I bought a Fuji X-T2 long before buying the X-E3, and it makes sense to say a bit about that camera first. I remember the first proper shot I took with the X-T2. It was this photo I’ve put here of sheep in a field.
When I put the photo up on the screen I was struck by how different it looked from a shot I might have taken with a Nikon. I was in two minds about whether I liked it. In was artistic but less accurate, if I can put it that way. So why did I buy it? Like most things, I bought it on a recommendation. And I felt I needed something different because the Nikon wasn’t giving me what I wanted.
I still have the Fuji X-T2, and I will talk about that in another article. For this article, I am now going to get to the reason I bought the X-E3, which leads me to another camera I had before the X-E3,
I had a Fuji X100s as a carry around camera, and I liked it a lot. I bought it as a ‘temporary’ choice while I figured out what system to go with, and I ended up using it for everything for years. I am not sure how many years, but I think it was more than seven years with that one camera.
The 35mm full frame equivalent lens was just right – not too wide and not too tight. And I liked the look of the images.
The only downsides were size and weight. I don’t like to expose my cameras to knocks and scrapes if I can help it, so I had a Fuji leather case, and that made the camera an easy package to carry around. But it was not that light; the camera in its case weighs 605g (21.4 oz).
And that brought me to the X-E3. It has more pixels than the X100s and it is a bit smaller. The X-E3 with the 27mm lens weighs 415g (14.6 oz). But then is has no protection against bumps and scrapes, and I ended up carrying it in a camera bag, And that completely defeated the object of a small carry around camera.
The X-E3 is too bulky to fit in a trouser pocket, and really it is too bulky to fit in a jacket pocket. The 27mm lens is a pancake lens, but there is no way it is as flat as the built-in lens on the X100s.
So, what to do? Well, that is for another article about the Ricoh GR III, the camera that replaced the X-E3 for a short while until I realised that I could have my case and eat it. So I kept the X-E3 because it is small and excellent, and kept the GR III because it is very small and also excellent.
The X-E3 doesn’t have a dedicated ISO button, so I assigned the function to the Fn button on the top plate near the shutter button. You press the button while looking through the viewfinder and twirl the dial. It is easy to do without taking the camera from your eye.
And that gets over the only feature that is not obvious when using the camera. And yes, the X-E3 has a touchscreen, but I turned that off in settings because I don’t like touchscreens on cameras that you stick up against your eye. They are great on iPhones, but not for cameras.
Some people use a hotshoe grip, to make the camera more secure to hold, and I tried it but it obstructs part of the top plate, so I didn’t use one. It doesn’t feel like the camera is going to slip from your hand, but on the other hand it doesn’t have a deep grip. Overall, It feels OK, but not super secure, and I had a wrist strap permanently attached to the camera. Oddly – perhaps not that odd – the times I appreciated the wrist strap most was when changing SD cards. It is nice to be able to leave the camera hanging from your wrist while you put away an SD card and get out another one.
The viewfinder is big for the size of the camera. It’s not as big as the viewfinder in the X-T2, but it is clear and the focus point is easy to see. When I compare it with the ease of seeing the focus point on a lower specification Nikon dSLR, the X-E3 is a lot better.
The camera focuses quickly and accurately. And while there are probably cameras that focus more quickly, I never felt I had to wait for it.
Because I only ever used the 27mm f2.8 lens on it, I can only comment on that combination, and the image quality is spectacular. This photo of ivy leaves is a crop of about one third of the frame.
If you have an X100F then you will know that the only option for changing ISO quickly via a function button is to choose Auto ISO 1, Auto ISO 2, or Auto ISO 3. I thought of a workaround, which is to set Auto ISO 1 to 400 ISO, set Auto ISO 2, to 800 ISO, and set Auto ISO 3 to 1600 ISO. The way to do that is to set the upper and lower limit to the same ISO in each case.