This month, Fujifilm introduced a brand new free RAW Conversion software program called FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO. Designed as an alternative to the many existing RAW converters out there, Fuji’s new app takes an entirely different approach.
Instead of using the processing power of your computer to perform the conversions, you connect your camera via USB cable to your computer and use the camera’s image processor to do the work. Essentially, it’s just like doing your conversions in the camera, (found in the Playback Menu), except you’re converting RAW files that are already on your computer and using the computer screen instead of the camera LCD.
This means you can adjust the following parameters, which match exactly with what you have available when you do your in-camera conversions:
Lens Modulation Optimizer
If you’ve done any in-camera RAW conversions with your Fuji, you’ll recognize all of these settings. They appear in X RAW STUDIO exactly as they do in the camera. This gives you a lot of flexibility for adjusting your captures before exporting them to JPEG.
What you don’t get, are sliders. For better or worse, X RAW STUDIO doesn’t have any sliders, which means you can’t make fine tune adjustments like you can in other programs. In addition, aside from the film simulations, there are no presets or tool palettes. However, it does have batch processing and it lets you create and save Custom Conversion Profiles.
This mean you’re options are limited. However, this might appear to some people who get bogged down and find themselves spending lots of time sliding sliders and trying to choose the right preset. There’s something to be said for opening a RAW file, making a few simple tweaks and calling it good.
This is especially true for Fuji users who might already be happy with their images and colors, and who only want to change the film sim or make adjustments to things like HIGHLIGHT and SHADOW TONE or WHITE BALANCE. This offers an easy way to do that.
With this in mind, and given the fact that there are numerous, high quality RAW converters on the market, why might you choose FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO? Let’s take a brief look at what it offers:
(As of right now, it’s Mac only, with a Windows version scheduled for February 2018. The current list of compatible cameras includes the X-T2, X-Pro2, X100F and GFX 50S.)
1. Processing Power
RAW files from the newest X Series cameras and the GFX are quite big. They contain a ton of color and tonal information, and if you don’t have an extremely fast computer, it can take awhile to open and convert, especially if you’re editing lots of images or doing batch conversions.
By taking advantage to the powerful X Processor Pro chip inside your camera, you can offload the work to your camera and potentially decrease the time needed to perform your conversions. The Fuji cameras already have the capability to convert RAW files, and unless you have the newest, fastest machine, your camera may actually be able to do it faster.
I haven’t conducted any scientific benchmark tests, but in my quick and dirty view, once you connect your camera, open the app and choose your desired folder of images, X RAW STUDIO opens the file remarkably fast.
It only takes a minute or two to load an entire folder of 1,000 RAW files into the browser, and only 3 seconds per image, from the instant you click on a RAW file to the moment it’s ready to make adjustments.
Compare that to the latest version of Luminar, which takes about 20 seconds to open a RAW file on my Mid 2010 Mac Pro, or the time it takes to import a large number of RAW files into Lightroom, which could take as long as a decent coffee break with your New York Times app.
Previewing ACROS Film Simulation on a Fuji RAW file.
2. FUJI-Specific Adjustments
As I said, X RAW STUDIO doesn’t have sliders, but it does have those Fuji-specific adjustments, like HIGHLIGHT and SHADOW TONE, WB SHIFT, and all the Film Simulations. If you find yourself using those adjustment on your X Series camera or GFX, or if you like to do your RAW Conversions in-camera, then X RAW STUDIO will let you create a workflow that looks very similar to what you’re already used to.
In a way, those adjustments are like presets, they’re Fuji presets, and although they’re limited, they still give you a lot of flexility with regards to adjusting your images.
3. Fine Detail Reproduction
As many Fuji photographers have discovered, not all programs do an excellent job demosaicing the X-Trans files. While most RAW conversion programs do a decent job, some shooters are unhappy with the way that programs like Lightroom “smudge” fine details like foliage, skin and hair.
X RAW does a fantastic job here. I’ve been impressed with how good Luminar 2018 does with regards to sharpness and fine details on the X-Trans RAW files, but in a side by side test at 100%, X RAW STUDIO is noticeably shaper right out of the box.
