FujiFilm Canada invited me to a touch and try event on Sunday the 17th of September at the CNE grounds in Toronto. They had all of their current models plus the new X-E3 that will be released on the 28th. As with all FujiFilm events they have a touch and try portion and a presentation and lets not forget free food, drink and SWAG. During the touch and try I got my mitts on the X-E3 (I actually hogged one of the demo units for longer than I should have but that was what I was there for) and played with the menus and got a general feel for the camera. After the touch and try and presentation were over they did an informal photo walk around the CNE grounds and I was able to actually use the X-E3 with the XF23mmF2 R WR for almost one hour. My first impressions of this camera…. I’m impressed. I have the X-E1, three generations older, which was succeeded by the X-E2 and X-E2s neither of which I felt the need to upgrade to. With the X-E3 I can honestly say that Fuji has produced a really great camera. Gone is the amazing but now dated 16 megapixel X-Trans I/II sensor in favor of the newer 24 megapixel X-Trans III combined with the X-Processor Pro engine. The AF is bang on, I had no hunting and it felt quick and responsive in mid day light. I’ll be curious to see how it handles low light. In the event space, the swanky Beach Paris Club, it seemed to have no problems focusing. Gone is the D-Pad on the back which has been replaced with a tiny joystick for menu and AF point selection which I thought that I would find it difficult to switch over to it but had no problem right off the hop. I was hoping for an ISO dial on the X-E3 but there isn’t one opting for a touch screen swipe feature to access ISO. Speaking of which they did incorporate a touch screen which I found difficult to use. Maybe I was doing it wrong but even after one of the guys from Fuji showed me I still couldn’t get the swipe feature to work properly I guess I’m more of a wheel and dial guy. I did get the touch AF working (also used on the a few of their consumer cameras) which is sort of neat but I doubt that I’d use that feature very much, but its hard to say until you have used the camera for a while. I found the touch features more frustrating than useful. They removed the pop up flash which I rarely used on my X-E1, Lightroom metadata is telling me that in the last four years I have used the pop up flash 86 times, only 0.38% of all my photos! So good riddance to the pop up flash. I understand they will be including a removable flash in the box that will be powered by the cameras battery I think most people will try it out but probably will leave it in the box as there are so many other more useful inexpensive flash options out there that won’t deplete your cameras battery but at least they give you something to use. The electronic view finder is amazing and I expect nothing less because there is no optical view finder option on this camera. With the X-E1 the EVF was dark it felt like I had installed a 1 stop neutral density filter on the camera and the refresh rate was pretty bad, but I made do for many years. As with all of the newer Fuji cameras the EVF display rotates as you switch from horizontal to vertical a convenience but it helps to have the information all in the same spot when you switch between the two orientations and some of the information is displayed is outside of the frame in the black area of the EVF rather than overlaid on the the viewed scene for a less cluttered view finder. Everything else about the camera feels very much like my old X-E1 cameras that I use. The body is a bit smaller than the original X-E1 and X-E2/s, which I believe were the same body size however with the removal of the D-pad and the perfect placement of the joystick I found that holding it securely with one hand was not a problem, there was lots of space for my thumb on the back. I didn’t test the video because I know don’t shoot much video and I’m sure there will be plenty on the internet about the cameras video capability.
Currently I can only look at the JPEG files from the camera as there is no RAW support by Photoshop/Lightroom or Silkypix at this time. I’m sure on the 28th when the camera is released at least Silkypix will be able to convert the RAW files that I shot. The X-E3 is using the same sensor as the X-PRO 2 that they released almost 2 years ago which is also in the X100F, X-T2 and X-T20 so there should be no surprises there. The JPEG files that I shot look really nice all of them where shot with the Classic Chrome profile that Fuji made famous a few years ago. I usually shoot RAW but if I shoot JPEG or RAW+JPEG I use Standard/Provia profile for my JPEG files because with the X-E1 the Classic Chrome profile was not available. I love the look of the Classic Chrome profile.
With all of the improvements and a reasonable price point this camera might be the one to upgrade to.