Fuji X-E1: A Vacationer’s Perspective at Walt Disney World

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Fuji X-E1: A Vacationer’s Perspective at Disney World:

Hey everyone!  I’m back from my vacation to Walt Disney World, and instead of just showing you a bunch of photos, I’m kind of in the mood to write up something different.  I want to write a post about using the Fuji X-E1 through a vacationer’s perspective because of some of the reactions I got with the camera :).  I didn’t get any bad reactions; on the contrary, I got very curious and positive reactions.  For instance, one of the photographers at Disney thought I had a first generation digital camera but was actually pleasantly surprised when she discovered it was a modern digital camera.  She really appreciated the analog controls of the Fuji.  Another Disney photographer commented that the X-E1 reminded her of her old film SLR lol.  Then, there was another person who was working there (she used my X-E1 to take a family photo for us) who liked it so much, she wrote down the model and brand, so she could order one.

Those reactions got me thinking a bit, and it made me more observant as to what everyone else was using.  Throughout the six days, I did not see any other Fuji X Series camera besides mine.  Almost every other camera was a DSLR.  DSLRs are great, and they definitely have their place in photography (even I want one now…specifically the Nikon DF :) ).  But mirrorless cameras have matured enough over the years that they can make nice alternatives to the DSLR in some areas yet many people still don’t know anything about them.  I guess this post is really aimed at the people who are looking for a new camera or someone like that person who helped me take a family photo.

This post is not a review.  You can check out my Fuji X-E1 review if you want more information.  This is just a simple post about how the X-E1 makes a great vacation camera…the benefits and the drawbacks.  This is also aimed at people who are new to the mirrorless world, just curious about the Fuji X Series system or who have never heard of the Fuji system.  A lot of people who come to this site already know a lot about the Fuji system and its benefits, and if you’re one of these people, I guess you can skip the reading, and just look at the pics :).

Why I Brought My Fuji X-E1 to Disney:

So, if you’re a person who just wants a camera for vacations or outings with friends and family what are you looking for exactly?  Well, everyone is different, and therefore, everyone looks for something different.  So, I’m going to write this post on basically what I want from a camera on vacation.

First off, if I’m going to a place like Disney, I don’t want to be bogged down with photographic equipment.  It is hot there, I’m most likely going to spend a huge portion of my time waiting on lines, and I also want to go on the rides (Space Mountain being my favorite of all time and a CLASSIC), so I have to make sure everything is compact and light.  For me, the Fuji system fits these requirements perfectly.  I brought the body, the XF 18-55mm, and my current favorite Fuji compatible lens, the Zeiss Touit 12mm.  It all fit in my Billingham M Combination Bag, and therefore, it was all compact.  All of this was also light…extremely light.

What else is important to me for a vacation camera?  Well, the camera has to be easy to use for two reasons; first, I want to concentrate on having fun at Disney, and therefore, I don’t want to be thinking about photography that much.  I want decent pics without putting to much work into them or essentially, I want to take decent snap shots.  For me, the memories that I make at a place like Disney are more important than creating the perfect photograph BUT of course, the photographer in me still wants decent images.

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↑ I was on the bus, which is why there’s a color cast to this photo, which was taken with the Zeiss Touit 12mm.

I  think the Fuji X-E1 rocks at this.  Everything is just easy to use on the Fuji.  I have an electronic leveler in my viewfinder, image quality is fantastic (I’ll talk about this more later), and the X-E1 is always ready to shoot.  I can snap away without a care in the world.  If I really want to concentrate on taking a great photo, the X-E1 has the capabilities to do that, and it also gives the photographer in me the total control that I want; however, the X-E1 is equally comfortable taking decent photos when you’d just rather concentrate on having fun on vacation.

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↑ We went to Downtown Disney where they had a Ghiradelli.  This was taken with the Zeiss Touit 12mm.

