09 April 2014

The Fujifilm XE-2 in Nicaragua

Me, standing in Lake Nicaragua with one of the two
volcano mountains of Ometepe Island in the background
I'm all about trying new things. So when Fuji came out with the XE-2, I was hooked and bought one a week after the thing was released. I bought it, not just because I'm a gear-head, but because of solid conclusive reasoning. First, I REALLY didn't want to take me huge Nikon D800E on the road with the added weight of the lenses as well. Second, my goal for Nicaragua wasn't fine art, so I didn't need the 36MP full frame resolution. And third, I liked the rangefinder format of this system to hopefully better acquaint me with Leica gear that I want to be vested in very soon. Those are the 3 main reasons I got the camera. I bought the kit with the metal barrel 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens along with a 35mm 1.4. This was a good combination because it was basically equivalent to the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 50mm 1.4 lenses I would have brought with me had I used the Nikon. 

Cathedral San Pedro, Rivas, Nicaragua ©2014 Terrell Neasley
While being so lightweight, small, and manageable, I have yet to mention how beautiful the camera is. You can get one that's all black, but I got the XE-2 Silver edition where the top 3rd of the camera is silver. All black would have been less conspicuous, but the thing is small so its already less conspicuous and an all black one isn't really any less likely to be noticed anyway. So I went with aesthetics and got the one I liked best. 

Local fare at the market in Rivas, Nicaragua
I can review the images I took with the camera. This is supposed to be the world's fastest autofocus system. Is it fast? Sure. Did I clock it at the .08 seconds the specs says it should do? Not so much. It uses phase detection in addition to conventional contrast detection and when its on point, it was on point. What I did notice was less accuracy in low light situations. 

I still ran into another issue and that dealt with the RAW files taken by the Fuji. I'm surprised there wasn't more info on the web that could have aided me, but I finally figured out a solution. Adobe Bridge and Photoshop had a tendency to crash when working with Fuji Raw files with the .raf file extensions. Initially the problem was that my Adobe Creative Cloud programs just needed to be updated. I did this and was able to view some of the files. The big problem came when I tried to append my metadata template to the images. It would crash the system without fail. My solution was to convert the files to DNG and the problem was solved. But I don't think this is a fault, per se of Fuji. They use an entirely different sensor technology from most other camera manufactures. The X-Trans system doesn't utilize the standard Bayer filter array as most systems use. The X-Trans is evolutionary. I like it, but its literally in a class by itself. DXO Mark doesn't even rate it due to the fact that their techniques used to rate sensors can't fairly apply across the board to it. Converting to DNG is a good solution to use with Adobe.

Surf gear, Playa Hermosa (Beautiful Beach), near San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
If this goes well, Fuji has a wide-angle 10-24mm lens I want! They also have a 56mm 1.2 that I drool over, but I might stay content with my 35mm 1.4. So I guess we'll see. Nonetheless, given the same options tomorrow, I'd still go with the Fuji.


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