Fujifilm X-E3 Review

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I have been a Fujifilm shooter for a number of years now with my very first experience with a Fujifilm camera being the original Fujifilm X100.

What a pure and simple joy that camera was to shoot with. The ability to have full creative control of all the necessary functions of my camera was transformative. It reminded me of my days shooting with 35mm film back in art school.

Not long after this first experience, I was struck even more by the ergonomic form and function of the Fujifilm X-T1. Those early experiences resulted in my dropping all of my DSLR gear and big heavy glass in favour of the mirrorless Fujifilm X Series Cameras.

shk-fs-table__imageHighly RecommendedFeature-packed compact mirrorless camera with exceptional image quality at an affordable price.Get Price

The Fujifilm X-T1 was followed by the Fujifilm X-T2 and again the Fujifilm X-T3 , each on their respective launch days. Whilst this is not the article for my love of the X-T range, the story is important…

Until recently I had opted to not even consider a Fujifilm rangefinder-style camera such as the Fujifilm X-E3. However, this underrated neat little package of a camera has some great tricks up its sleeve.

Let’s jump straight into my Fujifilm X-E3 review.

Fujifilm X-E3 Specs

  • 24 Megapixel X-Trans™* CMOS III sensor & X-Processor Pro
  • Touchscreen operation
  • Focus Lever for selecting focus points
  • 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD (1,040K-dot)
  • 2,360K-dot OLED colour viewfinder
  • Wireless communication with Bluetooth®**
  • 4K Video recording
  • Single SD card slot
  • 121.3mm (W) x 73.9mm (H) x 42.7mm (D) 32.4mm / 4.78″ (W) x 2.91″ (H) x 1.68″ x (D) 1.28″
  • 337g / 11.9 oz. (including battery and memory card)

Build & Appearance

The Fujifilm X-E3 has a solid build and fully accessible controls

The Fujifilm X-E3 is a neat compact camera but not so small as to make the average user feel clumsy, thanks to some clever design choices.

Even with a battery and SD card onboard, the total weight of the camera is only 337g. Whilst a toy-like size and weight, there is nothing toy-like about the Fujifilm X-E3.

The overall design of the Fujifilm X-E3 is that of a flagship Fujifilm X Series camera body. It takes heavy design qualities from the likes of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the Fujifilm GFX 50R – both rangefinder-style bodies in their own rights.

The overall construction of the Fujifilm X-E3 is that of a metal body – a firm-textured skin on all sides and a sturdy rubber grip on the front. Solid metal lugs protrude from each side of the camera body giving assurance for connecting the most delicate or rugged of camera straps.

There are only two access doors on the camera body. The first is on the left side and offers a 2.5mm video mic jack, a Micro-USB port and a micro HDMI port. The access is neat, firm and closes snug against the body, keeping in mind that the Fujifilm X-E3 has no weather sealing.

The second access door is located on the bottom plate of the camera body. This houses the standard Fujifilm NP-W126S batteries and a single SD card slot. Personally, I found that the card slot being so snug against the battery made it difficult to get the card out.

Further to this, the battery / SD card slot door is located close to the screw mount located on the bottom base plate of the camera. This would make changing batteries or SD cards difficult if the camera was mounted to a travel tripod or some similar accessory.

The Fujifilm X-E3 has the same 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD (1,040K-dot) as the flagship model Fujifilm X-T3 . The touchscreen is bright, clear and responsive. This is critical given that Fujifilm has removed the age-old D-Pad from this camera, relying instead on touch swipes to access key functions.

The Fujifilm X-E3 has a 0.39-in, 2,360K-dot OLED colour viewfinder. It has a lower magnification rate compared to the flagship Fujifilm X Series cameras. Keep in mind that this is not a flagship camera, but the quality is still great.

Ergonomics & Handling

The Fujifilm X-E3 supports all Fujifilm X mount lenses

Despite this being one of the smaller Fujifilm X Series camera bodies, the Fujifilm X-E3 just feels well-balanced in the hand. There is no burden to carrying this camera be it on a neck strap or a wrist strap. Or, if you are brave, no strap at all.

Fujifilm’s decision to remove the tradition D-Pad from the rear of the camera was at first questionable. However, after getting hands-on with this camera, it is clear that this was not a flippant decision. The increased thumb real-estate gives the shooter greater comfort and grip of the camera.

