Is the X-E1 for me?

Discussion in 'Fuji X-Mount Cameras' started by Frenchman, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Frenchman

    Frenchman FujiXspot Regular

    60
    Feb 24, 2013
    Hi,

    I have grown tired of using a point and shoot and, after its zoom dial broke, my iPhone. I was holding for a range-finder camera (I like the styling) that is pocketable (not jeans, but coat), with a viewfinder, a small flash, interchangeable lenses and most importantly full control dials. I tried an E-PL5 (despite the lack of viewfinder and flash, it had the right form factor) but really did not like setting aperture and shutter speed through cursor keys.

    Then, out of impatience I guess I ordered an OM-D based on its rave reviews two weeks ago right in time for a ski trip. I picked it for the viewfinder and controls. It is nice and nearly pocketable in a coat pocket (especially with a small lens---I also got the 15mm f/8). It is incredibly fast and the image stabilization is amazing given how clean low lights shots have came up. (I only have the 12-50 mm kit lens besides the body cap lens). I also love the colors out of camera. I am not a huge fan of the squishy small buttons, though they work (with the exception of Fn2 which I haven't been able to reliably depress blind). I absolutely love having a viewfinder, and the articulated touch screen is a nice. I really appreciate weatherproofing as I live in "sunny" Seattle.

    And then I found out about the X-E1! I wish the camera store I went to mentioned it. It looks fabulous, I love that it has a viewfinder and a flash and all manual dials and that the dials are marked and not "anonymous" like on the OM-D. I think I would love the tactile experience and a lens-based aperture ring. I am worried however about the AF speed (I can't figure from the reviews how "bad" it is but someone who shoots portraits and claim AF speed is not her #1 priority returned the X-E1 for being too slow at the end of 2012---I assume with the latest firmware). I am also a bit worried about the low light performance, and that "Fuji colors" might be too muted in street/landscape (I am looking for more sample pictures online). In the past low light/indoor pictures have always been something bad with my P&S etc. I also like the fact the X-E1 might provide a shallower depth of field than the OM-D as that is something I crave (though that is probably better achieved through lenses on both systems). The look and (presumed) feel of the X-E1 though makes me feel like that is exactly what I was waiting for. Is it as pocketable as the OM-D? It will be heavier with the Fujinon lenses, right? And pricer.

    I plan to go find a camera store and handle an X-E1 in Portland this weekend. If I have to, I could order one too and return either the OM-D or the X-E1.

    To compound my conundrum, I ordered a refurbished E-PL2 for my teenage son. At $200 (the price of a point and shoot!) with the 14-42 kit lens it seemed like a no brainer, and the idea was that we would share lenses. This being said we are starting just now and have zero investment in lenses. He is 14, so he may also be happy with the kit zoom for a while (and maybe the 15mm for summer pocketing), so while sharing lenses would be a plus I am not sure how much to weigh this in my decision.

    What would you do? I am sure there are people here who have owned (or own) both systems. Given my situation what would you recommend? I know both cameras are awesome and I will be happy in the end a I learn to master one versus the other one.

    Sorry about the long first post and questions, and thanks for sharing your opinion and experience!
     
  2. nianys

    nianys FujiXspot Regular

    50
    Feb 6, 2013
    France
    Claire
    Hey Frenchman (by the way, I'm a French woman, lol).
    I'm in the process of testing a E-X1 right now, with 35/1.4 attached. I've been a NEX shooter for about 7 months, and spent 7 months with the GX-1 before that. I tried the E-M5 but hated the size, buttons, and I go mental with Olympus menus (though I've now wrapped my brains around Sony's).
    I had various NEX bodies and upgraded all the way to the 7, because it's the only one that offer enough external controls and custom interface for my needs. My primary use (95%) is indoor portraits of my 4 yr old daughter, and 4 month old puppy.
    I'm extremely lucky to have a friend who's a long time Fuji user with the full X stable, and who loans me bodies at will.
    I've been playing with the X-E1 since Thursday night. What can I say ?

    I'm a strict jpeg shooter, so getting WB right is crucial. Though high ISO performance is nothing short of astounding regarding noise characteristics, the story is not so golden when it comes to WB. Yes Auto is very good, but it will still flunk in very mixed lighting, like typical indoor home lights. So, just like with my NEX, I found myself wanting to rely on the built-in flash unit. The results are not up to my expectations, however, if I use my external flash (a small Olympus FL36), the results are stunning.

    Now, the big, big question. I have the latest firmware running on both body and lens. The AF is absolutely on par with the NEX 7 with SEL35/1.8 mounted. Just totally the same. Yet, the AF of the Fuji has been maligned, but not the NEX's (?!?). So, I guess if I had gotten the XE as a DLSR user without mirrorless experience, I would have ditched it. But with over one year of mirrorless shooting under my belt, I say, it's usable. Not fast, will miss shots, but if you adapt to a slower pace, it's fine.
    I miss the tilt screen a lot, the better built-in flash and the more flexible TriNavi control. IQ is brilliant when I get it right, but due to learning curved not yet handled, I still get better shots from the NEX.

    So I'm extremely grateful I get to extensively test the camera I was literally losing sleep over, but my lust has gone with actual use of it, it's a lovely camera to hold, rather leisurely in operation, usable for AF, with sublime high ISO and a lot of beautiful detail and color rendering. However, I'm not switching from NEX for all reasons cited above.

    NEX 7 :
    c822f663f3aec34a37a8c7e4337928bf_7f1.

    03cc93dda2ed3c000f57d4bb7a6a3e93_402.

    X-E1 :
    6a799ec50de5fa9d97963f0d916122ff_eb0.

    4037fa0afd4120eb2e601402a5db3de6_7c0.

    So, it's only a very limited opinion from just one user. The X-E is a thing of beauty for sure, very nice to hold (I have an X10 and adore it), and IQ is stellar. That being said, it is NOT a magic bullet, will not turn your into Richard Avedon overnight, and has its shortcomings, namely it's not very fast in anything (AF, menus, deleting pics, etc), the built-in flash is only useful to a point, the extreme sharpness due to lack of AA filter (or is it a really weak one) can even appear a little unnatural (I shoot it a Sharpness -1). The 35/1.4 is fantastic, though bizarrely enough I prefer the character of the SEL35, flaws included. I'm sure if the X-E1 was my sole camera I'd kick that leaning curve quick out of necessity and would really love it, however having an equally good camera that I know better and get good pictures out more easily, I'll stay with the NEX.
     
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  3. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    If the portrait photographer that returned the X-E1 you're referring to is Lindsay Dobson, I asked her what in particular was problematic about the camera since to me it seems like a great portrait camera. She said primarily the issue was with fast moving shoots in which subjects were moving toward the camera. She said that a hobbyist would most likely be content with the performance, it just didn't work for her fast-paced shooting style. After hearing her explanation I went ahead and ordered one sufficiently confident it will do just as well as my 5DII for my type of portrait shooting which is less fast paced.
     
  4. BigTam

    BigTam FujiXspot Regular

    63
    Feb 5, 2013
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    My experience with Fuji is limited to the X100. I shot with it almost exclusively for over a year. I have had my E-M5 for 9 months now.

    Fuji pros: great JPGs straight out of the camera, although you might like to choose Velvia for landscapes and Astia for portraits; wonderful haptics, once you get it set up, you never need the screen; autofocus is fine if you don't shoot moving subjects.

    Fuji cons: limited lens choice (which is only a con if the focal lengths you need are missing: analyse your photo's EXIF data to see the focal lengths you use most); lenses are generally more expensive than m43; RAW processing seems poor at the moment; autofocus not so good for kids and other moving subjects.

    OM-D pros: fast autofocus; wide choice of good lenses, often cheaper than Fujinons; good JPGs, even better RAWs; once set up the way you like, almost no menu-diving.

    OM-D cons: byzantine menus (but see pros); dials can be configured like the Fuji, but there are no markings.

    At the moment, I would choose the OM-D simply because the system (lenses, accessories) is far more rounded. Maybe in a year or two, I might change my mind, the Fuji tactile experience is addictive.
     
  5. Frenchman

    Frenchman FujiXspot Regular

    60
    Feb 24, 2013
    It was Lindsay, yes. Have you received your X-E1? What do you think if so?

    So I found an X-E1 to hold (and an X-Pro 1 too, but I put it down quickly because of price before I could like it too much :))...

