Fujifilm X-Pro1 Review
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Fuji X-Pro1 Image Quality
Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Very good color with excellent hue accuracy.
|In the diagram above, the squares show the original color, and the circles show the color that the camera captured. More saturated colors are located toward the periphery of the graph. Hue changes as you travel around the center. Thus, hue-accurate, highly saturated colors appear as lines radiating from the center.|
Skin tones. The Fuji X-Pro1 rendered Caucasian skin tones that were a touch on the pinkish side when white balance was adjusted to match the light source, because of the moderate push in reds. Still, results were quite pleasing, with a healthy look. (Here, too, the X-Pro1's saturation and/or film mode adjustments may come into play for some users, letting them tweak the color on skin tones, if they find the default rendering a bit too saturated for their personal tastes.) Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc.
Hue. The Fuji X-Pro1 showed only a few small color shifts relative to the mathematically precise translation of colors in its subjects, and had excellent hue accuracy overall. Most noticeable were shifts in cyan toward blue, orange toward yellow, as well as some smaller shifts in yellow, green and purple. (The cyan to blue shift is very common among the digital cameras we test; we think it's a deliberate choice by camera engineers to produce better-looking sky colors.) Average "delta-C" color error after correction for saturation was only 3.79, which is excellent, one of the better CSC scores to date. Hue is "what color" the
The Fuji X-Pro1 has a total of five saturation settings available ("Low", "Medium Low", "Mid", "Medium High" and "High"), which the user manual simply calls "Color." That's not as many steps as most cameras, and as you can see the steps are pretty fine, making the effect very subtle except for reds. It had no effect on contrast, which is good.
|Saturation Adjustment Examples|
The table above shows results with several saturation settings including the default and both limits. Click on any thumbnail above to see the full-sized image.
| See full set of test images
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images
Exposure and White Balance
Indoors, incandescent lighting
Auto and Incandescent white balance were quite warm, but very good results with the Manual and 2,600K settings. No exposure compensation required.
|Auto White Balance
|Incandescent White Balance
|Manual White Balance
Indoors, under typical incandescent lighting, color balance was quite warm using the Auto setting, with a fairly strong reddish cast. Results with the Incandescent white balance setting were also warm, with a yellow/orange cast, but Incandescent kept more of the mood of the lighting than the Auto setting. The Manual white balance setting was quite accurate and neutral, and the 2,600 Kelvin temperature setting produced similar results. The Fuji X-Pro1 required no exposure compensation here, while most cameras need about +0.3 EV for this scene. Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.
Very good color though slightly cool outdoors. Excellent exposure accuracy.
|Manual White Balance,
|Auto White Balance,
Outdoors, the Fuji X-Pro1 produced good color at default settings, just slightly on the cool side, so we preferred Manual white balance for our "Sunlit" Portrait shot. The Fuji X-Pro1 required no exposure compensation adjustment to produce fairly bright facial tones on the mannequin. Despite the bright appearance, there was only minor clipping of highlights in the white shirt, though specific channels were clipped in the flowers as is usually the case. Shadows contain very good detail, with low levels of noise. Most cameras require about +0.7 EV to produce a bright face in this shot, so the X-Pro1 did better than average here. Skin tones are pleasing, with a healthy-looking pinkish cast that's not too overdone. The Fuji X-Pro1 also did a great job exposing our Far-field shot, producing very few clipped highlights or lost shadows. Again, color was just a touch cool with the Auto white balance setting. See the Extremes: Sunlit section below to see how the X-Pro1's Highlight/Shadow Tone and D-Range settings deal with harsh lighting like this.
