I just realized today that I've had my hands a variety of Fuji products in the last month or so. I'm not writing this up as a review but as sort of an overview of what I've seen. Hopefully it will be helpful to others who are also interested in moving towards the Fuji system. Please note that these are opinions and for "my purposes" and use only. I am a wedding photographer, but also enjoy doing macro, traveling and every day photography.
X100s - This is a camera with a fixed lens of 23mm, has an optical and electronic viewfinder. You have to see it to believe it, tough to describe. Only the XPro1 and the original x100 share that feature currently. This is a 16.3MP camera. The original x100 had a 12MP camera with a bayer sensor.
- It is small and compact and no need to change focal length so it slows you down and makes you think more on your composition. Very well built and also very good close focusing capabilities. This camera is pocketable (jacket, large pockets)
- Also, the leaf shutter is super quiet! You can't hear from even three ft away. Perfect for street photography and for taking candid photos without being noticed.
- The leaf shutter is also neat because it allows for flash use of up to 1/1000 of a second. For flash/strobe users this is a dream setup.
- Very good image quality up to ISO 6400 using the xtrans sensor II.
- Is a do it all camera when traveling, general walking around and produces images similar to full frame cameras.
- If you feel you might need more focal lengths you are rather limited here. Update: You can spend more to get the wider teleconverter and longer one as well. Both of these are fairly new but do add to its flexibility.
- Af in low light is slower than some of the newer Fuji cameras. For some more demanding situations its not quite up to the task yet, although with patience it can be done.
- The button layout is different to all other Fuji cameras, so although it makes for a great companion camera it will take some getting used to. For some this is not a problem at all.
- The evf refresh rate is also a little slower than other models. This could be updated in future firmware updates.
Note: Overall, this is an almost perfect camera. If the AF improves in the near future for low light situations it would be unstoppable. For many this has not been an issue, but when comparing to other Fuji models it does fall behind.
X-E2 - This is one of the newer interchange-able lens models. After the success of x100 and the x-Pro1 Fuji decided to add a line-up to their camera system. One priced in-between the x100 and the XPro1. So, the X-e1 came out. It was in many ways an Xpro1 without the optical view finder. The build was not as good, but very close to it as well, but much less expensive. Smart move Fuji to get more traction. Less than a yr later the X-E2 came out. The X-E2 although nearly identical to the X-E1 had many improvements which to me made it the best Fuji camera available (at purchase).
- First thing I noticed with the X-E2 over the X-E1 was the EVF refresh rate. It was much much faster. Even in low light it barely stuttered at all. To me it made it a lot more accurate taking photos.
- AF improvements. All my lenses seemed to focus much faster in regular light and low light as well. With the added phase detection on the Xtrans sensor II this camera is snappy. The X-E1 did not get the benefit of the new sensor. To me AF accuracy and speed is very important in low light as well.
- Vs the x100s it is very good to have a system where you can take advantage of the Fuji lens lineup which is very impressive.
- This camera is still small enough with a short lens to walk around with.
- From the start it came out in black and silver so you have a couple options there depending on your style.
- I don't really see anything glaring here. I do see that it can be improved in AF, evf refresh rate, but some of these things can be improved with firmware updates. I would like the view mode inserted in there possibly on a function button as it can be very useful. The X-E1 had it, not sure why it went away, aside from moving about buttons. This is my camera of choice and only makes me more curious to see what the X-E3 will bring to the table seeing some enhancements on the new X-T1.
X-T1 - (Please note I do not own this camera and this is information gathered via online reliable sources, and current owners of the camera) This is the brand new camera that hit the market a few weeks ago. It is set to fit between the X-E series and the X-Pro series. It adds an ISO wheel to the top left of the camera and moves the viewfinder to the middle as in many DSLRS. It looks like they attempted this styling to attract more converts. The viewfinder is much larger and faster and adds a few great features as well. They have added a tilting back screen, and made the camera weather sealed which is a big step up. I'm hoping the new X-E3 might get weather sealing as well.
- More durable, tougher build will appeal to many. Having a weather sealed camera is very important to some photographers. The improved build quality and added weight also helps balance some of the larger lenses. Weather sealed lenses will be arriving to the Fuji lineup later this year which is also exciting.
- Grip option that will hold another battery is great as these cameras don't get the best battery life as they use smaller batteries to keep their dimensions small. No other model offers a grip that can hold a battery. Also the memory card slot is placed on the side of the camera vs on the bottom. Yet another small thing, but a great improvement.
- Large viewfinder. I personally have not seen it, but it is larger than the viewfinder on full frame cameras. Its supposed to be amazing and it offers more options as well.
- ISO dial on the top left really helps to change that setting and a few others quickly without having to jump into the menus.
- Faster AF. This is always welcome and I've read it has improved on all the lenses currently available.
- Stylistically this camera moves away from the rangefinder design and looks more like a mini dslr. For some this is fantastic and for others like myself prefer the x-e2 design.
- The shutter filter thread and flash have been removed from this camera. I'm assuming they did this to help with the weather sealing. Given the large viewfinder area on this camera there was no space to put a built in flash. But, for some, having no cable release option isn't great.
- Camera is larger than the X-E2 and X100s and heavier. With the grip it starts to resemble the size of a smaller sized DSLR.
I think Fuji has done something really smart here. They have a fixed lens offering that had/has a huge following. For everyday use or as a companion camera it is just superb. They have a cost effective X-E series that seems to be replaced every yr or so. These keep that retro look and work really well and for some people making a conversion to the Fuji line it won't burn a hole in your pocket. The high ISO performance on all these cameras is just phenomenal and was my 1st reason to check them out. Then you have the X-T1 series which has just begun and is getting a ton of attention everywhere and it seems the demand is much higher than anticipated. This one is not that much more than the X-E2, but offers a hybrid DSLR/Rangefinder look that will appeal to serious pros and people more accustomed to the DSLR look. All enjoy the great knob layout for a great hands on feeling. The X-PRO series stands at the top of the line-up. To this day they have only had one version, but it was fantastic. It is now getting a little long in the tooth and the masses want a new version. The X-T1 will suffice for now, but there are huge hopes for the new X-Pro2 whenever that comes out.
The lenses are just fantastic. Most are built of all metal, have the aperture ring on the lens itself and are very sharp. Also, some are way cheaper than a comparable version with other manufacturers. In addition, FUJI releases a roadmap for the yr to let you know exactly what will be coming out several months ahead. This way you can start saving up for that dream lens. Did I mention they have been doing two huge sales a yr where most of their lenses are marked down? Unheard of!! This past month I was able to buy a lens and practically get the second one for free. This was for all retailers and not buying from Fuji directly. Super impressed with Fuji for that and thank them. This company started with three lenses and now has about a dozen available with another 3-5 coming out by the end of the year. The XF series is their pro line up and the XC lenses are the more prosumer line-up. If you're curious to what's hot right now they just launched a 56mm 1.2 lens this week! Any portrait photographers out there?
Firmware updates continue to improve each model. Even a yr later Fuji has been coming out with fixes, updates and even add-ons to make your existing camera enjoy a longer life. And that is impressive. You can rest assured that whichever camera you buy will only get better with time and not worse. Congrats Fuji!! To this day there are proud owners of the original x100 owners that would NEVER give it up, and that camera is about 2 yrs old!
Note: Having tried out a few of these cameras I have noticed one thing that was out of the norm for me coming from the DSLR world. Each series offers different button layout, control. So be aware of that if you are looking to get more than one Fuji camera. Especially if you need to use two in tandem it can be frustrating having to learn two different button layouts. For me, it made the most sense to use two of the same camera so I could easily switch back and forth and not be missing or having to find a button. Knowing that future firmware updates will be rolled out, as well as more lenses assure me that I made the right choice to switch to Fuji.
Please share your thoughts if you are a Fuji owner.
Or if you are considering Fuji and have any questions, please ask!