Finding the Right Family Camera / by Jeffery Cho

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Fujifilm X-E3

Sweet! Your spouse gave the green light to buy a new camera for the family. Now, where to begin? The options can be overwhelming. Mirrorless, DSLR, or point-and-shoot? Price range? Deciding on which lens(es) to buy for interchangeable lens systems. Then you have a whole host of features within camera to consider as well. My purpose here is not so much to compare all options, as it is to provide insight to finding the right camera and sharing where I ultimately landed.

My quick recommendation is to keep it simple. Regardless of the camera, there will always be compromises. Start by creating a list of must-haves. Then a list of nice-to-haves. The practical goal is to find the right (not perfect) camera that will keep you shooting. 

As a family man and photographer, it was most valuable to choose a camera that was portable, stylish, easy to use, and capable of keeping up with my kids. Until now, my Canon 5D Mark IV (used for work) always accompanied me for all personal work and travel.

Often times, my camera gear was a hinderance to helping the family. Things like carrying the diaper bag, holding the little ones, and just getting in on the action. Still, I desired the best photos possible and so I chose to endure the bulky equipment.

All that said, it was time to find a better solution. Now don't get me wrong, I love my Canon gear. However, I realized that it's more than I need when it comes to everyday personal life.

As mentioned previously, there are many cameras to choose from. Sony is on fire these days and has arguably put mirrorless on the map. Their cameras are feature rich and on the cutting edge of technology. Olympus also delivers great cameras in the class of micro 4/3 sensors. The list goes on and on.

Then there was Fujifilm. They have a reputation of being a photographer's camera company. I was drawn to it immediately. My first impression was that their camera bodies looked stunning and their sample images were amazing. Long story short, I found myself choosing between the XT-20 and the X-E3.

The two cameras share many of the same features. I ended up choosing the X-E3 for it's rangefinder style and joystick. I loved the XT-20 for it's DSLR style body and tilting screen, but I realized I wanted something different. The X-E3 was different and it completed all the check boxes.

Here are some photos captured in the first month along with my final review. All photos were shot using the Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens

 Hilltop view at a regional park. 1/250s | F4.0 | ISO200

Hilltop view at a regional park. 1/250s | F4.0 | ISO200

 Company holiday party. 1/200s | F2.8 | ISO1250

Company holiday party. 1/200s | F2.8 | ISO1250

 Can't remember what they were doing exactly. 1/1000s | F2.0 | ISO100

Can't remember what they were doing exactly. 1/1000s | F2.0 | ISO100

 House air plants. 1/250s | F2.0 | ISO640

House air plants. 1/250s | F2.0 | ISO640

 Christmas decorations. 1/200s | F2.0 | ISO3200

Christmas decorations. 1/200s | F2.0 | ISO3200

 That golden hour touch! 1/250s | F4.0 | ISO200

That golden hour touch! 1/250s | F4.0 | ISO200

The Review: Fujifilm X-E3 

PROS

  • Minimal, sleek, and functional design. Travel light while looking good. You had me at rangefinder style. 
  • Quick and reliable auto-focus. Fast enough to keep up with the little ones. Seriously!
  • Great image quality. JPEG files straight out of camera are amazing.  
  • Bluetooth (and WIFI) connectivity. Pair with your phone without draining the batteries as fast. 
  • Love controlling the aperture directly from the lens.  
  • Touch to Shoot (game changer)
  • Quality lens choices at affordable prices. I love my Fuji 35mm f/2! That said, I would recommend the Fuji 23mm f/2 for shooting in tighter spaces like inside the home. 
  • Incredibly fun to shoot with! 

CONS

  • While the joystick (replacing the popular D-pad) is a great feature, it can feel a bit flimsy. In comparison, Canon’s rear joystick is much more solid and easier to control.
  • The SD card is difficult to get to. The card slot is awkwardly located immediately next to the battery. Minimalism has its price.
  • Slight lag when transitioning from the back screen to the electronic view finder (EVF).

Purchasing Gear

If you’d like to purchase any of the gear mentioned above, please help me by using the links provided in this post. It does not add any extra cost to the product, but it does help me and my family. Many thanks in advance for taking the time to peruse this site!