Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fuji X-E2 for streetphotography review

I like my X-E1 it has really amazing image quality, but it is not trusty because the camera has shutter lag and LCD/ viewfinder lag(slow refresh rate which especially at night or low light situation) which cause me some trouble in shooting at night which is the time I do my photography most of the time. When Fuji came up with the X-E2 which promise to deliver better autofocus and also fix all the flaws from the X-E1, so that I bite the bullet and give it a try.

This is a review base on user experience for street photography or daily use. Some of the shots are for the review only, for my best photography, please visit my Flickr.
All photo process from Adobe Lightroom 5.3. Color samples have some basic slider adjustment and without any colour enhancement. Black and White samples are processed with
VSCO film Tri X 400- preset without grain and added black.

First of all, I want to inform a couple useful addition for the X-E2

1.The new -3- +3 EV dial rather than the -2 + 2 from X-E1, which help me to have A LOT MORE accurate exposure when I'm using aperture priority mode which I use on the street 85% of the time.

2. EVF and LCD has the live view to reflect your exposure setting.

3. Shutter will not freeze after each shot. Even you are using the single shot mode, you can take more shot after shot if you pressing the AF lock or using the manual focus mode. (also I feel the the sound of the shutter is different than X-E1 and also sound more like a film Rangefinder which is good)

Auto focus:
As Fuji promised to improve, the X-E2 AF has improved dramatically which is close to the M43 camera. The Olympus OMD still more accurate and faster, but the Fuji is fast enough in most situation unless you are shooting sports.

The X-E2 has hybrid autofocus system which is PDAF (Phase detection) and CDAF (Contrast Detection ). The central 9 focus points have both Phase detection and Contrast Detection sensor and the rest focus points are CDAF only, which is as same as the X100s.

PDAF is can only detect the subject with Vertical line contrast only, if you are focusing on the vertical subject like, human figure, box, fonts which has some vertical element on it (stroke, curve…) the focusing speed is like instant (really close to OMD, I keep using the OMD as the standard because the OMD focusing performance is just amzing, period). If your subject is horizontal only, you can only use CDAF which the speed is OK which is still faster and much more accurate than the X-E1.

For all the bokeh lovers, the X-E2 can track down the moving object at F/1.4 and create very shallow depth of field. I was amazed by the output too! 35mm F/1.4 R

 X-E2 can nailed the focus in difficult focus situation. 18mm F/2 R
With good light, nail the focus is easy.

Basically it is same as the X-E1. The best changes is instead of they put AEL/ AFL together they make it to two buttons and move the Q menu button aside. The other good change is it has more function buttons which allow you to have more choice for customization your own settings.

Image quality
Since the X-E2 is using the X trans II sensor from the X100s, the image is more clean at high ISO. As you know, you can shoot at ISO 6400 in X-E1 with pretty good image, I don't think you need to hesitate too much when need to clank up to ISO 6400 in X-E2.

I shot with at the night 70% of the time, which is the strength of the X-E2 because it delivers excellent image at high ISO.

I think it was at the 18mm F/2 @ F/2, super low light, as you see, the image still with very good dynamic range.

Another super low light examples

Fuji always excel in colour! (just my colour works are no good )

XE-2 + 18mm F/2 R combo:
Lens usage, I'm using the 18mm F/2 R 70% of the time and the rest is the 35mm F/1.4 R. People always complain about the 18mm prime about the corner sharpness and distortion but it is still a pretty good lens which is good enough for me on the street work.

When I'm using the 18mm which is 27mm equivalent field of view in 35mm full frame format, I tend to use autofocus in mid range to far range, and use mix MF AF for close up work. The good thing about Fuji X camera is even with the lens without the DOF scale chart, it shows the chart on the LCD and EVF (for Autofocus X mount lens only), which is a very nice feature for street photography because I can just pre compose the image and just wait the subject comes to your viewfinder.

The autofocus performance was not bad with the X-E1, of course it is even better with the X-E2.

I do landscape!

Typical Local woman 

X-E2 + 35mm F/1.4 R 
Most of the people know the Fuji 35mm is a gorgeous lens, but it's autofocus speed was slow and fail to lock in the focus quite sometimes with the X-E1, which was a headache to me coz it is a very hard to use it for street candid shot. I tend to use 18mm with more background and story and 35mm which is 50mm from full frame format for more close up shot. Now the 35mm with the X-E2, it becomes a lot more useable and become a wonderful combo.

For color


My friend said its rendered like film. @ISO3200

Close up

Self portrait, the lens is too sharp, it shows all of my acnes @@;

White balance 
The white balance is more accurate and consistent than the X-E1. I tend to get inaccurate white balance along with overexpose at some situations from the X-E1, which is almost non-exist issue from the

Batter life
You need MORE spare BATTERIES!. It drains battery pretty damn fast, for a full shooting day, you need at least 2 or maybe 3 for safety. 

The Fuji X-E2 is an excellent camera, which is compact, lightweight (body weighted 350g), small lens (18mm and 35mm are really small and light weighted), responsive (fast AF and without shutter lag) along with EXCELLENT image quality. You may want to a image comparison with full frame mirrorless like Sony RX1 and A7/ A7R, but all I can tell you, as a graphic designer, I think the image quality from the Fuji X camera is more than enough for 95% of people. It is up to the photographer to deliver the quality output rather than the camera itself. I'm really engaging with the camera at the moment and wish everyone can find the camera that they love and enjoy.

More images

Somehow I used a VSCO colour film preset on this one, but I forgot which one…my mistake

 Please feel free to comments!
If you feel my images are interesting, please feel free to go Flickr to check out my stuff.


  1. Nice review Edward. I like your photography style, and will follow your blog. One of these days I hope to see Hong Kong.

    1. Hi Frank, so glad that you love my images and blog. For photography wise, Hong Kong is such an interesting place because of the compactness. It has lot of things going on like human interaction, architecture between new and old and so on…
      If you need any idea when you come for a visit, just let me know!

  2. Thanks, great job on the write up and nice photos!

    1. Thx so much, I will do some more write up about shooting events, kids with the X-E2 in the future!

  3. Nice review! Just done something similar in HKG with the X-E2 and the 27mm pancake lens;

    Keep up the excellent work!

    1. Hi Bjorn, thx! I want to try the 27mm lens too! It seems like a really good lens indeed.

  4. Great review. I'm also upgrading from X-E1 to X-E2 !

  5. Your comment on your selfie pic "Too sharp its showing my acne" - really you call that sharp?? you're not giving justice to this awesome camera,lens combo.Use it properly.

  6. Good review! I'm seriously considering the X-E2 for me now.

    1. Thx! it is a very good camera indeed, wish you have a awesome photo journey!

  7. What a treat. Sold X-T20, getting X-H1 for work but still think the X-E2 is wonderful! SO MUCH FUN to use it! Doesn't get put up a huge wall between photographer and subject! A delight.