Wanted a Fujifilm X100 so I made my own: X-E2 and 27mm f/2.8

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I have wanted an X100 since it was first released. A deserved hit. Stylish. Compact. Great IQ. Great lens. Excellent ergonomics. It can be used as a point and shoot with all of the manual controls you could want. What is not to like?

With all that a couple of things kept me from buying one:

  • That price.
  • That lens.
    • Nothing wrong with the lens itself, but this kit is a bit pricey considering you are limited to one lens.

Note: As I have said before if the price is no object for you go for it. Completely understandable. Just not my reality.

Before bailing completely on the X100 experience consider the main draws.

  • IQ.
  • Compact.

The closest optical viewfinder interchangeable lens option is the X-Pro series, but they cost more for the body alone and are also considerably larger. If you are willing to forgo the optical viewfinder the Fujifilm X-E line has you covered whether new or used.

New: X100Fvs X-E3/27mm f/2.8

As mentioned a new X100F runs a little more than $1,000. For $150 or so less you can pick up a brand new X-E3 and a Fujifilm 27mm f/2.8. They both carry the same 24.3 sensor and camera specs for the most part (click images for source website).

x100f_xe3_backx100f_xe3

What you lose with the X-E3/27mm:

  • The wider focal length which will either be a plus or a minus depending on your personal preference. Close enough to be a wash for me.
  • Aperture dial on the lens. Does take away of the Fuji-ness of the setup, but again not a big deal for my purposes.
  • A bit of light. It can be offset by going the 18mm f/2 route, which also brings an aperture ring, but that lens is considerably larger and more expensive.
  • Makes for a slightly thicker camera back to front.
  • Built-in flash. This one matters to me a little more. I find it quite handy to have this available at all times without needing a separate flash. As with this shot below with the Contax T2 a bit of fill flash can be quite handy with the best of cameras.

Contax T2

What you gain with the X-E3/27mm:

  • About $150 in your pocket.
  • The ability to use other lenses.
  • Slightly narrower body.

Used: X100S vs X-E2/27mm f/2.8

Here the price advantage does not really hold up. I paid about $530 for a used X-E2 and 27mm which is about what used X100S are going for. They both carry the same 16.3 sensor and camera specs for the most part (click images to go to source website).

x100s_xe2_backx100s_xe2

What you lose with the X-E2/27mm:

  • The wider focal length which will either be a plus or a minus depending on your personal preference. Close enough to be a wash for me.
  • Aperture dial on the lens. Does take away of the Fuji-ness of the setup, but again not a big deal for my purposes.
  • A bit of light. It can be offset by going the 18mm f/2 route, which also brings an aperture ring, but that lens is considerably larger and more expensive.
  • The X-E3 successor was slimmed down quite a bit while the X100 has held firm which makes for a slightly thicker camera back to front, but about the same width wise.

What do you gain with the X-E2/27mm:

  • The ability to use other lenses.
  • A pop-up flash. The newer X-E3 above lost its built-in flash, but this older model has a built-in flash and unlike the fixed X100S flash you can tilt this flash up once deployed.

After reviewing the pluses and minuses of all I decided upon the X-E2/27mm combination. While the X-E3 offers great value new the X-E2 costs half as much and retains a built-in flash. Sure 24.3MP would be nice, but in my experience 16.3MP is plenty for my purposes.

49223950482_1dc8e81feb_c

Result? These two act as one. Focusing is fast. Proves extremely versatile as expected.

Quick shot picking up family at a train station.

Fujifilm X-E2

Waiting on replacement keys for an old van.

Fujifilm X-E2

Candid house mascot shot.

X-E2

Random field.

X-E2

Whatever this thing is that I have taken a million pictures of outside the camera shop.

X-E2

Quick street scene.

Fujifilm X-E2

Pizza shop stop.

Fujifilm X-E2

Great in low light.

Fujifilm X-E2

Sunset scene.

Fujifilm X-E2

This.

X-E2

And this.

FUJIFILM XF 27mm f/2.8

Could I have taken these photos with my larger gear or a phone? Certainly possible. But unlikely.

In each case, I had this camera in hand, in jacket pocket, or hanging by wrist strap. Something that would not have been the case with my larger cameras. And while I am very happy with my phone camera’s IQ ergonomics would have hampered my use in most of these cases.

And unlike my wonderful dance with the Leica Q this setup is much more compact and does not bring the same use/lose/drop/get stolen anxiety that camera always gave me. Granted that Q lens is legendary, but unlike the Q or the X100 the X-E2 can do this:

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20191226134040463_cover

Looks goofy, but is surprisingly well balanced and effective in actual use. Being an interchangeable lens solution is the biggest selling point over any potential cost savings. This brings even more flexibility to an already very flexible setup.

For compactness, MFT seemed the way to go and I tried both the Panasonic G7 and the Olympus PEN F. I have a bit of history with MFT as it was my first entry into interchangeable lens cameras. But as I learned when I bailed on MFT for Nikon and Samsung APS-C cameras years ago MFT had two issues. 1) Ergonomically usable MFT cameras do not tend to be much smaller than smaller APS-C cameras. 2) While very capable and excellent performers for their size I find that APS-C seems to be the minium sensor size for my purposes.

Had said that the Canon EOS RP w/ the 35mm f/1.8 was my daily driver champ over the Q. But at the end of the day after a dance with the Q, the RP/35mm f/1.8, and the A7III/Rokinon-Samyang 35mm f/2.8 l had to finally admit that you cannot fight physics. All full-frame contenders, whether interchangeable lens or fixed, delivered wonderfully IQ wise but were all too large, heavy, and/or expensive to suit my needs for a daily driver.

The X-E2 offers the compactness I desired from MFT and the IQ I desired from full-frame.

Not bad for a $250 camera.

X-E2

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