May 082012
 

Another take on the Fuji X-Pro 1

By Ashwin Rao – See his blog HERE

From Steve: Most of you have seen my review on the X-Pro 1. It was a positive review and I enjoyed the camera but ultimately it was not for me do to the slow AF in lower light (which caused me to miss MANY shots when street shooting). I felt the IQ of the X-Pro 1 was astounding though, and I had to send it back to Fuji before I was able to even try processing a RAW file or even use a Leica adapter with Leica glass. No worries though! Ashwin has been shooting his X-Pro 1 and he wrote up a nice article on the camera as a 2nd take. His photos are AMAZING with this camera so read and enjoy! As you read this I am on my way to Berlin for the May 10th Leica event, so will post when I arrive!  – Steve

Hi, everyone. It’s been a while since I shared here, as I have been busy trying out new gear and straying away this time from the M system, which has and will continue to be my primary camera system as the only true production digital rangefinder available today…

That being said, this year has seen the development of some revolutionary and evolutionary cameras, including the NEX-5N, NEX-7, D800E, and the OM-D EM-5. May’s Leica announcement brings even more interesting cameras into the fold. To me, the most interesting camera of the batch, the one that caught my eye, spirit, and creative muse, has been the Fuji XPro-1. As Steve has implied in his reviews of the camera and comparisons, it is a flawed camera….the flaws are inherent to the XPro-1’s slow autofocus, likely due in part to it’s fly-by-wire AF system. It has shutter lag, and it’s optical viewfinder is quirky and inaccurate. But at the end of the day, it’s output is the closest to the Leica M9 as any camera that I have ever tried. Add that to an adequate (yet slightly underwhelming) EVF, and robust, lightweight build, and it becomes something very unique.

I have been asked a few times on various forums, about why I would consider duplicating the M9 system with the XPro-1. Well, the truth of the matter is that I don’t feel that the duplication is complete. There’s overlap, and for the time being, room for both systems in my kit. Here are a few reasons why.

While the Fuji XPro-1’s design and form factor are an intentional duplication of present and past rangefinders, it is in fact not a rangefinder at all, but a camera equipped by autofocus. It’s optical viewfinder comes close to the Contax G sytem in terms of it’s method of detecting focus and framing, and there are adjustable views and frames for each lens. I am personally very interested to see how Fuji’s hybrid viewfinder evolves, but this, in and of itself, distinguishes it rather dramatically from Leica’s offerings.

The second major pro, for my life, is something I call “the Hand-off factor.” The fact that I can hand this camera to a friend to take a snap, compared to the M9, which has a far larger learning curve for even quick implementation, and this is a huge factor for social gatherings. With the M9, I am inevitably (and often by choice) behind the lens and camera, and with the XPro-1, I find myself handing the camera off more. I thus have more pics of myself using this camera.

Ultimately, the IQ of the XPro-1 is what keeps me coming back for me. Fuji’s X-Trans sensor simply friggin’ Rocks. It’s not perfect. Highlights can be blown at times. It’s wonderful high ISO capacities are hampered by the camera’s sluggish low light autofocus, making this an immature camera for low light shooting. It’ll get there, I hope, but the XPro-1’s AF is quite a limitation to its overall full spectrum use at this time.

One other reason that the camera excites me is due to its future. Fuji has committed many resources to this system and the X100, and I suspect that they will support the system well. The X100 has been vastly improved from it’s initial implementation, thanks to Fuji’s technical support, and I very much hope that Fuji will do the same here.

Finally, the other major reason that I plan to hold on to the XPro1, is the future of the system. With 28-70 and 70-200 mm zooms planned for later this year and next, there are some very interesting lens options coming to this system. I’d also love to see the optics of the X100 ported to ths XPro-1, and I suspect that a 35 mm equiv lens will be here soon enough…Personally, I’d love to see Fuji implement a step zoom feature on it’s zoom lenses, so that optical viewfinders may still be used (Fuji, are you listening?)

Pros and cons, you ask? What comes next are my current expository thoughts on the camera:

Pros for the XPro-1

1. Layout and handling: great, just like the M: I love the RF form factor, and while the XPro-1 isn’t really a rangefinder, it feels like one in hand and inspires me in much the same ways. That does mean something in terms of my creativity. It’s also a smallish system, so it works well not to startle people (helps that it’s all black, which I love)

2. ISO: The XPro-1 kicks the pants off the M9 in this department. I am waiting for RAW support, but the JPEG engine is great

3. Out of camera JPEG’s: This is one camera where I have been thrilled with JPEG output. While I look forward to RAW, and shooting JPEG’s without hesitation using standard Fuji profiling

4.Image qaulity: Close to the M9 in most, if not all respects. Fuji really must be applauded for their X-Trans sensor. It needs to find its way into more cameras, period. M lenses have a bit more character than the Fujinon counterparts, but that’s not to take anything away from the Fuji. The Leica 50 mm Summilux Asph is a favorite lens, and the 35 Fujinon comes close, in terms of sharpness and OOF creaminess. The 35 mm native focal length adds some distortion, but you get closer focusing.

5. Hand off factor: Much better than the M9. The XPro-1 can be handed to a novice, and a sharp, focused image will result. Someone on the interwebs said it well that for the average point and shooter who takes on the XPro-1, their images will be elevated to art just by the mere fact that the Fuji lenses are remarkable, and the AF, once locked, takes great crisp images…

6. AF accuracy once locked. The camera, once it locks focus, is amazing….thus, AF accuracy is near perfect, though AF implementation is sluggish

Cons

1. Cropped sensor: Lose some depth of field, but in real life, as long as you make the focal length adjustment (18=28, 35=50, 60 = 90), it’s no biggie, not a deal breaker.

