Earlier this month I treated myself with a brand new gadget: The Fuji X-E1 with the 35mm f1.4 lens. I guess there are three reasons why you would buy this camera: Looks and style, formfactor and / or picture quality.

1) Look
If you’re into that oldschool camera look and you might not want or just plain can’t spend that much money on a Leica, then a Fuji X Series camera is probably for you. Or maybe you just don’t know, if all the manual operation of a Leica is something you’d enjoy everytime.

2) Formfactor
The Fuji X-E1 is a comparetively small camera while keeping important manual settings, i.e. buttons and especially knobs, at your fingertips. Moreover a very good image quality in such a small body is something a lot of DSLR users are always looking for.

3) Imagequality
The Fuji X-Series, especially the X-Pro1 and the X-E1 with their X-Trans Sensors, are known for their excellent image quality. I will not get into technical details here, there are a lot of good reviews on the net.

I bought the Fuji X-E1 especially for the image quality and it’s formfactor. I have the Fuji S5 Pro and I always loved that camera for it’s image quality. On jobs I started using my Nikon more. And for the everyday and “always with me” camera a DSLR is just to big for my (lazy) taste. That’s where the X-E1 fits perfectly. Of course I have to admit, that the look of the X-E1 was also a reason to buy it.

That might all sound very promising, but not everything is well of course. The X-E1 is not the fastest and most reliable when it comes down to autofocusing. Especially in not so perfect light situations (this can even just be a room with a fairly bright desklamp) the X-E1 starts to hunt a little bit. This is a result of the contrast detection auto focus. To help autofocus you can tilt the camera a little bit, because diagonal or vertical lines help focusing quicker.

As a DSLR user the way the shutter release button works is quite annoying. Half pressing the button will autofocus, and a full press will take a picture of course. On a DSLR you can keep half pressing and it will save your focus after you took a picture. On the X-E1 this does not “count”. Even though you’ve kept half pressing the button, after taking a picture the X-E1 will focus again when full pressing the button again.

In conclusion I have to say that I love this camera so far. Besides the autofocus issues the camera is a joy to operate and the images are incredible. I only have been using this camera for only a week now, but I will write a follow up in a month or so.

– Image Quality
– great lenses
– good ISO quality
– relatively small size

– Autofocus
– Weak battery life
– not weathersealed

 121220_202135_web 121220_202041_web 121221_170134_web121227_112934_web 121224_151845_web 121224_224534_web121224_161154_web 121224_162854_web 121226_131026_web 121226_113331_web


  1. Frans

    I don’t have the problem with half pressing the shutter and not keeping the focus fixed.

    • admin

      Hey Frans.
      Which Firmware do you use? If I press half mine focuses, then a full press takes a picture. While keeping half press, another full press initiates another autofocus with mine.

  2. FujiFan

    The colors and feel are nice. Was that out of camera? What settings are using (film simulation, color, dr, etc.)? Did you do any post processing?

  3. chris

    Great pictures, and great bokeh.
    Are you using JPEG ou RAW files ?
    And what soft and plugins do you use ?

  4. Svensson

    Great Pics

  5. Albert

    May be if we all write to Fuji, they will do something about the AF, I love the camera still but everytime I AF make me think about DLSR.

    • Bo Ismono

      Well, I think the AF is definitely annoying at times, especially since I am a DSLR user. But the size and the quality of the pics is worth it. I’m often just too lazy to carry around a DSLR, and that’s why the Fuji is perfect.

      I just hope another Firmware update will fix some of the AF annoyances.

  6. John

    Are all those pics with the 35mm?

  7. John

    Yeah, that pancake lens looks very promising

  8. WRG

    Hope you get the focus lock problem fixed. Mine locks focus and exposure with half depression and re-compose.
    Manual page 45
    1 Focus: Position the subject in the focus frame and press the shutter button half- way to lock focus and exposure. Focus and exposure will remain locked while the shutter button is pressed halfway (AF/AE lock).
    2 Recompose: Keep the shutter button pressed halfway or keep the AE-L/AF-L button pressed.
    3 Shoot: Press the button all the way down.
    I especially like the low light image quality.

    • Bo Ismono

      Thanks for your reply. I guess I wasn’t too clear in my review. The problem that I have is, that the X-E1 does not lock focus after a shot is taken and the shutter is still being half pressed. After a shot is taken the camera will autofocus again unless you press the AE/AF Lock button.

      On a DSLR the focus will stay locked on half press even after a shot has been taken. I wish the Fuji would do the same without having to push another button.

      Hope that clears it up.

  9. WRG

    Wow! I’ve used SLR/DSLR for years- learned something new- thanks. FWIW- I avoid AE/AF buttons- I am left eye dominant and they are always in front of my right glasses lens (smudge). Top/ left viewfinder on X-E1 is perfect for me.

