Fuji-XE2-Street-Photography-1

 

There are many fine Fuji X E2 Reviews about this and other Fuji cameras plastered all over the internet. My idea for this is not to compare the X-E2 against any other camera but against how it works with the shooter. When I say that I am testing this camera on the street, that means that I will run it thru it’s paces.

 

Introduction

 

Street photography is the most demanding of all genre’s because it’s made up of all genre’s. A portraitist needs the camera, tripods etc to be competent in that genre’, same as a landscape shooter needs a camera etc to capture the vision out front of her/him. A macro shooter has certain needs for that specific genre’ and then the low light shooter needs certain gear for that genre’. There is almost no end to the uses people find for photography and to work mainly in one or two genre’s is very comforting.

 

Enter the street shooter. This kat is a very unique person. See, when you’re out there on the street, there is no telling what your going to run into. So, the dedicated street shooter needs to be able to perform in any genre’ that may present itself at any moment. Get to the camera Shooter……OK!

 

If the shooter needs to be versed in most genre’s, it stands to reason that the camera must also be up to the task. For me and you but you may not know it yet, we need a camera that will not create an intrusion on our vision. See, you need the same thing. This means that at the time of release, your Eye, Heart and Mind are not interrupted by the camera. The camera must be in the same frame of mind as you are. Some call this working with the tool. They see the camera as a tool, maybe as a toy etc Yuch!!!!

 

I name my cameras because they are my friends, We have a symbiotic relationship in the journey of photography we are on TOGETHER. I use the X-Pro1 and X-E1 and I must admit….it’s as good as it gets. Well, some engineers look at these cameras and think to themselves…..hmmmmm….what can my team do to make this great camera better? I gotta tell ya. It’s not an easy task. It’s not easy for me in any way, shape or form either. See, I am producing photos that make me feel entirely satisfied. Why on earth would I want to change things? I love the cameras just the way they are.

 

Well, there’s a few things to address but this in no way means that these cameras are bad. On the contrary, I am anxious to see how this X-E2 works on the street. I am not interested in comparing to any other camera but I think I have to address it side by side with the X-E1 with some things. It will not be like the other people do, you know…black against silver… button placement is improved. Give me a break! I am going to use this camera to make photos. I am not shooting flowers, not that there’s anything wrong with that….. I’m a Streetshooter for almost 50 years and I’ll know if this camera can cut it. My promise to youse fine shooters that will read this: I will not sugar coat this study at all. I will only post the truth as I find it. I do not have a responsibility to a camera store, Fuji or anyone else but…..YOU!

 

I’m going to set this up the way my X-E1 is as best as I can and then…..off to the streets. I’ll spend a few days working with it and maybe even be able to name it. Olivier and I had a chat and agreed that I will also do some sort of comparison against the X-E1. The X-E1 is a fine camera and I use it with the 27mm (40.5mm) and more importantly, with M Mount lenses. I use the Fuji M Mount Adapter and even tho’ it’s more expensive than the others, it’s well worth the money. So this should prove one of the most important points between the 2 cameras, focusing manually with legacy lenses. The other thing that is always asked is IQ. Well, it’s been proved all over that both cameras are just about equal and any difference between them proves almost unnoticeable. My concerns in this area would be in low light/high ISO.

 

Some Observations (Good Things):

 

The XE2 like the XE1 has a very lean size and profile partly due to the lack of the OVF as in the XP1. The XE2 has 2 dedicated Fn buttons with 4 more customizable buttons. You can configure the camera to work the way you desire. AF is quick and accurate and it seems faster than the XE1. It also seems faster than the XP1 but it still isn’t breaking any records. This is a non issue for me and you also if you are a street shooter. It’s fast enough for most situations. More important than speed is always accuracy. The X cameras are accurate. They may struggle in really low light but I never met a camera that didn’t.

 

I couldn’t figure out how to change the AF Box size in a hurry. I didn’t have the manual so I just call this a ½ intrusion. MF seems faster and less turns of the lens ring is required. The Focus Peaking on High is very accurate and I guess the split image thing works ok. The Focus Peaking in the XE2 is way ahead from the XE1. This is the biggest improvement/disappointment to me. I use my Voigtlander 21 Skopar and 15mm Heliar a lot. I usually zone focus and Hyperfocal distance but I want the option of focusing the lenses. This is a key issue for street shooters. I can see a remarkable improvement on this feature with the XE2. I did not want this to be true. Youse are all street shooters right,…well you know then that most times AF is not fast enough. Not because it’s not fast but because we work and see faster than the camera can function. So imagine using a legacy lens and then not being able to focus it fast enuff.

