cameras
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Expert Score
8.7

Fujifilm X-E2 Digital Camera Review

Fujifilm continues to refine a compelling system.

March 31, 2014
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By the Numbers

Compared to its immediate predecessor, the X-E2 is a nice step up in most departments. But, even though that might be the case, Fujifilm's offerings still have a few important shortcomings having to do with video. If you're turning to the X Mount system to shoot video, you're barking up the wrong tree. It's all about the still photography.

Color and White Balance

With its incredibly convincing film simulation modes, the X-E2 wasn't designed for color accuracy. Instead, you'll find that JPEG color modes are wildly varied. Like with other Fujifilm cameras, we found that the Pro Neg Standard mode was the most accurate, scoring a ∆C00 uncorrected mean of 2.08 and a saturation of 94.57%.

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White balance performance was decent, but nothing like what we've seen from some other mirrorless cameras in the past year. Auto mode continued to struggle to best our Incandescent light test, exhibiting an error of -1835 kelvins.

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Dynamic Range

The X-E2, like other high-end Fujifilm cameras, uses its one-of-a-kind X-Trans color filter configuration. This non-standard feature is supposed to output more lifelike colors, but it also throws a bit of a wrench into our dynamic range test. After analyzing the RAW photos we took with the X-T1, abnormally low read noise in the shadows leads us to believe that there's some tampering with the shadow data, before the RAW file is moved to the SD card. That means that some deep shadow data is can come out clipped, so you might lose some detail in RAW if you're underexposing.

From the data that we collected, we can say with confidence that the X-E2 can get between 11 and 12 stops of dynamic range at base ISO when shooting RAW (ISO 200).

Resolution

The X-E2 has a good sensor, no doubt about it. We tested the camera with its kit option, Fujifilm's sharp 18-55mm XF Zoom kit lens. Unlike other kit lenses out there, this is on that is actually worth picking up. It's sharp up until full telephoto, where you might notice some loss of natural sharpness. The camera will try to make up for the difference via software, as we saw over-sharpening with default sharpness settings turned on.

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Video

Listen, this isn't a video camera. Like with other recent Fujifilm X Mount cameras, the X-E2 did a horrendous job. The Fujifilm's pixel binning does a bad job at making sharp video. Fine details are still somewhat visible, but our motion still life looks muddled and it takes very little to bring ugly false color into the image. On top of all that, we found that the X-E2 required 24 lux in order to make an acceptably bright image (at 50 IRE).



As mentioned, detail still stuck around, albeit with the presence of all that moiré. In bright light, we measured 600 lw/ph horizontal and 615 lw/ph vertical. In low light, those numbers dropped to 500 lw/ph horizontal and 575 lw/ph vertical.

Noise Reduction

Armed with a standard range of ISO sensitivities, the X-E2 has plenty of leeway for everything from bright light shooting to low-light snapshots. Of course, with high sensitivities comes the penalty of increased noise, something the camera's JPEG engine tries very hard to control. With standard noise reduction turned on, the noise level never crossed 2%, telling us immediately that the camera is programmed to aggressively crush detail. If low-light shooting is a concern, you should use one of the camera's lower settings.

DCI-ROSIE-CROPS-WIP.jpg
Aggressive noise reduction reduces visible detail dramatically at high ISOs.

When shooting with Auto ISO turned on, we'd recommend that you limit the camera to a max ISO of 1600, reserving 3200 and 6400 for low light shooting.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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