Another reason for why ease of use is so important is because the camera has to be easy enough to use for people who know very little about photography.  I want to be included in family photos as well, so most of the time, I’m asking a stranger to snap our pictures.  Does the X-E1 pass muster?  Well, for the most part, yes.  I love my Leica M 240 but let’s be honest; a camera like that isn’t great to hand over to someone who knows nothing about photography.  Even the focusing is done manually on a camera like the M, and while I find focusing the M a pretty easy task, someone who has never used a rangefinder won’t know how to focus it correctly.  I’ve let my friends try my M out before, and first few photos that they take are never in focus.  Anyway, with the Fuji, I usually pick the settings like aperture, and ISO, and the person I hand the camera to has no problems taking the photo.  In fact, everyone I handed the camera to was quite intrigued by it.  One person kept commenting on how small and light it was, and how she was looking for a camera just like the X-E1 but she never even knew Fuji built a camera like this.

The only issue  I have is sometimes, the aperture ring on the lenses are a little too easy to move, and therefore, sometimes the person taking the photo ends up changing the aperture as well.  But the depth of field of the wider end of the 18-55 or the Zeiss is large enough so that changing the aperture by a stop or two doesn’t really affect the photo that much, and I usually let the camera decide the shutter speed when in someone else’s hands, so the photo still comes out great.

So, the X-E1 makes a great vacation camera because it’s light, the system is compact, it’s easy to use but what else?  Well, I think what makes a camera truly a great vacation camera is all of the traits that I mention above combined with great image quality.  Let’s be honest; there are many cameras out there that are compact, light, and easy to use but they don’t all create brilliant images.  Creating brilliant images is the X-E1’s specialty.

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↑ A beautiful day at Epcot Center taken with the Zeiss Touit 12mm.

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↑ Here’s another photo taken with the Zeiss Touit 12mm at Animal Kingdom.

The X-E1 doesn’t just create great images, it does it with such ease, which is another very important trait of a great vacation camera.  The colors produced by the X-E1 are vibrant, and refreshing.  The jpegs are really great.  Plus, the lenses really compliment the body.  They produce really clear, and sharp images.

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↑ Here’s another shot taken at Animal Kingdom this time with the XF 18-55mm zoom.  I haven’t used this lens in a while…man, I forgot how sharp it can be.

Shooting the Fuji in broad daylight is great but it doesn’t stop there.  The X-E1 doesn’t quit when it gets dark because the high ISO capabilities are excellent.  I was shooting up to 3200 ISO with no problems.  I even shot a few at 6400 ISO.  Yes, maybe a tripod would’ve helped me produce cleaner images but I don’t want to lug around a tripod all over Disney.  I also don’t have the time to set up a tripod because the purpose of my Disney trip was not photography; the purpose was to enjoy my time there with my family.  Essentially, I was in snap shot mode but because of the high ISO capabilities of the X-E1, I was able to take some pretty awesomely clean shots without much effort.

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↑ Here’s a shot taken with the Zeiss Touit 12mm in Magic Kingdom.  It was taken at 3200 ISO.

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↑ Here’s another shot taken with the Zeiss 12mm at 2500 ISO.

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↑ Zeiss Touit 12mm at 2500 ISO.

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 ↑ Here’s another taken with the Zeiss 12mm at 2500 ISO in Epcot, specifically the Japan section.

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↑ Here’s my sister and my brother in-law scuba diving in the aquarium in Epcot Center.  There wasn’t much light at all, so I had to crank the X-E1 up to 6400 ISO.  This was taken with the XF 18-55mm zoom.

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↑ Here’s a shot taken with the XF 18-55mm at 3200 ISO.

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↑ High ISO with the Fuji is awesome.  I shot this with the Zeiss Touit 12mm at 1600 ISO, so I could use a higher shutter speed to freeze the Monorail train.

Another great thing about the high ISO capabilities was I could use the pop up flash more effectively.  I used the little pop up flash several times while I was at Disney mainly to get family photos with the Disney characters lol.  The flash isn’t that powerful but guess what?  I just boosted the ISO up, and the pics came out great.  I have a more powerful flash but I didn’t want to carry it around with me on vacation.  I didn’t want to fuss with accessories.

