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Fujifilm X-E3 review

Previous X-E models have proved themselves to be great alternatives to Fujifilm's pricier offerings – and the X-E3 follows suit

Fujifilm X-E3: Build and handling

The X-E3 is a lot slimmer and smaller than a DSLR. Fitting Fujifilm’s XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens, however, makes it feel slightly unbalanced, which is a common problem with mirrorless cameras this compact. We were also supplied with a smaller XF 23mm f/2 R WR Lens, which feels like a much better match.

The physical controls require quite a mind-shift from those on a regular digital camera. In classic camera style, there’s a shutter speed dial on the top and an aperture control ring on the lens. You set the shutter speed dial to ‘A’ for Aperture Priority operation or the aperture to ‘A’ for Shutter Priority; and you set both to ‘A’ for a Program AE mode. For fully manual operation, you set both the shutter speed dial and aperture ring to the settings you want.

The aperture control varies from lens to lens. On the 18-55mm kit lens, for example, there’s a switch for automatic and manual aperture setting and an unmarked ring for changing the aperture. The 23mm lens, meanwhile, has an aperture ring with marked values and click stops.

There’s no external control for the ISO setting, and it’s a little fiddly to access it via the interactive Q menu on the rear screen, although you can customise the Fn button on the top of the camera for ISO adjustment if this fits with your way of working.

Fujifilm X-E3: Performance

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The electronic viewfinder is sharp, bright and responsive. You don’t notice any real lagging until the conditions are so dark that it’s hard to make out your subject clearly with the naked eye. The autofocus system is similarly snappy, locking on to its subject quickly and positively; it’s just as impressive in low light as the EVF.

Image quality is equally strong. Image details are clear, sharp and crisp, and the colours are vivid without appearing unnatural. You can, of course, choose the image style using Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes, with the longstanding favourite Velvia option giving the richest and most intense colours, Classic Chrome lending a more muted film-like look, and ACROS producing nicely toned black-and-white results.

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Fujifilm cameras use digital lens corrections that are baked into the Raw files too, so both JPEGs and Raw files show no discernible distortion or chromatic aberration.

Even the high-ISO results are impressive, despite the 50% increase in pixel density compared to the 16.3MP X-E2, which should have a negative impact. Shots taken at ISO 25,600 – one step into the camera’s expanded ISO range – show visible noise, some smoothing and a loss of detail up close, but from normal viewing distances they retain an impressive clarity, contrast and depth of colour.

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