrorless market. Find out how it performs in our review.
Fujifilm X-E1 Features
The Fujifilm X-E1 uses the same 16 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor as the X-Pro1 - this uses a new arrangement of the colour filter array that is designed to remove colour moire and false colour as well as improve noise performance. Fujifilm has also been able to remove the low-pass filter, which should mean increased resolution and detail is reaching the sensor. A diagram from Fujifilm can be seen below, showing the colour arrangement of the typical Bayer sensor, and the new Fujifilm X-Trans sensor designed to mimic a more random colour arrangement:
The Fujifilm X-E1 is now available with a premium kit lens with a brighter than normal f/2.8 aperture at the wide end, and f/4 at the telephoto end. Optical image stabilisation is built into the 18-55mm lens, which is the equivalent of 27-83mm in 35mm terms. The camera also provides a small pop-up flash built into the cameras body.
16 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
Fuji X Lens Mount
6fps continuous shooting
2.8inch screen, 460,000 dots
Full HD Video, Stereo Sound, Mic input, Mic level adjust
ISO100 - 25600
2.36 million dot OLED EVF
Manual shutter speed dial
In camera panoramic
In camera RAW conversion
Available in full black and 2-tone black and silver
Fujifilm X-E1 Handling
Handling - With a manual aperture ring on the lens and manual shutter speed ring on top of the camera, the camera feels very easy to use for anybody coming from a traditional SLR or camera. For those who are used to automatic settings these can both be set to A. An exposure compensation dial is easy to use although it's quite easy to accidentally turn it when handling the camera. With a textured covering surrounding the camera and a rubberised front hand grip the camera is easy to hold firmly and the solid metal body is reassuring in use, although the camera is larger than most mirrorless cameras. Little has changed between the X-Pro1 and X-E1 with the addition of a pop up flash, and a high resolution electronic viewfinder with eye-detection.
Menus – The menu system has the photo and setup options neatly separated over a number of screens, with each section colour coded. There is an additional control panel accessible using the Q button on the back in combination with the 4-way controller and scroll wheel. This makes it easy and quick to set options. The Fn button can also be customised to give access to your favourite setting.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 350 shots according to Fujifilm / CIPA test results, an improvement over the X-Pro1, and we were able to take 380 shots before the battery went flat.
Lens extended to 55mm
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
Shutter response is excellent, and focus speeds are greatly improved with the 18-55mm OIS kit lens compared to the prime lenses when we were testing the X-Pro1 originally, although since then there has been a firmware update designed to improve focus speeds, and with the 35mm f/1.4 lens it focused and took the photo in 0.3 seconds. Shooting RAW it takes roughly 25 seconds to clear the buffer after 11 shots. *Quick start switched on.
Fujifilm X-E1 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Fujifilm X-E1 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - The camera produces images with excellent colour and reliable exposure. Detail is good, although images taken with the 18-55mm OIS lens aren't as bitingly sharp as results from the XF prime lenses, although sharpness can be improved by adjusting the settings in the camera or sharpening in an image editing package.
Fujifilm X-E1 Lens test images
Lens Performance - The 18-55mm lens performs well with detail into the corners whether shooting wide or telephoto. There was little to no noticeable vignetting, and purple fringing was very low. The lens shows noticeable barrel distortion at the wide end, and pincushion distortion at the telephoto end is quite low. Macro performance of the 18-55mm lens is not great as it doesn't allow you to get very close to the subject, as shown above, for better macro photos you would need the dedicated macro lens.
Fujifilm X-E1 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - The camera produces images that have very low noise, right up to ISO1600 and ISO3200. It's at ISO3200 that you can see a slight loss in detail and sharpness, and at ISO6400 there is a slight increase in noise. Above this images show more noise with ISO12800 and ISO25600 showing white dots. The standard ISO range is ISO200 to ISO6400, and to shoot outside this range you need to switch to JPEG only, so that you can choose ISO100, 12800 or 25600.
Fujifilm X-E1 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs reasonably well under incandescent lighting with the incandescent preset giving a slightly less warm result. Auto white balance performs very well under fluorescent lighting, with the presets appearing unneeded in our shots.
Panoramic Normal | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
Panorama mode - Panoramic mode lets you choose from norrmal or wide. You simply press and hold the button down while panning the camera, and it will automatically stitch the images together. The camera does a very good job of stitching the image together and detail is good.
Panoramic Wide | 1/280 sec | f/10.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
Fujifilm X-E1 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The camera features a number of film simulations including Standard (Provia), Velvia / Vivid, Astia / Soft, PRO Neg. Std, PRO Neg.Hi, Monochrome, Mono plus Yellow filter, Mono plus Red filter, Mono plus Green filter and Sepia. Dynamic range can be extended using DR100, 200 and 400, although this does increase the ISO setting.
Standard colour is quite natural, and selecting Vivid gives a much punchier image with stronger colour saturation and boosted contrast, there are also individual controls for dynamic range, highlight tone, shadow tone, sharpness, colour saturation and noise reduction.
Lenses available: The Fujifilm X lens mount has 5 lenses currently available, with more planned for release in the future, the currently lenses are:
Video - Video quality is decent and the camera records full HD video with stereo sound at 24fps. Film simulation options are available as well as mic level adjustment.
Value For Money
The Fujifilm X-E1 is available for £729 body only, or with 18-55mm OIS lens as tested: £1149 - the 18-55mm OIS lens is available for £599 on its own. Other mirrorless cameras in this price range include the Sony NEX-6 at £699 body only or £819 with 16-50mm lens - both feature 16 megapixel sensors and 2.36 million dot OLED EVFs, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 16mp sensor is around £900 body only with EVF or £1149 with 12-50mm lens, Samsung NX20 with 20.3 megapixel sensor, £799 with 18-55mm lens, Sony NEX-7 with 24 megapixel sensor £839 body only or £939 with 18-55mm lens, alternatively styled more like a mini-DSLR is the Panasonic Lumix G5 with 16mp is available for £599 with 14-42mm standard kit lens.
These other mirrorless cameras in this price range can be seen below, prices shown are for the camera with kit lens.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-E1 are the definition of retro digital cameras, and the moment you pick it up, you'll be reminded of an old film camera from the past. With manual controls on the lens and body it is very easy to adjust settings and the menus and controls are well thought out and easy to get to grips with. The electronic viewfinder is excellent with an extremely high resolution and is great to use, although it's a shame the 2.8inch screen isn't larger and a higher resolution.
The Fujifilm X-E1 is more compact than the X-Pro1, and also 100g lighter, but it is still quite a large camera, and feels extremely well built. Focus speed and responsiveness is good, and the camera takes excellent photos with extremely impressive noise performance, with a good 18-55mm kit lens with built in optical image stabilisation. Although the price is still quite high compared to the competitors with many of them available for less money with kit lens. The X-E1 is available for £729 body only, which is good value for money, however, each Fujinon lens available is around £425+ so the price quickly jumps to the top of the premium mirrorless market. Another limiting factor of the system is the choice of lenses, with few lenses made by third parties available. If you have the money, then the X-E1 is an excellent camera, and the lenses available are excellent, particularly the primes.
The Fujifilm X-E1 produces images with extremely low noise, and excellent colour.
Fujifilm X-E1 Pros
Brighter than normal kit lens (f2.8 - f/4)
Impressive noise performance up to ISO6400
Impressive colour reproduction
Great build quality and handling
Film simulation modes
High resolution EVF
Fujifilm X-E1 Cons
Indoor white balance could be better
Expensive lenses / price of kit
Kit lens could be wider
Exposure compensation dial easy to knock