Fujifilm Kicks Off 2021 With A New Gear Drop

Fuji had a pretty successful year in 2020, despite a global pandemic. They released 3 solid X-Series updates (X100V, X-T4, X-Pro3), a super fast 50mm f/1, and a brand new camera - the X-S10.


To kick off 2021, Fuji announced 2 new X-Series lenses, and a new X-Series body. The first lens is a XF27mm f/2.8 R WR, an update to the current 27mm. The 2nd lens is an all new XF70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR that fits nicely between the XF55-200mm and the XF100-400mm. Lastly, to replace the aging X-E3, Fuji announced the new X-E4. Fuji sent us the new 27, 70-300, and X-E4 for a few days to test out, read on to see our initial impressions. 

Note: Camera and lenses that were tested may not have been full-production samples and may have had pre-production firmware installed.

Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 R WR

The new XF27mm improves on the outgoing version by adding weather-resistance, and an aperture ring with an “A” position lock. The current version is an extremely popular lens that is a great all purpose lens with its 41mm FX equivalent focal length, fast aperture, and pancake style size. Now you can take it out in less than ideal conditions with its weather-resistance, and Fuji loyalists welcome the addition of an aperture ring. 

The lens also includes a screw-on dome hood that comes with a slip on lens cap. It looks nice, and in theory is a pretty convenient addition, but if you’re wearing gloves, or have short fingernails, it can be a pain to get off quickly. A notch or tab on the cap for a better grip would make it a lot easier to remove. 

Autofocus and optical performance are the same as the outgoing model as the optics have not changed. We were hoping for it to be a bit quieter for video use, but unfortunately it’s not as quiet as some of the other Fuji primes (not a surprise considering its small size).

The best thing about the new XF27mm? A new price - $399. That’s right - the new 27mm with an aperture ring and weather-resistance only costs $399, compared to the current model which is $449. This new low price makes it a great choice for entry-level photographers looking to upgrade their kit lenses to get into primes, street photographers looking for a small setup to avoid strange looks, and professionals looking for a quality prime for everyday use. 

Sample photos (taken with X-T3 & X-T4):

The new XF27mm f/2.8 R WR is anticipated to be released on March 25th and can be pre-ordered here. 

Fujifilm XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR

This lens is going to make a lot of Fuji shooters extremely happy. No longer are you limited to the XF55-200mm if you want a telephoto lens that’s small, or the considerably larger 100-400mm if you need the extra reach. The new XF70-300mm is the perfect blend of size and zoom range, and is perfect for your next adventure.

The lens comes in at 5.2inches long, and weighs just 1.3lb. If 300mm isn’t enough, the lens is also compatible with Fuji’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, giving you a maximum possible focal length of 914mm. Minimum focus distance on this lens is a fairly impressive 32.7inches. The optics consist of 17 elements in 12 groups, including 2 ED elements for high quality results. With its OIS system, you get up to 5.5 stops of image stabilization, more than what the 100-400 and 55-200 offer. 

The lens design is pretty simple on the outside. It has an unmarked aperture ring, 2 switches (focus range and aperture ring control), and a zoom lock. The zoom lock is meant to prevent barrel creep, and automatically unlocks when you start to twist the zoom ring. The resistance on the zoom ring has a nice balance to it. Not too loose so that the barrel creeps when you point the camera down, but enough to make the zoom smooth throughout the focal range. The zoom ring is nice and large and was easy to use with gloves on.

Autofocus performance is quite impressive. With its linear motor (LM) autofocus system, the lens had no issue keeping up with wildlife, and focusing from close-up to far away was fast and snappy. Chromatic aberration and flaring were minimal, even in high contrast situations. Even in lower light, the lens was able to lock on and track subjects when tested with a X-T3 and X-T4. When used with a 1.4x teleconverter, the autofocus did pretty well, though it did feel a bit slower and struggled a few times before locking on. That being said, if you’re shooting wildlife that’s not moving around too erratically, it’ll work well enough. 

This lens opens up a new option for wildlife photographers who don’t want to break the bank to get the 100-400mm. Pair the 70-300mm with a 1.4x teleconverter, and you’re sitting at just under $1,300 with a focal length of about 650mm (FX equivalent). Even without the teleconverter, the lens is great for those who want to travel light but still have a large focal range to work with, and not worry about dust, rain, or snow ruining their opportunities.

Sample photos (taken with X-T3 & X-T4):

The XF70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR is expected to be released March 25th and can be pre-ordered here. 

