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
The group that provides Canon users with programs to expand the feature set of their cameras has begun cracking the new EOS R mirrorless firmware.
The Pixel 3 represents another step forward in computational photography for Google's smartphone. We're just getting started with our testing – for now take a look at some sample images, including 'computational Raw' files available for download.
Lens Rentals Founder, Roger Cicala, has given the Canon EOS R one of his signature camera teardowns.
Nikon says firmware version 1.03 "Fixes an issue that in rare circumstances would delay the shutter release or the start of the autofocus operation."
The Kickstarter campaign for Yashica’s digiFilm Y35 camera has produced a wave of complaints about delays in shipping product as well as cameras that don’t work.
Pixelmator today released Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver, a major update to its image editing app for Mac.
Although Raw performance of the EOS R is very similar to the 5D Mark IV, Canon's done some tweaking on the JPEGs - take a look at our studio scene to see for yourself.
If you've backed one of the company's crowdfunding projects, the reward will not arrive and you won't get your money back either as Meyer Optik Görlitz's parent company, Net SE, is completely dead.
The importance of APS-C, a future a7S model in development and why customers want two card slots – read our full interview with Sony's Kenji Tanaka.
Google's Super Res Zoom technology uses pixel-shifting methods to achieve zoom results comparable to some optical solutions. Google has published an in-depth explanation on its AI blog.
CyberLink has release the latest version of its photo editing and design program PhotoDirector.
Toy manufacturer Tomy has launched a no-battery-required smartphone printer that is remarkably like the one Holga has been promoting via a Kickstarter campaign but which is already available for $40/£39.
A handful of Sony users have noticed a particular model of SanDisk SD cards is showing errors when used with Sony a7 III camera.
The Fujifilm X-T3's 4K video more than lives up to its impressive specification, making it one of the most capable video cameras we've ever tested.
VSCO has made it easier to find the right presets for your photos with a few interface changes to its smartphone app.
TinyMOS is back with NANO1, an all-new astrophotography camera that's one-third the size of the TINY1 it announced three years ago.
Huawei's latest flagship device comes with the widest range of focal lengths of all current smartphones.
After shaking up the Lightroom ecosystem with Lightroom CC last year, Adobe has released version 2.0 of the cloud-centric photo organizer and editor. We look at new features like People View, how far Lightroom CC has come in its first year, and where Lightroom is headed.
Today, at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe previewed Photoshop CC on iPad, a full-featured, desktop-class version of Photoshop for iOS.
The weather and has most definitely taken a turn toward fall here, and our shooting opportunities have followed suit. We brought the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 along to a harvest festival of sorts and a few of our usual haunts.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1346 into effect, which imposes a fine upwards of $300 to drone operators who invade the privacy or harm the physical wellbeing of citizens.
Sigma is a company in flux, but CEO Kazuto Yamaki is undaunted by the upcoming prospect of developing lenses for eight lens mounts. The challenge will be keeping the company's identity along the way.
If you've been meaning to convert all of your old photos, video, and audio to digital formats, but simply lack the time or willpower to get through it all, a new service from Kodak will help you get the job done.
Almost all new cameras include impressive video features, but for the best results you'll often need an off-camera recorder. Chris and Jordan take a look at the brand new Ninja V from Atomos, and explain why it might just be one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera.
Collect allows you to transform 360-degree into a more easily digestible format by transforming it into directed traditional videos.
Sick of using your plain ol' keyboard to edit your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop? TourBox is hoping to expedite your post-production workflow using a clever combination of dials, buttons, and knobs.
Bag and accessory manufacturer Hex has launched two bags as part of its latest collection: the Clamshell Backpack and DSLR Sling.
Crank out instant photos with Holga Digital's new analog printer, currently being funded on Kickstarter.
We got some hands-on time with Leica's new S3 medium format camera, which boasts a new higher-res sensor as well as other improvements.