This doesn’t mean that it’s “better.” Extreme pixel peeping is never the measure of what makes an image great, and while I’m very happy with how good X Trans files look when processed in Luminar, some more “critical” photographers may find that X RAW STUDIO give them the sharpness they desire with regards to fine details.
VELVIA in X RAW STUDIO
Photoshop’s version of VELVIA.
4. Oh… Those FUJI Colors
This is perhaps the main reason that many X Series photographers my decide to use X RAW STUDIO. As we all know, the Fuji colors are awesome, but not every software gets is right. If you shoot RAW, you’re at the mercy of Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture One, Luminar, Iridient Developer, etc… to demosaic your X-Trans sensor RAW file and try to match your Fuji colors.
Color is a very subjecting thing and there will always be differences when you cross devices. RAW conversions are also quite subjective. Extrapolating sensor data and converting it into an image is not a perfect process. There’s some “interpretation” going on there, especially when it comes to color.
And when it comes to the Fuji colors… between the inconsistencies of color reproduction and demosaicing the X-Trans RAW files, nobody gets it perfect. This fact leaves many Fuji photographers frustrated by the color inconsistency between what they saw in their camera and what they see on the screen.
This is where X RAW STUDIO has a serious advantage. A Fuji-designed software program demosaicing a RAW file from a Fuji sensor and reproducing the Fuji color profiles, using the Fuji-designed image processor in a Fuji camera to perform the conversion gives you as close a consistency as you’re every going to find.
Who knows the Fuji colors better than Fuji? Since X RAW STUDIO effectively keeps all of the work “in house,” you’re going to see the colors of the Fuji film simulations match from camera to screen with a degree of exactness that you’ll never see with any other software. This is compounded by the fact that when you open up a RAW file in any other program, it trashes your film simulation profile, and you can’t get it back.
CLASSIC CHROME in X RAW STUDIO
Photoshop’s version of CLASSIC CHROME
Lightroom has their own Fuji Film Sim profiles in the Camera Calibration tab, and Iridient Developer has a pack of Film Sim profiles you can get, and while they’re all very close, they’re not perfect. With any other program you have to start from scratch if you want to try and reproduce those Fuji colors.
With X RAW STUDIO, VELVIA looks like VELVIA, ASTIA looks like ASTIA and ACROS looks just like ACROS. That said, programs like Luminar and Lightroom do a pretty good job. Also, not every Fuji shooter who shoots RAW cares about the Film Simulations, so this issue becomes a moot point.
However, if you crave those Fuji colors and haven’t been able to get the consistency you desire between camera and computer, this might be your solution.
ASTIA in X RAW STUDIO
Adobe Photoshop’s version of ASTIA.
The best thing is that FUJI X RAW STUDIO is a free program, so you don’t have to make any hard commitments. You could download it and only use it as needed. If you’re having issues with a specific image and can’t seem to get the color or sharpness you desire from your main RAW conversion software, you’d have this as an alternative solution, which is just how Fuji is describing it.
One year ago this month, Macphun released a brand new Mac photo editing app called Luminar. It was designed to offer photographers the powerful creative tools they need and the simplicity they desire from their software. And although the program functions as a Lightroom & Photoshop plugin, the standalone version gave photographers a viable photo editing alternative to the complex, and often frustrating subscription based model that Adobe software has burdened us with.
Not surprisingly, Luminar turned out to be a huge hit. Photographers loved the simple, adaptive user interface and the wide range of creative filters, presets and customizable workspaces. They also won numerous awards for best photo editing app, including a Lucie Technical Award for Best Software Plugin for 2017. (Fun fact: Many of the USA Luminar people came over from NIK software when NIK was acquire by Google.)
Luminar is based on a very simple, yet highly customizable interface, which allows you to edit in a way that matches your own preferred workflow. You get a main image window, which can be resized to full screen, a Tool Panel on the right and a Preset Panel at the bottom. Both the Tool and Preset panels can be collapsed so you can view the image in the entire window.
One of the best features about Luminar is that you can easily customize your workspace. The program gives you a number of possible starting points: Quick and Awesome, Essentials, Aerial Photography, Black and White, Landscape, Portraits and Street, each of which gives you a selection of tools and filters that are generally applicable to working with that type of photo.
For example, Essentials gives you Color Temperature, Accent- AI Filter, Tone controls, Saturation/Vibrance, Polarizing Filter and Clarity. From there, you can add any of the other 40+ tools and creative filters to your workspace, and if you tend to use the same tools in your workflow, you can save that combination as a custom workspace.
Powerful Creative Tools & Filters – Plus 3 New Tools
The tools in Luminar 2018 have all been optimized for both speed and performance, and there are a number of new tools in the collection. One noticeable addition is the new RAW Develop toolset, which gives you all the basics for adjusting White Balance, Exposure and Clarity, in addition to a Lens tab for correcting for Distortion, Chromatic Aberation and Lens Vignetting, and a Transform tab.
In addition, color handling, sharpening and noise reduction have all been optimized so you get very high quality RAW Conversions.
One interesting note, if you’re processing JPEGs, the RAW Develop panel is simply called Develop, and you get the same tools. That’s a nice touch.
The Accent – AI Filter, which does an amazing job of giving you a “Quick Fix” with a single slider. I’m amazed how well the slider works, and I find myself using it all the time. The lead off photo on top is nothing more than a quick slide of the AI Filter.
Dodge & Burn lets you selectively refine the light and shadows on your subject. Just as in the darkroom, you choose a brush size, “paint” whichever part of your subject you want and then adjust the lighting parameters and amount.
Hue Shift is another new filter that lets you eliminate wanted color tints or roll it all the way for dramatic, stylistic shifts.
Brilliance/Warmth adds richness and warmth to your image. Dial up to make your photos really pop, or dial it back to tone down your image and create a more subtle look.
The Polarizing Filter adds contrast and increased depth to blue skies, just as if you were using the real thing on your lens. Again. I’m quite impressed at how smart this filter is. I’ve also used it to deepen shadows on distant mountain peaks to give the shot more depth.
Below is an example of a straight image, a processed image, and a processed image using the Polarizing Filter.
Matte Filter Lets you quickly tone down your photo and give it a vintage look. Think portraits, wedding photos, street photography and any other subject where you want add a more muted style to your images.
LUT Mapping is another new tool that’s been added to Luminar 2018. This means that Luminar now supports Look Up Tables and brings pro-quality color grading for emulating classic film styles and giving your photos a cinematic look.You can download free LUT files from numerous sites around the web.
The New Sun Rays filter lets you add volumetric lighting to your image and create beams of light in your image. You can use the X and Y Axis controls to fine tune exactly where your sun appears in the frame, and you can control the intensity and look of the God beams.
Ok, before you roll your eyes, I’ll be the first one to admit that Sun Rays is not going to the filter choice for many (most?) serious photographers. It’s essentially cheating and adding a fake sun to your image.
However, when used with discretion, you can use it to enhance images that already contain a hard sun in the frame. Plus, it’s kind of fun to see what it does to your image, especially when you drag the X and Y sliders and watch the sun move through your frame with a surprising level of realism. Either way, it’s an intriguing effect.
Here are a couple of examples of how I’ve used the Sun Rays Filter. You won’t use it very often, but with the right image, it can be a highly creative tool.
And c’mon, we’ve already lost the battle that photography has to be 100% Real. HDR? I rest my case. Why is this any different? As I said, it’s fun, and it’s an impressive testament to how good the Luminar engineers’ coding skills are. If they can do this, then that says a lot about the quality of their “Serious Filters,” Like RAW Develop.
Highly Adjustable, Non Destructive Editing
All of the Filters and tools in Luminar are highly adjustable and they offer non destructive editing. They’re also very well thought out and well executed.
Each tool does one of three things: It either solves a very specific problem you’re likely to face with certain types of imagery, whether it has to do with tone, color, sharpness, noise, it gives you an easy way to quickly adjust and refine your photos or it offers your a highly creative effects you can add to your photos in order to give them the style and look you’re going for.
Your tool choices are categorized in five sections, based on type. Here are all the tools contained in Luminar 2018: (Click each heading to see the full tool menus.)
