It's upgrade time and this week saw me go from my 2 Fujifilm X-E1's to upgrading one of those already great cameras to the much loved and allegedly faster Fuji X-E2. This blog is a mix of video and stills as well as my opinion on how these cameras match up to each other and if the upgrade was really worth it, if it is then I'll most likely change the other X-E1 to the X-E2 and rock those for a good long while.
Why not the X-T1?
In short I've taken this somewhat smaller step to the X-E2 over the newer X-T1 for a few reasons, cost is a massive factor for me and I feel from what I've read that the X-E2's focus sped and now [thanks to firmware] faster EVF puts it in the same level as the X-T1, I have no need for a tilt screen, weather sealing or a bigger viewfinder and as such just couldn't justify the upgrade. Also a little thing but the shape is something that puts me off the change, I really like the rangefinder look and a few things online about spongy buttons on the XT-1 were enough to put me off. For now.
A quick breakdown of what your going to get if you choose to upgrade to the X-E2, some of the features are really useful, some not so much but overall you won't loose anything from this upgrade.
- + & - 3 Stops on the Exposure compensation dial
- 180 Flash Snyc Speed on the shutter speed dial
- Button rearrangement- a few new things here, the main one people are not so happy about is the fact that the 'View mode' button is gone, it can now however [due to firmware] be programmed into one of your function buttons
- Bigger back screen, a much nicer screen which is at the correct aspect ration to display images all across the screen
- Super fast EVF, this now matches the X-T1 and is like having night vision, such an improvement and seamless in low light
- Wi-Fi, A handy features but not one I've played around with that much yet
- Faster autofocus, the new phase detection pixels give you much faster and more accurate autofocus
- Faster processer, much much much quicker at writing to the card meaning you can shoot more, faster and recover from it much quicker
Focus Speed Test
So my main reasoning for this upgrade was to make the most of the faster autofocus and the benefits this will bring, as such I've been playing around with the new gear and have done a quick test below to try and show the differences. The test is a hard way to get across how much faster it really is as its not real use, but trust me its much snappier and accurate, all these test are done with the 60mm which the X-E2 makes into a really nice and quite fast lens to use. The real world will give me a better idea of how this chanciness things but at first look the results are very impressive indeed.
Apologies that the video quality is not great but this does give you an idea of the difference in focus speed, the X-E2 is noticeably more snappy and slick, it also achieves focus on the same spot better the the X-E1 which is something I always had trouble with.
I took the X-E2 & 60mm combo out with the objective of trying to get focus on fast moving subjects and things that would be awkward to focus with the XE-1, using the 60mm was a choice mainly to reflect that this is common referred to as the slowest fuji lens, so as a baseline if I could get in focus what I needed with this I would be alright for everything else.
The focus is much quicker overall, it still hunts a bit in low light, but even my old 5Dii did that, the best way to describe the difference between the two cameras is that the X-E2 is much more responsive.
The sequence of images below are to show the Continuous Focus mode and I can say this is much improved, the X-E1 could not handle subjects like this and I'm really impressed with how quick the focus is. If you click on the image it will advance to the next photo, shot in Continuous Focus and in Continuous Low drive mode.
Its not perfect but its a great improvement, and a feature I'm sure I will use.
General Usability Comparison
One of the great new features is the faster processor and this coupled with the improved auto focus makes the XE-2 a much more responsive camera. When I first got my hand on one at the beginning of the year i wasn't that impressed and didn't see an immediate difference and therefor no real reason to upgrade but I can tell you I'm glad I have now, the camera is much faster in its operation and much more pleasurable to use.
Little changes like the plus and minus 3 stops on the exposure compensation dial are useful as is the 180 shutter speed on the dial, but overall the main reason to upgrade is the speed of the camera, if you don't need speed or just shoot landscapes for example then I can't see any reason to upgrade, except maybe the Wi-Fi, but if you want speed then this camera is for you.
Is it Worth the Upgrade?
I'll keep this bit simple;
If you want speed of focus and processing and are shooting things like weddings, sport, fast moving subject then get the upgrade for sure, you'll find it much much better and more responsive.
f you shoot stills, landscapes and such the the upgrade won't help you out that much at all, the sensor is essentially the same so the images from each camera look almost identical [Note the X-E2 does have the Lens optimiser to give you better quality Jpegs] so I would stick with the X-E1 and buy some new glass.
As for me I love this little beast and already want to change up my other body for another X-E2, I'll be shooting a wedding next month using this camera so stay tuned to see how I get on and I'll also do a bit more of a real world review.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment below!