Fujifilm X-Pro1 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Fujifilm Cameras / Fuji X i Review
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Fujifilm X-Pro1
Resolution: 16.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: Hybrid / LCD
ISO: 100-25600
Shutter: 30-1/4000
Max Aperture: n/a
Dimensions: 5.5 x 3.2 x 1.7 in.
(140 x 82 x 43 mm)
Weight: 16.0 oz (454 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $1,700
Availability: 02/2012
Manufacturer: Fujifilm
Full specs: Fujifilm X-Pro1 specifications
16.30
Megapixels
Fujifilm X APS-C
size sensor
image of Fujifilm X-Pro1
Front side of Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital camera Back side of Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital camera Top side of Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital camera Left side of Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital camera Right side of Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital camera

X-Pro1 Summary

It's not just a retro look that distinguishes the Fujifilm X-Pro1, but its cutting-edge hybrid optical viewfinder and emphasis on quality prime lenses. Excellent image quality with very clean detail is the extra surprise inside.

Pros

Quality build; Unique hybrid optical viewfinder; Excellent LCD; Good controls; Excellent image quality.

Cons

Limited to prime lenses (for now); Loose aperture ring and EV dial; Mediocre autofocus speeds; Slow buffer clearing; Tripod socket too close to battery compartment.

Price and availability

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 and the first three XF lenses went on sale in April 2012. Suggested retail price for the body is US$1,699.95. The XF 18mm f/2.0 and XF 35mm f/1.4 are both priced at US$599.95, while the XF 60mm f/2.4 macro is priced a little higher at US$649.95.

Imaging Resource rating

5.0 out of 5.0

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Fujifilm X-Pro1 Review

by Shawn Barnett, , and Zig Weidelich
Preview Posted: 01/09/2012
Review Posted:
Official lens roadmap added: 06/25/2012

Fuji took a bold leap into the compact system camera world with the debut of the Fujifilm X-Pro1. Building on the heritage of the FinePix X100, this large-sensor, fixed-lens digital camera's development was first revealed way back in 2010 at the Photokina tradeshow in Germany. Although fraught with more than a few teething problems, the X100 generated a huge amount of interest despite its lack of an interchangeable lens, and that bodes well for the company with its first true compact system camera offering.

In fact, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 sheds most of the idiosyncrasies of the X100, as the company apparently learned quite a few lessons from their debut model. The result is a camera that serves better as an SLR replacement, so long as you're not in love with the idea of zoom lenses.

Though it has a reasonable heft, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 concentrates its weight in the camera body, with the lenses weighing less than most despite their metal construction. Body only, the X-Pro1 weighs 16.01 ounces (454g), just barely over a pound. Add the 35mm lens and the combination is 23.07 ounces (654g, 1.44 pounds). Not bad at all.

The most unusual element to the X-Pro1 is the little lever that hangs down from where you'd usually find a mechanical self-timer on an old camera. In this case, it's the Viewfinder Selector. Toggle it once to switch between electronic and optical viewfinders. When looking through the optical viewfinder, pulling and holding the lever for two seconds changes the optical zoom ratio, sliding a wide-angle lens in or out depending on the lens you have mounted.

Above that, the AF illumination lamp is flanked by left and right stereo microphones. The Focus mode selector switch is lower right of the lens mount, and the Optical viewfinder window is above that. In the center is the bayonet lens mount and APS-C sensor.

The pleasantly simple top includes a hot shoe, a locking Shutter speed dial, the Shutter release button ringed by the Power switch, the Exposure compensation dial, and a Function button. Note that the Shutter release button is also threaded for a cable release.

Its big, bright optical viewfinder is pretty prominent in the upper left corner, with a soft rubber offset surrounding it to protect glasses. To the right of that is the infrared proximity sensor. The View Mode button to the right of that selects between the LCD, the OVF/EVF, and the third option, Eye Sensor, lets the proximity sensor make the choice for you. The read/write lamp is just right of that, often explaining clearly why you can't do anything for several seconds after capturing a burst of images.

The Command dial is used to navigate menus, view the most recent picture, and select options in the Quick menu. Pressing the dial down zooms in on the focus area to help when manual focusing, and zooms in on the active focus point in Playback mode. The rest of the buttons are pretty easily understood by their labels. AE brings up the metering options, and the AF button sets the autofocus options. Q brings up the Quick menu.

Aside from the EV and aperture rings turning a bit too easily, the rest of the controls are quite well placed and serve to make controlling the camera straightforward.

Sensor. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is based around a newly developed, APS-C sized, 16.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor with a unique color filter array which, says Fuji, is intended to better emulate film by having a less regular pattern than the Bayer filter typical of most sensors. On Bayer-patterned sensors, the array's pattern repeats in 2x2 grid, whereas the new array in the X-Pro1's X-Trans branded sensor repeats on a 6x6 grid.

The new pattern of the X-Trans sensor is intended to reduce the incidence of moiré patterning, and--showing its confidence in the design--Fuji hasn't included an optical low-pass filter in the X-Pro1. Most Bayer-patterned cameras do include an optical low-pass filter, which blurs the image just slightly, reducing resolution but also reducing the chance that moiré rears its head. By forgoing the low-pass filter, the X-Pro1 should be able to offer better per-pixel detail. Another advantage touted for the new color filter array is the presence of red and blue pixels in every horizontal line of the array, where Bayer-filtered cameras have either color only in alternating rows, potentially leading to false colors.

