Friday, October 05, 2012

Fujifilm X-E1 and XF 18-55mm Lens



I took a walk around town this week and shot some images with the X-E1.  The newest camera in the X series should ship around Nov 1 in the USA.  
One thing that I always look for is the way a digital camera captures sky blue.  I was a big fan of Velvia and miss the look of a landscape with the rich hues of Velvia since I don't shoot film that often.  So when I took a walk on the High Line with the X-E1 I wanted to see what kind of blues it would capture.  Needless to say I am overjoyed with its performance.  I hit the Quick menu button and flipped the X-E1 in Velvia mode and set off.  As expected the images are sharp and vivid and this is from a pre-production body and lens (it is not without faults because of this so it will only improve).


The XF18-55mm lens has a few new features for XF lenses. 
There is optical image stabilization, and you can see the switch on the bottom left of the lens image.  Then there is an aperture ring which communicates the F/ number to the body when the lens is switched from the Automatic to Aperture icon.  This lets you spin the ring closest to the body to adjust the aperture values.
The next ring is the zoom ring, followed by the smooth manual focusing ring.
http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_e1/ I messed up on earlier posts and left out the metadata - but these images should contain the exposure info.  I am also including some other images from last week which show some high ISO shooting.  Since this is the same sensor as the X-Pro1, image quality will be excellent when the camera ships at the end of the month.  The real excitement will be when the XF14mm hits the market as well.

Doesn't a bright blue sky make you feel good?  These images are not adjusted for hue and color - just imported with Aperture and exported.  I made very few tweaks for brightness since I clearly was shooting easy scenes to get the exposure correct (jpegs).  A polarizer filter also helps cut the glare down.

One major improvement which will be talked about once the reviews on the camera begin will be the amazing improvement in manual focus with the XF18-55mm lens.  The new linear focus motor makes the manual focus smooth and accurate.  It raises the performance the firmware 2.0 made to an even higher level.  So not to sound confusing - yes this LENS makes a difference on either body since it has a new focus motor system.  You'll see - you have to feel it to know.  As most have read - the new firmware has improved the overall performance of the X-Pro1 including the AF and manual focus, and this lens really kicks it up.

The new OLED 2.36MM EVF viewfinder is easy to work with and has a great viewing angle for use in all lighting situations (glasses on or off).  Having a pop up flash is a nice touch for quick fill outdoors (flash sync up to 1/180th).  More high ISO images coming soon - the X-Trans 16mp sensor puts out incredibly smooth high ISO image files.






 The new XF 18-55mm lens at 18mm then 55mm in the same scene.




 

















 So here are the low light images from the concert in Radio City Hall.

Yellow lights at ISO 2500
Final Head at ISO 1250
Stage Head ISO 2000

 Magenta Star at ISO 2000
 Blue Crowd at ISO 1600
 ISO 2500
ISO 2500
ISO 2500
 Meatpacking Club ISO 3200



























I am an employee of FUJIFILM North America Corporation.
The statements, comments and opinions expressed here represent my own, personal views and are not endorsed by, or affiliated in any way with, FUJIFILM North America Corporation or its affiliates.
bremler@fujifilm.com 

33 comments:

  1. I can't wait for mine to come. Looking at your pictures is like looking at prints, not digital images, I love that. Maybe I can stop buying new cameras for a while and just focus on taking pictures.

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    1. My feeling exactly. Been looking for for something lighter than my D700, and now I'm glad I resisted the OM-D. This looks superb - the search is over :-)

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  2. Brandon, I've been shooting with the X-Pro1 since April and really enjoying it. I note that the X-E1 has a lower resolution LCD but a much much higher resolution EVF. (I almost never use the OVF.) I'm almost tempted to switch to the X-E1 for the lighter weight, higher resolution EVF and maybe the pop-up flash. Your thoughts? thanks.

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    1. Yeah, been wondering the same thing...

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    2. Anonymous10:09 AM

      I'm not Brandon, but if you're not using the OVF on your XP1, switching to the X-E1 seems like a no-brainer -- assuming you at least break even on the switch -- for the reasons you stated. And if you have use of the new kit zoom, you get that at a substantial discount with the bundle.

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    3. "assuming you at least break even on the switch" - aye, there's the rub. The price for the X-Pro1 on the secondary market where I live (Hong Kong) is plummeting now that the X-E1 is imminent. I may just stick it out with what I've got and wait and see what the X-Pro2 has to offer; I'm sure that will be announced by January.

      I have to say, I'm really cheesed off at Fuji for this, for releasing a camera so substantially similar to the old one just six months later at such a greatly reduced price point. It's almost a spit in the face at those like myself who invested in the X-Pro1.

      Seriously. Six month gap, same sensor, same basic look & feel, same control layout, better EVF, pop-up flash, 40% cheaper. Who wouldn't feel at least a little ripped off by this?

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    4. Randolph1:55 PM

      I wouldn't feel ripped off because in the Xpro1 I'd be getting a great OVF and a slightly better LCD. OVF's are expensive. It's not a rip off when an OVF is something desired by the photographer. The X-E1 is for people that don't care about an OVF and prefer a slightly smaller camera.

      Fuji announced they will not be releasing an XPRO2 anytime soon so XPRO1 users don't feel cheated, like you're feeling.

