The Fujifilm X-Pro1 combines traditional rangefinder styling and handling with a 16MP APS-C sensor that features a newly-developed color filter array.

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is the fourth entry in the company's enthusiast-oriented X-series lineup, following the fixed focal length, APS-C format FinePix X100, the Fujifilm X10 compact and the X-S1 premium superzoom. And while it inherits more than a few features from the X100 - though it notably lacks a built-in flash - the X-Pro1 sits well atop the X-series lineup in both specifications and price. It houses a 16MP APS-C sensor with a novel Fujifilm-designed color filter array that eliminates the need for an anti-aliasing filter, thereby promising sharper images compared to a conventional 16MP camera. It also has a brand new lens mount with an initial offering of three fast prime XF lenses. It has a street price of $1,700 / £1429 for the body only.

Just one look at the retro-styling and rangefinder-inspired controls of the X-Pro1 and it's obvious that Fujifilm is positioning the camera as more than just as a high-end mirrorless competitor. As the company told us back in January at the CES show, it sees the X-Pro1 as a vastly more affordable option to the Leica M9-P. The physical similarities between the two cameras are quite striking, as you can see in the comparison below.

The design and dimensions of the X-Pro1 closely mimic those of the Leica M9-P, yet the X-Pro1 body is 150g lighter, a difference that if anything feels even more pronounced when you pick up the cameras.

For those of us who began photography when film was king, the memory of Fujifilm's own rangefinder tradition is not so long past. And its worth remembering that the classic - and rather hefty - Fuji GW690 series models were lovingly referred to by many as 'Texas Leicas' (everything is 'bigger' in Texas). Understandably then, interest in the X-Pro1 among a certain breed of enthusiasts has been quite high.

Yet even the most loyal Fujifilm fan may have found their excitement about the X-Pro1 tempered by issues surrounding previous X-series releases. The well-documented 'white orbs' issue that has plagued the X10 has proven to be resistant to firmware updates, instead requiring a factory-modified sensor (which we've yet to be able to try out). Our in-depth review of the X100 - the first X-series model - includes an entire section devoted to quirks, eccentricities and outright bugs, some of which, even after multiple firmware updates, still take some of the shine off what is in many respects an outstanding camera.

The X-Pro1 (center) is the latest, and largest addition to Fujifilm's X-series camera lineup, which also includes the FinePix X100 (left) and the X10 (right).

One of the most pressing questions then is whether the X-Pro1 will suffer a similar fate, with its strengths being undermined by significant flaws. We won't have a definitive answer on this until we complete our thorough in-depth review of the camera's operation, performance and of course, image quality. 

That said, we've had an X-Pro1 for a short while, and I've had the opportunity to use it pretty intensively, as we gear up for a full review. In this article I'm going to share my experiences based on using the camera in a variety of real-world situations in order to give you a sense of what it's like to actually use this highly anticipated camera.

Specification highlights

  • 16 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor (without low-pass filter)
  • Hybrid viewfinder with focal length-based magnification in optical mode
  • Newly designed X-mount for XF lenses
  • Three fast prime lenses: 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm macro f/2.4 (28mm, 50mm and 90mm equivalents, respectively)
  • Maximum ISO of 25,600 (JPEG-only mode)
  • 3.0 inch 1,230,000 dot RGBW rear LCD
  • Adjustable AF frame size

Click here to continue to page 2 of our article, First Impressions: Using the Fujifilm X-Pro1