During this time I've had the opportunity to try out both the Sonnar-C and XF 35/1.4, as the latter arrived back from service in early June. Landscapes, weddings, people, dogs, travel snapshots.. Over 1200 pictures taken (according to filename counter), and I believe I've formed an opinion of some sort at this point.
However, what has been putting me off is this review-style writing. Eventually I found myself writing similar things with other reviews already written, and I see no point in doing that. I thought that by keeping this quick and simple I can move on to other topics and continue writing this blog :) Please read writings from the blogs mentioned in "Sites I like". Some have really thorough opinions about Fuji X-cameras which I can mostly agree on.
How it feels
- Familiar. I had X100 for such a long time, that X-E1 is like coming home in many ways.
- Logical. It leaves more room for possibilities than DP2M and X100.
- Nimble. I like the size, and I haven't regretted choosing this model over the larger X-pro1.
- A bit cheap. Despite the materials, I tend to compare every body to my Leica M3. I guess nothing compares in terms of perceived quality.
What I like
- Manual controls. One of the reasons I bought X100 in the first place.
- Color. I like Fuji Velvia 50 film look, and X-cameras give that same saturated punchy color. Sometimes I even feel overwhelmed by it, but generally I'm liking it.
- Image quality. X-trans sensor is really nice, and high ISO performance is welcome after dealing with Foveon problems.
- Flexibility. I can use MF lenses and manual settings, or go with AF and aperture-priority/auto ISO mode. Results are always rewarding.
- Focus peaking. Finally they got it done. The latest firmware update has brought the MF experience to a new level. It's not perfect, but at least it's there.
- Portability. I take it out a lot. This tells me that the size is right for me, and on the other hand I like using it.
- Looks. It's a nice camera to look at. Sonnar-C makes it even sexier than XF 35mm.
- Robustness. Despite the flimsy feel I'm writing about, it is fairly robust in today's standards. Metal body, real switches etc. Only problem is the slightly protruding display.
What I dislike
- Raw compatibility. I hate fiddling with multiple software. Aperture works nice, but Iridient Developer seems to work even better. However, after dealing with Sigma Photo Pro and "double workflow" my laziness makes me go with the easiest route (Aperture only). Why won't you (Fuji) design your cameras so, that quality is optimal with mainstream conversion software?
- Menu structure. I thought Quick-menu would be an improvement over the X100. This is not the case, and I find myself preferring the menu structure of Sigma Merrill series over this.
- Flimsy feel. Despite quality materials, it feels a bit like a toy. The same thing occurs when comparing XF 35mm lens to my other legacy lenses. Small size is good, but I don't mind a tank-like construction.
Differences with other reviews
- Battery life. Some keep saying it's causing problems. Never had problems with battery running out. I tend to take fewer shots nowadays, which of course hides the issue.
- Green mush problem. I take a lot of pictures outside. I've never found it problematic in a sense that I'd need to use another raw developer to hide the problem. I agree that Iridient Developer does better quality conversions, but the difference is not that radical. Basic sharpening in Photoshop is enough for me when needed.
After first months
- Great images. Even though I haven't had the time to "go out and photograph", I've gotten shots that would have been impossible with my previous gear.
- Trust. I believe it's the right (digital) camera for me to own right now. I feel comfortable with it, and I get results I can anticipate on scene.
- Eagerness to experience more. Although I feel familiar with the camera, I feel like it has a lot more to give. I need to develop as a photographer to get more out of it. It makes me happy to notice this while shooting.
All summed up, I think I made the right call buying this camera. I'm in the middle of analog vs. digital controversy again, but it doesn't change the fact that X-E1 is a great camera. I'll try to write something a bit more specific after getting this text out of the way.
Flowers. Velvia color?