The Fujifilm X-E3 is a 24 megapixel, mirrorless camera in the Fujifilm X line. You get the image quality of the X-Trans sensor, features of the more expensive X-Pro2 but in a smaller form factor.
I decided to purchase the Fujifilm X-E3 after I had tested and reviewed both the X-T2 and the X-Pro2. Both are fabulous cameras, but the X-E3 is considerable smaller in size. I was leaning towards the X-Pro2, but there were three reasons I ultimately chose the X-E3.
Why I purchased the Fujifilm X-E3
First off, the viewfinder is fabulous in the X-Pro2 and has basically 3 modes that you can put it in. As impressive as they are I didn’t find myself actually using anything but the EVF mode so it didn’t make sense to pay for features I didn’t need.
Secondly, I loved the “rangefinder” inspired design. However, it was just a little too big for my taste. I love the idea of a mirrorless being extremely compact so when Fujifilm announced the X-E3 I knew this would be a contender.
And third, the image quality is the same as what you will find on the X-T2 and X-Pro2. The Fujifilm X-E3 uses the same X-trans sensor and the same processor. It shoots 4k video and the autofocus system is the same as well. And the camera is priced considerably less. This sealed the deal for me as I wanted to put my left over budget towards lenses.
Put your budget into lenses
Lenses are one of the highlights of the Fujifilm system. All of their cameras deliver a high level of image quality. Unless there is a feature you absolutely need, my advice is to be practical with the body and get serious about lenses. Lenses hold their value whereas camera bodies come and go every 2 years. I think that being smart about investing in a Fujifilm system is important to get the most out of it. To their credit, Fujifilm make this possible – not all manufacturers do.
The front of the Fujifilm X-E3 is quite minimal. You have the lens mount, focus mode selection and the aperture adjustment dial.
On the back of the camera, you will see the EVF with diopter adjustment. On the top row you have your view mode selection button, drive button, AE-L (which can be mapped to something else if you like), and the shutter speed adjustment / program shift dial. To the right of the camera you’ll see the AF-L and Quick settings buttons. These can also be mapped as custom buttons.
In the center you’ll see the LCD screen which is fixed, but it is touch sensitive for autofocus and swipe functions. To the right you get a 4 way joystick selector, menu button, display toggle button and image playback button.
The top fo the camera features a hot shoe, Shutter speed selection dial, power/shutter release, a custom function button, exposure compensation dial and the full auto switch.
Fujifilm X-E3 Features
Despite the scaled down size of the X-E3, you still have most of the features (importantly the image quality) that you will find on the more expensive models. You get:
• 24.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans (CMOS III) Sensor
• X-Processor Pro Image Processor
• 2.35 million dot EVF
• 3 inch, 1.04 million dot LCD Touchscreen
• Extended ISO to 51,200
• 14 fps burst rate
• 91 AF points
• UHD 4k/30p and 1080p video capabilities
Viewfinder and LCD Screens
There are a few points I want to make about the EVF. It has quite an impressive resolution, but its tiny. Unfortunately this makes it a little difficult to use. In addition, the Fujifilm X-E3 has a fixed LCD screen so there are times when certain angles are difficult to photograph. You do have to remember that the small size and fixed LCD are both concessions made to keep the cost lower so it is a sacrifice. If these are important to you then you might want to consider a higher-end model. I like smaller cameras so that’s what drove my purchase decision. You have to figure out what’s right for you.
Another small complaint is the swipe functions with the touch screen. The Fujifilm X-E3 features the design where you can set swipe gestures as custom buttons. Swipe right and you get your film simulation choices for example. I don’t like this. If it worked like a smartphone it would be cool, but its very difficult to figure out how the camera wants you to swipe. Its extremely annoying so I just don’t use it. Touch to focus works fine as does pinching and zooming when reviewing images. I’d rather have a solution similar to what Panasonic does where you have a panel with icons to tap for additional functions. I’m not a fan of the swiping implementation.
These are minor complaints. The EVF is bright and clear – I just wish the housing was bigger. The LCD screen works great and stays visible even in bright light. It would just be nice to tilt it.
Fujifilm X-E3 Image Quality
Image quality is outstanding on this camera. The Fujifilm X-E3 is the same image quality you’ll find on the X-Pro2 and the X-T2.
Color rendition is fabulous. Images are sharp and have nice detail. You don’t see the “worm” style sharpening effects that the first generation of the X-Trans sensor had problems with.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is an extremely versatile camera for me. Its compact size makes it easy to travel with. Its comfortable to use and is a joy to shoot with. I’ve done everything from portraits to landscapes with my X-E3 and its always impressive.
Fujifilm X-E3 Sample Images
Long Exposure with the Fujifilm X-E3
One discovery after buying this camera that I’ve come to love is the T setting on the shutter speed dial. When you select T this puts you into time-mode which opens up longer exposures.
I’ve shot landscapes using Neutral-Density filters so I can do things like blur clouds. I can select “T” on the shutter speed dial then use the back button to select settings up to 15 minutes in length. When you press the shutter release, a countdown timer displays on the back of the camera so you can see how much exposure is left. This is easily one of my favorite features when shooting landscapes or any kind of long-exposure photography.
The X-E3 features both full HD and 4k recording. The 4k isn’t as impressive as what you see with Sony cameras for instance. There is also a 15 minute time limit on 4k recording. Having said that though, the image quality is usable. The AF-C with facial recognition is close to what Sony and Canon offer.
Fujifilm cameras (at the time of writing this) are limited in video recording image profiles. There is no F-log profile on the X-E3. You also don’t have options such as Cine profiles. So if you want to do any color grading I wouldn’t recommend this for video.
But if you just want to shoot some good looking video, you like the look of the film simulations and you don’t want to spend time color grading. You’ll love shooting video with the X-E3. I just wouldn’t recommend for broadcast or color grading.
The X-E3 features built-in Wifi and Bluetooth capabilities. You can pair the camera with your smartphone for image transfer and use with the Fuji app.
The NP-W126S battery is used by the X-E3. This is interchangeable with most Fujifilm models.
• 4.8 x 2.9 x 1.7″
• 121.3 x 73.9 x 42.7 mm
• 11.89 oz / 337 g with battery and memory card
Fujifilm is very consistent with providing you the same core image quality on all of their cameras. All of the X cameras feature the X-Trans sensor and processor. What ends up differentiating models comes down to body size and additional features. I wish more camera companies lined their cameras this way. I feel like this makes the entry level much better with Fujifilm.
Lenses are the heart of the Fujifilm X system. They’re extremely consistent, beautiful and affordable.
Ultimately I made the decision to go with the X-E3 so I could put my money into lenses. This is important. I see photographers constantly buying a top-of-the-line model and only using it with the kit lens or maybe one prime. You will not get the versatility out of the Fujifilm system this way. Its something to consider.
I love the size of the Fujifilm X-E3 and the image quality is outstanding. This allows me to use this in situations where a larger camera isn’t exactly the better option. For me that was important. Despite a few complaints that I have with the viewfinder and touchscreen, its proved to be a wonderful camera that I use daily. Highly recommended.