    • Bo Ismono

      Yes, I tend to avoid using the AE/AF button, but with the Fuji I guess I have to get used to it.

      What lenses are you using with your X-E1?

  10. Gunston

    hello, may i know where can i look for the VSCO film preset for LR ?
    personally, i think Neg std for indoor and Neg Hi for outdoor with wider dynamic range / accurate color in Fuji in camera Jpeg engine are always well processed !

    • Bo Ismono

      You can get VSCO film at http://visualsupply.co/

      I know that the Fuji Jpeg files are awesome, but I tend to “trust” Raw files a little more. In addition to that, VSCOfilm only works with Raw files.

      If I’d use Jpeg I like Astia quite a lot.

  11. WRG

    18-55; Very nice. Feels good and excellent images. Will watch my tendencies, but will probably get the 23mm (35mm) which is my favorite travel FL.
    Anticipate keeping D200 just for long stuff, ie air show; 70-200 f2.8 + 1.7x + 1.5 (for sensor) gives plenty of length. No longer have sports- lacrosse & soccer demands.
    Now with X-E1, I am looking to take pictures of anything and everything. Having fun!
    BTW, someone wrote 1-2 weeks to get comfortable with EVF- I agree.

    • Bo Ismono

      Yes I already got used to the Evf as well. I just don’t like how the Evf fades from black after switching it on or after reviewing pictures on the Lcd. But I guess that’s a technical reason.

      The 23mm is quite interessting indeed, but I’m looking forward for the pancake. It’s 27mm I believe.

      As for the D200, I also use a Nikon. For jobs I will continue to use a DSLR. And I love Nikon lenses, I probably will buy the adapter to use a Nikon lens on the X-E1 occasionaly.


    […] Also check out my first hands on review here. […]

  13. matthew

    Hi nice pics.
    If you set to MF then tap the AFL button you wont reautofocus after pressing the shutter (this is how I use my X100 because of the slow AF and I prefer working this way).
    Also, VSCO WILL work wth JPEGs and the X series jpegs are very nice, especially with their in built film simulations. Try shooting RAW+FINE JPEG.

    • Bo Ismono

      Hey Matthew.
      Thanks for the tip. I knew about the MF in combination with the AFL button, but I rather like using the shutterbutton. But maybe that’s just something I need to get used too.

      To be honest I wasn’t aware that VSCO actually works with Jpeg. Or at least VSCO recommends RAW especially when working with Nikon or Canon cameras that are supported by VSCO Film. None the less I was never really comfortable just using Jpeg. The Fuji S5 Pro had really good Jpegs as well, but I never got into shooting Jpegs. But I will try it out. Thanks.

  14. Lucky

    Ah, Matthew wrote the same hint i wanted to mention 😉
    I also do use the AF Buttons on my Nikons (D800+D700) apart from the shutter release button, because i think it is faster if you try to focus in difficult environments. Just got used to that with the Nikons and discovered the MF-/AFL-Button Trick in the Fuji manual 😉

    • Bo Ismono

      Yeah, lots of people use the Af-on button on DSLRs, but to be honest I never used my DSLRs that way. Probably because I’m to lazy to push two buttons 😉

      But I read different opinions on the net regarding the AF button in MF mode with the X-E1. Some people claim that using the af button in MF mode is supposed to be a little more unreliable. I couldn,t confirm that yet though.

  15. GEARTALK: THE FUJI 35mm F1.4 | ISMONO Blog

    […] using the Fuji X-E1 with the 35mm f1.4. This camera is incredible (read some of my initial thoughts here), and so is the 35mm […]

  16. Roundup | Fuji Rumors

    […] A short X-E1 review with PROS and CONS can be read here at ismono.com […]

  17. Tom

    gorgeous pics!
    i’m using x-e1 and vsco 1&2 too
    what film did you use?superia 1600?

    • Bo Ismono

      Hey Tom!
      Thanks! I also use both VSCO packs. I tend to change between the Fuji and the Kodak Films. But I use the ISO400 films a lot.

      Which film do you use?

      • Tom

        i mostly use fuji 800,even 1600 if i need a lot of grain..but i always use jpeg(provia) setting on my x-e1,because fuji’s jpeg are always superb
        keep up the good work,i really like your photos

        • Bo Ismono

          Thanks a lot. That’s highly appreciated!

          I tend to use the ISO400 films because of their colors and then add grain to my liking. I don’t like the colorshifts of the ISO1600 films. Regarding Jpeg and Raw: The Jpegs are superb indeed, but I rather stay with RAW. I have the feeling they they give me a little more freedom and latitude in my postprocessing, especially if I want to push the exposure.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *