Fujifilm X-E Series Finally Gets an Upgrade

Fujifilm’s annual X Summit camera event went virtual this year, and while there wasn’t an audience in attendance, Fujifilm execs used a webcast to announce a slate of new cameras and lenses for 2021.

The company currently sells two lines of interchangeable lens cameras. Its X series uses the APS-C sensor size, and the GFX family expands the frame to medium format dimensions. For this year’s X Summit, it’s expanding both lines.


Rangefinder Style: Fujifilm X-E4

Like rangefinder cameras of old, the Fujifilm X-E series is defined by its viewfinder positioning, always in the top-left corner. It’s been a few years since we saw a refresh; the X-E3 debuted in 2017, and it’s finally getting an upgrade this year, in the form of the X-E4.

Fujifilm X-E4

Fujifilm X-E4 (Image: Fujifilm)

The design is sure to please photographers who love corner viewfinders, but don’t want to spend a bundle on the X-Pro3, a premium model that sells for around $1,800. The X-E4 costs about half, and while it drops the optical viewfinder and isn’t weather-sealed like the X-Pro3, it isn’t that far behind otherwise.

From an imaging perspective, the X-E4 matches the X-Pro3’s capabilities. It shares the same 26.1MP X-Trans 4 image sensor and processing engines, with all of the same film simulations and focus modes.

Its video capabilities are strong, too, with 4K capture at 8-bit 4:2:0 recording internally and support for 10-bit output via HDMI. A flat profile is included, but the X-E4 doesn’t include sensor stabilization, so you’ll want to use a lens with OIS or add use a gimbal for handheld work.

Fujifilm X-E4

Fujifilm X-E4 (Image: Fujifilm)

The corner EVF is familiar, a 0.62x 2.36 million dot OLED. Fujifilm has used it in a number of other cameras, including the X-E3. New to the X-E4 is an articulating rear LCD. The camera’s touch screen is mounted on a hinge, so it can flip up over the top plate and face forward for selfie shots and vlogs.

The front is flat, without a raised handgrip, a sign the camera is best used with any of Fujifilm’s slim prime lenses. There are two add-on grips available—one for the front, which is useful if you’re using a zoom lens or larger prime, and a rear thumb grip. Thanks to a clever bit of engineering, the rear screen can still be set to face forward when you’ve got the thumb grip installed.

Fujifilm X-E4

Fujifilm X-E4 (Image: Fujifilm)

The X-E4 will go on sale in March. Two finishes are available, silver or black, each with a black leatherette. They’re priced the same, $849.95 as a body only or at $1,049.95 when bought in a kit with the XF 27mm F2.8 R WR lens.


New Lenses, Too

The X-E4 kit lens, the XF 27mm F2.8 R WR, is also a new product, an updated edition of the XF 27mm F2.8. The new version uses the same optical formula, but adds an aperture control ring and weather protection.

XF 27mm F2.8 R WR

XF 27mm F2.8 R WR (Image: Fujifilm)

It maintains its position as one of the slimmest lenses you can get for your Fujifilm camera, extending just about an inch when mounted. It includes a slim metal hood and slip-on metal lens cap to match. With a smaller camera, something like the X-E4 or X-T30, the pair is able to slide into larger pockets and smaller bags.

The XF 27mm F2.8 R WR offers some real upgrades to the first edition of the lens. It still skips optical stabilization, though Fujifilm promises that cameras with in-body stabilization (IBIS) will provide up to 6.5 stops of correction.

XF 27mm on X-E4

XF 27mm on X-E4 (Image: Fujifilm)

Despite the upgrades, the new XF 27mm F2.8 R WR debuts for $50 less than its predecessor. It will sell for $399.95 and is expected to start shipping around the end of March.

It’s joined by a new telezoom, the XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 LM OIS WR. The lens is notably smaller and lighter than the pro-grade XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6, tipping the scales at about 1.3 pounds, about the same as the current XF 55-200mm.

XF 70-300mm on X-T4

XF 70-300mm on X-T4 (Image: Fujifilm)

The new lens has some advantages, though. It zooms in further, includes 5.5-stop optical image stabilization, offers 1:3.3 macro focus, and is protected against dust and splashes. It’s also compatible with the Fujifilm XF 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters.

It’s priced at $799.95 (about $100 more than the XF 50-200mm) and is set to ship in late March.


Medium Format System Grows

Family photographers and enthusiasts are well-served by the additions to the X system, but studio photographers and portrait specialists may be more interested in the updates to the company’s medium format system.

Fujifilm GFX100S

Fujifilm GFX100S (Image: Fujifilm)

The headliner is the GFX100S, essentially a sized-down version of the GFX100. It drops the built-in vertical shooting grip and swaps the removable viewfinder for a fixed OLED EVF, but has many of the same imaging capabilities.

It uses the same 102MP image sensor. The in-body stabilization system has been miniaturized and improved—it now works in conjunction with lenses with their own OIS system, for up to 6.0 stops of correction.

Fujifilm GFX100S

Fujifilm GFX100S (Image: Fujifilm)

The camera supports Raw imaging, but also includes Fujifilm’s excellent JPG engine. It supports all of the film simulation looks from the existing line, and adds a new new one—Nostalgic Negative. It’s based on the color prints created by Joel Meyerowitz and other artists in the American New Color movement.

For video, the GFX100S records 4K footage internally at 10-bit quality, and supports 12-bit out of its HDMI port. It’s not a video-first camera—we’ve yet to see a medium format model that fits that bill—but having such a good video toolkit adds some versatility. For handheld use, a digital stabilizer promises to stabilize footage with more acumen than the IBIS can manage alone, but comes with a slight (1.1x) crop.

Fujifilm GFX100S

Fujifilm GFX100S (Image: Fujifilm)

The GFX100S is slated to ship in mid-March for $5,999.95. The GFX100 remains in production for $9,999.95.

A new GF lens is coming, too. The GF 80mm F1.7 R WR is compatible with the GFX100S and other cameras in the system. The wide aperture design is capable of making photos with a very shallow depth of field, and it includes weather protection and an aperture control ring—both expected features for GF lenses.

GF 80mm F1.7 R WR

GF 80mm F1.7 R WR (Image: Fujifilm)

Size wise, the GF 80mm is similar to the GF 110mm F2 in dimensions. It’s a little hefty, about 1.8 pounds, but should prove to be a popular standard angle lens for the system given its angle of view and bright aperture. The lens is set to start shipping in mid-March for $2,299.95.

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