Fujifilm X-E4

When Fujifilm announced the X-S10 near the end of 2020, many thought that it might be the end of the X-T30/X-E3 line. Today with the announcement of the new X-E4, Fuji not only continues the compact rangefinder-style design, they also make it a very competitive camera. 


On the outside, the X-E4 looks fairly similar to the X-E3. One theme throughout the camera is that it’s more angular than the X-E3. Instead of rounded/soft corners found on the X-E3, the X-E4 sharpens them up, and visually it looks quite nice. 

From the front, there are 2 obvious changes, and both might be controversial. The X-E4 does away with the built-in grip (hit-or-miss depending on if you use an external grip), and the M/C/S AF selector. If you’re hoping that Fuji moved the AF selector to the side of the body like on the X100F, you’re in for a disappointment. To change the AF modes, you have to go to the Q-Menu now. This is a bit of a head scratcher, as the design of the X-E4 hasn’t changed that much, and it looks like there should be plenty of room for an external dial.

On the sides, the X-E4 now has a 3.5mm port for a microphone or remote, and a USB-C port for charging. Fuji also includes a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter so you can use the port as a headphone jack. The only other minor change is the strap lugs that are able to accept a thin-width camera strap without having to use snap rings or other attachments.

From the back, the changes are pretty substantial despite an initial glance. Most noticeably, the new LCD. It takes its design from the X100V with a flush-mount design, tilts almost 90 degrees downward, and tilts up 180-degrees to become a selfie screen above the camera. The resolution has also been bumped up a bit. The EVF is likely to be hit or miss with many people. The new design is circular, and feels smaller. Personally I preferred the rectangular design of the X-E3, especially when wearing glasses.

The button layout, while not overhauled, has some noticeable changes. The 3 buttons along the top row, instead of being Vide Mode/Drive & Delete/AEL are now Drive & Delete/Playback/AEL & AFL. To the right of the LCD, instead of replacing the playback button, there are now only 2 buttons and the joystick - which are shifted down. While it was still easy to reach, I preferred the location of the joystick on the X-E3. The thumb rest/bump with the AFL and Q-Menu buttons is now gone, and the design is much more simplistic. The camera itself was a bit less comfortable to hold, and didn't feel as secure, but with the hand grip, the ergonomics felt much better than the X-E3. The biggest downfall (in my opinion) of the rear design is the removal of the rear dial. Personally if given the choice, I would’ve given up the front dial.

Along the top, Fuji has done away with the Auto switch, and instead placed the Q-Menu button there. It’s in a bit of an awkward place (especially when the thumb rest accessory is installed), but after using it for a few days, it felt natural. It was considerably easier to push when holding the camera with one hand compared to the Q-Menu button on the thumb-pad of the X-E3. The shutter speed dial now also has a P selection added to it. Overall, if you own a X-E# series camera, the X-E4 is going to feel quite familiar. 


Video Features

Just like most recent Fuji cameras, the X-E4 is a pretty powerful video camera. You can record at 4K/30p in 4:2:0 8-bit color to your SD card or 4:2:2 10-bit color to an external device via HDMI, and it includes the F-Log profile. You can also set the rear progress LED and AF Assist LED on the front to be tally lights when recording. Like slow motion video? Fuji throws in 1080/240P with autofocus. Now with the forward facing selfie-screen, you can easily use it as a vlogging camera, or film yourself at your desk and reduce the guesswork of framing the scene without an external monitor. 

Sample Photos:

X-E4 + XF35mm f/2 - Velvia & Classic Chrome

X-E4 + XF80mm f/2.8 Macro - Classic Chrome

X-E4 + XF10-24mm f/4 - Velvia

Final Thoughts

Several months ago people were wondering if the X-E# line was dead, but Fuji clearly had other plans. With its compact rangefinder styling, and performance that is nothing to scoff at, the X-E# line lives on, and ought to be pretty popular amongst Fuji faithful, and new photographers looking for a feature packed retro-looking camera. While some of design choices may be subjective, and the removal of of the M/S/C switch and rear dial are head scratchers, they're hardly deal breakers when you factor in all of the improvements. The X-E4 will be available in black and silver (slightly lighter than the silver on the X-E3), and can be paired with the all new XF27mm f/2.8 R WR as a kit. 

X-E4 Body: $849

X-E4 w/ XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR: $949

BLC-XE4 Black Leather Case: $79

MHG-XE4 Metal Hand Grip: $89

TR-XE4 Thumb Rest: $69

The X-E4 is expected to start shipping March 11th, and can be pre-ordered here.