In September 2017, Fujifilm announced the latest addition to the X-Series lineup, the X-E3, and its design takes inspiration from the rangefinder style of cameras. The X-E3 could be considered as the more affordable alternative to the flagship X-Pro2, as they both follow the rangefinder aesthetic and share the same processor and sensor. There are however a number of higher end features reserved for the X-Pro2, but are these worth the weightier price tag? Let’s take a look and find out…
Sensor & processor
The X-E3 and X-Pro 2 are both built around Fujifilm’s X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor, which has a resolution of 24.3MP and produces images measuring 6000x4000px. This sensor uses a random pixel array to improve colour accuracy and remove the effects of moiré without the need for an Optical Low Pass Filter, so images are as sharp as possible. In both cameras the sensor is paired with the X-Processor Pro giving an identical ISO with a native range of 200 – 12,800, with other expanded options of 100/125/160 and 25,600/51,200 at the upper limit.
This image engine means that both the X-E3 and X-Pro2 also have the same shooting speeds, topping out at a pretty rapid 8fps. The X-Pro2 however has a slightly bigger buffer capacity than the X-E3, as it can capture images at 8fps for 83 JPEGs in a single burst, whereas the X-E3 is limited to 62 consecutive JPEGs. Handling speeds are comparable too, with an Autofocus speed of 0.06sec, a camera startup time of 0.4sec and a shutter lag of just 0.05sec found on both the X-E3 and X-Pro2.
The focusing system used by both X-E3 and X-Pro2 is also very similar, though when it was first released the X-Pro2 had an inferior AF system. Previously the X-Pro2 offered a total of 273 AF points, but now due to firmware releases it boasts 325 AF points – the same number as the X-E3, with the number of more accurate Phase detect points matched at 91. There’s another firmware release scheduled for December 2017 that will bring a new AF tracking algorithm to the X-Pro2. This more advanced tracking function is already operating on the X-E3, giving this more affordable camera a slight advantage with focusing.
As the X-Pro2 is the flagship model in the rangefinder branch of the X-series, it comes with a more advanced viewfinder, unique to Fujifilm. It offers an Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder, meaning users can switch between using an Optical Viewfinder (OVF) and an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with the flick of a lever. Use of either and EVF or OVF mostly comes down to personal preference, but at least the X-Pro2 gives you the option to choose between the two. If you want the best of both worlds, you can combine the EVF and the OVF using the Electronic Rangefinder option. With this, a small EVF window is displayed within the Optical Viewfinder, allowing you to check the focus or white balance in real time. On the X-E3 you only get an Electronic Viewfinder. It offers the same 2360k-dot display, has a marginally bigger magnification at 0.62x (compared to 0.59x on the X-Pro2) but the refresh rate is 31 fps slower at 54 fps.
There’s also some key differences with regard to the LCD. The X-Pro2 has a higher resolution with a 3.0in 1620k-dot OLED LCD, but despite offering a lower screen resolution of 1040k-dot, the X-E3’s 3.0in touchscreen is the more advanced. Because menus can be navigated using the touchscreen, and images can be scrolled through and zoomed into using intuitive gestures, the X-E3 omits a number of physical buttons, allowing it to be smaller and lighter.
Build and design
In fact, at 337g the X-E3 is significantly lighter than the X-Pro2 which tips the scales to 445g. This extra 118g doesn’t just come from a smattering of extra buttons, the X-Pro2 is physically larger and also offers a more premium build. It’s constructed from a block of magnesium alloy, whereas the X-E3 is lighter as only uses magnesium alloy for the top and bottom plates, with the rest of the chassis made from a lighter composite material. This makes the X-Pro2 more durable, and is sealed to make it dust and moisture resistant – as you’d expect with a premium model. The X-E3 doesn’t offer the same environmental protections. The X-Pro2 also makes use of its extra girth by offering dual SD card slots, with only one found on the X-E3.
The top plates of both the X-E3 and X-Pro2 are very similar, with stylish milled dials for controlling the shutter speed and exposure compensation, function buttons, shutter button and a hotshoe for attachments. Neither camera comes with a built-in flash, but the X-E3 does arrive with a small flash attachment in the box. There’s no flash included with the X-Pro2 so if this is something you need you’ll need to buy it separately.
The X-Pro2 also lacks a couple of features that come with the X-E3 as standard. For connecting your camera to a smart device for wireless image transfer or remote operation the X-Pro2 has WiFi, but the X-E3 adds the less power hungry Bluetooth to the connectivity options. The X-E3 also comes with 4K video capture. Currently, the X-Pro2 only offers Full HD, but the firmware update arriving in December will bring 4K functionality to the X-Pro2 as well.
While the features of these two cameras do noticeably overlap, there’s still a significant number of differences between them to help make a decision. The X-Pro2 is a more advanced camera, with a more rugged build, weather sealing, a more comprehensive viewfinder system, and a higher resolution LCD. As it is the flagship model in this branch of the Fujifilm line up it has a price tag to match, with an RRP of £1489. The X-E3 is more temptingly priced at £849, especially when you consider the image quality from the two cameras is identical, and offers more contemporary features like touchscreen and Bluetooth. Both cameras are highly capable and intelligently designed, you just need to decide if the more premium build and advanced optical viewfinder is worth the extra expense.
|Price||$ 1,419.00||$ 649.00|
|Sensor||24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III||24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III|
|Processor||X-Processor Pro||X-Processor Pro|
|ISO||200 – 12800||200 – 12800|
|Focus points||325 points||325 points|
|Viewfinder||Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder||Electronic Viewfinder|
|LCD||3.0in 1620k-dot LCD||3.0in 1040k-dot touchscreen|
|Video||Full HD, 4K arriving in December with firmware update||4K video|