Fujifilm X-Pro1 in mid-2016 – a good purchase?

Fujifilm X-Pro1

The X-Pro1 is Fujis first mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera in the X-series. It was launched in March 2012, priced at $1700. I got mine through finn.no (the Norwegian equivalent of eBay)  in February 2016, paying $300, which seems to be the going rate for 2nd hand copies around the world. The key features of the camera is as follows:

  • X-Trans CMOS I 16.3MP APS-C sensor
  • EXR Processor Pro
  • Hybrid Viewfinder (switchable between optical and electronic)
  • 3″ 1.23MP LCD
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I started my Fuji-adventure in early 2015 with the X-T1 after being a Canon shooter for several years. Going from the 550D to the 60D then to the 6D I was trading higher picture quality for an increasing amount of bulk and weight. Although I loved the 6D in almost every regard, I realized that it was mostly left at home, gathering dust. Long story short; I read some reviews, and a few more reviews – sold the 6D together with all my Canon lenses, and got the Fuji X-T1.

Back to the X-Pro1; my wife and I were going on our honeymoon in February and I had been contemplating if getting a second camera body would be a good idea – the thought being that it would be fun if both of us could take photos and it would also mean that we had a backup in case the X-T1 failed. I was not able to decide which of the other Fujis to get (E-X1, E-X2, M-X1, X-Pro1, X-T10…), since they all had pros and cons and came at different price points. The reason I chose the X-Pro1 was primarily the hybrid viewfinder, the range finder form-factor, price – and the fact that the guy who I bought it from actually drove to the airport and handed it to me as we were about to board our flight to Bangkok.

The bad

Since the title is so clearly suggesting that I love this camera, I thought it best to get the bad bits out of the way first. And of course there are bad bits as this is now a 4+ year old, mirrorless camera. These are my top three:

Auto-focus –  Decent, albeit slow in single mode provided the light is. Gets poorer as the light level drops, and don’t try the continuous-mode (after testing it, my wife renamed it “continuous out-‘o-focus”).

Speed – The X-Pro1 is quite slow in several respects; it takes a bit more then a second to get ready, it takes a few seconds to store the images to the SD-card, it takes a few seconds to look at the images after you’ve shot them, the EVF is quite choppy…

General handling – Fuji is great at improving their hardware (as well as their software – more on that later), which means that if you compare the X-Pro1 to the cameras that have come after, a lot of things have been adjusted and tweaked to make the overall experience better. There are very few function-buttons, you have to use the menus to switch drive-mode, ISO etc…, grip is a little narrow etc…

The good

For those of you reading X-Pro1 reviews from 2012; this is not the same camera! Fuji has been steadily updating the firmware which has added a bunch of new features as well as improving key aspects of the camera, like the auto-focus.

Image quality – This is were the camera shines and it’s a testament to the quality of the X-trans sensor that it has been more or less unchanged until the X-Pro2 and X-T2 launched this year. Coupled with good glass, something Fuji has plenty of, the X-Pro1 produces great images.  Please judge this for yourself as all pictures in this post, apart from those of the camera itself, has been taken by my wife, Ragnhild, with the X-Pro1.

Optical viewfinder – With medium range lenses (I’ve used the 23mm, the 35mm and the 56mm), the optical viewfinder is a lot of fun to use. Being able to look directly at the subject and see what’s around the frame as you shoot gives a different photographic experience compared to using an EVF or even a traditional viewfinder on a DSLR. It also mean no “black-out” between shots (an EVF will go black for 0.x amount of seconds). Have a look at this video review from Digital Rev TV to get a better understanding of how it works.

Rangefinder style – In my opinion, the X-Pro1 is a cool looking camera. I find that pictures doesn’t really do it justice, it looks quite bulky and “squared”, but in real life it’s got class. This form factor, paired with the optical viewfinder, lends itself to a different style of shooting compared to my X-T1.

Fuji-X camera -It uses the same memory card, lenses and batteries as my X-T1. This makes it a great 2nd camera as well as a backup body.

Bottom line

Should you buy the X-Pro1?

Are you getting paid to take pictures? – If so, I’d probably go with the X-T1, X-Pro2 or X-T10. Especially if auto-focus is important and you have limited retries.

Will this be your only camera? – If funds are really tight, getting a used X-Pro1 and spending the money on quality optics could be a good alternative.

Are you a hobby photographer who owns an X-Pro2, X-T1 or X-T10 and more than one lens – Unless you have an unlimited bank account… YES!

I find that having a second camera fits me very well, both when travelling with my wife and when I’m on my own. I only have prime lenses, so having two bodies saves a lot of lens changes.

 

 

 

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