There is no direct access to any other program or scene mode and even the video mode can only be accessed using the drive menu. This is a camera aimed at serious and enthusiast photographers who desire purity and analogue simplicity. There is one quirky feature though that might appeal to pros and certainly appeals to me. The X-Pro1 has a multiple exposure setting that usefully lets you preview the overlapping image before recording it.
Viewing aids: the hybrid viewfinder keeps shooting at eye-level
Despite the lack of automation and user-friendly modes, the X-Pro1 is straightforward to operate and a sheer pleasure to use. Aside from the amazing 1.23m-dot resolution of its 3in RGBW LCD screen – that allows unprecedented level of detail at 100 per cent magnification – the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder arrangement is a shooting experience that needs to be tried to be fully appreciated.
In short, it is like having the best of both: the brightness and high contrast of a EVF with all the quirks of an OVF such as seeing the extensive shooting information, the active AF point or the virtual horizon. What I like the best though is that, thanks to this combination, you can actually shoot through the EVF and review the shot taken in LiveView without having to take your eye off the viewfinder. It also helps that the electronic viewfinder is extremely fast so that the overall experience it is as close to DSLR shooting as possible.
That said, performance of the X-Pro1 is a bit of a mix-bag. Shutter lag and continuous shooting speed are good, if not excellent, but writing to media is sluggish – Raw files take close to ten seconds to be fully recorded on the card. The camera does not go into complete lock-up during writing-up but it does prevent you from taking a second shot for a very short period after starting the write process.
The autofocus system is also a rather complicated, unreliable and odd business. First of all there is no tracking AF, which makes this camera unsuitable for fast-paced scenes. But even the available continuous mode is not at all suited for moving subjects, as it is centre-based and really struggles to follow targets.
Images are captured swiftly but data writes can be slow
The AF-S is surprisingly better than AF-C at locking onto moving subjects although you would not think so at the start. When I first used the X-Pro1 I had so many misses that I began to think there was something wrong with the actual camera I had been given. After much struggling and experimenting though I realised that the AF-C is actually very precise in good light provided you fully depress the shutter to shoot instead of waiting for the camera to show you the focused image before fully depressing.
Next page: Sample Shots
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.