Very high resolution, ~2,300 lines of strong detail from JPEGs, about the same from RAW.
|Strong detail to
~2,300 lines horizontal
|Strong detail to
~2,300 lines vertical
|Strong detail to
~2,300 lines horizontal
Raw File Converter EX
|Strong detail to
~2,300 lines vertical
Raw File Converter EX
Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 2,300 lines per picture height in the horizontal direction, and about 2,300 lines per picture height in the vertical direction as well. (Some may argue for higher, but lines start to merge at about 2,300 lines.) Complete extinction of the pattern didn't occur before the 4,000 line limit of our chart in both directions. Fuji's bundled Raw File Converter EX (based on SilkyPix) wasn't able to extract any more resolution from this high-contrast target, and it generated noticeable color moiré which was a bit of a surprise. The Fuji X-Pro1 on the other hand did an excellent job suppressing color moiré in its JPEG output here. Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail.
Sharpness & Detail
Very good detail and sharpness overall, with only minor edge-enhancement artifacts appearing around some high-contrast subjects. Mild noise suppression is visible in the shadows at base ISO.
Sharpness. The Fuji X-Pro1 captures sharp, detailed images, though some minor edge enhancement artifacts are visible on high-contrast subjects such as the thicker branches and pine cones in the above left crop. Fine detail such as the smaller branches and pine needles however show very little edge enhancement. Excellent results here. Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.
Detail. The crop above right shows low levels of luminance noise suppression, as the darker areas of the model's hair still show a pretty good amount of detail. Some individual strands do merge together when local contrast is low and as shadows deepen, but performance here is very good. The Fuji X-Pro1 does a great job at keeping chrominance noise low as well. Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten-out detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears.
Demosaicing. As mentioned elsewhere in this review, the Fuji X-Pro1 doesn't use the standard Bayer 2x2 color filter pattern. The X-Pro1's 6x6 pattern is designed to reduce the occurrence of color moiré, which means a resolution-robbing low-pass (anti-alias) filter is not required. As you can see from the crops at right (magnified 2X) comparing the X-Pro1 to the Sony NEX-5N at ISO 200, the Fuji does a better job a avoiding color moiré and has better per-pixel sharpness. You can however see that the X-Pro1 struggles a bit with rendering the fine italic text, leaving what look to be small gaps and extra strokes in the letters, and some rough edges as well. Still, you have to look very closely to spot these errors and overall, the increased per-pixel sharpness and reduced color moiré really are worth the tradeoffs in our opinion.
RAW vs In-Camera JPEGs
As noted above, the Fuji X-Pro1 produces sharp JPEG images with very good detail at default settings. Let's see if we can extract more fine detail from RAW files without introducing additional sharpening artifacts:
In the table above, mousing over a link at the bottom will load the corresponding crop in the area above, and clicking on the link will load the full resolution image. Examples include (from left to right): an in-camera Fine JPEG at default settings, the matching RAW file processed through Fuji's Raw File Converter EX software (which is based on SilkyPix) at default settings, and another processed with RFC's in-application sharpening turned down to a minimum but sharpened in Photoshop using unsharp mask of 250% with radius 0.3 pixels.
As you can see, the Fuji Raw File Converter EX version at default settings is somewhat softer than the in-camera JPEG. (Color rendering is also slightly different which is not usually the case for bundled software but not a surprise since RFC is based on third-party software.) Increasing the sharpness helped a bit, but the resulting image doesn't really show much additional fine detail, so the camera is doing a pretty good job. We suspect Adobe Camera Raw will do better, but Adobe hasn't added support for the X-Pro1's RAF files at the time of writing.
ISO & Noise Performance
Excellent high ISO performance, with strong detail to ISO 3,200.
Default High ISO Noise Reduction
|ISO 100||ISO 200||ISO 400|
|ISO 800||ISO 1,600||ISO 3,200|
|ISO 6,400||ISO 12,800||ISO 25,600|
The Fuji X-Pro1's images are very clean and detailed up to ISO 800. Luminance noise "grain" is quite fine and tight, and there is very little sign of chrominance noise. At ISO 1,600, noise reduction efforts are little stronger as you'd expect, but fine detail is still very good. ISO 3,200 shows increased noise and blurring, but detail is still pretty good. At ISO 6,400, luminance noise is more obvious but it's still fairly fine-grained, and chrominance noise is well controlled. At ISO 12,800, there's a larger reduction in image quality compared to previous ISO steps, with more visible grain, blurring, noise reduction artifacts, and blotchy but fairly subtle chroma noise in the shadows. Fine detail at ISO 25,600 is pretty soft with lots of luminance noise, and chrominance noise in the shadows and midtones is much higher. Still, noise performance in JPEGs is excellent, probably the best we've seen from a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor, at least at higher ISOs.
