Fujifilm X-E4 Review

Camera Reviews / Fujifilm Cameras / Fuji X i Preview
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Fujifilm X-E4
Resolution: 26.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.5mm x 15.6mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 160 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 80 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/32000 - 900 sec
Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.9 x 1.3 in.
(121 x 73 x 33 mm)
Weight: 12.5 oz (354 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $850
Availability: 03/2021
Manufacturer: Fujifilm
Full specs: Fujifilm X-E4 specifications

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26.10
Megapixels
Fujifilm X APS-C
size sensor
image of Fujifilm X-E4
Front side of Fujifilm X-E4 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-E4 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-E4 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-E4 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-E4 digital camera

Fujifilm X-E4 Preview -- First Impressions

by William Brawley
Preview posted: 01/27/2021

Much like how the X-T4 answered the call for, essentially, a "Fuji X-T3 with in-body image stabilization," the just-announced Fujifilm X-E4 is, more or less, an interchangeable lens version of the Fuji X100V. For those looking for a stealthy, low-profile and compact APS-C camera but with more flexibility and versatility than the fixed-lens X100V, the new X-E4 could be the answer.

Like its predecessor, the X-E3, the aptly-named X-E4 successor maintains this model line's distinctive rangefinder-style design -- complete with the usual rectangular shape and built-in EVF in the top-left corner -- though with some modern refreshes. Styling-wise, the design is a bit more chiseled and angular like the X100V, though the overall volume of the camera is more or less identical to the X-E3. There have also been some new features added, including a flip-up LCD screen, plus some minor tweaks to the controls.

As with the rest of Fujifilm's recent camera models, the new X-E4 adopts the same overall imaging pipeline: a 26MP X-Trans sensor and latest-generation image processor -- a pleasing and expected upgrade over the X-E3's older 24MP sensor and X Processor Pro chip. Additionally, the X-E4 now comes at a more affordable price than what the X-E3 did upon its debut, retailing for $849.95 body-only compared to $900 for the X-E3.

While the exterior of the X-E4 shares a lot of similarities with the X100V, the X-E4 is quite similar to the recent X-S10 camera, when looking under the hood. Much like how the X-T4 vs. X-Pro3 in the pro/enthusiast segment share more or less similar sets of features and performance specs yet differ primarily in form factor, the same can now be said for this "intermediate level" of X Series cameras. For those who want a more SLR-style camera, there's the X-S10. While those who want more portability or an ultra-compact street-shooting rangefinder-style camera, there's now the updated X-E4. However, there is one major feature difference between these two intermediate-level models, and that is in-body image stabilization. The X-S10 has it, while the X-E4 does not. To keep things steady and stable, X-E4 shooters will need to rely on steady hands or optically-stabilized Fujinon lenses.

Let's dive on in for the full tour of the Fuji X-E4's specs and features...

Key Features & Specs

  • 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 BSI image sensor
  • Quad-core X-Processor 4 image processor
  • 425-point hybrid AF system with phase-detect
  • ISO range: 80-51200 (Native: 160-12800)
  • Faster 15fps burst shooting with mechanical shutter
  • New shutter mechanism rated to 300,000 actuations
  • 8fps with mechanical shutter; 20fps with electronic shutter
  • 4K 30p video; 4:2:2 10-bit external; 4:2:0 8-bit internal
  • Full HD up to 240fps
  • 18 Film Simulations
  • 180-deg. flip-up LCD touchscreen
  • 2.36M-dot/100fps OLED EVF
  • $849.95 body-only

Design & Handling

As you can see from the images, the new Fuji X-E4 bears a striking resemblance to the X100V fixed-lens camera, except, of course, the X-E4 allows for interchangeable lenses. The Fuji X-E4 combines excellent portability and a lightweight design with the versatility of an interchangeable lens camera. Much like the X100V, the X-E4's design has evolved to a more angular and sleeker look with "sharper" edges; a design that feels both modern yet classically retro -- as is characteristic of many of Fujifilm's X Series cameras, particularly those with a two-tone silver and black design.

