This is my little Fujifilm X-E3 review, which will, as usual, be based on the way I am using the camera rather than a fully exhaustive technical overview.
I hope you find it useful.
As the sensor and internal gubbins are so closely aligned to the X-Pro2 and X-T2, I’m just going to talk about the features that stood out to me when using the Fujifilm X-E3. The good and the bad.
By the way, the strap you see in these images is a Simplr Camera Strap which I picked up whilst in New York. It’s a really comfortable, non-slip and visually attractive strap.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – Ergonomics and Design
The first thing I noticed when I pulled the X-E3 out of the box was the beautiful design of the chassis. Even though it seems I’ve used every Fujifilm camera since 2011, one that has escaped me pretty much is the X-E range.
I did have an X-E2 for a bit, but couldn’t find a place for it in my camera bag and ended up selling it.
I had thought about this fact when placing my order for the Fuji X-E3 but in my little mind, I held onto the fact that this camera would more likely be used to me as a “go anywhere” 4K video system (more on that later).
Bearing in mind I’m a proud owner of an X100F and a couple of X-Pro2’s the X-E3 wasn’t something I really “needed”.
However, I purchased it and the first time I’d seen or held one was when Scott the DPD man arrived with it a week or so back.
It’s gorgeous to look at, and gorgeous to the touch too. It features a metal finish and a Magnesium Alloy body and definitely feels “premium” in its styling.
However, those that know me (and have seen my other cameras) will know that I’m not really a carer of what a camera looks like – more about how it performs and the output it creates.
The camera is smaller than the X-E2 and for most, this will be a bonus. Fujifilm has managed this by arranging the back of the camera slightly differently.
The D-Pad is gone, but the functionality is replaced by the now ubiquitous joystick and the new touchscreen LCD.
I know some people will miss the D-Pad, and if I’m honest, I did too at first. On my other cameras, I normally switch off the joystick as I typically shoot in a focus/recompose method but the joystick is needed on the X-E3 for far more than just moving the focus point.
The lack of ISO dial may also be of concern to some people but honestly, I shoot almost everything in auto-ISO these days that it just hasn’t affected me.
You can, of course, adjust the ISO via the command dial and the touchscreen operation of that element is pretty intuitive.
There is also no tilting screen. This is a design paradigm for the rangefinder style of cameras and I don’t see Fujifilm changing this anytime soon. My opinion of tilting screens changed when the amazing little Fujifilm X70 came into the world.
There are clear choices in this respect, and if a tilting screen is something you find really important, then the X-T20 is the place to look (though you’ll obviously not have the rangefinder style…..or the gorgeous design…..or the tiny size….etc.).
For me, the smaller size outweighs the larger size that would have been forced on the engineers by keeping the other configuration.
Additionally, Fujifilm has removed the little bendy built-in flash that was in the X-E2. Now, I quite liked that flash from the point of view I never lost it.
There is a low power EF-X8 hot-shoe flash in the box which is exactly the same power as the one on the X-E2 but….you may want to tie it to the camera with a string.
Obviously, however, by removing the flash from the body, the camera is smaller……and I mean it’s diddy. Not uncomfortably small.
Your mileage may vary of course. I know that initial reaction to the specifications was quite mixed and I do understand that people may miss certain tactile features but I guess the Fujifilm X-E3 sits in the line behind the X-Pro2 and the X100F for a reason and gives us all options on the type of rangefinder style camera we want to use.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – Technical Specifications
Here are the technical specifications for completeness:
- Battery Model NP-W126S
- Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth low-energy
- Image Processor X-Trans CMOS III
- Include Shoe-mount flash unit EF-X8
- ISO Maximum 12800
- ISO Minimum 200
- Lens Mount Fuji X Mount
- Megapixels 24.3
- Memory Card Format SD, SDHC, SDXC USH-I
- Screen Resolution (Pixels) 1040000
- Screen Size (Inches) 3
- Sensor Format ASP-C
- Sensor Size 23.5mm x 15.6mm
- Sensor Type X-Trans CMOS III
- Size (mm) 121.3 x 73.9 x 42.7 mm
- View Finder Coverage 100%
- Viewfinder OLED Colour Viewfinder
- Weight (g) 287
- HD Movie Mode 4K
I’ve highlighted above the features that intrigued me the most and what I will look at in this write-up.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – A Street Photographers Dream Camera?
It’s worth noting that the XE range sits well and truly on the same side of the family as the X-Pro2 and the X100F. It’s a rangefinder styled camera with a top left aligned viewfinder. Unlike the X-T2 and X-T20, there is no hump viewfinder which, if you are right-eyed (like the vast majority of people) won’t’ present any issues.
If you are left-eyed, you may find the X-T20 or X-T2 a better option ergonomically.
Bearing in mind I use the X100F a lot, I was surprised at the lightweight nature of the Fuji X-E3 and it’s certainly classed as small, light camera.
