Review of the Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujinon XF27mm f2.8 R WR – the hidden Fujinon gems.

Announced during the Fujifilm Summit on January 27 2021 amongst other heavyweights like the GFX100S and GF80mm f1.7, the Fujifilm X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 R WR duo has now officially joined X-mount.

The Fujifilm X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 R WR

The X-E4 is probably the very last camera body to join the X-Trans IV sensor series after the X-Pro3, X-T3, X-T30, X-T4, X-S10 and X100V as my gut feelings are that the X-H2 will debut with a new sensor. This full review will comprise three main parts to make it meaningful for you, the reader:

a. Design of the X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 R WR (from now on XF27 II for short)
b. Handling and performance
c. Philosophy of design and Conclusions.

*My Fujifilm X-S10 and XF50mm f1 full review is here and here.

XF27/2.8 II, X-E4

In the Fujifilm world dominated by the X-Pro and X-T series, one might find strange the pairing of two of the not-as-popular body and lens models but Fujifilm has interestingly decided to market the X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 II as a street photographer’s kit, and frankly – this pairing in my opinion proved well thought out by Fujifilm designers.

*not all markets will bundle the X-E4 and XF27 R WR as a kit, the X-E4 will retail for USD849 and the XF27 II at USD399 and as a bundle, USD1049.

The XF27/2.8 comes with a hood similar to the GF50mm’s design designed for compactness priority.

*In the spirit of Fujifilm’s decision to release the X-E4 and XF27 f2.8 R WR together, all the samples shared here were shot with the X-E4 and XF27mm II.

Design of the X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 R WR

Spec-wise, the X-E4 is not going to raise any eyebrows. Sporting an already proven 26.1 megapixels BSI X-Trans IV sensor, one will confidently expect the X-E4 to produce images true to Fujifilm’s heritage and similar to imaging output from the top end X-T4, X-Pro3 and even the 2019 released X-S10.

In fact, the X-E4 comes equipped with the full updated set of 18 film simulations, including the popular Classic Negative and the newest Eterna Bleach Bypass. It does seem though that Fujifilm may have the issue of having different film simulations available across its 7 X-Trans IV bodies, for example the X-Pro3 has not received Bleach Bypass and the X-T3 / X-T30 has not received Classic Negative. Only the GFX100S gets the very newest Nostalgic Negative at the time of announcement.

Design wise, personally I love what Fujifilm has done with the 4th gen, making it the most elegantly minimalist one in the series. Ports wise, one gets the absolute necessary MIC/Remote, USB-C, HDMI ports together with a joystick amongst the standard plethora of buttons. Unlike the Fujifilm X-T4, It uses the NP-W126S battery so it is likely current users already have a few of these lying around.

Unlike the X-S10 that has very different design philosophies, the X-E4 comes with the traditional Fujifilm top plate physical dials allowing one instant access to Shutter speed, Exposure compensation adjustments. All in a camera that is actually significantly smaller than my X100V compact, which to me is one of the X-E4’s key strengths.

For the other star of this story, the 27mm f2.8 R WR lens has undergone a useful makeover. Fujifilm has listened to the users, starting with the addition of an aperture ring to the lens. I understand the optical formula in Gen 1 and Gen 2 versions has stayed unchanged however the Gen II is now also weather resistant and I find that the focusing speed has also improved, but probably due to the new current gen sensor as the last time I used the XF27 was Gen 1 with a X-Trans II sensor.

In the photo above, we can see that seated next to the very nicely clicked aperture ring is the focusing ring. All you need in a lens provided in a design shorter than a LEGO figure.

Accessories wise, other than the standard boring lens caps, Fujifilm has also included a tiny screw-in-hood designed like the one we find on the GF50mm lens. (see below). I understand that a handgrip will be available as a separate accessory.

Did you notice the hood already screwed onto the lens?

Beyond the aperture ring, Fujifilm has nicely included a ‘Auto’ value on the aperture ring that locks securely in place when set, a release button on the aperture ring completes the design. And yes! The X-E4 comes with a tilt screen now too. The tilt screen actually goes full 180 degrees for well… selfies.

Slightly different from X100V’s tilt is the X-E4’s goes full flat for selfies.

Handling and Performance

A first question to answer is probably, why a 40mm focal length equivalent lens? My humble answer is that in a world where people still ask should one use a 35mm or 50mm for street, the XF27mm f2.8 R WR strikes the perfect compromise. Not as wide as a 35mm but yet wide enough , not as intimate as a 50mm but intimate enough.

And most of all, this lens is so compact most people won’t even notice or be bothered with one photographing them. I have seen users boasting of street photography exploits with the XF50mm f1 or even the XF90mm f2, I don’t judge but frankly I am not keen on sticking out like a sore thumb in the streets.

