My friend Paul and I had lunch on Tues. We are both camera-a-holics. We should both be in some sort of rehabilitation program for obsessive camera buyers. But there it is. Until someone does an intervention I count myself as incorrigibly curious and always ready to jump into the other pasture where the grass seems greener and more lush.
Niether of us own or have used the X-E1 yet but we are already putting together our basic, new systems in our heads. I have a good tolerance for zooms, especially ones with short lengths and with the word "ashperical" printed really big right inside the filter ring. Paul will naturally hold out for either the Zeiss glass that's said to be coming or, at the very least the cherry picked, single focal length lenses from Fuji.
Why are we so interested? Well, the chip and the lenses are the deal with Fuji. I've read a number of reviews of both this camera and it's older, more expensive and more problem laden big brother and while there are a bunch of nits to pick with some of the operational characteristics of the camera the universal consensus seems to be that the sensor is magnificent and that most of the lenses rise close to the top of the heap compared to what is available from everyone else. Leica excluded, of course.
The body is well styled and beautifully and simply designed. It seems like it would be a good take anywhere
camera. The use of an EVF means that zooms lenses aren't an issue as regards the finder. The black finish and the black lenses harken back to the Leicas they seem bent on imitating and referencing. But mostly I think I am interested in the camera because the implied quality of performance seems to rival a Leica M9 at a price point about 1/6th or less of the price.
While I am currently infatuated and satisfied with my Nex-7 (especially after the firmware update) I can't help but wonder just how much better the overall performance of the sensor really is. And everyone with a Nex 7 is always in the waiting mode for more and better dedicated lenses from Sony.
Two things slow me down from actually putting in an order for this camera. The first is the feedback from owners who've shot both Sony Nex 7's and Olympus OMD's who have also auditioned this Fui camera. The EVF is not up to the level of quality and implementation of those cameras. I'm not sure I want to go backwards now that I have finders I really like.
The second thing that holds me back is the fact that the camera currently really has to be viewed as a Jpeg only proposition. That may change now that Adobe has raw files to work with but Fuji introduced a new RAW format with a new way of de-mosaicing the output from the sensor and it seems that the only way to consistently get good conversions is to use Fuji's slow and flawed software. I've been down that road before with the S3 and S5 cameras and I won't load Fuji's software product onto my little computing machine again. But as I've stated, all that may change as the products mark time in the market and in the hands of third party software developers.
If you are transitioning from dinosaur DSLR cameras into a new century of photographic tools and you are ready to toss aside the heavy iron and start making images with mirrorless EVF cameras you should go into a store and check one of the X-E1's out. If they've fixed the focusing issues of the X-Pro-1 and maintained the quality of the sensor it might just be one hell of a photographic imaging device. And what they didn't get right out of the gate might be tweakable in firmware updates.
Fuji's has always made cameras and camera sensors that intrigue me and have enabled me to turn out beautiful files. And their lenses are also well regarded. I hope that these cameras are the spearhead of a whole new family of cameras from Fuji. I can hardly wait to put one through its paces.