Fujifilm X-Pro1 in-depth review
Hybrid (optical/electronic) viewfinder
The X-Pro1's uses a development of Fujifilm's unique hybrid viewfinder (as first seen on the X100), which projects a 'heads-up display' of all shooting functions into the camera's large direct-vision optical viewfinder. It's evolved and refined from the X100's design, and most importantly offers the choice of two magnifications to handle a wider range of lenses. For wideangle lenses the magnification is 0.37x; for 35mm or longer, an additional magnifier slides in to place to give 0.6x magnification.
Below is the view through the X-Pro1's viewfinder using the 35mm lens, with the information display in its more detailed view - roll your mouse over the buttons to switch between optical and electronic modes. The camera can display highly detailed shooting information in both modes, along with a live histogram to help judge exposure, plus configurable gridlines and a virtual horizon to aid composition.
|Optical Viewfinder Display||Electronic Viewfinder Display|
In optical mode a frameline is shown which covers about 90% of the final image at infinity focus, to allow for parallax error and any change in the lens's angle of view on focusing. The overall view through the finder is distinctly wider than the captured area, though, as can be seen by comparing to the EVF view. The 35mm lens's barrel protrudes slightly, but not obtrusively, into the lower right corner of the view. On a bright sunny day the viewfinder overlay can be a little faint, but it's still quite visible.
In this view we've covered the viewfinder front window to obtain a clearer view of the information displayed (and deliberately activated as much of it as possible). There's a whole array of information across the top of the frameline covering secondary settings - focus mode, flash, metering, white balance, film simulation, and dynamic range expansion to the left, plus shots remaining, file quality/size and battery status to the right. You can customize which of this information you want to see in the Set-up menu (and do so for the OVF and EVF independently).
Corrected AF Frame
One feature that's not enabled by default, and we'd recommend turning on the moment you unbox the camera, is what Fujifilm calls 'Corrected AF Frame'. This compensates for the inevitable parallax error between what you see through the viewfinder and what the imaging sensor (and therefore the autofocus system) sees through the lens. It's particularly important if you use the 60mm F2.4 Macro lens.
We think it makes sense to enable the Corrected AF Frame all the time, because it can substantially reduce the risk of misfocusing at close distances. For the very best results, though, it still makes sense to switch to the EVF for short-range shooting; the camera will force you to switch over at distances closer then about 0.6m anyway..
Hybrid viewfinder displays
Dual magnification finder: displays with different lenses
As mentioned above the X-Pro1's optical viewfinder offers two magnifications, and the camera automatically selects between them based on the lens in use. However, if for some reason you prefer to use the other viewfinder setting, you can manually switch over by pulling and holding the viewfinder selector lever for a second or two. Here's how the viewfinder works with the three initial lenses.
What this shows - perhaps unsurprisingly - is that it normally makes little sense to choose the 'wrong' magnification setting. But equally the option is there if you want it, and we can envisage it being useful in some situations. So it's good to see that Fujifilm has left this under user control.
Overly-conservative depth of field scale
As alluded to above, while the X-Pro1 displays a depth of field scale in the viewfinder, it's very conservative indeed as to the distance range it considers to be in focus. This means, sadly, that it's not at all useful for the common technique of 'zone focusing' - i.e. pre-setting the focus distance and aperture such that subjects across a specific range of distances will appear acceptably sharp, thus eliminating the need to refocus for each shot.
|Here's an expanded view of the X-Pro1's depth of field scale using the 35mm lens. At a focus distance of about 2.2 m and an aperture of F8, most depth of field calculators will indicate an in-focus range of 1.7 - 3 m; the X-Pro1 instead shows just 2.1 - 2.4 m.|
So what's going on? To understand this, you have to take into account that the concept behind Depth of Field is to determine what will be rendered 'acceptably sharp', and the results are therefore entirely dependent upon what is considered 'acceptable'. The depth of field scales on most manual focus SLR lenses are designed around a sharpness standard that's based upon printing, i.e. objects within the indicated range will look sharp when viewing a print from a 'normal' distance (considered to be roughly equal to the print's diagonal). However, the X-Pro1 instead appears to be designed to indicate what will be sharp at the pixel level on screen - a much more stringent measure of sharpness.
Overall this means that the X-Pro1's depth of field scale is telling you something different to what photographers have become used to seeing. What's more, judging from user comments it's overwhelmingly not what they want to see either. We'd love to see Fujifilm offering a choice here, perhaps allowing users to specify their own preferred standard of sharpness based on use-case scenarios (something like Print / Fine Print / Screen).
For those interested in the mathematical derivation, the X-Pro1 appears to be using a Circle of Confusion of 0.005mm diameter, which is equal to one pixel pitch. In contrast, most depth of field calculators use 0.02mm for APS-C. This means that the X-Pro1 will suggest stopping down about 4 stops further than usual to achieve the same depth of field.
As it happens, there's a deeper conceptual problem with Fujifilm's choice of 0.005mm for the circle of confusion, and this is the softening effect of diffraction. Once you stop down beyond F4, the diffraction blur circle starts to exceed the circle of confusion, and by F8 - an entirely sensible aperture to use on the X-Pro1 - it's double the diameter. In effect, this means that no part of the image will quite reach the standard of sharpness that Fujifilm has chosen to use.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 Core Technology
- 4 Body and Design
- 5 Body and Design
- 6 Design Compared
- 7 Lenses
- 8 Operation and Controls
- 9 Handling
- 10 Hybrid viewfinder displays
- 11 Live View displays
- 12 Playback displays
- 13 Menus
- 14 Performance (Speed and AF)
- 15 Photographic features
- 16 Image Quality Tests
- 17 Noise & Noise Reduction
- 18 Resolution
- 19 RAW mode and RAW conversion
- 20 Dynamic Range
- 21 Lens corrections
- 22 Movie Mode
- 23 Image Quality Compared (JPEG)
- 24 Image Quality Compared (High ISO)
- 25 Image Quality Compared (Raw)
- 26 Conclusion
- 27 Image samples