This journal will document my experiences with the Fuji X-E1, my first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. I placed the order on Oct. 24, 2012 and the body and 35mm lens arrived on Nov. 2. A detailed review will follow. I have been a fan of Canon cameras since 2001 (began with the S30, then the S60) and having shot with a Canon 50D since 2008, have recently become disenchanted with their glacial pace of innovation.

Notable Links


Wed 10 Apr 2013 12:12:15 PM EDT

Sun 14 Apr 2013 11:05:21 PM EDT: Fixed broken links.

X-E1 Guidebook


Tue 16 Apr 2013 03:39:21 PM EDT

Fuji has published an official PDF guidebook (5 parts) illustrating the features of the X-E1.

Union Station Construction: Bay and Front

photo pano

Thu 18 Apr 2013 03:20:58 PM EDT

I have been documenting the Union Station Construction and this is one of my best panos. It is a 22 image pano (two passes of 11 photos in portrait mode) which took about 15 minutes to stitch after the photos were reduced in size by 50%.

From 2013

Talk Tryptich


Fri 19 Apr 2013 01:27:18 PM EDT

The following tryptich is titled, Girl Talk, Guy Talk and Mac Talk. The second and third photos have several (at least two) symmetries:

From 2013

I cropped the last one a bit looser because the Tim Horton's coffee cup on the street is ironic.

Unnion Station Construction: Train Shed

photos pano

Fri 19 Apr 2013 04:16:54 PM EDT

From 2013

The top photo shows the new shed construction from Track 5 looking South. In the second photo, looking down the track, in the dark distance, you can see the old shed. In the middle ground you can see the partially removed concrete of the shed and above it, the new shed. On the right, you can see the glass covering the roof of the new shed.

Friday Foto: Florist's Display


Fri 26 Apr 2013 03:02:59 PM EDT

From Friday Foto

I took the PATH less travelled one evening and came across this display of flowers in a florist's window. I "Burned" the background to remove reflections from the opposite side of the corridor and the inside of the store. The contrast was adjusted slightly.

Union Station Construction: Train Shed Removal (pano)

Thu 02 May 2013 03:51:12 PM EDT

From 2013

I love the colours in this shot.

Battery Life


Sat 04 May 2013 07:37:38 AM EDT

I typically shoot about two hours each day— one hour on my way to work and one hour on the way back. It's mostly photographs but, perhaps once a week, I do shoot about one or two minutes of video (never more than 5 minutes).

Based on this usage, I find that I have to recharge the battery every two days despite the battery meter reporting 2/3 charge remaining. I find that if I believe the meter, then on the third day, I get about an hour of shooting before the meter starts blinking red and the camera shuts down— I end up not being able to shoot on my way home. This has only happened a couple of times in the many months I have had my camera.

I have the camera set to sleep after a minute of inactivity, but I force it to wake up (tap the shutter) after 30s of sleep just so it's ready to shoot. A couple of weeks ago, I had the camera go to sleep just as I was raising it to my eye and by the time it woke up, I had missed the shot.

Red Light


Thu 09 May 2013 03:10:16 PM EDT

From 2013

Just a touch of adjustments to bring down the hilights. You can see the noise in the sky if you look very closely.

Auto Focus


Fri 17 May 2013 02:37:33 PM EDT

The only thing stopping the X-E1 from being a best-seller in its class is the slow auto-focus. It's also the main thing stopping me from loving this camera. I love the image quality— both the colour and the sharpness of the 35mm lens— of this camera when the it manages to focus in time but the contrast-AF is slow and prone to mis-focusing in low light.

I have configured the camera to perform AF and AE lock when pressing the AFL/AEL button on the rear of the camera. I shoot exclusively in Aperture Priority mode and the camera is set to Manual focus (switch in the front set to "M". I don't focus using the focus ring as it's fly-by-wire and takes too much twisting to get from one end of the scale to the other (on a Canon, a quarter-turn is sufficient). Because of my vision problems I have to rely on AF so it takes too long to zoom the view, manually focus and shoot in Street photography. I have disabled the focus-assist light as I don't like to bring attention to the camera since half my photography is at night.

In the months I have been shooting, I have found that the camera focuses acceptably fast on bright sunny days. It tends to hunt in the shade, even on bright sunny days. I have found that setting the aperture at f/5.6 gives quicker and more accurate AF lock than at f/4 (which is what I shot with the Canon 50D), so I end up manually blurring the background on images where it's distracting. When I post a photo with a manually blurred background, I note it in the photo's comments.

