Fuji X-E1 vs X-E2

Now that the new Fuji X-E2 is officially released (see our announcement post with a short preview), it is time to compare the camera to its predecessor and see what has changed. In this article, I will show feature differences between the Fuji X-E2 and the older X-E1, which we have recently reviewed (and really liked). And by the way, we are giving one away this December! Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and other comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Fuji X-E2 review.

Fuji X-E1 vs X-E2

After evaluating all Fuji X cameras, I came to a conclusion that the X-E1 is the best of the bunch, even when compared to its bigger brother, the Fuji X-Pro1. Despite having a smaller LCD screen, a slightly inferior build and lack of an optical viewfinder (it is EVF only), the X-E1 is smaller, lighter and has exactly the same image quality as the X-Pro1. I loved it so much that I bought myself one while still reviewing the Fuji cameras! And you can imagine how excited I was when I saw Fuji’s announcement of the X-E2. I requested a pre-release sample from Fuji USA, but they had a small number of units that were already given out to others, so I am still waiting. Oh well, if I don’t get it soon, I will have to wait until my X-E2 arrives. For now I am planning to keep both. So what has changed since the X-E1? Let’s take a look at how the two cameras stack up against each other in terms of specifications:

Fuji X-E1 vs X-E2 Specification Comparison

Camera FeatureFuji X-E1Fuji X-E2
Sensor Resolution16.3 Million16.3 Million
AA FilterNoNo
Sensor TypeX-Trans CMOSX-Trans CMOS II
Sensor Size23.6×15.6mm23.6×15.6mm
Sensor Pixel Size4.82µ4.82µ
Dust Reduction / Sensor CleaningYesYes
Image Size4,896 x 3,2644,896 x 3,264
Lens Modulation OptimizerNoYes
Viewfinder TypeElectronic (EVF)Electronic (EVF)
Viewfinder Size and Resolution0.5″, 2,360,000 dots0.5″, 2,360,000 dots
Viewfinder Coverage100%100%
Built-in FlashYesYes
Flash Sync Speed1/1801/180
Storage Media1x SD, SDHC, SDXC1x SD, SDHC, SDXC
Continuous Shooting Speed6 FPS6 FPS
Shutter Speed Range1/4000 to 30 sec1/4000 to 30 sec
Exposure Metering SensorTTL 256-zone meteringTTL 256-zone metering
Exposure Compensation DialYes, ±2 stopsYes, ±3 stops
Base ISOISO 200ISO 200
Native ISO SensitivityISO 200-6,400ISO 200-6,400
Boosted ISO SensitivityISO 100, 12,800, 25,600 (JPEG only)ISO 100, 12,800, 25,600 (JPEG only)
Autofocus SystemTTL contrast AFIntelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF / TTL phase detection AF)
Focus Points49 AF points49 AF points
Face DetectionNoYes
Video CapabilityYesYes
Video OutputH.264 (MOV)H.264 (MOV)
Video Maximum Resolution1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p1920×1080 (1080p) @ 60p, 30p
Video Maximum Record Time29 minutes14 minutes in 1080p, 27 minutes in 720p
Audio RecordingBuilt-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
Built-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
Articulating LCDNoNo
LCD Size2.8″ diagonal TFT-LCD3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD
LCD Resolution460,000 dots1,040,000 dots
Built-in GPSNoNo
Built-In Wi-Fi FunctionalityNoYes
BatteryLi-ion battery NP-W126Li-ion battery NP-W126
Battery ChargerBattery charger BC-W126Battery charger BC-W126
Weather Sealed BodyNoNo
USB Version2.02.0
Weight (Body Only)350g with battery and memory card350g with battery and memory card
Dimensions129 x 74.9 x 38.3 mm129 x 74.9 x 37.2 mm
Price$999 (as introduced),
$799 (current)
$999 (as introduced),
$999 (current)

As you can surely see, the two cameras are remarkably similar. Is that bad? Well, I feel quite safe in saying – no. Simply because there is nothing wrong with the X-E1 to begin with – it is an extremely capable and attractive camera. Fujifilm stuck with the tested formula – don’t fix what is not broken. That is not to say that there are no improvements. As subtle as they may appear at first, the added capability, at least on paper, is well worth the extra $200 in our opinion. Here are the main differences between the two cameras:

