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The "Off Centre" Mind Of The Fujifilm X-E3


danielm

I've got a long love affair with the original rangefinder cameras (Leica M4-P & M6) and the now digital rangefinder style cameras (Fujifilm X-E2, X-E2S & X-E3). I don't know if it is due of the fact that their viewfinder is located off center (meaning not in the same optical axe of the picture taking lens). But that peculiar camera body design seems to stimulate my creativity and my motivation to brought the camera in places and at moments that I will have a tendency to ignore.

 

The Fujifilm X-E3 is the fourth version of a popular model design that many photographers like to bring with them as their main camera or at least as their back up camera body that happens to becoming eventually their most used. The X-E3 is using the same 24MP image sensor that the X-T2 and the X-T20 have. So the picture quality is at par of the two last mentioned models.

 

One of the thing which most interesting when you are using a rangefinder style digital camera is the fact that they are less noticeable, less protuberant, less intrusive in front of the subject.. This characteristic to be more discrete is always appreciated by the spontaneous photographer on the street, during a travel and even when you taking a candid portrait of a person (The camera seems to be less "serious").

 

Many people were tempted to make the comparaison with the Fujifilm X100F which a compact APS-C digital camera doted with a similar fixed lens of 23mm. If you combine the Xf23mm F2.0 lens with the Fujifilm X-E3 the two cameras will give the same angle of view. But the Fujifilm X100F is more a (large) pocket camera while the Fujifilm X-E3 is an interchangeable lens model that have a more standard dimension.

 

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Fujifilm X-E3 w/ Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

 

Most people will talk in length about the good or the bad handling of a camera model. It is always a very personal and intuitive impression at the end. Ergonomics are designed by technicians that are biased by their own physical and cultural differences. All this has been said one thing that I have experimented with the Fujifilm X-E3 is its fine ergonomic in terms of the camera body and lens combination and I am surprise how good and easy it is still true even when you are using a larger zoom lens such as the Fujinon XF55-200 F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. As a travel or street photographer I fully appreciate this ability.

 

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About the tiny Fujifilm EF-X8 electronic flash which is included with the furnished camera accessories I was skeptical of its practical use but I have found it very easy to bring with me and positioning on the X-E3 (You can leave it at rest on the Fujifilm X-E3 camera at its down off-position). Dont forget that the EF-X8 is using the battery pack power of your camera. As a fill-flash and as an emergency flash unit are may be the two best tasks of the EF-X8. For a more extended use of an electronic flash it is better to couple an external unit doted with its own power management.

 

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Window back lightning interior ambiant light exposed

 

Using a fill-in flash can be one of the most rewarding thing to do with interior photography with subject that are backlighted during the daylight period. The color temperature is similar between the ambiant natural light and the electronic flash output and the only big task is to choose an interesting exposure balance between the two in preserving or not the shadows or even simply voluntarily underexposure the ambiant (effect often use in fashion photography).

 

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Using the Fujifilm F-X8 as a fill-in flash

 

Small in-board camera flashes are a very handy solution but they are located usually too near the taking lens  and often interfering with the lens hood that you have to remove to prevent incomplete flash coverage. The Fujifilm EF-X8 give a more elevated flash reflector position. You just have to push it in its down position if you want to shut its power off.

 

Officially the Fujifilm X-E3 is a less "sporty" camera model than let's say the X-T series models such as the X-T20 or the X-T2 or even the X-H1. The off-center viewfinder may create a small different perspective between you naked eye and the image recorded by the taking lens but if your concentrate your attention to your viewfinder it wont be noticeable. So spontaneous photography stay a strong opportunity.

 

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As for most of the Fujifilm X-series camera models, the controls of the photo basic parameters are designed in a similar fashion way as it is used to be for the traditional analog (film) cameras. Shutter speed, lens aperture, exposure correction and focusing options including manual adjustment can be selected with direct dials or control rings. The others parameters have to be adjusted through push buttons, touch screen options or using the versatile joystick located beside the rear screen. All these functionality controls need to be learn before really be able to master them without hesitation.

 

Using the Quick menu (Q) and reprogramming certains function controls can facilitate the handling of the Fujifilm X-E3. Most of the menu option presentations are easy to understand and interact but some functionalities may need more time and essaies to get the habit. There is a lot of autofocusing modes at your disposal that can tailored your shooting workflow. The all-"AUTO" option (lever next to the shutter speed dial) is a good idea for emergency snapshot without disturbing your already programed setting.