As with all Fujifilm X Series cameras, there has been careful consideration given to the placement of buttons and dials on the camera body. In keeping with other cameras such as the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 & 2, the Fujifilm X100 series and even the Fujifilm XF-10, the Fujifilm X-E3 has a Shutter Speed and Exposure Compensation dial dominating the top plate.

That consistency of design is greatly appreciated, as when picking up the Fujifilm X-E3, there is an automatic recognition with the design and familiar usability too.

The same can be said for the menu system – it is typical Fujifilm X Series in its layout and familiarity. The same menu styling that is in place across the entire Fujifilm X Series range.

As with most Fujifilm X Series cameras, the placement of major and minor control dials, buttons and thumb real-estate have been carefully calculated. Ergonomically everything is well within your reach. It is this kind of form and function that made me fall in love with my first Fujifilm X100.

Being such a lightweight camera with a great range of smaller and lighter Fujifilm X Series lenses available to it, carrying the Fujifilm X-E3 as an everyday camera or even your second body will have no noticeable impact on your comfort.

Without a lens, the camera is pretty much pocketable… and that is an impressive feat for a camera so heavily packed with features.

Focus Performance

Fujifilm X-E3 + Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2| 1/500 f/8 ISO400

The focus performance on the Fujifilm X-E3 camera is fantastic. This is largely thanks to the incredible capabilities of the X-Trans CMOS III sensor & X-Processor Pro. Keep in mind that this sensor and processor is only the generation behind the current flagship sensor and processor on the Fujifilm X-T3 .

The Fujifilm X-E3 provides multiple focus mode settings: Single-mode, continuous mode and manual focusing are all selectable from the same front selector switch available on every Fujifilm X Series camera.

Autofocus frame selection includes Single Point with adjustable frame sizes, Zone autofocus and Wide / Tracking auto performance.

From a practical stand-pint, and depending on the lens attached to the camera, the autofocus on tthe Fujifilm X-E3 is slick and precise. In each mode, the Auto Focus is quick to grab the intended subject and stick to them.

Another great feature of the Fujifilm X-E3 is that it allows for various eye and face autofocus settings. This includes setting the focus to grab either the left or right eye.

Low light focus performance seems to be just as effective as during daylight. In dark settings, with the right lens, the autofocus still grabs its subjects without hunting for purchase.

Low Light Performance

Fujifilm X-E3 + Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2| 1/125 f/8 ISO6400

When it comes to low light performance, the Fujifilm X-E3 doesn’t bat an eyelid. Or a shutter.

Over the years of using Fujifilm X Series cameras, I have never had an issue with shooting in low light. It is an area that Fujifilm has really made a commitment to control effectively.

Walking into a dark setting, I can happily dial in the ISO via the swipe function on the rear touch screen.

Reading the room and light, I comfortably dial the ISO to 6,400 while still holding an aperture of F8 and a shutter speed of 1/125. The level of noise from such a composition is truly minimal.

Image Quality

Fujifilm X-E3 + Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2| 1/250 f/4 ISO3200

Keeping in mind that the Fujifilm X-E3 is using the prior generation of sensor and processor, the image quality is exceptional. This is the same generation as the Fujifilm X-T2, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and a bunch of other older Fujifilm bodies. It is definitely no slouch.

It is well known that Fujifilm SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) JPEGs are simply amazing, with exceptional image quality and rendering. The Fujifilm X-E3 is no exception to that family heritage of high-quality JPEG reproduction.

Personally, I always shoot in RAW as I like to add my own variant of Fujifilm Film Simulations in Lightroom during post-production. We will talk about that another day.

Fujifilm X-E3 + Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2| 1/1000 f/8 ISO400

The RAW files are highly malleable, and images can be recovered from the most under-exposed images imaginable. The Fujifilm X-E3 is no exception to this.

Images from this camera are crisp and sharp – of course, a lot of this is reliant on the lens attached to the camera body. Fortunately, the Fujifilm X Series lens line up is yet to produce a terrible lens.

Overall Performance

I mentioned that the Fujifilm X-E3 is no slouch. In terms of overall performance, this is a serious contender to the other Fujifilm X Series camera bodies.

The Fujifilm X-T2, Fujifilm X-Pro2 are flagship bodies that this little camera with its much lower price point can keep pace with and then some.

The start-up time for the Fujifilm X-E3 is only 0.4 seconds, which is super quick for a mirrorless system. But seriously, how fast do you need it? Further to this, the camera has a mechanical shutter speed up to 1/4000.

