Fuji X-E3 - First weeks, first impressions, sample photos

Fujifilm has introduced their brand new camera X-E3 this week. As an X-E3 ambassador for the Czech Republic I have tested the camera since the summer. Here you have my first impressions and some sample photos.

Note: The tested camera was not a final product, just a pre-production sample, so I don't want to write any deep review, just my first impressions and experiences with X-E3.

I have never switched from my old but good Fuji X-E1 camera to X-E2 nor X-E2s. They both are great cameras, but the difference was marginal for me. Actually the difference was only in comfort, speed, connectivity etc... The image quality and resolution was the same.

My decision was to wait for the next generation, based on 24 MPx X-Trans III sensor and because I love the X-E line, I had to wait more than one and half year since the launch of X-Pro2, the first "new generation" camera.

I don't remember if any other Fuji X camera launch was accompanied by such contradictory reaction like X-E3. Some people love it, some hate it. It is quite understandable. One and half year after X-Pro2, more than year after X-T2, more than half year after X100F and X-T20. It means that 24 MPx and X-Trans III and many other features were automatically expected, no revolution.

But people always want more. There were tons of wish lists on Fujirumors and other places. X-E camera fans asked Fujifilm to make it smaller, bigger, the same size, with a joystick, a tilt screen, a touch screen, IBIS, organic sensor, etc... and also without all described above...

It is well known that Fujifilm listens to their customers' wishes, but a) it is impossible to make everyone happy and b) as any other company, also Fujifilm has to plan their strategy and frankly, no one expected X-E3 to be an ultimate X-camera nor the Fujifilm flag ship. This mark belongs to X-T2, X-Pro2 and X100F.

X-E3 is a great camera giving the same image quality as other new X models. It brings some new features as a new touch screen, faster object tracking, Bluetooth and so...

It is not for everyone. For example, I respect X-T2 as a workhorse. but the advantage of Fuji cameras is that you can choose among different models with the same image quality, and I like the rangefinder style cameras, so I wouldn't be happy to shoot with X-T2.

What is new compared to X-E1, E2, E2s

  • 24.3 Mpx resolution
  • X-Trans CMOS III sensor
  • 4K video
  • ISO up to 12800
  • touch screen
  • Bluetooth (as the first Fuji X camera)
  • joystick
  • full-auto switch
  • front command dial (finally, you can change ISO)
  • faster AF (object tracking now faster than X-T2)
  • smaller dimensions and weight
  • all back buttons on right or top

What has disappeared

  • built-in flash (there is a small external EF-X8 flash in the box)
  • D-PAD (its function is replaced by a joystick and a touch screen)

I have been asked by Fujifilm to shoot approx. 15 photographs in my typical style and make a short video, showing my work, my style of work, my attitude, my needs, my typical conditions, and explaining why I am a long time user of the X-E line and currently the X-E3 camera model user.

Note: The video was quickly shared on Fujirumors with a title "Fujifilm X-E3 Promo Video Online!". Some people understood that it is an official Fujifilm promo video (which is not, explained above, although supported and published also by Fujifilm). They commented it as "pretentious hogwash" and so... People who know me and my work and who don't have a lack of fantasy know, that every word in the video is true and just describes my style of work. For others: I talk about my work in the first part, about the model(s) in the second part and the last three words explain, why I use X-E3 for shooting.

First impressions

Fujifilm says: a rangefinder style ultra-compact mirrorless camera offers outstanding image quality and enhanced handling

Well, X-E3 looks smaller. Actually it is smaller, but the effect is more optical than real, because they made everything just a bit smaller than X-E1/2 was. For me X-E1/2 was small enough, but again, I said it is almost just an optical effect, it is almost the same feel if I hold it.

The image quality is the same like from all new X-Trans III cameras. The EVF (electronic viewfinder) is nice and fast. Autofocus - I don't shoot any fast action scenes, so I don't think I am the right person to judge this parameter. I don't feel any limits. Yes, I have tried the object tracking, it was ok, but it is not the same to try something and to shoot a real scene. Maybe one day I will need it, so then I can tell you more, not now.

The D-PAD absence shocked me a bit at the first moment, but the combination of a joystick and touch pad completely replace it, so (just my opinion) I don't need more buttons with the same functions. I know, that some people talk about cold winter time and gloves; it is not my case, but yes, maybe for them it can be a problem.

The touch screen is pretty addictive. I just wish there will be an option to switch it completely off while you look into the viewfinder. Because, especially if you use your left eye for shooting, you "touch" it by your nose over and over. Sometimes it changes your focus point position, sometimes it zooms the picture, sometimes it offers to change white balance settings etc... So Fuji please, add this option to the next firmware update. Thank you.

X-E3 is the first X camera with bluetooth (it still has wi-fi upload, so you can choose). Fuji says bluetooth needs less energy than wi-fi, which is nice, but I also like that my phone still can be connected to internet via wi-fi during the upload.

Shooting with X-E3 has been smooth and "normal". Normal means that I didn't have to think about it, the feel was very similar like if I was shooting with my old X-E1. Just more comfortable.

The model on my photographs and video is Vikencia, one of the best models I have ever met.
All photos taken on X-E3 (full manual, daylight, color JPG converted to BW in Alien Skin Exposure, no crop, no retouch). The video filmed on Fuji X-T2 plus some aerial shot on DJI Spark drone. Lenses: XF 14/2.8, 23/1.4, 35/1.4, 90/2.0, 18-55/2.8-4.0.

Well, what now with my old X-E1? X-E3 is better in every way. But also X-E1 is still a damn good camera. I will keep it as my second body.

I hope the article is helpful, ask me in the comments if you have any questions.

Jiri Ruzek
Author: Jiri RuzekWebsite: http://www.jiriruzek.net
Czech uglamour nude art photographer, an official Fujifilm X-Photographer. Born Aug 29 1967 in Litomerice, living in Prague.
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