Fujifilm X-Pro1 16Mp compact system camera review
For Fujifilm, the fixed-lens retro-styled FinePix X100 camera turned out to be a huge and rather unexpected success. It was only a matter of time to see the company to bank on its popularity and release an interchangeable lens system loosely based on this model. Yet this CSC is no rehash, as it features a new 16Mp sensor design that puts it in a class of its own.
Retro styling, state-of-the-art imaging: Fujifilm's FinePix X-Pro1
The X-Pro1 retains the old school looks and rangefinder features of the X100 albeit in a rather bigger body. Yet despite the die-cast aluminium alloy casing, it weighs only 450g and feels surprisingly light in the hand. The general handling of this camera is great, with the rubberised texture adding safety to the comfortable, if not deep grip.
On the outside the changes from the X100 are not too striking. The front and the top plate of the two cameras are virtually identical, with the exception of a focus selector added to the front of the pro version and the viewfinder mode switch being downward oriented in the X-Pro1. The other difference worth mentioning is that the exposure compensation dial is now recessed, making it more difficult to move accidentally.
Dials aplenty for fuss-free set-ups
There are instead more considerable changes to the rear design. A straightforward four-way controller with large buttons now replaces the flimsy looking jog dial of the X100 whilst the size, feel and position of the other control buttons have also been altered for a neater and more ergonomic operation. The Raw button has completely vanished whereas a Quick Menu button has made a welcome appearance.
The overall operation and logic of the camera stays the same maintaining the either loved or loathed analogue control philosophy of the X100. The X-Pro1 has no mode dial as such. The only mode options available are Bulb, Time and Auto added to the shutter speed dial. The Auto mode works in a wonderfully simple way in conjunction with the lens.
The 1.33m-dot 3in display takes some beating
Since the aperture in the X-Pro1 system is set on the lens and not the camera, the aperture lens rings all have an A setting. If you want the camera to work in full auto mode all you have to do is set A on both the shutter speed dial and the aperture ring on the lens. However, if you want to work in either aperture or shutter priority mode you will simply set the fixed setting to A and select the variable one on the lens or the camera according to what priority you need.
Next page: Pure pleasure
While I haven't yet had a chance to try the Fuji lenses, and the Leica lenses are far beyond my reach, financially speaking, you really shouldn't put Olympus lenses in the same basket as the others. I shoot Nikon now, mostly due to my penchant for enjoying pictures of black cats in coal mines (and the occasional band in a dimly lit club, though the mines are usually at least three stops brighter), but oh those Zuiko Digital lenses. The good ones (i.e. not the kit zooms) defecate all over Canon's L offerings, after dumping a substantial, erm, dump, on Nikon's top of the line glass. If the XF lenses are even close to ZD, well then, I reckon the missus might just scalp me in the near future.
Fujifim seem capable of making an excellent camera. I know that Kodak didn't try as hard in the 60s, 70s and 80s as Fuji to get into the SLR and professional camera markets, but it's still a shame to see a company like Kodak, which once had one of the most recognisable brands, end up the way it has. Well done Fujifilm.
"Raw files take close to ten seconds to be fully recorded on the card."
To me that is a disgusting lack of performance in a £1299 camera. Seriously, who at these companies signs shit like that off as being good enough? Where is their pride in what they have made? Things like this, and Fuji aren't the only ones guilty of it, make it seem like modern engineers get 3/4 of the way to the final product then just go attention deficit and say "fuck it, let's move onto something new". I wouldn't have the stones to send out something that was so glaringly lacking in an area for which there is just no excuse for it. It's unprofessional.
Correct in spades...
There simply isn't another UWA lens that you can dream of affording that equals the Oly 7-14mm, and the 50-200mm zoom is like-wise amazing. Even using the 1.4x tele extender, I took pictures with that at the Melbourne Grand Prix this year that were, simply, professional calibre, using only my ancient E-3. Too bad the bodies aren't up to the lenses...but they make it very hard to ditch the E-series and buy a Nikon or Canon...
Do looks really matter? It has a feel quite unlike every other interchangeable lens camera on the market — despite the focussing issues there's something timeless to it. The results are excellent too. I guess the only downside is that the unique sensor array has led to poor third-party software support so far. Lightroom now has some support but the conversion leaves a lot to be desired versus the in-camera JPEG writer. Also the bundled software, SilkyPix, is quite awful from a usability point of view.
Summary: I love mine to pieces, though post-processing options are currently limited.