so, my xe-1 arrived a lot sooner than anticipated. i jumped on some amazon-through-hong-kong thing, and it came in three days. lol amazon, where i cancelled my order just now (which is still probably not due till december). i paid $70 and got an extra month or so...
early thoughts, including comparison with the nex-7.
1. it works best with the lens it was designed for. the 35 fuji is a surprisingly nice lens, but it's AF and that's still taking some getting used to for me (i had a frustrating amount of focus errors - AF is fast but not action/sports/street-at-night fast). however, it does give rather nice results.
2. high ISO is pretty much awesome. i shot 3200 and 6400 at a local music thing and was very, very surprised at the results, both in jpg and in the abysmally messed-up RAF format.
no contest, this is a better night shooter than the nex-7 was for me.
3. the controls are great. the menu is simple and straightforward, the manual shutter speed and EX dials on the top are extremely useful (much more so than the ever-so-vague tri-navi on the nex-7) and the manual-assist button is logically placed as a thumbwheel-press so it's very easy to use. plus, a regular pro-style shutter button (ie, it can take a softrelease) instead of the p&s-style on the NEX.
4. the EVF is surprisingly good. let's get it out of the way, however... it's not a window finder. it blacks out when you shoot. you can't see outside your frame. your whole anticipation mechanism needs to change, but maybe not to an unreasonable degree. it stinks in bright sunlight (oops). it's not as fast to focus as an RF. that said, it's very very usable. i'm still waiting for more available-darkness opportunities, but for a night shooter, it seems fantastic.
5. manual lenses work pretty well. i've shot a bunch of contax and ltm/m mount on it and i'm pretty happy with the results. i'm getting over the crop factor (i'm back to RD-1 territory), but since i shoot normal to moderate-long, i'm good. focusing is fast enough (again, it's not an RF and shouldn't be expected to perform in the same way). i will say that i bought a metabones g mount adapter and really, really like it. all of a sudden, these lovely lenses are at the front of my line. i had a junky adapter for the NEX and it was an exercise in frustration. MF with the fjui 35 is kind of a pain in the neck, but much better than MF with the sony kit lens.
contax g 35/2
czj sonnar 50/2 ltm converted
contax g 35/2
6. it's small, stealthy and quiet. i find it less stealthy with the 35/1.4 (which is a big lens) than with a manual focus lens. the shutter is really, really quiet.
7. RAF files are going to be a problem. they're slow to render in LR 4.2 and sometimes stuff gets cut off at the top and bottom of the frame (really). so i silkypix into tiff for the ones i like and then put the tiffs in LR. slow, inelegant and the 50MB tiffs are a waste of perfectly good electrons. maybe 4.3 will have some answers. silkypix really sucks. the jpgs are very nice but there is a noticable difference in night shooting at 3200 or 6400 vs the RAFs. sigh.
i think i'm keeping this. stay tuned for more on this station...