Comparing the Fuji X Cameras. Which one is Right For You?

In just a few short years, Fujifilm has built an impressive camera system from the ground up. Starting with the introduction of the X100, which they launched in September 2010, they’ve since expanded their lineup to include a number of highly advanced interchangeable and fixed lens compact cameras that have completely stirred up the photography world.

Shooters of all styles and levels have fallen in love with their compact, classic body styling and with the remarkable image quality that these cameras produce. So much so that an increasing number of amateurs and pros alike have replaced their entire DSLR rigs with Fuji X camera systems and haven’t looked back.

Even straight JPEGS from these cameras look awesome, which has prompted many people to rethink their RAW-only shooting style. The images are incredibly sharp and combined with Fuji’s image processing technology, color reproduction is stunning.

I’ve used a number of Fuji cameras during the past three years and although I haven’t dumped my DSLR gear yet, it’s seeing much less use with each passing year. The built-in film simulations and different shooting modes offer wide creativity and the resolution of the APC-C X-Trans sensor which is found on most of the models is certainly good enough for any pro work.

Here’s a quick comparison between all of the current Fuji X cameras in the lineup to see which one is right for you.

1. Fuji X-T1

X-T1c

The Fujifilm X-T1 is the current top of the line model in the X camera system. It’s built with professional grade construction, 80 points of weather sealing, the APS-C 16MP X-Trans sensor, a tilting LCD scene, and it features a super fast predictive AF system that will track moving subjects at up to 8 fps.

The X-T1 also has an SLR-inspired, traditionally placed, center mounted electronic viewfinder that offers the highest magnification of any digital camera. The EVF is so good on this camera, you often forget that you’re not actually looking through a real viewfinder. It offers DSLR quality in a smaller package, and even outperforms some DSLRs.

Combined with the array of milled metal dials on the top deck and 6 programmable FUNC buttons, the X-T1 offers full and immediate control of all your shooting parameters, like EV+/-, ISO, AF point selection, shutter speed, aperture, metering and drive mode. The X-T1 doesn’t have a built-in flash, but it comes with a tiny accessory flash that can be used up close or used to trigger other remote flash units.

It also has a Wi-Fi button that works with Fuji’s smartphone Camera app, which allows you to fire the camera remotely with your mobile device and instantly download pictures straight to your device.

I got to test an early prototype version of the Fujifilm X-T1, and have been using the full production version almost exclusively since it was announced back in February. I’ve shot everything with it from high end commercial work, adventure sports, action, people and travel, and not only has it given me great looking imagery, it’s withstood every bit of abuse and extreme conditions that I’ve thrown at it. You can read my extensive review of the Fuij X-T1 here, and see the dedicated X-T1 product info site here.

Who’s it for? The Fuji X-T1 is for pros and amateurs alike who want a tough, reliable, rugged, full featured camera that will endure the elements and that offers lightning quick controls. Although it was designed with outdoor photographers in mind, the X-T1 has also become a camera of choice for many wedding, portrait and commercial shooters as well.

 

2. Fuji X-Pro 1

 

The Fuji X-Pro 1 is a high end interchangeable X camera that offers traditional styling, professional quality imagery with the APS-C 16MP X-Trans sensor and an innovative “Hybrid Multi Viewfinder.” Combining the best features between optical and electronic viewfinders, the X-Pro 1 lets you switch between OVF mode and EVF mode. Both modes contain a variety of shooting data and change magnification depending on your lens choice.

The X-Pro 1 features a similar set of features as the X-T1, including the Q-Menu, a 49-point AF system, no apparent shutter lag, and all the gorgeous looking film simulations. Max shooting speed on the X-Pro1 is 6 fps, although it won’t track moving subjects nearly as well as the  X-T1.

The X-Pro 1 does not have a built-in flash, but it’s compatible with any of the dedicated Fuji flashes, as well as other third party brand units.

The other big difference between is that while the X-T1 has an SLR inspired look and feel, the X-Pro 1 has a rangefinder design, which appeals to a great number of shooters. Where the X-T1 feels like an old trusty manual Nikon body, the X-Pro 1 feels like an old Leica or Contax.

Who’s if for? The X-Pro 1 is a favorite with commercial, wedding and portraits shooters, as well as street photographers. Basically anyone who loves the rangefinder look, who doesn’t need weather sealing, fast AF tracking and wants a high quality, beautifully styled camera for general shooting, travel, people or landscape photography. Check out the dedicated X-Pro 1 info site here.

 

3. Fuji X-E2

xe2-1

The Fuji X-E2 is very similar to the X-Pro 1, except that it does not have the Hybrid Viewfinder. It only has an electronic viewfinder, but the with the latest firmware update that Fuji put out, the X-E2 now has an even better EVF than it did before. It also has a built-in flash, as well as a hot shoe.

Featuring the same APS-C 16MP X-Trans sensor as the other models, a max shooting rate of 6 fps, and a greatly improved Hybrid AF system over the X-E1, the X-E2 now has the same AF speed as the X-T1. However, it does NOT have the same predictive focus tracking system, so it will not not be able to track moving subjects and freeze action over multiple frames like the X-T1.

Nonetheless, the X-E2 is an awesome rangefinder-style camera that has the same image quality as the other cameras in the line, the same film simulations, the same creative shooting modes, and the Wi-Fi button that allows you to transfer images from the camera to your smartphone or tablet. However, you cannot control the camera with your device like you can on the X-T1.

I shot with an X-E1 during a bike trip through the Alps last summer, and I found it to be an enjoyable camera to use. The X-E2 offers the same quality with an improved package.

Who’s it for? Since it uses the same lenses as the other X cameras, the X-E2 makes a great general camera for pros and amateurs alike. It works great for portraits, travel, landscapes and even commercial work, but keep in mind, it’s not weather sealed, so it may not be the best choice for heavy outdoor use. Still, it’s lightweight, compact, it packs a lot of features, and makes gorgeous looking images. Here’s the dedicated X-E2 info site.

Note, the X-E1 is still available, and it’s a really good price. The EVF and AF aren’t as good as they are on the X-E2, but image quality is the same. If you don’t need super fast AF, and if you do most of your composing with the LCD screen, then the X-E1 is an awesome camera of the money. It would be a good choice for beginning to intermediate photographers, or someone looking for a great travel camera that takes great photos.

 

4. Fuji X100S

When it was announced in 2010, the Fuji X100 took the world by storm. It offered uncompromising image quality in a gorgeous, all metal, rangefinder-style body. The updated version, the Fuji X100S offers an even better 16MP X-Trans sensor and improved AF performance over the original version.

The X100S is really an amazing little camera. It’s got a fast fixed 23mm f/2 lens, (35mm view) a shooting rate of 6 fps, 10cm macro and it also features the same switchable Hybrid EVF/OVF Viewfinder that’s found on the X-Pro 1.

It also sports a built-in flash and features a leaf shutter that allows for ultra high speed flash sync. For this reason, the X100S is the camera of choice for heavy flash shooters like Strobist™ David Hobby. Another really nice feature is the built-in 3 f/stop ND filter, which allows you to shoot slower shutter speeds in brighter light.

People also love the X100S because of it’s sheer simplicity. Small body, one view, on-board flash, and all the quality and creativity you’d ever need. Also, the 23mm is a great angle of view for many subjects. It’s not super wide,but it’s kind of a sweet-spot focal length for shooting just about everything from landscapes to travel, low light, city scenes and environmental portraits. There are also conversion lenses (35mm and 50mm) that make the X100S even more versatile.

Who’s it for? Anyone, really. It offers a perfect solution for going light, fast and simple with your photography, which is why it’s a favorite of many street photographers. It also makes an ideal companion/backup camera for your interchangeable system whether you shoot Fuji or not. Lots of Nikon and Canon shooters have these things too because they’re awesome. The Fuji X100S is truly a modern classic that will be remembered of a very long time in the history of photography gear. Check out the dedicated X100S info site here.

 

5. Fuji X-M1

 

The Fuji X-M1 is the consumer X camera. It’s less expensive, while it has some stepped down feature, it does not necessarily have stepped down quality. The X-M1 has the same APS-C 16MP X-Trans sensor as the higher end models, so you get the same image quality as the other more expensive X cameras.

With the X-M1, you get the versatility of interchangeable lenses and DSLR image quality in a very small and compact package. Fuji also introduced a line of smaller, less expensive lenses for this camera to make it even lighter and more affordable. It comes with the XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, but you can actually use any of the XF lenses on this body as well. This makes it even more versatile when you improve and want to step up your system.

The X-M1 features a tilt screen LCD panel, and it’s designed with all of the buttons and dials on the right side of the camera, which makes it easy to use one-handed. You can also use the Fuji smartphone camera app to download your pictures to your mobile device.

With a built-in flash, 49-point AF system, including manual focus, the set of Fuji film simulations, video, a host of creative shooting and auto modes and EV+/- at your fingertips, the X-M1 offers a lot of options in a bargain package. And it’s tiny. Seriously. It’s even smaller than some fixed lens compact cameras, especially when you put on the XF 27mm pancake lens.

Who’s it for? The Fuji X-M1 is definitely designed with consumers in mind. It’s a great introduction into the Fuij X Camera system, and would make a great all around camera for any beginning to intermediate photographers. As with any of the X cameras, it’s a viable alternative to a DSLR because it still gives you impressive image quality and resolution, but in a much more compact package. It’s great for just about any kind of shooting. Read more about the X-M1 here.

Note, Fuji also has the X-A1, but it’s very similar to the X-M1. Instead of the X-Trans sensor, it has a traditional Bayer-pattern APS-C 16MP CMOS sensor. For the price and features, my recommendation is go with the X-M1 if you’re looking in this category.

 

6. Fuji X30

The Fuji X30 is the little brother to the X100S. It’s a non-interchangeable compact camera, but instead of having a single focal length lens, it has a bright 28-112mm f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens. Although it doesn’t have nearly the same image quality as the X100, the zoom does make it a little more versatile for shooting different subject matter.

Instead of a APS-C sized 16MP sensor, the X30 has a 12MP 2/3″ X-Trans CMOS II sensor. Image quality is still pretty good, though. I use the older X20 and I’ve sold photos for professional reproduction that were taking with this camera. With its non-bayer RGB array, the X-Trans II sensor produces incredibly high resolution photos, even on a camera this small.

The X30 also has a brand new electronic viewfinder, which no doubt uses borrowed technology that was developed for the X-T1. In addition, the X30 has a tilt screen, improved battery life that supposedly lasts for up to 470 shots, and a new aperture-style dual ring that you can use to quickly adjust any number of parameters, including aperture, shutter speed, film simulation and manual focus. It also has a built-in flash that you can use to trigger other flashes.

Another nice feature is that the X30 has an impressive max shooting rate of 12 fps, which makes it usable for shooting very fast action. Combined with a compact size, classic styling, metal construction, a unique metal zoom ring that also acts as the power switch, the included Fuji film simulations, RAW shooting, awesome 1cm  super macro, the X30 is a very capable and fun camera to use.

Who’s it for? Anyone. For pros, it makes a great, inexpensive second, “walk around” camera, or one you can use for extremely lightweight trips. For non-pros, it’s good enough to be your only camera. With no interchangeable lenses, it’s small, compact and easy to use, even with one hand. Here’s the dedicated X30 info site.

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