We're pixel-peeping to the extreme here though, which isn't always representative of what you see in prints. As always, see the Print Quality section below for maximum recommended print sizes at each ISO.
Extremes: Sunlit, dynamic range and low light tests
Very high resolution with very good overall detail. Very good highlight retention and shadow detail. Excellent low-light performance.
|0 EV||+0.3 EV||+0.7 EV|
As mention previously, the Fuji X-Pro1 performed very well with the deliberately harsh lighting of this test; much better than average in terms of exposure. We preferred the default exposure overall, because exposures at higher exposure compensations were too bright with too many clipped highlights. While a few highlights were blown in the model's shirt and flowers at 0 EV (default exposure), the amount of clipping wasn't as high as many cameras we have tested. Shadow detail is very good, with low levels of noise except in the very deepest shadows. The Fuji X-Pro1 performed quite well here.
Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)
The Fuji X-Pro1 does not offer a traditional contrast adjustment. Instead, it offers Shadow and Highlight Tone settings, which let you adjust contrast in highlights and shadows independently. There are five settings each: "Soft", "Medium Soft", "Standard" (default), "Medium Hard", and "Hard."
"Sunlit" Portrait Highlight and Shadow Tone Comparison
Shadow and Highlight Tone. Above you can see the effects of three of the five settings for Highlight and Shadow Tone control on our high contrast "Sunlit" Portrait shot. Mouse over the links to load the associated thumbnail and histogram, and click on the links to visit the full resolution image. Note how the Highlight settings mainly affect the brighter portions of the image, while the Shadow settings impact the darker areas. Both settings can be used simultaneously, giving more flexibility than a single contrast setting.
|Far-field Highlight and Shadow Tone Comparison|
Above, you can see the effect of the same Highlight and Shadow Tone settings on our Far-field shot.
"Sunlit" Portrait D-Range Comparison
Shadow Noise (levels boosted)
|DR 100% (default)
D-Range is Fuji's name for their dynamic range enhancement technology. D-Range designed to preserve hot highlights, by exposing for highlights and then boosting mid-tones and shadows. There are three levels: DR100 100% (default), DR200 200%, DR400 400%, as well as an Auto mode. Mouse over the links above to load the corresponding thumbnail image, histogram, highlight and shadow crop. Click on the links to get to the full resolution images.
As you can see the images above, the Fuji X-Pro1's manual D-Range settings were very effective at retaining clipped highlights in our "Sunlit" Portrait shot, though the Auto setting did little. As they say, though, there's no free lunch: if you look closely at the full resolution images or the crops, you'll see that improved highlight retention comes at a cost of increased noise in the shadows. This is because the camera raises minimum ISO to 400 and 800 for DR 200% and 400% respectively. Still, even with the DR 400% setting (ISO 800), noise from the Fuji X-Pro1's sensor is low enough that it shouldn't be an issue for most applications. (Note that the shadow crops above have had levels adjusted in Photoshop significantly to reveal the increase in shadow noise.)
Above, you can see how the various D-Range settings affect our Far-field shot.
The Fuji X-Pro1 does not offer a face detection AF or AE mode which is a little odd for a camera that uses only contrast-detection AF, though we don't know if the camera employs either automatically.
A key parameter in a digital camera is its Dynamic Range, the range of brightness that can be faithfully recorded. At the upper end of the tonal scale, dynamic range is dictated by the point at which the RGB data "saturates" at values of 255, 255, 255. At the lower end of the tonal scale, dynamic range is determined by the point at which there ceases to be any useful difference between adjacent tonal steps. Note the use of the qualifier "useful" in there: While it's tempting to evaluate dynamic range as the maximum number of tonal steps that can be discerned at all, that measure of dynamic range has very little relevance to real-world photography. What we care about as photographers is how much detail we can pull out of the shadows before image noise becomes too objectionable. This, of course, is a very subjective matter, and will vary with the application and even the subject matter in question. (Noise will be much more visible in subjects with large areas of flat tints and subtle shading than it would in subjects with strong, highly contrasting surface texture.)