2. Shutter lag: Gosh, I wish Fuji fixed this…not sure if it’s possible, but I’d rather see and snap rather than see, wait a few precious milliseconds, and then snap. The pause in image acquisition is due in part to slow AF and part to shutter lag, and Fuji needs to iron this out before carrying on with other system improvements.

3. SLOW AF: TO me, the X-Pro-1’s focus speed, particularly with the 35 mm lens, improved with it’s “anti-chatter” firmware, but compared to the competition (even the middling NEX series AF), the Fuji is slow to focus. It’s better in daylight, but can be horrendous in mixed low light….If Fuji could do one thing for the camera, it’s improve AF. Some have argued that in isolation, the XPro-1’s AF is fast. Others have argued that they can focus the XPro-1 far faster than they could manually focus an M9. Well, given 6 years or regular practice with the M9, I must say that the M9’s shutter lag (minimal) and my manual focus capabilities FAR outshine the XPro-1, and I’m trying not to be cocky. If they could do 2 things, it would be to improve autofocus and shutter lag.

4. Inaccurate frame lines,/optical viewfinder. The Fuji’s optical viewfinder is a great idea…in theory. The merits of the OVF have been discussed in detail, and there’s no reason to get into the details here, other than to say, in concept, that offering multiple optical VF’s for various focal lengths, is a great idea. But in its current implementation, this system is flawed, and Fuji should/could fix it. When using the XPro-1’s optical viewfinder, frame lines are quite inaccurate when subjects are close.. this leads to 2 issues. When I use the OVF, I have regularly gotten inadvertently cropped images (tops of heads chopped off and the like) and AF has misfired. What the photographer expects to see via the framelines and focus confirmation presented is not what the photographer always gets. Thus, the camera may be chosing the wrong AF point, due to frameline inaccuracy. I find the OVF to be inaccurate for close up subjects, and thus I avoid using it in those circumstances.

5. EVF ‘s slow refresh rate. This may be an improvement that has to occurin the future. The current EVF’s refresh rate is slow. What this means is that with fast-moving objects viewed viat the EVF’s, there’s choppiness and motion artifacts present. The NEX is far better with its EVF…this is readily noticeable at night, where the Fuji’s lag really shows up.

6. Adaptability with M and other lenses. The EVF has no focus peaking, and the 10x magnification is actually too large to maintain framing when focusing and composing images via the EVF

7. Red channel: The red channel can blow out at times, as it is overly sensitive. I have seen similar behavior, albeit worse, with the Pentax K5, but it’s present here at times.

XPro-1 and 35 mm lens, blowing out the reds and magentas

Special Section: A couple of captures with the SLR Magic 50 mm f/0.95 Hyperprime lens.

Overall, this revolutionary lens that’s just now becoming available, works very well on the XPro-1, who’s EVF, compled with the lens’ miniscule DOF, makes for a lovely camera in practical and low light use. Here are a few examples, but more to come later.

Conclusion

You may say that I have presented quite a few cons to go with my pros regarding the XPro-1, and you’d be right….Overall, I am sticking with the Fuji over the OM-D (and even the NEX-7) due to the file quality that this camera and its lenses. I continue to use and enjoy the NEX-7, but it feels more like a consumer electronics gadget to me than a true camera. There’s something that flows in the XPro-1’s veins (i.e. its design) that really sings to me. I can live with the occasional quirks given that its IQ is something to write home about. It’s as close to the Leica M system as I have ever seen. Sure, it forces a new way of shooting to cope with its quirks, but if Fuji’s history of support is anything to write about, they will keep tweaking the XPRo-1 until it’s great, or at least, better. Further, the XPro-1’s body is not M9 priced, and may thus be somewhat easier to replace/upgrade without burning a hole in the wallet and/or the stomach….with time, and popularity, the system will evolve to provide the sensor and lenses with a better body to provide the system more maturity…that’s my hope and suspicion, at least….

Overall, you may say that this is the picture that summarizes my overall feelings of the Fuji XPro-1

 

Pro

Image Quality (a revelation, really)

Low light ISO capability (another revelation, really good)

Build (light, especially the lenses) but robust. Grip adds weight and makes the camera feel more like a Leica M

Lenses (35 mm and 60 mm are stunning, 18 is solid and focuses faster)

Button & Dial Layout and menu access

Hand-off factor

Con

Low light autofocus performance

Shutter lag

Occasional AF inconsistency, more so with optical viewfinder

Inaccurate optical viewfinder frame lines

EVF refresh rate is slow

Manual focus implementation lags FAR behind NEX series camera, due to lack of focus peaking and slower refresh rates

Learning curve: one has to re-learn to shoot in a way that the camera can handle

 

Should be improvable via firmware

AF performance and accuracy with optical viewfinder

DNG RAW file option

Menu items don’t all reset with each firmware upgrade (even lenses)

 

Must be improved in future iterations of the camera

Higher resolution EVF with faster refresh rate

Lenses that use methods other than fly by wire

Lenses or body with image stabilization

Sample Images

  161 Responses to “Another take on the Fuji X-Pro 1 – By Ashwin Rao”

  1. I was going back and forth as well, even while reading your article. Then I saw that last shot. Wow. Gorgeous rendering!

    Pleasure and pain.

    Mark

    • Thanks, Mark. Touch choice. I suspect that the XPro-1, like the M9 and X100, will be a polarizing camera. It may be worth renting to try out first.

  2. I really do not like the B&W this camera puts out. It is really horrible. But most digital cameras produce horrible B&W. It is funny that people think if you put a digital camera in B&W mode that is all you need to produce a great B&W “film like” looking shot. Sorry people, conversion in camera or in photoshop to grayscale is not B&W photography. I will say Olympus does a pretty good job at creating in camera B&W that has it own unique look.
    Spend some time looking at “real” B&W film pics (Herb Ritts, Salgado) and then you will see the failings of this camera.
    The color is also just ok, nothing special.

