Fujifilm X-E1 – an amazing travel camera on a budget

If you’re looking for a great travel camera on a small budget, the Fujifilm X-E1 may just be what you’re looking for, as it’s the best £200 I’ve ever spent on a camera. It’s a range finder style, with retro looks, and it’s 16 mega-pixel x-trans 1 sensor gives beautiful, filmic images with lots of…

If you’re looking for a great travel camera on a small budget, the Fujifilm X-E1 may just be what you’re looking for, as it’s the best £200 I’ve ever spent on a camera. It’s a range finder style, with retro looks, and it’s 16 mega-pixel x-trans 1 sensor gives beautiful, filmic images with lots of texture and just enough sharpness.

If you’re just getting into photography or perhaps you’re looking for a second camera to go alongside a more expensive model, this could be just what you’re looking for. This short review of the Fujifilm X-E1 will help you to decide if this camera is right for you. 

I want to give you just a few quick tips about this camera which make it absolutely perfect in my eyes. Fujifilm have produced many mirrorless APSC cameras over the years, and it all began with cameras like the Fujifilm X-E1. Their passion was to help people to fall in love with photography again, and enjoy the whole process of owning a camera and of course, capturing beautiful images.

Fujifilm created a series of film simulations which were digital versions of their film stock, and these simulations were made freely available to us by a click of a button on the camera menu. This means that today we still have access to film stocks such as Astia and Provia.

The Fujifilm X-E1 has a smaller footprint than the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, which was a larger camera, and this makes it something you can easily throw into your bag and take on family trips and holidays. This makes it a perfect travel camera.

It has the X-Trans 1 sensor inside, which is how it’s able to produce such beautiful images. Since this camera was released, Fujifilm have developed more sensors for their cameras, but in my eyes, the X-Trans 1 was a one of the best. It’s 16 mega-pixels output is ample for most people, and will print perfectly for family albums etc. Not many people need the huge amount of mega-pixels that the latest cameras provide, and have having less it will save you space on your memory card and computers.

I am able to throw this little camera into my backpack for travel abroad, and a smaller camera like this actually makes a big difference when you’re hiking or walking around all day.

The other aspect I love about this camera is its simplicity. It doesn’t have complicated menu systems, and most of the controls for the exposure triangle can be found on the dials and lenses, meaning you can make adjustments to your settings very easily on the go, without having to search through complicated menu settings.

The Fujifilm X-E1 has no image stabilisation as when this camera was created that didn’t exist. So, if you’re worried about camera shake you’ll need to purchase a lens which has a fast enough aperture to allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds.

Fujifilm make some very good lenses at reasonable prices, so one option could be the Fujifilm XF23mm f2 lens, which will be perfect most most situations when travelling. It has a focal length equivalent to 35mm on a full frame sensor, meaning it’s ideal for group photos and portraits, as well as being well suited to landscape photography too.

The Fujifilm X-E1 has the capability to capture RAW and JPEG photos, but I would always shoot JPEG with this camera. The JPEG images are smaller file sizes and have beautiful colours, thanks to the film simulations. If you capture your images in RAW, you’ll need to process the images yourself using software on a computer.

My main reason for buying this camera today would be for the sensor. It was designed during the cross over days from film photography, and in those days Fujifilm weren’t really trying to appeal to the professional photographers market or the commercial photography market, like they are today. These days they’re trying to appeal to commercial photographers, wedding photographer and trying to go for that high-end photography clientele, and they do it amazingly well but with this kind of camera that’s not really on the agenda. 

With this kind of camera what Fujifilm are trying to do is appeal to people who have been shooting with a film camera and or maybe another compact camera, but someone perhaps who has a maybe a slightly higher expectation of what they would like to do with their camera and how they would like the pictures to turn out.

So, with this camera what you’ve got is that lovely crossover between film photography and digital photography and it gives you that more analog look.

Somebody asked me the other day what makes the picture special, is it the sensor or is it the camera lens? It’s a really interesting thought and I would say probably the biggest deal for me with getting a shot how I want it would be the camera sensor, because most lenses now can perform at really high levels. 

Most lenses built in the last 20 years will give you amazing photos, there’s no question about that, so really the lens is more about sharpness, clarity how much detail you want in your image. If you buy a super expensive lens yes you’re going to get edge-to-edge sharpness, but at the end of the day that’s not going to give you a great photo. What’s going to get you a great photo is your composition, your eye, but actually the sensor is going to really help you because the sensor is going to actually give you that look that you want.

The Fujifilm X-E1 is not designed for fast action, sports or wildlife photography as its fps is nothing special. It’s for the person wanting to thoughtfully compose their images on the go, capture wonderful memories of travelling with friends and family, giving your beautiful colours and texture to your images. In the used market at the moment, the Fujifilm X-E1 is only £200, which I think is a real bargain.

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