Maximum image resolution is 4,896 x 3,264 pixels, with a native 3:2 aspect ratio. Both 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratio options are also available.

Processor. Alongside the Fujifilm X-Trans CMOS sensor is a new generation image processor, designed to handle the greater workload of turning data from a 6x6 array back into a color image. Dubbed "EXR Processor Pro," the new image processor allows a maximum burst-shooting rate of six frames per second at full resolution. By default, ISO sensitivity ranges 200 to 6,400 equivalents, with sensitivities between 400 and 3,200 equivalents available under automatic control. It's possible to extend the sensitivity range to ISO 100 equivalent at the bottom end, and to as high as ISO 25,600 equivalent at the top end.

Optics. On the front panel of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a brand-new lens mount, adding yet another option to the wide array of lens mounts used by compact system cameras. The new Fujifilm X mount has a ten-pin electronic contact for communication between body and lens, and a flange back distance of 17.7mm, besting that of Sony's E-mount, which until now had the shortest flange back distance for an APS-C camera by just 0.3mm.

At launch, Fuji is offering three lens models for the X-mount, all of them primes, and all carrying Fujinon XF branding. All three lenses have metal barrels, milled metal lens hoods, rounded apertures, fly-by-wire 1/3 step aperture rings, fly-by-wire manual focus rings, and all-glass elements.

The Fujinon XF18mm F2 R lens is the lightest and smallest X-mount lens of the trio by a significant margin, and also offers the closest focusing distance, at just 18 centimeters. It also has the shortest back focus distance by a significant margin, at just 11mm from the sensor plane. The design features eight elements in seven groups, with two aspheric lenses, and the aperture range is f/2 to f/16. 35mm-equivalent focal length for this lens is 27mm, and it accepts 52mm filters.

Fujfilm X-Pro1 with lenses

The brightest lens available for the X-mount, meanwhile, is the Fujinon XF35mm F1.4 R, with an aperture range of f/1.4 to f/16. Size and weight fall midway between the other lenses, and with eight elements in six groups including one aspheric, this model has the least complex optical formula. 35mm-equivalent focal length is 53mm, and minimum focusing distance is 28cm, and again, it's threaded for 52mm filters.

Finally, the most far-reaching lens available for the X-mount is the XF60mm F2.4 R Macro, with a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 91mm. As the name would suggest, it also offers the best macro performance of the trio, with a magnification ratio of 1:2 (0.5x). With 10 elements in eight groups, including both an aspheric and an ED lens element, this lens has the most complex optical formula of the trio, and is also the largest and heaviest of the group. (That's not to say it is overly large or heavy, mind you -- it's still only a few percent larger than Sony's 50mm f/1.8 lens, for example, and just a handful of grams heavier.)

No zoom lenses are available for the X-mount yet, though the official XF-lens roadmap released on June 25, 2012 includes an 18-55mm F2.8-4 OIS (optical image stabilized) standard zoom later this year, as well a 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS telephoto zoom, and a 10-24mm F4 OIS super wide zoom in the middle of 2013. Another four unstabilized primes are in the works as well: a 14mm F2.8 super wide available in the fall of 2012, plus a 23mm F1.4, a 27mm F2.8 pancake, and a 56mm F1.4 portrait lens in early 2013. Fujifilm has also announced an M-mount adapter which began shipping June 2012, and third-party adapters for various mounts are already available online.

Viewfinder. The Fuji X-Pro1 has a development of the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder which debuted on the X100 fixed-lens camera, with one change aimed at accommodating the interchangeable-lens design of the newer camera. As with that of its predecessor, the viewfinder combines both an all-glass, reverse Galilean finder with 90% coverage and a 0.47-inch LCD electronic viewfinder with high 1,440,000 dot resolution (equating to 800 x 600 pixels, with separate RGB dots per pixel). The pairing operates in two modes -- either as a standard (albeit high-resolution) electronic viewfinder, or as an optical viewfinder with bright frame indication provided by the EVF LCD. The bright frame indication approximates the boundaries of the image as framed, and attempts to take account of and correct for parallax error; anything outside the bright frame is likely outside of the image area. It's a design that we both admired and found somewhat troublesome in the X100, in about equal measure. (It's very clever, but has issues with bright sunlight drowning out the LCD's backlight, as well as the significant shift in brightness when switching between a real-world and electronic view. The estimated bright lines are far from accurate, as well.)

For the Fuji X-Pro1, the design has been changed to allow two different magnification levels, depending upon which lens you have mounted. With the 18mm lens attached, the viewfinder has 0.37x magnification, while for the 35mm and 60mm lenses, a magnification of 0.6x is used. (By way of comparison, the original X100 had 0.5x magnification for its 23mm lens.) Since there's only one magnification level for the 35mm and 60mm lenses, the viewfinder also varies its bright frame indication to show an approximation of the image area for whichever lens is currently mounted.)

Eye point of the X-Pro 1's viewfinder is 14mm, and it includes a sensor to detect when the camera is raised to your eye, allowing the LCD panel and EVF to be switched automatically.

