Fujifilm X-Pro1 in-depth review
NOTE: Since this review was published, Fujifilm has released several major firmware upgrades for the X-Pro1. These significantly improve certain key aspects of operation criticised in this review, including autofocus and manual focus performance, operational speed, and handling. We recommend you familiarise yourself with the list of improvements by visiting Fujifilm's firmware update page for the X-Pro1. Please bear this in mind when reading this review.
When Fujifilm announced its FinePix X100 retro-styled large-sensor compact at Photokina 2010, it captured the imagination of serious photographers in a way the company seemed not to have quite anticipated. The X100's combination of 'traditional' dial-based handling and outstanding image quality brought widespread plaudits, making it something of a cult classic despite its undeniable flaws. The subsequent addition to the range of the X10 compact, with its bright, manually-controlled zoom lens, has cemented Fujifilm's resurgence as a brand worthy of serious attention.
The X100 may have looked very traditional but it housed some very modern technologies - foremost amongst which was its hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. This design not only allowed the choice of a rangefinder-style optical view or a fully electronic view, but was also able to overlay electronic data over the optical viewfinder. It was a masterpiece of engineering, but appeared to be a design very much dependent on its use with an integrated prime lens.
With the X100's success and the increasing popularity of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, it seemed only a matter of time before Fujifilm would introduce a higher-end model with exchangeable lenses. That camera has now arrived in the shape of the X-Pro1, whose name leaves absolutely no doubt as to its intended market: it becomes the first of its type specifically aimed at professional photographers.
Fujifilm X-Pro1 highlights
The X-Pro1 is the start of an all-new camera system, with a brand new mount and lenses. It's unashamedly targeted at a high-end audience, with analogue control dials and a small set of compact, large-aperture primes available at launch. Fujifilm is keen to stress its future commitment to the system, with a promise of seven more lenses by spring 2013, and further camera models to come too. Key features are:
- Fujifilm-designed 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
- Novel colour filter array to suppress colour moiré, no optical low-pass filter
- EXR Processor Pro image processor
- Dual-magnification hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder
- Analogue dials for shutter speed and exposure compensation on top of camera
- All-new, fully electronic X lens mount; 17.7mm flange-to-sensor distance
- Three 'XF' lenses at launch: XF 18mm F2 R, XF 35mm F1.4 R, and XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro
- Prime lenses have traditional-style aperture rings (1/3 stop increments) and large manual focus rings
- Revised rear-panel control layout
- On-screen 'Q' control panel and redesigned tabbed menu system
- Focal-plane shutter, 1/4000 sec max speed
- 3.0" RGBW 1.23M dot LCD
|The X-Pro1 with its initial lens set, with hoods attached: 35mm F1.4 (mounted), 60mm F2.4 Macro and 18mm F2|
The X-Pro1 is most easily characterized as a beefed-up, interchangeable-lens version of the X100, but it's a lot more besides. It retains the same basic analogue control philosophy, but the design has been rationalized and refined in a fashion that suggests Fujifilm has been listening to feedback from users and reviewers alike. For example, the shutter speed dial has a central lock button for its Auto position, and the exposure compensation dial is recessed, which reduces the risk of accidental settings changes. There's also a conveniently-placed 'Q' button that brings up an on-screen control panel to access a range of functions that previously required a trip into the menus - a much-needed improvement over the X100.
However potentially the most interesting change is on the inside, and specifically the image sensor. The X-Pro1 uses a proprietary, Fujifilm-designed 16MP APS-C 'X-Trans CMOS' chip that eschews the conventional Bayer-pattern colour filter array in favour of a more complex layout. The result, claims Fujifilm, is a practical immunity to colour moiré, which means that an optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter is no longer required. This suggests that in terms of detail resolution the X-Pro1 should punch above its weight based on pixel count alone - indeed at launch Fujifilm claimed it should out-resolve the full frame 21MP Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
The X-Pro1 uses an entirely new all-electronic lens mount, and the initial lens line-up will consist of a set of bright primes with focal lengths that neatly complement the X100's 23mm F2. There's an 18mm F2 wideangle, 35mm F1.4 normal, and 60mm F2.4 Macro telephoto (offering 28mm, 50mm and 90mm equivalents respectively) - the latter with extended close-focus capabilities giving 0.5x magnification. Each has a prominent manual focus ring and an aperture dial controllable in 1/3 stop increments (a welcome improvement over the X100). However, neither control is mechanically coupled - both focus and aperture are electronically driven 'by wire'.
The X100's signature optical/electronic 'hybrid' viewfinder is retained, and to help cope with interchangeable lenses it now offers two magnifications. At its lower magnification (0.37x) it covers the field of view of the 18mm lens; when the 35mm lens is mounted, an additional magnifier slides into place to match, giving 0.6x magnification. The 60mm lens uses a smaller frameline within this magnified view. One of the advantages of the hybrid finder, of course, is that it can project suitable frame lines in the optical finder for a wide range of focal lengths, and critically-accurate composition can always be obtained by switching to the EVF regardless of the lens used.
One perhaps less-obvious change is that the X100's near-silent in lens shutter has gone, and the X-Pro1 employs a conventional focal plane shutter. This is inevitably louder in operation, and offers slower flash sync. But it also means that unlike the X100, the X-Pro1 is fully capable of combining its fastest shutter speeds with large apertures.
