Design isn't the only area where Fujifilm's X series has impressed in the past, as the range has also gained a reputation for delivering impressive image quality. The X-E1 excelled in this area in particular, and if anything the X-E2 builds on this success.
The substantial X-Trans sensor has always delivered good performance at higher ISO settings, and the X-E2 delivers some truly exceptional noise performance. At the lower settings of ISO 100 to 800, there's no sign of luminance or colour noise at all, and even at ISO 1600 there's very little sign of noise even when viewed at 100%. At ISO settings of 3200 and 6400 noise does become more apparent, although these settings are still usable, while fine detail is still preserved at the highest settings of ISO 12,800 and 25,600.
If you want the very best in noise performance at the very highest ISO settings then, as ever, it's preferable to shoot Raw. That being said, JPEG files still manage high ISO noise well while X-E2 also manages to maintain a good level of sharpness on JPEG files.
In terms of the sensor's resolution performance, results are identical to the X-E1 - a fact which comes as no surprise thanks to the similarities between the sensors. The X-E2 manages to resolve an impressive amount of detail at lower ISO settings, and this performance is maintained even at the higher settings.
The X-E2 also maintains the same 256-zone metering system as seen on the predecessor, as well as the X-Pro 1. As a result it delivers a reliable level of performance in host of different lighting conditions, only really struggling when shooting in particularly bright conditions.
A range of expanded dynamic range settings are also on hand should you find that the sensor isn't resolving the required amount of detail, although that will rarely be the case thanks to the model's extensive native dynamic range.
As is often the case with Fujifilm cameras, the X-E2 delivers an impressive colour palette with consistent tones that are both natural and well saturated in even measure. An added bonus is a host of colour modes that emulate the popular Fuji film colours of old, including Provia, Astia and Velvia.
While the X-E2 isn't one of the cheapest cameras on the market, Fujifilm has once again pulled off the trick of combining unique design, full manual control and stunning image quality in a compact body.
If you really place a premium on focusing speed then it might be an idea to look towards alternative premium CSCs like the Panasonic Lumix GX7. Also, it's certainly worth noting that while the X-E2 does offer Wi-Fi functionality, once again competing CSCs offer a more comprehensive Wi-Fi experience.
However, these are areas in which the X-E2 isn't really targeted at excelling and if you're looking for a chic rangefinder-type CSC the X-E2 is one of the very best on the market.
The X-E2 doesn't succeed in every area, failing to match competing models in terms of AF speed and Wi-fi performance. However, if you're looking for a retro rangefinder-type CSC that delivers in terms of design and image quality, the X-E2 is a pleasure to use and one of the best on the market.
Next, read our pick of the 10 best cameras you can buy
FUJIFILM X-E2 18 bids$311.00 View Item