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.