Accent – AI Filter
Remove Color Cast
Brilliance / Warmth
Dodge & Burn
Split Color Warmth
Brightness / Contrast
Highlights / Shadows
Top & Bottom Lighting
Whites / Blacks
In addition to all of the powerful, professional quality image editing tools, Luminar comes with a selection of highly creative and well-designed presets. This give you the option of working with an extremely easy “One-Click” workflow, where you can simply choose a preset and then dial it anywhere from 0-100 and fine tune the image to your liking.
Having never been a preset guy before, I love using the Luminar presets. Not only do they make for a very fast photo editing workflow, they actually inspire my creativity in a big way. With a variety of different and unique looks, I often find myself opening an image, quickly browsing the choices and finding one that takes the image in a creative direction based on my ideas in that particular moment.
Sometimes it’s a direction I night not have thought of, but that’s the beauty of it. Sometimes the best idea is the one that comes from spontaneous creative decisions, as opposed to agonizing over your adjustments and endlessly sliding sliders and second guessing yourself.
With the nice diversity of the Luminar presets, I like to pick one that inspires me in the moment, dial it to my liking and call it good. Open, click, slide, done. That’s liberation. That’s efficiency. That’s trusting your own creative impulses.
Luminar comes with a selection of presets organized by category: Basic, Outdoor, Street, Portrait, Travel, Dramatic and Aerial, and you can download additional presets from the SKLYUM website. You can even create and share your own presets. If you come up with a really cool look through a combination of tools and settings, you can hit the Create Preset… menu item and save it as a user preset.
Powerful, Professional Tools
In addition to the tools and presets, Luminar 2018 comes with an impressive and full-featured selection of professional editing tools, including Layers, Blending Modes, History Panel with Unlimited Undo, Curves, Adobe Plugin Support, Opacity, and Native File Format, which means you can save all your edits and open later with full non-destructive editing.
You also get a selection of image tools, including Crop, Transform, Clone & Stamp and Erase. (The Erase tool is where do your dust spotting.)
Multiple Export Options
The Luminar Export Panel lets you save your image to your desired folder, you can export to Mail, Messages, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, SmugMug or 500px, or you can Open In and send your image to any of the other Macphun/SKYLUM apps like Aurora HDR, Tonality CK or Snapheal CK or to any other Image editing software on your system.
In short, Luminar 2018 has just about everything you would need for all of your image editing needs from start to finish, no matter if you want to make quick changes that help your image pop, or make complex, professional edits to your photography.
It also has Batch Processing, you can save/export to JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, JPEG 2000, PDF, and you can choose from three color spaces: sRGB, Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB.
Performance and Speed Enhancements
Much of Luminar 2018 has been re-written from the ground up so that they could optimize all of the tools and make the program run faster. For starters, it has a vastly improved RAW engine. Along with the new RAW Develop panel, RAW images now open up to 200% faster than they did in previous version of Luminar.
To give you an example, on my 7-year old Mid 2010 Mac Pro with 24MB RAM and a Solid State Hard Drive, Luminar Neptune, which was the most recent version, would take about 50 seconds to open a RAW file from my Fujifilm X-T2. It takes just over 20 seconds in Luminar 2018.
While at PhotoPlus Expo, I saw the guys at the booth open RAW files on brand new MacBook Pros laptops and it barely took a few seconds.
All of the tools, like Crop, Erase and Transform function much more quickly and and they’ve been refined for increased image quality performance. Advanced noise reduction and sharpening algorithms produce better quality photos and new masking options let you blend filter and layers for even more precise control.
I’ve been using Luminar for a year now, ever since the first version, and I can attest that Luminar 2018 is WAY faster, more comprehensive and more user friendly. The user interface has a more refined, professional look, and yet it still retains the very easy and simple form factor which has made Luminar so appealing to a large number of photographers.
As a RAW Processor, Luminar 2018 does an exceptional job, especially when it comes to demosaicing the Fuji X-Trans sensor RAW files. As we all know Lightroom isn’t the best Fuji RAW converter. In my tests, Luminar 2018 renders find details with sharpness that compares WAY closer to Iridient Developer than Lightroom, and Iridient is definitely one of the best, if not one of the best RAW converters out there.