In terms of physical specifications, the Fuji X-E4 is more or less identical to its predecessor model, save a few millimeters here and there, and very similar to the X100V, if slightly smaller in all dimensions and lighter. The new model weighs in at 364g body-only, compared to 337g for the X-E3 and 478g for the X100V. While we don't yet know the specifics of the X-E4's construction (other than utilizing a magnesium-alloy top plate), the X100V, on the other hand, is constructed nearly entirely of metal and features weather-sealing. In contrast, the X-E4 feels more in-line with the X-S10 -- no weather-sealing and composed of a combination of metal and plastic in the body construction.

Looking closer at the camera's design, the new X-E4 is much flatter and sleeker than both the predecessor and the current X100V. The X-E4 is essentially flat across the front and rear, with no grip or thumb rest built into the camera itself. There is a textured, leather-like coating covering nearly the entire front, sides and rear surface of the camera to provide some grip. The sleek, block-like shape ensures that the camera can be as compact and as portable as possible. For those who want a bit more grip, particularly when using longer or heavier lenses, Fujifilm does offer both a screw-on baseplate grip (MHG-XE4) and a thumb-rest add-on that slots into the hot shoe (TR-XE4).

The Fujifilm X-E3 (top) compared to the revised X-E4 (bottom).

In terms of buttons and controls, the X-E4 is a bit more sparse than its predecessor, doing away with the rear thumb dial, and providing only a single front-facing control dial. Fuji's also done away with a dedicated "Auto" switch on the top of the camera -- which previously let the user flip the camera into a highly automatic "Advanced SR Auto" mode. Instead, Fujifilm has added a "P" (Program Auto) setting onto the primary shutter speed dial on the top deck of the camera.

Elsewhere along the top, the X-E4 features a dedicated exposure compensation dial, much like the previous model, as well as a standalone custom function button. The "Q" menu button has now also moved up to the top deck, as it previously had a spot on the thumb rest protrusion on the X-E3.

Moving to the back of the camera, the majority of the camera is dominated by the large 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD panel. As mentioned, the new X-E4's LCD screen is now articulated, rather than a fixed display. The size is the same as before, though the resolution has been increased slightly to 1.62-million dots over the 1.04M-dot display of the older model. The EVF, on the other hand, is more or less the same as the one on the prior model, featuring a 0.39-inch OLED panel with 2.36 million dots of resolution, a 100fps refresh rate, and providing a 0.62x magnification factor.

Given the lack of a built-in thumb rest now, which housed a couple of buttons on the predecessor model, the button layout has been rearranged on this latest model, with controls placed in a similar fashion to those on the X100V for the most part. Along the right side of the LCD, the camera features the multi-directional joystick control (again, no 4-way directional buttons), the Menu/OK button and a Display/Back button. Along the top, next to the EVF, we have the Drive/Delete button, Playback and AEL/AFL button.

Ports, Connectivity & Storage

When it comes to ports and connectivity, the X-E4 features a modest amount of wired connectivity options. However, it's a more updated and user-friendly set of connections and ports. For starters, the camera now features a more-common 3.5mm microphone input rather than the smaller 2.5mm jack on the predecessor. The X-E4 also includes a USB-C port in place of a Micro-B USB 2.0 port. The USB-C port supports charging and data transfer, as well as a headphone jack thanks to the, included USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter. Finally, there is also a Type-D Micro HDMI port that supports 4K 4:2:2 10-bit video output.

In terms of storage, the camera features a single SD card slot that is, surprisingly, still only UHS-I compatible (though both the X100V and X-S10 also still only support the UHS-I SD speed class). The card slot is also located in the same bottom compartment as the battery.

Speaking of battery, the X-E4 uses the same NP-W126S lithium-ion battery, which is the same battery pack used by its predecessor, the X100V and several other Fujifilm X Series models. According to Fujifilm specs, the X-E4 is CIPA-rated for 380 shots per charge.

Image Quality

The most significant upgrade for the X-E4 is the move to Fujifilm's latest-generation imaging pipeline, one shared across many different X Series models. Like the X100V, X-S10, X-T4 and others, the new X-E4 now sports a higher-resolution 26.1-megapixel backside-illuminated X-Trans CMOS IV sensor paired to a faster, quad-core X Processor 4 imaging processor. The X-E4 offers a native ISO range of 160-12,800, with an expandable low ISO of 80 and extended high ISO settings up to ISO 51,200.

