Overwhelmed by mirrorless camera options (Fuji X-E2/M-1??)
January 29, 2015 1:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking into buying a new camera. I was a casual dslr user (Canon) but now I rarely use it and want to find a lighter camera (but with comparable quality) to bring when I travel. I also like the look of the Fuji X cameras because I do think they look less obtrusive and generally really attactive to me. I am completely overwhelmed by all the choices.

Right now I've been looking up Fuji X cameras, but even among those there are so many! I don't know if I should go with a Fuji X-E2 or X-M1 or a camera with a fixed lens or if other brands have way better options?? I just want something with good picture quality and also good video if possible.

I'm also going to Japan this year and wondering if I should buy one there?

Any advice or recommendations would really be appreciated.
posted by Yeou to Technology (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My experience had been that Japan is literally no cheaper at all for electronics, excepting maybe super specialist stuff that's only popular in Japan

Honestly, every mirrorless out there has great picture quality now. For me, I liked at lens availability and price, so went with micro four thirds, as I didn't need the extra low light performance of a bigger sensor. I urge you to get to a store and try some models out. Comfort and menu settings- usability, really, is underrated when it comes to buying cameras I reckon.
posted by smoke at 3:00 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have a Fuji X-E1 ... I love lots of things about it - the style, the images it takes, the easy handling, the lenses available.

BUT - the autofocus sucks. I mean, it's perhaps the shittiest autofocus I've used in over a decade. My understanding is the X-E2 improved it somewhat, but really if you want to be taking photos of things that are moving relatively quickly (like kids), you want to upgrade to the X-T1 or go with the sony range of mirrorless cameras. NEX line I think? Or maybe they got rebranded as alpha something or other.

I'm keeping my fuji because I've got a few lenses, but I can't wait till I can justify an upgrade to an X-T1 or its successor in a couple of years.
posted by modernnomad at 3:20 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

The current flagship Sony mirrorless is the 𝛂 a6000.

In case you aren't aware of it, DPReview (owned by Amazon) has a side-by-side comparison feature on their site which seems slightly more detailed than similar things on other review sites.
posted by XMLicious at 4:04 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tech columnist David Pogue says that the Sony RX100 II is "...the best pocket camera ever made". I don't have that camera, but Pogue usually knows what he's talking about. About six years ago, I bought a Panasonic pocket camera based on his recommendation, and I've been very happy with it (I still use it). In that same column, Pogue also speaks highly of a more-expensive mirrorless Sony camera: the RX10.
posted by akk2014 at 4:45 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I shoot 2 Fuji X-E2's and an X-M1 for work. Love using them and the X-E2 has much faster autofocus than the the older X-E1. Where the system really shines is when using the excellent Fuji prime lenses. The zooms are all good but the package when using the X-E2 with a one of their beautiful primes is so much nicer to hold and use... If that using something that is similar in size and intent to an old Leica interests you I'd look at a second hand or refurb X-E2 and a second hand 35mm 1.4. You obviously get lots of modern bonuses and some of the best straight out of camera JPEGS on the market. And the X-E2 is probably about 90% of the much more expensive X-T1. The difference are mostly cosmetic and UI based....

The X-M1 (or X-A1) can be had much cheaper but has no viewfinder, just the rear LCD. They're really fun and awesome value esp second hand. Again, I mate mine with the 18mm F2 prime and it's a tiny little marvel. Lot's of fun. Incidentally in real use there's very little difference between the X-M1 and the X-A1, the jpegs are very similar.

Video on all the Fuji's is super average though. Esp compared to similar Panasonics or Sony's or similarly priced Nikon or Canon DSLR's. The Canon EOS M is actually a real bargain at the mo.... get it with the 22mm prime and kit zoom and you've got an excellent wee camera that will take awesome video. No one bought it so it's closing out very cheaply but I think I'd have a blast with it and the 22mm tbh. Second hand Sony NEX's are a huge amount of image quality for the money but I only really like using them with old manual lenses.... I find them a little souless with the modern Sony autofocus lenses.

