Mar 27, 2016The End of an Era. Fujifilm X-E2s and Nikon D7000

Copyright © 2016 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Today I retire my DLSR, and say welcome to my new Fujifilm X-E2s mirrorless camera.

After eight years of mixed emotions and luck with Nikons I’ve finally gone back to my traditional film camera format roots with a Fujifilm camera. I have great expectations for this camera, I hope that we can both live up to them.

I have to admit I’ve wanted one of the the Fuji ‘X’ range of cameras ever since they were first announced in 2010. They weren’t available to buy in the US when circumstances forced me to purchase this Nikon in 2011. The circumstances being that my previous Nikon suffered an unfortunate accident involving a tripod, a cat, and gravity.

My relationship with the D7000 didn’t start very well. Shortly after buying it we were arriving at the airport for a trip to the UK and my camera bag slipped off of my shoulder and dropped the short distance to my elbow. That short fall and jolt broke the lens mount. According to Nikon, this is a planned feature, breaking the lens before it breaks the camera. I am not convinced. The irony of the situation was that I’d bought this camera because this was the fate that befell my previous Nikon at the paws of Getzger.

My experience with the Nikon has been that the focusing sucks big-time. Because of my poor eyesight, I have to rely on the camera focusing properly, and also focusing on where I tell it to. I have found that the Nikon just cannot be relied upon to do it. Many otherwise excellent pictures have been ruined by the camera’s focusing inaccuracy. The metering also leaves an awful lot to be desired. I have to consistently under-expose a picture (according to the metering) to get the correct exposure.

The Nikon is also over complicated. The number of buttons, dials, and knobs on the darn thing is outrageous – 28 excluding the controls on the lens itself. As to the software and its menu system – I had to set up a custom menu to have any chance of getting to the regularly used features in less than minutes. To put all these controls into context. I’m one of those strange people who actually reads the manual when I buy a camera. And more than once too. Even though I studied the manual in detail, after five years of owning and using the camera I still found a button that I didn’t know existed.

Then there’s the size and weight of the thing. It is huge and weighs nearly three pounds. I stopped taking it backpacking because it was too big and heavy. At events I end up with a sore neck and shoulder from carrying the camera around.

Finally, it is noisy. I take *a lot* of pictures during church services – it’s my work – and I am ever conscious of the thunk and clunk of the mirror and shutter. Using silent mode is a joke. It makes the same amount of noise – but spreads it out over time, which I find is even worse in a silent church.

So what about the Fujifilm X-E2s?

The Fuji has 17 external controls which are still a bit excessive to my mind. When shooting I really only need five. Shutter speed, Lens aperture, Sensitivity (ISO), the shutter, and a playback button. The main controls are all where they used to be on a traditional film camera. The aperture adjustment is a ring on the lens. The shutter speed is set by a nice big clunky dial on the top. Only the sensitivity has a thumb-wheel/ menu selection.

Focusing we’ll have to see – but it has manual focusing aids built into the electronic viewfinder – so even with my poor eyesight, I should be able to manually focus when necessary. Having an electronic viewfinder is something I am really looking forward to – I’ll get to see the exact shot before I take it.

Size and weight. The lens I’ve bought is much heavier at 1lb than the Nikon’s. But it has a much greater zoom range 18-135mm vs 18-105mm (28-200mm in 35mm camera terms. To be fair it costs $200 more too). However, the combined Fuji camera and lens weighs 1lb less and is much smaller.

Also to be fair to the Nikon at today’s rates it costs (in their current configurations, including the lens) $300 less than the Fuji. Though when I bought it five years ago it was some $400 more – without taking inflation into account.

So that’s the on-paper analysis. I’m waiting for the battery to charge and then to find some things to take pictures of. Apart from writing this, what else ought I be doing while I wait?

In case you are wondering, I took this picture with our 8-year-old Nikon DX40.

Update: December 2017

My only regret is that I didn’t buy one of the Fujifilm X series cameras sooner. In fact, I like the X-E2s so much, I bought a Fujifilm X-E3 when it came out. It is even smaller than the X-E2s, has more pixels (24Mp) and slightly better low-light capabilities, with the same usability as the X-E2s.

Copyright © 2016 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

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