The X-series of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras from Fujifilm can be split into two branches: those that mimic the rangefinder design and those whose aesthetic takes inspiration from a classic SLR camera. The most recent addition to the X-series is the X-E3, and with a flat top profile and viewfinder on the left of the camera it follows the rangefinder styling. The X-E3 however inherits a number of features of more premium Fujifilm cameras, including the X-T2, but this flagship mirrorless model sits within the SLR style branch of the Fujifilm lineup. As well as having a different body design, how does the newcomer compare to Fujifilm’s most professional camera?
Sensor & processor
Inside the X-E3 and X-T2 you’ll find the same 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor. Its random pixel array design eliminates moiré, so there’s no need for an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF), so images are also sharper. The sensor is powered by the X-Processor Pro, and so this matching partnership gives the X-E3 and X-T2 the same native ISO range of 200 – 12,800, with expanded settings options of 100/125/160 at the lower end and 25,600/51,200 at the upper limit. This sensor and processor combination means that both the X-E3 and X-T2 are on a par when it comes to image quality.
They’re also equal on shooting speed. Both the X-E3 and X-T2 have a top continuous capture rate of 8fps with the mechanical shutter and 14fps with the electronic shutter. The X-T2 has a bigger buffer capacity though as it can capture 83 JPEGs at 8fps while the X-E3 stalls at 62 JPEGs.
The X-T2 however can be boosted by the addition of the Vertical Power Booster Grip which is sold separately. This means two batteries can be used with the X-T2, so it can shoot for around 1000 pictures and the increase in power results in an improved performance from the camera. While there’s small advances made with shooting interval and shutter lag times – not that you’d notice the extra 0.02secs – there’s a big difference when it comes to a top shooting speed with the mechanical shutter: the X-T2 can now shoot at 11fps. This is an extra 3fps over the X-E3, so if you shoot a lot of sport, wildlife or action then the X-T2 will be the better bet.
Even without the additional Vertical Power Booster Grip – which provides an additional shutter button as well as other Function controls too – the X-T2 is noticeably bigger and heavier than the X-E3. It’s longer on every axis by around a centimetre, and weighs 507g with a battery and memory card, while the X-E3 weighs 337g. The extra weight in part is a result of the solid magnesium alloy construction, whereas the X-E3 only features magnesium alloy top and bottom plates. The X-T2 body is weather sealed, meaning it is dust and moisture resistant and can operate in sub-zero conditions. The X-E3 foregoes weather-sealing in favour of offering a lighter and therefore more portable alternative. The bigger X-T2 also comes with dual SD card slots, whereas the X-E3 has just one.
Screen and viewfinder
On the back of each camera there’s a 3.0in 1040k-dot LCD screen. The monitor on the X-T2 can be tilted in three directions, helping you compose when framing up at arms length. The screen on the X-E3 on the other hand is fixed in position, however it offers touchscreen functionality which will be a big draw for some photographers. As the X-E3 LCD is touch sensitive and menu navigation can be managed with intuitive gestures, just like a smartphone, there are fewer physical buttons on the body, helping it to have a smaller footprint.
One of the more immediately obvious physical differences between the cameras is the X-T2 has a raised pentaprism housing on the top side of the camera – just like an SLR – and this is where the EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) is housed. On the X-E3 the top plate is entirely flat, and instead the EVF is on the left hand side, just as it was on rangefinder cameras before the digital age. The EVFs in both the X-E3 and X-T2 offer a resolution of 2360k-dot – making for crisp and clear view of your subject – with 100% frame coverage. As the X-E3 is a smaller camera, the EVF is smaller too at 0.39in with a magnification of 0.62x, while the chunkier X-T2 has a 0.5in EVF with a 0.77x magnification.
Both cameras come with the same autofocus system which has a total of 325 AF-points, and 91 Phase-detect points, which work better for tracking moving subjects. At launch the X-E3 features Fujifilms new AF tracking algorithm which improves the AF performance of moving subjects. This same feature is available for the X-T2 this November with a simple firmware update.
At first glance the X-E3 and X-T2 are matched when it comes to video as both offer 4K video capture at 30fps and 100mbs. However, the image quality is superior with the X-T2. This is because it slightly crops the sensor when capturing video so it uses all of the pixels, rendering better sharpness and improved high ISO performance. The X-E3 on the other hand doesn’t crop the sensor in order to maintain the same field of view in the EVF. Because of this, the X-E3 doesn’t perform full pixel readout resulting in inferior detail rendering and Noise levels. The X-T2 also has a headphone port so you can easily monitor your captured audio, but there’s no such port on the X-E3.
Although the X-E3 and and X-T2 share the same sensor and processor, giving the same resolution, ISO range and autofocus performance, there’s still a number of significant differences between the two cameras. The X-T2 is certainly more advanced with a larger viewfinder, dual SD card slots, weather sealing and superior 4K video capabilities. The option of the Vertical Power Booster Grip expands the potential of the X-T2, increasing the performance speed and capture rate, as well as improving the handling and extending the shooting time. With the extra features there’s also extra cost, and the X-T2 has an RRP of US$1359, and that’s without the extra grip to boost the performance. The X-E3 is available for just US$979, and offers the same image quality, added touchscreen functionality and a smaller and lighter body. While some more advanced features are sacrificed, the X-E3 could be an attractive proposition for enthusiast photographers looking to pick up a top-notch X-series camera.
|Fujifilm X-E3||Fujifilm X-T2|
|Price||$ 649.00||$ 1,000.00|
|Sensor||X-Trans CMOS III||X-Trans CMOS III|
|ISO range||200 – 12,800||200 – 12,800|
|Shooting speed||8fps, 14fps with electronic shutter||8fps, 14fps with electronic shutter|
|LCD||1040k-dot 3.0in touchscreen||1040k-dot 3.0in tiltscreen|
|EVF||2360k-dot OLED||2360k-dot OLED|