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Fujifilm X-E1 Initial Comments

Nuisances can be dealt with, but it is the oddball artifacts from the funky Fujifilm sensor design that are my main concern with the Fujifilm X-E1 (and its X-Pro1 sibling).

Additional comments on usability in my review of the Fujifilm X-E1.

Viewfinder

I wrote: the XE-1 viewfinder is badly blurred, skewed (in view camera terms, a “swing”). If I shift my eye far left I can see about 1/4 of the right side, and the other 3/4 blurred.

Solved! OK, I feel a bit silly— the diopter adjustment was completely off out of the box. What fooled me was that one part of the EVF was sharp and another blurred. I was able to adjust it so that it was all sharp. EVF quality is superb.

How hard is it to shoot a series or comparisons accurately?

It is really difficult to do a proper job in making a comparison or aperture series becaus the camera won’t stay in a fixed state:

  • The lens focus resets when cameras is powered off (or it powers down), even when set to manual focus. This wrecks any carefully set up comparison. Accurate focus is non-trivial for a comparison or aperture series, often requiring a nodal slider to nail the focus. Nothing else will do if one wants a fair comparison. Solution: shoot the X-E1 first, then match the other camera to it.
  • The camera resets its focus when the SD card is removed, so it is not possible to shoot an image, check it, then put the card back in and adjust focus (e.g. with a nodal slider to move it precisely)— the focus has been whacked.
  • The self timer disables itself with power off, so one has to re-enable it every power off/on cycle.
  • Because the SD card cannot be extracted without removing the camera plate, one has to constantly screw/unscrew the camera plate just to check on the result (solution: a Really Right Stuff plate when available). But since the X-E1 resets focus when the SD card is removed, this point is mainly just a simple time-waster. I tried mounting the camera via USB, but it does not appear on the desktop.

Access to the battery and card on the X-E1

Alas, the Fuji X-E1 is another dumb-as-they-come mechanical design in two ways: the tripod socket is not centered relative the lens (a small detail), but mounting the smallest camera plate blocks access to the battery and card.

This kind of design defect is almost a show-stopper for field work— what if you forget an allen wrench while in the field and need to swap batteries? Or the card fills up? Ouch. Let alone the hassle of getting the card out to download images or to charge the battery. Ooops, there goes that allen wrench into the rocks or creek or snow... no, this kind of solution cannot be considered, not for my work.

The good news is that Really Right Stuff will be offering a camera plate that retains access to the battery/card door without the above issue.

I understand the unimportance of such things with a $199 consumer digicam, but the X-E1 is a $1000 camera ($1399 with the kit zoom) clearly designed for more serious shooters.

Fuji XE1 with Fujinon Aspherical 18-55mm f/2.8-4 zoom VS Sigma DP2 Merill with Really Right Stuff L-backet
Fujifilm X-E1 with Fujinon Aspherical 18-55mm f/2.8-4 zoom

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