Fujifilm’s X-series of mirrorless cameras are widely admired for their image quality, premium build and exceptional design inspired by a retro aesthetic. They remain competitively priced too, and the new Fujifilm X-E3 – announced in September 2017 – has an RRP of £849. This latest camera to join the X-E lineup is the successor to the popular X-E2S, and makes a significant leap forward by incorporating many features found in flagship models such as the X-Pro2 and X-T2.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth upgrading your old Fujifilm for this latest offering, we need to delve into the specs and examine the key differences between the X-E2S and the new X-E3. So let’s take a look…
Sensor & Processor
The X-E3 uses Fujifilm’s 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor, which offers a significantly increased resolution over the X-E2S. To maximise image sharpness there’s no Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) on the sensor, but instead uses a random pixel array to eliminate moiré. This is the same sensor as found in the top of the range X-Pro2 and X-T2 and produces images measuring 6000x4000px. The replaced X-E2S used Fujifilm’s previous sensor – the X-Trans CMOS II – which had a resolution of 16.3MP, kicking out images measuring 4896x3264px, and also eliminates the need for an OLPF with a random pixel array.
To power the X-E3 there’s the X-Processor Pro, while the X-E2S is powered by the older EXR Processor II. The ISO performance is increased by the updated processor, with the X-E3 having a native range of 200 – 12,800, and the X-E2S capped at 200 – 6400. Both ISO spans can be expanded, with the X-E3 also offering settings of 100/125/160 and 25,600/51,200 at the upper end, while the X-E2S offers expanded settings of 100 at the base end and 12,800/25,600/51,200 at the upper limits. As well as offering greater sensitivity, the sensor and processor in the X-E3 also produces an improved dynamic range.
The enhanced processor produces faster shooting speeds and handling too. The X-E3 has a top continuous burst rate of 8fps with the mechanical shutter and can capture 62 JPEGs before the buffer fills. If you switch to the electronic shutter – which offers a top shutter speed of 1/32000sec – the X-E3 can capture 14fps for 35 JPEGs. By comparison the X-E2s is a little slower and shoots at 7fps, but the buffer is noticeably smaller as this speed can only be matched for a burst of 18 JPEGs before continuous shooting is interrupted.
The X-E3 makes another leap forward over its predecessor when we examine the focusing system. The X-E2S offers a total of 77 focus points, but only 15 of them are the faster and more precise Phase detect focus points and are clustered in the centre. The X-E3 on the other hand has a total of 325 focus points, the 91 Phase detection points cover a much wider portion of the frame. With the latest model there’s also a newly developed image recognition algorithm which is set to track moving subjects twice as fast as before. Despite this improvement to the tracking functions, the overall top AF speed is shared by both cameras at 0.06sec.
Build & features
Both cameras use an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with a 2360k-dot resolution that offers 100% frame coverage and a magnification of 0.62x. The only difference between them is the EVF in the X-E3 is slightly smaller at 0.39in versus 0.5in in the X-E2S. This is because the X-E3 is in fact a little smaller and lighter than its forebearer, and at 337g weighs 13g less than the X-E2S.
To make the X-E3 more diminutive Fujifilm have removed a number of button controls from the rear of the camera. To compensate for this the 3.0in 1040k-dot LCD is now a touchscreen, and allows for intuitive operations such as flick, pinch and double-tap, just like a smartphone. The LCD on the X-E2S offers zero touch functionality, but matches the X-E3 for screen resolution.
The magnesium alloy top plate is similar on both cameras, with stylish dials to control shutter speed and exposure compensation – like a traditional rangefinder camera – and a hotshoe for attachments such as a flash above the lens mount. One thing the X-E2S does have that the X-E3 lacks is a pop-up flash, however an external one is included in the box with X-E3, but like a pop-up it remains fixed in position so offers no bounce flash photography.
As well as the nod to the past with the nostalgic body design, X-series cameras also include a variety of film simulation modes that emulate the styles of different films from bygone days. The X-E2S has 11 film simulation modes, 4 fewer than the X-E3. Both cameras carry 8 advanced filters, that allow you to apply Photoshop-style effects such as Toy Camera mode or Pop Colour.
Despite taking inspiration from the past, X-series cameras are firmly in the modern world with wireless connectivity options to pair the camera with a smart device for remote operation and instant image sharing. The X-E2S has WiFi to do this, and the X-E3 also offers Bluetooth connectivity, which consumes less battery power than WiFi.
The contemporary updates don’t stop there though. The X-E3 offers 4K video recording at 30fps with 100MB/S quality. The camera also comes with an external microphone input and HDMI audio output, for professional movie capture. The older X-E2S has to make do with Full HD video recording, with a resolution 4x smaller than the X-E3 offering.
Fujifilm’s update to the X-E series is pretty comprehensive, with improvements and advancements made in almost every area of the camera. The X-E3 offers better image quality with enhanced resolution and low light performance, faster shooting speeds, more capable focusing and contemporary features such as a touchscreen, 4K video and Bluetooth. Anyone considering upgrading from an older model will find the X-E3 a significant improvement.
|Fujifilm X-E3||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|Sensor||X-Trans CMOS III||X-Trans CMOS II|
|ISO range||200 – 12800||200 – 6400|
|AF points||325 points/91 Phase||77 points/15 Phase|
|EVF||2360k-dot OLED||2360k-dot OLED|
|LCD||3.0in 1040k-dot touchscreen||3.0in 1040k|