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Thread: A review of sorts, XE-2S vs Nikon D3

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    A review of sorts, XE-2S vs Nikon D3

    This was over in the thread comparing the 2 to the 2S. Thought I'd make a new thread so maybe more people read it or notice it. Might be of use to some.

    OK, here's a review of sorts of a Nikon D3 users impressions of the Fuji XE-2S over 5 days.

    I have a friend and Fuji fan and he and I had been looking at the new offerings for awhile. He is/was waiting for the XPro2 and I was more interested in the XE-2 as I was looking for a lower entry fee. He owns and used to use the Fuji DSLR, S5? I think. He always raved about the files but was also a Nikon shooter, D700, D3s and older D2h cameras.

    Two weeks ago he rented the XPro2 and 18/35/50-140 lenses. I had a few hours with it. Since we both came from decades with Leica M's we like it. That led me to rent the XE-2s and 23/56 lens combo.

    I don't have any way to convert the RAF files though I shot RAW and JPG my views are all JPG in PhotoMechanic. The Fuji JPGs are I don't have to tell you stunning.
    I liked very much the simulated film modes and that is something I didn't expect to like. I shot ISO's up to 6400 and they look pretty plastic and processed. I turned the in camera NR down to -2 and that helped. Had I a RAF file convertor it would have been a different story. But that is not to say I'm disappointed in the high ISO performance. ISO 1600, so perfect right out of camera and 3200 are a breeze. We accidentally using the "Q" button set the camera to Auto ISO with a 1600 cap. I use auto ISO with the D3 and here it also worked very well.

    The sharpness of the lenses is superb. I LOVE that 56mm 1.2. Just stupid good to use technical terms. I love the look of the files. Sharp but smooth, not jagged. Again I'm trusting in camera JPG processing. The have a depth and round things look round if that makes sense. I like the way the lenses "draw" an image to use a term by someone who's name I forget. I did no fancy testing. I shot from wide open to 5.6.

    Some of the handling and placement of buttons is odd. The aperture rings don't lock on "A". Thats odd. So there is stuff to get used to. There are features I wish the Xe had that the XPro does as far as button placement focus point toggle etc.

    I don't know I'd very use manual focus though I did give it a good trial. When I did it is sharp.

    I LOVED the built in square crop. Love that.

    So where does it fall short of a Nikon D3? CF focus can't match my 8? year old D3 and all my lenses but 1 are old time screw drive AF lenses. It just couldn't keep up with fast moving people. I found that a disappointment. And even though I had the Fuji set to shoot even if the image wasn't in focus (as I do with the D3) there was still such a lag between me saying SHOOT and the camera doing it. Also, there is no mirror to move out of the way and yet the blackout of a mirror less camera is longer than an SLR. So between the slow follow focus and slow shutter button response I was bummed.

    So except that I'm really used to a D3 and how it operates and the speed it operates I loved the Fuji. If I had one I'd add a grip. The camera is almost too small. Or I'd get an XPro2 but that is a $1000 bump in body price. That's two lenses!!.

    I'm an ex-pro shooter. What I shoot now mostly besides just family stuff is live music in clubs and at festivals. Hi ISO is super important. There is a NYC club I shoot where I have seen ISO 10,000 at 1.8, 1/60. Now that is dark. Using Nikon NX2 RAW conversion I can get silly good quality at even 10,000.

    Shooting the Newport Folkfest ISO's aren't that high but I've got to have reliable and fast CF. I sort of see the composition in my head and move a focus point or points to that area and use the rear focus button to follow and track. I don't think the EX-2 would do it. The image quality would be fine, I have no question of that it's just the focus and speed of operation and exposure.

    I'm not the multi system guy I used to be. Years ago I shot Nikon, Leica, 'Blad, 4x5 field and monorail cameras and an old 8x10 Kodak wooden camera. Now, it's the D3.

    I'm pretty sure I will get a Fuji XE or XPro. I do want a camera smaller than the Nikon and I want a different experience than the Nikon. I have no interest in a smaller or lesser Nikon.

    So there it is. A sort of review. The XE isn't a D3 but the D3 isn't an XE. Same as a Leica wasn't an F2AS.

    IMAGE below ISO 200, 56mm @1.4 1/60 jpg
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    Last edited by neils; 30th March 2016 at 02:39. Reason: grammer

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