Photokina 2012 Recap: Testing Out the Fuji X-E1 and XF1 at the Fujifilm Booth

September 25, 2012

By Bob Rose

During a private press event at photokina 2012 last week, we had a chance to hear Fujifilm discuss its plans to expand its flagship line of X Series professional cameras. New for photokina was the second model using Fuji’s 16.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor and mirrorless interchangeable lens bodies, the more compact and affordable X-E1 ($999.95, body only); and the very compact, 12MP XF1 ($499.95), both due in the US this fall.

Hands on with the Fuji X-E1
The X-E1 is a slimmed down version of the retro-design X-Pro1 premium quality, rangefinder-style camera body. By trimming off the hybrid electronic/optical viewfinder and substituting a higher resolution 2.36-million dot OLED panel with a variable diopter eyepiece, Fuji was able to still offer the “traditional” viewing experience, reduce the height significantly, integrate a pop-up flash, and lower the price.

In addition, there has been a significant improvement in the video capabilities with full HD video support (1080p at 24fps) and a stereo microphone jack built-in.

The X-E1’s smaller and lighter body felt very comfortable, although we would like to also like to try it with the accessory hand-grip as that made a big difference on handling of the X-Pro1.

The X-E1’s focusing was the fastest and most responsive of any of the X-cameras to date. We were also pleased to hear that Fujifilm was considerate of the large X-Pro1 user base that also now has access to this new focus performance simply by installing the V2 firmware upgrade.

Manual focus was enhanced as well, and Fujifilm is respecting the input of photographers by showing new models of lenses with more discrete focusing rings and depth of field scales. In fact, in one of the most crowded areas of the booth, Fujifilm had a “Lens Bar,” where attendees of the show could use the Leica M mount adapter and try 27 different lenses from Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss, ranging in focal length from 15mm to 135mm. (The image at the top of this story features a Leica M lens mounted to a Fuji XE-1.)

New Lenses
True to an earlier promise from Fuji was the introduction of the new XF14mm (21mm) f/2.8 wide angle lens, and the XF18mm-55mm (27-84mm) f/2.8-4 zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilizer. Both due in November for $899.95 and $699.95 respectively, they now bring the current count of XF lenses to five.

We especially liked the balance and feel of the new medium range zoom, and the newest short lens is a favorite focal length. Also for the first time we were able to see mock-ups of the next five lenses that have been promised for delivery at some time later next year. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Hands on with the Fuji XF1
So…what do you get when you match a newly designed 25-100mm equivalent f/1.8-4.9 lens to the very competent 12 MP 2/3” EXR-CMOS sensor with EXR-Auto, and stuff it all into a compact metal and faux leather body? A small, stylish camera called the Fujijilm XF1.

Available in red, brown and black, the XF1 is the smallest model in the Fujifilm line to offer X features and performance.

The very fast focusing, three-position retractable lens also benefits from Optical Image Stabilization and a bright, sharp, 3-inch 460K dot LCD rear panel. It includes a host of other important features, such as RAW image capability, macro, panoramic, special effects filters (including 3D simulation) and full HD movie recording with scene recognition plus the ability to zoom and to take photographs during movie recording.

This very pocketable XF1 even has an all new on-screen menu dial that allows users to gain full control of the camera’s extensive manual shooting settings.

The XF1, in choice of three colors and equally retro looking optional contrasting colored cases, is coming your way this fall.  

For complete Fujifilm XF1 specs, go here.