RAW and PSD Support
Luminar 2018 supports RAW files from just about every camera on the market, including the new Nikon D850, and the Fujifilm GFX. In fact, the Head of Product Development is a Fuji X-T2 user and when I met with the team in person last month at PhotoPlus, both he and SKYLUM’s CEO, confirmed that they’re committed to providing full support for Fujifilm X-Trans sensor cameras and the GFX.
This was welcome news, since Adobe has left many Fuji users disappointed and frustrated by their unimpressive support for the X Series cameras, and also for Capture One Pro users, since Phase One has said that they won’t support the GFX.
Luminar will open PSD files and it will also open TIFF files that have been saved with multiple layers in Photoshop. However, it won’t save the layers; instead the image will open as a single layer that combines the layers as you had previously set in Photoshop.
This is hardly a deal breaker, and in fact, Photoshop won’t even open Luminar’s equivalent of a PSD file, with has the .lmnr extension. So there.
Upcoming DAM Catalog Module
The Luminar developers are currently working on a Digital Assent Management Catalog feature they plan to add to Luminar in early 2018. The timing of this couldn’t be better, since so many Lightroom users find themselves frustrated by Adobe’s recent moves.
These are the only glances we have of their new catalog system, but it appears to be a very good start. Looking at the interface, they support star ratings, color label and even the “pick & flag” system that Lightroom uses, which most catalog software doesn’t support.
The system also appears to run on a very straightforward and user friendly model, with a simple folder structure, grid and full size window option. No word yet on things like keywording and metadata or export/share options, but we do know that it will works seamlessly with the Luminar Develop tools and with their other photo editing apps like Aurora HDR.
Also, no word yet on when this will come out, but I think they’re hoping to get it out before the middle of 20118, if not sooner. They’ve also said that if you preorder Luminar 2018, you’ll get the catalog module for free when it comes out.
For how well they’ve done with Luminar in the past year, I’m banking on it being a great system and I can’t wait to see it.
My Overall Thoughts
I am so impressed with how Luminar 2018 looks and functions, and I’m excited about all the changes, tweaks and refinements they’ve made to the program. I’ve been using the new 2018 version exclusively for nearly a month now and it seems like a night and day difference over the previous version.
As good as it is, Luminar isn’t quite perfect. As of right now it doesn’t do text. Then again, neither do Lightroom or Capture One, so is that really a thing? Probably not.
It also lacks a fast, workable watermark function. This is a big one for me. Yes, it’s totally possible to embed a logo or watermark on your image using Layers, but they need to have a fast solution like Lightroom. This would really help speed up the workflow.
I brought this to their attention recently, and the response I got was “I know and agree. We are already working in this direction.” So, yea… expect to see this feature added soon. Again, the Luminar team is very open to suggestion and they’re committed to making Luminar a full-featured professional quality photography workflow and editing solution.
Overall, Luminar 2018 is an excellent update to an already great program. Their slogan is “Everything you need to make perfect photos in less time.”
I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. Having used the software extensively, I think it’s an ideal solution for just about any kind of photographer; it’s fun, easy to use, it offers extremely flexible workspace options that can be customized to your own workflow style or mood, or you can even set it up to give you multiple workspaces for editing different types of images or if you just like to vary your editing approach.
SKYLUM has already won numerous awards for Luminar and they have demonstrated a commitment to giving photographers the best program they can. They keep tweaking and streamlining the software and making it perform better with each update.
And unlike some software, which requires the fastest computer and most up-to-date OS, Luminar works on a wide variety of machines and operating systems. Like I said, I’m running it on a 7-year old Mac on OS Sierra, and their specs say that it will run all the way back to Mac OS Yosemite.
And, you can install Luminar on up to 5 computers, even if you run both Mac and PC with a single activation code. This is Huge. Adobe only allows 2.
Photography should be fun, and therefore photo editing should be fun. It’s doesn’t need to be complicated and it doesn’t need to be overly time consuming, if you don’t want it to be.
Luminar gives you that. It’s fun, easy to use, efficient and powerful enough to do just about anything you need or want with your photos. I’ve enjoyed using it during the past year, and I’m even more excited about this latest version. The bottom line is that I love the images that I’ve processed with Luminar and I love the efficiency it offers, since I don’t want to spend tons of time at my computer edging photos.
No matter what kind of photography you do, I can highly recommend Luminar and I think that once you try it out and get a feel for how it works, you’ll like it as much as I do. And remember, it works as a standalone or as a plugin for Photoshop or Lightroom.
Last week, while at the PhotoPlus trade show, I finally got a chance to take a close look at the long-awaited successor to the X-E2 and X-E2S, the brand new Fujifilm X-E3.
Positioned as the little brother/sister to the X-Pro2, the X-E3 is a compact rangefinder that updates the X-E series with the gorgeous new 24MP X-Trans III sensor, the much faster X-Processor Pro image processing engine, the revamped “My Menu” menu system and the new 325 point autofocus system, including the AF-ALL mode, which was previously only found on the X-T2.
It also has all 15 of the Fuji film simulations modes, including ACROS, as well as AF-C Custom Settings, Manual Shutter down to 15 minutes, Electronic Shutter up to 1/32,000 sec, Interval Timer, 8 frames per second shooting (up to 14fps with the Electronic Shutter) and 14-Bit RAW image capture with Lossless Compression.
Essentially, it’s the sibling to the highly popular X-T20, which was released earlier this year, so it has the most of the same specs with regards to features and performance, including 8 customizable function buttons and 4K video. However, the X-E3 does body does have a couple of noticeable difference.
Unlike the X-T20, the X-E3 has the AF Joystick that’s found on the X-T2 and X-Pro2. Also, to make it even more compact, Fuji has done away with the four Thumb-Pad buttons on the back of the camera.
They did this to make for a more simple design and offers a nice grip, and, more importantly, to ensure that you don’t accidentally press the Thumb-Pad buttons with the heel of your hand and change settings while you’re holding it. This sometimes happens to me when I shoot with my X-E1 and my X-T20, maybe you’ve had this problem too.
At first, this seems like a strange move, because those four Thumb-Pad buttons have a lot of functionality. However, to make up for the loss, Fuji has introduced new firmware inside the X-E3 which gives new operational control with the Touchscreen LCD.
New Touchscreen Controls
The LCD Touchscreen on the X-E3 has been programmed to recognize a number of commands, including tap, double tap, pinch in and out, drag and flick. When performing these gestures, you can quickly control a number of camera functions. Here’s what they do:
Shooting Mode and Playback Mode
1 – Flicking up, down, left and right acts as Fn button controls, just as if you were pressing the four Thumb-Pad buttons. Like all the other X Series cameras, you can program any number of settings to the Fn buttons and control them with just a simple swipe of your finger on the screen.
2 – Double Tap instantly zooms your image in and out to 100% during payback and performs focus check while shooting.
3 – Tap and/or Drag controls AF Area Selection. Although the X-E3 has the AF Joystick, it’s even faster to select and move your selected AF point around the screen using the touchscreen. This is a very cool feature. Even though I’m quite proficient with my X-T2 joystick, I was highly impressed with how well this works. The points will pretty much move as fast as you can tap or drag your finger around the screen.
4 – Pinch in/out operates Playback zoom. Whereas Double Tap does instant 100% zoom, pinching lets you zoom in and out to view the image at different magnifications levels and sizes on the screen.
5 – Swipe left and right gives you your next picture in Playback mode.
6 – Q Menu: After brining up the Q Menu, you can quickly select and change your settings by tapping the screen.
Touch Panel Operation While Using the EVF
I know what you’re thinking. While these functions work extremely well if you’re shooting via the LCD screen, it could be tough to navigate the screen if you’ve got your eye up to the electronic viewfinder, right?
Well, Fuji apparently though of that, because the X-E3 gives you the option to set the touch range of the panel to either Full Screen, Right Half Only, Left Half Only or Off.
