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EDITION 3: What X-Series Camera Should I Buy? Guest Post by Leigh Diprose

Posted by Leigh Diprose

3rd_Edition_-_What_X-Series_Camera_Should_I_Buy

With Fujifilm releasing its flagship camera model, the X-T1 camera I thought it would be a good time to look at the break down of the X-Series range again. The common questions I have been hearing this month is, Leigh what's the difference between the Fujifilm X-T1 and the X-E2 and which camera should I buy?

Hopefully in this guide I can offer some insight to your questions. I've had a quick play with the Fujifilm X-T1 (preproduction model) and I must say I was quite impressed. I will also link to a few articles around the net to help offer some insight into this new camera. Please note this guide is only my opinion and it does not reflect Fujifilm's thoughts or values. I don't intend this guide to be a full spec write up, instead I would like to offer you a 'real world' user opinion based on my vast experience in the imaging industry, saying that, toward the end of the month I'lI be producing a full review of the X-T1 when I attend the Australian Media launch in Sydney.

I was asked by Mark Graham, Fujifilm's Technology Solutions Manager if I could visually show people what Fujifilm's current range of X-Series cameras was based on image quality. With the help of Warwick Williams, Fujifilm's National Digital Trainer I opened Photoshop and had a play to create the chart you see below. Just so you know this wasn't an easy task, there was much debate on where models should be placed but in the end I think we came up with a good picture which shows Fujifilm's X-Series range categorised based on Image Quality and Sensor Size. Please note this chart only represents Warwick's and my own opinion. Feel free to share it though.

Fujifilm_X-Series_Range_Chart_based_on_Image_Quality_and_Sensor_Size

Also if your camera is shown here make sure you have downloaded and installed the latest firmware on your camera so you can get the most from it.

FUJIFILM X-T1

fujifilm-x-t1-camera-side-view

Whistles and bells aside, this camera has certainly got everyone talking. Why? Well it's really simple actually, this is the camera that every serious Fujifilm photographer has been asking for. Let me explain, firstly there were many people who wanted a X-Series camera that would survive rain, hail or shine, Fujifilm answered in the form of this magnesium alloy, weather sealed body. Secondly the buttons and dials have been developed to put all of the controls in front of the photographer. One of these changes has been the additional ISO dial, which not only frees up the function button on the top of the camera but also allows the photographer to change their drive modes underneath the ISO control (on a separate dial). Photographers will also be seeing more clearly thanks to the massive, and I mean massive, electronic viewfinder which you only have to look through once to fall in love with. 

If you are wondering what the difference is between the image quality between the Fujifilm X-E2 and X-T1 there is noticeable difference according to many professional photographers around the world. I will be able to clarify this with some testing once I get my hands on an editorial version late in the month. In the mean time check out one of the worlds first weddings photographed with the Fujifilm X-T1 here and also dpreview's studio testing where you can compare the image quality against three other cameras of your choice.

Another welcome change seen by X-E2 users has been the reappearance of the VIEW MODE button on the back of the camera. I heard many people became quite frustrated from having to dive into the menu to change their view mode so it seems, Fujifilm were listening. Did you like the 'flippy' screen on the Fujifilm X-M1 & X-A1? Well it has thankfully made a reappearance much to the applause of Fujifilm fans. Now you will be able to capture life at almost every angle! 

The X-T1 is due to come out toward the end of the month and if you are looking at purchasing this camera the most common lens people will be buying seems to be the Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 lens (based on a Facebook poll I conducted). I personally am looking forward to this lens and I recommend this combination for anyone who is interested in photographing people. Alternatively if you are into landscape photography you can jump for joy! Fujifilm have also announced on their 2015/2015 lens road map a new Weather Resistant (WR) Lens which will be available at a later date. The range of this lens WR lens will be 18-135mm.

