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5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera

It's not practical to carry a large, heavy dedicated camera for spontaneous street photography, but at the same time you don't want to sacrifice the quality of your captured images, and that's where the Fujifilm X-E4 steps in.

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5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Using Support | 1/420 sec | f/4.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 400

Street photography is a genre that's accessible to all but documenting people candidly in their everyday environment doesn't come without its challenges. To capture people 'in the moment' you have to react quickly, often without being seen, and if you have a big camera and large lens, it can be hard to fade into the background. However, with modern-day powerful cameras, the task of blending in has got a little bit easier and to prove it, we've been out mastering the art of storytelling with the Fujifilm X-E4. Read on to find out why we think it's the perfect camera for mastering street photography. 


1. Compact & Lightweight

5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Comoact And Unobtrusive | 1/52 sec | f/4.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 400

One of the joys of photography is keeping that record of all the places we have been, and all the faces we have seen. Whether this is locally as we go about our everyday lives, or when we are away in some special place, a small, compact and lightweight camera is the perfect companion. This can equally well apply to the more specific concept of classic street photography or to an ongoing record of wherever we have been.

We can define what we need in a camera as a constant street companion; something that will fit comfortably in a jacket pocket, doesn't need a camera bag to weigh us down, but still looks the part, is a pleasure to use and delivers the quality that we would expect from any full-sized camera kit.

With the smallest lens option, the Fujifilm X-E4 ticks all the boxes. It looks the part, has the keen sense of styling that makes it look like a traditional camera, and is an easy companion that can be carried anywhere with ease. It also delivers quality results.

Apart from style, there is a real practical reason that makes this an ideal street camera, and that is that it doesn't look threatening and too obvious. It can often be true that people will react better to an unobtrusive camera and it does help the street photographer blend with and become part of the scene. Couple the X-E4 with the compact and lightweight XF 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens and we have a truly pocketable camera that can be carried anywhere.


"For sheer portability, the XF 27mm f/2.8 wins out and is the ideal lens to carry all the time," John Riley. 


In terms of handling, one useful refinement is the provision of a traditional aperture ring on the lens. This gives the photographer a choice of controlling the aperture from the lens or from the camera, whichever suits the way the individual prefers to shoot pictures. With practice, the camera becomes an extension of the photographer, second nature, and this means a more fluid and adaptive response to the surroundings as they unfold.

A major secret to successful street photography is confidence, and having that confidence makes the photographer look less intrusive and more readily accepted as part of the overall scene. A second secret is a genuine and ready ability to engage with people, to smile and to enjoy the process. Add an intuitive camera and we have a recipe for success.


2. Rapid Phase-Detection Focusing

5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Great Forward Motion Tracking Using Eye Detect | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 27.0 mm | ISO 400
Motion Tracking Using Eye Detect 


As the scene around us develops and changes, capturing that fleeting moment can be tricky enough without worrying about whether or not the camera can keep up. We need have no such worries here, as the X-E4 locks on almost instantaneously to the subject. It is in these situations that the lack of shake reduction is actually a benefit as we do not need any additional delay for stabilisation to take place. In any event, stabilisation systems do not help with moving subjects.

When shooting portraits, the face detection system is a marvel in itself, picking out the left or right eye as chosen in the menu, or being left on auto to make the decision itself. Add to this tracking and we have as much help from the camera to keep things sharp as we could possibly expect.

There are of course many techniques for successful street photography, and sometimes there is a case for using manual focus as well. In this scenario, the photographer might focus on a point and simply wait for the subject to arrive at that point. Before AF systems this might have been the chosen approach, but the Fujifilm AF is now so fast and accurate that AF becomes the first choice. It is probably also true that most of us no longer have the luxury of time that enables us to stand in one spot for hours, waiting for that decisive moment.


3. Excellent Image Quality

5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Barber Shop | 1/50 sec | f/8.0 | 27.0 mm | ISO 1600

Using Fujifilm's flagship 26MP BSI X-Trans CMOS sensor, image quality is going to be excellent. As well as web use, images from the X-E4 are capable of being enlarged for printing and producing A3 or larger prints of the highest quality. Perhaps this means pictures to be framed and hung, perhaps pictures for photo albums. There is a vital place in photography for prints and the X-E4 sensor makes possible critical quality at much larger sizes and with much lower digital noise than we could expect from a smartphone.


5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Escalator To The Food Hall | 1/1100 sec | f/4.0 | 27.0 mm | ISO 1600


That same high quality means that, if necessary, images can be cropped and still retain the crispness that we expect. All subjects can benefit from this, and street photography in this wider sense can extend to travel as well. Definitions can be tricky, but “street” may also include “documentary” and “photo-journalism” and in effect a roving, permanent record of everything we do and everywhere we have been.


