Camera: Fujifilm X-E3

Affordable, good camera for pros and enthusiasts

The Fujifilm X-E3 is the first X-series mirrorless camera to come with Bluetooth, allowing constant connection to a smartphone for quick transfer of images.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is the first X-series mirrorless camera to come with Bluetooth, allowing constant connection to a smartphone for quick transfer of images.PHOTO: FUJIFILM

Rangefinder-style mirrorless camera scores for its great handling and image quality

The Fujifilm X-E3 is the successor to last year's X-E2s.

It sits between the flagship X-Pro2 and the budget X-A3 of Fujifilm's rangefinder-style X-series mirrorless cameras.

The X-E3 uses the 24.3-megapixel X-Trans APS-C image sensor and the X-Processor Pro high-speed image-processing engine found in the X-Pro2.

This means a faster overall operation of the camera, including an improvement of shooting speed to eight frames per second (fps), up from the X-E2s' 7fps. It also has 91 autofocusing (AF) points, up from the 77 points of the X-E2s.

Despite all these improvements, the X-E3 has a smaller and lighter (by 13g) body than the X-E2s - which is itself more compact than the X-Pro2.

But the X-E3's magnesium-alloy body is not weather-sealed like the X-Pro2.

Its compactness does not affect its handling. In fact, the improved grip makes the camera easier to grasp than the X-E2s.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $2,099 (with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 kit lens)

    IMAGE SENSOR: 24.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS III

    DISPLAY: 3-inch touchscreen LCD with 1,040,000 dots; Oled electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 8 frames per second

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 to 51,200

    CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 337g (body only, with battery and memory card)

  • RATING

  • DESIGN: 4/5

    FEATURES: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

In addition, the rear four-way buttons found on the X-E2s have been removed to give your thumb more space and comfort.

Replacing those buttons is an eight-way joystick, sited near where your thumb will rest on the back. I love this joystick as it can be used to quickly move the AF point, as well as navigate the menu and options.

There are also front and rear command dials for changing settings quickly. On the top right are vintage rangefinder-styled milled dials that allow you to quickly change shutter speed and exposure compensation value .

Overall, handling is superb for a mirrorless camera of this size.

Another improvement is the display, which is now a touchscreen one. You can tap to focus or take a picture. You can also swipe to browse through photos during playback.

The X-E3 is the first X-series mirrorless camera to come with Bluetooth, allowing constant connection to a smartphone for quick transfer of images.

For this review, I used the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 kit lens.

Operation is swift, with the camera taking around 0.5sec to power up or shut down.

This is nearly four times faster than most mirrorless cameras. Shutter lag is minimal.

Using an SD card with a writing speed of 95MB per second, the X-E3 was able to capture 29 RAW images in 3.8sec before its buffer ran out. This is close to the advertised shooting speed.

The AF performance is admirable. Getting a focus lock in bright sunlight is almost instantaneous. Under dim lighting conditions, it takes only around a second to secure the focus lock with the help of the AF-assist light.

Picture quality is superb for its class. Details were sharply rendered and visible even in the shadow areas. Pictures have vivid colours and great dynamic range.

The ISO performance is amazing as well. Noise artefacts only started to appear at ISO 6,400, and they were not even significant. It was only at ISO 12,800 that detail loss and chromatic noise became apparent.

Battery life continues to be average, by mirrorless cameras' standard. It manages to shoot around 350 still images on a full charge.

However, the X-E3 allows for USB charging via its micro-USB port.

At least you do not need to carry a bulky charger on your travels.

• Verdict: With its fast operation, great handling and excellent image quality, the Fuijfilm X-E3 is a quality but affordable rangefinder-style mirrorless camera for both photo enthusiasts and professionals.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2017, with the headline 'Affordable, good camera for pros and enthusiasts'. Print Edition | Subscribe