Fujifilm X-Pro1

7/15/2012 11:06:31 AM

As we are well into the new generation of cameras, all camera makers are well aware that the standard SLR form factor is here to stay - and yet new form factors are arising, thanks to the advent of mirrorless systems. Even so, these new form factors lack one thing - there are no professional level cameras that are similar to the SLR / DSLR cameras enjoy now. Fujifilm aims to change it with their X series, and the latest addition to the stable, the X-Pro1, will change the scene forever - well, the company hopes so anyway.

Fujifilm X-Pro1


When you first open your box containing the X-Pro1, you will feel both elated and somewhat cheated. Elated because you are opening a camera box which body costs five grand to own (yes, RM5000++. Not cheap) but somewhat cheated because of the box itself. We expected to have the camera come in a nice sturdy case - wood or plastic - with some felt lining cradling the cameras and accessories. Instead you get the camera and its accessories in a somewhat flimsy cardboard box. We felt that is a big off, coming from the advertising angle that this camera is coming from.

The camera itself is a throwback to the rangefinder design. The viewfinder is situated on the top left corner of the camera - just like the old rangefinders of yore. The front even look like what you expect from a range finder. Its all-metal body feels nice in the body, but not really dense as you expect it to be. The body itself is covered in a pseudo-leather covering that makes you feel a bit more luxurious when holding the camera in your hand. The overall effect is that it feels old school.

Knobs and Buttons and Such

Description: Fujifilm X-Pro1

With the X-Pro1, you will not be moaning because of the lack of controls as some compact camera you have handled before. In fact, you may moan that there are too many controls! Let's start from the front of the camera. You get a toggle switch for manual, single and continuous focusing, where your left ring-finger will naturally fall when you hold the camera. On the lens itself (all of the Fujinon lenses actually) you will get an aperture control ring to set your aperture, depending on the lens itself. On the right hand side, where your forefinger will wall, is the viewfinder toggle switch. Oh, a focusing light using an LED.

On the top meanwhile it is all smooth until you reach the right hand side of the camera, where you will find the shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial, a Fn button, power switch toggle sleeve and a shutter button. The shutter button even comes with a screw-mount for a wire manual trigger -just like the old school camera you see used by your grandfathers.

Meanwhile at the back you will see the large three in LCD screen, a four-way d-pad with a Menu/OK button in the middle, a playback button, a Q-menu quick access button and several other buttons that will help you in the operations of the camera.

Mounting Your Lens

Fuji is famous for their Fujinon lenses both in the camera field and the medical field. Today with the X-Pro1, the tradition continues with their high quality lens that one can purchase to be used with the camera. Initially there will be three lenses on offer - 18mm, 35mm and 60mm, utilizing Fuji's new own mount for the camera. Behind said mount is a large, APS-C sensor that is the same size as comparable DSLRs on the market, so you are more than covered in the sensor quality. We will be talking about this later.

Now back to the lens, we had access to all three of the available lens, and we must say, it is a nice thing to have fast lenses that are primes. What is a prime lens you say? Well, it's a lens that has only one focal length, and when you need to zoom, you use your feet. The three lenses are what some will call a 'trinity' of lenses, where it covers wide angle, standard range and also a short telephoto focal range.

How To Hold It?

How To Hold It?

As you can see, the camera itself has an unusual design -at least for us who are more accustomed to the prism/viewfinder-over-lens that is the SLR. As the Pro1 follows the rangefinder design, you will find that the viewfinder is on the left hand side of the camera - perfect for use with the right eye, and not smashing your nose into the camera body.

The grip on the camera is not a beefy one, but still gives you a good grip on the camera when you hold it in one hand. With the 18mm lens in place, you can do a one-hand stance for photo taking, but once you bolt on the 60mm lens, you need to change your handhold and make it into a two-hander as the camera will be front heavy, and you need to hold the lens to get any kind of stability on the camera.

With the presence of the shutter dial and the aperture ring on the lenses, photographers do not need to dive in too deep into the menu system to change important parameters. What you do need to use the menu is the ISO settings, as it is still a button press-o-ganza to get the right ISO level you want.

Taking The Shot

Taking The Shot

Once you have all your settings in a row, you can proceed to shoot with the camera. The experience isn't like any other we have tried before. The off-set viewfinder is one, but it also features something borrowed from an older brother, the X-100. The Hybrid Viewfinder is back, and it is better on the new X-Pro1. The refresh rate on the camera is faster, and the switching mechanism is also better than before - you can feel that the viewfinder wants to work as fast as you can take photos.

Talking about taking photos, the shutter on the camera isn't the quietest we have come across, but it is quiet enough that you don’t feel that it is impairing your street photography photo session and draw everybody to your attention.

We are attaching some sample photos we took with the camera, and do judge if the camera take beautiful pictures or not

Final Words

What can we say about this gem of a camera? The only drawback for this camera is the price. It is over five grand for the body, and over 2 grand for each lens. Still, we give it a very hearty recommendation for anyone to own it!

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