Fujifilm keeps the looks and boosts the imaging
If any camera maker can be credited with making the retro rangefinder style so popular in recent years, it’s Fujifilm. Ever since the company created the X100, the first model in the X system, the company has been at the center of this style revolution.
The latest such camera, the X-E2, is an update to the X-E1. It has the same pixel count, 16.3MP, but uses the X-Trans CMOS II sensor found in the X100s in place of the first-generation X-Trans chip of its predecessor. Fujifilm also made some subtle but helpful changes to the camera’s controls and added Wi-Fi image sharing.
We subjected the X-E2 ($999, street, body only; $1,399 with 18–55mm f/2.8–4 Fujinon XF R LM OIS lens) to our rigorous analysis in the Popular Photography Test Lab and hands-on field use to see how the camera stacks up.
In the Test Lab
With more accurate color reproduction than its predecessor and slightly more resolving power, the X-E2 earned an overall image quality rating of Extremely High from its lowest sensitivity of ISO 100 through ISO 400, missing an Excellent rating due to resolution numbers just shy of 2500 lines.
As was the case in both the X-E1 and X100s, the X-E2 won’t let you shoot RAW images at ISO 100, 12,800, or 25,600. At those settings, it’s JPEG or nothing. We therefore conducted our tests on JPEGs for those settings, and used our normal method of testing RAW images converted (in the supplied software) to uncompressed TIFFs for ISO 200 through ISO 6400.
Despite their equal number of pixels, the X-E2 beat the X-E1 in our resolution test, providing 2475 lines per picture height at ISO 200, about 100 lines more than its predecessor. So the X-E2 gets an Extremely High rating here and remained in this ratings band through ISO 6400, where it turned in 2300 lines. At ISO 12,800, JPEGs yielded 2175 lines, while JPEGs at ISO 25,600 turned in 2075.
In our noise test, the X-E2 kept to a Low or better rating up to ISO 400. From there, noise rose quickly to a Moderate rating at ISO 800 and then Unacceptable at ISO 1600–25,600. This is very similar to what we saw in our test of the X-E1, though that camera fared a little better at ISO 1600 and a little worse at ISO 400.
From the test results, it seems the X-E2 applies more noise reduction to the JPEGs than the RAW converter’s default noise-reduction settings apply to the RAW images. To Fujifilm’s credit, though, its programmers varied the defaults, notching up the noise reduction on images at ISO 1600–6400. Of course, you can decide how much NR to apply to your files during RAW conversion.
Mimicking the X100s, the X-E2 reproduced color very accurately. It earned an Excellent rating with an average Delta E of 6.2.