FUJIFILM X-E2/X-E1s …same quirks of the X-E1?

Fuji X-shooters are waiting for the new Fujifilm X-E2/X-E1s.. I am afraid I won’t buy it, unless…

After 6 months of shooting with this jewel, I would like to share some opinions. Most of them are really positive, just a few are negative. As a matter of fact, I tried to discuss about a serious issue regarding this camera before, when I wrote an email to Patrick from Fujirumors. Unsuccessfully though, as I got no answer. More than a Fuji X-shooters blog, Fujirumors seems to be a news-focused promotional site. Anyway, coming after the X-Pro1 in Fuji X line up, Fujifilm X-E1 is an amazing camera. Compared to the X-E1, the X-Pro1 has a bigger body and a hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder (lacking a diopter correction dial, optical-mode not permanently available and 1,440,000 chip versus the X-E1’s 2,360,000). That’s why I chose the E1. There are many things I love of this camera: most lenses are superb (18-55 and 55-200 are considered the best APS zoom lenses ever), camera size it’s just perfect for me, viewfinder is the best currently available electronic unit, noise… is non-existent, histogram is detailed, menu system is of the simplest kind and jpegs are simply amazing. Shooting with the X-E1 is pure pleasure, but some of its quirks can’t be ignored. Though it looks like talking about the X-E1’s shortcomings is a sort of taboo. Many Fuji owners are more worshippers than users. On the other hand Diglloyd is Fuji-allergic whereas Ken Rockwell is openly a supporter. That’s why I invite everyone to write a comment on this post. I HOPE to get answers (either way) from Fuji users out there, because I need some help about an issue which seems to be totally ignored all over the web.

A short list of the X-E1 quirks:

1) The terrible plastic back panel (not magnesium) where there are at least 5 useless buttons, if only some of the others were customizable.

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2) The front grip covering is made of an odd matte black “leather” that little by little tends to fade into gray. I’d prefer a plain painted magnesium finish, or plastic leatherette, like many other brands do, so that photographers would be free to choose third party vintage leather grips to fit on their camera.

3) I hate struggling with raw developers. I use Lightroom but most of the times I start creating a tiff file in Silkypix before processing it in Lightroom, as Silkypix gives much better results in resolution during the Raw to tiff/jpeg demosaicing. This is due to the the X-Trans sensor architecture, which delivers amazing results thanks to its 6×6 non-Bayer pixel array. provided that a different than Lightroom application is used.

4) Texture outlines on blue channel: here comes the most interesting part…

I like applying a yellow or red filter to polarized dark blue skies during black & white conversion: Most of the times I get a really dark grey sky, which easily turns in pure black as soon as you push filter’s “redness” by selecting a higher red value and a lower blue value. Once I even tried screwing a physical red filter over the CPL, but this generates a really poor file, since it only gathers informations from the red channel of your sensor.

Anyway, once a red filter is applied, X-Trans files show a terrible white outline around every object lying over the blue sky.

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yellow filter preset on Photoshop CC

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Red filter preset on Photoshop CC

I am aware that this artifact is worsened by the sharpening process. This is why the posted samples are completely devoid of sharpening (Values near to zero: outline emphasis: 3, detail emphasis: 25 and false outline ctrl.: 1). Yes, every sensor arguably shows such an artifact, but in X-Trans files that outline is definitely thicker, thus requiring hard work on selections or, worst, giving up the red filter and use a darkening graduated filter instead. Which is absolutely different. Suggestions anyone?

Full size samples

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XF 18-55 at 21mm  f11  1/160  ISO 800

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XF 18-55 at 18mm  f11  1/110  ISO 400

Tiff created with Silkypix Developer Studio Pro 5 default values then converted with photoshop CC Bw filters, nothing else.

Anyway, for those who don’t care about yellow or red filtering in black & white conversions, and still consider their X-Trans cameras perfect despite reading this post…

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click for full resolution 100% crop from color tiff created with Silkypix Developer Studio Pro 5, as you can see also on color Jpgs there is a little bit of white outlines, look at the green T-shirt

So, Fuji junkies, I’m not right with plastic panel, the grip and RAW development, let me change idea also on this terrible artifact, I need your critics and your help.

8 thoughts on “FUJIFILM X-E2/X-E1s …same quirks of the X-E1?

  1. Oddly enough, some brand user groups seem to be allergic to any remarks about their favorite cameras and mostly prone to brand-worshipping. I experienced the same when I was a Leica user: every time I dared to post even a shy comment about, for instance, the several M8 shortcomings (one of the worst cameras I have ever purchased in my entire life) my blog and mailbox have been bombed with insults and threats by the wildest Leicaphiles all over the world. The rest of them remained silent.
    Has this something to do with the obvious resemblance between some Fuji models and M Leicas perhaps?
    Maybe not, as I recall the same silence when I tried to comment on Harley Davidson user blogs about the insanely designed HD V-Rod (I eventually sold the thing and bought myself a black 883, an awesome bike that can be considered as the Sigma DP Merrill of motorcycles). Some manufacturers clearly manages to make a religion out of their trade. A clever move that helps them to cut corners in design, development and testing of their products.

  2. Exactly. I wrote a post on dpreview forum, as I expected, someone has been really unkind. Luckily a couple of wise readers give me a significant help suggesting to completely shut off sharpening modules during Raw to Tiff development in Silkypix, and it works fine. Experiences like this makes evident that when we choose a camera we should not underestimate which software gives better results with its sensor. My ideal pipeline has always been all inside Lightroom, now I have to load RAF files in Silkypix and use SilverFx Pro for black and white filters.

  3. Perhaps the lack of response is because your complaints are not an issue for the majority of users? 5 useless buttons? I’m not sure what that means since all buttons have at least once clearly defined purpose.

    I would prefer the playback button to be on the right side–similar to the X-Pro1–but that’s my only complaint with buttons–especially since the last firmware update, which allows easier focus point selection using the down button on the right side.

    While shooting I use the playback button occasionally since I have review turned off. I use the focus point selector, and the Fn button (set for ISO). I don’t make frequent use of the other buttons so not being able to program them isn’t an issue for me. In fact the lack of numerous programmable buttons and dials seems to be part of the attraction for many users. Aperture ring, shutter-speed dial, and ISO. That covers most uses for many people.

    I have not heard any other complaints with the choice of covering material and I personally prefer it to painted metal or some of the other plastics in use.

    I have heard others wishing for a sturdier build. I have both the X-E1 and X-Pro1 and agree that the X-E1 could be improved by an all metal body but I imagine it would push the cost up closer to the X-Pro1.

    I don’t do much black and white and haven’t run into the raw conversion issues you’re seeing although I do use C1 for critical conversions because I’ve had slightly better luck with C1 than LR, but I still use LR for the majority of my images. Have you tried Iridient?

    I won’t be buying the X-E2 simply because I’m very happy with the current models. I’m not sure if being happy with my gear counts and brand worship. I do know that I’m comfortable enough with Fuji that I’ve sold off my Canon gear.

    Cheers!

    • Jerry, thanks for your comment. First of all, modern cameras have a lot of fuctions and you can put a dozen buttons with a “clearly defined purpose”. I think is possible to remove all 4 buttons on the left, putting a playback button under the dialer and a 4+1 buttons wheel on the right. It would have also a dialer function useful for zooming in playback and scrolling through parameters after pressing one of the 4 buttons. An example: wheel left to activate zone selecting, then moving with arrows and Esc with half shutter. wheel right for entering the drive options, wheel dialer for scrolling, center menu ok button to confirm selection. Wheel up and down for AE and AF. And I am not a Fuji engigneer, my idea is absolutely improvable. Regarding the strange artifact shown in my samples I will post soon a Part II… Jpegs are wonderful, the problem is not in the sensor. But, extracting tiffs from different developers and comparing them for checking which version doesn’t show artifacts IS an issue. Those users that I called “worshippers” persist to make the point writing that is not Fuji to be blamed but Software houses… I don’t care, I don’t seek to lay the blame with anyone. I struggle with Raw developers, period. It’s not enough to overcome the many Pros of this jewel, but it is a relevant fact.

  4. I agree that it’s not perfect. But I haven’t really had issues like the ones you’ve had. I’ve done all my processing in lightroom 5 and it seems ok to me, I might give silkypix a try to see what differences I can spot. For me the biggest issue has been low light focussing, but I’m gradually working my around that. Interesting article though, and I have no problem with your list of negatives! If the Xe-2 has faster focussing, wireless and a better back screen then I may upgrade, depending on how much it costs.

  5. Pingback: miXed zone: 23mm, Photo Ninja, reviews, artifacts, lens turbo, Nikon vs Fuji, X-E1 give away and more | Fuji Rumors

  6. I got similar results with LR5 and have turned to C1 or Irident for critical images, still using LR for archival. Especially leafs or greenery details or contrast between foliage and blue sky turns out badly with LR. There have been a lot of criticism on how bad LR is on X-trans files, and most of it is 100% correct. I do hope Abobe gets their act together pretty soon.

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