    The size is perfect for my hands. I don't have large hands but the OM-D is a bit too short in height for my right hand, so I have to put a few fingers under the body to fill the gap when holding it. Which is ironic, because the OM-D is less pocketable than the X-E1 too, because the EVF hump is so tall on the Olympus. The X-E1 with the 18-55mm also felt lighter than the OM-D with the 12-50mm. I also like the proportions of the camera and lenses better (less toyish maybe?). It doesn't help that my subconscious has shallow DOF envy and believes the bigger sensor will help much (when truly, a different lens would make the most difference!)

    I found the X-E1's buttons to be better than the OM-D's. I ***loved*** the aperture ring on the lens, and the markings on the wheels, though I found that I needed two fingers to turn the shutter speed ring. It was not as "Oh my God!" as I expected but a nice feeling nonetheless.

    I was extremely disappointed in the EVF. It lags a lot, and it does that small freeze/pixelization when one presses the shutter half way. The OM-D's EVF, even with its much lower resolution, is much, much, much better.

    I wasn't able to check out AF speed much as I didn't have a willing moving subject with me.

    So it's really tough... The EVF as it is would stop me. I think it is absolutely terrible as soon as you move to compose a scene. I am not sure this can be fully fixed through firmware: I read that lenses may have a part in the lag too. But the form factor is better, I did like where the wheels and button fall, and I could have used an onboard flash on the OM-D today (my flash was in my hotel room)...

    I also was walking around with the OM-D yesterday when rain started, and happily kept it in my hand, took pictures, etc. Could I even do that with the X-E1? Living in the Pacific Northwest this is going to happen 9 months out of 12.

    I don't know what to do! The OM-D is very polished in a "black box toy" package. A very cold object. The X-E1 feels more like a nice object of the right size. Warmer, more inviting to be used, but rougher (and that terrible EVF...). Both will do great pictures in the right conditions... I am not going to track fast moving objects but will definitely be in low lights, shoot my kids (which do move, after all) and have a goal of learning good street photography as well as architecture/landscape. Help!
     
  6. Nic

    Nic FujiXspot Regular

    118
    Feb 5, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    Virtually everything you are saying is pointing towards the E-M5 being the camera best suited to want you want to use it for, but you can't force love right? :) The thing is, I wouldn't say that I love my E-M5 as an object to look at or because of it's tactile feel, however I do respect it's capabilities and the sheer number of things that it does and does well.
     
  7. nianys

    nianys FujiXspot Regular

    50
    Feb 6, 2013
    France
    Claire
    Keep in mind there is a gap in IQ here. Might be small, but is real.
     
  8. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    I have received mine and while I haven't actually shot a lot of actual photos with it yet, i've tried to test the AF and EVF to see if they will work for me. AF really doesn't seem to be a problem, but I'm coming from experience with a 5DII with primes and E-PL1 with kit/20mm lenses - neither of which are terribly fast. I stated on the mu43 forum that since I haven't used any of the newer PENs or Panasonic cameras, perhaps my ignorance is bliss then with regard to AF speed. The EVF on the other hand is what may prove to be problematic since, as you said, it lags quite a bit and the lag is worse in low light. I've posted my other impressions in this thread
     
  9. Gary

    Gary FujiXspot Top Veteran

    698
    Feb 15, 2013
    SoCal
    Gary
    I have the OM-D and the X-Pro1, two very different cameras. I used to be a photo journalist, and when I need to record an event I go to the OM-D. When I desire to be creative, enjoy photography that doesn't use the camera as a mere tool, then the Fuji.

    The OM-D is so responsive that one can get "The Shot", the decisive/defining moment purely as a reaction to the subject. The Fuji's images and camera have more character, but one has to anticipate "The Shot". A much different thought process, a much different camera a different shooting experience and the difference is nether good or bad, just different.

    I like the Fuji because it makes me think and photograph differently than the OM-D. But, (the big but), if I could only have one system it would be Olympus, based upon what and how I shoot.

    Gary
     
  10. carlb

    carlb FujiXspot Veteran

    267
    Feb 6, 2013
    twin cities, minnesota
    Carl
    I have the X-E1 and the EM5. Both are great cameras.

    The Fuji with the 18-55mm is nearly as fast and assured auto-focus as the EM5 is with the 12-50mm. The former setup's image quality is sharper, and the lens aperture is faster.

    The Fuji X-E1 with 18-55mm is not much bigger than the EM5 with the 12-50mm.

