... so I took a flyer at a used Fuji X-E1 and a couple of lenses...
Not wanting to divert too much, but as the owner of some nice Canon cameras, how do you think the X-E1 stacks up in comparison? You're obviously happy with the image quality and the size of the system. But how are you finding the AF speed and EVF? Since buying it, have you tended to use it a lot, or do you still predominantly use the 1D4 and 5D2?
I'm curious how much further mirrorless cameras need to go in order to be regared as comparable with DSLRs for non-sports / non-action photography. Or do you think they are there already?
Several questions... apologies for the OT but I was asked.
EVF - not as good as an optical finder (particularly if you have a $200 aftermarket screen fitted) but quite usable. The resolution is 2.3 Mp and I can't see granularity. It's fast enough but needs better dynamic range. On the upside, you get the benefit of enhanced ISO in dim conditions. The dioptre range is excellent.
Even though the resolution is higher, I find the viewfinder is not as good as live view on a Canon with a Zacuto loupe. However - if you have it in MF mode, you can click the scroll wheel and get magnified live view of the focus spot in the eyepiece. This is fantastic if you're recycling old MF lenses from another system. (I have a set of Zuiko OM's from years gone by.)
AF - this takes some setting up. Once you configure the camera correctly, the AF is better than a 5D2 (but that's easy.) It's more than sufficient for most of the photography I do (but that's easy too.) There's a focus mash technique that makes the AF near instantaneous but I don't think its good enough for sports or BIF.
Like the AF, correct set-up gets the shutter release well into high-end SLR territory. It clicks at 6 frames per sec and does this without any drama.
On the whole, the best camera is the one you have with you. I still want to use my 5D2 and 1D4 but I've become somewhat reluctant to drag one everywhere I go...
To be fair to the Canon's -
The Canon user interface is streets ahead of the X-E1. Some of the X-E1 button placements are dumb. In particular, you can't select AF point without sticking your left thumb in your right nostril. Someone must have done this to be funny....
It could do with a dedicated DOF preview button and maybe greater flexibility on the assigning of buttons.
The position of the tripod screw is moronic (but RRS fixed that) and it needs a larger grip.
Battery life is ok - in fact it's better than a 5D2 when used as a live view camera.
I find it takes a long time to write files but raw + jpeg is 30Mb and I don't have the world's fastest SD card either. I think this speaks to not enough processor grunt which may be related to battery life.
To summarise - I think Compact System Cameras are already very serious competition for the SLR. There are some wrinkles to work out but the jump in performance between the X100 > X-Pro1 > X-E1 is profound.