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crowecg

X-E3 - First Impressions

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I've just got my hands on an X-E3.  It seems to be a little bit of a forgotten camera in the Fuji line up, even though it is right up to date with the same sensor as the X-T2, X-T20 and others.  I've only really had an hour or so of handling it so far due to other commitments and haven't shot properly or got to the bottom of all the menus and settings.

 

The first thing that stands out is the size - it is small.  A bit bigger than my old Nikon J1, although with the 27 f/2.8, it almost squeezes in to the same case I use for the J1 and 10 f/2.8.    

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The buttons are tiny too, although they seem well enough spaced out to avoid mis-pressing them.  There is a shutter speed dial and exposure compensation dials as well as two command wheels (front and rear), but there isn't an ISO dial like some of the bigger bodies.  I haven't got the hang of what the various buttons do and what the command wheels can be programmed to do yet.

 

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It has a slight ridge on the front rather than a grip and I find I'm twisting my finger down the front of the camera to hold it - something that will not be comfortable for extended periods,

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but given the size and the way I plan to use it, it is easy enough to slip into a pocket, so you don't need to be holding it all the time.

IMG_1498.thumb.jpg.01f2c259104cba5d90fae0450a720e70.jpg

 I'm not sure how it will feel with bigger lenses, as I've only tried the 27 f/2.8 and the 18-55 so far.

 

The view finder is off to the side, but I don't find that a problem.  Even with glasses, I can get close enough to see the full viewfinder (perhaps because my nose isn't in the way).  The view finder also lets you get a good view around the camera if you can manage that sort of thing.  The viewfinder seems responsive although I managed to provoke some flicker with low shutter speeds under fluorescent light.

 

It seems to jump quickly into focus and in some regards feels similar to the J1 rather than my D7000, even though with the 24 MPixel APS-C sensor it represents an upgrade in that regard too.  A couple of quick high ISO shots look good and it will probably be OK a couple of stops beyond the D7000 (and obviously way beyond the J1).  OIS on the 18-55 seems good too.

 

Obviously the 27 and 18-55 might not appeal to those wanting the more traditional manual handling common to the Fuji system, the 27 completely lacking an aperture ring and the 18-55 with an unmarked ring, which although it clicks nicely, will continue to rotate fully and take you back to wide open from fully stopped down (that was the command wheel behaviour with the 27).

 

Hopefully the coming weekend will provide some more shooting opportunities and allow some more detailed comments.

 

Edited by crowecg
Added photos, revised text
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Congrats!

From the image you shared showing the Nikon 1 along side the x-e3, I did not realize it was SO close in size ... it may be even smaller than my V1

With the x-trans sensor and the ability to use any of the fuji lenses it seems a very very attractive little camera, and for my purposes probably more than the Z6/Z7 even if those can use my old nikon lenses

 

Just a couple of days ago I had coffee with a friend that uses the x-t2, he wanted to discuss with me his plans to get the D850 because he wants more resolution for his landscape photography, we both have our laptops and spent some time pixel peeping images from my D800 and his x-t2,  in my opinion the x-t2 is superb and the IQ looks better than what I can get with the D800.

 

 

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Armando, I am very heartened to hear about the comparison with the X-T2, as I am considering getting a second one, and selling my X-T1.  It is now seriously discounted due to the upcoming X-T3 announcement.

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Chris, one of the advantages of the Fuji sensor is that it is ISO-less, ie it makes no difference in terms of image quality if you adjust the  ISO in camera or change exposure on the computer.  If you shoot raw, this means you do not have to worry too much about getting the ISO right.  It also means that you can select the best aperture and shutter speed and lift the shadows in pp.  This is very useful if the scene has a high dynamic range and you do not want to blow highlights.

 

The one point to note is that if you would typically shoot at 800 ISO or above, it is good to shoot at 800, as the sensor has an ISO benefit st that  level compared with ISO 200 with the exposure boosted in the computer.

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Armando, the x-e3 is certainly worth considering as a replacement to your V1, if that is what you want.  It seems to have that 'quick' feel of the 1 series cameras.  I think it will be a bit bigger than the V1, the angle I shot at was picked to hide distinguishing features but also conceals some of the size.  I still haven't handled and shot enough to be sure if it will be comfortable for walking around with in my hand and with bigger lenses - perhaps something with more of a grip might be better if that is how you use it ( I think there is an attachable deeper grip available, but haven't looked into it).

 

Anthony, thanks for the hint.  I still have lots to learn about this new camera.  I'm sure Marlin, Alan and Mike will also have lots of useful tips.

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The processing options for X-Trans are increasing all the time as well, so you're not tied to Adobe's total disinterest in improving their miserable handling of RAF raw files any longer. Both On1 and Affinity have dipped their toes in the water, and while still not up to the standard of the ageing Photo Ninja (which has been promising, but as yet not shown any signs of delivering a completely updated V2 after nearly three years).

 

With a few minor settings adjustments to suit, Iridient X-Transformer produces extremely good DNG from RAF raw files which can be then easily adjusted to suit in Lr or Ps, so the biggest Fuji problem - that of lack of competent software to deal with its raw files in Lr or Photoshop - is effectively a thing of the past.


Once you get the hang of adjusting X-Trans (which will be different to what you were used to with NEF raw) you'll enjoy the camera even more.

 

Fuji OOC jpegs are amongst the best available as well, although it's best to avoid using this output if using high ISO (6400 and above) - Fuji software engineers suffer what appears to be the common Japanese manufacturers' obsession with obliterating luminance noise, and these OOC high ISO jpegs can look like they were created by a kid using oil paints and a palette knife.

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Alan, I'm not an Adobe user, so the RAW processing isn't too scary a prospect.  My initial checks reveal that MacOS can read the uncompressed RAW, but not the compressed.  Unfortunately my old Aperture won't read either, despite relying on the MacOS engine.  I guess I'm finally going to have to get round to replacing Aperture, but I've known that needs to be done for a number of years now.

 

i will have to check my firmware version and perhaps can also give the Fuji app a try teathered to the camera.

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The full program of Iridient was written for Mac, and has long been hailed as one of the best RAF processors. Based on dcraw as was Photo Ninja, apparently it takes some beating.

 

Fujifilm X-Raw Studio is a really good way to process RAFs at incredible speed using the camera to do the conversion when tethered to the computer. The conversion is almost instant, subject to the speed of your tether bus.

 

If lengthy PP isn't your thing, the X-Studio is by far the quickest thing for RAF files, gives great images but doesn't have much in the way adjustment of controls. It's best feature is perhaps that it gives you the full choice of film simulations accurately, exactly as you would get with OOC jpegs.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Alan7140

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Wondering if anyone has used the relatively new XC 15-45 lens with the XE-3?  It seems like an excellent combo for those who are wanting something small and lightweight, with better resolution (albeit much shorter reach) than my discontinued X30.

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I've added some photos to illustrate the original article at the top and made some corrections.

 

Merlin, the 15-45 would probably go well with the x-e3 if you are wanting to keep size down but want a zoom too.  However, I'm going to have to get used to the two lenses I've already got before thinking about too many others.  My thoughts are to stick with the more compact lenses, although how to go about replacing the macro and telephoto zoom of my Nikon system will take some thinking about - perhaps the 60 and the 55-200 will be my choice, wiht the 80 and 100-400 being just too big and pricy for my needs.  It will also be interesting to see what the other new lenses on the road map are like - will the 16 f/2.8 be as compact as the 18 f/2 and how small will the 16-80 f/4 be?

 

 

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Thanks for sharing your impressions, Chris. I haven't ever personally felt the pull of the Fuji system, but it is always good to read about how others are using camera systems. 

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Good update

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Finally got out for some shooting  - just a few shots on the way to and from work.  Given the sensor and processors are the same, these probably won't surprise X-T2 owners.  All shot with the  27 f/2.8.

 

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Into the sun

Pretty good for shooting straight into the sun - I adjusted the exposure by minimising the 'blinkies'.

 

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Reflection 

Dynamic range looks good - I was shooting at ISO800 to take advantage of the DR400 setting.

 

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Sunsete towers 

I backed off the DR for this one as the foreground shadow helps the colours above stand out.

 

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Dusky 

Again didn't push the DR for this and was interested in seeing the lower ISO performance.

 

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44395413712_c540aabbc7_o.jpg

Street

 

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Station

 

Using the Acros film simulation and ISO way up high.  I think that is a look I will like.

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Wow, Chris! I think these are some of the best images I have seen from you here. I really like the colours and composition on the river and skyline above. 

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Like Dallas said - a noticeable lift in quality. Well worth the decision to buy it. :D

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Very nice images, shot in jpg ?

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On processing, I have recently moved to Capture One Pro 11.  I find it produces excellent results on Fuji files, with a minimum of extra work required unless I want to do something special.  Typically all I need to do is some highlight and shadow adjustment to taste.  It is a very complex program, and I have only scratched the surface, but it has speeded up my workflow significantly.

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Armando, they are all straight from camera, with no extra processing.  The colour shots are using the Velvia film simulation, the B&W using Acros.  Only other settings I played with were ISO and DR.

 

Dallas, Alan, I guess a new camera can make a difference.  I've tried not to get caught up with the constant cycle of upgrades but maybe 7.5 years for my D7000 and 5 years for the J1 (which actually performs similar to the D50 I got 12.5 years ago) is just too much.😀  Mike Johnston over at The Online Photographer has started talking of 'digital camera' years as being like 'dog years', which I guess makes my old cameras absolute antiques.    

 

Anthony, Capture 1 is certainly high on my list to replace Aperture, in part because it can read into my old Aperture libraries.  I'm glad to hear that it will handle Fuji files well.  I've played with the trial versions and agree it looks quite complex, but I guess I'm going to have to take the plunge now.

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Had a bit of a play with the 18-55 today.  The OIS is quite impressive - never felt that I got this sort of performance from my Nikon 18-105.  These are 1/2 second exposures hand held!

 

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Dark Swamp 

 

and also at a lower ISO - just trying to get an understanding of Anthony's earlier comment about being 'ISO-less'

 

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Darker Swamp 

 

Another interesting thing was getting some IR out of this combo with an R72 filter on the front.  

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And a visible light with the same settings just to be sure I'm getting IR.

 

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This was shot with the Acros film simulation - I've still to play with colour shots to see what I can get from them.  Both the 18-55 and the 27 do seem to hotspot a bit, which is consistent with what I've read elsewhere.  Oh well, something else to add to the lens shopping list.  I used to play with IR a bit back with the D50, but the D7000 wasn't too good with unmodified IR.

 

One final thing, no real issues with polarised sunglasses for either the EVF or the bigger LCD (OK, there was a slight colour change at 45 degrees - but who holds there camera at that angle?).  The J1 used to be terrible with sunglasses, it would completely black out in portrait orientation.

 

 

 

 

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