I spent a month on holiday, with a good ten days or so in Japan with my brother. He carried along with him his Canon 550D and a Yashica Electro 35 and basically gave me camera envy when I looked at my little Canon S95, with it’s pathetic low light performance and lack of bokehbility. So we spent a good bit of time in Yodobashi and Bic Camera, checking out stuff.

I wanted to make the step up in terms of photography and not only take better photos but not be afraid that I was taking them. However, I baulked at the sight of the various DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. These were not only huge and bulky, they were just ugly. I much preferred rangefinder style cameras, like the Leica or my brother’s Yashica for instance. Heck, if my old Zorki 10 was digital, I think that’d be cool too. After very little deliberation, I zoomed in on the Fujifilm X-E1.

It was just an obvious choice because it balances good looks with functionality. I appreciate the design details and build quality. It’s a small camera but one that feels substantial in the hand. Enough for me anyway. I can’t be bothered with heavy ass shit but something too light also seems impractical. The weight of the X-E1 is perfect when I paired it with the 35mm lens. You’re inclined to use two hands, which also promotes a much steadier shot and ergonomically, makes a lot of sense. I was hooked. The moment I got back from my holiday, I spent about 3 weeks reading up every single review on the little beast and most of it correlated to what I wanted in a camera.

There were a few concerns.

  • Relatively poor battery life (just get an extra OEM one I guess)
  • Sluggish EVF in low light
  • Poorer quality screen compared to similar priced cameras
  • Slow autofocus
  • Was I going to be able to make the leap from P&S Auto to a camera with no mode dials
  • Cost

There were more plusses

  • Image quality
  • Handling
  • Design/Build quality
  • Good proprietary lenses
  • Capability to use M mount lenses
  • Size/weight
  • Pure lust

Eventually, that last point won out. I took a trip to European Camera Specialists in Drummoyne, asked to try out the X-E1 and promptly bought it as a set with the Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens for a grand total of $1145. What tipped it for me was the dude quoted me a price $50 less than his website stated and it was his last piece. Just a few weeks back, I would’ve spent around $1400 for the same combo. In most other stores in Sydney, they don’t even offer the 35mm with the body anyway. There was one other store in Sydney that had a comparable price but I figured I was there and I’d wanted this for a month now, so why the hell not? My birthday’s up anyway.

I’ve updated to the latest firmware for both lens and body and the EVF sluggishness is mostly gone but the AF speed is still hairy especially in low light. It’s more than tolerable though. I have discovered that the 35mm lens has a very noisy motor but The rest of my concerns have mostly evaporated. The guy in the store informed me I’d get maybe 3-400 shots through it before the battery dies so basically, I won’t need a spare battery until I go on holiday. Even then, I don’t take 3-400 a day.

I kopped a SanDisk 16Gb Extreme SD Card ($22.90 from Memory City), have a black DSPTCH Standard Sling on the way and am considering to add the following in bits and bobs.

  • Nikon X Porter Daily Shoulder Bag, $150+shipping from Rakuten (gonna cut the Nikon tag off!)
  • Matchtechnical Beep soft release in Black, $18.38+shipping from Matchtechnical
  • OEM Spare Battery
  • Fujifilm XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro
  • Rainbow Imaging M Mount Adapter, $11+shipping from eBay
  • Voigtlander 21mm f/4 P, $419+shipping from Adorama/B&H

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So far, I’ve only shot a bit in my bedroom plus a lunch at Jazz City Milk Bar in Darlinghurst plus a 10 minute walkaround in The Rocks during the Vivid festival.

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