Review: Fuji X-E1 & 55-200 mm lens

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X-E1 and 55-200 mm lens
X-E1 and 55-200 mm lens

It has been quite a few years since I last used a Fuji camera. Back then the S5300 was king of the hill (if you didn’t count Fuji’s Nikon-based S-series pro DSLRs), with non-interchangeable long zoom lens and DSLR look and feel. Loved that camera.

Today I’m just finishing off a couple of weeks with the X-E1, a far different camera and one that’s a couple of steps up from the norm. This is an interchangeable lens model, along the lines of the Olympus Pen cameras, with a solidity of construction, plus look and feel, of something like an older Leica. The X-E1 is, in Fuji’s words, a “premium” model.

It feels like it.

This model’s been available for coming up on a year but it’s still worthy of consideration if you’re in the market. It produces great quality images, and the viewfinder is a delight.

If you’re interested in its specs, check out what I wrote when it was announced.

fuji XF27mmThe reason I had this “older” model camera was so I could used Fujifilm’s new XF 55-200 mm lens. As an added bonus, Fuji also loaned me the XF 27 mm lens.

The combination of the X-E1 and 55-200 is a delight, as is the combo of that camera and the 27 mm lens.

With the zoom attached, the duo delivers a wonderful solidity, but I don’t mean heavy.

You can check out the lens’ description here.

A great lens attached to a crappy sensor is not going to be able to deliver what it could, so I’m delighted to say the 55-200 is a super match for the APS-C sensor in the camera. I shot everything from portraits to sailboats on the horizon and was not disappointed. What spun my propellor was the quality of the images shot at higher ISOs; I don’t know what Fuji is doing, but it works.

As an f/3.5-4.8 lens it’s not the fastest, but then neither is it a huge lens with big optics to suck in more light. In combination with the X-E1, the viewfinder was always bright when the zoom was attached, partially a product of the camera’s electronics, but owing a lot to the brightness of the optics.

The same with the 27 mm lens, a diminutive thing delivering a crispness to images which can be dialed back by the camera’s electronics if so desired.

The lens’ specs can be found here.

If you’ve been considering an interchangeable lens camera, the X-E1 has to be on your list. You’d not be lacking for good quality optics to use on it.

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