Like other Fujifilm X cameras, the X-S10 can capture images in both RAW (uncompressed, losslessly compressed or compressed) and JPEG, and as expected, features the full array of Film Simulations offerings, including the latest ETERNA Bleach Bypass film simulation. In total, the X-E4 offers 18 different Film Simulation presets. The Film Simulations go beyond just standard "images filters," however. (We did a thorough deep dive into how they work here). Fuji's Film Sims let you easily customize the look and feel of your images all within the camera without the need to post-process images (if you don't want to).

Autofocus & Performance

When it comes to AF and performance features, the new Fuji X-E4 is, once again, very similar to its "sibling" camera, the X-S10. With the same sensor and processor as the X-S10/X100V/X-T4 and so on, both the AF system and performance features are by and large the same here on the X-E4.

The camera features a hybrid phase-detection-based autofocus system with 2.16 million phase detection pixels that cover nearly the entire sensor area and allow for up to 425 user-selectable AF points. According to Fujifilm, the X-E4's AF system is capable of grabbing focus in about 0.02 seconds and can operate in low-light conditions down to -7EVs. The camera also features high-precision Tracking AF functionality as well as both Face and Eye-Detection AF.

In terms of burst shooting, the new X-E4 isn't as powerful as the higher-end models, despite the same processor; there are slight differences when it comes to burst shooting. The X-E4 can shoot up to 8fps with the mechanical shutter, whereas the X-T4 reaches up to 15fps. However, with the electronic shutter, the X-E4 is on-par with its big brothers, offering blackout-free shooting at 20fps at full-resolution or 30fps in a lower-res 1.25x crop mode.

When it comes to buffer capacity, the X-E4's buffer depth varies depending on the image quality setting and the continuous shooting rate. At the fastest 20fps full-res shooting mode with the electronic shutter, the buffer tops-out at around 32 JPEGs and 17 RAW (in either lossless compressed, uncompressed or compressed raw settings). With the mechanical shutter, the X-E4's 8fps maximum burst rate fills up the buffer after 105 JPEGs, 18 lossless compressed raws, 23 uncompressed raws or 18 compressed raw frames. You can get essentially unlimited JPEG buffer capacity if you lower the burst rates down to 3 or 4 fps.

Video

On the video side of things, the Fuji X-E4 is, as expected, very similar to the X-S10 in terms of video performance, offering features such as DCI 4Kp30 recording with no crop, a 200Mbps bitrate and 1080p video at up to 240p. One of the main differences of the X-E4/X-S10, however, compared to higher-end Fuji cameras like the X-T4, is a lack of 4K/60p recording capabilities.

However, despite that one missing spec, the X-E4 is quite a capable video camera, despite its compact size. In addition to DCI (4096 x 2160) 4K, it can also shoot 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) at up to 30p and can output 4:2:2 10-bit video through the HDMI. Internal recording is set at 4:2:0 8-bit. Full HD recording is also available at up to 240fps, which allows for excellent slow-motion capabilities.

Video is recorded using Long GOP compression, and bitrates are offered up to 200Mbps. The camera also supports F-Log recording and offers F-Log View Assist (BT.709) in-camera to help assist with exposure settings in this extra-flat recording mode. The X-E4 supports Face & Eye Detection autofocus functionality in video recording.

The continuous recording time is, however, limited to approximately 30 minutes per clip. However, it should be noted that the higher-end X-T4 can't record video for an unlimited amount of time, either; for example, 4K 60p video is capped at around 20 minutes, and lower 4K frame rates top-out at around 30 minutes.

Pricing & Availability

The Fujifilm X-E4 is set to go on sale in March with an estimated retail price of $849.95 body-only. The X-E4 will be sold in both an all-black color as well as a two-toned silver and black design. There will also be a kit configuration available, paired with the redesigned XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR lens, which will retail for $1049.95.

 

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