When you attempt to half-depress the shutter to check the focus the camera seems to ponder endlessly and eventually produce out-of-focus shots. I may be missing a trick but it’s unclear why that is but if you can trust the camera to do its job, it really does deliver each time. Once I got to use to using the shutter without half-pressing I did not even experience any of the serious low-light AF delays widely reported on this camera.
The die-cast aluminium body feels light in the hand
To me, learning to use this temperamental autofocus system felt like taming a wild animal. It’ll never be as undemanding and docile as some competing AF systems but once you get used to it you can get it to perform virtually as reliably as other less moody systems. Indeed, the smooth bokeh effect, combined with the ultra-sharp focus this camera can achieve, is a feast for the eye.
The X-Pro1 also has a manual focus system, which works by turning the focus ring on the lens. Although this sounds good on paper the focus ring does not mechanically produce changes inside the lens. Sure it has the shape and feel of a manual ring, but it’s only an electronic control. In a DSLR lens you would turn the focus ring by small degrees either way and immediately achieve focus, yet with the X-Pro1 lenses you have to make it go quite a few turns to obtain focus. How much you have to turn the ring depends on the lens itself but you will experience a disorienting lag with all lenses, so I suggest manual focus to be used only for fine adjustments.
There are other not-so-good points to mention. A rather annoying, if low, constant lens clicking, which is the result of the camera’s opening and closing of the lens aperture blades to regulate light entry. The clicking never actually stops even when the aperture is fixed manually. Also the anti-dust ultrasonic vibrations system that should work well in an interchangeable lens camera was not up to the job and I ended up having dust specs quite often when changing lenses. Finally battery life is definitely poor.
At the heart of this otherwise seemingly old-fashioned camera lays a new sensor that is as cutting edge and technologically advanced as it comes. The 16Mp APS-C X-trans CMOS sensor uses a new colour filter array to solve issues of moiré. This approach avoids the need for a low-pass filter, which in conventional sensors results in unwanted softening of images. The upshot of it all is the XPro-1 delivers image quality levels that blow away the competition.
APS-C format sensor but the X-Trans technology eliminates the need for an anti-aliasing filter
The layout of colour filter array is modelled on the 'natural' randomness of silver halide grains on film. While not a truly random pixel layout, the uses a 6 x 6 sensor grid to introduce a higher degree of randomness. This isn't the same as some film emulation creative filter, as there is much hype about the film simulation modes of this camera. The truth is that the filmic magic of the images captured by the Fujifilm FinePix X-Pro1 have more to do with the capabilities of its sensor design. The technology delivers impressive and almost unrealistic sharpness together with a soft, smooth recording of light’s subtleties that makes the final images life-like and pop out in the same way that film does.
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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.