The Gritty Monkey reviews the Fujifilm X-E1, pits it against the Sony NEX-7 and Olympus E-M5, ends up choosing the smelliest one.

"So why the Fuji X-E1 then?

- This might sound crazy to a lot of people, but one of the first reasons why I ended up choosing the X-E1 is because that camera just looks beautiful. It smells like photography, It’s like it’s calling you to take it with you and go shoot something! Whether ugly tools are as good as nice looking ones to craft beautiful art is a tough question, I’ll leave it up to you  All I know is that the form of this camera is almost inspiring.
- I love the dedicated dials to set the shutter speed and exposure compensation, and the aperture settings directly on

the lenses. From the moment you take the camera in your hand, you know exactly what to expect. Instead of thinking of the settings you used for your last shot and how to amend them for the next one, the commands are already right there at the tip of your fingers. Free your mind of the unnecessary and enjoy having all your mind focused on the picture you are creating!
- The image quality at high ISO is just stunning, well ahead of all its competitors in this form factor (check out this video)
- The “Q menu” is an interface that enables you to quickly change key settings (white balance, RAW or JPEG, strength of the colors and sharpening for JPEG output, etc…), much more intuitive and easy to access than a clumsy menu
- The so-called “film simulations” produce JPEGs with great colors and details. Velvia for landscapes and Astia are my 2 favorites
- The X-E1 has a pop-up flash for when you need some fill light. You can also use it as a commander to trigger a remote flash

What are the weakness of this camera?
- The most obvious glitch is the autofocus. Obviously in broad daylight there isn’t any problem, but in low light the camera will struggle quite a lot. This is not such an issue with the new 18-55 kit lens, that seems to have normal performances in this area (as opposed to the outstanding autofocus of the E-M5), but the 35mm f1.4 prime hunts a lot without necessary being successful. This is with the latest version of the lens firmware, and Fuji definitely needs to work on this if it does not want to scare a broad number of enthusiasts away from its products
- The post-processing of RAW files in Lightroom feels like somehow it i not delivering the full power from the RAW files of the X-E1… According to the rumour mill, Adobe and Lightroom are working on some improvements, I really hope it’s true. Fortunately the JPEGs created in-camera are excellent, thanks to the “film simulations” mode. The camera does come with an additional software that is presumably good at processing the files produced by the Fuji X-Trans sensor, but I have not even installed it yet. This camera seems to have been created by people who love photography, I am sure these people understand that nobody wants to learn a new software and a new workflow every time there is a new camera… This camera is all about freeing the mind of the photographer from the useless, so why burden the user with a new processing software to master just for this camera?
- The EVF is outstanding for still subjects, with crisp details and great colors, but if your subject is moving or if you are moving your framing yourself, the display is lagging. That being said, the X-E1′s EVF is one of the best I have tried, and I am now well used to it while I was previously worried about giving up on an optical viewfinder, though you need to be aware of the limitations
- The rear screen has a resolution on the low-end of the range for that price tag, and the size is kinda small as well (but at least you don’t get big menus on a big part of it like with the NEX7). This is most likely a purely marketing decision to mark a difference with more expensive X-PRO1, and it’s a little bit disappointing as such a nice camera deserved better
- I don’t know what Fuji has tried to pull up with its continuous autofocus mode, it seems completely useless to me! The center of the frame keeps chasing for focus, even before you half-press the shutter, does not make any sense to me… If you figured out how to use this, please let me know!
- The video features are limited: the X-E1 is a camera for photographers!
- Swively-and-tilty(ish) screens are not important for me, but, if it is for you, you need to be aware that the NEX7 and OMD-EM5 both have this feature, while the X-E1 doesn’t.

Conclusion: The Fuji X-E1is a beautifully designed camera, aiming first at the photographer rather than the geek inside us. Its command dials and intuitive Q menu invite us to free our mind from the unnecessary and take more time to think of our pictures instead of the technical details. It produces outstanding images even at high ISO, and the in-camera JPEG engine renders files with sharp details and vivid colors, depending on the “film simulation” mode that you choose. However, no camera is perfect, and the X-E1 is to be avoided if you are allergic to manual focusing, as the autofocus may struggle in low light. Also, as a camera designed primarily for photographers, the X-E1 is light on video modes… In the end, it all comes down to what is important for you, and if you are looking for a lightweight camera with outstanding image quality in all light conditions for still subjects, the Fuji X-E1 is exactly what you need."

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