Fujifilm X-Pro1 in-depth review
Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent image quality at all ISO settings - impressive resolution and low noise
- Wide choice of film simulation modes offer superb out-of-camera colour rendition
- Intuitive and straightforward traditional control layout (aperture ring, shutter speed and EC dials)
- Well laid-out 'Q' Menu offers quick access to a wide range of settings
- Impressively solid build quality
- Hybrid viewfinder offers detailed information in optical finder (live histogram, electronic level etc.)
- Reliable and accurate metering and white balance systems
- Relatively quiet, discreet shutter
- Well-implemented in-camera RAW conversion
Conclusion - Cons
- Slow autofocus compared to its mirrorless peers
- Dysfunctional manual focus
- Overly-conservative DOF scale useless for zone focusing
- Poor auto ISO implementation (uses too-slow shutter speeds)
- Live Histogram doesn't work in manual exposure mode (always implies correct exposure)
- No face detection AF system
- Unimpressive video mode
- Limited control customisation
- Continuous drive mode uses different filename convention
- Very low playback magnification when shooting RAW only
The X-Pro1 is a logical evolution from the fixed-lens FinePix X100, and it shares many of that camera's best attributes. The traditional dial-based control layout makes it a very engaging camera to use, and the clever hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder gives an immersive view of the world while providing as much or little exposure information as you like. Perhaps most importantly, the X-Trans CMOS sensor gives truly excellent image quality, particularly in combination with the stellar XF 35mm F1.4 R lens.
Perhaps predictably, the X-Pro1's biggest problems are also inherited from the X100, most notably somewhat sluggish autofocus and unresponsive manual focus. Fortunately though Fujifilm has eliminated most of the other problems that beset the X100 when it first released, and as a result the X-Pro1 generally handles and behaves much as you'd expect from a modern camera. A few residual operational oddities and glitches have found their way over though, which means that the X-Pro1 still feels rather 'first generation' in some respects. But on the whole it's a very likeable camera to shoot with, and one that can deliver absolutely stunning results.
We were hugely impressed by the X100's image quality, and Fujifilm has scaled even greater heights with the X-Pro1. The camera's JPEGs are little short of superb, with appealing colour rendition, lots of detail, and remarkably low noise even at high ISOs. The various 'Film Simulation' modes allow you to tune the camera's colour output to suit different subjects, and there's plenty of further fine-tuning on offer. Skin tones have always been a particular strength for Fujifilm, and the two 'ProNeg' modes, N and H, offer further, more neutral options for portrait work.
One flipside of the X-Pro1's unconventional sensor, however, comes for RAW shooters, for whom support is limited. Raw File Converter, like all of the various incarnations of SilkyPix, has never been our favourite program to use, with its machine-translated menus and odd terminology. It's capable of quite decent results, but because it makes no attempt to match the camera's colour rendition its output simply isn't as appealing. Adobe Camera Raw, meanwhile, produces generally more-attractive colours, but can show various demosaicing artefacts if you look too closely. However we've not found these to be hugely problematic in normal use.
The optics, of course, play a major part in the overall image quality, and we're especially impressed by the XF 35mm F1.4 R, which is truly excellent. The XF 60mm F2.4R Macro is optically very good too; its major problem is sluggish AF, especially in low light. The XF 18mm F2 R not at all bad for a compact wideangle - it's impressively sharp in the centre of the frame even wide open, but needs to be stopped down to about F5.6-F8 for the corners to sharpen up. Fujifilm is using software correction for distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration in the camera's JPEG processing, which helps make the images look clean. One slight oddity is that the 60mm F2.4 Macro uses correction for pincushion distortion, which slightly degrades detail in the centre of the frame - although most of the time you'd struggle to tell.
