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Fujifilm X-E2: Prosumer ILC gets a handful of essential updates

For the successor to the X-E1, Fujifilm upgraded to a better sensor and attacked some of the performance and design weaknesses.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
4 min read
Like the X-E1, the X-E2 will come in a black-only and black-and-silver version. Fujifilm

Okay, so I was pretty late getting around to my review of the X-E1 -- it shipped last November and I didn't post the review until August -- and just a few months later Fujifilm launches its successor. The good news is that for the X-E2 the company has addressed almost all the important issues the X-E1 had. The incorporation of the X-Trans CMOS II (used in the X100S) delivers phase-detection autofocus, and in conjunction with the updated EXR II image processor there's the potential to alleviate the sluggish performance. It also has a bigger and higher resolution LCD that Fujifilm claims provides better visibility along with the digital split-image viewfinder display from the X100S, and the company streamlined the design and layout of the controls a bit. It also gains Wi-Fi connectivity.

Some of the control layout changes include better placement for the AF-L and AF buttons. On the shutter dial there's also a 1/180 sec stop to quickly access the top flash-sync speed, plus a second programmable button on the top. Fujifilm

However, while the company says it has improved autofocus performance during video and added manual focus peaking, you still can't control ISO or shutter speed in movie mode, though you can still set aperture beforehand.

Shop for Fujifilm X-E2 (Body Only, Black)

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A subset of the increasingly crowded field of prosumer ILCs:

  Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-E2 Olympus PEN E-P5 Sony Alpha ILCE-7/7R 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
24.3MP Exmor CMOS/
36.4MP Exmor CMOS
14-bit
16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS
n/a
23.6mm x 15.6mm 23.6 x 15.8mm 17.3mm x 13mm 35.8 x 23.9mm 23.5 x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.5x 1.5x 2.0x 1.0x 1.5x
OLPF No No No Yes/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 50
(exp)/ ISO 100 - ISO 25600
ISO 100 - ISO 25600
Continuous shooting 6fps
n/a
n/a 4.5-5fps (lens dependent, IS off)
70 JPEG/20 raw
(9fps with fixed AE/AF, no IS)
2.5fps (5fps with fixed exposure)/
1.5fps (4fps with fixed focus)
n/a
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
0.71x
OLED EVF
0.5-inch
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
1.09x/0.73x
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 49-area
Contrast AF
n/a
Contrast AF; phase-detection AF
35-area contrast AF Hybrid AF system
25-area contrast AF;117-pt phase-
detection/
25-area contrast AF
99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV 0 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync 60 - 1/8000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync
(FP to 1/4000 sec)
1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync
Metering 256 zones n/a 324 area n/a 1,200 zones
Metering range n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV 1,200 zones 0 - 20 EV
Flash Yes Yes Yes 0 - 20 EV Yes
Wireless flash No No Yes No
(No on-camera flash)
No
Image stabilization Optical Optical Sensor shift Optical 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, 1080/60i/ 24p @ 24Mbps AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24Mbps
Audio Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input; headphone jack 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 inches tilting
921,600 dots
3-inch tilting touch screen
921,600 dots
Wireless connection None Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi
Battery life (CIPA rating) 350 shots 350 shots 330 shots 340 shots
(1080 mAh)
270 shots
(with viewfinder)
Dimensions (inches, WHD) 5.1 x 2.9 x 1.5 5.1 x 2.9 x 1.5 4.8 x 2.7 x 1.5 5.0 x 3.8 x 1.9 4.8 x 2.8 x 1.1
Body operating weight (ounces) 12.6 n/a 15.1 16.7 (est) 12.3
Mfr. price $799.00 (est, body only) $999.95 (body only) $949.99 (body only) $1,699.99 (body only)/
$2,299.99 (body only)
$749.99 (body only)
$1,199.95 (est, with 18-55mm lens) $1,399.95 (with 18-55mm XF lens) n/a $1,999.99 (with 28-70mm 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 n/a
Ship date November 2012 November 2013 July 2013 December 2013 October 2012

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 I'm not sure the E-P5 can 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 other Olympus, the OM-D E-M1 additionally has sturdier construction. Still, I really enjoyed shooting with the X-E1 and look forward to giving this an outing. Hopefully within a shorter time frame than its predecessor.