 

Yeah, yeah I know I know….the DOF scale really is the ticket. Your walking and all the sudden you see a portrait you have to make. You ask and the person agrees.
So you start to focus and the peaking is fading in and out, the person is watching you and thinking….hmmmm real pro here…½ hour goes by and you finally got focus…..Time to paint the bathroom my friend. There are 2 dedicated AF-L and AE-L buttons, the X-E1 shared 1. The Exposure Comp dial has 6 EV adjustments (+/- 3 stops). The business end of the camera is the LCD screen and that’s where this camera has a nice improvement. The resolution is better than the XE1. This is important to me because I love using the screen. The new screen besides having nice resolution is also bigger and brighter. It is noticeable.

 

The EVF is brighter and has more resolution, to my eyes and it refreshes faster. The XE2 has a great feature added on the Disp button. It has an OFF position. That turns off all the info on the screen until the ½ press. This is great for framing. Here is a BIGGIE! The XE2 will let you choose Auto DR in Manual Mode, The XE1 will not. The XE1 will let you do 100, 200, 400 DR but not AUTO IN MANUAL MODE. This is a great upgrade as DR is a strong point with the X Trans Sensor. Ya don’t believe me….check out the Fuji Maestro Rico. I highly, respectfully, strongly, suggest that you read his books on the Fuji Cameras.

 

Some cons:

 

Well, maybe the lack of a dedicated WB button…tsk, tsk…. Carry an extra battery…hey, hey…I had to mention it but I know youse all do anyway. If you want to find more garbage and degrading post about any of the X cameras. Go to a few forums and have fun. There’s a big issue Fuji just didn’t upgrade. The Eye Sensor of the XP1 and XE1 is really very important. Sure, it’s nice to have the camera sensor eye and change from EVF to Screen. Look how talented my camera is. All by itself it can change to make me happy. Well the XE2 has a nasty sense of humor. Oh, don’t get it wrong, it will change also but you have to go into the menu to select just one.

 

So if you’re working and all the sudden you do not want the screen on at all, you have to swim with the fishes in the menu. Yeah, that to me is a real problem. It was mentioned on a forum, Don’t sweat it, maybe you can set a Fn button to it. Well, why make it work on a Fn button when there already was a button for it on the other cameras. There’s an old saying that keeps getting updated with firmware…..”Don’t fix something that’s not broken”.

 

Fuji XE2 for Street Photography: Eye, heart, mind

 

Fuji-XE2-Street-Photography-1

18mm f/6.4 1/200 ISO 1600 DR Auto

 

This looks like a lot of light but it’s a reflection inside a dark window. That’s me in there double checking to make sure we do it right. I used the EVF for this and I find myself using the EVF more with this camera than with any other. THE HORROR! It’s the brightness that seems brighter on the XE2 but when I put it against the XE1 I really don’t see a difference until the refresh rate pops into play. The AF locked as fast as I could press the button. Check the exposure values I posted and you get an idea of the ambient light.

 

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18mm f/5.6 1/200 ISO 320 DR Auto

 

Here’s a test for a street shooter and a street camera. It’s called the Chameleon Procedure. I’m walking and I have the camera set to a setting that doesn’t suit this situation. I’m getting close and I need to make some changes to get the effect I want. I adjusted the f/stop, the shutter speed, DR etc, raised the camera and CLICK! The XE like it’s big brother and sister is a very fast camera and keeps up with me very well.

 

I framed with her feet in view at first but then the overhead sign was wrong. I needed the curved lines to go to the people in the background to support that area. So I raised the camera and just cut her feet off and wasn’t concerned because the mannequin had her feet showing. This all happened very fast. From time of recognition to capture was no more than 2 ½ seconds.

 

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18mm 1/200 f/5.6 ISO 2000

 

I was working the boardwalk and one of the things that must be taken in consideration is, the change values. I was set to 1/200 f/5.6 because it was very bright out. As I walked towards this store, the guy was getting closer and closer to the heads. So I bent down to look into the lower shelf and as I did, I used the screen to get him in. I actually bent up a little so that he was in between two ladies heads.
I released the shutter knowing that Auto ISO would nail it. I had to have my choice in shutter speed and aperture. At this close range, opening the lens would result in a real blurry mess. It wouldn’t be a pretty picture I tell ya…..

 

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18mm 1/125 f/2 ISO 800

 

There was real subtle color in this store.I almost passed by but I instantly recognized my Ex Wife and had to make a photo. Red was never her color. When I work, I like to adjust the f/stop and or shutter speed according to what I want and how I want it to look. This is the reason I use Auto ISO. The XE2 has Auto Dynamic Range, DR, that you can implement in Manual Mode. This is a very good upgrade. When I framed this, I wanted it to look just like this. When I started to process the file, I just hit one of my presets and did a sharpening preset and you’re looking at the result. The XE2 has IS. IS=Image Stabilization. I’ve had many cameras that had IS of one form or another and even combined. No camera has worked as well as the XE2.

