A wishlist for the X-E4

Hello everyone, this article is all about sharing my unconditional love for the X-E3 and my Wishlist for its successor. If you are like me who love the compactness of this little camera and the power of delivering amazing results, please continue to read this article and share with me your Wishlist for the successor.

The X-E3 was on my hand as a result of an unexpected purchase during my holiday 18 months ago. It was my first rangefinder-style camera and I fell in love with it from the moment I picked it up. It is really small and compact but unfortunately not nice to hold on with my big hands. Despite that, I have no problem with one-hand operation and I always love to pair it with the XF35mm F/1.4 and do my street shoots.

For your information, I also own an X-T3 and an X100V and I must say that the experience of using an X-E3 is different from them. Like it’s brother, X100V, the X-E3 is a compact camera, but one of the major differences is that the X-E3 has the capability of changing lenses. However, it comes with a small grip and so it’s also “suggested” that it is more suitable for small and lightweight lenses, for example, XF23mm F/2 and XF50mm F/2. You can try pairing it with larger lenses, but I am sure you won’t be happy with the shooting experience.

I have three main reasons why I like the X-E3. The first one is that it is easily my first choice of camera if I want to travel for a short casual holiday trip. I will bring 1 or 2 lenses together with this camera in a small camera bag to run around. The second reason is that there are times when I just want to carry a featherlight gear with an XF35mm lens while doing some grocery shopping or over a dinner session. The third reason is that when I get “tired” of bringing my X-T3 and wish to have a change of “mood”, this little buddy really helps to refresh my mind and re-think on my shoots.

What are the drawbacks? Not many. But these are my Wishlist for the X-E4, and I hope Fujifilm will address most of them (let’s assume X-E4 will be the name of the successor):

1. Handgrip
The ergonomic design of this camera has a minor flaw, and that is the handgrip. I do hope Fujifilm will continue to keep its current design but with improved handgrip. Addition metal grip does improve the handgrip handling, but it too makes the overall size bigger. So Fujifilm, let’s not do this.

2. EVF
The resolution of the EVF needs to be improved with a higher refresh rate (at least somewhere on-par with X-Pro3’s EVF) and include a larger viewing panel. The current resolution and refresh rate are not terrible to use in broad daylight and well-lit indoor environment. But it is absolutely terrible when using in low light environments. It’s sometimes laggy, colour deems to be washed and introducing lots of noise while framing through the EVF. I have no idea if it is due to any of my configuration setting, but it makes my photographing experience less enjoyable. And also, higher magnification is most welcome, 0.62x is really small.

3. Rear Screen
Talking about rear articulated screens, from vlogging style flipping screen to much-debated hidden screen, Fujifilm has basically come out with all sort of articulated screens. So what kind of screen should the X-E4 implement from the latest iteration of each category?

1. X-Pro3 hidden screen design
2. X-T4 flip screen design
3. X100V tilt screen design

I think X-Pro3’s hidden screen design is a unique design generating lots of discussions. I believe everyone is familiar with the pros and cons of this screen design. And I also think we should leave the uniqueness of the hidden screen design to X-Pro3 and its successor. As for selfie/vlogging screen, Fujifilm has provided a wonderful line-up, i.e.: X-T4, X-T200 and X-A7, for users to choose from. Hence, I think we can also skip this screen design.

And that’s left with the last option, and I must say I love how X100V’s rear screen is tilted and flush nicely to the camera body when closed. The tilt screen is really helpful when you want to do a hip-level shooting. I also presume that a rangefinder camera is always more suitable for photography rather than videography, and the X100V’s style of tilting screen is definitely a nice touch. I hope the X-E4 will adopt this idea from the X100V. And as one would expect, the screen resolution should be better than the current 1.04 million dots.

4. X-Trans “X”
The sensor is one of the most important components in the camera and the X-E3 houses an X-Trans CMOS III sensor. The X-Trans CMOS III was first introduced with the X-Pro2 in 2016. In my opinion, it is still a very capable sensor and still produces wonderful images. Surely, we all know that the X-E4 shouldn’t be using X-Trans III anymore.

So here is the question: should it be using X-Trans 4 (introduced in 2018) or the next generation X-Trans processor?

If the X-E4 uses an X-Trans 4, I think it is fine. The X-Trans 4 is a good sensor, and it is powering Fujifilm’s newest flagship models, X-T4 and X-Pro3, which I deem that this sensor will still have a few more years to run in its lifespan. On top of that, this helps Fujifilm to optimize their R&D and manufacturing cost. In this perspective, it is beneficial for the company.

Then what are the benefits if Fujifilm decided to use the next-gen X-Trans sensor?

First, if Fujifilm does not intend to refresh the X-E line-up frequently, I think using a newer image sensor will help to extend the longevity of the X-E4. Does it mean that the X-Trans 4 is outdated? I don’t think so. There are many other hardware and software to be considered besides the sensor.