Other specifications that might matter are that the X-E4 comes equipped with a single UHS-1 SD-card slot and a 2.36 million dots 0.62x EVF. (for comparison, the X-T4’s is a 3.69 million dots at 0.75x).

Dimensions are a compact 121.3 x 72.9 x 32.7 mm and 364 grams with the SD card and battery equipped.

Ironically, the X-E4 and XF27 II reminded me of the enjoyment I had when shooting the now discontinued Fujifilm X70, just petite enough that no one bothered with me but yet powerful and reliable enough to produce the results that I desire.

The X-E4 and XF27mm R WR kit feels like the X70 with a 50mm lens on steroids that Fujifilm should HAVE made but never did.

To get a point right off my chest is that there will be some users who will argue that at a maximum aperture of f2.8, the XF27 II is not going to produce any ‘bokeh’ for one to awe at, I do differ with this image below. f2.8 may not be seen as a large aperture but get close enough and one is easily rewarded.

Of course a f1.0 will literally obliterate the background but a lot of users in their pursuit of extremes may have forgotten the importance of aiming for a balance.

ACROS , weak grain added.

Sharpness wise, there is no contest that the XF27mm R WR lens is plenty sharp.

Philosophies and Conclusion.

In my opinion, the X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 R WR will be the X-mount siblings that are the Fujinon gems hiding in plain sight. It will lack the superlatives that marketing people will spew (stuff that I’ve grown tired of) but yet this setup will simply be the one that delivers as good a quality as its other X-Trans IV siblings imaging wise. (video wise comparisons it is a much more complicated story and I confess I lack the expertise to make a judgement on this)

The typical suspect-critics will say the X-E series lacks the sexiness of the X-Pro series or the robustness and all-roundedness of the X-T series but they forget to mention that among all these noise, the X-E series was simply all along designed and destined to be that unassuming humble camera that simply focuses on getting the job done well without having you break the bank. 

Imagine, the same X-Trans IV in the X-Pro3 was going for USD1800 at release, or the X-T4 at USD1699 and now the X-E4 costs USD849 in 2021, which to me is a pretty decent sign of value. Just yesterday another brand released a USD6500 mirrorless camera, literally costing 7.6x the price of the X-E4, in fact even more costly than the GFX100S, a medium format camera.

It may not have a titanium top plate, or even be attached with the words ‘fastest’ ‘ground-breaking’ or even ‘revolutionary’. But in all honestly, that doesn’t bother me a single bit, because this dynamic duo simply performs just like ‘that’ unassuming hardworking and humble chap we all know in our life in camera world terms.

And in this sense, well, I have to say again that, yes, the X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 R WR duo might probably be the gems hiding in plain sight that we may miss and definitely worth considering.

The X-E4 and XF27mm f2.8 R WR kit simply delivers the goods for the street photographer or the enthusiast keen on embarking his or her journey into Fujifilm X-mount.

What do you think?

Thank you for reading.

*Disclaimers:
1. The Fujifilm X-E4 and XF27mm R WR were loaned from Fujifilm Asia Pacific and returned.

My many thanks and appreciation to Mr. Keitaro So, Divisional Head of Fujifilm for providing the loan.
2. Both sets were on firmware ver 1.00 and pre-production sets.
3. All samples shared were from JPEG and minimally edited to my preferences, there is no LR support for the RAW files from X-E4 at the time of writing.

And a question I left for the last is – guess what will happen to Fujifilm’s X-A series now with the X-E series moving into the X-A price region?

29 Replies to “Review of the Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujinon XF27mm f2.8 R WR – the hidden Fujinon gems.”

    1. Hi, unfortunately I did not read in the spec sheet that the X-E4 is weather resistant and I’ll think it is not.

      Like

  1. Was looking forward to reading your thoughts on the GFX100S and found yours on the XE4 instead. Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jack. I guess the GFX100S gonna come later as the X-Photographers are probably busy testing it too 🙂

      Like

  2. Very disappointed that Fuji rip off so much from X-E3. I was waiting so long for X-E4 and regret I sold my X-E3.

    Like

    1. I feel you. Actually the delay seemed to be so long that some users guessed the X-E line was cancelled. I’m glad it did not though.

      Like

    2. I feel very lucky I haven’t sold mine. I live in the UK and WR was the must have improvement for me. The rest are nice to have but not essential in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hi Keith, I found you through Google News. I really liked your balanced write up on the new X-E4 camera. I have been a Fujifilm user for years. Although I own an X-t2 I have always prefered the Jpeg output of my old X-E2 and now X-E3 cameras. Anyway…now I have found your site I shall follow you keenly. Cheers Ian. ( Leicester , UK ).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Ian, thank you and I’m most glad to be found too. 🙂 glad my writing made meaning and is a reading enjoyment to you

        Like

  3. Thank you for this review. The 27mm lens will be joining my stable of lenses, but will most likely be mounted on my X-E3. The new camera was something that I was looking forward to, but I think I’ll stick with the previous model.