For those who find the fixed lens element of an X100F shackling, but prefer the rangefinder style camera, then the X-E3 will appeal to you.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/3,000th at f/7.1, ISO200
The camera uses the X-Trans III sensor which also means you get the great set of film simulations that are compatible with that sensor. Including, of course, Classic Chrome and everyone’s favourite Acros monochrome film simulation.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – Wireless and Bluetooth Capability
The Fujifilm cameras have had Wifi capability in various forms for a while but the X-E3 is the first to have the low-energy Bluetooth capability.
I found this pretty neat, and I can see that people who want to have a constant connection to their tablet or phone will really find this feature useful.
I’m told that this uses next to zero energy and it has to be said that I shot for four whole days (mostly video) using just two batteries and the Bluetooth was connected all the time.
The image below, for example, I took whilst walking up to Photo Plus Expo at the Javits Centre. It was Friday morning and this part of New York has a large Jewish population who were out and about at this time.
I shot this image and the Bluetooth transfer had it on my phone within seconds. I’d edited it a bit and popped it on Facebook (that’s what we do, right?) by the time I’d walked the next block. Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/210th at f/5.6, ISO200
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – AF Speed, ISO & Shooting Modes
The AF speed, especially in continuous mode, to me, seems even snappier and the X-E3 does have an updated AF algorithm that will track moving objects quicker.
This update should arrive in a firmware update for the X-T2 sometime in late 2017 so it’s not the feature alone to decide on whether to purchase the X-E3.
What I can say though, is that because of the aforementioned ergonomics, for me, the Fujifilm X-E3 is a much more appropriate interchangeable lens system than the X-T2 or X-T20 for shooting candidly on the streets.
What about the X-Pro2 I hear you ask? Well, yes, of course, the X-Pro2 remains the darling of cameras for me and remember I wouldn’t have bought the X-E3 if I didn’t want a very small portable “shoot anywhere” 4K capable camera.
My X-Pro2’s are my work cameras and whilst (until now) I have shot lots of street and personal photography with them, I can probably now safely leave them in my work bag and not worry about losing or damaging them – as the X-E3 seems to fit the bill for my travel companion now.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/200th at f/5.6, ISO200
The X-E3 also has the fully automatic mode as well as the P/A/S/M standard. Coupled with the usual bracketing panorama and advanced filter options makes the camera an attractive option for those who do want to keep things simple.
However, I would really like to see Fujifilm adjust the Auto mode to shoot RAW. Currently, anything shot in the Auto mode is JPEG only, and whilst the JPEGs are gorgeous, I think the ability to at least have the option to shoot raw would be better.
We shouted loud enough and got RAW added to film simulation bracketing so hopefully, we can shout loud enough and see RAW added to the Auto shooting mode on the Fujifilm X-E3 too.
In terms of ISO, there is something to note that does make the X-E3 trump the X-T20. The X-E3 allows for 100, 125 and 160 in the extended ISO “low” option, whereas on the X-T20 you can only choose ISO 100.Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/600th at f/8, ISO200
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – Fun with the Touchscreen
I have to say I really enjoyed using the camera and it’s a pleasure to pick it up and shoot so easily.
You can check out the official product pages for details of how the new touchscreen gestures work but I found them very intuitive. And I’m a bit of a techy luddite.
The key thing though, from a stills shooting point of view is that the camera is really small, comfortable to use and well connected. When I was out for the whole day using just that and the 23mm F2 lens it was just, well, fun.
Photography that’s enjoyable and all the time I could whip out my iPhone and get the images to the internet in seconds.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/450th at f/8, ISO200Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/200th at f/5.6, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/320th at f/8, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/280th at f/8, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/300th at f/8, ISO200
Shooting from the hip, or with the camera raised to my eye as in this next image – with the smaller F2 lenses – is liberating as you are just not noticed at all.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/160th at f/3.6, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/125th at f/8, ISO500 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/125th at f/2, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/250th at f/8, ISO320 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/1,000th at f/5.6, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/1,800th at f/5.6, ISO200
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – Wedding Photography
In days gone by, when we dual card systems were a thing of the future, I never concerned myself with the need for real in-camera data redundancy.
I’ve yet to have a card fail (I’m touching everything one needs to touch right now, by the way, to ward off bad luck), and so I would and do have full confidence in shooting weddings with a camera such as the X-E3.
I shot parts of a wedding with it a weekend or so ago and of course it performed as I expected it to do; quick, reliable and because of the X-Trans III sensor making images that I am very happy with.
However. Personally, because I have X-Pro2’s and X-T2s and these both have dual card slots, then the X-E3 will only ever be a backup camera for me when I’m shooting weddings.
This is just common sense really. I’ll remain using my X-Pro2s and my X100F in my jacket pocket and the X-E3 will likely stay in the camera bag.
This isn’t to say the camera isn’t capable of shooting weddings, it’s just that I would highly advise people who are shooting weddings professionally to look at either the X-Pro2 or the X-T2 as their main two cameras.