    Because of the larger aperture and sensor size, you can get more background blur (nice for portraits) on the X-E1/18-55 than you can with the EM5/12-50.

    The Fuji sensor has something going on that I like very much. Straight out of box, IQ is a bit different than what I look for. So I change to the in-camera vivid color film emulator, reduce in-camera noise reduction (-2) and increase in-camera sharpness (+1). I like this look a lot, and it is a bit different than the EM5 photos I take.

    Cropping with the Fuji seems to hold up a bit farther than with the EM5. Both hold up to heavy cropping reasonably well.

    I happen to like the controls and menus much better on the Fuji, although the EM5 is not bad at all.

    I notice more Fuji EVF lag than on the EM5, but I don't shoot football games or such. It's just fine for me.

    So, which setup is for you depends on what you shoot and what you value ... I'll keep both, get the Oly 75mm for the EM5, and often carry both.
     
  11. Armanius

    Armanius FujiXspot Top Veteran

    691
    Feb 1, 2013
    Texas
    Muttley
    I am 100% in agreement with what Gary wrote.

    One important difference for me between most mirrorless cameras and the XP1/XE1 is the lack of face detection in the Fujis. To me, it makes portrait photography MUCH easier, especially when the AF of the XP/XE is slower than its competitors. Granted, we can always focus and recompose. But when dealing with shallow DOF, a couple of centimeters makes a difference between sharp looking eyes vs. blurry eyes. I exchanged a couple of messages with Billy of Fuji Guys about face detection implementation on the XP1/XE1 via firmware update. He said that he encouraged the Fuji bosses in Tokyo to implement face detection, but he holds no hope that Tokyo will do so via firmware or even in the second generation XP/XE cameras. Bummer.
     
  12. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    Interesting. I suppose they may view face detection as a gimmicky feature like program modes or art filters (however, haven't they added the latter to the X100s?) and that it has no place on their upper level X-series cameras (its a feature of the XS-1 though).
     
  13. Armanius

    Armanius FujiXspot Top Veteran

    691
    Feb 1, 2013
    Texas
    Muttley
    Yes, that's probably how Tokyo views it. On the other hand, the "film" emulations are nothing more than art filters as well. Oh well ... with the newer faster AF system, it will make focus and recompose a little bit quicker.

    It's my understanding that the X100S does not have face detection. According to Billy, it'll likely be limited to the X10/20, XF, and XS series.
     
  14. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    The relocation of the AF selection button to the top of the 4-way controller should make things slightly easier in that regard as well I would think.
     
  15. Frenchman

    Frenchman FujiXspot Regular

    60
    Feb 24, 2013
    I can only afford one :) This is already way over my initial buy which was going to be the E-PL5. But I decided a viewfinder and dedicated manual wheels were things I did not want to not have.

    I agree on the size and "pocketability." I actually think that the X-E1 is much better because it has no hump and no flash on top of the hump. It would fit perfectly lens down in a Crumpler Haven S in the bag my girlfriend just got me. The OM-D won't (I just tried...).

    At this point my goals are to shoot outdoor street/landscape/portrait and indoor portraits (to a much lesser extent) in black and white. Whichever camera will allow me to consistently (and I stress consistently---I am at the bottom of the learning curve, too) good to great images is what I want. I do NOT want to spent the time I already don't have developing from RAW unless I shot RAW because I wasn't sure of the best way to expose/deal with a given scene. There's only diffuse/overcast light in Seattle from October to July. Then it's the fantastic. I'd think lenses more than cameras will make a difference here?

    If I throw out of the window the fact that the OM-D is much more consistent than the X-E1 in terms of ergonomics (WYSIWYG in EVF at all times, etc.) though at the cost of a more cramped setup, and given that many images I have seen are of equally great quality (with maybe an edge in the Fuji on B&W?), I think for me now it boils down to:

    * OM-D

    + Full weather sealing with kit lens. Probably huge in Seattle if I want my camera with me a lot. My daughter plays soccer and that means rain (though I don't plan on videotaping or shooting a lot of the game---I don't want to get big lenses, so again it'll be portraits or scenes etc. Maybe an umbrella is enough)
    + Fantastic EVF and great autofocus. I'm putting autofocus here because it is praised, but I truly don't know
    + Very versatile kit lens with macro
    - Impersonal.

