Fujifilm X-E2S - Performance, image quality and verdict Review

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Fujifilm X-E2S – Performance and AF

If sport and fast-moving action are your preferred subjects, then it’s safe to say that the X-E2S isn’t really for you.

While there’s been some improvement from the X-E2 (without the firmware upgrade), it isn’t enough to offer appeal to those who are into such photography. If you’re an X-E2 user, you can benefit from the focusing speed improvements by updating your existing camera, so there’s no need to upgrade your camera to the new model if that’s your only gripe.

Those shooting still subjects still shouldn’t expect lightning-quick focusing speeds, though. Some lenses are quicker to focus than others, while others feel painfully slow.

For example, if you use the 60mm macro lens, you can actually see the lens slowly snapping into focus when you point it at a subject. In some circumstances it may be quicker to focus manually – although this might prove a pain, it’s made up for by the superbly detailed images that result. Focus is much more quickly acquired when using the 18-55mm kit lens.

Related: Sony RX10 III review

Speed issues aside, it’s rare for a false confirmation of focus to appear. In addition, the camera copes well in low light conditions, taking its time but always getting there in the end.

General performance speeds are pretty good, if not lightning-quick. Start-up time is around one second, but by the time the camera has focused, you may have missed anything that’s moving quickly. To get round this, you can use the camera in High Performance mode. This will make it quick to start-up after periods of downtime (when it switches itself off automatically).

Shot-to-shot time is decent, and you can shoot several photos in reasonably quick succession without having to wait for the buffer to clear – useful if you see a number of photogenic subjects in one place.

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Fujifilm X-E2S – Kit Lens

The kit lens supplied with cameras is often thought of as something you use until a time you can afford to upgrade, or as a “make do” lens. However, it’s a different story here. The 18-55mm lens that accompanies the X-E2S offers maximum apertures of f/2.8-4, which is pretty impressive by kit lens standards.

What’s more, it produces sharp and vibrant images, making it a great choice as a walk-around lens, something to complement any prime lenses you may want to add to your kit lens – but isn’t something you’ll necessarily be in any rush to replace immediately.

That said, since the X-E2S is such a small camera, even the relatively modestly sized kit lens makes it appear a little unbalanced. Fujifilm’s smaller prime lenses, such as the excellent 35mm, seem like the perfect companion to this camera – especially if you’re after that retro look.

Fujifilm X-E2S – Image Quality

Image quality from the X-E2S is superb, as we’ve come to expect of Fujifilm cameras over the past few years. Colours are beautifully saturated, and thanks to film-simulation modes it’s possible to achieve results that have a gorgeous filmic quality about them, reminiscent of analogue film photography.

It’s worth experimenting with the different film-simulation modes to see which appeals to you. Standard (Provia) is a decent all-round choice, while Classic Chrome //9703// is a personal favourite since it produces a slightly muted, but very rich-looking image that’s well-suited to plenty of subjects.

Detail is also well rendered thanks to the X Trans CMOS II sensor, and it copes well when shooting at mid-range to high-end ISO settings (ISO 1600-3200). At 6400, you can start to see some smoothing taking place in JPEG images, but the overall impression at normal sharing and printing sizes (A4 or below) at these high speeds is still fantastic.

Related: Nikon D500 review

Fuji X-E2S

In terms of noise, the X-E2S again impresses. If we check the corresponding raw files against their JPEG counterparts, it’s clear just how well the noise-reduction software in-camera is working.

We can see that noise is apparent from around ISO 1600, topping out at around ISO 6400 for images that you’ll happily want to use. For JPEG images, noise reduction does well at ISO 3200-ISO 6400, and depending on the subject, you may even barely notice noise at these speeds.

On the whole, exposures are pretty accurate when using multi-purpose metering (known as photometry by Fujifilm). In some higher contrast situations it may be necessary to dial in some positive exposure compensation. Being able to shoot with the electronic shutter at faster than 1/4,000 is also useful if you want to shoot at very wide apertures in bright sunlight.

Automatic white balance does a decent job of getting colours right under different lighting conditions, including some that can be tricky such as artificial lighting or cloudy skies.

Fujifilm X-E2S – Video

The X-E2S is capable of shooting in Full HD. Although it’s possible to capture some decent footage, there’s nothing here for videographers to get particularly excited about.

If you’re a stills photographer who likes to grab the occasional video, it will suffice; but if you’re looking for something more video-orientated then this isn’t the camera for you.

Related: Best Cameras 2016

Fuji X-E2S

Should you buy the Fujifilm X-E2S?

There’s plenty to love about the Fujifilm X-E2S, but equally, it suffers from some reasonably big niggles that may put you off, depending on the type of photographer you are.

For owners of the X-E2, there isn’t enough here to provide an incentive to upgrade – especially since those X-E2 owners can get the biggest improvements via a firmware upgrade. For this reason, you may also want to consider buying an X-E2 if you don’t already have one, since it can be picked up more cheaply than the S version.

That said, the X-E2S is capable of producing some excellent images, and just like Fujifilm’s other cameras, it comes in an attractive body that is great to use for the most part. Although you’re not getting quite the same  flexibility and added functionality of the X Pro2, you’re also getting the X-E2S at a fraction of the price.

If you’re tempted by the Fujifilm X series but have so far been put off by the price, then the X-E2S is a good place to start.

If you’re into making videos, or shooting fast-action subjects, then the X-E2S isn’t going to deliver. For everybody else, it’s an appealing camera.

Verdict

An attractive camera that’s capable of producing beautiful images. But as a minor upgrade to the X-E2, the X-E2S exists mainly as an entry into the X series rather than being a particularly exciting product in its own right.

Score


Score in detail

  • Value 8
  • Features 8
  • Image Quality 9
  • Build Quality 9
  • Performance 8
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