At a continuous shooting level with the electronic shutter, the Fujifilm X-E3 can keep pace with 14 frames per second. Using the mechanical shutter, it can comfortably capture 8 frames per second.

In the testing I did with continuous shooting, SD card buffering were not an issue at all. I grew tired of the subject long before the camera grew tired of writing to the SD card.

Other Useful Features

In terms of video production, the Fujifilm X-e3 has some pretty impressive capabilities. While not marketed as a video camera, it is no let down should you choose to put it to the test and shoot high-quality video.

Personally, I am not a video shooter and would not pick up this camera for anything other than still photography… but for those interested in a camera that can produce excellent quality video, the Fujifilm X-E3 has the capability that is desirable.

It can shoot 4K at 29.97P at 100Mbps continuous recording up to approximately 10 minutes. Even I know that is a decent output.

Value for Money

Fujifilm X-E3 + Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2| 1/250 f/2 ISO1600

So here is the deal and probably the deal maker for a lot of shooters interested in taking up a top of the line Fujifilm X Series camera. Let’s look at some comparisons first.

The Fujifilm X-T2 camera body, last generations, retails for around $1,600. The Fujifilm X-Pro 2, in serious need of a new generation release, retails for around $2,000. Both of those prices are for the body only.

The humble little Fujifilm X-E3 has exactly the same sensor and processor as those two flagship Fujifilm X Series cameras. And, being a more recent release than either, has the latest and greatest firmware updates and inclusions.

From a pricing perspective, the Fujifilm X-E3 currently retails for around $1,000 (see latest price here) – hundreds of dollars less, yet with equal capabilities as the previous generation flagship bodies.

This price point makes the bundled versions of the Fujifilm X-E3 with either the kit Fujifilm X-E3 + XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4, or my recommendation, the Fujifilm X-E3 + XF 23mm F/2 still cheaper than the Fujifilm X-T3 body only offering.

The maths doesn’t lie – this camera is excellent value for money.

Fujifilm X-E3 Review | Conclusion

I mentioned at the start of this Fujifilm X-E3 review how I have mostly overlooked the rangefinder style of Fujifilm X Series camera in place of the Fujifilm X-T series.

While I have no real regrets about that decision and pathway, I must caution others that this was a mistake. Along the way, a true gem appears and deserves its own level of consideration and attention.

The Fujifilm X-E3 is an incredible camera packed full of high-end features into a teeny tiny body that you could genuinely drop into your back pocket and not know it was there until you went to sit down.

As\dd a Fujifilm X Series lens of any kind to this camera, and you have a highly capable, adaptable and high quality combination.

Having tested this camera over several weeks, I have found it very hard to find anything but joy in my shooting experience. The Fujifilm X-E3 has met every challenge I have thrown at it with a small silent smugness that is simply adorable.

Likes

  • Size and weight
  • Exceptional autofocus performance
  • Fantastic image quality in any condition
  • Feature-packed just like a Fujifilm flag-ship body

Dislikes

  • Fiddly SD card slot
  • Tripod mount could obscure access to the battery and SD card slot door
shk-fs-table__imageHighly RecommendedFeature-packed compact mirrorless camera with exceptional image quality at an affordable price.Get Price

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

I am a Melbourne based street photographer and blogger. I love to travel and make a regular trip to Japan to photograph and document its dynamic culture.

Features9
Build Quality10
Ergonomics & Handling 
9
Autofocus9
Image Quality10
Performance10
Value10

10 Comments

  1. DAVID HERMAN on November 7, 2019 at 10:11 am

    One last question. What is the highest ISO you would go with the XE 3 to make a good 16x 20 print without much, if any noise, assuming normal post processing noise reduction? (I assume the XP2 is the same).

    • Greg Cromie on November 8, 2019 at 8:37 am

      Good question. Depending on your post production efforts, I would comfortably shoot at 6400 and print from that. Possibly even higher depending on your Shutter Speed and Aperture. G

    • Greg Cromie on November 8, 2019 at 6:49 pm

      Hi David. I would probably cap it at 6400 ISO. But of course, it just depends on how you have aperture and shutter speed set. ISO is just one part of the equation for low light shooting. My advice is to play around with various ISO settings and see what you can achieve. Sometimes the grain and noise in an image, especially a street image, can be nice. I hope you have a great weekend ahead. Be sure to get out and shoot. G

  2. DAVID HERMAN on November 7, 2019 at 1:18 am

    Since I’m now shooting with the Pen F with a 15 mm (30 FF eq) and pretty happy with that because I crop if needed…I was thinking of getting the kit zoom for flexibility and it’s a good deal plus the 18 m f 2 R. Almost a Leica Q. Will there be distortion with this lens on this camera? And does that sound reasonable?