  1. Sensors: both X-E1 and X-E2 feature very similar sensors. It is unlikely that you will see any difference in detail captured or low-light, high ISO performance. The only real difference lies in the incorporation of phase-detect AF in the newer X-Trans CMOS II sensor, also found in Fujifilm X100s fixed-lens compact camera. And this improvement is responsible for…
  2. Hybrid AF: at the beginning of its life, the X-E1 didn’t have a particularly impressive autofocus system. But here is the thing with Fujifilm – they constantly improve the capabilities of their cameras through firmware updates, and so with the latest software X-E1 (and X-Pro1, for that matter) performed admirably. Fujifilm X-E2 builds on that with further improvements – a hybrid autofocus system that is quickly becoming the standard for mirrorless cameras. This system uses both contrast (normally used in compact cameras) and phase-detect (normally used in DSLRs) autofocus for improved speed and accuracy, especially noticeable when tracking moving subjects. The same exact system is currently used in Fujifilm X100s and what we have learned about its hybrid AF is that it performs very well in good lighting conditions where phase-detect system is at its best. This should also be true with the X-E2. In lower light, however, the system will rely on contrast-detect more, which means the speed difference between X-E2 and X-E1 will be much less noticeable, if at all. The X100s did exhibit some autofocus accuracy problems under some circumstances, though. We are hoping to get our hands on a production X-E2 unit for reviewing as soon as possible.
  3. Image Processor and Speed: X-E2 gains EXR Processor II which, according to Fujifilm, is much snappier than the first version found in X-E1. Such performance should mean quicker operation. Fujifilm quotes minimal lag and shot-to-shot times for the new camera. Also, because of the faster processor, Fujifilm was able to increase the refresh frame rate of X-E2’s EVF in low light, which is very good news.
  4. LCD Screen: it may not have been a huge drawback, but the X-E1 had a rather modest 2.8″ 460k dot LCD screen, not enough to compete against direct rivals. X-E2 gains a proper 3″ screen with much higher resolution of 1.04 million dots. Here is hoping that in conjunction with the snappier processor, Fujifilm will allow 100% magnification RAW file reviewing.
  5. Wi-Fi: Fujifilm X-E2 gains the now-standard for this class of cameras WiFi connectivity. Unfortunately, remote control of the camera is not supported yet (to be fixed in a future firmware update), but you can use it to transfer files to your Mac / PC or other devices like phones and tablets. You can also transfer GPS location from your phone to the camera (geotagging).
  6. Price: Despite the improvements, X-E2 costs the same $999 at launch (and it should), just like the X-E1 did last year. But if you compare current prices, X-E1 sells for $200 less and that is a lot of savings for an already great camera.
  7. Video Improvements: the X-E2 is now capable of shooting 60 fps videos @ full HD 1080 resolution instead of X-E1’s maximum speed of 24 fps. Great!
  8. Exposure Compensation: you can now adjust exposure compensation by ±3 stops in 1/3rd increments using the dedicated dial (versus ±2 stops of the X-E1). Still ±2 stops in video mode, though, but that is hardly relevant.
  9. Lens Modulation Optimizer: just like the X100S, the Fuji X-E2 also received Fuji’s proprietary Lens Modulation Optimizer – software that can use special algorithms to reduce diffraction and other optical problems
  10. Layout Differences: there are some slight button / layout differences between the two cameras. The Q button has been moved from its previous location to the top panel, while the AE-L button goes to where Q used to be. Because the left side gained one extra space, Fuji added a programmable “Fn2″ button and together with two other buttons (AF and AE), there are now a total of 4 programmable function buttons on the X-E2.

The biggest improvements are definitely brought by the new sensor and processor, but the rest of the list makes X-E2 even more attractive and very much up-to-date when compared to rivals. Other than these changes, it is more or less identical to its predecessor – the dimensions are almost exactly the same. The weight – with batteries or without – is identical. On paper, X-E2 is definitely the better camera with more potential, especially when it comes to autofocus performance in good light. For those of you who found X-E1’s performance to be all you need, however, the older sibling is now a very impressive value for money offering. You can get the same basic experience with the older camera and achieve the same technical image quality for $200 less! At this price point, that is quite the difference and will ensure X-E1 will be wanted by a lot of people. For certain types of photography, such as landscapes, there is absolutely no difference between the two cameras, so you might as well save some money and add it to a lens. For those who want the best interchangeable lens camera from Fujifilm, X-E2 is the right choice at this moment – if you do not need an optical viewfinder, it beats both X-E1 and X-Pro1 cameras. At least until the flagship X-Pro2 arrives.