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↑ My happy brother in-law dressed up as the Mad Hatter from Alice And Wonderland.  We were to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom.  I used the built in flash along with the Zeiss Touit 12mm.  The picture is not perfect but it captures the fun moment.

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↑ The Mad Hatter with his OM-D.

Lastly, a good vacation camera should be able to shoot in macro mode relatively easily, so you can take pictures of cool little souvenirs or food.  It is sometimes a little annoying when you have to put the X-E1 in macro mode but overall, it does what I need it to do.  I was at Disney during the Epcot International Food And Wine Festival, and honestly, I was stuffing my face with one hand, while photographing food with the other :).  Again, the purpose was not to take the best photo in the world.  It was just to record a memory…I want to look back at the photo, and say, Mmm…that was good :).

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The only issue that may bother some is the autofocus.  It works for most shots, especially after the firmware updates but it was more difficult to focus on the animals during the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride.  The truck couldn’t stop for long, and it was constantly rocking back and forth.  But, with the promise of faster autofocus, the new Fuji X-E2 should rectify this problem.

Well, that’s about it for this lighthearted post, and I hope you enjoyed reading it.  This post was not meant to be a comparison or a review in any way.  It was just some simple thoughts on the X-E1, and my experience with it.

Disney was great.  In fact, no matter how old I get, I don’t think Disney will ever disappoint me.  The X-E1 was a great camera to take on vacation but don’t think that I’m saying there aren’t any other great vacation cameras.  There are many…some even better.  If you want really compact, I suggest getting the Sony RX100 or even the Sony RX100M II.  My friend has the RX100, and I love using it.  All that I’m saying is, you can add the X-E1 to the list of great vacation cameras, and therefore, if you’re looking for a camera in the X-E1’s price range, and you’ve never heard of the Fuji system before, maybe you should check it out.  The X-E1 is reliable, it is great at a lot of things, it’s very capable, and most importantly, it produces brilliant images very easily.  Plus, when you’re ready and if you want to, learning photography on the X-E1 is great because controlling the camera is easily done by manipulating the analog controls.  It’s a great camera to grow with.

That’s it for my post.  I hope you all enjoyed it!  For those who don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, you can now join me on my new Google+ account!  Take care!

6 comments… add one

  • very impressive colour you have from your X-E1..i am always curious how you get that, i don seem to be getting it even with same camera,hahaha…..nice nice :)

  • Patrick

    Hey Meng,

    Great to hear from you. Lol thanks! I just process the Raw files. Plus, the lighting in Florida was really good, and the skies were so clear. Btw, I’m getting the XF 23mm in today!

    Talk soon,

    Patrick

  • Kerwin

    Hi Patrick,

    Very nice post about the XE-1. I too have been using my XE-1 as my vacation camera and for the exact same reasons that you have mentioned above. I used to lug around a DSRL and heavy lens during our family vacations and my back would be paying the price when the day is done. The Fuji XE-1 changed all that and I have no problem carrying this camera around the whole day. Image quality is very nice! And high ISO shooting is not a problem. It’s a very capable camera, simple, light and just fun to use. Plus Fuji seems to be continuing to update its firmware to improve the camera even more. Great to see a company like that who doesn’t stop improving on a product even after it has been released for some time.

    Cheers,
    Kerwin

  • Patrick

    Hey Kerwin,

    It’s always great to hear from you and to get your input! I don’t know if it is me getting older or I was just tired on vacation but by the third day, I could barely wake up in the mornings lol. There was so much walking, standing, and waiting on line at Disney, so it was nice to have a system as light and as compact as the X Series that also took great pictures.

    You bring up a great point: Fuji does continue to update and improve on their older models. It definitely is great seeing that from a company.

    Thanks again for your input!

    Take care,

    Patrick

  • I have this camera too and love it for much the same reasons as you. When you are mixing fun with photography such as on a vacation you don’t want to be lugging a ton of kit and this camera is compact but packs a big punch. As you say a great vacation camera.

  • Patrick

    Hey Adrian,

    Thanks for leaving a comment, and sharing your thoughts! I know, you get a lot of camera for the price too. By the way, you have a cool site!

    Take care,

    Patrick

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