The Fuji X-Pro1 is the first interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera from Fuji, featuring an all-new 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor and a 6×6 random color filter array, which Fuji claims gives results closer to that of film. The camera has an ISO range of 200-6400 (expandable to 100-25600), making low-light shooting quite possible.
With the X-Pro1, Fuji tweaked the hybrid viewfinder from the X100 – it now has the ability to recognize which lens is mounted and adjust the magnification and frame lines accordingly. If the user requires a more accurate display, the electronic viewfinder is just a quick switch away. The X-Pro1 features a 3" 1230K rear LCD for image review and shot composition.
To optimize image quality, Fuji created the new X-mount electronic lens mount. By using the shortest rear-flange distance to date, the X-Pro1 has a reduced backfocus distance and prevents loss of light. With easy access to controls via the manual dials, as well as the new Quick Menu, the X-Pro1 serves as a solid contender for the mirrorless top spot.
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I can’t give you a solid take on this camera. Not because I haven’t spent enough time with it, I have, but rather because at this time (April 2012) I don’t know that we’ve seen the real X-Pro 1 yet. I’m that convinced that Fuji will be announcing a major firmware update that will change things. Not because I have any inside knowledge, I don’t. Rather because there are things that obviously could be done to improve the camera in firmware, and because there is a bit of a ‘beta’ feel to the camera. Certain buttons seem painfully underutilized, features aren’t there that should be, and things like framelines and histograms need to be more visible.
I was waiting for this camera, thinking it might be The One for me. But like every other offering this time around, it has some, but not all of the things I wanted. What’s great? There are 3 really decent prime lenses available, it does amazingly well at high ISO (6400 is very good), has excellent image quality, and I’m a big fan of the Fuji optical / electrical hybrid viewfinder. I’m never an ‘image mode’ fan, but the film settings on this are fun, especially Velvia.
It’s larger than most of the compact cameras in volume (although not in weight) and you definitely get the impression Fuji worked very, very hard to make it about the same size as the Leica M9. Some people will like the larger size, others want something more pocketable. I would suggest getting the grip, though: the one thing it has in common with the M9 is it can be a bit hard to hold, especially if your hands are sweaty.
What does it not do? Well, it’s autofocus works fine on still objects but struggles mightily to focus on anything moving faster than a plant grows, especially when the light isn’t great. You’ll do no action shooting with this (barring that firmware upgrade). Shooting raw is, at the moment at least, a waste of time. Fuji’s SicklyPix (spelling error intended) software is fairly awful and the images don’t seem any better from raw than from the camera’s jpgs in most peoples hands. I suspect the new sensor layout makes raw conversion software struggle somehow.
I’m really hopeful, though, that some firmware and software upgrades will make this camera really great within the next few months. I love the concept and I think the worst case scenario for Fuji (who does seem to correct their mistakes well) is that the X-Pro 2 will be a great camera. This one, at least right now, is merely good.
Update: With the newer Firmware updates, most of these issues have been resolved or much improved. While AF can still be tricky at times, it is much improved.
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