    * X-E1

    + Feel of shooting and form factor. Object of desire (to me).
    + Very nice and faster 18-55 than Olympus's 12-50
    + Builtin flash so I never have to add to the OM-D's hump.
    - EVF. EVF. EVF. Yucky EVF.
    - Slow AF?
    - No touch/articulable screen.

    I'd say something about lenses but I am not educated enough about that to comment on quality (I can just tell that the older MFT has more lenses from more vendors, and some very high quality and expensive ones). My understanding from reading is that the Fujinon XF lineup is very good, and that the lenses are bigger, heavier and 20% more expensive than a typical comparable MFT.

    Can the EVF issue be fixed in software?

    I may just have to bite the bullet and buy an X-E1 so I can have both along for a couple weeks. Or consider returning the OM-D until Fuji fixes all of that in a later model; or keep it knowing it should resell quite well.

    This is "killing" me. First world problem, I know...
     
  16. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx FujiXspot Regular Subscribing Member

    94
    Feb 4, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Armando, I've never seriously tried to make face detection work; maybe it's more sophisticated on the EM-5 than on my other cameras that have the option. Is it really reliable enough that you can use it in lieu of spot focusing and locking on the eyes?
     
  17. nianys

    nianys FujiXspot Regular

    50
    Feb 6, 2013
    France
    Claire
    The GX-1, G3 etc from Panasonic have totally reliable face detection, which is also very speedy and just great overall. By comparison, Face Detection in the NEX cameras (which I am a fan of, own and shoot by choice) is a lame joke...
     
  18. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    ^Regarding the EVF, I'm not sure if the WYSISYG aspect can be changed with software (regardless, I wouldn't hold your breath), but the lag is a refresh rate issue which is hardware dependent.

    As far as lenses go, there are great lenses for both m43 and Fuji, its just a matter of what focal lengths you're into. Right now Fuji is limited to a great zoom, a fantastic normal prime (the 35mm) and from what I understand, an amazing wide (the 14mm). The 18mm and the 60mm lenses are great as well but each has their issues (soft corners on the 18mm and slow AF on the 60mm). On the Fuji roadmap, you've got a 27mm pancake, the 23mm fast wide-normal and the 56mm fast portrait lens, as well as the 55-200mm zoom. We expect these lenses to be good, but we don't know for sure

    m43 has a lot more lens offerings, including some real standouts (the 12mm f2, 25mm f1.4 45mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8 immediately come to mind) but the main thing you're going to be limited in regarding that system is DOF (shallow focus) control at wider equivalent fields of view (FOV).

    Overall the m43 system is more mature and more versatile in my opinion. That said, apart from the soccer games I don't know that anything you said you like to shoot would be problematic with one of the X-Series cameras. Based on the points you've made above I do think you may be better served with the OM-D E-M5 or even an E-PL5 with VF-2 provided you can live with the negatives you mentioned. I know people rave about Fuji JPEGs, but Olympus has great JPEGs too.
     
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  19. spinyman

    spinyman FujiXspot Veteran

    215
    Feb 13, 2013
    Valley Center,CA.
    My X camera is an X100 and It doesn't have the evf lag that the other X's seem to_Of course, it is a fixed lens camera, but with style and substance galore.However, my primary system camera is the OM-D.I have grown to appreciate it's looks because it just does everything I ask of it so darn well and the lens choice is now second to none.May I suggest that you consider one of the very small primes as your lens instead of those big kit zooms.Most of the time,my $160 Panasonic 14mm lives on my Oly and makes for a very small camera package.You will adapt to the small layout quickly and reap the rewards of it's amazing customability.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Frenchman

    Frenchman FujiXspot Regular

    60
    Feb 24, 2013
    I ordered an X-E1 just to be sure. I probably will not get over the EVF issue it but I'd rather spend $20-$30 in shipping to find out than guess. Also this will give me a couple weeks to experience the Fuji controls, compare the feel of images I get for both etc. If I like that a lot over the OM-D, but the X-E1 is too slow, then maybe the X100S is what I'll end up with. There is something tempting in limiting myself to 35 mm B&W photos, though at a cost that is nearly the same as the OM-D body plus the Olympus 17mm 1.8 (and I'd keep the 12-50 anyway to have a weather sealed system)! I'd of course get a much smaller silent system then. We'll see!

    The OM-D would be easier to live with were it to have a built in flash. It is a pain to get in my bag.