Is minimalism equal to limitation? In a way, yes. Minimalism is by keeping things as simple as possible, limited yet still functioning as what it suppose to be. In this case, X-E4 has done it and did it right. It has the most minimalistic design Fujifilm has ever created. The design is a bold move. Fujifilm removes some of the hardware functions but still allows photographers to access them when needed via the “Q” menu, setting up the “My Menu” or mapping it to other buttons or dials. While I am not sure by removing the grip from the camera body is a wise choice but honestly speaking, the camera is aesthetically beautiful.
X-E4 is not designed in such a way that it will please everyone but rather, it does attract a niche group of people who adore simplicity. In other words, this camera is what represents the life of how the photographer live in. At least I am.
A little bit of history here. X-E4 was announced on 27 January 2021 and released a month later. And my first ever review post was actually about this camera together with the XF27mm f2.8. (The review can be found here.)
I love all the camera designs from Fujifilm, especially the X-Pro series but the X-E series still has a special place in my heart. I cannot explain specifically why I love this series so much. But I think a combination of aesthetic, compact and retro-style designs are probably the reasons.
Another short history here. I pick up my first X-E series (X-E3) back in 2019. It is a preloved unit but the overall condition is not heavily abused. It’s a simple camera that somehow I love using for my street shutter therapy more than my X-T3. It’s light, compact and less prominent among other camera designs. It does not look like a professional camera but in its gut, it is capable to meet my needs. X-E4, in my opinion, improves way better than its predecessor in many ways.
Back to X-E4. So how do I overcome the limitations of this camera? Well, I just simply preset the desired ISO auto setting (maximum ISO sensitivity and minimum shutter speed) and that’s all. Most of the functions that I need is actually available in the “Q” menu. Honestly, I rarely touch anything else besides the aperture value, exposure compensation value and of course the shutter button.
So who is this camera suitable for?
Besides people who love simplicity, in my opinion, this camera is very suitable for someone who is a retro-style enthusiastic, an everyday camera for casual photographers and of course a good pickup camera for amateurs. Why so? Firstly, it is not as expensive as its other brothers (i.e. X-Pro and X-T series). Secondly, it is equipped with the X-Trans IV sensor, which is a very capable sensor and also not forgetting that this sensor is also equipped in all its other brothers as well. Thirdly, it has a lot of compact lenses to pair up with (both Fujifilm and third parties manual lenses).
To end this, I have been using this camera for months. In these few months of using it, I get to understand what this camera design philosophy is. In my interpretation, the answer is very straightforward. Fujifilm wants to let the photographer concentrate on shooting, enjoy the process of shooting and leave everything else to the camera to handle it. I am glad that Fujifilm dares to design something different from its current line-up of cameras. And I hope this X-E4 will encourage more photographers to bring it out and capture the moments in them. After all, it’s a beauty to hang out with.
1. The camera is a loan unit from Mr. Keitaro So, Divisional Head of Fujifilm Asia Pacific. By the time this review is online, the units had returned back to Fujifilm Asia Pacific.
2. All the shots taken here are shot by me.
3. Some of the shots are straight out of the camera while others are edited via In-Camera Raw Processing and Adobe Lightroom Classic.
4. The opinions are based on my experience. If there is any mistake, please kindly drop me a message and I will gladly make the amendment.
5. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me.
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