 

The reason I mention this is….I did a few test shots in my house. Now to start, I am not qualified or have permission to photograph my wife…AT ALL! Well, if she grants permission, I could probably have dinner that evening. So, Fuji engineers as sly as they are, knew that menfolks can’t get full time permissions to make photos of our spouses female, male or whatever. So the engineers IS for the XE2. IS stands for Image Stabilization to the casual observer. IS to the shooter with a Fuji camera means….IS…is you taking my picture?!!!! NO! I isn’t taking your picture.

 

I can’t post the shots I snuck at home. She…OH! I Forgot to mention. Tanya, is Russian. I think of her as the Russian Czar. Anyway I managed to grab about ½ dozen shots of her and our cat Barsik. Barsik is a Russian name for Cat. Barsik looked at me as I was sneaking some photos and I could see in his eyes….”I’m tellin’…ohhhhh, I’m telling mommy”. I set the camera to ⅛ sec f/2.8 18mm iso went to 3200. I gotta tell ya, the IS worked in an unbelievable fashion. The photos are sharp and I have essential tremor so I’m never that steady. The IS in the XE2 is really for husbands that sneak photos of their wife even when danger stares us right in the eyes. IS = I’m Stupid!

 

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18mm 1/180 f/5.6 ISO 800

 

The XE2 is a real street machine. It does more than most shooters will ever discover. It re-configures easily without hassle. I find myself really liking the EVF and I don’t want to really feel this way. The camera just presents itself in a way that the shooter can adapt to and work without intrusion. I’m not saying that the XE1 doesn’t do this, I’m just stating that the XE2 has some great improvements that bring it to the next level.

 

I did some work with my Voigtlander and Leica lenses. There is no doubt that the XE2 is one of the very best cameras for MF lenses. Using the Focus Peaking, which I am very familiar with from many cameras, the camera never missed a shot. I found that I could focus any lens I tested and I never needed to use the Magnifier. I don’t want to dwell on this and I won’t. I will just say, the XE2 is far better than the XE1 and XP1 for MF lenses. I used the 18mm lens because it’s the ideal street focal length. I did use the 27mm, 35mm and they work fine but for the street, the 18mm can’t be beat.

 

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18mm 1/125 f/4.0 ISO 2000

 

I know I’m an odd duck. So what. I like to work with my camera to get the result that I see in front of me and what I feel and see from my Eye, Heart and Mind. See the high tones above. I made that happen because I forced the camera to over expose by using the exposure equation I set. Of course I work my presets in LR5 but I need a starting point. The XE2 was up for the task. I really like the camera. It’s a nice set of improvements from the XE1 and XP1.

 

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18mm 1/180 f/4 ISO 6400

 

This is right out of the camera. It seems pretty quiet to me as there’s not much noise around.

 

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So if you do have a thing for noise, what’s important is how that noise converts to something more useful. The photo above is with one of the Inspired Eye presets. Compare it to the color shot from the camera. Personally, I don’t think the real advantage to the XE2 over the XE1 is in Image Quality. It comes down to features. The XE2 is a real step up in that area. So what this means is that Fuji make a great camera. The images are wonderful from all of them. The upgrades are mostly in operation and that’s what really counts.

What do I rate the camera? Well, I don’t do numbers like….8.9. I don’t do colors like Gold, Silver etc. These ratings are for the Olympics and not for me. What do I rate the XE2? I rate it as a very capable camera for the streets and about anything else you want to use it for. It’s a very handsome camera and a real good companion to have at your side. It does not interfere with your Eye, Heart and Mind and it’s ready to work with you and not against you.

 

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18mm 1/180 f/4 ISO 6400

 

This is another low light high ISO shot. What’s really amazing is how the image holds resolution. I know many say that the 18mm isn’t the sharpest lens around but then again…it’s got that great 27mm FOV. On the street, it’s THE LENS! This is ISO 6400…man, awesome!

 

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18mm 1/125 f/4 ISO 1250

 

This is something I would do from the Dreamcatcher series. If a camera can’t give me a file that I can SEE this with, it's sayonara bubba.

 

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18mm 1/180 f/4 ISO 640

 

Here’s the nuts and bolts of it all. If you’re working and not getting what you want from the XE2 and for all the Fuji X cameras for that matter, perhaps the next thing you spend money on should be some lessons or a workshop or just contact me. I’ll be glad to help you find your way but….I won’t tell you….”oh yeah…..the XE2 is ruining your photos.”. Go in peace…….Don

 

P.S: My cat with “IS” on:

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[highlight] Where to get it [/highlight]

Fuji X-E2

bhbutton or Amazon

 

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