The rumours were true, Fujifilm has followed up its X-Pro1 interchangeable lens camera with the brand new Fujifilm X-E1.
On the face of it this latest compact system camera is a whole lot like the X-Pro1 but at a similar size to the X100 high-end compact. It also adds a pop-up flash but ditches the X-Pro1's hybrid viewfinder in favour of an OLED electronic-only version instead.
There's also a brand new 18-55mm lens that will come boxed up with the body, which ought to open up Fujifilm's X-series to a wider audience than the prime-only lenses that were available upon the X-Pro1's launch. Still, both cameras share the XF lens mount so all lenses will be interchangeable between the two current bodies.
That's not all the X-E1 shares with the X-Pro1 however: The 16-megapixel APS-C sensor is also ported directly from the X-Pro1, and given how impressed we were with the X-Trans CMOS (yes, we still think it sounds funny too) in that we suspect the X-E1 will be equally impressive but available at a cut of the price.
There are several reasons for the supposedly impressive image quality: the X-E1 won't use the conventional four-pixel colour array (also known as a Bayer colour filter array), instead its 36-pixel array removes the need for a low pass filter. Fujifilm's claims that this helps avoid undesirable moiré, while producing images as detailed as a full-frame DSLR sensor sounded big when we first heard them - but extensive testing of the X-Pro1 led us to agree.
We've not seen the new image-stabilised lens in action, but there are some standout points: it has an f/2.8-4 aperture across its 18-55mm zoom range which is far brighter than a standard kit lens, while a new linear motor in the lens promises a fast 0.1 second autofocus time. Sounds quick to us. A common complaint around the X-Pro1 was its inability to focus quickly, and it looks as though Fujifilm has taken note.
As well as the 18-55mm f/2.8-4, Fujifilm has confirmed that a 14mm f/2.8 R prime lens will also be available.
The X-E1's new OLED viewfinder dons a huge 2.36-million dot resolution that, by the sounds of things, has the potential to put all other electronic viewfinders to shame.
The Fujifilm X-E1 will come in two-tone silver or solid black finishes, but there's no final word on price or release date just yet. We anticipate getting hold of a pre-production model at this year's Photokina camera trade show, so keep eyes to the site for a hands-on account in the coming weeks.