    Thanks again.

    I’m in Los Angeles so there’s a big time difference. I assume you are in Australia.

    • Greg Cromie on November 7, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Good morning (afternoon) David.
      Yes, I am in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

      The 18-55 kit lens is perfect and the XF18mmF2 is another great Fujifilm lens that is perfect for a walk around street prime. The beauty of going a bit wider with the 18 is that you will capture more context and story to your street images. Plus it is also compact and lightweight. Good luck with it all and I would love to see your work. I am found on Facebook under Greg Cromie.
      Cheers
      G

  3. Greg Cromie on October 7, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for reading my review. Should you have any questions or comments then please let me know. Cheers. Greg

    • DAVID HERMAN on November 6, 2019 at 2:39 am

      I have a Nikon Z7 for landscapes etc but I’m mostly a street photographer. I currently use the Olympus Pen F with the Pan/Leica 15mm (30 equivalent). I was looking at the Fuji rangefinders and specifically the Pro 2 and XE3 as an upgrade. I think I want a camera with flexibility to change lenses. I consider myself a serious amateur. I’ve been shooting for 40 plus years. Still working.

      Do you have a preference on either of the above two and suggestions on camera and lenses I should buy? Thanks so much.

      • Greg Cromie on November 6, 2019 at 8:28 am

        Hi David and thanks for your question. If you are going for rangefinder-style then you certainly have some options and both of those are excellent for street photography and for interchangeable lenses. We’ll get to those in a minute.

        The X-Pro 2 is an amazing camera and I have a lot of street photography friends who love it. However, it does not have a flip-down screen meaning that shooting from the hip is difficult. Also, it is now over three years old however has retained its value of around $2,000 here in Australia.

        The X-E3 is fantastic as per my review and is also incredibly compact and discreet – making it stealthy for street photography. The X-E3 doesn’t have a flip-down screen either. But that depends on your shooting style. The processor and the sensor are the same as the X-Pro2 but you are getting all of that, plus touch screen and improved AF in a body for around half the price of the X-Pro2. So my call would be to get the X-E3.

        As for lenses, you can bundle the Fujifilm (kit) lens, XF18-55mmF2.8-3.5 with the body for around another $500AUS. This lens is exceptional and instantly gives you a great range for general purpose shooting options. Alternatively, you could get it bundled with a lens like the Fujifilm XF23mmF2 for around the same price (around $1500AUD for body and lens). The 23mm is my personal favourite and I use this primarily for the street. It is super fast and compact – making it an ideal match for the X-E3.

        David, I hope that this has given you some further advice on selecting the best camera for you. The X-E3 truly is a fantastic camera.

        All the best.
        Greg

        • DAVID HERMAN on November 6, 2019 at 4:34 pm

          thanks for your excellent advice and I’m leaning in that direction. Do you feel the XE 3 body is too small for the 18-55 zoom you mentioned? I would not be using any larger zoom on this type of camera but I was afraid this lens would make the camera unbalanced?

          Thanks
          David

          • Greg Cromie on November 6, 2019 at 7:41 pm

            More than welcome David. That is what I am here for. I don’t think you would find an overbalance issue with the kit lens. Plus, that lens is an exceptional entry-level to Fujifilm X Series lenses. Some of them are too heavy for such a camera body but would operate just fine. Like me, it sounds like comfort when shooting is important. Again, I don’t believe you would have any trouble with the kit lens on the X-E3. Plus combined, the X-E3 plus the 18-55 weigh a total of 647 grams – 337 grams for the body and 310 for the lens. Perfect unity if you ask me. Plus that 18-55 gives you so much flexibility in experimenting with your new camera.

            I recommend that people play with their 18-55 kit lens. Then, before they make a purchasing decision on a prime lens, they look at their metadata in a program like Lightroom. Look at the most commonly used focal distance. If it is around 18-25mm then get the XF23mmF2. If it is mostly around 35mm then get the XF35mmF2. Again if it is at the far end of the 55 then get the XF50mmF2. That data is important to understand your shooting style, especially in the street.

            Once again, I hope that this helps mate. My greatest advice above all else is to shoot with what you have. Learn from that experience well before jumping from one lens to another.

            Keep me up to date on how you go.

            Cheers

            Greg



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