Second, the X-E4 users will feel that they have made their investments worthy by not getting a dated sensor.

Last, it should catch everyone by surprise with this approach (probably good for marketing launch), but it might spark some discussion.

With these opinions, should Fujifilm use X-Trans 4 or the next generation X-Trans sensor on the X-E4? Either one, I have no complaints, but I hope for the latter.
Besides all the above mentioned, I am expecting Fujifilm to include USB-C charging, same NP-W126S battery, improved autofocusing speed and improved build quality. Still, I am not expecting to have weather sealing.

That’s all for what I think the X-E4 can be better in many ways. Fujifilm has a good record of listening to its consumers, and I also hope Fujifilm will listen to my opinions on the X-E4 and make many minor improvements over the X-E3. All in all, this is my Wishlist for the X-E4. What’s yours? Do you wish to see this line-up to be continued?

Alwin is a 37 years old engineer, husband and Fujifilm fanboy from Singapore. His first encounter with Fujifilm was the launch of the X10 in 2012. It was love at first sight. It was a joyful compact camera and it also introduced film simulations to him. But what brought him deep into Fujifilm was the X-T2 and the love grows further. He loves to experience and discover many genres.

17 Comments

  1. I was a late adopter of the X-E3, only buying one on a whim when the price dropped to $500 (it’s back up a bit now).

    I loved the X-T2 and Xpro2 cameras because they were much smaller and lighter than my Nikon full frame cameras, and I was shocked at how small and light the X-E3 was compared those those fore mentioned Fujis. Now, when heading out with nothing in particular in mind, I grab the X-E3 simply because it gives all of the image quality of the other Fujis at a fraction of the size.

    I have all of the Fujicrons, including the 16mm f/2.8 which I include even though the aperture isn’t f/2, and they are perfect on the X-E3. I recently started using my 35mm f/1.4 on the X-E3 and find it to be a perfectly balanced and nimble setup for general photography. However, for me, my 16mm f/1.4 is way too big for the petite body, so that stays on the larger Fujis. I have not used any zooms on the X-E3.

    In my opinion, I prefer the X-E3 over the X100 series (I have the original X100) for two reasons: First, while the hybrid finder is “cool”, the WYSIWYG ability to do exposure compensation without needless bracketing makes me stay on EVF always, so I don’t miss the OVF. Second, no matter how minimalist you might want to be, the ability to change glass is great. I know there are front mounted optical converters for the X100 series, but they are limited and huge. An X-E3 with a tiny Fujicron and one more in a pocket is much more versatile.

    If there is an X-E4, my hope would be that any upgrades would not come at a cost to maintaining the size. If they start adding hinges and linkage for the finder and the size starts growing, it would eliminate the advantage over the Xpro series.

    If we’re fantasizing, it would be cool if the could make a mono only camera (ala Leica) with optimized performance in that genre. Purely cosmetic, I’d like to have the options of finishes like the Xpro3.

    With rumors of the demise of the X-E class months ago, the hope for an X-E4 is welcome. This class of camera is a real strength for Fujifilm.

    1. Hi Albert,

      Seems like I have found a person who like the XF35mm f/1.4 with X-E3 combination as me. Isn’t it a wonderful sweet setup for general purpose shoot?

      Yes. I agree with you that XF16mm f/1.4 is way too big for such a body, unfortunately that’s the widest autofocus lens that I have. When I carry them, I always hold the lens instead on the handgrip. This is why I hope they will improve the grip handling for slightly better comfort for mounting bigger lens.

      I also agree with you that “X-E4” should remain as compact as X-E3 and not going bigger and comparable with X-Pro series. All in all, as a fan of X-E series, we love to keep thing small and compact with the other small XF lenses. Cheers!

      1. “…I agree with you that XF16mm f/1.4 is way too big for such a body, unfortunately that’s the widest autofocus lens that I have….”

        It might seem like a redundant extravagance, but do take a look at the 16mm f/2.8. I love the f/1.4, but if I know that I’m going to be outside and using the middle of the aperture ring, the tiny f/2.8 model is terrific. I have both and use the f/2.8 lens about 80% of the time when I shoot 16mm.

  2. Hi Albert,

    Seems like I have found a person who like the XF35mm f/1.4 with X-E3 combination as me. Isn’t it a wonderful sweet setup for general purpose shoot?

    Yes. I agree with you that XF16mm f/1.4 is way too big for such a body, unfortunately that’s the widest autofocus lens that I have. When I carry them, I always hold the lens instead on the handgrip. This is why I hope they will improve the grip handling for slightly better comfort for mounting bigger lens.

    I also agree with you that “X-E4” should remain as compact as X-E3 and not going bigger and comparable with X-Pro series. All in all, as a fan of X-E series, we love to keep thing small and compact with the other small XF lenses. Cheers!

