Fujifilm X-E2 review: A little faster, more streamlined

The shutter button has threads for a wired shutter release, and there's a programmable function button next to it that you can map to one of a variety of frequently needed settings; in playback mode it brings up the Wi-Fi connection. The popup flash can be tilted back for bouncing, a feature I really like. An autofocus mode switch -- single, continuous, or manual -- sits on the front of the body.

On the shutter dial there's also a 1/180-sec stop to quickly access the top flash-sync speed, plus there's a second programmable button on the top. Sarah Tew/CNET

You'll find the review, drive, metering, and a second programmable function button down the left side of the LCD; the function button defaults to white balance. Fujifilm considers movie recording a drive mode, so you have to inconveniently dive down to turn it on, and you can't shoot photos while you're in that mode.

On the right side sit the four-way navigation buttons, one of which is dedicated to macro mode and the second to the now-relocated AF-area selector button, plus menu/OK in the center. The Q (quick control) button is close to the top center of the back, to the left of the jog dial, making it a little awkward to reach, while separate AE- and AF-lock buttons now more conveniently occupy the thumb rest bump. The quick-control screen still could use some customizability, but it's at least straightforward to use.

Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-E2 Olympus PEN E-P5 Sony Alpha NEX-6
Sensor (effective resolution) 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS
n/a
16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II 16.1MP Live MOS
12 bits
16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS
n/a
23.6x15.6mm 23.6x15.8mm 17.3x13mm 23.5x15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.5x 1.5x 2x 1.5x
OLPF No No No Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 6400/ 25600 (exp) ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 6400/ 25600 (exp) ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 - ISO 25600
Continuous shooting 6fps
n/a
3fps
unlimited JPEG/8 raw
(7fps with fixed AF)
4.5-5fps (lens dependent, IS off)
70 JPEG/20 raw
(9fps with fixed AE/AF, no IS)
3fps
11 raw/15 JPEG
(10fps with fixed exposure)
Viewfinder EVF
0.5-inch
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
n/a
EVF
0.5-inch
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
n/a
Optional EVF
2.36 million dots
100% coverage
1.48x/ 0.74x
OLED EVF
0.5-inch
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
1.09x/0.73x
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 49-area
Contrast AF
49-area contrast AF; phase-detection AF 35-area contrast AF 99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 sec x-sync 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 sec x-sync 60 - 1/8,000 sec; bulb to 30 min; 1/250 sec x-sync
(FP to 1/4,000 sec)
30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync
Metering 256 zones 256 zones 324 areas 1,200 zones
Metering range n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV 0 - 20 EV
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash No No Yes No
Image stabilization Optical Optical Sensor shift Optical
Best video 1080/24p H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p @ 20Mbps H.264 QuickTime MOV AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24Mbps
Audio Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input
LCD size 2.8-inch fixed
460,000 dots
3-inch fixed LCD
1.04 million dots
3-inch tilting touch-screen LCD
1.04 million dots
3-inch tilting touch screen
921,600 dots
Wireless connection None Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Battery life (CIPA rating) 350 shots 350 shots 330 shots 270 shots
(with viewfinder)
Dimensions (inches, WHD) 5.1x2.9x1.5 5.1x2.9x1.5 4.8x2.7x1.5 4.8x2.8x1.1
Body operating weight (ounces) 12.6 12.7 15.1 12.3
Mfr. price $699 (est, body only) $999.95 (body only) $949.99 (body only) $749.99 (body only)
$999.95 (est, with 18-55mm lens) $1,399.95 (with 18-55mm XF lens) n/a $899.99 (with 15-60mm PZ lens)
n/a n/a $1,449.99 (with 17mm f1.8 lens and VF-4 EVF) n/a
Ship date November 2012 November 2013 July 2013 October 2012

While the feature set has grown a tiny bit, it's still relatively basic. You can't control ISO or shutter speed in movie mode, though you can still set aperture beforehand. The Wi-Fi implementation is serviceable with Android but not so much iOS, at least with the latest version of the app at the time I wrote this; I couldn't get it to connect to my iPad, and I wasn't alone in that if the user reviews were anything to judge by. On my Android device (an HTC One), it worked okay, though it frequently took multiple tries to get it to connect, even with the camera and phone side by side. Even when it works the capabilities are unremarkable -- you can remotely browse or download photos and geotag.

The tripod mount is right next to the battery compartment/SD card slot, which makes swapping cards or batteries a real problem if you're a tripod user. Also, some folks have complained about the X-E1's inability to set a minimum shutter speed when in aperture-priority mode; still can't in the X-E2.

While the camera gets bonus points for the EVF, tilting flash, and focus peaking, the rest of the feature set is pretty average and the lackluster Wi-Fi barely moves the needle. However, with the exception of the minimum-shutter-speed issue, and perhaps a desire for time-lapse or increased number of shots during bracketing, there's still enough here to keep most photographers happy.

For a complete accounting of the X-E2's features and operation, download the PDF manual (PDF).

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot
Raw shot-to-shot time
Typical shot-to-shot time
Shutter lag (dim)
Shutter lag (typical)
Olympus PEN E-P5
0.8
0.2
0.2
0.3
0.2
Sony Alpha NEX-6
2
0.2
0.2
0.5
0.2
Fujifilm X-M1
1.8
0.9
1
0.7
0.3
Fujifilm X-E2
1.4
1.1
1
0.4
0.4
Fujifilm X-E1
1.4
1
1
0.8
0.5

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

*The earlier Fujifilm X series cameras only support continuous shooting with fixed exposure and focus.

**The X-E2 only supports continuous autofocus and exposure in the low-speed 3fps continuous-shooting mode. It gives 7fps without continuous autofocus.

Conclusion
For its image quality and shooting experience, the Fujifilm X-E2 remains a winner in its price bracket. But it falls short for action shooting and video, for which you can get a better experience by paying a few hundred more for a camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 or a dSLR like the Nikon D7100. While it will be a lot more expensive to jump up to full frame -- and even more so if you want OLPF-free full frame -- I think a lot of profressionals who might have jumped at the X-E2 as a supplement (or alternative to) their dSLRs might be lured by one of Sony's options. While the E-P5 can't compete on pixel-peeping photo quality, there's still the attraction of the tilting LCD, access to a wider variety of native system lenses, and faster flash sync, and the the OM-D E-M1 additionally has sturdier construction. You either pick up the X-E2 and fall in love with it, or you pass.

Furthermore, given the price drop on the Fujifilm X-E1 and the relative similarity to its successor, that might be a nice option as well.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Digital camera type Mirrorless Digital Camera
  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 16.3 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 15.6 x 23.6mm
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