To get some practice at using my new X-E2, and to test its abilities, I went yesterday to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome, near Biggleswade*, Bedfordshire. It consists mainly of old aircraft -- all in flying order -- and some ground vehicles.

*Those who remember reading W.E. Johns' books will appreciate the aptness of the location.

I arrived at midday, with the sky promising to brighten. Because I wanted to give the 18-55 mm lens's motion damping a good try-out, I left my monopod in the car.

Some of the results are at the bottom of the page. I think they show off the camera's qualities well. Specifically, the colour rendition is excellent, as you'd expect with this sensor, with no fringing or moiré that I can see. The film emulation on the camera was set to standard.

As before, with my photo of Colin, white balance and sharpness are also impressive. I had the camera on auto WB and with no sharpening. The lighting was various combinations of tungsten, sodium vapour and daylight -- a tricky mixture.

It got gloomier rather than brighter outside, so artificial lighting predominated in later photos, such as of the restoration area. I did not use flash.

A result of the worsening light is that there is camera motion evident in about a fifth of the pictures, especially where I've stopped down from widest aperture.

These are processed images, using the supplied Silkypix Raw converter followed by my usual treatment in Nikon's Capture NX2. (My preferred Raw converter is Capture One 7 Pro but that can't handle X-E2 files yet.)

I've not tried to correct any noise. Considering the conditions, I think the amount of this is creditable. The camera was set on auto ISO, from 200 to 3200, with the slowest shutter setting of 1/30 second. I applied some unsharp masking (USM) when processing.

The camera handled well and I was able to concentrate on taking pictures, seldom having to think about its settings. Most of the controls are where I am used to finding them on my X-Pro1. As with that camera, I had no difficulty in holding and using the X-E2, not feeling any need for extra grips, fancy shutter buttons or other such accessories.

What changes Fuji has made are mainly beneficial, such as the stiffer exposure compensation wheel and the new placement of the macro and AF controls. Moving the Q button from under one's thumb is a boon. (It's smothered in duct tape on my X-Pro1.)

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is quicker than on the older camera and the eyepiece focus adjustment is welcome.

I left the camera on EVF with eye detection, and had the LCD switched off all the time. That will have helped battery life. It was showing half-charge after 200 photos.

As others have commented, the removal of the view mode button was not helpful. On the other hand, I don't 'chimp' often and never scrutinise histograms. I always shoot Raw, so expect all my pictures to be usable after treatment on the computer.

The zoom lens is smooth and easy to use, focusing quickly and quietly. Naturally, I missed the speed of the equivalent primes and their ability to throw a background out of focus, but the gain in convenience is considerable. Any distortion from this lens has been corrected for either in camera or by Silkypix. I've noticed none, even at its widest.

One quirk, which is worse than on the X-Pro1, is that the camera is hard to wake from sleep or from being switched off. On the X-Pro1, a little prod on the shutter button gets its attention. The X-E2 needs a couple of clicks before turning on. Perhaps that'll be fixed in a future firmware release.

Overall, I'm pleased with my purchase and will be using the X-E2 plus the zoom as my main general camera from now on. The X-Pro1 will become my tool for close-ups (with the 60mm "macro" lens) and for other situations where a considered approach is warranted. I still prefer using an optical viewfinder for these.

Not being one for carrying two cameras or for swapping lenses in the field, I'll probably keep the primes just for the X-Pro1. However, I've not tried them on the X-E2 yet, so might well change my mind!

I've also not tried manual focusing yet. This is reportedly better than on the X-Pro1. Video recording holds no interest for me, so I've not tried that either.

I hope this has been helpful.


PS I recommend visiting Old Warden if you''re interested in old machines or in aviation history. It's well laid out and reasonably priced, with a cafeteria, gift shop and research library. There's a good programme of events, including flying days most seasons of the year.