    • Silver Efex Pro really does a good job of B&W output. Yes, it’s not film, but it’s damn close. Worth checking out.

      • Not even close mate. Film is Film, printed
        Scanned? closer, but Film still has grain and it’s own look and softness which digital cannot match with it’s quest for clean clinical ‘sharp’ grain free images.

        • eye roll…, here we go again. Of course film is different but sooner or later they will make the digital sensor replicate the randomness found in the look of film by software. Digital is the natural progression from analog film. speaking of look, have you ever used 1600 asa film? It’s pretty damn horrible.

        • oh shut the hell up. you don’t know what you’re talking about. digital b+w and film b+w are BOTH AWESOME. they are just different

          • Replace ‘film’ with ‘vinyl’, & ‘digital’ with ‘CD’ to see what is going on here.
            Just as there are ‘golden-eared’ audiophiles, there appear to be golden-eyed halide-o-philes.
            ANY image whether painted, drawn, or analogue or digitally photographed is JUST an interpretation of reality. Just pick the interpretation that captures & conveys the emotion most effectively. Film was & will always be a beautiful interpreter of light. Digital excels too with the right artists.

    • Hi Steven, I did all of my BW edits from JPEGs through lightroom’s presets. If you are used to B&W film output, digital has a hard time re-creating it, though Sean is correct, that Silver Efex Pro does a good enough job to have fooled a few of my dedicated film photographers on viewing prints. I didn’t use Silver Efex for the above images.

    • So true. These B&W’s are really awful examples of converted color images. There’s never any play between light and dark, white and black. They show a nice range of greys, but who wants that? Part of it is the subjects, part of it is the framing. They just look like converted ‘not so interesting color images’ in the first place’. Good B&W needs more than that, for sure.

    • Get your eyes checked. Maybe you need cataract surgery.

    • The B&W conversion is mixed some have higher contrast than others. I am not a fan of high contrast as a style (for specific effect its fine) and like the shot of the guy on his bike going along the pavement. It has the tonal qualities that I prefer in B&W for straight shooting. Reminds me of the B&W shots I used to get in the 1960s with my Minoltas using panatomic x.

    • Now that I’ve started shooting B&W film I have to agree, even with Silver Efex Pro 2 my K-5 can’t produce the same quality of B&W images that my crappy 1970’s Yashica GX can. Even the “fake” B&W films, BW400CN and XP2, are superior to digital B&W.

    • Who uses the camera to convert their black and white images!? Every major fashion photographer and most notable fine art photographers uses digital for their black and white photography and their images look amazing. The secret is knowing what you are doing.

  3. Ashwin,

    I can see by your samples that the XPRO-1 is capable of some incredible IQ . But I am confused about your “hands off factor”. If you are handing the camera off to someone because of its ease of use how does that equate to more pictures of you using it? Wouldn’t it mean more pictures of you not using it?
    Thanks for the review.

    • Ah the joys on sentence syntax.

      “I saw an elephant wearing my pajamas”

      Does that mean some saw an elephant physically wearing pajamas or does it mean that while the viewer was still in his/her pajamas they saw an elephant ???

      Which is more likely ?

      Conversely, which makes more sense in the context of this article. More pictures of him using it meaning pictures of him with the camera, which doesn’t seem possible short of a mirror, OR… more pictures taken of him using the camera he has chosen to bring, taken by others he hands the camera off to

      • Ashwin says, referring to the XPRO, “I find myself handing the camera off more. I thus have more pics of myself using this camera.” No elephants or pajamas there. I’m still confused and not by syntax.

        • Seriously Ron……wow is all I can say!

          You honestly are confused by that sentence ???

        • I think what he meant was that you could let another person take the picture, say, a group shot using your camera. Meaning, that you could now join group shots, rather than being the photographer of group shots all the time because no one could use your camera.

          I tried my best explaining it. Just unsure whether I made it more complicated.. :p

        • I think the sentence should be “I find myself handing the camera off more. I thus have more pics of myself (taken) using this camera.”

      • Don’t be silly an elephant has fore legs.

    • My mistake for being confusing….I need a better copy editor LOL… What I intended to say is that the XPro-1 is an easier camera to hand to someone else to use, and thus, I have gotten more pictures (in focus) of myself as part of the action. It’s nice for a change. Thus, I probably have less pics of myself using the camera…sorry for the confusion. Glad you all are reading it so closely…

      • Thanks for clearing that up Ashwin. I have owned, and sold, three other cameras which produced superb images but were flawed by quirky and/or slow operation : Leica X1, Fujifilm X100 and Canon G1X. I am curious whether you have used any of these and what you think of the XPro-1 in comparison. The idea of the XPro-1 is interesting but I don’t want another camera that is ultimately frustrating to use which I just end up selling.

        • I too have owned the Leica X1 and I now own the Fuji X100. I concur with your statement. These cameras used contrast detection auto-focus systems and often, in low light, they focus on subjects with high contrast outside the focus point. I’m tired of this. I did an about face and rented a Nikon D800 for 2 weeks. The results have been stunning. I hate big DSLR cameras but I think I may just jump ship into the Nikon camp and call it a day.

          • THe D800(E) will be a stunning camera, but it’s a big sucker…I’m tempted to sell off my K5 kit and get the D800E too, but the size may get me…

      • Yeah, I’m sure many great minds were also stumped if he meant pictures of him were taken with the XPro when he handed the camera to someone else or if he actually meant pictures were taken of him in the act of shooting with the XPro, because you know, that seems entirely logical.

        Ashwin surely would of thought it important to talk about the “hand off” ability of having someone else use a different camera to take pictures of him shooting with the Xpro.

        I can only hope that perhaps Ron isn’t a native English speaker

    • You can just turn the lens Aperture to A and the Shutter to A and hand it off to someone for a quick snap. Might not be as good, but it is then auto for the most part.

  4. Hey Ashwin:

    Excellent write up and review!

    Cheers,
    Chris

  5. Great review. I thought it was very balanced. I assume you meant the “T0.95″ Hyperprime for M-mount or did you mean the f0.95 e-mount version? Confusion between those two lens seems to be epidemic on the web right now.

    • He is using the T0.95. The F0.95 is not even close to the same league and is only for NEX and M4/3 mount. The T mount is an M Leica mount and can be used on the Fuji via an adapter. The NEX and M4/3 mount can NOT be used on other cameras, and is a totally different lens. $1000 vs $4000 :)

      • Yup, my mistake. It’s the T0.95 lens….the one that’s only now becoming available and it’s a giant, but with a lovely rendering (for those who like to shoot wide open.

      • When the RF coupler wear out (10,000 shots?), that lens will worth less than $1K. You can find a lot of them in eBay.

  6. To me, the Fuji is the worst of both worlds.

    If I want a rangefinder, I’d get an M9…a real rangefinder that has full manual control. Not a point and shoot hiding in a rangefinder styled body with poor AF.

    If I want superior performance with AF and the latest electronic wizardry, I would get a Canon 5dIII or a Nikon d800. Better everything save perhaps size. Images and performance that will far outperform this little APS-C.

    Fuji XPRO…..best at nothing except maybe being small?

    • Jonny…..you sound pretty negative…..have you actually used the camera??? I have and for all it’s quirks it’s a great camera. From my perspective anyone who has used an M8/M9 is used to living with compromises…and the Fuji is no different, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons IMO.

      As for the image quality…so far what I see it is very close to my 5D2….so you can hardly criticize the APS-C sensor for that. Really, the sensor in this Fuji is pretty revolutionary in my opinion. Would I prefer it to be full-frame??? Sure I would but the quality is there in the current sensor and with fast glass it’s not much of a compromise.

    • And suppose someone doesn’t have $7000 for a Leica M9 ???? Perhaps that is a meaningless drop in the bucket for you but it could be a massive difference for others

      Likewise, even if you don’t value size/weight savings, many people find larger DSLR’s too heavy for their casual shooting, vacations etc. That’s a large reason of why the mirrorless camera market has exploded.

      For what its worth as well, I have not seen the 5D mkIII far outperform the XPro in terms of IQ

  7. Hi Ashwin!

    Thx for your efforts…I have torn between the OM-D and the X-Pro 1 but honestly could not overcome their flaws in this 1st generation cams (both claiming to be the first ones in a whole new group).

    I do hope the X2 – presented on May 10th, will deliever more or at least then at Photokina 2012 the interchangeable lens system from Leica.

  8. Aswin, great review…thanks for taking the time to put it together. I recently (two days ago) sold my Leica M8 to fund the purchase of an X-Pro1 and 35mm lens. I sweated the decision on selling the M8 as I loved the camera….but I felt with the upcoming announcements from Leica that this was my opportunity to dump it and still get decent money for it. Anyway, I sold it for $1980….after having used it for a year and a bit when I originally paid $2000. All in all I would say paying $20 to use a camera for a year is a pretty good deal!

    I am patiently waiting for Fuji to release the M adapter to use my Zeiss/Leica glass, but in the meantime I am SUPER impressed with the Fuji 35mm. The lens is simply awesome.

    Ashwin, nice pics you posted but one comment is that all of your B&W images except for the last one look very muddy in the mid-tones. Did you convert these yourself or did you shoot these in B&W mode?

    I know that you can get stunning B&W out of the X-Pro1 from seeing other examples online….and if I can peel myself away from work I’m going to see what I can do myself with the camera. So far I have to say the AF doesn’t really bug me much, as I went into this expecting it to be slow. I also shoot Canon DSLR’s so I don’t need the Fuji to be blazing fast….I just want it to be accurate and sharp. So far I am impressed with what I see!

    • Hi Clint, I believe that the “Muddy” B&W are due to my attempts to convert color JPEG’s to black and white via Photoshop. The loss of data from editing JPEG images probably caused the artifacts that you have observed. A limitation of the photo editor (myself) and of using JPEG’s to convert images…

    • hey clint: there is already an M adapter for the x-pro 1. it is not by fuji, but by kipon. not sure if fuji will release an adapter as well. kipon also brought more adapters e.g. one for m42 lenses to the x-pro 1 for example.
      about the B+W: i usually shoot raw + jpeg. for the better shots or those that inspire me to edit, i take the RAW and first try to edit it within the camera. i already got some quite good B+W images like this. e.g. I choose a red filter while converting from RAW in camera for dramatic effects and contrast, or I might choose the green filter for a portrait. then i might also readjust the exposure and even the highlights and shadows in the in-camera conversion. I tried to edit the RAW files with the provided software, but it was hard to get better results than from in-camera processing. probably silver effex is quite a bit better, but the in camera processing is really enjoyable i think.

  9. Great photos! Makes me miss Seattle (moved to NYC two months ago)!

  10. Ashwin, thank you very much for your take on the X-Pro1. Your Coca-Cola photo and the last photo confirm my belief that Fuji digital cameras (going back to the FinePix S5 Pro) produce great skin tones.

    I also read your Ricoh GXR A12 M-Mount review right here on Steve’s site, with great interest. May I get your comments on any comparisons that you can give, if any, between the X-Pro1 and the Ricoh GXR A12 M-Mount that stand out?