What would be your intended use? Would you be prime only? How do you see yourself using the camera?
posted by Mr Ed at 5:04 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh and BTW modernnomad.... there is very little difference between the X-E2 and X-T1 autofocus performance except when shooting continuous. It's a very very definite upgrade from the X-E1.
posted by Mr Ed at 5:08 AM on January 29, 2015

The exchange rate is currently in your favor for buying in Japan, at least in general (judging by the grey market), with two caveats: (1) the pricing and packaging of particular models may be adjusted in various markets, so a specific camera might not be a deal; (2) Fujifilm USA only provides warranty service for products imported into the US by authorized distributors. So you could save some money up front, but if your camera breaks you'd have to return it to Japan for service or pay for the repairs yourself, and there goes the advantage you gain through arbitrage.

Buying in Japan is great if you want a model, color, or kit you just can't get here and if the cachet of "I bought it in Japan" means something to you, but otherwise the security of a warranty is probably worth any price difference.
posted by fedward at 8:29 AM on January 29, 2015

The retro styling of the Fuji X cameras is pretty cool in my mind. Sony and Olympus are more techie looking. When it comes to price, functionality and image quality there are some differences. If you are an outdoorsy type and want a small camera that can basically be put under a running faucet and keep on shooting then Olympus is the way to go. They use a slightly smaller sensor which makes makes a noticeable but not hug difference in image quality and low light performance. Olympus supposedly has the best focusing of all mirrorless. If you want small, light and are sensitive to price then the Sony A6000 is hard to beat. The lens selection could be better but they are working hard to fix that. The Fujifilm X-T1 is a sweet camera and Fuji's lenses are fantastic. The X-E2 is almost as good, smaller and cheaper. I am a huge fan of viewfinders and find it hard to compose a picture in bright daylight on the back screen of any camera. Some less expensive mirrorless cameras lack a viewfinder which for me is a deal breaker but not everyone feels that way.

None of the mirrorless cameras focus as well as a DSLR, even a cheap DSLR. This remains the big weakness of the segment although much progress has been made and the gap is closing. I have a Fuji X100, the original. When it first came out focus was pedestrian, but Fuji has released some firmware upgrades that improved things a lot. This remains my favorite camera even though I also use an X-T1 and a full frame DSLR. It's small, the controls are fantastic, the images are great and it has some kind of magic or something. The X-T1 focuses pretty well. I have made some great images of my dog running and leaping for a ball and the X-T1 caught focus. The DSLR gets more of those in focus and when the light gets low the difference in focus speed becomes really apparent. Moderna cameras can take decent pictures in really low light, but achieving focus is still a challenge for the mirrorless here. Sometimes my X100, and even the X-T1 are still hunting for focus as the magic moment slips away, someone's facial expression changes or they move slightly etc. I like to shoot in low light so I notice, but in bright light this usually is not much of an issue.

It is hard to say what is best for your needs from the question but Sony set the bar high with the A6000. Price, performance and weight are well optimized. A more serious photographer might lean toward the Fuji line mostly for the lenses, especially the prime lenses. The fact that Fuji also has a policy of updating their cameras with added functionality through firmware upgrades, even long after the camera was initially released is a nice feature. They recently gave me a completely silent electronic shutter for the X-T1 which is pretty nice for unobtrusive picture taking.
posted by caddis at 1:14 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd personally opt for the Panasonic LX100 (bigger sensor) or FZ1000 (bigger zoom). Both around $800, top-of-the-class, 4K video, great reviews all around. Or the Sony RX100 series, if you'd like something smaller.

Everything else and you're basically venturing into photo-hobby territory: lenses, gear-fixation, body aesthetics and a lot of hand-wringing over abstruse things like bokeh and DOF, voiced by forum dwellers who mostly seem to shoot birds and birthday parties.

I spent two months literally travelling around around the world last year. I had my phone, a Panasonic GX1, and two lenses. The 20mm prime never left the body and the telephoto zoom never left my backpack until I was almost home, when I visited an old friend and we kayaked out into a bird estuary. Investing in gear (like my 4/3 system, my legacy Canon glass, the old 5D full-frame body) - it's more likely to trap one in a sunk-cost mentality that makes any upgrade or change a much harder decision than just selling one camera and buying a different one.
posted by unmake at 9:45 PM on February 4, 2015

« Older Is voluntary quadruple amputation possible?   |   More songs for baby video, like M. Ward's "One... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.