Will Fujifilm Update Its X-E Rangefinder-Style Camera Line With X-E4 in First Quarter, 2021?

The answer would appear to be yes, if Fuji Rumors’ ever-dependable sources prove correct in stating that an X-E4 announcement will be coming sometime in January to March 2021. 

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Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/1.4 R OIS WR on Fujifilm X-T4. This new version gains an aperture ring and weather resistance though optics remain the same. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

That announcement may well be coupled with one for the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R Mark II 40mm equivalent prime lens with an aperture ring that was missing from the current XF 27mm f/2.8, potentially making Mark II more suitable for video production.

With ongoing improvements in its cameras’ video support, Fujifilm needs to produce new lenses and updated older ones so they better support video production, and aperture rings are one of those much-needed video capabilities.

It remains to be seen whether the new XF 27mm f/2.8 will be a pancake design like its predecessor, a Fujicron-style lens like the XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR, 23mm f/2.0 R WR, 35mm f/2.0 R WR and 50mm f/2.0 R WR primes or a Fujilux-style lens like the coming XF 18mm f/1.4 R WR and its older siblings the 14mm f/2.8 R and 16mm f/1.4 R WR.

I was fortunate enough to be loaned a Fujifilm X-E3 along with three Fujicron lenses by Fujifilm Australia in March 2018, and it was an excellent introduction into the brand’s digital rangefinder-style cameras, as opposed to its digital rangefinder cameras in the X-Pro series.

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The legendary Contax AX 35mm analog film single lens reflex camera of 1996, made by Kyocera.

Both styles of cameras appear to be less popular amongst most Western Fujifilm camera buyers than the company’s DSLR-style X-mount mirrorless cameras in the X-T and X-H series with their Contax SLR-like form factors and the lingering influence of the heavy marketing during the 1980s and 1990s of SLR analog cameras as the standard for enthusiasts looking to upgrade from rangefinder compact cameras.

Being a bucker of trends by nature, I used mostly rangefinder cameras for film formats from 35mm through to 4″x5″ though I retained a couple of reflex cameras for when the job demanded it.

My experience with the Fujifilm X-E3

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Fujifilm’s “Fujicron” fast, compact prime lens collection as of February 2019 comprising the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR, Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR, Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR and Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR lenses. Images courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

I had briefly picked up an X-E3 at a Fujifilm Australia People With Cameras event several months before and had questions about the camera’s electronic viewfinder aka EVF, its round-corner styling, slightly slippery black body covering and reduced size compared to its X-E1, X-E2 and X-E2S predecessors.

When the kind offer to borrow one came along I accepted immediately and the three “Fujicron” lenses were a surprise bonus.

I had used a Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR to make the photographs in A Walk Around Chatswood in Sydney on November 5, 2016 and the XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR during my tryout of the X-Pro2 that resulted in investing in my own along with an XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R.

The 50mm “Fujicron” had fascinated me since its announcement so I appreciate being able to give it a good tryout in the field and compare its performance against the older, slower-to-use XF 56mm f/1.2 R.

While the 56mm has its virtues as a portrait lens, it can be challenging for fast-moving documentary photography whether used in autofocus or manual focusing modes.

I tend to gravitate to wide-angles for documentary work but good storytelling benefits from narrower lenses when close-up details can counterpoint  the broad sweep of wider scenes.

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Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 WR R “Fujicron” prime lens, equivalent to 75mm in the 35mm sensor format. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

The 50mm’s autofocus works quickly and reliably, though I used it more in manual mode with back button focus as I was unfamiliar with the lens’ depth of focus at various apertures and wanted at least one plane of focus dead sharp.

Even wide open at f/2.0 or stopped down a little, the 50mm f/2.0 R WR rendered the main figures in the image impressively sharply and the background subjects with just enough detail to provide context via similarities and differences from the prime subject.

I prefer primes to zoom lenses though I have several zooms in another camera system when needing close-ups and long shots.

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Fujifilm X-E3. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Mixing and matching shots made with different camera systems can be challenging given my preferred raw processing software, DxO PhotoLab and its plug-ins DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint, does not support Fujifilm’s X-Trans raw files so I have been looking for more Fujifilm lenses and adapted lenses to add to my kit to enable processing all my files from any project in the one raw processor.

Years of relying on rangefinder cameras in fast-moving situations where I often needed to be next-to invisible trained me into visualizing a frame around my subject, stepping up to the best vantage point, raising the camera to confirm the accuracy of my framing then during the shutter, all in a matter of micro-seconds.

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Fujifilm MHG-XE3 Metal Hand Grip, highly recommended for secure grip of the Fujifilm X-E3 camera. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Little to no lingering over the scene through my viewfinder before making a decision much less an exposure, even when making portraits.

Those rapid-fire skills came in handy with the X-E3 as I found its small, 90%-coverage electronic viewfinder aka EVF more challenging than I would have liked.

I dislike cropping, preferring tight image design unless shooting for a layout, and it helps to see everything the sensor records.

Another challenge came in holding the X-E3 securely and tightly due to its slick-feeling black body covering, rounded corners and minimalist built-in handgrip.

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Fujifilm X-E1, X-E2 and X-E3. Image courtesy of Compact Camera Meter.

The X-E series’ cameras have shrunk over the years but surely it could afford to grow a little back towards the size of its predecessors if needed.

