Fujifilm X-Pro1 Review: Serious Style, Serious Price

Mirrorless cameras are generally geared toward the enthusiast or semi-pro consumer. Some companies, like Canon with its new EOS M offering, are seeking to cater to a broader market in features and styling. But not one of them can match the astronomically expensive FujiFilm X-Pro1 for pure photo-nerdery.

What Is It?

A relatively compact, retro-styled camera that delivers DSLR-quality images with a great deal of creative control.

Who's It For?

Camera lovers who want something easily toteable, that will utilise their technical skills, and that will reinforce their sense of photographic style.

Why Does It Matter?

It marks one of the most serious attempts by any company to satisfy such a niche market of hardcore enthusiasts. This camera was not built for widespread adoption; to be honest, it's rare to see a company put so much consideration into a product that satisfies the desires of so few.

Design

The look of the X-Pro1 is its hallmark. Quality components aside, the real reason people lust after it is its looks. Specifically, its retro styling, which FujiFilm really nailed. Sure, it's quite large and isn't quite ergonomic, but some people value aesthetics usability. The X-Pro1 is also replete with buttons, switches, and dials which may intimidate a beginner, but will lure in those looking for a fully customisable experience.

Using It

It definitely takes some time to get to know the X-Pro 1. But once you get used to the button and menu layouts, navigating the camera's many functions is satisfying and makes you feel in control at all times. Fuji's lens system isn't extensive yet, but the lenses it does offer are of great quality, with a 60mm f/2.4 Macro, 35mm f/1.4, and 18mm f/2.0. With an adaptor, you can stick on Leica M mount glass as well. The camera's autofocus is no great shakes. In daylight, it is just OK, and in low-light, it suffers. Expect a lot of focus hunting to occur, especially with longer focal length lenses.

On the video side, ugh. While the video footage looked sharp and great when shooting macro, things quickly fell apart when any kind of detail was in frame. Aliasing and moire are AWFUL; the autofocus is constantly hunting. You can't even adjust ISO in video mode? Such a strange, unfortunate oversight.

The Best Part

The image quality! These pictures are delicious. They are sharp and colourful with Fuji's quality optics, and they hold up amazingly well in low light at higher ISOs. View our Flickr gallery of full-sized X-Pro1 images here.

Tragic Flaw

For a camera geared towards people who like to manually control their devices, the manual focus on this system is terrible. It takes a seemingly infinite amount of turns on the Fuji lenses to find the proper focus range you are looking for. This camera is not for videographers.

This Is Weird...

The camera is slugglish. Thumbing through your images is painfully slow, and if you are shooting RAW, expect to wait a few moments before your next shot, especially if you shoot in rapid succession.

Test Notes

  • The On/Off switch is prone to being accidentally switched on.
  • Not sure if this was unique to our unit, but the body cap didn't tighten on. It sort of just sat over the lens mount with no fastening whatsoever.
  • If you buy one lens, make it the 35mm f/1.4. It is fast, sharp, and versatile. All of our sample images were shot with this lens.

Should You Buy It?

If you have the money — and it's a lot of money — es, buy it. It isn't just style without substance here. It's not a point-and-shoot. It is a camera that might make you work a bit, but it will reward you with great pictures (and jealousy from your photog friends). It is a bit hampered by the focusing system and video deficiency, but it is still a joy to shoot with.

FujiFilm X-Pro1

• Price: $1,799.95 (body only), $2,399.95 (body + XF 35mm lens)

• Sensor: 16 megapixels, APS-C (23.6 x 15.6mm) X-Trans CMOS

• Max ISO: 6400 default (25,600 expanded)

• Video: 1920 x 1080 (24 fps) and 1280 x 720 (24 fps)

• Screen: 3" LCD, 1,230,000 dots

• Weight: 450 grams (including battery and memory card)

• Gizrank: 4


Comments

    I just picked up the X100 and a few accessories, can't wait to use it as my travel cam.

      Don't read any reviews, it will destroy your experience, BUT have FUN!

      Same here, and ignore MPPEACE RE: reviews, most I have read from long time users can't go without their X100's

    I have had mine a few months now and absolutely love it, as does my back for no longer carrying the bulk of a 5D. The jpegs out of this camera are astounding and ignore the reviews the lenses are great . The lens road map is fantastic with a ultra wide angle coming out before christmas and bundle of other lenses out next year.

    Way to just tear it up at the end of the write up. The report that it is sluggish when working in RAW is probably the biggest worry.

      My experience is that the X-pro 1 may get some time to write the images (RAW) to the card but it is ready to the next shot instantly (I do not use the image review). I shot RAW+JPG and I did not have to wait to get the next picture.

    i would be all over this if it weren't for the stupidly high price

    I have this camera since it was released in Australia. I sold my x100 when i bought it and cant be happier. Contrary to the author the main reason to buy this camera isn't the looks, it's the sensor. Fuji have completely re-designed the cmos sensor and have done away with the Bayer array. This allows them to do away with an anti-aliasing filter (which essentially blurs the image so that it is compatible with the bayer array, ie moire induced by repetive pixel pattern). What this means is that the images from this camera are the sharpest of any I have ever seen.
    People complain about the price but in reality you can get the body with 2 lens' for less than the price of a 5Dmiii body only. I know which i would prefer to carry around the streets.

    Far out... 2,399.95 bucks when you can get a 5N for less than 700 bucks with lens. I would rather buy my 5n again and get a few more lenses!

      you mean these great quality sony lenses? yeah, right...

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