In the last few months, I’ve sampled several mirror-less cameras. I played with a Panasonic Lumix LX7, and bought one. Thanks to Eric Rosenthal, I put a brand new Lumix LX100 through its paces. Thanks to Pat Yough, I’ve experimented with both the Fuji X-E2 and X-T1.
Where the Lumix LX7 and LX100 both use a permanently attached zoom lenses, the Fuji X-E2 and X-T1 use Fuji interchangeable lenses.
I view these types cameras as augmenting one another rather than competing for space on my roster of equipment.
To make an analogy, back in the 1950s when a railroad dieselized, it often bought different types of locomotives for various assigned services.
For me the Panasonic Lumix LX7 is like a 1,000hp switcher; the LX100 is a 1,350hp switcher with road trucks; but the two Fuji’s are like 1,600 hp road switchers—jacks of all trades—with enough power to work heavy road trains in tandem with other equipment.
My goal is to supplement my Canon EOS7D and/or replace it when traveling without a car.
As regular viewers of Tracking the Light are aware, I often travel on public transport (trains, trams, planes & whatnot). When I travel, I carry my cameras plus a laptop in a backpack. Every ounce counts. Since my Canon’s are relatively heavy, I’ve been looking for a lighter option.
I’ve determined that the Fuji mirror-less cameras will allow me to significantly reduce the weight in my bag, while simultaneously upgrade to a new generation of equipment.
I like the Fuji lenses because they are exceptionally sharp and offer a very desirable color palate.
Of the two Fuji cameras, I’ve come to favor the X-T1 over the X-E2. Both camera’s use the same lenses, and while the X-E2 is slightly lighter, I found the X-T1 easier to use. It has a superior digital viewfinder. (Also it seemed to have a superior auto focus system, but I can’t confirm that.) Both are excellent cameras, but Given a choice of the two, I’d reach for the X-T1.
Another potential benefit of the Fuji system is that I can buy lens adaptors that will allow me to use both my older Nikon and Leica lenses with the Fuji digital cameras. This will offer a level of redundancy when I choose to bring a film body. If I carry my old Nikon F3, I’ll be able to take advance of the Nikon lenses in event of a Fuji lens failure or if the Nikon glass offers a pictorial advantage.
I’ll still plan to carry the LX7 as my ‘everywhere camera’, and I may someday upgrade to the LX100. My Canons will also remain active. Regarding my steam fleet (that would be my film cameras), YES, these will all remain active too—although they see less service now than they did back in the day. Each tool has its place.
I’ve been fascinated by Fuji’s mirror-less cameras for a while. Pat Yough has a couple of them. In my previous post, I wrote of my fleeting experience with Pat’s X-T1. The other day, Pat gave me his X-E2 to play with.
Previously, I’d experimented with the X-E2 at the Streamliners at Spencer event last summer in North Carolina. On that occasion, I’d used the camera with a pancake lens and tried to match scenes using a Lumix LX7 as a side by side comparison.
I quickly found that making these type of comparisons obviated the inherent operating advantages of each camera system. This is an important point for me, and one too often ignored by professional camera reviewers.
For me the way a camera handles and its ease of use are crucial functional considerations. I make different types of images with different equipment.
So, what can a Fuji X-E2 do for me?
Picking up any unfamiliar camera and charging into the image-making process has its fair share of challenges. This is acerbated by the inherent complexity of many modern digital cameras. To simply get the camera meter mode and focus point where I’d expect them, requires layers of menu surfing.
It took more than a few minutes to get a handle on the X-E2. On Thursday December 11, 2014, we explored the New Hope & Ivyland’s tourist train operations.
This was a perfect opportunity to put the camera through its paces; I wasn’t pressured by the need to document the operation, since I can come back anytime and photograph it again. Also, poor and changeable weather conditions allowed me to push the X-E2 and see what it can do in lousy light. I also made a few comparisons with my Lumix LX-7.
In other circumstances, I kept the Lumix handy. When push came to shove, I’d grab my familiar camera to ensure that I got results. I don’t want to be fighting with a camera when the action is unfolding. Equipment familiarity is key to consistently making good images.
The photos here have been scaled for internet presentation, but otherwise unaltered.