Fuji X-Pro 1, or “The Camera I have been waiting for my whole life”
Last week, I got my new Fujifilm X Pro 1 camera with the 18 mm f 2.0 lens. This was a big move for me, I haven’t bought a new camera for many years, as a matter of fact, I think my last cameras that I bought were an Olympus Pen F vintage camera, and before that, the Deardorff 8×10. I would like to note, that various camera companies have been sending me cameras for years to test and learn so that I may spread the word about how to work them. I have put through the ringer Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Leica cameras. Also I have used extensively all the Pro Fujifilm Dslr’s with the exception of the Finepix S5 (I love to shoot with the S1, S2, and S3 watching the evolution from behind the finder). So I plunked down hard earned green backs on this not so little jammer. I wanted to own the camera, because I felt strong about it. The design and quality that is something that has been long in the waiting. If I were to compare it, the best comparison would be to Leica M 8.2 but that would be unfair, and to compare it to the Sony NEX system or Panasonic G3 is also a stretch. The feel of the camera mostly reminds me of Hasselblad X-Pan with out the weight. Actually I can feel the DNA of the X-Pan in the X-Pro 1, after all, Fujifilm manufactured the Hassy X-Pan and it’s lenses. You could even find the camera under the Fuji name of TX (The Xpan got an update to a Mark II in 2003 being called the Xpan 2 and the Fuji’s model the TX 2).
If Fuji making the vaunted Hassy X-Pan sends shivers down your spine and you didn’t know that Fuji is actually serious about pro cameras then now you know. Fujifilm is way more than just film and a lab company. They are committed to professional image makers, always have been, and always will. The X-Pro 1 is proof of that.
So exactly why am I so pumped about this camera exactly? Remember, I dropped over $2200 for it. Form and performance seem to go hand in hand with the X Pro 1. The camera borrows much from the X100 which was released a little over a year ago. Indeed, its a interchangeable and beefed up version of the X100 with lots of enhancements. The one thing it does better and were all happy about, it does focus faster than the X100. While I never had much of an issue with X100 it is faster and faster and more responsive it better.
What really sets this X Pro 1 apart from all the other mirrorless cams, is the hybrid viewfinder. If you’re not familiar with the way you see your image as you compose, there are two ways. The OVF or optical view finder and the EVF or Electronic View Finder. OVF is analog, your looking through glass and the EVF is akin to looking at a magnified tiny tv scene of your image. The finder can either work as gorgeous optical finder with projected parallax corrected framing lines, allowing for a host of info to be shown or not shown (everything from WB to battery charge, to meter mode, film sim mode, exp. comp, frames remaining, grids, levels, focus points and more) or as a EVF. Leica users will delight in the way to change the view from OVF to EVF, a lever on the front of the camera reminiscent of the Leica lever for changing framing lines to focal lengths toggles back to enable either view mode. Its a pleasure to look through a true optical view finder, you can see outside the frame of your scene (SLRs have trouble with this, they are view finder wysiwyg) anticipating when something is about to move into the composition. The EVF however is a bit contrasty yet clear, when the camera is in macro mode, the EVF automatically turns on and you have to use it. A clever way to circumnavigate the tenant that rangefinders are poor at macro. The Sony NEX does have a better EVF system, but the bright OVF trumps them all and is one of the pleasures of using the X Pro 1.
Its not a small camera, it has a modern look and lines, its sleek and all black. It is light, but tough since the chassis is magnesium and the body is wrapped in vulcanized leather with a rubber bumper grip. The X Pro 1 feels really good in the hands and around the neck. I switched to a Domke gripper strap, the supplied strap slips off the shoulder easy. There is also a grip available which I am waiting for the shipment. The 18 mm f 2.0 lens ships with a lens cap and a special wide hood and rubber cap. I lost the hood lens cap at a Yankee’s game last week, so now I’m running it with a B&W 52mm UV filter, the hood and good to go. I’ll be posting more sample images here on Suspect Photography as I bond and become one with this camera.