 

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The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is fine detailed with all the (configurable) information you need and got an auto-rotation presentation very useful for vertical framing. In some specific situations the image on the EVF will be more contrasting making more difficult to evaluate low and highlights. For people who are wearing glasses like me the eye relief is more limit and will ask you to pay more attention to the corner of your framing composition of your subject. The back and none-orientable live screen (LVF) give you a better reviewing rendition of your picture facilitating a deeper image analysis.

 

The side location of the Fujifilm X-E3 electronic viewfinder may give you a better viewing confort compare to the centered viewfinders of the X-T series models. The  instant picture review is easier and the reviewing (Play) push button is located on the bottom right side of the LVF.

 

In all the Fujifilm X-E3 is a very convenient camera model that respond correctly to the compact size device but without sacrificing too much better handling compare to the larger DSLR model type.

 

If you are already an owner of other Fujifilm X-series models you will fully enjoy that the X-E3 is using the same battery packs and external electronic flashes without forgetting that it is part of the same optical lens mount system.

 

 

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The Fujifilm X-E3 doesn't have an in-(camera)body-image-stabilization system (IBIS) and will rely on your ability to set and handle the camera to avoid generating blurry from the photographer's movement. Of course you can couple a lens with an optical image stabilization (OIS) that will help you to prevent that phenomena and further permit you to select lower shutter speed in low light situations or simply to get a smaller lens aperture (for increasing the deep of field). As a loosely rule of thumb, no stabilization is available with focal fix lenses (except for the new XF80mm F2.8 OIS Macro and the XF200mm F2 OIS) and it is the contrary with zoom lenses (with some noticeable exceptions such as the XF16-55mm F2.8 Pro). At this day the Fujifilm X-H1 is the only X-Series model equipped with an IBIS.

 

What I am appreciated the most of the Fujifilm X-E3 is its compactness and its very discrete status in regard of other people ressent when they are facing the camera. It is what can call not only a user-friendly camera but also a subject-friendly photo device. Combined with a short fixe focal or short zoom lens, the X-E3 appears to be part of the family. It is not perceive as an agressive intruder of our life compare to the look with the DSLRs. So the interaction between the photographer and the subject is very different and much more positive.

 

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If you like Black & White photography you will adore to work with the Fujifilm X-E3. This lovely camera model offers you a choice of two monochrome reddition, standard Monochrome and Acros, with 3 different filtering variations, Yellow, Red or Green. So you can literally transform the X-E3 as a Monochrome camera without further expensive investment. (This remark is also good for the other Fujifilm models).

 

Is it sufficient to simply have a good camera device that can deliver not only nice, well exposed and focused pictures but which is also a creative tool fun to use and to bring with you? Sure there will always be more performing camera models now and in the future and that is inevitable in this race for better human crafting. But in the mean time we have not to forget that the most interesting and rewarding think is to do photography.

 

In a sense the Fujifilm X-E3 fulfill nicely the task of proximity photography essential in close urban situations or in interior contexts. The Fujifilm X-E3 is a compact photo companion that is not only a competent tool but is also an inspired creative device.

 

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Hi, Daniel, this is an illustrative write up of X-E3.  As a recent adopter of the same model, I agree with you in all aspects.

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Thanks Daniel, very useful information. Perhaps another possibility for me.

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Thank you Luc, Akira and Mike for your nice appreciation. 
Akira: I have seen your beautiful essaies with the Fujifilm X-E3. Thank you for sharing your nice work.
Mike (Clactonian): You may able to try the model if Fujifilm does some "see and try" photo sessions as they do in Canada (they have also a "rent and try" program into some specific photo stores). 

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I'm surprised that more people haven't discovered this amazing little camera.  You have done a great job of highlighting what it can do.

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2 hours ago, crowecg said:

I'm surprised that more people haven't discovered this amazing little camera.  You have done a great job of highlighting what it can do.

Yes it is a good point. "Rangefinder" style cameras are rarely the flavor of the month and are surpassed largely (in sales) with the "SLR" type may be because these last ones appear to be more serious or professional. But there is a real public (which I am part of) for them and thankfully Fujifilm have always supported us with the X-Pros, X-Es and X-Ms series. All those cameras are indeed very competent photo devices and... very funny to use!