For me, the Fuji X-E3 will possibly be used as a movie camera at weddings – but this is something I’ve yet to establish as a business idea and if I do, it will be in conjunction with stills, not instead of.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF56mm F1.2 Lens ~ 1/240th at f/1.2, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF56mm F1.2 Lens ~ 1/240th at f/1.2, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF56mm F1.2 Lens ~ 1/125h at f/1.2, ISO200 Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF56mm F1.2 Lens ~ 1/170th at f/1.2, ISO200
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – 4K Video
As I mentioned earlier, the primary reason I considered purchasing the Fuji X-E3 was that I wanted a small, lightweight camera that could shoot 4K.
I’ll obviously use it for stills, but I really want to shoot more video. I have an X-T2 which is a more advanced movie-making camera but I wanted something I could use as a second channel camera, or simply for shooting B-roll or basically just a point-and-shoot type video option.
It’s worth noting that as this is a sub £850 camera I used it as I expect most people to use it for “point and shoot” video. People looking for more advanced video capabilities are likely better off checking out the Fujifilm X-T2.
A few notes about the following clip, filmed in 4K on the Fujifilm X-E3:
- – It’s ungraded. Footage is direct from the camera with the Standard profile.
- – It’s all shot at 4k 30FPS.
- – I shot it all in Auto ISO, Auto Aperture, Auto WB and Auto Shutter Speed.
- – I shot it all with the Fujifilm XF23mm F2 WR lens.
In my mind, I wanted to see how it coped with basically picking up the camera and running and gunning with it.
It’s a really fun camera all-round and due to it’s very small, rangefinder style, it’s very unobtrusive.
I found it performed great given the tricky lighting situations in the evening especially and apart from the very obvious scene in the clip, I went virtually unnoticed.
It’s the first time I’ve done any kind of “vlog” element so apologies for the nervous nature of the speaking and extreme close up (feel free to close your eyes and protect young children from being frightened at that point 🙂 )
It’s worth making sure the settings are at their highest and going “full screen” with sound.
Fujifilm X-E3 Review – Some considerations for the X-E4!
I think for the price point the X-E3 is a great camera, but there are a few things I’d love Fujifilm to look at for the next iteration or firmware updates:
- Shooting RAW in the Auto modes. I think this camera lends itself to people who may use Auto (I’ve used it several times), and I think RAW output should be a priority on the to-do list.
- 1/4,000th mechanical shutter is not ideal. All the newer cameras support a 1/8,000th of a second. I know the electronic shutter can be used (up to 1/32,000) but as I expect a lot of people to use this camera in conjunction with the fast F2 primes, 1,8000 would be a better fit.
- 3.5mm audio jack. I know the X-T2 is the professional tool for filming, but by offering 4K video in this camera Fujifilm is aligning themselves squarely with people who take creating movies at least a little seriously. The 2.5mm jack does causes issues when needing to use a converter etc.
Who needs a Fuji X-E3?
That’s the question I’ve been asked the most and you know what, the answer is actually that nobody needs an X-E3. Some people may want one, and some people it will be completely wasted on.
If you are not a professional photographer, and you are looking for an amazingly compact, beautiful camera that has great image capability and supports 4K video then the Fujifilm X-E3 may be for you.
If you are a professional photographer of any kind, then I would suggest first you look at the X-Pro2 (rangefinder style) or the X-T2 (DSLR style). The X-E3, whilst good, shouldn’t be your pick for professional shooting alone.
If you already have an X-T2 or an X-Pro2 and are looking for a great second camera or backup camera, and you prefer the rangefinder style, then the Fuji X-E3 has to be considered.
If you have an X100F as your “smaller” cameras you may be tempted by the X-E3 as it offers the interchangeable lenses. If you already own an X-T20, then you probably won’t even have read this far.
If you have an X-E1, X-E2 or possibly even an X-E2s, then I expect you’ll be quite excited by the Fujifilm X-E3. But be aware of the ergonomic changes and the new touchscreen interface. You’ll get better pictures, but it might take you a day or two to get used to making them!
Fujifilm X-E3 Review: XF23mm F2 Lens ~ 1/125th at f/2, ISO640
At the Expo, Fujifilm was privileged to have the legend that is David Alan Harvey for a short Q&A session.
David, along with all the Magnum photographers, is someone I have admired for a long time. One of the questions he was asked was:
“What is the most important story you have photographed?”
And his answer was:
“It’s an ongoing story and it’s my family and everyday life”
This resounded with me, as regular readers of this blog will know that I document my own family life a lot.
I think the Fuji X-E3 will be a very capable camera for those that want a system to simply photograph their everyday life, travel and trips. Have an amazingly quick way of sharing the images and the ability to create pretty nifty films too.
I hope you found this Fujifilm X-E3 Review useful, and as ever, please feel free to share and comment below. I’ll try my best to answer any questions.
Incidentally, my last Wedding PJ Workshop will be in December in London. There is one space left.
You can purchase the Fujifilm X-E3 directly from WEX