. . . Please note the title of this post is “Why I Won’t Be Upgrading” and not “Why You shouldn’t upgrade”.
To quote a much used though oh-so-relevant phrase, we do indeed `live in a throwaway society`. Whether it be a car, a TV, or a camera, there is an underlying (almost genetic) predisposition to commit oneself to a lifelong search for the holy grail of perfection. That indefinable something, that x-factor which (once found) will bring skills you never knew you had and an (as yet) undiscovered nirvana.
With regards photography (and cameras in particular), this has never been more prevalent. Nowadays it seems there’s an updated model released every 6 months to one year, often with very little more than `window dressing` as improvements. The Fuji X-E2 is a case in point.
Let’s not forgot also the commonly ignored or overlooked issue of depreciation and the not inconsiderable sums of money lost when selling your `old model`, but more on that later.
I will start by comparing the differences between the `old` X-E1 and the X-E2. No, scrub that, I’ll start by comparing the non-differences. From the outside you’d be hard pressed to see any difference. On the front, there’s the X-E2 badge obviously. However, like me you may have covered that on your X-E1 with a small square of black electrical tape. So no advantage for me there.
And . . . that’s it for the front of the camera. Now let’s move to the rear.
Here things are a little different. Most of the button layouts are the same, however some have been moved to new locations. The ‘Q’ menu button has been moved, as has the AF button. However, much of the new layout is already achievable on the X-E1 via the custom button menu functions. The X-E2 now features a Fn2 button where the AF button used to be, though once again, the X-E1 can have one of these on the lower button of the 4-way controller, via the custom button menu.
One button that’s been removed completely is the `View Mode`. Now I for one have found this to be quite useful. On the odd occasion, I may want to be extra stealthy/sneaky/covert etc and with a quick press of the view button, I can sneak a shot with the live view. Two more presses and I’m back in EVF. Not anymore as it’s now hidden in a menu. A definite backwards step for me.
Further, the rear screen is now 3″ with 1.04M dots as opposed to the ‘pitiful’ 2.8″ 420k dots of the X-E1. And that brings me nicely to my second grumble. The rear screen of a camera is intended as a means of checking whether the photo’s you’ve recently taken are ‘keepers’ or not, period. It’s not intended as a ‘desktop quality’ image editing facility. That’s what your computer at home is for. So why the need for ‘clearer than life’ displays on the back of a digital camera, especially if the display already fitted is more than up to the job?
Then there’s the top of the camera, which I won’t even spend the time photoshopping a side-by-side comparison of. The differences are that the Flash Sync on the main dial now shows 180/sec and the ‘A’ is now ‘spaced a little further away’.
Moving onto the internals of the camera.
The X-E2 features basically the same X-Trans Sensor as that of the X-E1, the only difference being it now has a `ii` after the name. Still the same 16 megapixels, the same pixel size, the same fantastic and revolutionary non-Bayer Pattern array.
I’m being childish of course as it now comes with Phase Detection Auto Focus. However, I never noticed any deficiency with the old system, probably because I only shoot in manual focus.
Mind you, there’s now a `Lens Modulation Optimizer`. In a nutshell this means your pictures will be `even sharper`. Even Sharper ? When the X-Series of cameras were released, photographers fell over themselves to announce just `how sharp` and clear the photographs were and that the old Leica benchmark was a thing of the past. Now the Fuji’s images are `even sharper`. Just how sharp does a picture need to be ? Fuji proudly advertise that their sensors faithfully recreate the feeling and quality of Silver Halide Film. Film and sharpness ? I don’t think so.
The X-E2 still features the same and excellent 2.36M OLED EVF. Good as it is one of the best in the business.
The X-E2 will now `rattle off` 7 Frames Per Second compared to the asthmatic 6 of the X-E1. Hang on a second, when was the last time I used burst mode on the street, and even if I did, surely 6 FPS is more than enough ?
Buffer Refresh Rate has been increased. Why ? I don’t recall ever encountering a situation where I was unable to take a picture because the buffer was full. Back to the previous 6 FPS question.
It’s also worth pointing out that many of the new features of the X-E2 will shortly be available on the X-E1 with the soon to be released Firmware Update. Click here for more details and roll on the 19th December 2013.
I’m sorry if I sound like a sour puss, or an old stick in the mud. Remember this article is about why I won’t be upgrading but if you intend to do so, then `fill yer boots` (I hate that phrase 🙂 ), but maybe I can best describe my feelings about the X-E2 with a `good old` car analogy ?
Let’s assume you have a 4 month old car (that’s how long I’ve had the X-E1). An updated model is released. It will now do 127mph as opposed to 124. It comes with 2 more cup holders (as though the 10 it already has isn’t enough) and now features airbags in the boot to protect your golf clubs. Would you be tempted ?
Well that’s enough of the technical reasons, so let’s move on to the financial concerns.
I purchased the X-E1 just 4 months ago (didn’t I just say that) and cost me £899 which included the 18-55mm zoom lens.
Now let’s assume I decide to upgrade to the X-E2. I would keep the 18-55 but sell the body on eBay, which (at the time) if purchased separately would have cost £799 and are currently selling at a used price of around £300. The 18-55 currently sells for about £280. Therefore, adding the two together makes £580. I’m already down by around £300 on the original purchase price and that’s before taking off approximately 15% in eBay and PayPal fees which work out at around £70. Now I’m about £370 down on my 4 month old purchase, if I sold the body AND lens.
So I sell the body for £255 (after fees) and then purchase the X-E2 Body currently costing £799. This means that with the money from the X-E1, I will be down by £544. Add this to the £300 from the original X-E1 purchase and I stand to lose £844. 😀
Even worse, imagine I’d bought the camera with one of those fantastic `2 Year Interest Free` offers. £899 purchase price over 24 months equates to £38 per month x 4 payments = £152 which leaves a balance owing of £747 minus the £255 for the body I’ve just sold. This leaves me owing £492. I then purchase the X-E2 costing £799 then add the £492 I still owe which comes to a grand total loss of £1,290.
And remember, in one years time the X-E3 will come out and the whole sorry episode will start again and I’ll still be owing for the two previous cameras.
“We live in a throwaway society”. Nothing these days has value. I remember a time when you bought a camera and expected it to last 10 years or even a lifetime. If it broke down, you sent it to your local repair man/woman. Nowadays that shiny new state-of-the-art camera will be up on the ‘bay 3 months later and sold for a third of it’s purchase price. There’s nothing wrong with it and it still takes those same gorgeous pictures which made you buy it in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong. New ‘stuff’ is great and I’ll be the first to admit to many severe cases of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). However, when the piece of kit I already own is more than up to the job and for that matter, is barely out of it’s wrapper, I wouldn’t want to upgrade for the sake of two more cupholders ? 😉
Of course there will be many for whom changing to the X-E2 will be a sound decision. Mike Kobal is one such photographer and you can read all about it in his excellent article & photography blog here Mike Kobal – Fuji X-E2. Is it worth to upgrade?
If you are looking to buy a used Fuji X-E2, there are always a fine selection for sale here on ebay