The X-Pro1's 'traditional' control layout, with physical shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation dials, means that in many respects it's a joy to shoot with. It encourages you to engage with the process of making an image, rather than just pointing the camera and letting its automated systems do the job. The 'Q' Menu is a welcome addition too, giving quick access to a range of parameters that required menu-diving on the X100. It's not a new idea, of course, but Fujifilm's version is noteworthy for the simplicity and clarity of its layout. The X-Pro1's shutter noise is also relatively quiet and unobtrusive, which is never a bad thing.
Special mention has to be made of the hybrid viewfinder, and the ability to overlay detailed shooting information in the optical finder provides a unique viewing experience that's extremely well-suited to certain subjects such as portraits. The fact that you can also switch to the high quality EVF or use the rear screen for precise composition is an added bonus, especially as the user experience stays admirably consistent. One slight reservation here, though, is that the EVF's refresh rate can get distinctly slow, especially in low light.
The X-Pro1 does have its fair share of irritations, though. The AF point selection button is awkwardly-placed for use with the camera to your eye, slightly negating what should be one of the camera's key attractions - the ability to move the AF point freely around the optical viewfinder. AutoISO is a distinct step back from the X100's; in our experience it chooses shutter speeds that are too slow to guarantee sharp images, and should generally be avoided. Control customization is limited to a single Fn button, which you'll probably want to assign immediately to ISO, meaning you can't use it for anything else. This is especially frustrating as the X-Pro1's rear controls are distinctly under-utilised, especially in aperture priority mode (which we suspect many owners will use).
Our biggest bugbear with the X-Pro1, though is focusing. Its autofocus is slow compared to its mirrorless peers, especially in low light, and particularly with the 60mm F2.4 macro lens; this really isn't a camera for moving subjects. Manual focus is also distinctly flawed - the 'by wire' focus rings are rather unresponsive, requiring multiple turns to cover the full distance range. The X-Pro1's depth of field scale can't easily be used for zone focusing as it's ludicrously conservative, and accurate focusing using magnified live view can be impossible in bright light, as the camera will use an aperture of its choice for viewing that's often too small.
Having said all of this, if you shoot the X-Pro1 in aperture priority, using centre-point AF with focus and recompose, and setting ISO manually via the Fn button, then it behaves itself pretty well, particularly with the Q menu on hand for the less-frequently changed settings. Crucially, not only is this an entirely realistic way of working, it's one we suspect many users would choose by default. This doesn't excuse its flaws, but it does make them much more tolerable.
The Final Word
With the X-Pro1 Fujifilm has built on the platform provided by the X100, and is beginning to look like a very serious contender at the high end of the camera market. In a way the X-Pro1 has no direct competitors; its optical viewfinder and traditional stills-focused control layout sets it apart from the likes of the Sony NEX-7, and of course it's much less expensive than the camera it physically most resembles, the Leica M9-P, and operates rather differently too. This alone should ensure it a niche in the market, and we suspect many buyers will be delighted with it.
The problem that Fujifilm faces, though, is that it's still an expensive camera in the grand scheme of things, and one that the company has seen fit to label 'Pro'. This means it inevitably has to be measured up against the best of its peers in all aspects of design and operation. But while it passes with flying colours in terms of image quality, certain operational aspects are still problematic; for example, we'd argue a professional camera that costs the best part of $2000 (with lens) should really offer a manual focus system that works properly in bright light.
So when all is said and done, the X-Pro1 is a very good camera, with excellent design and image quality, let down by a few small but significant operational bugs and quirks. Because of this - and for no other reason - it just misses out on our top award.
NOTE: On September 18th 2012 Fujifilm released Firmware version 2.0 for the X-Pro1. This improves certain key aspects of operation addressed in this review, most notably both autofocus and manual focus performance. We'll be revisiting our conclusions in due course.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
Category: Semi-professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The X-Pro1 marks Fujifilm's entry into the high-end mirrorless interchangeable-lens market, and combines excellent image quality with fluid handling. The hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder is excellent, but autofocus is relatively slow and manual focus doesn't work very well.
- 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
Jun 23, 2015
Jun 16, 2015
Dec 18, 2014
Jun 27, 2014
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.