  • Vipul Kapadia

    Thank you for posting the comparison. This is just in time for me as I think I have narrowed down my search to X100S and X-E2. I like flash synch speed of X100S yet I am leaning more towards X-E2 as I think it may have better AF performance and focus issues that X100S had (during day light) have been addressed. It is yet to be seen and I really hope you get X-E2 soon so we get to hear on that from you! I am thinking about getting 35mm f/1.4 but a lot of people said that lens is slow to focus, noisy and the lens barrel moves in-and-out (by 6mm) during the focusing time. What is your experience with that lens? Thew new 23mm f/1.4 is coming out or released recently but may have the same 35mm focal lens limitation for shooting portraits (you have some examples on that where the head looks bigger, etc.).

    On a side note, X200 may come out early 2014 and may be a better camera but who knows. I am currently interested in downsizing my camera bag and thinking I may not want to lug around all this 15 pound worth of stuff to take pictures. When I am on a family trip, I don’t even take my dSLR with lenses and stuff anymore so why don’t I just switch over to these smaller yet powerful cameras. I don’t do professional photography anyway so this might be the way to go. I am tempted for Olympus OM-D EM1 but it’s quite expensive and has a smaller sensor. X-E2 with 35mm f/1.4 might be just good enough for me as I don’t do sports/action photography.

    Thanks again for all the information you and your team share. I check your web site at least 3 times a day and my day begins with a cup of team and your web site – both of them are addicting/habit forming! Cheers!

  • Rick Keller

    An interesting preview, Nasim. Thank you. Whenever a new camera is announced, we would all be wise to remember, if not ingrain:

    “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams

  • Hoeras

    > “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams

    Did Ansel Adams have a big head?

    I will be sticking with my XE-1.

    • really

      He wasn’t talking about the 12 inches on top of his shoulder!

  • sRK

    I will probably wait for the X-E4 before upgrading.

  • Bruno Neeser

    Good rundown of features and a nice comparison to E1. I’ll Probably keep my E1 though, at least until the next round of model update.

  • http://www.markschuelerphoto.com Mark

    Very nice comparison of the two cameras (I have both and have been putting the X-E2 through its paces). HOWEVER, one note: you mention that the two cameras are basically identical for landscape use, and I would mostly agree with you, BUT the X-E1 doesn’t allow you to preview your exposure in manual mode, instead compensating to give you a bright viewfinder you can use for composition. The X-E2 allows you to toggle how you want the EVF/LCD to show things in M mode, making it superior for landscape work. This is not a huge deal for me, but I have heard from more than one landscape photographer that that change alone makes the X-E2 worth it for them.

  • http://www.tomasharanphotography.net Tomas Haran

    Great review once again. I am looking to make the conversion to Fuji as I have sold my d7000. But now seems like the xe1 is $400 cheaper worth lens than the xe2. Debating whether itsa gopd value to get the xe2 or not. This would be my secondary camera. Hmm

    • http://www.tomasharanphotography.net Tomas Haran

      Sorry about the auto correct errors. I hope to get my xe1 later today and then make a decision. I’d be interested in finding out about any new firmware updates since modern November 2013. Thanks


  • Robert

    Same here. In the Netherlands the X-E1 with the 18-55mm lens is now € 550 ($ 750) cheaper than the X-E2 with the same lens. That’s is a lot of money for such a small difference between the cameras.

    • TimL

      and that is why I have just bought an X-E1, a huge saving over the X-E2 for only a tiny difference in performance.


  • Sri Raju

    Great article. It could be even more helpful if there is a comparison with the less expensive X-M1.

    Until now, I have been using the film cameras (Pentax) and Digital cameras (Canon/Nikon). All of those have an OVF where as X-M1 does not have a VF at all. Quality wise through, I hear rave reviews about Fujifilm cameras (especially the sensor).

    I plan to go the X-mount route any way, so would like to know a comparison between X-M1, X-E1 and X-E2 to know which gives me the best bang for my buck.