Display. On the rear panel of the Fuji X-Pro1 is a 3.0-inch RGBW LCD display. Compared to standard RGB displays, RGBW types offer either lower power consumption for an equivalent brightness, or the ability to ramp up brightness beyond what's typically possible with a standard LCD panel. Total resolution of the X-Pro1's display is 1,230,000 dots, with each pixel comprised of separate red, green, blue, and white dots. This approximately equates to a VGA (640 x 480) pixel array. Coverage is manufacturer-rated at approximately 100%.

Exposure. As you'd expect, the Fuji X-Pro1 offers a choice of Program (with shift), Aperture- or Shutter-priority, and fully Manual shooting modes, and forgoes modern niceties such as scene modes. Metering modes include 256-zone multiple, spot, and average, and +/-2.0 EV of exposure compensation is available in 1/3 EV steps via a dedicated EV dial.

Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 1/4 second controlled automatically, or as long as 30 seconds under manual control, and a bulb position is available. The X-Pro1 has a focal plane shutter, and will allow bulb exposures as long as 60 minutes.

Aperture is controlled via an aperture ring on the lens. There's an "A" for Auto setting on both the aperture ring and shutter speed dial. Setting the aperture ring to A allows the camera to adjust aperture, while A on the shutter speed dial means the camera is in control of shutter speed. This gives access to all PASM exposure modes.

White balance modes include Automatic, Custom, Kelvin, and seven presets, and interestingly, one of these is an Underwater preset. Although the list of accessories for the X-Pro1 doesn't yet include an underwater housing, this does seem to suggest that one will eventually arrive.

A self-timer function is available, with both two and ten-second options.

Flash. Not surprisingly for a camera aimed at enthusiasts, the X-Pro1 forgoes a built-in flash strobe, in favor of a standard hot shoe for external strobes. There's also a sync terminal at the base of the camera's left side, suitable for attaching studio strobes and the like, without needing to resort to a shoe-mount adapter. X-sync is 1/180 second, about typical for a compact system camera these days.

Available flash modes include Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Rear-curtain Synchro, either with or without red-eye reduction.

As well as the existing Fujifilm EF-42 and EF-20 flash strobes, the X-Pro1 also supports a new, retro-styled EF-X20 strobe. It includes a top-mounted dial for configuring flash output, under either automatic or manual control.

Creative. The X-Pro1 includes quite a selection of interesting creative functions. As you might expect for a company with a history in film production, there is a selection of ten film simulation modes that aim to replicate the look of popular Fuji film formulations of days gone by, such as Provia, Astia, and Velvia, as well as of combinations such as black-and-white film with different color filters applied.

There's also a user-adjustable dynamic range setting, with 100%, 200%, or 400% positions, or the camera can select these on the fly. Dynamic range can also be bracketed, as can film simulation, exposure, and ISO sensitivity.

Additionally, there's a multiple exposure function, a user-selectable color space, and controls over saturation, sharpness and gradation of images.

A nice example of the attention to detail Fujifilm paid in designing the X-Pro1 is seen in the metal lens hoods that come bundled with each lens.

Panorama. Among the various functions of the X-Pro1, there are a couple that don't quite gel with the camera's retro styling, although they're sure to be useful, so we're glad to see they made the cut. The first is a Motion Panorama function, which operates much like sweep panorama on certain competing cameras: simply pan across a scene while holding the shutter button, and the X-Pro1 will automatically capture and stitch either a horizontal or vertical panorama, at one of four resolutions: 7,680 x 1,440, or 5,120 x 1,440 pixels for horizontal, and 2,160 x 7,680 or 2,160 x 5,120 pixels for vertical.

Video. The other feature that's pretty-much a must on a modern system camera is high-definition video capture. As is usual, the X-Pro1 is limited to a clip length of 29 minutes to avoid a European tax on camcorders. Videos are saved in .MOV format with H.264 compression, and include stereo sound. The X-Pro1 can record at either Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) or HD (1,280 x 720 pixel) resolution, at a rate of 24p frames per second. You can set the aperture, white balance, film simulation, exposure compensation and focus mode before recording. There's no external microphone connectivity.

Dust reduction. The X-Pro1, like any interchangeable-lens camera, must deal with the effects of dust which enters the camera body during lens changes, and may settle over the image sensor. To contend with this, Fujifilm has adopted an ultrasonic vibration system, which vibrates a cover glass over the image sensor, since the camera lacks an optical low-pass filter.

Storage. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital cards, including both the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types, and includes support for the higher-speed UHS-I types. Fujifilm recommends at least Speed Class 4 for HD movie capture. Images can be stored in either EXIF Version 2.3-compliant JPEG or proprietary Fujifilm .RAF RAW formats, or in both formats simultaneously. As with most interchangeable lens cameras, there's no internal memory for image storage.

Power. Power for the X-Pro1 comes from a proprietary NP-W126 lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Both the battery and a BC-W126 charger are included in the product bundle. Fujifilm lists battery life in the region of 300 frames to CIPA testing standards. There's a Power Save mode that can increase that to 350 shots on a charge, and Fujifilm claims up to 1,000 shots when using the optical viewfinder. Fujifilm currently has no plans for an AC adapter for the X-Pro1, though the battery compartment has a channel for a dummy battery cable, so we may see one offered in the future.

Connectivity. The X-Pro1 includes both USB 2.0 High-Speed data connectivity for getting images and videos onto a computer or storage device, and an HDMI mini connector for viewing them on an attached high-definition display. No provision is made for standard-def displays.