When the subject is walking towards me, as in my Passing Fancy album, my technique gives slightly out-of-focus images of the subject because the subject has moved out of the focus range between the time the camera focused and I took the shot. Usually, sharpening in post-processing fixes it. On a few rare occasions, it didn't. Oh well.

From what I've read, the X-E2 will focus a lot faster as it has phase-detection focus sensors directly on the image sensor. I will be using the X-E1 for at least two years before deciding whether I will upgrade.

One Foggy Evening


Tue 04 Jun 2013 05:57:18 PM EDT

From Suburbia

This photo was a hit on G+, garnering more than 30 plusses (my highest ever). I walk down this street every night, but to everyone else it is something new and wonderful. It takes a lot of discipline to look at an everyday scene or object with fresh eyes and to capture that sense.

Friday Foto: Tulip Hill


Fri 07 Jun 2013 06:32:56 PM EDT

From Friday Foto

Firmware Upgrade for Lens (v2.0) and Body (v3.0)


Fri 26 Jul 2013 10:18:01 AM EDT

On July 23rd, Fuji released a firmware upgrade to the X-E1 and the X-Pro1 and associated lenses. I waited two days to make sure there were no problems and applied the upgrade to the body and lens on July 25 (coincidentally, the X-Pro1 upgrade was pulled on the very same day, after people reported that video wasn't working).

The new firmware improved AF speed (yes, I can confirm it's faster) and added focus peaking in manual focus. Both features are welcome improvements. The focus peaking is especially welcome as I shoot in MF mode and rely completely on the camera to focus and the white hilighting on the edges of the objects that are in focus, really helps me tell whether the camera focused on the intended target.

Thank you, Fuji!

As a test of the new firmware, I photographed Ai Weiwei's Zodiac exhibition at Nathan Philips Square. Photos and video forthcoming.

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads


Tue 06 Aug 2013 01:31:55 PM EDT

I have created an album of photos (still being added to as of today) I took of Ai Weiwei's sculptures. It includes individual photos and stitched panoramas.

Fuji Instax Mini 90


Thu 26 Sep 2013 01:52:32 PM EDT

I really like the styling of this new Fuji film camera. It's already available for ordering in Japan. I will probably buy one when it's available in North America (Update Fri 27 Sep 2013 02:12:21 PM EDT: early 2014, $199).

Eric Kim Interviews Jack Simon


Wed 02 Oct 2013 04:15:59 PM EDT

Twenty-three minute video of Jack Simon, who shoots with a X100S and an X-E1.

Fuji X-E2 Announced


Fri 18 Oct 2013 09:58:43 AM EDT

Fuji has announced the X-E2, the successor to the X-E1 camera. There was also a X100 firmware upgrade.

I'm happy with the X-E1 since the f/w upgrade of June.

The startup and AF speed (with on-sensor phase detection) is much improved in the X-E2. Since I learned to shoot with the X-E1's limitations, any hardware updates will make it 10x better experience. One of the new features mentioned is, "Conventional playback and file naming of images shot in continuous drive mode". If it is what I think it is, then it's a welcome update— I really hated that files shot in continous mode were named differently. 60fps video is also a welcome improvement. Additional customizable buttons are also welcome; since there was no dedicated movie record button, I customized Fn to toggle between video and stills. I did miss not being to quickly toggle between single-shot and continuous. Customizable minimum shutter speed in auto-ISO mode is also welcome, however, it looks like it's a fixed speed.

I prefer to use a piece of tech at least two years before "upgrading". I was considering getting the XF23mm lens, but...

There are rumours that a full-frame X100 will appear next year to compete with the Sony A7. So I might wait for a full-frame X-E1 before buying new lenses.

Notable Links


Fri 25 Oct 2013 12:02:55 AM EDT

Auto-ISO setting


Sat 02 Nov 2013 01:53:22 AM EDT

I shoot in Aperture Priority (f/5.6 in the day and f/2.0 at night) with Auto-ISO maxing out at 3200.

On a perfectly sunny day, in a shady spot, with aperture at f/5.6, the camera chooses ISO 800 with a shutter speed of 1/210s. Even though the SOOC image looks absolutely fabulous, I don't like that it's at ISO 800.

For a 35mm lens the minimum shutter speed is 1/35s, but since this is a crop sensor, it becomes approximately 1/50s. That means that on a sunny day, at f/5.6, I should be able to shoot at ISO 200 with a minimum shutter speed of 1/50s. So, I don't understand why the camera has to pick such a high ISO and shutter speed. Maybe this is where the complaints about minimum shutter speed are coming from.

