As a lot of people seem to be trying to decide between these two great cameras, and as I am lucky enough to own both, I thought I would try and compare them, based on the weeks shooting I’ve done with the XT-1. Every day that I use this camera I learn new things about it, so this is far from complete. If anyone wants me to add anything to this comparison let me know.
Not much difference..the XT-1 is a tiny bit larger due to the lumpy bit ( technical term ) on the top. So don’t worry that people will suddenly think you are lugging around a DSLR if you get the XT-1.
Quite significant differences..
The XT-1 has an ISO dial on the left of the viewfinder, which is locked. Some people hate it, I love it, as on the XE-2 changing the ISO was the main reason I had to dive into the menu system and now I hardly need to bother.
The ISO dial has a second lever underneath for switching modes, from single to high speed to bracketed etc. Again I absolutely love this and use it all the time, mainly for switching between burst modes and single shot. The shutter speed dial to the right of the viewfinder also has a secondary lever to change exposure mode.
On the XT-1 the exposure compensation dial is stiffer, I can still change it while looking through the viewfinder I just use my thumb AND my forefinger rather than just the thumb. Some people prefer the XE-2 one, for me there is not that much difference.
The pop up flash is different on the XT-1, it comes separately, this might be an issue for people who use it a lot, for me, I never use it so I’m glad to be rid of it. If you do use it, its a bit bigger than the XE-2 one and rotates upwards just like the XE-2 pop up flash.
Overall I much prefer the top layout of the XT-1 as I can avoid using the menus.
Now for some other differences..
Central viewfinder on the XT-1 – I don’t have a preference for this over the XE-2 layout, they both work ok for me. If you are a cyclops you will really love the XT-1 though.
The XT-1 has an Fn button on the front near where the lens joins the body. Some people have complained that they keep hitting this by accident. I don’t. The Fn buttons can be mapped to toggle face detection and this is the button I use for that purpose, as far as I know, you can’t map an Fn button in the XE-2 to toggle face detection. I hope they fix this via firmware as I find it very useful on the XT-1.
Focus Assist button – this lets you zoom straight to the focus point when previewing an image – I find this incredibly handy and miss having it on the XE-2. I’m not sure if there is some way to replicate this functionality to the XE-2.
OK enough on layout, here is a quick summary..
- focus assist button
- top dials mean you rarely need to bother with the menus
- can toggle face recognition
EVF – bigger and has more functionality on the XT-1. Love the manual focussing on the XT-1 with the split screen thingy.
You can tilt the screen! Quite awesome for when the light is annoying you from a certain angle, and also for being a ninja when doing street photography, you can pretend your looking at the screen while secretly snapping away.
AFC mode is very good. Its pretty awful on the XE-2.
Weather sealing. Seems to work, I tested it pretty well.
The same in single shot mode, way better on XT-1 when using AFC.
Slightly better on the XT-1, which feels more pro level and a bit heavier, but I have no complaints about the XE-2, its still a lovely camera to pick up and I have no intention of selling it, its now my backup body.
The XE-2 is still a wonderful camera and I’m going to be using it as a second body on shoots to save me changing lenses ( and also at weddings ). The two cameras are similar enough that I can easily swap between them, but if I have to pick up just one, I will go for the XT-1. Its the little things I love, like not having to use the menus as everything is in easy reach on the top of the camera, the speed of AFC/burst mode which I’m finding useful, the focus assist button, the ability to quickly toggle face detection on and off. These things may not seem important on paper, but they all add up to make a more powerful, compelling camera in my opinion.