 

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Shooter's Report

by Shawn Barnett

Continuous. The Fujifilm X-Pro1's six-frames-per second is a useful frame rate for action, and doesn't make quite as much noise as the average mirror-slapping SLR.

When shooting with last year's X100, I quickly discovered why so many were enamored of the camera, so I wasn't quite as surprised to find myself really enjoying the Fujifilm X-Pro1 as I took it out for a half-day of shooting around Atlanta. But the real surprise came at my desk: The X-Pro1's images were stunning. Extremely clean detail. None of the usual artifacts I've learned to accept after years of shooting and analyzing digital images. Fujifilm has often introduced new sensor technology that they said would change everything, but so often the resulting image quality failed to impress. But the X-Pro1's X-Trans sensor array really does seem to have something, optimizing the 16-megapixel sensor in a way we didn't expect.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. We'll get to image quality soon enough, but I wanted to make it clear that the Fujifilm X-Pro1's strongest point is its image quality. And that is saying something.

Film modes. Monochrome mode has a classic look.

My first impressions of the X-Pro 1 were mixed. The lenses are light weight, the aperture rings are loose, the focusing ring is electronic rather than manual, and the overall camera feel is less substantial than I was expecting. I recently reviewed the Leica M9, which is about the same size, but much heavier. As I began to shoot with the X-Pro1, though, most of those issues fell by the way. What I liked was the rangefinder-like design, its simple controls, and the Fujifilm X-Pro1's reliance on prime lenses.

Dials. Three dials make up the main exposure interface on the Fujifilm X-Pro1: The lens's Aperture ring, the Shutter speed dial, and the EV adjustment dial. As I already mentioned, the aperture rings on all three lenses are a bit too lose for my taste, and they don't lock on the Auto setting. Settings change while you carry the camera, which usually isn't helpful. The Shutter speed dial does lock on Auto, however, releasing with a press on the button in the center of the dial; thereafter it turns freely. It's also firmer than the other two dials, which I prefer. The EV dial, on the other hand, too often turns while in a camera bag or just while you're holding the camera between shots. The Standard viewfinder display shows a small match-needle display that will let you know you have the dial set, but it's off to the left and you have to pay attention. I more often found the dial was adjusted when my images started coming out dark.

I learned to quickly check the aperture ring, the shutter speed, and the EV dial after any pause in my shooting, just to be sure. Because they're dials, it's easy to do, which is the good news.

Detail. I was surprised to see the antenna and wires so clearly in this shot, made with the 60mm lens.

Buttons and switches. I'm more pleased with the rest of the controls, with a few exceptions. Only the Macro button gave me trouble, so we'll start there. It not only calls up the Macro adjustment, but a second press switches in to Macro mode, which changes the optical viewfinder to EVF mode, among other things. Its position makes it easy to press accidentally. 

One switch worth mentioning is the Focus mode selector switch on the front. Nikon and Sony/Minolta shooters will be accustomed to this kind of control, but others may not be looking for such a control on the front of the camera. I found it set to an unexpected position once or twice, but it was because I'd set it and forgot about it. Be careful to look at it as you set it, though, as it's easy to turn too far to Manual focus mode when you want Continuous.

The Function button can be programmed via the Shooting menu for multiple exposure, depth-of-field preview, self-timer, ISO sensitivity, image size, image quality, dynamic range, film simulation, white balance, AF mode, movie recording, RAW/JPEG toggle, or to bring up the Custom Settings menu which has three banks. The Fn Button menu can also be displayed by pressing and holding the Function button.

Quick Menu. I applaud the X-Pro1's simple, straightforward Quick menu. All the boxes are the same size and work the same too.

Until I discovered the Quick Menu button, I primarily used the Drive mode button. It brings up a quick menu that offers most of the interesting modes available on the Fujifilm X-Pro1. After that, the AF button allows you to quickly change your chosen AF point, and even adjust its size with the rear dial. Easy access to greater precision: tough to discount that.

The Quick menu button offers access to the rest of the important adjustments. At first, navigation isn't obvious. It really is simple, though. The four arrows move between items on the grid, and the Rear dial adjusts each item. It's quick and handy for adjusting settings like ISO, film-simulation type, and Aspect ratio.

The Main menu is accessed with the center navigation button. It brings up a left-tabbed menu system that is straightforward and well organized. Scrolling down moves through all the red-tabbed Shooting menu items, and reaching the bottom of the fifth menu brings you back to the top. To get to the three Set-up menus, just arrow left to select the tabs and scroll down. This menu follows the same rule, returning to the top at the bottom of the third menu. Once you get this, you know how to navigate the menu, and the simple, block letter design and simple descriptions will guide you to the rest of the way.



Three primes. 18mm, 35mm, and 60mm lenses cover 27mm, 53mm, and 90mm equivalent focal lengths.

Lenses. As I said, they're light, but in the end that turns out to be good. It's what they do with light that makes all the difference, and according to our SLRgear testing and our lab results, the three lenses are quite good. They also focus quickly and are built very well. I even like the lens hoods, which are small, short, metal, and in the case of the two wide-angle lenses, semi-rectangular, which reduces their nuisance factor. A large, visible number is also printed on one side, indicating the focal length of the lens, so I mount them with this facing up so I can see at a glance what's mounted. The two wide angle lens hoods come with an additional rectangular rubber cap, a good solution, since getting the lens cap on and off inside these rectangular hoods is not easy.

