Operation and Controls

The X-Pro1's relatively large, chunky body does have the advantage of providing a more positive grip compared to slimmer faux-rangefinder mirrorless cameras. Thanks to its 'traditional' controls for shutter speed, exposure compensation, aperture and focusing, it's also a very straightforward camera to use. Fujifilm has eliminated almost all of the bugs and glitches that once plagued the X100, and what's left is a camera that works in a generally-sensible fashion. One key area where the X-Pro1 still has serious problems, though, is manual focus; this is discussed in detail on the next page.

Exposure mode and parameter setting

Like the X100, the X-Pro1 doesn't have a conventional mode dial. Instead the aperture ring and shutter speed dial have red 'A' markings for Auto, which together define the exposure mode:

Shutter speed dial
Aperture dial
Aperture Priority
Sets aperture
Shutter Priority
Sets shutter speed
Sets shutter speed
Sets aperture

The XF lenses' aperture rings have click-stops at 1/3 stop increments, a welcome improvement over the X100. The shutter speed dial is marked in whole-stop increments, but you can fine-tune the set speed in 1/3 stop increments using the Left/Right keys of the 4-way controller. It also has a position marked 'T', which is used to set shutter speeds from 2 to 30 seconds, again in 1/3 stop increments using the left-right keys.

In Program mode, you can shift the camera's chosen exposure parameters towards a larger aperture/faster shutter speed or smaller aperture/slower speeds, again using the Left/Right keys. Program shift has an annoying bug, though; it counts up to 12 clicks of the keys beyond the limits of the lens's aperture setting, which have to be 'undone' before the exposure parameters will start changing again. Program shift is also, for no obvious reason, unavailable if Auto ISO or Auto DR is set.

The X-Pro1, sightly surprisingly, doesn't have an ISO dial or even a dedicated ISO button. However you can assign ISO to the programmable Fn button beside the shutter for one-touch access, or access it quickly from the Quick Menu. We'd like to have the option of changing it directly using the rear dial, which does nothing in normal shooting.

Quick Menu

Pressing the new 'Q' button on the back of the X-Pro1 brings up a Quick Menu, where you can change 16 options including ISO, DR, Film Simulation and the self timer. This isn't exactly a ground-breaking concept, but Fujifilm's implementation scores heavily for clarity of layout and simplicity of operation. The icons are large and easy enough to understand; once selected their function is displayed at the top of the screen. You simply move around the panel using the 4-way controller, then spin the rear dial to change the selected setting. The full set of functions available is listed in the table below.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Q Menu options
 Select Custom Setting  ISO  Dynamic Range  White Balance
 Noise Reduction  Image Size  Image Quality  Film Simulation
 Highlight Tone  Shadow Tone  Color  Sharpness
 Self Timer  AF Mode  Flash Mode  LCD Brightness

The various settings are interdependent, which can be confusing at first until you know what's going on (although X100 owners will find it all depressingly familiar). For example you can't select expanded DR settings at ISO 200, or use extended ISOs when shooting RAW, and have to change the conflicting setting first. Then, of course, you have to remember to change it back again afterwards; for example it's all-too-easy to forget to re-enable RAW after using the extended ISOs. Overall, though, this is a huge improvement in usability over the X100, eliminating most of the the menu-diving demanded by that camera.

In movie mode, the Q menu gets dramatically pared-down to just four options; Movie Mode (i.e. Full HD or HD), white balance, film simulation, and LCD brightness.

Customizable Fn Button

The X-Pro1 has a large button labelled 'Fn' beside the shutter, to which you can assign your most-used function (we tend to use it for ISO normally). Its exact behaviour depends upon the selected function, either toggling directly between alternative settings, or bringing-up a sub-menu of available options.

The currently-assigned function can be quickly changed by pressing the Fn button down and and holding it for a second, which calls up the selection menu shown above. This can be really useful, for example to quickly access depth of field preview or multiple exposure mode. The available options are listed in the table below.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fn button options
 Function  Type  Notes
 Multiple Exposure  Toggle  Turns multiple exposure on/off
 Preview Depth of Field  Toggle  Sets lens to taking aperture to preview depth of field
 ISO*  Activate/
 In OVF, highlights ISO - change with dial or L/R keys
 In EVF/LCD, activates ISO submenu, change with up/down keys
 Self Timer*  Submenu  These settings each bring up a submenu listing available options.

 When using the OVF, the X-Pro1 will temporarily switch to the EVF.
 This can be disruptive to the shooting process.
 Image Size*  Submenu
 Image Quality*  Submenu
 Dynamic Range*  Submenu
 Film Simulation*  Submenu
 White Balance*  Submenu
 AF Mode*  Submenu
 Select Custom Setting*  Submenu
 Movie  Toggle  Enters/exits movie mode - press shutter to start/stop recording
 RAW  Toggle  Turns RAW recording on/off for one shot
 *Also available from Q menu

One oddity is that when you use Fn to control ISO, its behaviour is inconsistent between the optical and electronic viewfinders. In the former, pressing Fn highlights the ISO value, which can then be changed with the rear dial (or, less conveniently, the left/right controller keys). However in the EVF the button pulls-up a huge, visually-intrusive ISO menu, and you have to use the up and down keys to change the value. We'd much prefer to see the EVF's behaviour mimic the OVF here.

Macro mode button

It's a little surprising at first to see a macro button on a 'serious' camera like the X-Pro1, but in fact it offers something that traditional rangefinder designs simply can't match. It allows genuinely close-up focusing, and switches the viewfinder over to electronic mode to give accurate through-the-lens composition (with no parallax error).

The Macro button on the back of the X-Pro1 is used for close-focus work; pressing it brings up a menu on the screen. It looks as you then have to press the Right Key + OK to change mode, but in fact a second press of the Macro button itself does the job.

This means you can easily switch over to Macro mode with a quick double-click of the button.

Silent mode

The X-Pro1 offers Fujifilm's familiar 'Silent Mode', which is turned on and off by a 'long press' of the DISP button. It's actually something of a misnomer, as it doesn't just disable the electronic operational noises, but also the AF illuminator and and any external flash. Obviously, though, it can't disable the sound of the mechanical shutter - but luckily this is relatively quiet and discreet.

You can independently turn off all of the electronic noises using the 'Operation Vol' option in the Setup Menu (tab 2), which you'll probably want to do anyway as the X-Pro1 insists on quietly beeping at you each and every time you press a button. You can also disable the AF illuminator in the Shooting Menu (tab4), and set the flash mode to 'Suppressed' from the Q menu. (Or, of course, simply turn the flash unit off.)

Shutter noise

One important consideration for the X-Pro1's target market is operational noise, and especially the shutter; one great attraction of this type of camera is that with no flapping mirror, it can in principle be rather quieter than an SLR. Many mirrorless cameras, however, have shutters that are sufficiently noisy to offer little advantage in this respect.

The X-Pro1 is a welcome exception; it still uses a focal-plane shutter, so inevitably is louder than the lens shutter-equipped X100, but it's quieter than most of its mirrorless contemporaries (with the honourable exception of the Olympus OM-D E-M5). The shutter sound is also relatively low-pitched, and therefore unintrusive. This means that you'll be able to use the X-Pro1 in situations where an SLR would be unwelcome, although the X100 is still a better choice when the camera has to be as close to silent as possible.