Fujifilm X-E1 Review

 
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Fuji X-E1 Optics

The Fujifilm X-E1 is available body-only, or bundled with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4R OIS kit lens. The test images shown on most other pages of these test results were taken with the very sharp XF 35mmF1.4 R, so we use this page to explore 18-55mm kit lens quality.

18-55mm Kit Lens Test Results

Zoom Lens
A typical zoom ratio for a kit lens, with good performance.

18mm @ f/8 31.5mm @ f/8
55mm @ f/8

The XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4R OIS kit lens has an equivalent focal length of about 27-84mm lens on a full-frame body. Optical performance at full wide angle (18mm) is good at f/8, with very good sharpness and contrast across most of the frame. Upper corners look a bit soft, though the depth of this scene makes judging corner performance difficult (see sections below for corner performance, as well as distortion, etc.) There are hints of flare around bright objects, though the camera overexposed at wide angle, blowing quite a few highlights in the white areas of the building. Chromatic aberration is very low, though the camera suppresses it. Far-field performance at 31.5mm (47mm eq.) is similar, with very good sharpness except in the extreme corners. At full telephoto (55mm), the sweet spot is smaller and sharpness isn't quite as good in the center, though optical performance is still above average for a 3x zoom kit lens.

Macro
A larger than average minimum area, with slightly soft detail. Flash throttled down well.

Macro
55mm @ f/8
Macro with Flash
55mm @ f/8

The Fuji X-E1's macro performance will depend entirely on the lens in use. However, with the 18-55mm kit lens at 55mm, the Fuji X-E1 captures a much larger than average minimum area measuring 5.32 x 3.54 inches (135 x 90 millimeters). Detail is a little soft across the frame at f/8, with additional softening in the corners. (Most lenses have some additional softening in the corners at macro distances.) The popup flash had no trouble throttling down at this distance, resulting in a pretty good exposure, though corners are a touch dim.

Geometric Distortion
Low geometric distortion with the 18-55mm kit lens in JPEGs, though strong distortion in uncorrected raw files.

In-Camera JPEG: Barrel distortion at 18mm is 0.27 percent
In-Camera JPEG: Pincushion distortion at 55mm is 0.14 percent

When shooting JPEGs, the Fuji X-E1's 18-55mm kit lens produces about 0.3 percent barrel distortion at wide angle, which is much less than average and just slightly noticeable in its images. It isn't very symmetrical though. Pincushion distortion at full telephoto is just over 0.1 percent, also much lower-than-average and hardly noticeable. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle). The Fuji X-E1 compensates for most distortion, though. See below for uncorrected distortion.

Uncorrected Raw: Barrel distortion at 18mm is 1.6%
Uncorrected Raw: Pincushion distortion at 55mm is about 1.0%

To see how much correction is taking place in the camera, we converted matching .RAF raw files from the above shots with dcraw, which ignores distortion correction instructions in raw files. dcraw doesn't do a good job at demosaicing the Fuji's X-Trans filter pattern so we haven't included links to full-res files, however it's still a useful tool to evaluate uncorrected sensor data.

As can be seen above, actual barrel distortion at wide angle is quite high at about 1.6%, while pincushion at telephoto is fairly high, at about 1.0%. We expect this for smaller interchangeable lenses though, so it's nothing to be concerned about unless you are using a raw converter which does not understand the embedded "opcodes" to perform distortion corrections automatically. Most raw converters these days (including Adobe Camera Raw and SilkyPix) are capable of applying distortion correction automatically, as specified by the manufacturer. There is however going to be some loss of resolution in some areas of the frame as a result of such correction, because pixels are being "stretched" to correct for the distortion. Obviously, a lens that doesn't require such correction, and is also sharp in the corners to begin with would be preferable, but relaxing constraints on distortion brings other benefits in the lens design, such as a very compact design.

Chromatic Aberration and Corner Sharpness
Low levels of chromatic aberration from the kit lens in JPEGs. Uncorrected raw files show higher amounts. Very good corner performance at wide angle, however corners are a bit soft at full telephoto.

Maximum Aperture
18mm @ f/2.8: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp
18mm @ f/2.8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp
55mm @ f/4: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Moderate blurring
55mm @ f/4: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp

Chromatic Aberration. Chromatic aberration in the corners of JPEGs taken with the Fuji X-E1's 18-55mm X kit lens is quite low at both wide angle and telephoto, but the camera does suppress it (see below for uncorrected raw).

Corner Softness. Corner sharpness is excellent at wide angle when wide open at f/2.8, almost as sharp as the center which is remarkable for f/2.8. Corners have moderate blurring at full telephoto with the left corners a bit softer than the right, while the center is sharp.

Vignetting. Minor corner shading ("vignetting") is noticeable at both wide angle and telephoto, as can be seen from the difference in brightness of the center versus corner crops above.

f/8 Aperture
18mm @ f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Slightly soft
18mm @ f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp
55mm @ f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Soft
55mm @ f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Fairly sharp

Stopped down to f/8, corner sharpness actually got worse, which is a bit odd. We'll look at this a little closer when we do a full test of the lens on SLRgear.com, but for now it looks like spherical aberration may have caused a focus shift when stopping down. Chromatic aberration remains very low, and vignetting (corner shading) improves a bit but is still somewhat noticeable.

18mm @ f/8: Upper right:
Camera JPEG
18mm @ f/8: Upper right:
Uncorrected Raw
55mm @ f/8: Upper right:
Camera JPEG
55mm @ f/8: Upper right:
Uncorrected Raw

Chromatic Aberration Suppression. As mentioned above, the Fuji X-E1 suppresses lateral chromatic aberration in its JPEGs. The uncorrected raw files (right) show moderate but bright magenta and green coloration along high-contrast edges that have been effectively suppressed in the matching camera JPEGs (left).


Fuji X-E1 Viewfinder

 

Viewfinder Test Results

Accuracy
Excellent coverage accuracy from the electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor.

35mm, EVF 35mm, LCD

The Fuji X-E1's electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor both proved quite accurate in record mode, showing essentially 100% coverage. Excellent results here.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm X-E1 Photo Gallery.

Fujifilm X-E1

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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