Aside: Yes, I know I can shoot in full manual mode, or I can choose a fixed ISO or even a lower Auto-ISO setting, but I prefer to keep the fiddling of camera setting to a minimum. I sometimes even forget to set the aperture to f/2 when I shoot at night, so the first photo is shot at f/5.6.

World Press Association Winners


Tue 05 Nov 2013 01:06:40 PM EST

This is a test of embedding a G+ post into my Journal. I hadn't noticed this feature before.

Fuji X-E2 Now On Sale


Wed 13 Nov 2013 01:41:45 PM EST

The Fuji X-E2 is now on sale in North America. Below is a post describing the differences between the X-E1 and the X-E2 (click Read More in the body of the post for the details).

Aside: the Fuji Instax Mini 90 is also on sale, however Vistek isn't stocking it while Henrys is. I don't shop at Henrys so I just emailed Vistek Sales asking when it would be available. It is rather large in size; larger than I expected. Update Sun 24 Nov 2013 12:01:39 PM EST: Vistek replied to my email and said they would not be carrying the Mini 90. I'm having second thoughts about the size of this camera after seeing photos of it being held. The ergonomics of the camera are quite bad. It also seems that it only takes portrait photos with the film popping up the top. Can it be held in landscape? The shutter button looks to be in an awkard place in landscape orientation.

Fuji in the NY Times

Tue 19 Nov 2013 03:24:24 PM EST

NY Times article about Fuji and the X series of cameras: "As digital Camera Sales Sputter, Fujifilm Finds its Niche". An introduction to the mirrorless series for those people who have never heard of it.

Good news that Fuji is succeeding with its X series. It was a bold move that paid off.

Camera Bag


Tue 19 Nov 2013 03:35:38 PM EST

After reading Adam Marelli's announcement that he's found his ideal camera bag, I thought I would mention the bag I use.

My bag is the Abingdon Messenger, a canvas over-the-shoulder messenger bag from J Crew (bought on sale at 25% off; no one pays full-price at J. Crew :). I use a piece of half-inch foam, cut to size, placed in a U-shape inside the bag, to give it shape and padding without adding considerable weight.

The bag is big enough to hold my X-E1 (it could easily hold the Canon 50D with the 24-105 lens with room to spare) my lunch (2 fruits and a ziploc bag with dried nuts and figs) and a sweater for those Spring and Fall days that start warm and finish cool.

There are dedicated inside pockets that hold a pen and Post-it Pad.

A rear outside pocket holds a folded newspaper or magazine (usually the weekly NY Times Sunday Magazine); the pocket is not wide enough to hold the magazine completely flat because the magnetic clasp at the top interferes.

Two outside front pockets hold my pack of gum, tissue, multi-tool, and first aid kit (a band aid and alcohol prep).

Notable Links

Tue 21 Jan 2014 01:06:21 PM EST



Wed 29 Jan 2014 04:24:44 PM EST

Reposting some of my favourite photos from my G+ stream.

I've Just Seen A Face

Mon 17 Mar 2014 03:40:07 PM EDT

The book she's reading is significant to the location. I only realized later, when I was cleaning-up the photo, that she was reading Vonnegut's Jailbird.

X-T1 Review


Wed 02 Apr 2014 07:44:55 PM EDT

Tony Bridge reviews the Fuji X-T1 camera. Interesting suggestion on how to get the OLED viewfinder to match reality: "set the OLED viewfinder to standard or Astia mode and turn the shadow and highlight buttons to -2 (very soft)". I agree with his niggle about the rear cursor buttons. I would much prefer the spin-wheel of the Canon which makes up/down/left/right irrelevant— spin-right to move forward and spin-left to move back.

"Is That a Leica?"


Fri 18 Apr 2014 12:32:16 AM EDT

Walking to work yesterday morning, I was waiting for the light to change when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone staring at me. I realized he was staring at my camera when he asked, "Is that a Leica?". I told him it was a Fuji X-E1.

He said he was interested in (I forget the term he used instead of "mirrorrless") cameras with interchangeable lenses. I told him the X-E1 was both mirrorless and interchangeable. He thanked me and continued on his way. If it wasn't so very windy and cold I'm sure we would have chatted longer.

I would have suggested that if he had Leica glass, he would be able to use it on the Fuji X cameras via a Metabones lens-mount adapter.

Notable Links


Thu 08 May 2014 06:06:15 PM EDT

Fuji X-E1 Journal / luis fernandes /