    The new version did away with too many external buttons and switches. It also for no explainable reason removed any similance of a grip. Lastly for me doing away with the strap lugs and going with slots in a deal breaker. I use rope style straps which require lugs.

    I’m sure the camera is great, but the X-E3 is also terrific. Can’t wait to mount the new lens on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Albert, I like your answer very much as they speak of not simply a blind obsession to get the newest for the sake of it.

      I was a bit surprised with the new lugs design too. But my take is Fujifilm knowing that the XE prob needs more differentiation from the XPro, XT, XS and XH series decided to push the minimalist theme more. Some will like it some will find it not and I feel that is how a well designed camera is supposed to make users feel 🙂

      Like

  4. I dunno…
    They remove many dials/buttons, the external flash, the charger… Although the titling screen is a great upgrade, I feel that the customer experience has being cut as well among the costs of the production…

    Like

    1. The removal of the charger was a shock to me haha, and it was with me paying a premium for the X-Pro3 Dura silver version too.

      For the buttons and flash etc design elements I guess it is back to again the design philosophy of the fujfilm engineers for a cleaner more minimalist user experience. Afterall , the other bodies such as the XS10 which is quite a comparable camera has the buttons and I think Fujifilm wishes to differentiate the cameras more.

      Like

  5. Was looking forward to get this camera but I think fuji’s ‘minimalism’ is more like intentional crippling; we lost the flash with the x-e3, now there’s not even an onboard grip, so you need an accessory just to use this camera with one hand. I’m sorry but the x-s10 gets the job done, this falls short in many essentials. I still use my x-e1 and love the rangefinder designs most of all, but fuji is turning the x-e line into a camera snob, leica-like, hipster product I better not buy.

    Like

    1. Hi, The X-S10 is still the more all-rounded camera for sure at USD150 more (it also has a built in flash lol) end of the day more choices isn’t bad , as it means we aren’t stuck with choices we may not like 😉

      Like

    1. Hi Maik , I double checked the box. The X-E4 body set only comes with the camera , one battery , USB cable, headphone adapter and a shoulder strap.

      Like

  6. HI, does the front element still extend slightly when focusing (like how the old version did)?

    Like

      1. Hi Keith, thanks for the confirmation on the front element. One more thing, does the new aperture ring have the same resistance and overall build quality of the “fujicrons” (16mm f2.8, 23mm f2, 35mm f2, 50mm f2)? 🙂

        Like

      2. Hi VT, very nice clicks on the aperture ring with a lock function on the ‘auto’ value selection. I’ll say build is as good but of course for video users u might find the clicks a distraction

        Like

  7. Keith, would you be so kind do share some details on the front control dial? Is it clickable or only rotating?
    Second thing I’m very interested in – is is possible to set “AF-L” button to “Focus Check” in manual focus mode?
    Please let me know if that information can be shared. Thank you!

    Like

  8. Thank you for this great review and sharing your personal opinion, that‘s what I am looking for in reviews. I just recently sold all of my Fuji equipment (xt1, xpro2, x100v, xf23f2, xf27f2.8) but the new x-e4 and the new xf27m2 will probably bring me back. I am a Leica fan because of their minimalistic user interfaces and of course the Leica glass IQ.
    I love the stripped down UI approach of the x-e4 as well as the brick design, the less button the better for me. I think that Fujis diversity in their design philosophy is the right approach to service a large user base, you can choose basically the same sensor and processor tech in different form factors, … smart move 😉

    Like

  9. Thank you for this great review and sharing your personal opinion, that‘s what I am looking for in reviews. I just recently sold all of my Fuji equipment (xt1, xpro2, x100v, xf23f2, xf27f2.8) but the new x-e4 and the new xf27m2 will probably bring me back. I am a Leica fan because of their minimalistic user interfaces and of course the Leica glass IQ.
    I love the stripped down UI approach of the x-e4 as well as the brick design, the less button the better for me. I think that Fujis diversity in their design philosophy is the right approach to service a large user base, you can choose basically the same sensor and processor tech in different form factors, … smart move 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hans, 😱 u sold all your Fuji stuff ! (But hey, I do love exactly what you love about Leica too haha) Leica glass is frankly the main reason for my attraction towards it too.

      The X-E4 to me is nice as it’s frankly like the Leica X2 / X-E / CL (digital) in design aspects too.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s