Fujifilm X-E4 Thoughts….

I wasn’t intending to write this article. I had other things that I wanted to talk about. There are a couple new film simulation recipes I’ve created that I plan to share. I want to give my thoughts on the new GFX100S. I want to talk more about the GFX-50S that Fujifilm sent me to use. There are a couple of lens reviews that I’ve been procrastinating on. The Android version of the Fuji X Weekly App is edging closer to being finished. But, the upcoming Fujifilm X-E4 has been turning inside my brain all day, so that’s why I’m writing about it instead.

I think a lot of people had high hopes and expectations for the Fujifilm X-E4, and nobody really predicted what it ended up being. It’s like when the X-Pro3 was announced, and everyone was scratching their heads. With the X-Pro3, even though so many didn’t understand it, I think there was a pretty large curiosity towards it, and a lot of people came around to it after awhile. The X-E4 has a similar lack of understanding surrounding it, but it doesn’t carry that same curiosity, so it will likely be fairly ignored. It’s already been overshadowed by other gear announcements.

There was a post I published back in July called Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do in 2021 & Beyond. I suggested that Fujifilm should make a less-expensive 100MP GFX camera. Guess what? They did! Another thing I suggested is that Fujifilm should do more to differentiate the X-E4 from the X-T30 (and the eventual X-T40) because the X-E3 and the X-T20 were so very similar (aside from camera shape). Well, it looks like they did that, too. My apologies.

The question is: what was Fujifilm thinking when they designed the X-E4? What was their vision? That’s tough to know until the tell us, if they tell us, as they might not. Until then, we’re left guessing, and most of the guesses seems to be along the lines of, “They cheapened the X-E line.” I really don’t believe that was their intention.

As I’ve thought about this, I believe the X-E4 is intended to be a minimalist’s “just shoot” camera. Looking at all of the aspects of an X-E3, the designers asked themselves, “Is this necessary?” If the answer was yes, it stayed, perhaps repositioned or redesigned. If the answer was no, to the chopping block it went! I question if the rear wheel and focus-type-selector were really unnecessary, because I think they’re both quite handy. But someone obviously didn’t think so. An ISO dial on the shutter knob (like the X100V) would have been a great addition, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately. I do believe the design of the X-E4 was very intentional, and there was a purpose to the decisions, even if I don’t fully understand them myself.

Besides being a “just shoot” camera, I think the X-E4 was intended to be a smaller pocketable-ish camera, like the X100V or the X70. Remember the X70? It was the short-lived baby-brother to the X100T, with an 18.5mm fixed-lens. Sony suddenly stopped production of the X-Trans II sensor, which the X70 used, and that killed the camera. The X-Trans III sensor was too hot to place inside the small X70 body, so an X80 never happened. Is the X-E4 actually an interchangeable-lens X80? Maybe. Attach one of Fujifilm’s pancake lenses—the 18mm f/2 or 27mm f/2.8—to the X-E4 and it could pass as an X70 successor. It wasn’t very long ago that Fujifilm said there would be no X-E4, that the X-E3 was the end of the line, so maybe the initial vision of this camera wasn’t X-E at all. Just a thought.

Where I think the Fujifilm X-E4 makes the most sense is as a lightweight, compact, carry-everywhere camera. It could nicely complement the X100V. It might be a good option to replace an aging X70. Or, if you never purchased an X70 but always wanted to, this might be a solid alternative. Maybe the XF10 never interested you because of its sluggish performance, Bayer sensor, and PASM dial, but you’d love a compact X-Trans option. Well, now you have one.

My opinion is that if you can make peace with the minimalistic redesign, and you get yourself the 18mm f/2 and/or the 27mm f/2.8—maybe even use a wrist strap instead of a neck strap—this camera could be a very nice travel/street/have-with-you-wherever-you-go option. Is it perfect? No, but what camera is?

Like a lot of you, I’m disappointed that the Fujifilm X-E4 isn’t the camera that many of us thought it could or should be, but as I’ve pondered what it is exactly that Fujifilm created, I can see its place and it does make some sort of sense. If you embrace it for what it is, and perhaps think of it more as an interchangeable-lens X80 than an X-E camera, than I think the X-E4 could actually be a wonderful and fun option.

