Fujifilm X-E3 Review
The X-E3 is really designed as a compact lightweight travel camera, and it suits this role perfectly. It would also very much suit a street, portrait or wedding photographer or if you like to shoot with two cameras hanging off your neck the X-E3 would make a fantastic 2nd option due to its light weight. HOWEVER if you plan to put a larger lens on this body then I feel maybe some of the other options fuji offer might be a little more suited to your needs.
Upgrading from a older X-series system?
If you don't currently own a X-T2, X-T20 or X-Pro2 this is an easy upgrade from what you have. The image quality, speed, and functionality of the X-E3 over all of the older X-series cameras is a huge improvement and there have been many great reviews about how incredible the new 24mp X-Trans sensor is. (if you haven’t read any of those reviews yet, in the nutshell it produces IMAZING photos). But if you are comparing the X-E3 to one of the three cameras mention earlier, which one would i pick? I have just returned from two weeks travelling around Rwanda with the X-E3 and these are my thoughts
X-E3 Vs X-T2
The X-T2 is my camera of choice, compared to the X-E3 it has a flippy screen, 2 SD card slots and is weather sealed, plus the little bit larger grip on the front of camera really feels like home in my hands. BUT i did notice the weight difference.
Most days when heading out the door I didn’t exactly know what I was going to be shooting. This very much reminded me of back home, of all those times I would take the dog for the walk or kill a little time at the beach. Too often I leave the camera at home due to the weight. Slinging the X-E3 over my shoulder, with a very light 35mm f/2 lens, was fantastic. I spent many hours just walking around seeing the sights, talking to new people and enjoying my holiday without feeling the burden of camera weight.
So for people related photos (considering price compared to the X-T2) the X-E3 is a MASSIVE winner. But if a flippy screen, weather sealing and dual SD card slots and required for you (I NEED those features for my landscape work) paying the extra for the X-T2 is well worth it.
X-E3 Vs X-Pro2
Once again the weight saving here is noticeable and if keeping things light without giving up image quality X-E3 is a clear winner here, once again specially when you compare prices. In comparison the X-Pro2 does have the dual SD card slots and it’s amazing hybrid multi viewfinder (if you don’t know what that is pop into your local and give it a try) plus like the X-T2, the X-Pro2 does have weather sealing (which if you live in New Zealand like me is a must have). But to bring it back to image quality Vs price the X-E3 wins this comparison by a mile.
X-E3 Vs X-T20
Now this might be the hardest comparison. The X-T20 does have a flippy screen, and for my landscape work I love a good flippy screen. The X-E3 is still a little lighter (337g Vs 383g). And when image quality and speed are pretty much exactly the same, the biggest difference comes down to how you like your viewfinder. Centered like a DSLR (X-T20) or rangefinder style like the X-E and X-Pro series. If you're not too sure here I would really suggest getting a little hands on time with both these cameras to see which one suits you better. But if in the end you're not to worried about where you eyepiece is I would have to say the X-T20 would be my body of choice.
But there are a few features I feel I should touch on before I leave you with some photos. Firstly is the joystick, if you love the X-E series of cameras the little joystick on the back is FANTASTIC for focus point selection. I used it all the time for fine little focus point selection and would not right this off as a minor feature compared to cameras without it.
The touchscreen however isn't for me, I ended up turning the touch screen off as I constantly bumped it with my nose when bringing the camera up to my eye. Touch screen on a camera with a flippy screen I don't mind as when I have the camera a odd angles being able to touch where I would like to focus is fantastic but as the X-E3 is normally in front of my face I feel this feature gains most of its use for browsing through your photos after capturing them. Finally my only VERY LITTLE pev was that compared to my X-T2 the X-E3 has a different size audio input (I believe it is a 2.5mm) once again not a biggy and as most of us fuji users didn't buy our cameras for the video this is FAR from a deal breaker.
What is an amazing feature though is the addition of bluetooth. Now I know connecting your camera to your phone isn't for everyone. But while travelling around Rwanda I did 100% of my editing on my phone (the below photos for example are 100% phone edits). With bluetooth allowing instant transferring of images as I shoot them (or just a faster wifi connection) this small addition actually makes a big difference to those of us using the camera/mobile combo.
Finally while not a part of the X-E3, for my travels I did have the addition of the Fujifilm Instax share SP-2 photo printer in my pocket. This was a amazing tool for breaking down the communication barrier with people I couldn't normally talk to. The combo of the printer in my pocket and a X-E3 with a 35mm f/2 lens over my shoulder made for a AMAZING light portable street portrait power house. All it takes is one elderly lady breaking down in tears because you have just given her, her first every printed self portrait and you will shortly have the whole village cueing up to have their photo taken. DO NOT under estimate the power of the printed photo.
If keeping things light is your goal then this camera is fantastic, like the rest of the current X-series range the image quality, speed and usability are all outstanding, combined with an awesome launch price this really is a great camera. BUT if you plan to use some of fuji's larger lenses (50-140mm, 100-400mm even the 16-55mm etc) then I would still put the X-T2 at the top of my list.
Travel, Street, Portrait, Wedding, Casual family outings are all areas where the X-E3 shines, keeping the retro design of its predecessors and adding the amazing image quality and speed of its parents all combine to make the X-E3 a very hard camera to compete with.
As a little example of what I was able to get out of my X-E3 the above four images where all shot using this camera, The portraits with the 35mm f/2 and the wildlife with the 50-140mm.
If you have any questions at all requiring this review or my work please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org