Handling

Along the top of the camera you have access to the power switch which surrounds the shutter release, a custom Fn button, exposure compensation dial and a shutter dial which locks when set to aperture-priority (A) mode.

The X-Pro1 is an extremely satisfying camera to operate. The body is well-balanced in use with any of its three XF prime lenses, and at 450g is surprisingly light in hand. While it may lack the made-to-last-a-lifetime build quality of an M9 - which weighs in at 600g - the X-Pro1's top and bottom metal plate construction (with engraved markings) certainly conveys the sense of a premium product. 

Primary shooting controls are all within easy reach of your shooting hand. And pressing any of the X-Pro1's well-proportioned buttons elicits a firm positive tactile response, leaving no doubt that you have engaged the control point.

A three-position focus mode switch on the camera's front plate has the manual focus and single focus options at its endpoints, making it easy to switch between the two most commonly used options by feel.

We much prefer this arrangement to that of the X100, in which the less commonly used (and in fact, pretty useless) continuous focus position sits at an end position instead.
The X-Pro1's viewfinder selector lever, styled after the framelines selector on a traditional rangefinder, is used to switch between hybrid and electronic views when using the viewfinder.

The lever is downward facing as opposed to the upward facing (and more 'Leica-like') design of the same control on the X100. This subtle but not insignificant change allows you to comfortably engage the lever with your middle finger while your index finger remains on the shutter.

In a welcome change from X100 behavior, the aperture rings on each of the XF lenses have 1/3 stop detents. The shutter speed dial still operates in whole stop increments but does improve on the X100 (and the Leica M9, in fact) with a locking function which prevents accidental operation when the camera is in aperture-priority mode. Setting shutter speeds in anything less than whole stop increments requires using the left/right arrows of the 4-way controller which allows for moves of +/- 2/3 stop in either direction. 

The X-Pro1 features large, easy to press buttons that are arranged sensibly along the rear of the camera. An AE/AF lock button sits within easy reach of your thumb while your hand remains in a shooting position. The Q menu button below it, offers fast access to commonly used shooting parameters.
In a much-needed improvement over the X100's control ring design, the 4-way controller on the X-Pro1 features a large central button surrounded by tapered cardinal points that are easy to locate by feel. The X-Pro1's clickable rear thumb dial is curiously under-utilized. It can be used to navigate display view options for example, but not main menu items.

A custom Fn button positioned just to the right of the shutter button can be assigned to one of 13 different shooting parameters. With the generous amount of external shooting controls already on the camera I settled on configuring the Fn button for ISO sensitivity. In situations in which you're likely to capture video as well as still images, choosing the Movie option allows you to quickly switch back and forth between recording modes.

One of the most useful features (and one that was missing from the X100) is a Q menu that, with a single button press provides direct access to 16 camera settings. Making between-shot adjustments on the X-Pro1 is quick and easy.

The Q menu button calls up a menu with access to key shooting parameters. The main menu has a page-driven interface that you navigate by using the rear 4-way controller.

Aided by a generous amount of external control points and a comprehensive Q menu, access to most parameters is available with the press of a single button. The main menu has received a much-needed redesign that offers a more polished-looking and easier to navigate page-style system compared to that found in the X100. It is a compliment to the camera's handling that I found visits to the main menu few and far between once I configured the default camera settings to my liking.

Click here to continue to page 3 of our article, First Impressions: Using the Fujifilm X-Pro1