REVIEW: The New Fujifilm X-E3

4 December 2017 | Category: Stills

REVIEW: The New Fujifilm X-E3

The X-E2S was the last of Fuji’s interchangeable lens cameras to have the 16MP sensor, so the announcement of the X-E3 with the newer 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS II APS-C format sensor was expected. However, rather than just pop the new sensor and X-Processor Pro processing engine in the old camera body, Fujifilm took the opportunity to rethink the handling and evolve the camera interface.

As part of this upgrade, the X-E3 has a high-quality 3-inch 1,040,000-dot touchscreen. In addition to the usual modes that allow you to set the AF point or trip the shutter with a tap on the screen, you can use gesture control on the screen to access key features. By default, swiping up on the screen reveals the autofocus (AF) modes, swiping down, the sensitivity (ISO) settings, left the Film Simulation modes and right the white balance options. Helpfully, it’s possible to use the screen like this while you’re looking in the excellent 0.39-inch 2,360,000-dot OLED viewfinder.

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In another striking move, Fuji has got rid of the usual navigation pad and instead given the X-E3 a mini joystick controller like the one found on the X-Pro2 and X-T2. Called the Focus Lever, this control can be used to navigate the menu and set AF point, but crucially, it takes up less space than the usual pad, making more room for your thumb on the back of the camera. Unlike the X-E2S, the X-E3 has a front dial in addition to the rear dial to speed up browsing through settings options.

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On the top of the camera there are shutter speed and exposure compensation dials, but sensitivity (ISO) must be set via the Quick Menu. Alternatively, there’s an option in the set-up menu that allows it to be set via the front command dial, which is useful for those occasions when you might be shooting with the camera off Auto ISO mode.

Performance

As it has the same sensor and processing engine as the X-T2, X-Pro, X-T20 and X100F, the image quality from the X-E3 was never in doubt. It controls noise well throughout its native sensitivity range (ISO 200-12,800) although, as usual, a little detail is lost at the upper settings. If you can, we’d recommend sticking to ISO 3200 or lower, but if you have to go to ISO 6400 or even 12,800, it’s not too much of an issue.

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Fuji’s automatic white balance setting puts in a good performance, but generally the Daylight setting is a better choice in natural light, especially shade.

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While the design of the X-T2 and X-T20 make them more likely choices for shooting sport, the X-E3 has a 325-point autofocus system with five customisation options for use in continuous focusing mode. This ensures it gets fast moving subject sharp in many instances.

In a first for a Fuji camera, the X-E3 has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and it can be configured to transfer images automatically to a smartphone. While this proves useful, we found it necessary to remind the camera of the connection after each occasion the camera and phone had been out of range.

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Verdict

The combination of Fuji’s superb Film Simulation modes, a high quality viewfinder that lets you verify exposure and white balance, an excellent user interface and a respected sensor make the X-E3 a delightful camera. Once you’ve memorised which way to swipe on the screen, it becomes quick and easy to use while the fast, accurate autofocus system and superb sensor ensure you capture images with plenty of sharp detail.

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Paired with a Fuji prime lens it makes a great choice of camera for street, documentary or landscape photography, but it can be used for any genre, you can see Fulifilm's promotional video below:

The Fujifilm X-E3 is available for hire, HERE