    • Gosh. Tough comparison. I feel that at this time, the GXR-M mount remains superior for using M mount lenses, as the XPro-1 does not have any focus peaking option. It just has a magnification option. The GXR is also substantially smaller in hand, closer in size to the NEX-7. IQ, to my eyes, is better with the XPro-1, but you are really comparing apples to oranges at this point (JPEG’s with the XPro-1, RAW files with GXR). The GXR seems to carry some noise through it’s ISO range, while the XPro-1’s JPEG engine, at least, seems to do a far better job handling noise.

      Both are lovely products. The GXR feels more mature to me.

      • Ashwin, thank you for taking the time to answer my admittedly tough (and perhaps meaningless) comparison. Your comments on ISO noise is something that I will reference in situations where higher ISO would be beneficial or a hinderance.

        To confess, I have the GXR, which I love, and your comments and previous review help me validate the purchace and stick with the system — with all of the nice cameras out there, I sometimes lose focus on what’s important, which should be taking photos.

        Thank you again for your reply.

  11. Interesting take on this camera. On the inaccurate framelines at close range issue, isn’t this a problem with cameras with a non-TTL viewfinder in general due to parallax, including rangefinders like the M9? I would think the only reason this is more of an issue with the Fuji is that the much closer minimum focusing distances for the Fuji lenses compared to Leica lenses makes the effect more obvious.

  12. Another review confirming how much i’d like one of these, but short of winning a load of cash, will never afford one. And coincidentally, i was in Pioneer Square here in Seattle yesterday afternoon, and took pics of the fire fighter statues as well. Ashwin, i assume you’re in Seattle?

  13. Ashwin, fantastic write up. Always interesting to read your views. Photographs not only show what a great camera the X-Pro1 is but also your eye. Keep it going brotha.

    ~D

  14. Very nice pictures and interesting read. Thanks Ashwin.

    Close to $3000 in the cheapest shop near me with one lens. The IQ is very good, but not fantastic like FF and the AF is still far from good enough. Really sad as Fuji could have been the new great star of light weight cameras if they just fixed a few things and lowered the price by 20%.

  15. My biggest issue with my NEX-5 is AF speed. And if you’re saying the X-Pro 1 is even slower than a NEX, then it is absolutely worthless for shooting moving targets like my 2-year-old daughter. Anyone with kids would want to stay FAR away from this camera. But I guess it’s easy to say that Fuji doesn’t have moms and dads in mind with this camera anyway.

    I also wonder if the X-Pro 1 is getting compared to the M9 so often because of the rangefinder look. If it looked like the horribly ugly new Pentax Lego Brick camera, would people keep bringing up the M9 so often? I certainly don’t see the “Leica-look” in the images – especially the Black and Whites. As others have mentioned, the B/W shots are pretty bland. They are missing the M9 “3-D effect” that Steve talks about so often, and seem to lack depth and contrast overall. So I just don’t get the M9 comparison. I can’t help but think that people want to love the camera because yes, it is dang cool looking. But the closest thing to an M9? I’m just not seeing it in the images. Sorry.

  16. THanks, Anders. I think that the IQ point is debatable. FF will win most of the time, but not in all circumstances. I agree with you on that latter point fully. If the XPro-1 came in at $1300 and they fixed AF and shutter lag, it’d be nearing my idea AF body….hopefully, future iterations of firmware and/or camera implementation will mature the system around what I feel is a lovely sensor.

    • You are probably right about the IQ – haven’t tried it my self, but just judging from what I have seen so far and that it supposedly is close to the IQ of the X100 which I have owned (maybe it is even a little better than the X100). I’m also sure they will fix AF and shutter lag in a future version of the camera as you say.

    • UK price has dropped in last few days. It was (and still is in many shops) £1429 for body and now two major camera shops (Jessops and Warehouseexpress) sell it for £1299 ;)

      • Great to hear, regarding the price drop. Interesting that the X100 hasn’t really dropped in price that much. The XPro-1 may be overpriced and hence be sitting on shelves. Regardless, it should be in the hands of photogs, and at a cheaper price!

        • It’s much much cheaper here in the UK than it was. I bought mine last August for £899, now you can buy one pretty (again the same shops) for £699. And original price was £999.

          With the price of £1299 X-Pro1 is becoming very very interesting option, with 35mm f/1.4 lens it’s ~£1850 so it’s the same price as NEX-7 with 24mm Zeiss f/1.8.

  17. Hi Ashwin

    Great review and great images.

    I bought the Fuji X Pro 1 as soon as it came out and found it frustrating until the firmware upgrade. The image quality is outstanding and it covers all the areas that the M9 doesn’t at a fraction of the price – great high iso, great TTL flash performance, close ups , JPEG engine.

    I have now used it in combination with my MF gear and look forward to trying it at weddings and pre-wedding shoots.

    In fact the X Pro 1 beats my 5Dii on high iso and lens quality and I hold out great hopes for this system, I also hope it pushes Leica to improve the next M digitals.

    Tapas

    • Thansk, Tapas….I would love to see your images with the XPro-1 at weddings. If I recall, that was one of the target audiences: wedding photogs…

      Lens quality (particularly the 35 and 60) is very impressive…. hard to beat, and close to Zeiss, if not Leica, standards…

  18. Hi Ashwin, thanks for a great writeup. Based on those photos, I can see that you are getting along well with the X-Pro-1! I too will be curious to see what sort of zoom lens options Fuji comes up with…a step zoom in the 18-135 range would make this a serious contender for a great lightweight travel system. I hope you continue to enjoy it.
    David

    • Thanks, David. yes, I am getting along with the camera so far. I really hope that Fuji considers a step zoom option. I think their roadmap called for an 28-70 and a 70-200 f/4 lens, each with image stabilization. Could be interesting to pair a sharp compact zoom with that sensor…

      • Do you know if the 28-70mm is the focal length when mounted or do you have to multiply by 1.5 so that it corresponds to something like 42-105mm?

  19. I don’t know exactly. Optics is very good. It’s worse than leica, but still is very good.
    But I definitely do not like color rendition.

  20. Lovely images. Great work.

    There are some simply amazing bloggers out there using the X Pro and posting fantastic pictures with it.

    I haven’t been so impressed with a cameras IQ for years.

    I think people need to learn to work with the AF.

    I have read a couple of bloggers reporting that they can get the Fuji to focus with more “snap” by altering the size of the focus area. They also report that they like to set the camera to manual focus and then use the AFL button to focus. They can then easily use MF to fine tune. Some of the Leica guys use it this way.

    I also read that when shooting a moving object the best technique is NOT to half press the shutter as you would expect from DSLR land, but instead to simply push the shutter button to take the picture in one movement without a half press in between. Apparently it works !

    Any experience of these tricks?

    I appreciate your insights. You walk the walk and don’t just talk ! Great pictures.

    • Great thoughts, Rufus. I have tried the full press shutter technique. I have had mixed results but heard that it works best for locking onto moving objects with a faster frame rate of continuous shooting. That being said, I haven’t tried it much….

      The AF and VF force a new way of seeing, which I suspect is a source of both content and discontent in using the camera: a love/hate thing….

      I haven’t tried the snap focus technique, as I wasn’t aware that one could alter the size of the focus area. THe MF/AFL technique has been used a lot with Pentax cameras, so could be fun to try here too… Thanks for the tips, Rufus!

    • Rufus changing the AF area to the smallest size did some magic on my X100, i actually just tried it earlier today, it locks and focuses faster. I was at my end with the X100 until i gave it another chance, i must say that little change in the focus area, making it smaller have renewed my interest in the X100. I don’t own the X-Pro 1 yet, if Ashwin can try reducing the size of the focus area and reporting back if there is an improvement, that would be great!

      BTW Ashwin, nice post are awesome shots!

  21. Nice write up and photos Ashwin! Probably scored a couple of sales for Fuji! I have yet to re-get the XP1, although it is in my list of gear to get (or re-get). I already have the M adapter for it. And even the retro looking flash, which works very well with the X100. Can’t wait to see what we are going to find out tomorrow — May 10!

    • Hi Armando, I think it’d be worth a bit more of a wait, but I think that Leica will be playing in another arena with its May 10th offerings…different game tan the XPro-1…and they may even price me out of the game….

      • Say it ain’t so Ashwin! Price you out? Maybe if you just sell that Hyperprime off, that’d cover 1/3 of the new Leica! Or maybe 1/2. More like 2/5. With the big day coming up, I don’t think I’d ever be able to afford other red dot item! LOL!

  22. A question for Ashwin:
    I own a x100, and I love it (more now than before), even though I know its limitations.
    Now, is the xPro1 slower focusing than the x100? Is its shutter lag longer than x100’s?
    Because, if it’s the same thing, I’ll go for it. If it’s not, maybe I’ll wait for some upgrade.
    Thanks

    • I believe that with the 18 mm lens, the XPro-1 and X100 focus comparable. However, with the 35 and 60 mm lenses, the x100 is clearly superior, particularly after that camera’s recent firmware upgrade. I can’t recall the shutter lag on the x100, so maybe someone else can comment on that. I would wait for an upgrade to either firmware or camera to make sure that the camera meets your considerations.

  23. After reading all these reviews and opinions and arguments about the X100 and the XP-1 and the OMD, and looking at the B&W images they produce, (looking remarkably like the ones from my EOS 40D), I’ve made up my mind and taken the plunge. I just bought a Canon Elan 7E, in mint condition on Ebay for $50, and ordered 10 rolls of Tri-X from Adorama for about $40. It’s time for me to go back six years.
    I’m spending way too much time reading about cameras and not enough time using them. It’ll be good to hear Miles Davis while I stand in the dark with the essence of D-76 and the vinegary scent of fixer wafting about. Test strips, dodging and burning, watching the image appear like magic, I miss it.
    Sitting in front of this computer working with Lightroom and Silver Effex Pro, and then sending my files off to wait for the prints to arrive, (and often not liking them), doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’m joining old Darth on the dark side.

  24. Ashwin, great post mate.

    Some really good photos!

    So true about having a camera that you can hand to someone else, I found it really hard to pass the M9 to someone who has never used one while I was travelling all through Aisa, this lead to less photos of myself.

    Now that I also use the NEX-7 I am in a lot for shots :)

    Anyway mate nice work.

  25. Hey Aswin,

  26. Ashwin, Sorry, user malfunction. did not even need to read your article, but always enjoy reading you impressions and thoughts. The pictures told the story for me. Amazing!! The IQ of the Fuji X-pro in my opinion blows away the competition, hands down. I love my X100 for the same reason and would not consider anything other than Fuji’s offerings at this point. OMD just looks to flat and digitized for me. Same goes for Nex7. Love to visit your site and the photos you have there. Keep it up, fan here!!

    • Thanks, George, and thanks for taking the time to check out the blog. It’s been a while since I updated it, so I better get onto that soon LOL.

      Best,
      Ashwin

    • And yeah, totally agree, George, that the XPro-1 offers that elusive POP far more than the NEX-7, which has detailed, yet flatter files…Haven’t tried the OM-D, but while it looks very capable, I don’t see that POP that I love…

  27. these are the write ups one needs if he or she is in the market for a camera, other than one having it in hand to physically try.
    well written with images (these shine).
    well done Ashwin.

  28. I do have a mixed feeling for this camera which I want to love so much but its quirks really frustrate me. Totally agree with you and that’s why I also chose X Pro-1 over others. I really wish Fuji is listening and releasing firmware to fix the AF, OVF and shutter lag really soon! Great review and amazing pictures. Now I am taking my X Pro-1 out for another test.

  29. Hi Ringohung, I agree that I hope that Fuji is listening. I am sure that they are aware, and hopefully a rapid response will solve some of the issues, particularly AF…Fingers crossed!

