Fujifilm X-Pro1 in-depth review
The X-Pro1 isn't the fastest camera in the world, and certainly can't match a similarly-priced SLR for speed and responsiveness. It's a marked improvement over the X100 though, and in contrast behaves much as we'd expect from a modern camera, remaining responsive to the controls at all times and buffering bursts of images entirely sensibly. It definitely benefits from using a fast SD card, though, and we'd recommend getting hold the latest UHS-I cards to get the best out of it.
The camera is ready to shoot about a second after flicking the 'On' switch. However it does take a second or two to reactivate from auto-power down following a half-press of the shutter button, and it can't be 'woken' by any of the other controls. This process can be speeded-up by enabling 'Quick Start Mode' in the Set-up menu, but Fujifilm warns this comes at the expense of battery life.
Playback operations are reasonably fast and responsive, but benefit noticeably from using a UHS-I card (for example magnifying and rating images can feel distinctly laggy even with a Class 10 'standard' SD). When browsing quickly through images there's also a noticeable delay before shooting information is displayed. File write times aren't especially quick, even with a UHS-I card, but intelligent buffering means that you'll rarely notice any negative impact o the shooting process. However if you shoot bursts of RAW images you can fairly quickly reach a point where the camera is unable to shoot until it's cleared some data from its buffer to the card.
The one area where the X-Pro1 genuinely falls behind a bit, though, is autofocus. For single-shot AF acquisition it's unable to match either similarly-priced SLRs or the best of its mirrorless peers for speed. As for tracking AF, the X-Pro1 doesn't offer it at all. Overall this means that it's not at all good at coping with subjects that are moving continuously or erratically. For static subjects, though, it's absolutely fine - and because the image sensor is used for focusing, it's inherently extremely accurate.
Continuous Shooting and BufferingThe X-Pro1 has a choice of two continuous drive speeds, labeled 3 and 6 fps; we measured the latter to be slightly slower than advertised, although still entirely respectable at about 5.6 fps. It has pretty good buffering too, for 19 JPEG frames or 11 in RAW (with or without an accompanying JPEG). Unlike the X100 it doesn't lock up after a burst, but lets you shoot again as buffer space becomes free; this is fortunate as writing a full burst to card can take the best part of a minute. When set to JPEG-only, the camera can shoot indefinitely at reduced speed (~2.2 fps) after the initial full-speed burst.
Buffer full rate
|Large / Fine JPEG||
|RAW + LF JPEG||
All timings using SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/s Class 1 UHS-I SDHC card
Focus and exposure are fixed at the start of a burst, even when the focus mode is set to AF-C, and the X-Pro1 doesn't offer live view between frames when shooting at reduced speed either (unlike many of its mirrorless peers). Instead it adopts the common strategy of playing-back the last-but-one shot between frames, which can help you keep track of what's going on but isn't much good for panning.
The X-Pro1 has a few operational restrictions while writing to card, but nowhere near as many as the X100. If you switch to one of the bracketing modes it won't let you start shooting until the buffer is cleared, and you can't enter the Panorama or Movie mode at all. Perhaps most problematically, you can't enter playback to check what you've just shot either. But these are relatively minor irritations, all told.
Autofocus speed / accuracy
Autofocus speed is not the X-Pro1's strongest point. In good light it's just fine, and will rarely be so slow as to make you miss shots. But it's nowhere near as quick as the state-of-the-art contrast-detect AF systems found in the fastest mirrorless cameras such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Panasonic GX1. In low light the X-Pro1 begins to struggle noticeably, and the gap with its peers widens further.
Focus speed is highly lens-dependent, of course, and the 18mm F2 and 35mm F1.4 are distinctly quicker than the 60mm F2.4 Macro. But it's also a function of lens design, and the fastest-focusing lenses we've seen for mirrorless cameras use lightweight internal-focus mechanisms that can be driven quickly and accurately without consuming excessive power. Fujifilm, in contrast, has used unit focus mechanisms for the 18mm and 35mm lenses, in which the entire optical unit moves back and forwards for focusing, and an extending barrel design for the 60mm. The result is that the X-Pro1 simply can't match other mirrorless cameras for focus speed with any of its lenses.
Like the X100, the X-Pro1 has no face detection system, which is a feature we'd expect to see on the spec sheet of any live view-capable camera in this day and age. This is particularly odd as Fujifilm was one of the very first manufacturers to introduce the technology, even applying the 'fd' suffix to several models right back at its infancy in 2006.
There are two ways of looking at this omission, the more charitable of which is to contend that the target user base should be sufficiently well-versed in the use of off-center focus points and focus-recompose techniques not to need such a crutch. The problem with this argument, though, is that face detection has been refined to such an extent that it's now a genuinely useful photographic tool - not just in terms of focusing, but also in achieving optimal exposure in difficult lighting conditions, for example strong backlighting. The net result is that you'll have to pay a bit more attention to focus and exposure when using the X-Pro1 to photograph people.
The X-Pro1 uses the NP-W126 battery, offering a capacity of 8.7Wh. According to Fujifilm the number of shots you'll get from a charge depends highly on your viewfinder use and settings, from 150 to 350 shots with mixed OVF/LCD use. This is more-or-less par for the course for a mirrorless camera, but a long way off the stamina of a semi-pro SLR. In principle, though, you can get as many as 1000 shots using only the optical finder with the least power-hungry setup. It's worth studying the table on page 23 of the user manual to get an idea of what you might expect.
If you mainly shoot with the optical finder you can turn on 'OVF power save mode' (Setup Menu Page 2), which promises to increase battery life by not continually reading out data from the sensor. Its main disadvantage is that the live histogram is no longer available - instead the X-Pro1 shows a sad, empty box in its place, for no obvious reason. If you mainly shoot in manual exposure mode, the live histogram doesn't work properly anyway, so turning OVF power save on is worth considering; however in other modes the histogram is sufficiently useful that we'd be inclined to keep it at the expense of battery life.
The other setting that has an effect on battery life is 'Quick Start Mode' (again from Setup Menu Page 2). According to Fujifilm this decreases the start-up time from 1 to 0.5 sec, but reduces battery life by about 100-150 shots in the process. Whether this trade-off is worthwhile is a matter of personal choice, but this setting is less-useful than it was on the (slower-starting) X100, and on balance we'd probably leave it turned off.
- 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
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