Review of the Fujifilm X-E1 | Martin Doppelbauer

24 Jan

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Since many years I am using digital full frame Canon cameras. Starting with the EOS 5D I have now switched to the Mark III. I am not always able or willing to carry the heavy equipment and for such cases I have a second, lighter system. That used to be a Panasonic Lumix G1, which I replaced by a Fuji X-E1 and the 18-55 mm 1:2.8-4 zoom lens at the end of 2012. After several weeks with the Fuji I am still excited by the X-E1. Further down you will find a number of photographs that demonstrate the potential of this camera. But there are not only positive things to report: The X-E1 does have its quirks and I they will also be reported here…..

– Compared to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III –

The images of the X-E1 are of such a high quality that a comparison with the full-frame EOS 5D Mark III seemed reasonable. Both cameras were tested together with their “kit zoom lenses”, the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 on the X-E1 and the 24-105 L f/4 on the Canon.

I have shot hundreds of images in various tests with all ISO and aperture settings. Landscape shots were represented as well as close-ups and photos of test images to determine resolution and moire. Some of the images are available for download in full resolution high quality JPG. You can find the download links at the end of my report.

For fair comparison the settings of both camera systems should be largely identical. This affects focal length, depth of field and exposure (ISO and shutter speed). Due to the different sensor sizes and Fuji’s exaggerated ISO numbers the matter is not so easy.

Focal length and depth of field (aperture) is converted to the crop factor, i.e. with 1.5. For example, a focal length of 23.3 mm on the X-E1 corresponds to the popular 35 mm on a full frame sensor. An aperture of f/5.6 on the Fuji gives a similar depth of field as f/8 at the Canon. I have always reduced the ISO values by 2/3rd steps on the EOS 5D Mark III.

All images were shot in RAW format and developed with Capture One 7.0.2. In some of the X-E1’s pictures the white balance was adjusted according to the EOS 5D, which I generally found slightly more accurate. All other parameters of the RAW software were left at their default values, which is particularly important when comparing noise performance.

The first series is a landscape shot with 35 mm focal length (full format). I used f/11 on both cameras in order to achieve optimal image quality. ISO levels were varied. All shots were taken with self-timer from a tripod. The image stabilizer was turned off. Below is a series of 100% crops from ISO 200 to ISO 6400…..

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