Because I didn't attach a camera strap to the X-Pro1, I had a little more trouble than usual changing lenses. Further complicating matters is all three lenses have large aperture and focus rings, which means it's harder to find an area to grip the lenses and twist them off, particularly if you're not shooting with aperture set to Auto. If you grip the lenses from the back, as close as possible to the camera body, the bezel there is stationary. In general, I recommend a camera strap, particularly with a camera that will require more lens changes (provided you buy more than one lens, that is).

It's also noteworthy that though the lenses focus pretty quietly, the aperture of the lenses clicks constantly as it adjusts to compensate for differing light levels. This happens regardless whether you're using the optical viewfinder, the electronic viewfinder, or the LCD. I attribute the X-Pro1's low battery life primarily to this constant activity, as I got only about four hours out shooting with the camera on before the battery went completely dead. I've since switched the camera off between shots and got much better battery life. (Update: we have confirmed that firmware update v1.01 effectively addresses the iris chatter issue.)

Viewfinder. Most of the real fun in shooting the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is found in the unique optical viewfinder. I split my time about evenly between this and the LCD at first, but defaulted more to the LCD as the time wore on. Despite the X-Pro1's valiant attempts to resize and shift the bright-line indicator in the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder to compensate for parallax, the captured image usually included considerably more of the scene than I expected.

I love that you can duplicate all of the features available on the LCD, including the leveling feature, histogram, and grid in the optical overlay view; you can also pick and choose which enhancements appear in either view. Having an optical view with a heads-up display LCD overlay is a surreal experience. I would love to see an SLR manufacturer emulate such a display.

Window washers. I had to do some walking to frame this like I wanted with the 60mm prime. The workers are remarkably clear in this image.

Problems I had with the OVF include the "failure to shift" accurately, making the bright-line indicators untrustworthy. The LCD overlay on occasion didn't light up in bright conditions on occasion, and when that happened, it slowly faded in over a few seconds. The small lens hoods still got in the way of much of the viewfinder frame, making the lower right corner a constant mystery. I also have a tendency to touch the front viewfinder lens element when I pick up the camera with my left hand, but that's more of a handling issue. I also quickly forgot that I was shooting in black and white mode a time or two, capturing images I'd have rather had as color. Shooting in RAW takes care of that, of course, but has the overhead of increased write times.

Framing images with the 60mm lens is a little funny, because though the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder has two optical angles that serve the 18mm and 35mm lenses, when you attach the 60, the bright line framing indicator is so small it looks more like an AF point. Its then that you really do better framing with the LCD for a better look at focus and finer framing.

It's also important to note that there's no diopter correction, and the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder's eyepoint isn't very high, requiring me to press my glasses in to my eye socket and peer around to see all the available elements of the display.

Study. There are two other shots in the gallery that show my daughter standing at the edge of this curb getting ready to jump, but this is my favorite image as she flings herself almost out of the frame.

LCD. Outdoors in bright sunlight, the X-Pro1's LCD is very good with good color and contrast, and its crisp, high-resolution display makes checking focus easy. I'm fond of the translucent histogram and simple, straightforward leveling feature. Shooting with the LCD became my preferred mode of framing images with the X-Pro1, mostly because our gallery images generally go in full frame, as shot, with no cropping or enhancement. It's part of the demonstration of the camera's capabilities. And put simply, I wanted to capture images that were framed the way I wanted, not leaving it to the whim of the X-Pro1's questionable guesses as to how the image will be framed.

Autofocus. Autofocus was pretty good, but I stuck with the manual AF point selection option, as the X-Pro1's multi-point AF tended to religiously choose the closest object, rather than reshuffling the mix with each half-press of the shutter button like most P&S AF systems do. It's really easy to move your AF point around the 49-point grid (25-point grid with the OVF). Just press the AF button and use the four arrows to move the AF point around. Turning the Command dial also resizes the AF point for finer focus.

Selecting. I loved taking my time and selecting the right lens for the subject. The 18mm was just right for this. In retrospect, though, a switch to Velvia might have looked better.

Manual focus. The Fuji X-Pro1 allows you to focus manually using either the viewfinder or the LCD. The lens is fly-by-wire, which is less than ideal, but it still works surprisingly well, and you can reverse the direction of rotation if you like. When looking through the optical viewfinder with the Focus switch set to M, just press the rear Command dial on the back panel. The optical view is then replaced by the electronic viewfinder, which is zoomed in on the center focus point. From there you turn the lens ring and the lens motor steps along, focusing a little at a time. It's not smooth by any means, but it works better than we thought it would, and the scale in the viewfinder gives you an analog approximation of the subject distance and the depth of field at the given aperture setting.

You use the same procedure to manual focus via the LCD, by the way, and the available tools are the same, including the focusing scale.

Full HD. 1,920 x 1,080 24p movie. Click image to download 22.7MB MOV file.

Movies. Shooting movies was pretty straightforward too. Just press the Drive button and scroll up, which takes you to Movie mode at the bottom of the list (I love menus that wrap, don't you?). Movies can be recorded in full Auto mode, or in Aperture priority mode, and you can use the full gamut of available film modes, including the various black and white modes.

