Cameras

Fujifilm X-E3 Review

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The X-E3 is the latest X Series mirrorless camera from Fujifilm to get the company’s 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor and replaces the ageing X-E2S.

While the likes of the X-T2 and X-T20 take on a DSLR-style design, with a raised, central viewfinder, the X-E3 follows the model of a classic rangefinder-style camera in a similar vein to the X-Pro2.

Whereas the X-Pro2 is aimed at professionals and keen enthusiasts, the X-E3 has been designed to appeal to a slightly broader audience, with more diminutive proportions and streamlined controls.

The specification hasn’t been compromised to achieve this, however, with the X-E3 sharing an almost identical set of features with the X-T20, along with a few tricks of its own.

Check Fujifilm X-E3 Price 

Features

  • APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor, 24.3MP
  • 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
  • 4K video capture

As we’ve seen with every Fujifilm X Series camera since the X-Pro2, the X-E3 features the company’s 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor, which delivers a decent boost in resolution over the X-E2S’s 16.3MP sensor.

This also means it gets a moderate increase in ISO range over its predecessor, with a native sensitivity range of ISO200-12,800 (compared to ISO6400 on the X-E2S), while the expanded array now runs to ISO100-51,200. And where the X-E2S was restricted to JPEG-only files at the extended range, the X-E3 supports raw files as well.

Like the X-E2S (and the X-T20 for that matter), the Fujifilm X-E3 features a high-resolution 2.36 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a 0.62x magnification, as the rear of the camera is furnished with a 3.0-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots.

Unlike both the X-T2 and X-T20, the X-Electronic3 forgoes a tilt-angle display in favour of a flush-fitting design. The touchscreen functionality builds on the system seen on the X-T20 however, offering a greater depth of control. As on the X-T20, then, you can tap the display to acquire focus and trigger the shutter, as well as being able to swipe through and pinch-to-zoom when reviewing images.

There’s still no direct control for navigating the menus, but the X-E3 does let you use flicking motions to activate pre-assigned functions, while you can also adjust settings in the Quick menu.

As we’ve seen with other X Collection cameras, there’s Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, but a first for the range is Bluetooth. Once you’ve paired the camera with your smart device and downloaded the accompanying Fujifilm Camera Remote app you should be able to easily transfer your pictures seamlessly, to share on social media.

The X-E3 also offers 4K video capture (3840 x 2160) at 30p and also Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60p, with both formats supporting film simulations. There’s a 2.5mm jack input for a microphone, but not for audio monitoring.

Finally, there’s just a single SD card slot on the X-E3, and the camera doesn’t support the faster UHS-II cards.

Specifications

  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor
  • X-Processor Pro engine
  • Fujifilm X mount
  • ISO 200-12,800 (ISO 100-51,200 extended)
  • 4K UHD video recording, 30/25/24p
  • 325 AF points, upgraded tracking capabilities
  • 0.39in OLED viewfinder, 2,360,000 dots
  • 3in fixed touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
  • Focus lever
  • Film Simulation modes
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy
  • SDHC/SDXC card slot (inc. UHS-I)
  • 350-frame battery life
  • 121.3 x 73.9 × 42.7mm
  • Approx. 337g (without lens, inc. battery and card)

Performance

  • 14fps burst shooting (electronic shutter)
  • 8fps burst shooting (mechanical shutter)
  • 350-shot battery life

Thanks to Fujifilm’s X-Processor Pro imaging engine the X-E3 takes 0.4 seconds to power up, compared with 0.5 seconds for the X-E2s, while the shutter lag remains the same at just 0.05 seconds.

While the X-E3 isn’t marketed as an action camera, it is capable of shooting at a very fast 14fps using the electronic shutter, or at a slightly more restrained 8fps if you’d prefer to use the camera’s mechanical shutter – if you do, expect to be able to shoot 23 raw files or 62 JPEGs before the buffer slows up.

The X-E3 uses Fujifilm’s tried and tested TTL 256-zone metering system, which in the main performs very well. As we’ve found before, when presented with a high-contrast scene it can sometimes underexpose the shot touch, but this is easy to correct thanks to the well-positioned exposure compensation button – or you can simply lift the shadows in post-processing if you wish.

The electronic viewfinder is the same unit found on the X-T20. As we’ve discovered with that camera the viewfinder image is lovely and bright, and, because of the 2.36m dot resolution, rich in detail.

While there’s no tilt or vari-angle positioning of the rear display – either would have come at the expensive of the X-E3’s compact build – the 3-inch touchscreen is very good. It would be nice to see the menu system integrated into the touchscreen interface, but toggling through the X-Electronic3’s settings is pretty painless when combined with the rear joystick.

One area where there’s room for improvement is battery life. At 350 shots per charge, it’s certainly not bad for a mirrorless digital camera, but when compared to a DSLR rival such as the Nikon D5600 and its 820-shot battery life there’s certainly room for improvement. It’s good to see a dedicated charger bundled in the box, while you can charge via USB as well.

The upgraded connectivity options of the X-E3 work well. It’s easy to pair the X-E3 with your device and provided Bluetooth is turned on both devices an automatic, low-powered connection is established every time you fire up the Camera Remote app.

Image quality

  • ISO200-12,800, expandable to 100-51,200
  • Film simulation modes
  • +/-5 EV exposure compensation in 1/3 or 1/2-stop increments

The Fujifilm X-E3 uses the same X-Trans CMOS III sensor as we’ve seen in the X-Pro2, X-T2, X-T20 and X100F, which means the image quality from the X-E3 are some of the best available from an APS-C-based camera.

The detail is excellent, while those not wanting to spend time sitting in front of a computer will enjoy the X-E3’s range of film simulation modes. With 15 effects to choose from, there’s a wealth of options available, with the likes of Velvia great for enhancing colours in landscapes, while mono shooters will love the Arcos mode.

Another area where the X-E3 excels is the dynamic range. There’s plenty of flexibility for recovering detail in the shadows and highlights of images – especially raw files, with about four stops to play with at low ISOs.

Available for both JPEG and raw files is the X-E3’s Dynamic Range mode, with the highest DR400 setting preserving a lot of detail in both the highlights and shadows, though this comes at the expense of the base sensitivity available in this mode, with only ISO800 or higher available.

As we’ve found with other X Series cameras that use this sensor, the X-E3 handles image noise very well. At the lower end of the sensitivity, range files look very clean, with no signs of luminance (grain-like) noise in our shots.

It’s only really at ISO3200 that luminance sound becomes noticeable, and its organic appearance means it’s not a big issue, while even up to ISO12,800 results won’t be unusable – you’ll need to be prepared to tweak documents inside post-processing if you’re planning to shoot at this sensitivity though.

Check Out: Best Fujifilm X-E3 Lenses

Verdict

The Fujifilm X-E3 is a cracking little camera. The premium finish is complemented by an array of tactile controls and a touchscreen interface that make this camera a joy to shoot with.

There are no complaints when it comes to image quality either – photos are rich and detailed, while the film simulation modes can add a lovely twist to your shots. And, thanks to the improved connectivity, it’s possible to share striking-looking images straight out of the digital camera before you’re even home.

We’d avoid pairing the X-E3 with some of Fujifilm’s larger zoom lenses – it’s really a camera to enjoy with some neat prime lenses – as the battery life means you might want to invest in an extra battery or two.

Check Fujifilm X-E3 Price and Bundles 

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