I almost forgot to mention one of the most important elements of this camera, the accessories! One stand out accessory which I think every landscape photographer will need will be the optional Fujifilm XT1 Battery Grip. Let me explain why, I'll have to take you back to the X-E2 for the full explanation. The Fujifilm X-E2 is a great camera, there's no doubt about it, but it does have a problem if you're a landscape photographer. When a landscape photographer goes out on a shoot they will typically have a tripod quick release plate screwed into the base of the camera. The disadvantage is the tripod quick release plate blocks both the battery and the memory card, making it quite frustrating and time consuming for the photographer to change either of these....not anymore....enter the X-T1. The Fujifilm development team have been working hard on a solution and now the X-T1 is here their work is done! The X-T1 now has the SD memory card slot on the side of the camera and when the XT1 battery grip is in place it also has a side loading battery! Now landscape photographers can leave their quick released plates mounted permanently! Problem solved!

Okay, to sum up. I myself would buy this camera, firstly for the image quality and secondly for the weather resistant body. I would highly recommend this camera for the professional landscape, wedding, commercial and street photographer. You will find this camera a joy to use and I could confidently say you will be amazed by the image quality, especially at high ISO's like 3200. So I challenge you to get one of these cameras into your hands and have a play around and decide for yourself.

FUJIFILM X-PRO 1

 Fujifilm_X-Pro1

Are you a professional photographer who earns an income from your craft or are you a really enthusiast photographer who simply wants the best image possible?  If you fit into any of there categories then the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is for you. Not only will this camera create a beautifully sharp image due to its new X-Trans CMOS sensor but it will also look great in your hands! Built to an incredible quality this die-cast magnesium alloy body has been crafted by some of Fujifilm Japan’s finest.

The hybrid viewfinder in my opinion is an understated tool. Used correctly the professional photographer can gain fantastic insight into a previous capture by opting for a quick review within the viewfinders frame. The ability to set the viewfinder up independently is a sure winner for the landscape photographer too as a horizon level is only a few clicks away.

Fujifilm’s history with film photography is legendary. Landscape photographers may remember the film Velvia which gave a vibrant tonality and beautiful saturated colour, while fashion or portrait photographers may recall Astia which enriched a soft silky look to skin tones. These films have not been forgotten. Fujifilm have brought back these colour and tonal qualities by reproducing the photo film expression by way of the film simulation mode. Not only can you choose individual film simulation modes to relive the past, but you can also bracket them too!

The above mentions only form a small part of the X-Pro 1 arsenal. In my view the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is well suited for the experienced professional photographer who appreciates quality and craftsmanship.  This great tool isn’t just for the elite though, I would highly recommend it to any photographer who may call themselves an enthusiast. The X-Pro 1 is well suited for low light situations as well as landscape, macro, street, travel, portrait, studio and fashion photography.

 

FUJIFILM X-E2

X-E2_Black_Front_CMOS

Bound by precision and class, the Fujifilm X-E2 is everything you were ever hoping a high end camera should be. Not only does the new Fujifilm X-E2 look great but it also delivers exceptional image quality thanks to some clever gadgetry. Found within the inner workings lies a second generation X-Trans CMOS sensor, which performs effortlessly when capturing a scene, and coupled with the second generation processor this combination is simply unstoppable. In my opinion this camera is a work horse, offering faster focus, better video and more operational versatility, it's like the Fujifilm X-E1 put on a black dinner jacket and said 'shaken, not stirred'.

Some notable features also include the same Lens Modulation Optimiser (LMO) found in the X20 & X100s. Explained: This clever feature knows every characteristic of the lens and camera so if there is any diffraction which may occur within the image, the LMO removes it leaving just the perfect optical data in your photo! Ultra cool! Fujifilm have also added a few buttons, which you can customise to a specific function. This feature gives the controls back to the photographer so they can conjure up their own shooting solution - the result smiles all round :)

It should also be noted due to phase detection pixels found in the newer sensor, focus modes have been improved. Digital Split Image, Focus Peaking Highlight and Manual Focus form the new 'focus arsenal'. So now the result should be a smoother, faster, and more accurate focus. 

Based on my experience with this camera, I would certainly stack the X-E2's image quality up against a more expensive full frame digital SLR from other brands. I see Fujifilm's latest release providing some of the highest image quality to date. This camera would be the perfect travel camera, street shooter or just general workhorse, whether it's capturing weddings, studio portraits or commercial jobs, the X-E2 should handle it. 

I know of many photographers who fell in love with the X-E1 due to the incredible sharpness the camera offered, now the X-E2 is out, the love story will continue.

 

FUJIFILM X100S

Fujifilm_X100s

Wow this camera has so many standout features! I want one!!!

At the moment this is my favourite camera. I’ve had the privilege of using this camera a few times now and it has blown away all my expectations! If you are a professional photographer this is the camera for you. Why? Let me explain...

The two features which stand out are the X-Trans CMOS II & EXR Processor II. Combine these with an Optical Low Pass Filter-less system and optimize every image with a Lens Modulation Optimizer and you have the perfect image. I’m not going to go into the technical side here so I suggest you do some online research and ask your photography sales professional about these features. To sum it up though some people are questioning why you even need to shoot in RAW because the quality from a JPEG on this camera is that good! I’m a believer....that said...does anyone want to buy me one?

Something else which is worth noting is the new focus modes; Digital Split Image, Focus Peaking Highlight and Manual Focus. These focus modes all benefit from the phase detection pixels integrated in the X-Trans CMOS II sensor. The result is a faster, pin point and sharper focus.

In my option the world would look better if everyone owned this camera. However I understand this is a highly advanced camera which should benefit all professional photographers, enthusiast and those who experience GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). My advice, if you can get your hands on one of these cameras – don’t let go!

I’m yet to experiment fully with this camera but from what I have learned it would suit low light situations, landscape, macro, street, travel, portrait, studio and fashion photography.

 

FUJIFILM X-E1

Fujifilm_X-E1

Sitting below the premium X-Pro 1 and X100s is a camera which still offers the same outstanding image quality of its bigger sibling (X-Pro 1). Forming an important heritage, the newer Fujifilm X-E1 boasts a familiar sense of design which surpasses expectations. The on board pop up flash, electronic viewfinder, silver design and smaller body are all distinguishable features of the X-E1.

For me this camera has become a welcome back up and is regularly carried with my camera gear. Not only will it hold its own against a full frame digital SLR, but the camera’s output quality speaks for itself.

Let me tell you about a little unknown feature – it’s called in camera RAW conversion.  Sounds like it is a simple idea but let me assure you it’s a powerful tool. Having the ability to shoot a RAW image in the field is something professionals and enthusiast photographers do almost every day. For those who don’t know a RAW file is an uncompressed image. Shooting in RAW mode allows you to post process the capture the way you like, unlike a .jpeg image (compressed image). The problem is most of the time you need a computer...not anymore! Using Fujifilm’s technology, you are now able to reflect your shooting condition, increase or decrease your exposure, increase dynamic range, add a film simulation, reduced noise and even change your white balance or highlight tone. Now that’s what I call a powerful tool, in fact I think they call it a Fujifilm X-E1!

Like the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, I would recommend the X-E 1 to the professional, enthusiast or budding photographer who wants to upgrade from an entry level digital SLR. The camera performs brilliantly in low light conditions and is well suited for portraiture, travel, macro, fashion, landscapes and street photography.  Don’t be fooled by my brief explanation though. I would highly recommend getting out there and putting this camera through its paces – you won’t be disappointed!

 

FUJIFILM X-M1

Fujifilm_X-M1

The X-M1 is a little camera with a huge appetite for great image quality.  If the sensor from the X-Pro 1 and X-E 1 were combined the X-M1 would be the identical triplet. Separated by its chiselling looks and iconic X-Series design, the X-M1 has also been made to very high Japanese standard.

