Fuji-x-e1-x-e2

Why I won't be upgrading my Fuji X-E1

About two weeks ago my new camera, a Fuji X-E1, turned up in the post. I love it. It’s so much fun to use, its light enough to carry about with me without needing to head to the gym for a round of weights as preparation. It looks unobtrusive enough that no one stops and stares at me when I stop to line up and compose a photo. I’m heading to Rome for a weekend in mid December, and I can’t wait to see what photos I get.

So you might think that seeing first the the rumours and then the announcement of the X-E2, the upgrade of the X-E1, just days after I got my hands on my shiny new camera would have put a slight dent in my mood? Should I send it back for a refund (it’s still under the 30 days no-quibble return) and order the new model?

Well I have to be honest. I wasn’t that surprised by the announcement. The X-E1 dropped in price recently, which is why I got one, and that is normally a pretty good sign that an update is in the works.

For me it always comes back to knowing my intent. I have two different sets of needs for a camera. When I’m at a dance competition I want photos I can use to build my reputation as a top dancesport photographer. That means I need a high end pro camera. The auto focus has to be faster than double speed jive kick, and I need a hell of a lot of AF points – if I use the focus & recompose technique then I’ve missed the shot. Further more it needs to take beautifully exposed, low noise photos in rooms with the lights turn off. Oh and I need to be able to put the fastest telephoto lenses I can afford on it. In short I need the Canon 5d Mk III.

My other intent with my photography is to enjoy it! For it to be something I can head out on a Sunday afternoon and pass a few hours feeling relaxed, or enjoy taking photos when I’m on holiday. The one down side with the Canon is that its big, and heavy. Try taking that on holiday (along with a lens or two) and before you know it you have hand luggage designed for your camera. While that’s great if you have a bag fetish (and what photographer doesn’t) it does tend to add somewhat of an overhead to what’s meant to be a relaxing trip to see a new culture. This is where the new Fuji comes in. Its small, it’s light and above all different from the Canon. I like the fact that I am building a prime lens system about it. I like the fact the auto-focus is slower – it makes me think about and consider my shots. It makes me enjoy my photography in a totally different way to the Canon. 

So onto the X-E2. A look at the specs shows that the upgrades are mainly in the auto-focus. It now boasts twice the AF speed of the X-E2, and a better LED, wifi and a few other nice goodies. But the sensor – thats the same size. I’m guessing it has a slightly better performance, but fundamentally its the same and the feel of using the camera is basically the same.

Don’t get the wrong. the X-E2 looks like a fantastic camera and as long as it lives up to expectations I’m sure its going to be hugely successful. The thing is it doesn’t help me fulfil my intent any better than the older X-E1.

And that is why I have no plans to upgrade to the X-E2.

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