Simply put, the X-E1 is a small version of the X-Pro1 without the optical viewfinder. But, because it uses the same unique sensor of the X-Pro1, it's an attractive camera for those who pursue higher image quality. Even though it's almost as small as the palm-sized X100, it's an interchangeable-lens camera featuring the user interface for all kinds of manual controls. The large APS-C sensor without a low-pass filter generates extremely sharp images and their rendition is something only a film manufacturer would actualize. Plus, it uses a great variety of lenses of other manufacturers thanks to the short flange back distance, let alone the high-quality genuine brand XF lenses. And, what I was particularly impressed with was its capability as a snapshooter because of the great balance between the size and operation system. If a camera lacks of this balance, it will drag a photographer down at the location. As I already reported the excellent image quality of the X-1Pro, I will focus on this great balance of this camera.

( Photography & Text : K )

EVF offering real-time preview of the final output is a convenience.

The X-E1 lets you compose with the rear LCD monitor and the EVF. The rear LCD is useful when angling the camera in various ways and when composing precisely. But in general, by looking into the viewfinder, you can fully devote yourself into shooting and become integrated with the camera better. And, the more experience you are, the better you understand what I'm talking about. The EVF is not as linear as the OVF, but you can check the exposure, white balance, and focusing real-time. In other words, you can preview the final output while shooting and this is extremely convenient. For example, the scene in the above isn't extremely dark because the light is slightly defused by the clouds. So, in order to reproduce the soft lighting, I shouldn't underexpose too much. And, it's not easy to decide the amount of exposure compensation. Therefore, it's important to be able to check the highlight and shadow while shooting. And, it has the compensation dial on the top cover which you can turn while looking into the viewfinder previewing the final output. If this action requires two actions, that's not good. This camera has a great balance between automatic and manual, or advanced and constant.

At a cafe between buildings. There's something mysterious about this camera. It can compensate exposure by +/-2EV with the dial. But, when I compensated it by -3EV to faithfully reproduce the brightness of the scene by turning the shutter dial to the A position, the EVF was illuminated automatically to have a certain brightness and a bar graph appeared at the left side of the image to show the appropriateness of exposure (showing where the exposure within the +/-2EV range stands). The biggest advantage of EVF is the real-time previewing of output, so I'm a little confused about this behavior of the camera. Maybe it's a relief for people who get surprised by the viewfinder blackout? Instead, could it display some alert signs by blinking when exposure is extremely under? Of course, I don't know how I would feel if proposal was realized... Anyway, they must have a reason for this controlling and this is their solution. But, I still want an EVF to reflect the real exposure, Mr. Fujifilm. Incidentally, as far as I know, cameras made by all manufactures perform similar control. And, we can deal with most situations within the +/-2EV range.

The EVF is very well tuned to match the image displayed on the rear LCD. And, the distortion is impressively low. Now, what happens when the EVF works in synchronization with the high operability?

High image quality and operability realized by the palm-sized body

While the X-E1 has X-1Pro's sensor and processor, it's so small that it fits in the palm. It has shutter and exposure compensation dials on the top cover. And, you can instantly switch between AE and manual exposure even while looking into the viewfinder.

The dials and buttons are in the right place. The body size is just perfect. If the body were smaller than this, it would affect manual operation.

The zoom lens, released together with the body, operates extremely well. The torque of the focus ring is unexpectedly wonderful for an AF lens and the same goes for the zoom ring. The aperture ring has a proper click feel, too. And, the image stabilizer is very powerful. If it focused and zoomed with levers, it would not operate as smooth as this one. You can control the focus, zooming, and aperture only with one hand supporting the lens, and most importantly, you can do it while looking into the viewfinder. The X-E1 is a palm-sized mirrorless camera, but it supports manual control, and you can always preview the final output in the viewfinder. This is why I strongly recommend it to snapshooters. The zoom lens covering most commonly used focal range is undeniably convenient for street photography.

Image quality just as "convincing" as the X-Pro1

Just like the X-Pro1, the sensor without a low-pass filter generates sharp images with color tones that only a film manufacturer can realize. And, this makes me feel excited to view the images on the PC screen. This time I took all shots with the standard "PROVIA" film simulation mode. And, just like the "PROVIA" film, it is almighty and I'm happy with just that because of the deep color reproduction. Let me show you more images.

The color reproduction of the blue and green is as distinctive as the one of the X-Pro1.

The clear lighting unique to the season was reflected on the narrow alley. In Tokyo, anything becomes a great subject.

I use fixed-focal lenses primarily because I shoot with film and digital rangefinder cameras. And, I felt the zoom lens so convenient. I'm using rangefinder cameras because SLR cameras are too big for streets and compact cameras don't have large sensors. But, it's not easy to adjust angle of view with rangefinder cameras. Meanwhile, the X-E1 doesn't have a parallax and offers 100% viewfinder coverage. Plus, it shows the final output on the viewfinder screen... Can a camera be more convenient than this?

The lens takes excellent images regardless of the distance. The minimum focus distance is about 30cm at the wide-end (27mm equivalent) and about 40cm at the tele-end (84mm equivalent). You can shoot just about anything with this lens and I strongly recommend you to get it with the camera as a kit.

The background of the entrance to the underground looks completely dark because I shot under to hold the highlight. The texture reproduction of the metal and glass is amazing.

This camera just shoots in any field.

The number of pixels is 16.3 megapixels and it is large enough to resolve minute subjects in distance. This camera takes wonderful shots of streets, trips, and the great nature. If you like OVF, you would also take the X-Pro1 into consideration. However, I'd take advantage of EVF when I shoot around wide open if it's hard to get the reassuring feeling of focusing like a rangefinder camera gives by lining up a double image. So, get the X-1Pro, if you stick to OVF. If you don't need it, get the X-E1. This camera lets you take a full control of focusing and exposure. It's easy to handle and it synchronizes with you.