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    5. Anonymous1:31 PM

      Well... Fuji did not announce there would be another option coming out WITHOUT OVF when it released the X-Pro, and that's the problem. I never use the OVF. Had I had the choice, or had I known that there would be a choice 6 month later, I would certainly not have bought a larger X-Pro (even at only 10% more). But Fuji knew there would be a cheaper XE1 coming. Just as Fuji already could have implemented the new X100s sensor on the XE1 - but that would have been too openly mocking X-Pro buyers.
      I think this short term releasing strategy of not completely finished (or soon to be improved) "pro" products is not very productive. I admire Fuji for what they do right (basically sensors, colors and lenses), but I seriously start to feel the "little" one(s) are more vicious than the "big" one(s). Besides, I wonder if the Olympus style manual focus switch on the 14mm will become standard? I miss it on the 17mm/35mm, it would have been great !

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  3. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Im dying to see some portrait shot on both the wide and long end of the 18 - 55 lens. Dying to see out of focus effects and bokeh. If there is any?

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    1. Anonymous4:26 PM

      Hi Brandon!
      Thanks for cool pictures!
      Please, publish some portraits on the long end with different appertures.

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  4. Anonymous8:44 PM

    +1 to that bokeh pictures wish.
    1. I would really like to know how it performs with moving subjects?? Any good for shooting kids?
    2. is there any EVF lag that makes u miss a shot?

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  5. How's the IS working? What about in video? Can the IS or focusing motor be heard while recording?

    Thanks.

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  6. Are all the picture posted in your review come from the 18-55mm new lens? I ask this as I can not see any lens information attached to your photos after download. Can you reload your photos with full EXIF attached?

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  7. nice pictures, i am a beginner hope you will share some of the your settings especially for those low light pictures, what color settings, the lighting looks very natural, thx

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  8. I want one so bad, thanks for sharing your thoughts

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  9. Thank you for your comments. I'll work on more test images with people and see if I get what you are looking for. As for the EVF question I still have the pre production unit but the OLED is wonderful and I think you'll enjoy it. The size and feel of the camera is subjective so you'll have to handle it to see which model you prefer. The low light pix were all in Standard mode - all are from jpeg shooting. As for bokeh I'm not sure how amazing that will be at F/4 at 55mm but I'll give it all a whirl. I haven't done any video to test the IS motor sound yet - will try to - but I'm not a big video shooter. But always important to learn all facets of the camera so thanks for suggesting that!

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  11. tikox7:29 AM

    Hi,

    What kind of WB-setting you used in Radio City Hall? How auto-WB can handle in that kind of situation? I am interested because it' inmportant aspect with jpg-picks... because we don't really have good RAW support in Lightroom and so on...

    What about AF in tohose conditions?

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  12. Impressive set of images. Whilst I have an X-Pro 1 and am more than happy with it, I would not be afraid to get this as a back up body if required.

    The lens looks as though it may well make an acceptable travel lens if you are looking for a single lens option - though i myself struggle to swap from the 35mm f1.4.

    Your review does make me wonder what the 1022 is going to be like...

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  13. Cristof1:58 AM

    I am also interested bye the video capabilities. But they are not good, I think. Is there somebody who get example of video with X-E1 ? and can he give us his point of view ? Thank you !

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Cristof2:00 AM

      (not "bye" but "by" !! sorry !)

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  14. Cool post. Enjoy'd the photos. :)

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  15. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Excellent performance from a kit lens. Very encouraging. And Fuji have a good lens roadmap. Pretty soon the only reason to have a DSLR is for tracking fast action (and the optical viewfinder).

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  16. Anonymous5:10 PM

    By the way. Fantastic concert pics!

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  17. I too am very excited about the new X-E 1, and pre-ordered it the day it was announced prior to Photokina week. My only concern is the 'elephant in the room' that I'm surprised doesn't get mentioned more ... the lack of RAW file support.

    I use Aperture 3 for storing and most photo processing (CS6 and Nik Silver Efex 2.0 for more complex work), and Aperture still doesn't support the X-Pro 1.

    Is there a software conversion available to convert Fuji's non-Bayer sensor raw files into something Aperture will recognize?

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  18. Have u done any post processing to ur photos ?

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  19. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Hi Thanks for great preview - Im convinced of the X-E1 still qualities, have you already tried the video especially using the stabilized lens? I am looking for comparison with Oly OM-D. Thanks!

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  20. Good write up, tempting camera to buy thats for sure!

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  21. Please talk about using Leica lenses on the X-E1. Is there any focus assistance??

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  22. I got the X-E1 a week ago and it has hardly been out of my hands since then! One point of discussion in other places (Flickr X-E1 group) is the choice of silver or black finish. I had intended to get the silver, but when I saw them sitting together in the shop, I went for the black - side by side it "looked" smaller (it isn't) and I was concerned that the silver was a finish, not a natural metal. Some are finding that this finish scratches, revealing the black beneath. So I guess I was wise to choose the black - but for a camera at this price, a poor silver finish is a bit of a let down!

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  23. Excellent performance from a kit lens. Very encouraging. And Fuji have a good lens roadmap. Pretty soon the only reason to have a DSLR is for tracking fast action.
    Regard's,
    Ben Linus,
    Check It Out

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  24. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

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