Fujifilm X-E4 Review | The Practical Compact Everyday Camera

This compact & practical interchangeable lens camera offers an analog-like shooting experience at a reasonable price, making it an intriguing alternative to the fan-favorite X100V.

Lately, I've seen a shift in the photography community. Gone are the days when people shot with the same ol' giant full-frame DSLR. By all means, they were great cameras for what we needed, but sometimes we want to bring a camera with us on a typical day and not feel burdened; sometimes, we'd rather have a compact and practical camera for documenting our everyday life.

Enter the Fujifilm lineup of X series cameras, a dominant group of compact, analog-designed digital cameras at affordable prices. They are great for an everyday photographer, and the Fujifilm X-E4 is no exception.

A lot of people's favorite Fujifilm camera is the X100V. It's a niche, fixed lens camera with a 35mm film rangefinder silhouette, making it an excellent camera to photograph. Still, unfortunately, it's a camera that's very hard to attain nowadays. It's back-ordered on almost every major retailer around. Thus people turn their heads to the X-E4 and wonder if it's a worthy alternative. Could it even be the better option? As someone who owns both an X-E4 and an X100V, they are both very similar yet distinctively different cameras. Lately, though, I've been grabbing my X-E4 a lot more often.

Be sure to check out my YouTube video on how I use my X-E4 for street photography.

To Know

The Fujifilm X-E4 is the fourth iteration and successor to the Fujifilm X-E3, which came out five years ago. The X-E4 boasts the latest fourth-generation X-Processor and 26.1 megapixels with edge-to-edge phase detection autofocus. On the surface, it looks like a photography-focused camera, but it also features a lot of video specs that make it capable of filmmaking.

What We Love

Compact body: The X-E4 is incredibly tight. Paired with a pancake lens, this camera competes with the X100V size and can easily slip in and out of any jacket pocket.

Interchangeable lenses: Unlike the X100V, the X-E4 offers the versatility of using any of Fujifilm's wide range of lenses. I find their compact f/2 lens lineup works perfectly with this camera, and the ability to use different focal lengths is why I pick my X-E4 up more than my X100V.

Analog design: Staying true to the Fujifilm design philosophy, the X-E4 has elements that remind you of using a film camera. This camera is super fun to shoot with a manual shutter speed dial and a left-justified EVF mimicking a rangefinder.

The Details

Brand: Fujifilm

Camera Type: Mirrorless Camera

Best For: Everyday photography, street photography, portraits & landscape. This camera can do it all, but most importantly, it's an excellent choice for anyone who wants a compact, interchangeable lens camera with that signature Fujifilm essence.

Moment fujifilm 16673811 X E4 Body Black thumbnail

Fujifilm

X-E4 APS-C Mirrorless Camera

Wanting great image quality and low-light performance, wide dynamic range, simple controls at a reasonable price? The Fujifilm X-E4 Mirrorless Camera brings it

Buy for $849.00

Sometimes Simplicity is All You Need

The Fujifilm X-E4 is a simple camera. There isn't anything particularly "game-changing" or vastly unique that sets it apart from its other Fujifilm counterparts, but that doesn't mean this camera can't hold up on its own. The simplicity makes it a very user-friendly camera and something you aren't intimidated to bring anywhere you go. I can easily recommend this camera to anyone looking to pick up their first Fujifilm camera or even an experienced pro who wants something reliable and compact to bring with them wherever they go.

The X-E4's body is one of the minor camera bodies Fujifilm currently sells. The body itself is smaller than the X100V in dimensions. Weighing only 364g, the X-E4 hardly makes a dent in a backpack's overall weight, making it a great camera to bring while traveling. Pair the X-E4 with Fujifilm's 27mm lens, and you could easily slide this into a large jacket pocket.

In my regular use case shooting street photography with the X-E4, I typically use the 35mm f/2 lens and carry an additional lens in my bag. Since the X-E4 body and Fujifilm's lenses are so compact, I often find plenty more room to spare in my messenger bag. However, I always feel more inclined to keep things simple and carry less gear whenever I shoot with this camera. The less equipment I bring, the fewer distractions there are, therefore putting more of my attention on the moments in front of me and just taking photos.

My Case for the X-E4 over the X100V

As previously mentioned, I own both the X100V and the X-E4, but I always find myself picking up the X-E4 more often for one simple reason — the ability to use different focal lengths. Yes, before you say it, I know that the X100V was designed to be a single 35mm focal length; that is the whole point of the camera. But limiting yourself to one focal length is not for everyone, and even if you might be okay with that right now, it might not be what you want later on. That was the case for me. I owned the X100V before the X-E4, and it was great shooting at the 35mm focal length, but then a global pandemic happened. Street photography changed because fewer people were on the streets, and you couldn't (or didn't) want to get close to anyone. The 35mm focal length wasn't cutting it for me, as I felt too far from all of my subjects. The X-E4 offers a similar experience to shooting on the X100V but with the option to use any focal length.

Contrary, this isn't to say that the X100V is a lousy camera in comparison; it's just not going to be for everyone. If you're pondering between the two, I think it simply comes down to the interchangeable lens question. Do you want to use other focal lengths? Choose the X-E4. Do you want to simplify your process and only shoot at 35mm intentionally? Then the X100V might be for you.