5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Angles Add Impact | 1/210 sec | f/4.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 400


4. Film Simulation Modes

5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fujifilm X E4 Silver (6)

The clue is in the name, and Fujifilm has for decades been at the forefront of film technology, with many respected films still very much in the mind of photographers. As time goes by, some of these names of various film emulsions may have lost their sense of identity for younger photographers, but one of the joys of Fujifilm cameras is that shooting JPEG, we can relive, rediscover or even discover for the first time these great film styles. A film photographer would have a favourite, perhaps it would be Fuji Velvia, with its bold colours and high sharpness. Or perhaps it would be Acros, a rich, sharp black and white emulsion. Photographers would have their favourites and really get to know the characteristics of the film they were using.

"Now, users of Fujifilm cameras can dial in the film simulation of choice and explore the different possibilities for themselves," John Riley. 

The Film Simulation choices are as follows:

  • PROVIA/Standard is the default setting, with moderate contrast and is ideal for a wide range of subjects.
  • Velvia/VIVID is the classic vibrant colour transparent film, ideal for landscape and nature or any images where we require some extra punch.
  • ASTIA/SOFT has softer colour and contrast for a more subdued look.
  • CLASSIC CHROME has a soft colour for enhanced shadow detail and a calm look.
  • PRO Neg. Hi is intended for portraiture and has slightly enhanced contrast.
  • PRO Neg. Std has neutral tonality and is designed for editing. Soft gradation and skin tones make this a strong choice for portraiture.
  • CLASSIC Neg. has enhanced colour and harder tonality to increase image depth and could be a good choice for holiday style travel.
  • ETERNA/CINEMA has soft colour and rich shadow tone, suitable for giving movies a more filmic look.
  • ETERNA BLEACH BYPASS with its low saturation but high contrast gives a unique look, suitable for both stills and movies.
  • ACROS is a rich, contrasty and sharp monochrome and offers those deep, silky blacks that can make for exceptional black and white prints.
  • MONOCHROME is a different style of black and white with softer characteristics that may make the handling of deep shadows easier.
  • SEPIA gives that vintage look, and, as we can see from old photographs, can vary quite a bit in colour. The Fujifilm sepia is a good choice that can easily be further edited to choice.

In addition to this vast array of options, various settings of grain can be added, effectively giving the photographer a whole new range of options within each film simulation style.

There is a powerful difference between using the options above and attempting the same effects in post-processing, and this may have much to do with the mindset as we shoot the images. If we approach, say, shooting a set of images in black and white and the camera is set to shoot in black and white then we know that is our option and we work with it right from the start. This is a very different approach to making choices afterwards and it can make a significant difference to the images we shoot.


Fujifilm X-E4 Digital filters


5. Great Range of Lenses

5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Phone Buddies | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 27.0 mm | ISO 400
Captured on the X-E4 with the XF 27mm f/2.8 lens


Fujifilm has been a provider of high-class camera lenses, from miniature formats to large formats, for many decades. Their medium format rangefinder cameras were legendary for quality, and this expertise continues to this day with both their APS-C range and their medium format digital range.

For the compact X-E4, it would be logical to continue this size advantage with a range of compact, lightweight lenses, and there is indeed a range of small primes, mostly with fast, bright, f/2 maximum apertures.


5 Reasons Why The Fujifilm X-E4 Is The Perfect Street Photography Camera: Fuji X E4 27mm F2,8 Still Fighting On | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 27.0 mm | ISO 1600
Captured on the X-E4 with the XF 27mm f/2.8 lens


We have the following, with the "35mm equivalent" field of view given in brackets and rounded to the nearest usual focal length.

  • XF 27mm f/2.8 (40mm) - A very versatile focal length, a slightly “wide standard” and increasingly popular as a pancake, compact design. This is an ideal street photography lens.
  • XF 16mm f/2 (24mm) - For those who want o get in close, or photography small groups in confined areas. Also ideal for travel, architecture and interiors in particular.
  • XF 23mm f/2 (35mm) - The classic “wide standard” beloved of traditional reportage/street photographers.
  • XF 35mm f/2 (50mm) - The theoretical standard lens of the APS-C format and a very versatile one at that, being somewhat kinder to the perspective of portraits as images can be shot from a slightly greater distance.
  • XF 50mm f/2 (75mm) - A short telephoto that helps to tighten up composition and is also very useful for flattering perspective in portraits.


"Photographers will have their favourite focal lengths and this is a good set to choose from. For sheer portability, the XF 27mm f/2.8 wins out and is the ideal lens to carry all the time," John Riley. 

For more information on the Fujifilm X-E4, visit the Fujifilm website.

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saltireblue Plus
13 14.0k 85 Norway
24 Feb 2022 12:50PM
Can't comment on the camera (have an X-T3) but have recently acquired an example of this lens, albeit, the first version without aperture ring, specifically for doing street photography, and I have to concur that for me, it is indeed the optimal focal length. Others will have their favourite lengths, but for me, this is perfect.
The fact that it is a pancake lens makes it perfect with regards to being unobtrusive. I use it attached to an X-T3 (vertical grip removed) and apart from the thickness, it is no bigger than the latest smartphones.

First impressions of image IQ are also very positive.

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