Fuji X-Pro1: First Impressions

Fuji X-Pro1_001

I really like this camera, as quirky as it is – but that’s mostly by design. The Fuji X-Pro1 really isn’t for everyone. Then again, what camera is for everyone?

If you’re looking for a compact, simple point-and-shoot camera, this isn’t the one for you. If you’re looking for a blazingly fast camera, this isn’t for you either. If you are looking for a moderate sized, mirrorless interchangeable lens system with great image quality, this may be the camera for you.

It is nicely styled after the old rangefinder cameras, with a 16 MP digital sensor (with a 1.5X crop factor) and a very cool hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinder. It has a 3 inch non-tilting rear LCD screen, mechanical controls for shutter speed and aperture (on the 3 current native lenses), focus drive, etc. Have a look at the pics and you’ll see pretty much everything you need is at your fingertips.

The build quality is very good. Even though it feels really light, nothing feels cheap on this camera. The body is a great size for my longer fingers; however, I do still feel the need for a bit of a grip.

The viewfinder as mentioned is both OVF and EVF. With OVF mode, parallax  error will occur (when the angle of view of the viewfinder is different than the view of the lens). You can compensate for this by using the parallax corrected frame in the OVF, or switch to EVF or LCD mode.

No adjustable diopter – which means you must purchase a third party correction lens and insert it into the viewfinder eyepiece. Keep this in mind if you use corrective eye glasses or contacts.

The autofocus is fine – not super speedy but reasonable and fairly accurate.

The EVF – it’s okay. Not quite as good as the Sony NEX-7. The Fuji’s is a little lower in resolution, and the refresh rate isn’t as high. This means that you’ll see lag in the EVF when you half press the shutter button to focus.

The battery life? Well, it definitely could be much better. I estimate I’d only get around 350 to maybe 400 shots on one charge. This will vary depending on the settings. I always recommend getting an extra battery. Also, the battery life indicator is a little unorthodox. Three bars indicate full/partial battery, two bars indicate battery more than half discharged, and 1 bar shows replace battery.

May I say that the auto white balance mode is great? Yes, I will say that. Even the auto wb on my recent DSLRs didn’t perform this well.

What about the picture quality? Well, the images straight out of the camera are fabulous! So far the pics are sharp and the colours are phenomenal. I tested the Fujinon 35mm f1.4 for a week and found the images to be stellar. For a $600 CAD lens, that’s pretty awesome! I unfortunately, do prefer other focal lengths so I did not keep the 35mm – as tempting as it was to do so. I am anxiously awaiting the Fujinon 14mm f2.8 (hopefully to be released later this year) – that’s a focal length I love shooting.

Currently I am using Voigtlander lenses on the X-Pro1 and I am loving it. I like being able to engage myself fully with these manual focus lenses. It’s given me a renewed sense of photography.

The Fuji X-Pro1 is a camera that will probably make you work for your shots. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – if you’re willing to learn how to use it.