I still think the X-E4 is a better option, even if you wanted to shoot 35mm most of the time. I say that because you can still create the intentional challenge of using only one focal length with this camera without sacrificing your creativity in the future. Secondly, you can make the same compactness of the X100V by equipping Fujifilm's 27mm (40mm Equiv.) pancake lens on the X-E4.

The X-E4 opens the door for much more versatility, which is the best way to describe this camera. It's a camera that can do so much and fit many types of photographers' needs. Do you shoot portraits? Its fast face/eye detection AF and non-intimidating appearance are outstanding. Do you shoot landscape? It's incredibly lightweight to carry on hikes or while traveling. Do you shoot street photography? The color rendition, portability, and overall aesthetic are perfect for any street photographer.

The X-E4 looks and feels like a photography camera. It has the analog aesthetic of a classic rangefinder, but surprisingly this camera has a variety of capable video specs.

  • 4K up to 30p at 4:2:0 with 8-bit internal recording

  • 4K 4:2:2 10 bit via HDMI

  • Full HD up to 240p

  • 180-degree flip-up screen

That's a lot for a photography-focused camera; it could be just what you need for your filmmaking needs. However, I would not view this camera as a "video camera." It's photography first, video second, and it's clear as day by the camera's design that's what it's intended. If anything, I think Fujifilm just threw these video specs into the camera because they could.

There is no internal stabilization, nor any actual design or features on the outside of the camera meant for video making. A tilt screen pulls up 180 degrees, so it's facing the camera, but I think many filmmakers would agree that a flip-out screen would be much better. Since the excellent video specs are there, I've found the X-E4 as a great backup video camera in a pinch, but I wouldn't consider this a "hybrid." Look for the Fujifilm X-T4 or newly announced X-H2S for any filmmaking wants.

A Few Nit-Picks

There are, of course, no perfect cameras in our world, and the X-E4 wouldn't be without some of its flaws, but even these "flaws" could view more as nit-picks than anything else.

Let's start with the exposure compensation dial. Manual dials on Fujifilm cameras are part of the thoughtful design, and it's great to see on the X-E4, but the compensation dial lacks some needed firmness. I've found it too loose and too easy to turn when handling the camera accidentally. It would be fine if it weren't for the location of the dial, which is right on the edge of the camera next to where you handle it. Far too often have I unknowingly had my exposure compensation set to under or over expose my image. I wish it were a sturdier dial that required more pressure to adjust; that way, a slight rub against it with my hand wouldn't turn it so quickly. The X100V's dials are noticeably stiffer, which I like.

One aspect of the X-E4 that could be a deal-breaker for many people is that the body is not weather sealed. However, I've shot a few times in the rain with this camera, and it seemed to do just fine, but it's probably not worth the risk for many people. If you like shooting in the rain, this could be a potential deal-breaker.

Lastly, I would have liked to see one or two more custom function buttons on the camera. The X-E4 removed the d-pad that was initially on the X-E3, which lost several function buttons in the process. Fujifilm seems to be pushing for the use of touch screen custom functions, but I've personally found it to be too clunky in practice and more prone to accidental use.

Moment fuji 16481880 XF35mm F2 R WR Silver thumbnail

Fujifilm

XF 35mm F2 R WR Lens

The fast, stylish yet durable prime lens for your Fuji camera that you've been looking for! The Fujinon XF 35mm f/ 2 R WR Lens has rich bokeh, high-res quality

Buy for $399.95
Moment fujifilm 16670170 XF27mm F2 8 R WR Lens thumbnail

Fujifilm

XF 27mm F2.8 R WR Lens

Looking for a versatile extremely compact prime for your Fuji? The XF 27mm F2.8 R WR Lens with a 41mm equivalent versatile focal length has got you covered

Buy for $399.00

In Detail

Looks can be deceiving, and the X-E4 is a lot more potent of a camera than it looks. The X-E4 uses Fujifilm's latest X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, which boasts 26.1 megapixels. That's more than enough for the everyday photographer and plenty enough if you want to create prints of your work. Fujifilm's color science is on full display in the photos produced by the X-E4, and you have 18 different film simulations at your disposal.

The Fujifilm X-E4 is equipped with the latest X-Trans 4 Processor making autofocus and auto-exposure extremely fast and accurate. 425 autofocus points that go edge to edge of your frame make this camera excellent for capturing fast-moving subjects, a perfect match for street photography or photographing your kid (or dog).

While this camera has manual controls for shutter speed and aperture (if using a lens with an aperture ring), I've found that the X-E4 performs exceptionally well when shooting in P-Mode, which hypothetically is fully automatic mode. Maybe that's sacrilegious in the photography world these days, but the camera judges and processes exposure accurately. Shooting with the X-E4 a lot of the time is as simple as flipping it to p-mode, using your favorite film simulation, and having the freedom to put all your attention to composition.

What It Has

  • Classic film camera aesthetic

  • Compact interchangeable lens body

  • 18 film simulations

  • Rich color rendering

  • 180-degree tilt screen

What It Does

  • Every day portability

  • Street photography

  • Natural-looking portraits

  • Landscape photography

Specs

  • 26.1 X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor

  • 425 Auto Focus points

  • 2.36m-Dot 0.62x OLED EVF

  • Up to 30 fps shooting

  • UBC, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio input