Excellent build and image quality; built-in Wi-Fi
Electronic viewfinder takes a little time to get used to
Mirrorless cameras are rapidly becoming the most popular form of photography today, and for good reason. They are positioned halfway between a compact and a DSLR, and not only do you find people stepping up to them from their point-and-shoots, but also professionals are choosing to use them as an extra body, or as a camera to be used discreetly for situations like street photography. Fujifilm caused a lot of people to stand up and take notice when it introduced the X-E1 and the X100, and now it has released its latest version, the X-E2. Beneath the hood, the CMOS sensor produces a 16-megapixel image or a Full HD movie. It has an ISO range from 200 to 6400, and this can be boosted to include 100 (low) and 25600 (high). The lowlight capabilities are awesome, even at the higher end of the scale. The sensor is an APS-C size, which equates to a magnification of 1.5X. While most mirrorless cameras use the rear screen or an electronic viewfinder for framing their subjects, the X-E2 uses both. It has a high definition electronic viewfinder (EVF) that comes to life as soon as the camera is brought up to your eye, and when you take your eye away, the display jumps back to the 3in LCD screen on the back of the camera. The EVF looks great, and it can do a few things that simply cannot be done using an optical viewfinder. The most obvious advantage is that it zooms with your lens, so no more trying to guess what your sensor is seeing and lining up marks in the optical viewfinder. But where this EVF really stands out is when the camera is in full manual mode. As you adjust the aperture of shutter speed, your image in the EVF changes exposure-wise to match what you will be recording. It’s sort of like instantaneous chimping, but before the fact. Focusing can be either auto or manual. In manual mode, you can choose between standard, split image or focus peak highlight, and these functions can be improved by pressing the command dial, which magnifies the image for precise focus adjustment. One of the handiest features I found was the built-in Wi-Fi. This was simple to set up and allows transmission of photos directly to your smartphone or computer. This makes posting your shots on Instagram or Facebook a breeze, and the results will be much better than those taken with your iPhone. Most cameras will allow you to bracket your exposures, but the X-E2 has gone one step better. You can bracket film simulation. By setting any three of the Fuji film simulation modes, all three are applied to the same frame before it is saved. For instance, you can set one to Velvia (for high saturation and contrast), another to Sepia and another to Monochrome with a red filter. As well as film simulation modes, there are also numerous fun advanced filter effects that can be applied. You can set the camera to record only a single colour and leave the rest in black and white, or you can create a miniature effect similar to using a shift lens, or even change the key (high or low) of the photo… to name a few. Bottom line. The X-E2 is an absolute joy to use. It is great to get out there with an unobtrusive little camera that produces results as good as any DSLR. It is a really welcome change to be able to look through a viewfinder rather than hold the camera at arm’s length, and it allows you to be much sneakier and capture the world without it knowing (and posing).