This is the first of the interchangeable X-Series cameras which has the consumer or first time photographer in mind. The camera includes a turn dial which includes some great features like portrait and landscape modes, SR Auto (scene recognition) and a custom setting which you can assign your own settings to.

You may also notice due to its small size the X-M1 lacks a view finder, not a problem they said – “we’ll put a high resolution LCD tilt screen on the back of it!”....and they did! If you ever come across an incredible innovation to the photography world the high resolution tilt screen on the X-M1 would be it! I have found the tilt screen fantastic to use. Getting on the ground to look at the screen is a thing of the past!

Don’t be fooled by the size though - great things come in small packages. The X-M1 has been made small for a reason. You can pick the camera up in one hand and still change the shutter speed and aperture settings with ease making it the perfect travel companion.

Did you know about the new WiFi feature? Not many do so I’m glad you are reading this. Let me say this, your Facebook photos will never look the same again! You don’t ever have to put up with terrible quality photos from your smart phone again. Simply capture a great image with the X-M1, transfer it to your phone using the free Fujifilm app and snap – upload your image to Facebook or your preferred social platform for instant connectivity.

I would certainly recommend this camera to the professional, enthusiastic, budding photographer and beginner. The X-M1 covers all bases by featuring automatic and manual modes which will inspire the entry level photographer to improve their craft whilst appealing to the professional who typically like to control the camera. I foresee this camera to cover the basic photography environments like landscape, portrait, fashion, macro, travel, street and fashion photography.

 

 FUJIFILM X-A1

Fujifilm_X-A1

Forged from the bigger sibling, this almost identical camera is a wanna-be X-M1. It's not on the outside where you will notice the difference, it's the inner beauty where the differences lie. Instead of featuring the X-Trans CMOS sensor the X-A1 has a CMOS sensor, which still manages to bring home the bacon. You should expect great image quality, but when pixel peeping, compared with the X-M1 the colour reproduction and image quality won't be as good, although it's very hard to tell in my opinion. 

Apart from those two things you will save some dollars as the X-A1 is positioned lower than the X-M1. So what do I think? Well, you can have a read about my thoughts and see my sample images on the Fujifilm global website here. 

The camera also features WiFi so you can easily transfer your favourite image to your phablet, phone or tablet. So now, there are no excuses for bad quality Facebook photos, simply shoot your image on the X-A1, transfer to your device and hey presto you have great images to share to your social networks!

The X-A1 has arrived and is here to serve you at lightning speed, well not lightning, but it's really quick. It's said the start up time is half a second and with a shutter lag of 0.05 seconds (50 milliseconds), the time it takes a picture is actually twice as fast as the interval between gear changes on a Ferrari FXX - 100 milliseconds (according to Wikipedia). Oh and yes the camera does come in red to reflect this amazing speed ;). Not your colour? Well maybe blue or black would be better suited?

Overall I would recommend this camera to anyone who is wanting to take their photography to the next level. This camera would be well suited for the mum's and dad's, who really just want a camera, which takes great photos. The X-A1 has been made easy to use with modes like SR+ Auto; translated, Scene Recognition Plus can detect up to 58 different scenes and combine the settings found within those scenes to create the best picture. In other words it takes the guess work out for the point and shoot photographer.

Be sure to head into your local camera store to check out this little camera for yourself.

 

FUJIFILM X-S1

X-S1_Front

When was the last time you went traveling? Did you end up weighing your bags not knowing what to leave behind because your baggage allowance was blown? Let me offer you some advice....take a smaller camera and leave the big, heavy bulky digital SLR behind and take the smaller, lighter, bigger zoom Fujifilm X-S1 instead. Did I hear a sales pitch in that? :)

A few words – this camera is amazing! I’m speaking from experience here. Boasting a whopping 24mm (wide angle) to 624mm (super zoom) this camera packs a punch. You will be able to bring the action close without leaving the comfort of your seat so if you are into your wildlife photography the Fujifilm X-S1 is a must look.

Macro photography is something anyone can do. The world instantly becomes an abstract, interesting image. For me this is one of features which stand out on this camera. Most cameras feature a macro mode, however the X-S1 offers something extra special – Super Macro mode. Using the Super Macro mode on the X-S1 incredibly gets your lens up to 1cm away from your subject and if you combine this with the tilt LCD screen, you end up with a winning combination.

I would recommend this camera for anyone who enjoys wildlife, landscape, portrait, fashion, macro, travel, street and fashion photography. For those looking at purchasing a digital SLR this camera should fulfil all your needs. For example, you won’t have to invest in multiple lenses or worry about the weight while travelling – it’s the perfect travel companion.

 

FUJIFILM X20

Fujifilm_X20

If you want a fast, stylish compact then this is the camera for you.  The optical technology is highly advanced due to combination of the revolutionary X-Trans CMOS II Sensor and EXR Processor II...sound technical?....all you need to know is this camera shares the similar technology in the award winning Fujifilm X100s camera. I can write about the incredible image quality and superb Japanese design all day but I won’t, instead I’ll challenge you to pick up the camera and experiment for yourself.

When experimenting with the X20, be sure to check the 12 frames per second high speed shooting. With this setting the chances of missing the moment are almost canceled out due to the new improved focus system.

Have you ever been out at night and noticed your images look really dark? Chances are the darkness of an image relates back to your lens. Well you guessed it...with the Fujifilm X20 you shouldn’t have dark images problems. The bright lens (f2.0 – f2.8 for those spec hunters) will make sure you have every chance of capturing your night portraits professionally with style. The end result should be bright enough to hang on your wall for everyone to see!

The X20 has really borrowed many of the features from the X-Pro 1, X-E1 and X100s and combined them into a small camera which you can carry around with ease. Be sure to check out the array of accessories for this camera which include a leather case, multiple external flash units, lens hood and filter set and external microphone for video recording.

I see the Fujifilm X20 as a camera for everyone as the size, image quality and weight could well surpass many of its competitors. I recommend using this camera for all aspects of photography – it’s the great all rounder.

 

FUJIFILM XQ1

X-Q1_Black_Front_Wide_Package

The Fujifilm XQ1 is one of Fujifilm's newest. The black or silver finish certainly turns heads when using this palm sized camera. The XQ1 is a similar size to the Fujifilm X-F1 but is a completely different camera. Boasting a stylish control ring located around the lens, the operation of this camera has been well thought out. The ring can control some of your favourite settings, like exposure compensation, shutter speed or aperture making it an awesome feature for many photographers.  

I would recommend this camera if you are after something lightweight and portable. When held in the hand, this camera feels like it should be explored, the high resolution large 3 inch LCD provides a window into a photographic world of opportunity. Owners will be able to use the stabilised 4x optical zoom to become close with their subjects, while maintaining a clear sharp image. With a remarkable aperture range of f1.8 - f4.9, the lens itself has been designed by Fujinon to withstand low light situations, especially at the wider angle of 25mm. This camera is a must have for any photographer wanting a point and shoot compact. 

  

FUJIFILM X-F1

Fujifilm_X-F1

Why would you need a compact camera which offers an incredible image quality at an affordable price? I’m sure this is a question Fujifilm asked when they created the X-F1.

I see this product as a stand out against its competitors which in my view don’t offer the same sort of features. Let me take you through the process of why I would recommend this camera to anyone interested in photography.

The thin fold away lens has been designed to keep the camera small so you can fit it in your pocket and take it with you.

The fast, bright f1.8 lens brings what would have been dull dark images to life.

This camera oozes Fujifilm’s X-Series iconic design.

I could go on but really these are just words on a website - there's nothing like picking up the camera and testing it for yourself. So go on...what are you waiting for?

I hope you found this edition helpful. Let me know what X-Series camera you are interested in. If you have any questions about any of the cameras mentioned let me know in the comments section below and be sure to add +Fujifilm Australia to your circles on Google+ for more updates.

- Leigh Diprose

 

 

 

 

 

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