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New Gear: The Fuji X-E1 Is Here

Gear Talk

The Fuji X-Pro1 has been in our inventory for some time now, and we’re pleased to add its newer sibling, the X-E1, to our rental offerings. This younger, lighter, and smaller version of the X-Pro1 ditches a few features of the critically acclaimed (and very successful) X-Pro1, while adding a few welcome ones. Read on to find out what you need to know about the Fuji X-E1.

The Fuji X-E1 with the Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 lens.

The Fuji X-E1 with the Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 lens.

First things first – the X-E1 is, as I just said, lighter and smaller than the X-Pro1. By weight, it’s about 25-30% lighter, but by size, the difference isn’t as drastic as I thought it would be when I bought mine (yes, I bought one not too long before we started carrying the X-E1 – figures!). The X-E1 is shorter than the X-Pro1, and while the difference isn’t great, folks with large hands will notice the difference. The X-E1 is also thinner than the X-Pro1, but again, not by much.

The button layouts have also changed a bit. Fuji has relocated the playback button to the left of the display, but otherwise, everything on the back is about where it was on the X-Pro1. The X-E1 also retains the dual dials of the Pro, as well as the assignable “Fn” button on top.

X-Pro1 on the left, X-E1 on the right. Not to scale.

X-Pro1 on the left, X-E1 on the right. Not to scale.

Besides the size and button layout, there are some other key differences between the bodies, so let me sum them up.

  • The X-E1 doesn’t have an Optical Viewfinder (OLF). Unlike the X-Pro1, which has a “hybrid” viewfinder that can be switched from OVF to Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) mode, the X-E1 just has an EVF. It is a higher-resolution EVF than the X-Pro1, however, and I found no issues in using it.
  • In addition to the standard screw-in shutter release from the X-Pro1, the X-E1 also has a port for an electronic remote. This is handy for those looking to do timelapse work with the X-E1. There’s also a microphone-in jack for those looking to shoot video with the X-E1.
  • The X-E1 has a lower-resolution LCD display than the X-Pro1. A tradeoff for having a higher-res EVF, perhaps?
  • If you use the OVF on the X-Pro1, you’re going to see far better battery life than with the X-E1. That EVF is full-time, and needs more power.
  • The control wheels feel stiffer on the X-E1 than I recall working with on the brand-new X-Pro1. That’s a welcome relief – I’m far less likely to turn the exposure compensation dial on the X-E1 now.
  • Autofocus feels slightly faster on the X-E1. That’s totally anecdotal. It just feels that way.

Apart from that, there really aren’t any major differences between the two bodies. To be honest, if you never used the OVF on the X-Pro1, the choice between which body to rent comes down to personal preference. Which one feels better in your hand? To me, it was the X-Pro1, but I wanted a backup in case the X-Pro1 was ever rented out when I needed it, so I bought the X-E1 for myself.

The bottom line is that no matter which X-body you go with, you’re still getting that gorgeous X-Trans sensor, with that awesome Fuji glass. I love the  weight and size of X-E1, though, because when you stick that camera, along with the X18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens,\ out of the window as you drive down the new span of the Bay Bridge, the X-E1’s lighter weight and smaller size really can make a difference.

The new span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. X-E1 with 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens. Image © Sohail Mamdani.

The new span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. X-E1 with 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens. Image © Sohail Mamdani.

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Sohail Mamdani is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You can find his portfolio on his website at sohail.me as well as on 500px and Flickr.

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