Video quality is spotty, depending on the light levels. Rolling shutter is also a pretty significant issue if you move the camera rapidly, especially when panning. Since there's no image stabilization built into the Fujifilm X-Pro1, handholding the camera for video is not really recommended, as you can see from my shaky daylight videos.

Visit our Fujifilm X-Pro1 Video page for more details and sample movie clips.

Motion Panorama. Capturing a Motion Panorama is relatively painless as well. Again in the Drive menu, just select Motion Panorama and follow the onscreen instructions. Pressing the right arrow on the four-way allows you to choose a panning direction, and pressing the left arrow lets you choose between medium (M) and wide-angle (L) panoramas.

I shot this first panorama with the 18mm lens in vertical mode to get more of the trees.

This is shot the same way, but with a wider sweep.

Tripod. As I made the night shots, I realized too late that I'd forgotten to format the memory card before I started shooting. That left little space for videos and RAW images. It was then that I discovered an unfortunate flaw in the X-Pro1: to change cards or the battery, you have to remove the quick-release plate from the camera to open the card door, because the tripod socket is only two millimeters from the door. This may be the worst design choice on the otherwise excellent Fujifilm X-Pro1.

Film bracketing mode automatically saves three files of your choosing. Default is Provia, Velvia, and Astia, as seen here. (Mouse over the links to compare.)

Film modes. Even in this digital age, Fujifilm insists of referring to film types. I guess when a company decides to embed the word into their name, it makes sense to keep it going. Their film types emulate several popular Fujifilm brands of old, like Provia, Velvia, and Astia color reversal films. The X-Pro1 also offers color negative film simulations the company calls "Pro Neg. Hi" which is recommended for outdoor portraits and "Pro Neg. Std" optimized for studio portraits, as well as Monochrome, Monochrome + Ye Filter, Monochrome + R Filter, Monochrome + G Filter, and Sepia. These also apply to videos, as I mentioned.

Lens flare. It's not as dramatic as it was on the X100, but still present. Note the multiple disks of light radiating out toward the upper left (XF18mm lens at f/2.0).

Flare? As we reported in the X100 review, we found a bit of odd flare when shooting outdoors. The conditions weren't exactly the same, so it's hard to say if it would have been more dramatic or less. The unusual multiple expanding circles make me suspect it's light bouncing back and forth between the lens and front sensor glass. It was most obvious with the 18mm lens, but also occurred with the 35mm. It varies considerably with the light source.

Video overview. I shot a little 3-minute video to go over a few of the features I've mentioned, some of the things that are better shown in a video. Let us know what you think of it, as we'd like to do more in the future whenever possible.

As I say in the video, I was pretty pleased with the Fujifilm X-Pro1. I think it's a worthy camera for anyone wanting SLR quality in a unique format. Each lens is worth its price, too, and I felt pretty confident that I wasn't compromising image quality for the sake of being different. They're high quality lenses feeding light to a high quality sensor, as you'll see below in our image quality and print quality analysis.

Fuji X-Pro1 Image Quality

The crops below compare the Fuji X-Pro1 to the Fuji X100, a couple of enthusiast SLRs (Canon 7D and Nikon D7000), and a couple of Compact System Cameras (Panasonic GX1 and Sony NEX-5N).

Most decent cameras produce very good results at base ISO, but the X-Pro1 is interesting enough we wanted to show how it did at ISO 200 compared to similar cameras at their base ISO. We also like to see what they can do at ISO 1,600 and 3,200, and finally we'll compare high-contrast detail at ISO 100, 3,200, and 6,400.

Note that these images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction. Each camera was shot with one of our very sharp reference prime lenses. We used the excellent XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens for the Fuji X-Pro1.

Fuji X-Pro1 versus Fuji X100 at Base ISO

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 200
Fuji X100 at ISO 200

Though the X100 is 12-megapixels, it looks very similar to the Fujifilm X-Pro1. The X-Pro1 gets more resolution on the elements, of course, and it also gets the pink swatch closer to its real color.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Canon 7D at Base ISO

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 200

Canon 7D at ISO 100

Compared to the 18-megapixel Canon 7D, high-content elements are sharper from the X-Pro1, the shadow detail seems smoother, and even the mosaic image is sharper. Note also the very mild sharpening halos compared to the Canon's. The red leaf swatch is a little faded from the X-Pro1, but still not bad. Neither camera renders the leaves perfectly, but the Canon's rendering is closer to correct.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Nikon D7000 at Base ISO

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 200
Nikon D7000 at ISO 100

Again, the X-Pro1 is more crisp than the Nikon D7000. The D7000's treatment of the red leaf swatch is a bit dark, while the X-Pro1 is a little too light.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Panasonic GX1 at Base ISO

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 200
Panasonic GX1 at ISO 160

Crisper again from the X-Pro1 versus the GX1. Note, though, that the GX1 finds threads in the pink swatch, while the X-Pro1 misses them. The GX1 has a slightly different aspect ratio, though, so elements appear a little larger. I prefer the X-Pro1's color, though, as it lacks the green cast we still find in the GX1's images.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Sony NEX-5N at Base ISO

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 200
Sony NEX-5N at ISO 100

The Sony NEX-5N is the X-Pro1's clearest rival at base ISO, though it too renders the image a bit darker in almost all elements. The X-Pro1 looks crisper, but doesn't retain quite as much detail in the lighter mosaic tiles, and the red leaf swatch also isn't quite as good.