  30. nice review and pictures Ashwin, but if the fuji drop the price abit maybe i would get one instead of the OMD

  31. Wow, this IQ is sublime!
    If it could take all my manual glass like my nex can, and provided focus peaking aswell as magnification I would switch in a heart beat. Till then the nex is the system for all us manual vintage glass lovers…

    …it is interesting that the 2 old film companies, fuji & kodak, have both produced 2 of the nicest rendering sensors to date. :D

  32. Thanks Ashwin, wait the Fuji XPro-2 :)

  33. Hi Ashwin and thanks for the review.

    I will be subjective, though, so please bear with me.
    From your pictures, or from pictures in other reviews, I still fail to see that IQ is any better than that from the X100. This camera certainly has a good sensor, but it is nothing fantastic if compared to previous cameras.

    I was very surprised by the “blown red channel” issue though. The photo that you posted seems to have quite a bit of the hyper IR sensitivity that crucified the Leica M8 a few years ago… and I can’t believe that the Fuji isn’t suffering the same treatment for this problem. By the way, have you tried using a UV/IR filter with this camera?

    • Hi Eguevara, I think it’s hard to tell from websized prints. THe X100 is very cpable, with a lovely sensor….Part of the issue with the magenta is the lighting was actually close to that color, but the reds still got blown out. I haven’t tried using a UV/IR cut filter, but it may be worth a try in such situations…

  34. Good review and photos, I and couple of XPro1’s with the 18 & 35 lenses, both are great, I tried the 60mm but it kept misfocusing and I wasn’t so impressed with the IQ from it, maybe I had a bad copy! Might try a CV Nokton f1.5 on it instead

    • Good idea. I find the Fuji’s MF implementation to be a bit suboptimal, but still it’s quite possible with careful technique and using the zoom assist option.

  35. I have the X100 (updated firmware) but not the XPro-1. Fuji has some unusual quirks that many seem to interpret as “shutter lag.” I find no meaningful shutter lag with the X100, compared to my SLRs or M2. However, the X100 (and presumably XPro-1) autofocus before each shot. So, you have to prefocus with a half-press, like any SLR, and then shoot. Most SLRs, however, will allow multiple shots without refocusing, but the X100 insists on refocusing on each shot. So, if you press the shutter again without refocusing, it will lag badly as it autofocuses again before tripping the shutter. This oddity gets Fuji blame for “slow AF” and “shutter lag.” If you don’t like it, one option on the X100 is to use MF mode, where you set AF by pressing the AFL button. Then, you can shoot as many shots as you like at that focus point. I find the AF speed of the X100 perfectly fine in all but the lowest light, LV2 kind of stuff.

    • Good points, NL. I should have probably called it virtual shutter lag….I haven’t used the X100 is nearly a year, but your adjustments sound quite appropriate from what I have heard.

  36. Ashwin – THANKS for SHARING and I agree with your take on the camera system and it’s short comings. I now own 2 bodies and all 3 of the lenses… and yes IC is superb. I overcome focus issues with manual snap focus and use this technique for street photography… it seems to work pretty good and yes I have my share of frustrations… I agree and hope you are right that Fuji will do the right thing and will update some of the issues via firmware just as it has with the X100… AND I HOPE that FUJI is READING STEVE’S BLOG. I have tried the other systems including the OM-D and the NEX-7….and decided to stick with FUJI COLOR and fantastic White Balance capabilities… Also the ISO is superb, so outside its good and classic looks the future of the system boils down to the focus issue fix…and we are all waiting…..let see if FUJI comes through for its many fans of the XP1 system.. ??

    • Wow, full XPro Kit, Elias! I would love to hear more about manual snap focus…Are you using zone focusing with manual focus at higher apertures?

      Per my friends in the camera industry, Fuji cameras have long had quirky focusing, and it may be more a bit of the “Fuji” flavor of focusing. I do hope that they can bring things in line with the competition at some point soon, and fully agree with you on all of your points….

  37. Excellent article and right on for pros and cons. Very accurate article and great images. I have all of the current system and very much loving it even with the quirks.

  38. mixed feeling really, more great cameras but it becomes very clear that Fuji and Sony will develop on APS-C sensor, X series and NEX series respectively, while Olympus on m4/3. So there is no new full sensor mirrorless camera any time soon apart from Leica.

    • Full frame mirrorless is all of a sudden seeming very very unlikely, at least for another few years.

      The only possible thing could be a “small” SLR type mirrorless body – a digital FM2 or the like… For a moment there that’s what I thought Olympus were going to introduce with the OMD, they already had the OM mount… oh well.

  39. Here is my problem with using SilverEFX or FilmPack3 (both of which I have) to create B&W pics from digital images: I don’t have to do this when shooting in B&W film.
    In other words, I can devote all my effort to composition and lighting and exposure and just shoot knowing the film will do its job in camera. Great effort went in ot the design of these B&W films so that they respond to light a and colors in a unique and fantastic way.
    With digital I have to also devote a lot of effort to composition and lighting and exposure of course, but then I have to spend “many more hours” in post processing “trying” to get the bland lifeless “color” digital pics to look like B&W film.
    Sad.
    I am not against digital.
    What I want is a digital camera that does all the B&W magic “in camera” so I can actually use live view and see how the shot will look as I shoot it.
    Imagine flipping on the Tri-X400 setting and seeing how the shot will look in the HD viewer before you take the shot and then taking it and knowing you are done.
    The holy grail for me: a true B&W digital camera.

    • Hi Steven, I think that given your sentiments, the M9-M may come close to what you are asking for, but at a huge price…

  40. Great write up Ashwin. I’ve always enjoyed reading your work. Amazing composition, concise writing. Really good stuff.