  3. My biggest which for an X-E4 would be the same screen as my X-T2 (tillable, and NOT touch sensitive, which is just annoying and I turned off after one days worth of cursing at it). The only thing I miss going from X-T to X-E is the separate dial for ISO, but I appreciate that won’t change. Like you I often grab the small camera bag when I’m rushing out. That contains X-E3 with 27mm pancake that lives on the camera, plus the 23mm, 35mm and 50mm f2s. If I think I’ll need more (eg, on my way to a wildlife shoot or event) then I’ll be grabbing the big bag with the X-T2, larger lens, plus I’ll pop the X-E3 in to give me an extra body.

    There is definitely something special about the X-E3. I get a lot of pleasure from just using it, whereas I see the X-T’s as more my “business” cameras.

    1. “…touch sensitive, which is just annoying and I turned off after one days worth of cursing at it)…”

      Agreed! As many times that I accidentally click on something on my phone with a stray finger, I couldn’t imagine walking around dynamically with my camera swinging on its strap and nothing changing. My imagination was correct… I’d raise the camera to shoot and it wouldn’t look like it did the last time. The configuration changed due to the touch screen being brush inadvertently.

      Turning off the touch screen was my first deep dive into the menu.

    2. “There is definitely something special about the X-E3. I get a lot of pleasure from just using it, whereas I see the X-T’s as more my “business” cameras.”

      I agree with you. There is really something special when using the X-E3. This experience cannot be explained by words.

  4. my hopes for the x-e4

    weather sealing.

    no flash.

    no logo on the front.

    a better/newer sensor. something more worthwhile than a 2-megapixel bump to make it worth buying. perhaps a hobbled newer sensor that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that’ll go into the high end Fujis.

    a screen like the x100v-flush with the bod -, only different – one that closes like the xpro3 but without the film sim window.

    get rid of the MCS switch on the front and make it part of the on/off switch. the auto choice can go too, I’ve never used it on my x-e3.

    shuter speed/iso dial.

    another fn button, perhaps on the side of the body like the x70 had, or on the front where the x100v has its viewing switch and front function button..

    lockable diopter.

    keep it about the same size. if sealing bulks it up a bit, then ok.

    those are my thoughts on the x-e4. my second fuji was an x-e1 and I thought it was the bees knees. I bought it when fuji offered the kit lens and two primes deal many years ago (I got the 35 1.4 and 60 2.4, along with the 18-55). it replaced my 4/3 setup.
    I don’t have a website, but here are some samples – https://spark.adobe.com/page/KZn1c/
    https://spark.adobe.com/page/gnYtfBUxxPNMQ/

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed reply. I have to agree that they should implement the iso dial like the X100V. It will be awesome!

    1. I wish for a X100V style of tilt screen. WR is always something we hope to have in that price range. I hope Fujifilm will implement a WR on the successor but probably not as good as the X100V should make the price affordable…

  5. I’ve just sold my xe3, I got the x100v and an x-pro 3 is on the way…I also sold my xt3, yeah yeah it’s the same but different as the x-pro 3, but I fancied spending some furlough money. After using the X100v I can see some of what I would love to see in an xe4. Same tilt screen, or perhaps as flush but like on the xt3 with a two direction flip, it doesn’t need a selfie flip, it’s not a vlog camera. It definitely needs a better evf, the xe3 evf was my most hated part. It doesn’t need the ovf that’s on the x100v or x-pro 3, just the evf, I bought a snap on adapter for the xe3 to make the evf more comfortable, which worked but it was something that would fall off in a bag and wasn’t pocketable. The sensor will be whatever I expect is in the xt30, after all it’s a range finder style of that price range. And lastly, the ISO dial from the x100v, it’s fiddly and you can program ISO to a dial, but one reason why I like Fujifilm so much is the dials. And they should definitely keep the auto mode, that’s easy switch and snap, because sometimes it’s interesting to see what the camera thinks.

  6. I USE A XE2
    COMPLETELY ON MANUAL WITH OLD YASHICA AND CONTAX LENSES

    IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A LARGER SENSOR, NEVER A TOUCH SCREEN, LESS BUTTONS AND GISMOS
    SIMPLE IS HARDER TO DESIGN BUT WHY SPEND ANY TIME WONDERING WHERE SOMETHING IS ON AN OBSCURE MENU SOMEWHERE IN THERE

    MOST PHOTOS HAVE A SPLIT SECOND TO COMPOSE AND RECORD
    ZERO TIME FOR FIDDLY BITS OF CAMERA WONDERFULNESS
    OK?
    SIMPLIFY!

    NO NEED FOR A VIEW FINDER
    THE SCREEN IS JUST FINE FOR COMPOSING A PHOTO

    I SHOT THE SAME CONTAX 35 MM FOR 35+ YEARS
    CONTAX REBUILT IT ONCE & LOANED ME ONE TO USE WHILE THEY DID IT

    THOSE OLD LENSES ARE QUITE WONDERFUL ON THE XE2
    KEEP A GOOD THING GOING
    PLEASE SIMPLIFY

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