How images look at 1,600 is also of importance.

Fuji X-Pro1 versus Fuji X100 at ISO 1,600

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 1,600
Fuji X100 at ISO 1,600

Again, the resemblance to the X100 is uncanny, despite the shift to the new filter layout. It's almost a lower resolution version of the X-Pro1.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Canon 7D at ISO 1,600

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 1,600

Canon 7D at ISO 1,600

While the Canon 60D looks a little better than the 7D, we thought it important to show these two similarly priced cameras side-by-side, given our inclusion of the lower-cost D7000 below. As you can see, the X-Pro1's detail is noticeably better at 1,600, in the bottle, in the mosaic image, and the shadows are better. The red leaf swatch still has shapes recognizable as leaves, while the 7D's version is anything but.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Nikon D7000 at ISO 1,600

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 1,600
Nikon D7000 at ISO 1,600

Shadow noise, detail, and red detail is even better than the Nikon D7000, which is surprising considering how highly we value the D7000. The red swatch is lighter than it should be, but it retains more detail.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Panasonic GX1 at ISO 1,600

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 1,600
Panasonic GX1 at ISO 1,600

Thanks to its smaller sensor, the GX1 doesn't compare well with the X-Pro1 as ISO rises. Detail, sharpness and color are all better on the X-Pro1.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Sony NEX-5N at ISO 1,600

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 1,600
Sony NEX-5N at ISO 1,600

Sony's more aggressive processing makes onscreen images look quite a bit more garish, with a heavily processed look. Some areas appear oversharpened, while others seem oversoftened. The most extreme example is the pink swatch below the red leaf swatch. The X-Pro1's images are more natural looking onscreen by comparison.



Today's ISO 3,200 is yesterday's ISO 1,600 (well, almost), so below are the same crops at ISO 3,200.

Fuji X-Pro1 versus Fuji X100 at ISO 3,200

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 3,200
Fuji X100 at ISO 3,200

Another example of the apple falling not far from the tree.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Canon 7D at ISO 3,200

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 3,200

Canon 7D at ISO 3,200

The X-Pro1 does very well by comparison to the 7D at ISO 3,200. It has better color, less luminance noise, and less noise suppression softness.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Nikon D7000 at ISO 3,200

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 3,200
Nikon D7000 at ISO 3,200

While the D7000 remains comparable to the X-Pro1 in many areas, it's not quite as sharp in high-contrast areas, and both luminance and chroma noise are larger and more noticeable.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Panasonic GX1 at ISO 3,200

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 3,200
Panasonic GX1 at ISO 3,200

The X-Pro1 continues to outshine the GX1 in these crops at ISO 3,200.


Fuji X-Pro1 versus Sony NEX-5N at ISO 3,200

Fuji X-Pro1 at ISO 3,200
Sony NEX-5N at ISO 3,200

Thanks to a more aggressive sharpening, the Sony seems to push ahead at ISO 3,200, but there's actually better detail from the X-Pro1.



Detail: Fuji X-Pro1 vs. X100, Canon 7D, Nikon D7000, Panasonic GX1, and Sony NEX-5N

Fuji
X-Pro1

ISO 200
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Fuji
X100

ISO 200
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Canon
7D

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Nikon
D7000

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Panasonic
GX1

ISO 160
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Sony
NEX-5N

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Detail comparison. High-contrast details are often sharper as ISO rises, so they're worth a look as well. The X-Pro1 nearly outshines all of the competition, while using less sharpening. Its lack of a low-pass filter is the likely cause. At ISO 6,400 it outresolves the NEX-5N, and does it with less sharpening. Very impressive.

 

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Print Quality

Print quality from the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is impressive, even as ISO rises.

ISO 100 shots are excellent at 24 x 36, though this is technically an extended ISO setting. Our troublesome red swatch is only slightly soft, but not bad by any means.

ISO 200 shots also look great at 24 x 36.

ISO 400 shots are still stunning at 20 x 30. It's pretty surprising how nice they look.

ISO 800 images look somewhat similar to the lower ISOs at 20 x 30, but with a hint of luminance noise in the shadows. We'll call 16 x 20s good here.

ISO 1,600 images show a little more luminance noise at 16 x 20 inches, but are still quite good.

ISO 3,200 shots are still usable at 13 x 19, but enough noise and noise suppression appear that we prefer the 11 x 14-inch print size.

ISO 6,400 shots show more noise in the shadows, and noise suppression starts to encroach on solid colors when printed at 11 x 14. 8 x 10 inch prints look good.

ISO 12,800 images are usable at 8 x 10 inches, with good high-contrast detail, but the red leaf swatch is nearly featureless (a common outcome). We prefer the 5 x 7-inch print.

ISO 25,600 prints are usable at 5 x 7 inches, but the grainy shadows and powdery color looks better when printed at 4 x 6 inches.

Overall, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 with its stellar X-Trans sensor does incredibly well in the print department. From terrific 24 x 36 inch prints at low ISOs, to even producing a good 4 x 6 at 25,600, you can expect very nice print quality from the X-Pro1.

