Fuji X-E1 v Nikon D800, a quick comparison

Just some quick thoughts on the Fuji X-E1 v Nikon D800, of course, these are two very different cameras with two very different price tags, so It’s a bit like comparing a Hyundai with a BMW. Having said that, I was very impressed with the Fuji X-E1 on my recent trip. I left the Nikon D800 at home and decided to travel light. If it was a dedicated photography trip, I would have definitely packed the Nikon D800 but this trip was more of a ‘business’ trip with a few days sight seeing thrown in, and plus, I had my business partner with me, and he’s not keen on photography at all, so getting him to wait around and be in the right places at the right time would have been hard.

So where to I start, firstly, both cameras have plusses, and minuses. And I guess we can start with size and weight. The Fuji X-E1 is small enough not be a burden to carry all day but not so small that it feels like a toy. It’s a good size, although, I have the iShoot L Bracket and Grip on mine to make it a little more chunky, not really necessary but made it more comfortable for me, and I love the L Bracket for tripod work. And being lighter meant that I could take a smaller and lighter tripod, I packed my Benro Travel Angel, a perfect match for the much lighter Fuji X-E1. I also like how small and light the lenses are for the Fuji X-E1, I can fit a 14mm f2.8 and a 35mm f1.4 in my pockets! No more big camera bag to lug around 🙂 – With the D800 it is heavy, there is no hiding from that.

I also am a fan of ND filters, and if you have the SW150 Lee Filter Kit for the Nikon 14-24mm lens, you’ll know how big they are! They’re huge filters and take up a fair bit of room in the kit. I bought the Lee Seven5 kit (previously known as the RF75) for the Fuji X-E1 and a stack of filters and once again, can fit the whole set of ND soft grads, a hard grad and a Big Stopper in my pocket!

As for image quality I actually think out of camera, the Fuji X-E1 is slightly sharper than the D800. Maybe this is the lack of the anti aliasing filter in the Fuji? What I do like is the ability to digitally zoom right in for manual focus and the Fuji X-E1 with it’s latest firmware upgrade has focus peaking, all of that leads to sharper pics!

As for the Minuses, the Fuji X-E1 is a cropped sensor, and the widest glass I have is 14mm. I like to shoot wide and I am used to having the 14-24mm on my full frame Nikon D800. This took a little getting use to, but all in all, was not a big problem. I also found that battery life in the Fuji X-E1 was not great, I think this was due to me using live view and focus peaking a fair bit. Just make sure you have a spare or two all charged up and you’ll be in business!

As for long exposures with the Fuji X-E1, pack a good book to read whilst you wait for the image to write to the SD card. After a one minute exposure it takes the Fuji X-E1 another minute before it is done, rendering the camera useless for that time… very frustrating!

Overall, I really like the Fuji X-E1 as an alternative to my DSLR. As I wandered around all of the magnificent sights in Europe I spotted so many people juggling their DSLR, large lenses, large tripods and chunky bags whilst I whipped around with my small mirrorless Fuji X-E1. There is no way I would buy a cropped sensor DSLR when the mirrorless market is so good, lets face it, for the same money, or less, you get a camera that is just as good if not better than most DSLR’s and it is much lighter and easier to travel with. The Fuji X-E1 is not for the beginner, but they have just release a newer XM 1 series that is more point and shoot orientated. But I like the Fuji X-E1 for the ease, it has an aperture ring, I can manual focus, the ISO, Exposure comp and most other regularly needed features are quick and easy to get to.

Todays iCandy – Berlin Cathedral

Here is one from inside the Berlin Cathedral using the Fuji X-E1 with the 14mm f2.8 lens. The other plus of a small tripod was that no one spotted me bringing it into this cathedral, although, after a few shots the fun police came and told me not to use it 😉 – I still managed to get a few shots on the tripod, and whilst using the camera hand held was okay, I always prefer the tripod!

Berlin Cathedral



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