CNET First Look
Fujifilm X-E1: great photos, great experienceA modern camera with an old-school feel.
Like its less expensive sibling, XM1, the Fujifilm X-E1 delivers pretty excellent photo quality, just not as cheaply. The camera incorporates Fujifilm's APS-C sized X-Trans sensor. The sensor uses a non-standard color filter array layout. So, it can drop the softening anti-aliasing filter. That combined with really good JPEG processing results in excellent photos as high as ISO 1600 and really usable one through ISO 6400. It's also got great dynamic range and good color too. Flip side, however, is relatively poor video quality. With a lot of edge artifacts that the anti-aliasing filter usually deals with. It also has pretty severe rolling shutter artifacts. The camera has a really nice design though with an excellent electronic view finder and photographer friendly physical controls. While I wish the LCD could tilt or articulate, the EVF is probably a solid tradeoff. It has a more analog feel than other cameras with a manual shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial and a kit lens that has a manual aperture ring. There are physical controls for all the frequently needed settings, plus a programmable function button and a threaded remote socket in the shutter button. The surprisingly good on camera flash can be tilted back to balance or to reduce intensity easily. The grip is a lot shallower than I'd like but it's not bad. The one design drawback will affect tripod users. The tripod socket is right next to the battery and SD card compartment, which makes swapping hard. The feature says it's pretty unremarkable though there's almost everything here that most serious photographers might want. It just lack spells like connectivity, GPS, expensive bracketing controls, time laps and so on. The real downside is performance. It's okay but it lags its competitors and though it can burst to about 5.7 frames per second, it can only do it with fixed focus and exposure. If you're looking for great photo quality with a moderately analog-like shooting experience, the X-E1 is it. It's just not the most well-rounded option of class. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Fujifilm X-E1.