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I like this rangefinedrer-style design because I look into the viewfinder with my left eye, which enables me to hold the lens closer to the center of my face than a DSLR style body.

 

I also like the flat-top design which make the camera look less bulky.

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16 minutes ago, Akira said:

I like this rangefinedrer-style design because I look into the viewfinder with my left eye, which enables me to hold the lens closer to the center of my face than a DSLR style body.

 

I also like the flat-top design which make the camera look less bulky.

I perfectly agree with all your points.

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I'm also a fan of the rangefinder type of camera because of the reasons Akira mentioned. It's a pity I'm left-eye dominant because it doesn't allow me to view the scene with my other eye. How's the X-E3 for glasses wearers? I read mixed reports on this on the web. 

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57 minutes ago, Luc de Schepper said:

I'm also a fan of the rangefinder type of camera because of the reasons Akira mentioned. It's a pity I'm left-eye dominant because it doesn't allow me to view the scene with my other eye. How's the X-E3 for glasses wearers? I read mixed reports on this on the web. 

The eye relief of the different camera model viewfinders have been always a big issue for the glasses wearers (like me). With the Fujifilm X-E3 I can see the complete image framing but you have to concentre and be near of the eyepiece as good you can do. Unfortunately it is the case for most of the recent new others models except for the very expensive ones. 
The sunny side of this situation is that it is forcing you to better concentrate on your photo composition and on the essential exposure infos. For sure "anti-scratch" lens option is a highly recommended option for your eyeglasses!

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Thanks Daniel for the info, much appreciated.

 

22 hours ago, danielm said:

The sunny side of this situation is that it is forcing you to better concentrate on your photo composition and on the essential exposure infos. 

 

Very true, and in a good sense this slows you down as I've once again experienced with my X100. 

Edited by Luc de Schepper
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Funnily I would have thought that for a left eye dominant shooter it would be more awkward than for a right eyed person! However I bow to the judgement of the left eyed brigade.

My own wee trip into “rangefinder” style cameras is via a Panasonic Lumix GX8 as a second option to the main machine a Lumix G9. I can now see the attraction of these small cameras. I don’t know about the Fujifilm XE3 but my little GX8 is very fully featured and could easily be somebody’s main camera!

I find it a little odd that the world of digital photography is going in two directions at the same time i.e. larger and smaller at almost the same time. So the question is which way to go?

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55 minutes ago, Mike G said:

Funnily I would have thought that for a left eye dominant shooter it would be more awkward than for a right eyed person! However I bow to the judgement of the left eyed brigade.

My own wee trip into “rangefinder” style cameras is via a Panasonic Lumix GX8 as a second option to the main machine a Lumix G9. I can now see the attraction of these small cameras. I don’t know about the Fujifilm XE3 but my little GX8 is very fully featured and could easily be somebody’s main camera!

I find it a little odd that the world of digital photography is going in two directions at the same time i.e. larger and smaller at almost the same time. So the question is which way to go?

I am tempted to answer you in both directions like you have done. And the good thing about it is that you are able to use the very same lenses if you are staying in the same system. As every photographers know already no camera is really perfect in any picture taking situations. So having on hand the two types is very handy but i must admit more expensive also!

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On 12/03/2019 at 05:38, Luc de Schepper said:

I'm also a fan of the rangefinder type of camera because of the reasons Akira mentioned. It's a pity I'm left-eye dominant because it doesn't allow me to view the scene with my other eye. How's the X-E3 for glasses wearers? I read mixed reports on this on the web. 

 

I share the same experience as Daniel, in terms of the viewfinder of X-E3, but, aside from the magnification, the narrow view angle of the view finder is practically the same on all cameras I have used, DSLR or mirrorless.  Maybe Panasonic GH5 is the only exception.

 

As for the left-eye shooting, I have never enjoyed the benefit of right-eye shooters even though I have used various genuine rangefinder (Leica Ms and Fuji GW680) or rangefinder style cameras (GX8 and X-E3).  So, I'm pretty much accustomed to the left-eye shooting.  :D

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      Use the camera zoom function for close work and wide apertures.
      It is much easier to focus than the Sigma 12-24, because one had to be careful with such a wide field to focus carefully or the lens would hunt a bit (also to do with aperture).
      Small enough to be convenient, but not too small for my hands (not the biggest, but not small either)

      My verdict is that this is a keeper. I will take some interesting images over the next few days and add them to my impressions.

      View full article
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