Further additions compared to the X100 include an upgraded LCD, which Fujifilm says offers wider viewing angles and lower reflectivity to aid viewing in direct sunlight, and a clever multiple exposure mode that provides a live preview of the composite image even when using the optical viewfinder. There are also two new Film Simulation modes, designated ProNegS and ProNegH. These, of course, play on Fujifilm's long heritage as a film manufacturer, and as the names suggest aim to replicate the characteristics of Fujicolor professional colour negative film (PRO 160NS and PRO 400NH respectively). They're therefore targeted specifically at professional photographers shooting portrait and wedding work.
All of this certainly makes the X-Pro1 an enticing prospect. We very much like the X100, despite its numerous quirks, and on paper its big brother promises improved handling and even better image quality, along with all the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. In this review we'll see whether it lives up to its billing.
Hands-on Preview video*
*Note that this video was prepared as part of our original preview content of the X-Pro1
- 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
Rugged, waterproof compact cameras are tough enough to survive even the most action-packed vacation, but they're not the only choice for capturing those great memories. Photographer Josh Root takes us through the options.
Kodak has restarted production of one of its most famous film emulsions - Ektachrome. Popular Science editor Stan Horaczek recently go to take a look inside.
The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD is an affordable F2.8 standard zoom for full frame Sony E-mount cameras. What's it like, what are the trade-offs, and what are the alternatives? Chris and Jordan take a closer look...
We've updated our Best Drones buying guide and there's a new winner. Find out which drone was our favorite and learn more about all current models in our updated guide.
A teardown of a Nikon D850 has provided proof that the camera's sensor is made by Sony Semiconductor. The chip's design and performance already strongly supported this, but the confirmation also gives a hint about how the industry works.
Leica Camera has announced a new compact camera that features a 24-360mm F3.3-6.4 zoom lens and a 20MP 1” MOS sensor. Essentially a re-badged Panasonic Lumix ZS/TZ200, the Leica C-Lux will save Raw and JPEG files, will offer 4K video and has a viewfinder with a 2.33 million-dot resolution.
Leica has launched a limited edition M10 with a contoured handgrip designed by luxury car manufacturer Zagato. And, to celebrate the opening of a new part of the company's Wetzlar factory, a pair of Leica-made watches are due this autumn.
The new Mijia gimbal provides 3-axis stabilization and can charge the battery of the attached device.
YouTuber George Tomlin explains the concept of sub-framing and details how you can use it to take not only make the composition more interesting, but also provide context for the scene you're shooting.
British photographer Drew Gardner tells us how his gigapixel image of the queen's birthday parade came together.
YouTube channel Company Man has shared a 12-minute video explaining the history of Kodak and the factors that led to it going from industry leader to bankrupt business.
Neewer, a photo gear brand out of China, has launched a new budget APS-C lens for Fuji X and Sony E mounts. The Fuji X mount lens offering has appeared on Amazon as a new release with a $119.99 price tag, but is currently listed as unavailable.
Two years after launching its first photo filter, Aurora Aperture is back at it again with the Kickstarter launch of its PowerXND Mark II filters.
Nikon has announced the development of the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm F5.6E PF ED VR lens. Thanks to its use of 'phase fresnel' optics, Nikon claims that the lens will be small and light enough to be used handheld.
MIOPS has opened up a Kickstarter campaign for its latest product, the Capture360. This pocket-sized device is a versatile motion control box designed to be as simple or robust as your needs desire.
Lowepro has released the FreeLine BP 350 AW, an all-new daypack that features Lowepro's adaptive interior divider system it calls QuickShelf.
Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, the Instant Magny 35 supports Fujifilm Instax Square film and doesn't require any camera modifications. The instant film back is described as ideal for rangefinders and SLRs from Pentax, Leica, Olympus, Canon, and Nikon.
Utah-based tripod manufacturer Really Right Stuff has updated all 17 of its tripods with updated features and better ergonomics.
The new Technical Camera app offers comprehensive manual controls and a range of features for users who prefer to take control of the capture process.
Someone finally made a 1"-sensor compact with a fixed prime lens that can take great photos, but it's aimed at Scuba enthusiasts more so than land-based photographers and has a few operational quirks.
Leica has released details of the twelve finalists for this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Award, one of who will take the €35,000 (approx. $41K) top prize. Organizers say that 2500 photographers submitted work to the competition this year.
One week after it was first seen in leaked images, Samyang—also known as Rokinon in the US—has unveiled a ‘tiny but wide’ 24mm F2.8 lens for full-frame Sony cameras.
Whether you're hitting the beach in the Northern Hemisphere or the ski slopes in the Southern, a rugged compact camera makes a great companion. In this buying guide we've taken a look at seven current models and chosen our favorites.
Every photographer knows about APS-C sensors, but what about APS film? This week, Chris and Jordan take a stroll down memory lane and try out the original APS format, a technology that promised to streamline the film workflow, but which ultimately lost out to digital technology.
It's not every day you have the opportunity to shoot with a lens like the Hasselblad XCD 21mm F4. It's currently the widest lens in the company's medium-format lineup and as we discovered, incredibly sharp.
Although it wasn’t a stand-out detail during the keynote, Apple is bringing new features and improved performance when working with Raw photos on iOS 12. We break down a few of the updates we’ve come across in the iOS 12 Beta 1.
Our existing Sony RX100 VI sample gallery has been updated with more images from our initial outings with the camera.
Manfrotto has updated its travel tripod range with three new tripod models: the Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber, Befree GT, and Befree Live Carbon Fiber. The first two models feature Manfrotto's M-lock twist lock, and the Befree Live Carbon Fiber is designed for recording video.
Parrot has launched its latest consumer drone, the Anafi. This folding drone will retail for just shy of $700 and features a 21-megapixel camera capable of 4K HDR capture at 30 fps.