Like most other camera manufacturers at the moment, Fujifilm is currently somewhat partial to using the letter X in its camera names. In recent years, we've seen the company unveil the X100, the X-S1 and most recently the X-Pro1. Well, it's gone and done it again, with the announcement that it will soon release the Fujifilm X-E1, a retro-styled 16-megapixel mid-range mirrorless interchangeable lens digital camera.
Borrowing styling and a number of features from its bigger brother, the X-E1 boasts the same 16.3-megapixel CMOS Sensor as the X-Pro1. It also takes the same Fujifilm X mount lenses, and image quality is said to be identical between the two cameras – but the X-E1 will be cheaper and features a smaller body.
However, some things had to go to cut the size, most notably the highly regarded hybrid multi viewfinder. It has been replaced with an OLED electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million dots and a high contrast ratio of 1:5000. The X-E1 viewfinder also uses two glass elements and one double aspherical element to offer a clear and distortion-free view, which Fujifilm claims is "an experience similar to an optical viewfinder."
The X-E1 benefits from a 16.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor which uses a unique color filter array to minimize moiré and false colors. This means it doesn't need the optical low pass filter featured in most cameras and as a result it reportedly produces clearer and better resolved images than most comparable resolution sensors. The color filter arrangement also helps to produce low-noise images even at high ISO – the X-E1 has an ISO range of 200–6400 (which can be extended between 100 and 25600).
A newly developed EXR Processor Pro image processor is said to not only handle images quickly, but also help bring fast autofocus to the X-E1 with Contrast Detection. A new autofocus algorithm and sensor drive mode mean that AF speeds are now up there with the impressive Olympus OM-D E-M5 – a common complaint about the X-Pro1 was lackluster focus speed. There's also continuous shooting with a rate of 6 fps.
Design-wise, the 129 x 74.9 x 38.3 mm (5.1 x 2.9 x 1.5 inch) X-E1 has the same retro style we've become accustomed to from Fuji in recent years, and has top and front covers made from die-cast magnesium. Manual control dials for shutter speed and exposure feature on the top panel along with a Fn (Function) button which can be assigned frequently-used functions. There's a 2.8-inch (460K dot) LCD on the rear, and the X-E1 also has a built-in pop-up flash.
Coming in solid black or a two-tone silver, the understated Fujifilm X-E1 will be available later this year at a price of US$1,000 body-only or $1,400 with a new 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens. That lens includes an OIS (Optical Image Stabilizer) and a new linear motor which can bring subjects into focus in as little as 0.1 seconds.
Here's a short X-E1 promo video from Fujifilm.
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