Return to Fuji La. How much does shooting happiness cost?: Fujifilm X-E2

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In an odd turn of events, my current favorite camera is also my least expensive camera. By a good margin.

Let me back up.

I recently outlined my big boy Sony FE camera bag set up in a post about my first wedding shoot and I adore it.

Kauffmann Wedding - The Reception

In tandem, as I wrote about last week, I had been trying to make peace with Sony’s crop offerings as a more compact daily shooting option, but this ended when a sale price brought me back to Fuji La’s door. Great experience so far and I am glad I purchased it.

FujiFilm X-T100

In that post I wrote:, “Return to Fuji-La, perhaps?”

Fuji La

Was half-joking. I thought I was safe from falling back into Fuji-la, or another body because at the time I thought any additional body would cost more than the one I had. Reasonable assumption since the kit I bought was an amazing value. With a $399 deal that is back on as I write this I was either getting an awesome lens for $50 or a great body for $100. A win either way.

Sidenote: Do not sleep on the 15-45mm. It’s kit lens status and plastic mount do nothing to diminish the stellar performance of this little stabilized power zoom. I will likely be writing a review of it.

FujiFilm X-T100

Truth be told I was fixated on the X-Pro1.

But I was really in it for the aesthetics more than the optical viewfinder party piece. I had it before and have missed it since. The X-Pro2 and the latest very chic X-Pro3, while very awesome, priced themselves out of my serious consideration and version 1 was still a bit dearer than I liked also. Thought of the X-E3. Very similar look to the X-Pro1 while costing less than the newer X-Pro bodies and only losing the optical viewfinder that I did not really use. Reasonable new at $499, but that was still a bit more than I wanted to spend and it lost the X-E2 models built-in flash. While the smaller size and added touch screen are nice I would rather they had kept the built-in flash. By my good fortune, an X-E2 showed up at my local camera shop for $250. Sold.

Fujifilm X-E2

What I expected:

Had become immediately attached to the much better than it has any business being X-T100. It is quite a complete stills solution. Was expecting the X-E2 to be an even more compact, simpler, less fiscally dear body.

What I got:

Like the X-T100 it has me questioning what the entry point to “serious” photography is. They are both no excuses image creation devices that can meet my practical needs as well as the most recent, full-frame, high megapixel devices.

Fuji compared to my Sony big boy camera bag.

What I lose:

  • In body IS.
    • Not even available at the top of the Fuji X food chain with the discontinued departure of the X-H1.
  • More image capturing surface area.
    • In use not as large of an issue as it is on paper.
  • Much larger lens selection.

What I gain:

  • Sony’s ergonomics are decent, but Fuji’s are better.
  • FIlm simulations are not a gimmick.
    • Where RAW processing is a must with near any system it is optional with Fujifilm. The JPEGs are that good.
  • Size and weight.
    • Both Fuji’s are jacket pocket-friendly. A bit much to expect a full-frame camera w/ a lens to get in your pocket, except possibly the RX1 series. But that is too rich for my blood either way.
  • Not as dear financially.
    • I am reminded that this is what did the Leica Q in for me. It just costs too much to comfortably tote about everywhere with me. Turned out well, but once left it in a store and the panic that ensued before I got it back was most unpleasant. The same applies to Sony to a lesser degree.

The best way I can describe the X-E2 is by comparing it to the Fuji I have, the one that came after it, and the one I had originally wanted.

X-E2 compared to the X-T100

What I lose:

  • Articulating screen.
    • Better suited for pocket duty.
  • In body USB charging.
  • Blue tooth (WiFi only on the X-E2).
  • Touch screen.
    • That I always forget is available on every touch screen camera I have owned.
  • 4K stills features. Video does not count.
  • 8MP on paper (24MP vs 16MP).

What I gain:

  • That 16MP sensor is of the much-ballyhooed X-Trans CMOS II variety.
  • Physical shutter dial, focus mode switch, and other buttons.

Fujifilm X-E2

Fujifilm X-E2

  • As much as I like the look of the X-T100 the X-E2 looks better to me.

X-E2 compared to the X-E3

What I lose:

  • Touch screen.
  • Blue tooth (WiFi only on the X-E2).
  • X-E3 is even more compact.
  • 24MP
  • 4K
  • Faster fps
  • None of which are worth $200 to me in actual use.
  • Front dial.

What I gain:

  • Buttons and 4-way D-pad.
  • Built-in flash.
  • Lower cost.

X-E2 compared to the X-Pro1

What I lose:

  • Optical viewfinder.

What I gain:

  • WiFi connectivity.
  • Phase detect AF.
  • Built-in flash.
  • Microphone jack.
  • Smaller body.
  • Lower cost.

So bottom line I have myself a smaller, better connected, better focusing, built-in flash X-Pro1.

Cool.

Thoughts so far:

  • Focuses much more quickly than I expected.
  • While not eery Sony fast it has very usable face and eye detect AF.
  • Phase detect AF, unlike its X-E1 predecessor.
  • Really enjoying the film simulations.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • And lastly and most importantly I am very happy with the resulting images. Have never thought I wish I had camera xyz with me.

It is the unobtrusive pocket camera that can be with me wherever I go to capture whatever I come across that I have been looking for.

Waiting on keys to be made for an old minivan.

Fujifilm X-E2

Admiring the colors.

Fujifilm X-E2

Standing on a train platform picking up family.

Fujifilm X-E2

Noticing a night sky.

Fujifilm X-E2

Here is an ongoing gallery.

This has turned out better than I expected.

While you can certainly spend more than I did on my main kit even that is more than many would need. I have quickly fleshed out a low budget kit to act as a low cost and low weight alternative to my big boy kit outlined in the wedding post. I have curbed myself to 4 lenses and 2 bodies. All for less than one lens for some systems. The goal is to use it when the biggest is not warranted or needed. Oddly both trips to Fuji La started with a Fuji Texas Leica acquisition. More to come on Fuji La part 2.

Fuji La Part 2

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