In addition to these new touchscreen gestures, you can also use the optional “Touch Shooting” features, which include Tap to shoot, Tap to Focus and Tap to Zoom. Or, you can turn the Touch Controls off.
The X-E3 is the first X Series camera to feature Bluetooth functionality. In addition to Wi-Fi image transfer and wireless shooting, the camera feature Bluetooth pairing, which allows a simple and very fast method for downloading photos to your mobile device.
This is actually a great addition. Sometimes, when there are lot of Wi-Fi signals bouncing around your location, the camera can have a hard time connecting with the app. The Bluetooth transfer feature ensures that you can get your images sent over pronto, and without a hitch.
Overall – One Tiny Awesome Little Camera
With all the features, performance and image quality it packs, Fuijfilm X-E3 is one cool little camera. Weighing in at less than 12 ounces, (337 grams with batter and card), it’s also the smallest and lightest interchangeable full-featured X Series camera in their lineup.
This makes it an absolutely ideal travel camera, and also as a totally viable backup or second body for your X-Pro2 or X-T2.
It’s also a highly capable camera. Since it has the same sensor and image processor, you’ll get the exact same image quality as the X-T2, X-Pro2, X-T20 and X100F, and you’ll have the capability to shoot 4K video with the X-E3. Again, this makes it a pretty appealing camera to use for backup, or even an alternative camera when you want to go even lighter.
And let’s face it, with its small size, traditional look and no D-Pad buttons on the back, it has an extremely minimal and classic look. You’ll probably get even more people thinking that you’re shooting with an old film camera!
Some photographers might even prefer this over the X-T20, simply because it has the AF Joystick. In fact, I’ve resisted getting the X-T20, simply because I’ve become so accustomed to using the joystick on my X-T2.
I’ll be honest, when the X-E3 was first announced, I figured it would probably not be something I’d use. I was wrong. Now having seen and tried the X-E3 in person, I’m seriously considering getting one to use as my own second body and for video when I’m doing tips, tutorials and gear reviews in the field. I’m quite impressed with the camera and it’s definitely earned my recommendation.
The X-E3 has the same limitations as you’ll find on the X-T20. It’s not weather sealed and not as durable as the X-T2 or X-Pro2, the 4K video has slightly reduced functionality when compared to the X-T2 and it has less internal memory and thus a smaller buffer than the higher end models. It also doesn’t use the faster UHS-II memory cards.
So, if you’re shooing in Continuous High mode, you won’t get nearly as many shots as you will with the X-T2 before the camera slows down, especially if you’re shooting RAW. However, in practical terms for most shooters, this really isn’t a concern. It will still do action at 8 fps, but you might get 25 shots in RAW, and then you’ll have to wait about 15 seconds before the buffer clears. This is still WAY better than you could get with the X-T10 and X-E2S.
It’s got some great new features, enough high performance capabilities to get you through just about any kind of situation, even for demanding subjects like fast action and astrophotography. Plus it has all of the standard X Series creative modes and wonderful color reproduction that we Fuji shooters have grown to love.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a super high quality, ultra compact, ultra lightweight mirrorless camera for your main body or as a backup, the X-E3 is certainly worth a look.
Support this site: If you decide to purchase any of these lenses, click through the links to B&H or Amazon. It won’t cost you anything on your end, and I’ll get a small commission for the referral. Consider it your way of giving me a virtual thumbs up.
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Earlier this week, Adobe came out with a big announced and essentially broke Lightroom into two camps: Desktop (Lightroom Classic CC) and Cloud-Based (the all-new Lightroom CC.) They’re also killing perpetual license versions, which makes the standalone version of Lightroom …Continue reading →
Earlier this year, Fujifilm released the 50mm f/2 WR lens, thus completing their trio of ultra compact weather sealed f/2 primes. Both the XF23mm f/2 and the XF35mm f/2 have been extremely well received and much loved by many X Series photographers, and …Continue reading →
Macphun just released a powerful upgrade to Luminar today. Version “Nepune” adds a host of new features and significant performance enhancements designed to offer additional creative control and streamline your workflow even more. (The update is free to existing Luminar users.) I’ve …Continue reading →