I say all of this, but I’ve never used or even held an X-E4, so this rant should be taken with a grain of salt. I was initially bummed by the camera because my expectations were off, but now that I’ve had time to dwell on it I’m actually beginning to warm up to it. I think the X-E4, like many of the X-E cameras that came before, will go under the radar and will be under appreciated, but for those who own one, it will be a joy to use.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-E4 (Body Only)   Amazon  B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 (w/27mm f/2.8)   Amazon  B&H

36 comments

  1. veijom · January 31

    I don’t see that this camera would be picked by other than enthusiasts. And enthusiasts didn’t get what they want but what Fujifilm decided. I personally really like the smallest possible ilc camera idea, but am wanting WR and modern viewfinder at the same time. And more user configurable knobs. Make it expensive and what someone really wants and that sells despite the price. I am not totally counting out the idea of still buying it used later but not seeing it worth the full price.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 31

      My suggestion was to make one of the cameras, the X-E4 or X-T40, weather sealed as a way to further differentiate the two. There’s still hope for the X-T40, obviously it’s not the X-E4….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mario D'Amato · January 31

    I love my X100V so i will not buy another camera.
    For something really pocketable i prefer a smartphone.
    Lots of people don’t understand the extended possibilities with flash that the X100V has, they don’t know what’s a leaf shutter neither a nd filter. They don’t don’t know or they don’t care to the possibility of using flash at 1/4.000 of a second to dim the daylight.
    For this people i think the XE-4 will be seeing as a beautifull, tiny and good camera.
    I think maybe the XE-4 is the end of X-T100, X-T200 and the X-A7, is the new enter level.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 31

      That’s a great point: the X100V has a leaf shutter, wonderful built-in fill-flash, and the ND filter. The X-E4 won’t have any of these.
      I don’t see the X-E4 as the new “entry-level” model replacing the X-T200 or X-A7. It would have a PASM dial and they wouldn’t have removed the full-auto switch if that were the case. I think, more than anything, the camera’s being misunderstood because the vision of what an X-E camera is has changed, at least a little, and Fujifilm hasn’t communicated what that vision is, so we’re all guessing.

      Like

  3. visor69 · January 31

    To be honest, I was expecting something like the X100V without OVF with interchangeable lenses and the same set of controls… But this camera, in my opinion, is ideologically closer to the XF10 than to the X100V.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 31

      I agree: I was expecting and hoping for something closer to the X100V (except interchangeable-lens), and what was announced is definitely not that. Regarding the “ideologically closer to the XF10″… I think in portability and pocket-ability, yes, definitely… but, outside of that, I don’t think so because the X-E4 doesn’t have a PASM dial and Fujifilm removed the full-auto switch, so I don’t think getting closer to the ideology of the XF10 was the intention.

      Like

  4. Marc Beebe · January 31

    You’ve fallen into the trap of thinking camera model designations should make some sort of relativistic sense. They don’t. 😀
    Sounds like something from the “less is more” school of design, which I like. Doesn’t matter as I’ll never afford one anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 31

      Lol! Very true. I picture the designers carefully considering the philosophy and vision of the model… but that’s probably very far from reality. Less is more can absolutely be a good thing, and I’m hoping it is. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  5. Ryan Guldbrandsen · January 31

    If i bought this camera. I wiuld be worried about updates…or the lack of updates.
    If i knew this camera would get the same updates as the x-t4. I would buy it. But i highly doubt they will. It will just be left behind. Just as the x-e3 was

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 31

      I don’t think there will be many, if any, groundbreaking updates for the camera, probably very minor bug fixes only. I hope we’re wrong, but I think what you predict will be true.

      Like

  6. Awy · January 31

    Hi, in one of your x100v article I have read as below, can you please let me know if the latest xe4 camera also has below mentioned jpeg change settings/option??

    Below is from your article:-
    “Something that sets the X100V apart from other Fujifilm cameras are the new JPEG options, such as Clarity, Color Chrome Effect Blue and B&W Toning, among several other things. Unsurprisingly, the new Classic Negative film simulation, which has received much praise, is just incredible! Perhaps even more important is the ability to save white balance shifts with each custom preset.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 31

      I haven’t seen or held the X-E4 in person, nor have I seen the manual, but I believe that will be true for the X-E4, but I’m not 100% sure. It should have the same JPEG options as the X-T4.

      Like

  7. Mickennedy · February 1

    Regarding the new Fuji X-E4. Will this new camera be compatible with longstanding 27 mm 2.8 pancake lens – now known as the Mark I version?

    I have both an X100F and an X-T2. While both cameras have the same sensor, I regard the X100F as a street camera and the X-T2 as a stripped down street camera for more serious experiences – like Old Delhi, Pushkar and Varanasi. By stripped down, I mean an interchangeable 23mm f2.8 and a writ strap. I also use the mark I pancake lens with the X-T2.

    The X-E4 has a certain appeal, even though photography is a hobby for me – not a profession. However, I’m flirting with buying the new camera because I like the sleep range-finder body. At the sane time, I’m willing to admit that I don’t need any extra gear and I’m just getting caught up in some irrational fever.

    If I cannot use the traditional pancake lens with the X-E4, then that settles the issue for me, and I can go to rehab for a week and shake this fever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 1

      The “old” 27mm f/2.8 pancake will absolutely work on the X-E4. The only difference between the new and old versions of the lens are weather sealing (makes a difference on the X-T2 since it’s weather sealed, but not on the X-E4 since it’s not) and the aperture ring. Otherwise the two versions of the 27mm f/2.8 are the same, and both will work on the X-E4. My guess, to change the aperture on the “old” lens, you’ll have to program the front wheel on the X-E4 to adjust aperture, which shouldn’t be difficult to do, and might even be the default setting anyway.

      Like

  8. RM · February 1

    I think this review pretty much sums it up: https://youtu.be/_3i_iwYmuco

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gareth · February 1

    I guess no one has noticed it’s similarity to the X-M1? To be, this is the successor to that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • walker · February 1

      … I dreamed an X-M1 w/ an EVF. Very true what you say. I moved away from the X-M1 because it had not the EVF, but I absolutely loved its simplicity and superb IQ (unfortunately it was very underrated)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 1

      I have an X-M1, I don’t think it’s particularly similar. The X-M1 is plastic, has a PASM dial, no EVF, and clearly was a cheap entry-level. Still produces decent image quality, though.

      Like

  10. Joel · February 1

    Hi Ritchie
    Job well done on the recipes and the site, appreciate all the hard work.
    Fujifilm journey started on the X-A1, then X-T20, now X-H1.

    So basically the X-E4 is the answer to a question nobody asked?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 1

      It might be, but I really feel it’s essentially an interchangeable-lens X70 (but updated with the X-Trans IV sensor), so made for travel, street, carry-everywhere. I appreciate the comment!

      Like

  11. Achim Pancke · February 6

    I have preordered the Fujifilm X-E4 in Silver with the 27mm lens. What a beautiful Camera!

    I travel a lot for work (field engineer) and for fun, both worldwide. I shoot jpeg and love the Film Simulations. I like how simple it is to transfer the photos to my IPad. After 10 or more hours in front of a computer I don’t want to sit more time to edit photos. I shoot photos for relaxation. This lightweight and small Camera is what I have waited for. It has enough dials and buttons.

    Imagine a X-E4 with WR and stabilization, better EVF, better battery life, better grip and higher price point. Maybe this will be released this or next year and the name will be X-Pro3 or 4!

    I think Fujifilm made a good decision to produce not only cameras for everyone with everything what is technical possible. For someone who wants everything a X-T4 has … buy an X-T4!

    The X-E4 is not for everyone, but for me and maybe you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 7

      The X-E4, which, with one of the pancake lenses, is like an interchangeable-lens X80 (fictional X70 successor), is a great travel option! I think it will be a fun camera.
      A lot of people had hoped for the WR, stabilization, grip, battery life, etc., and were disappointed when that didn’t happen. I think an X-Pro3, but smaller and with IBIS, would do well, but it would certainly would be a “premium” model and not mid-level, and would likely be double the price of the X-E4. I’m not sure if that’s in Fujifilm’s plans or not.
      I appreciate the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Charles · February 6

    I pre-ordered one. I have an XP-2 and an X-70. My need for the XP-2 is diminishing and the X-70 gets 90% of my time. I’d Love an X-80 but there won’t be one. This might be physically small enough to replace the X-70 while giving me the new processor, sensor and film simulations as well as allowing me to use the 35mm 1.4. If it’s not small enough it goes back. Fewer buttons, yes, however truthfully I use just 3 on my XP-2 so…. Also, were it not for Steve Jobs insistence the iPhone would likely have 16 buttons and a dial by now. Turns out we didn’t need all that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 7

      Great points! Less can be more, fore sure! I think the X-E4 can definitely be an X70 replacement, especially paired with the 18mm f/2. The 35mm f/1.4 might be large on it, but the 35mm f/2 (which is the Fujinon lens I use the most) might be small enough to go well with the X-E4. I appreciate the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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  17. Michael Eric Bérubé · February 28

    Personally, I set my Fujis up to be as simple as my film cameras were. I almost always use Auto ISO and Auto WB and I need to mess with these shot to shot as I am comfortable with the range I set for ISO and AWB does a pretty darned good job….I almost always shoot Aperture Priority (again with the minimum Shutter Speed set to a generally hand holdable setting with OIS lenses that I usually use as well.) IF the lens has an aperture ring, I use that, otherwise I use the front dial for aperture just like my Nikons were set up to use with G lenses. I generally always shoot in RAW (Though I will be dabbling with your formulas now that I’ve found your site…but for ‘fun’ not for ‘work.’) As such, I don’t bother to switch my ‘film’ profiles around most of the time. I like Classic Chrome, but can choose what I want in Lightroom later along with all the other exposure ‘HSL’ stuff. (I tend toward Astia for exteriors and Classic Chrome for interiors.) I leave my Dynamic range and the rest set to my preferences all the time deep in the menus. If I’m shooting with an AF lens, I prefer AF-S using a single point AF in the middle of the screen rather than the fancy AF-C or tracking features. (Just like all my film cameras had….focus from the center and recompose the shot…40 years of muscle memory in that, I’m not likely to change now no matter how many AF-C points using AI are in the camera.) If I’m shooting with MF lenses, I’m going to set WHICH lens I’m using up in the menu anyhow…not having the MSC switch on the front doesn’t bother me as I rarely use it. (I do NOT shoot video at all with my FujiX bodies…I have a stabilized Fimi Palm for that.)

    I’m always hitting the darned Q button accidentally on my X-E3 so having it in a tougher to reach spot is actually an improvement for me. I use the AEL mostly when fill flashing a strongly backlighted subject (sunset?). I never focus using ‘back button’, I have nearly 20 years of additional muscle memory (since going AF) using the shutter half press.

    I would have probably preferred a more standard strap lug, but I can make nice stitched leather strap extensions for my Peak Design anchors as I did for my X-A1. IF they don’t ship the production models with some protection for the LCD ribbon (none of the pre-production ‘test’ models have such) we’ll almost also certainly see a lot of DIY tutorials pop up showing folks how to best adhere a slim piece of protective plastic for the ribbon. I’ll figure something out (even if it’s just a few layers of duct tape!) because I WOULD almost certainly break that with my clumsy fingers.

    This camera is the Fuji I’ve been hoping and asking for since I switched to Fuji (11 Fuji Bodies ago) in 2014. I prefer the X-E style bodies even to the X-T and X-PRO bodies I’ve owned, but I was really frustrated when they announced the X-E3 because I don’t need a ‘touch screen’ and liked the 4 way controller rather than the joy stick but wanted it to flip out like this. I initially skipped the X-E3 entirely in protest, but got one used as a trade just a short time ago. I’ve come to like it, but I’m also kept one of my X-E2 bodies. Seriously, I would have been elated with just an X-E2 body with a flip LCD (I liked the popup flash!) and the latest sensor & processors, but I think I’m going to like the stripped down body of this X-E4 too. I don’t think Fuji made an error here and when it hits the streets we’ll hear a lot more praise about it once more people start playing more with them.

    It will likely replace my X-PRO3 as my daily work camera. (which means I’ll end up with at least two of the X-E4 bodies…one in each colour.) On the fly, I need to be able to easily shoot waist level and over head (I shoot Real Estate for a living)…to change my aperture easily and to be able to chimp quickly. IF I want to change my shutter, there is a dial for that. Aperture? There is a dial for that. ISO/WB I let the camera chose within the parameters I find acceptable.

    Less is more and as long as I can have a menu item for everything else, give me the smallest camera that will hold my XF10-24 and I’m happy. I’m very excited. In the end we’re only really ‘losing’ the rear thumb dial and ONE button on the back…a dedicated ISO dial and MSC switch…everything else just got moved around. I can live with it I think. Like the weird flip DOWN LCD on the X-PRO3…after a day of shooting, it will likely all be second nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 1

      I really think you’ll love the X-E4! It sounds like pretty much the perfect camera for you. I pre-ordered one myself, and I’m hoping it will be the “right” body for what I want to use it for. I think it could be. Thank you for the thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. BaRTZap · April 20

    Ah thanks for posting this article. Now I’ve just understood why Fujifilm do not produce X80.

    Liked by 1 person

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