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Comments on Fujifilm X System

Fujifilm X-E1 with 18-55/2.8-4

After years of efforts with cameras and lenses I have a keen eye for errant behavior. But I don’t jump to conclusions: I shoot, observe, analyze, confirm. I shoot many more comparisons than I ever could publish, often 4:1 or even 10:1 on the shoot/publish ratio.

Overall, the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor is lovely: its color rendition and dynamic range in particular (the oddball style of detail rendition is another matter, more on that below).

But ten days of field work showed that the Fujifilm X-E1* has serious 'execution' issues, including a focus creep issue and a focus reset issue. No doubt remains on the focus creep issue; it appears again and again in my images as soft results, and an unimpeachable source confirms the issue independently. Both behaviors are unacceptable, indeed laughable in their sheer incompetence. My concerns expressed in person this May to a Fujifilm representative were repudiated, which speaks volumes. My only goal has been and is to see Fujifilm fix the issues, because the system is otherwise a well executed alternative.

The Fujifilm X cameras certainly can be used as point-focus-shoot cameras: aim, autofocus, shoot. No unusual issues there except that ten days of intensive field showed that AF accuracy can be a disappointing problem even with straightforward targets. Which all camera systems show from time to time. So I’ll give Fujifilm a 'pass' on autofocus (even though it did ruin some comparisons I made using unambiguous targets, as well as degrading various point-AF-shoot examples).

But for all around general purposes including landscape work— until Fujifilm addresses the focus creep bug as well as the nasty focus-reset bug, the Fujifilm X system is camera non grata. That is not a comment on the lenses (particularly the 35/1.4 and 14/2.8 are first rate optics). But I want a camera free of bugs for general use.

Then there are the image quality issues: fractal like artifacts. These might or might not be acceptable to any particular user and probably diminish in printing, so again I give Fujifilm a get-out-of-jail-free card here. Mitigated with changing workflow to a different raw converter, there are degrees of the issue. However, as both an inconvenience and consistency issue, the last thing I want to do is to step away from Adobe Camera Raw (e.g., Photoshop and Lightroom) and special-case a camera for its oddities. I have made an exception for Sigma DP Merrill cameras, but that true-color sensor is truly unusual, and worth the effort.

* The Fujifilm X-Pro1 almost certainly shares the same issues as the X-E1, it certainly does on the focus reset issue.

Fujifilm X-E1 with all the lens trimmings
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