I always like to have two cameras of any system I own in case one goes down on the job or more likely when I need to use it in my customary two-camera, two-lenses mode.

Both cameras don’t need to be the same model but to work in similar ways, and so after investing in my X-Pro2, I wondered whether the X-E series might present a suitable companion camera.

In-shop tryouts of the X-E2 and X-E2S revealed problems with their EVFs so I would love to see that feature improve in the X-E4 as well as other features listed below.

Shot with Fujifilm X-E3 and Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR

The full photo gallery of images mostly shot with the X-E3 and XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR with some made with two other “Fujicron” lenses is available at Walking Around Sydney CBD During Several Days in March, 2018.

What do I want to see in the Fujifilm X-E4?

  • In-body image stabilisation (IBIS).
  • Closer to 100% EVF coverage rather than 90+%.
  • Deeper rubber eyecup for easier shooting in brilliant sunlight.
  • Better built-in grip.
  • Optional metal hand grip.
  • Weather resistance (WR).
  • X100V-style tilt-screen.
  • Metal rather than plastic body.
  • Less shiny body covering.

Most likely the X-E4 will have a subset of those but we can live in hope!

In conclusion…

Despite the Fujifilm X-E3 lacking those features above, I thoroughly enjoyed using it over the course of several days in the city, and the three Fujicron lenses suited it well.

Camera and lenses fit my smallest Think Tank Photo camera bag perfectly and I barely noticed their combined weight despite having ongoing problems while wearing shoulder bags of all sizes and weights.

That ease of carrying ensured I got into the zone quickly each day and that visual and psychological high lasted for hours each time, resulting in the large set of images published in this site’s Photo Galleries page.

The Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR was particularly pleasurable to use and I could easily have used it only had I not wanted to give the X-E3 a thorough tryout in a range of circumstances.

If I had to reduce that kit of three lenses down to just two for typical outdoor documentary projects, I would make it the 50mm f/2.0 along with the 18mm f/2.0 R but I am looking forward to seeing what Fujifilm comes up with when it reveals the XF 18mm f/1.4 R WR next year which, if it follows the Fujilux design style, may well be a great option for video as well as stills.

I would have loved it, though, if the current 18mm f/2.0 lens were to be updated in the Fujicron design style, making it eminently suitable for use on Fujifilm’s smaller as well as digital rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras with the coming 18mm f/1.4 better suited to the larger X-T and X-H DSLR-style camera bodies with or without vertical battery grips.

Links

Fujifilm Australia’s People with Cameras, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney, September 7, 2019

I always try to attend Fujifilm’s annual People with Cameras in Sydney each year and was able to be there for much of this year’s event held at Doltone House on Darling Island Wharf in Pyrmont on Saturday the 7th September 2019. 

More female photographers seem to attend each year, a welcome trend given the low numbers of female photographers and moviemakers who manage to make it professionally in Australia in particular and globally in general. 

Those low numbers are not from want of talent but from systemic issues favouring male practitioners and thus the peculiarities of the male gaze and the male power structure, but I am hopeful that female representation in all aspects of photography and moviemaking will continue increasing to the point of parity, rapidly rather than slowly. 

Gentleman behind the Fujifilm Australia table, photographed with Fujifilm X-H1 and Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR telephoto zoom lens as raw file processed with Adobe Photoshop and Alien Skin Exposure X4 using a modified Polaroid Type 55 preset. I borrowed the lens to make this shot then returned it, but would love to try it out extensively before considering buying one.
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Attendee trying out Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format camera, photographed with Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR standard zoom lens.


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Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Red Badge professional zoom lens.

I carried a Think Tank Photo MindShift Gear BackLight 26L backpack containing my Fujifilm X-Pro2, a borrowed Fujifilm X-H1, a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens both of which were also borrowed, and my own Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lenses.

I managed to very briefly borrow a Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR and a pre-production model of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens which is due for release later this year.

I ended up swapping between my 56mm lens and the borrowed 18mm lens for this event but wondered if I might have been better served by the 50-140mm zoom lens or the 50mm f/2.0 prime in conjunction with the 16mm lens or the reportedly excellent Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR.

Help support ‘Untitled’

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SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema 18mm T2.8 Fujifilm X-Mount.

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • FUJIFILM XF 16mm f/1.4 R WRB&H
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  • FUJIFILM XF 18mm f/2 R LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 50mm f/2 R WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 56mm f/1.2 R LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • MindShift Gear BackLight 26L BackpackB&H

Fujifilm Australia: Up to $1,300 Cash Back on Selected Fujifilm X Series Cameras and Selected XF Lenses, 16 October 2017 to 7 January 2018

https://fujifilm.cashback.com.au/129

Zack Arias: My Bag of Cameras

“In my last video I went through my bag of lights. For this video I walk you through my bag of cameras and lenses. I’ve spent a lot of time streamlining my gear to the essentials and it has really helped clear my head and make life easier for me. I was constantly moving from bag to bag and one set up to another depending on the job at hand. I wanted to simplify my photographic life to a bag of cameras and a bag of lights.

While I feel my bag of lights is complete, I’m not so sure yet about my bag of cameras. I’d really like to add the Fuji GFX to this kit to be a back up to the Phase One and to be my run-n-gun camera. I’m still trying to decide if that will be the best option for me and the work I do….”