 

In the Box

The Fuji X-Pro1 ships with the following items in the box:

  • Fujifilm X-Pro1 body
  • Li-ion battery NP-W126
  • Battery charger BC-W126
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB cable
  • Body cap
  • Metal strap clip
  • Protective cover
  • Clip attaching tool
  • CD-ROM (Viewer software, RAW File Converter)
  • Owner's manual

 

Recommended Accessories

  • All three XF lenses (they're all excellent)
  • Protector filter(s)
  • Extra battery pack
  • EF-X20, EF-20, or EF-42 flash unit
  • HG-XPro1 hand grip
  • Protective case
  • Large capacity, high-speed SDHC/SDXC memory card. 8-16 GB or larger makes sense if you plan on shooting lots of HD video or RAW. Look for a speed grade of at least Class 4 for video capture.

 

Fuji X-Pro1 Conclusion

Pro: Con:
  • Quality build
  • Unique hybrid optical viewfinder
  • Excellent LCD, even in sunlight
  • Good analog control dials for quick manual, auto, or semi-auto exposure
  • Digital controls are well-placed
  • Menu is well-designed and easy to use
  • Quick menu gets right to the point with a simple grid and quick navigation
  • Superb image quality
  • Very good detail and per-pixel sharpness
  • Impressive high ISO performance
  • Excellent lenses
  • Bracketing modes for ISO, film type, and exposure value
  • Not too heavy
  • Dust reduction system
  • Easily customizable display elements
  • Supports separate element sets for hybrid viewfinder versus LCD
  • Accurate color
  • Film simulation modes
  • Very good dynamic range in JPEGs
  • Separate highlight and shadow contrast control
  • D-Range feature helps tame blown highlights
  • Motion Panorama
  • Full HD video with stereo sound
  • Fast pre-focused shutter lag
  • Continuous mode up to 6 fps
  • Programmable function button
  • Flash hot shoe
  • PC-sync terminal
  • Fewer bells and whistles overall
  • Great print quality
  • Proprietary lens mount
  • Very limited selection of available lenses
  • Aperture rings and EV dial are a bit loose
  • OVF accuracy disappointing (but there's always the EVF)
  • Auto white balance too red indoors, Incandescent setting too yellow
  • Saturation adjustment not very effective
  • Only +/-2 EV compensation range
  • Mediocre autofocus speeds
  • Slow buffer clearing (get the fastest card you can)
  • Some minor demosaicing artifacts from new color filter layout
  • Below average battery life (but can use optical viewfinder to save power)
  • No image stabilization (in current lenses or body)
  • Video is only 24p
  • No RAW support at extended ISOs (100, 12800, 25600)
  • RAW files not supported by third-party converters (yet)
  • Tripod socket too close to battery/card compartment
  • No AC adapter available
  • Pricey

 

Shooting with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is really a kick. It took me back to the days when all I had were prime lenses, and my senses were tuned to the world around me such that I could anticipate which lens I needed before the action happened, and swiftly reach into my bag for the right lens. Naturally, though, I occasionally watched helplessly as moments passed with the wrong lens mounted, being since spoiled by the zoom. Five police officers on Segways snuck up on me when I had just mounted the 60mm lens, while the 18mm would have been perfect to capture them all with their near-identical inquisitive expressions. It's a pitfall of shooting only primes, but the rewards are worthwhile.

Though it only has a simple grip, its relative thickness makes holding the Fujifilm X-Pro1 feel natural. Its analog controls are a joy to use. If they're a little wayward now and then, a quick glance at the top of the camera tells the story quickly enough, a strategy I recommend.

The rest of the Fujifilm X-Pro1's controls are refreshingly simple as well. Even the few special modes, like the bracketing options, are tailor-made for enthusiast photographers, yet not tiresome or overly complex. The X-Pro1 leaves the impression that its goal isn't to dazzle with special features, but to serve.

Fujifilm left the dazzling to the sensor and processor that turns out such clean images. Detail is particularly sharp, but in a realistic way, not in the oversharpened fashion we normally see. Some subtle detail appears a bit soft at lower ISOs, but performance stays consistent as ISO rises up to ISO 1,600. Other SLRs have similarly impressive results, but with most you'll find more obvious sharpening halos. It seems Fujifilm's 6x6 X-Trans filter array really does have some special sauce.

One thing is clear: The Fujifilm X-Pro 1 doesn't give quite the same experience as an SLR, nor does it match other compact system cameras in size or features, as it's not quite as compact. It's really better compared to its only major competition, the Leica M-series cameras. With that in mind, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a comparative bargain, though you do give up the real manual focus for electronic manual focus, as well as the buttery-smooth bokeh. But optical quality is still pretty high. Compared to an SLR, the X-Pro1 has a faster live-view mode than most, but again that manual focus issue lives on. Add that enthusiast SLRs at this price point generally have faster AF systems and fairly accurate optical viewfinders, and some of the advantage of the X-Pro1 goes away.

Still, there's no question the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is an excellent camera in its own right. It's a different way of shooting, for sure. While we were disappointed with the X100 for its many bugs and idiosyncrasies, Fujifilm successfully moved away from most of that with the X-Pro1, producing a surprisingly excellent digital camera system that we recommend very highly to anyone who enjoys photography enough to try something new. We think Fujifilm's going to have a hard time keeping up with demand. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is an absolute Dave's Pick.

 

Fujifilm X-Pro1

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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