Composing Hands Blog Quote "I didn't want to write this as a review, plenty of good articles scattered over the web that compare other cameras and such for you to find, this is intended to be my first time impression that I can write down my real life experience from using it..."
My first proper time out using this camera and lens was on the 10th December on a Christmas shopping trip to Chichester, my first stop was inside Chichester cathedral, I was looking for something to shoot at a shallow depth of field - picked of course, candels. All photos shot in RAW then converted in Lightroom 4.3, this artical is not about image processing, I use Lightroom because I'm very familiar and comfortable with it. 

Inside the cathedral gift shop, not much natural light here, the light is coming from a window behind the display, this light is the restaurant part of the same shop and not outside light...

Next shot was taken in the Christmas market, I'm not a street photographer (yet) so I'm a little uncomfortable pointing a camera at strangers, although walking around with the X-E1 & 18-55mm didn't seem to attract too much attention. Shot this guy because he looked cheerful and had an interesting face or maybe he thought I was going to buy something... 

Back  Street Cathedral, not a common touristy type photo, found this alternative perspective of the cathedral on a stroll through some of the back streets. Lens was set to around the 35mm mark, at f/8 this shows how sharp this lens can really be. 100% Crop below. 
100% Crop

This was the next day when I was walking along the canal from Hunston to Chichester, this chap was rowing towards me from a fair distance so I stopped near an abandoned barge and waited for him to row into the scene. It was a bright early morning (chilly too with a slight frost) - I shot 3 photos but this was the best of the bunch. 

First off the back I'll say it was a real joy to be finally out and about with my hands wrapped around the X-E1's gorgeous body, composing and reviewing from both the EFV & rear screen was encouraging to see such sharp and colorful results (after downloading I spotted a few missed focus shots that I didn't see on the camera, especially my shots from the low lit cathedral - next time I'll preview in zoom). I had a tweet from a follower after I posted my unboxing blog, he wrote that he tried the X-E1 in a shop and wasn't happy with the EVF low light performance, my answer is, in daylight it's awesome and clear, great for reviewing photos too, in poor light I have no problem using the rear screen, even though it's not a high res screen it's still a very good one. 

One particular issue I had whilst using it in a walkabout situation was the On/Off switch which I kept turning on when putting it away in my bag, only to pull it out and find it was on... It's too easy to knock out of position (or is it just me?). I would rather it was somewhere else on the body and was more ridged. The exposure compensation dial being easily knocked out of position wasn't a problem as I've read from other users.

I don't have big chubby fingers but I did find myself activating options by mistake, hitting buttons then having to find a way out of something I accidentally hit (the Macro button was something I hit often). 30 minutes walking around the Christmas market made my right hand ache slightly (I'm using a hand strap) so I feel the extra grip (although expensive) could make the handling better for me.

The XF18-55mm 2.8-4 OIS was excellent to use, smooth rotating rings and solid feeling. I have a protector filter on the front and I kept the hood on at all times, even in my bag. The lens cap was sometimes a bit awkward to fit with cold hands. I must confess to mostly shooting with wide apertures and consequently some of the images I rejected later would have been better stopped down... My style of photography has always been shallow depth of field but for street photography a little more depth would probably help nail the focus more often - so again, my bad and I've learnt from my early mistake. When I did get it right the lens performs faultlessly and makes it a serious general/walkabout/travel lens. I found the Auto focus to be generally fine, finding focus in most of my low light situations, some low light shots missed but mostly due to using wide apertures and focus needing to be more critical, nothing that makes me feel concerned. 

I didn't want to write this as a review, plenty of good articles scattered over the web that compare other cameras and such for you to find, this is intended to be my first time impression that I can write down my real life experience from using it. Some of the photos I rejected later were my own fault and some were my lack of camera time experience, it just takes a little time getting used to it not being a DSLR, it's a little like stepping back in time, only after using it can you properly appreciate how much bloody fun photography can be...

A camera for real photographers. 



02/01/2013 5:10pm

Like you, I seem to be knocking that power button on quite frequently as well. But the exposure comp dial knocking is not so much of an issue for me anymore now that I'm paying a bit more attention.

As for grip, have you considered one of the thumb grips? Word is there is an X-E1 version coming soon. Or a slightly cheaper alternative to the fuji grip might be a half case.

02/01/2013 9:57pm

Thanks Greg for the link, hope an X-E1 thumb grip is coming, definitely would get one. Still considering the Fuji Hand Grip (even though it's expensive and not battery friendly), I like a solid grip and the tripod screw thread in a centre line with attached lens.


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