What makes most sense then, is to specify useful dynamic range in terms of the point at which image noise reaches some agreed-upon threshold. To this end, Imatest computes a number of different dynamic range measurements, based on a variety of image noise thresholds. The noise thresholds are specified in terms of f-stops of equivalent luminance variation in the final image file, and dynamic range is computed for noise thresholds of 1.0 (low image quality), 0.5 (medium image quality), 0.25 (medium-high image quality) and 0.1 (high image quality). For most photographers and most applications, the noise thresholds of 0.5 and 0.25 f-stops are probably the most relevant to the production of acceptable-quality finished images, but many noise-sensitive shooters will insist on the 0.1 f-stop limit for their most critical work.
JPEG. The graph at right (click for a larger version) was generated using Imatest's dynamic range analysis for a Fuji X-Pro1 in-camera JPEG file with a nominally-exposed density step target (Stouffer 4110). At default settings and normal base ISO (200), the graph shows 11.5 f-stops of total dynamic range, with 7.89 f-stops of dynamic range at the High Quality level. Both Total and High Quality dynamic range scores are very good, close to the best JPEG output we've tested to date.
RAW. We normally use Adobe Camera Raw conversions when evaluating dynamic range in RAW files. There's little point to using the bundled converter which is based on SilkyPix, as results wouldn't be comparable to ACR. We hope to come back and add RAW dynamic range results after Adobe adds support for the X-Pro1's RAF files, though that may be quite a while since the Fuji uses a non-standard color filter array.
Low Light. The Fuji X-Pro1 was able to capture bright images at the lowest light level with the lowest sensitivity setting (ISO 100), but like many cameras, the X-Pro1's auto exposure (metering) did not work well at lower light levels, requiring the use of manual exposure. Color balance looked quite good with the Auto white balance setting, just a touch cool at higher light levels, and a bit warm at lower. Noise is quite low up to ISO 3,200, and at higher ISOs noise grain is tight so detail remains very good, though chroma noise gets a little blotchy at the highest ISOs. We didn't notice any banding issues, nor where there any uncorrected hot pixels except with NR was turned off where you'd expect to see some (though there were very few).
The camera's contrast-detect autofocus system was able to focus on the subject down to below the 1/16 foot-candle light level unassisted, thanks in part to a really fast (bright) lens. Ironically, with the AF assist lamp enabled, the Fuji X-Pro1 was only able to focus down to about the 1/8 foot-candle level in our test because the AF lamp was actually too bright, overwhelming the autofocus system. This of course will depend a lot on subject distance, brightness and contrast, so you may find you need to enable or disable AF assist depending on the situation. Keep in mind that the longer shutter speeds here demand the use of a tripod to prevent any blurring from camera movement. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)
How bright is this? The one foot-candle light level that this test begins at roughly corresponds to the brightness of typical city street-lighting at night. Cameras performing well at that level should be able to snap good-looking photos of street-lit scenes.
NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) The Fuji X-Pro1 uses contrast-detect autofocus, as is found in most point & shoot cameras, so its low-light focusing ability is less than that of some SLRs with phase-detect systems. That said, though, the larger, more sensitive pixels of the X-Pro1's sensor do better under dim lighting than do the tiny pixels of most point & shoots, (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)
Print quality from the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is impressive, even as ISO rises.
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.
Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon Pro9000 Mark II studio printer, and the Canon Pixma MP610 here in the office. (See the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II review for details on that model.)
The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm X-Pro1 Photo Gallery.
Recommended Software: Rescue your Photos!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. We get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A lot of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digital camera reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...
Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Fujifilm X-Pro1 with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!
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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.