Fujifilm has just taken the wraps off a brand new camera: the X-E3. Successor to the X-E2S, we’ll admit that the X-E3 took us rather by surprise. After the release of the X-T10 and X-T20 we had assumed that the rangefinder-style X-E line was all but dead.
We don’t mind being proven wrong though, especially given that the X-E3 looks like a really nice camera. Fujifilm kindly loaned us a prototype for a few days, and we’ve taken a closer look at what we’re starting to think of as a mini X-Pro2.
Compared to the X-E2S, the new X-E3 is slightly smaller, and a little lighter. The design is cleaner, too. The X-E2S’s hard cutout in the handgrip is gone, likewise the non-continuous contour of the metal top-plate. You’ll notice that the X-E3 features a front control dial, which while largely redundant if you’re using lenses with a dedicated aperture dial, can be handy.
The generally cleaner design extends to the rear of the camera, too. The X-E3 features the same 3″ 1.04 million-dot LCD screen as the X-T2, (although without the tilting mechanism) and the AF positioning joystick that’s becoming standard on the X-series.
The X-E3’s electronic viewfinder is the same excellent 2.36M-dot display that we’ve seen previously in the X-T2.
Between them, the touchscreen and joystick replace several of the X-E2S’s rear buttons, including the traditional 4-way controller. Where previously access to ISO, white balance, film simulation, and AF mode were controlled via the buttons on the controller, now they’re accessed by swiping up/down/left/right on the touch-screen.
The touchscreen experience on our prototype camera is reasonably fast, with some occasional lagginess. It remains to be seen whether final shipping cameras will offer a significantly improved experience but either way, the X-E3’s touchscreen is very usable.
Here’s a closeup of the joystick, which replaces the 4-way controller when it comes to simple navigation actions like scrolling through menus.
Missing from the X-E3 is a built-in flash…
…instead, you’ll need to attach an external flashgun – perhaps Fujifilm’s delightful (and delightfully small) collapsible EF-X8, which is included in the box. Sadly, this does mean the X-E2’s unadvertised bounce flash capability, (easily achieved by pulling the built-in flash backwards) has been lost.
Gained though is full-time low-energy Bluetooth – a first for the Fujifilm X-series, which should simplify things when it comes to connecting the X-E3 to smart devices.
Here’s a closer look at the X-E3’s top-plate. A manual shutter speed dial should satisfy purists, while a -/+3EV exposure compensation dial (with a ‘C’ custom position to take it up to -/+5EV) is positioned within easy reach of the right thumb.
Note that the X-E3 has inherited the ‘Auto’ toggle from the X-T-series, which enables the camera to be put into fully automatic exposure mode with a single flick of the switch.
The X-E3 inherits the X-T2’s 24MP X-Trans III sensor, and adopts a version of its 325-point autofocus system, minus the flagship camera’s extensive customization options. Fujifilm claims that the camera features a ‘newly developed image recognition algorithm’ which should be able to track moving subjects more effectively than previous generations.
In stills mode, the X-E3 can shoot at a maximum rate of 14 fps using its electronic shutter, or 8 fps with the mechanical shutter (which drops to 5 fps with live view maintained between exposures). And like the X-T20, the X-E3 can also shoot full-width 4K video, at a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160p in contiguous 4GB chunks.
A conventional latched door on the base of the X-E3 provides access to the NP-W126S battery and a single memory card slot. Disappointingly, the tripod bush is positioned off-axis to the lens, and very close to the battery compartment door. This will probably make it impossible to change batteries or cards when the camera is used on a tripod.
Battery life is rated for 350 exposures, under CIPA test conditions.
The X-E3 will be available later this month for $899 body only, or in a kit with either the 18-55mm zoom for $1299.95, or the 23mm F2 prime for $1149.95.