  41. The camera that everyone loves to love and hates to hate.Hope they improve it as the pictures are awesome.I hate to love it as I wish it were better. Ken Rockwell wrote such a positive review and says the AF is extremely fast. He had no cons. Could there be a problem in manufacture where some are working right and others just working a bit poorly? I get these 2 differing opinions on several reviews.I have not seen one of these cameras yet and therefore have not tried it. However, I was one person who wanted to see this camera come to fruition after hearing the rumors last year. The photos are great. No if Fuji gets its act together!

    • Ken’s review seemed overly positive. I could see him writing something equally negative, and he was a big M8 basher for years, and yet this sensor has more crop than the “half frame” M8. I don’t understand Ken, but do find his writings amusing, and at times, informative.

  42. Nice write-up Ashwin, I always like your stuff.

    I bit the bullet and bought one – knowing its shortcomings – this weekend.

    First, the AF was actually BETTER than I expected (I did a firmware upgrade right off the bat) – I have a 5D MkII it’s really no dream either, I am not saying it is great but it’s not as terrible as the others (that have never used the camera) have said; Second, the 35mm really is special – even benchmarked against a couple of Zeiss 35’s I have; Third, it does feel like a rangefinder, even if it isn’t.

    The JPEGs are great, as are the film simulations – haven’t played with B&W because I do all of that in Silver Efex. I saw some ACR beta conversions which were from RAW that were worse than the JPEGS (even in detail), so there does seem to be something very different about the sensor – I am sure once Adobe nails it, it will be all good. The one thing that is clear is that the “grain” at high ISOs truly looks different.

    Overall, I think Fuji did a very good job on – no matter what your tastes – a very different kind of camera. The speed of the firmware update shows they know the stakes are high…I am sure they’ll refine some stuff.

    I find the shutter lag varies depending what mode your in – still needs improvement, but not so bad.

    Anyway, I love the camera – it’s a bundle of fun.

    • Thanks, Doug. The AF is better once expectations are set and firmware is appropriate. The 5D II’s AF is very much “old”, but I found its AF a bit better…And yes, the 35 mm is truly special.

      BW conversions of the JPEG’s is suboptimal, and I have my fingers crossed for RAW support very soon….

      All the best…
      Ashwin

  43. Great review Ashwin, and great images too. I was really tempted by the XPro1 but ended up settling on the x100 for now — and all I can say is Fuji has done something special with this little camera. I imagine the image quality is similar in the XPro1 (even better, which is hard to imagine)… and that is a true selling point for Fuji right now. If the XPro1 can mature like the x100 has (speed some things up), it’ll be a good time to buy one in six months.

    • Thanks, Amy. The X100 is a stellar camera that Fuji has improved since its arrival. I had it oh-so-briefly, but didn’t like its quirks at the time. I agree that 6 months to a year would be an appropriate time for you to jump in the game.

      Are you still shooting the K5? I am torn about it, but am secretly waiting for a full frame pentax that can self crop with DA lenses but take full advantage of the FA lens lineup.

  44. Ashwin, dare I say this camera makes you look even better on screen than you do in person? (Maybe that’s why you like it so much?!?)

  45. Fuji x-pro 1 shutter lag is less than a leica m9’s by all the sites that do measurements, shuter lag has nothing to do with slow af. Just for the history x-pro 1’s shutter lag is 0.06 ms when the shutter button is in the middle position and leicas is 0.1 ms. Make the reasearch before you write something. Thank you.

    • miltos, same here. Manual focus and shutter is practically instantaneous.

      AF, multiple issues contribute to slow AF. One of them is the ‘after focus acquired pause’. Easy to see with the EVF/LCD as the image shifts after focus is acquired. Turning them off does not improve AF as they are not the cause of the ‘pause’.

      Wondering if the processor is just underpowered for what it needs to do.

      • Agreed. Could be a processor issue or an algorith to acquire and lock focus. I have my fingers crossed that a firmware update could help. One thing I have noticed is that the Fuji does a great job of detecting the proper focus point. I wonder if there’s an inverse relationship between focusing accuracy and focusing speed for this camera. I sort of doubt it, but the the thought crossed my mind as to why the Fuji seems slow to nail focus even when focus seems to be locked…

    • Thanks for your “kind” words, Miltos. I was referring to a slight delay in shutter firing with AF enabled. This may be due to AF recalibration, but is different qualitatively than the time it takes to acquire focus, at least in my experience.

      You need to reconsider how you frame your constructive criticism, as it is simply rude to conclude the way you did. Otherwise, your information is “technically” correct when MF is enabled…

  46. Unfortunately the text includes a number of inaccuracies. For example, the sluggish AF is attributed to the fact that it is “fly by wire”. This is an incorrect assessment, since many modern cameras including DSLRs have similar “fly by wire” (i.e. in lens) focusing. The sluggish AF is a result of the way the contrast detection AF has been implemented, and could be the result of sensor read out speed, camera processing speed, lens AF gearing, software… who knows? I’m not sure how Fuji can move away from this focusing solution when the camera has no AF motor or AF drive mechanism. I know others have disliked the fly by wire for manual focusing, since the focus ring is not mechanically linked to the lens AF.

    It also mentions that a 28-70 and 70-200 lens are coming, which again is (probably) incorrect. The “rumours”, not refuted by Fujifilm, are for a 28-105mm and a 100-300mm (135 equivalents), though of course no one can be sure until the lenses are actually announced. They will both have anti shake, required due to their slow aperture values as a result of being zoom lenses.

    A 35mm lens is probably coming next year, but cannot be “ported” from the X100 for a whole load of technical reasons, not least it will be interchangeable and the lens registration distance is completely different.

    AF inaccuracies when close focusing using the OVF are because of parallax correction, not frame line inaccuracy. This is one of the disadvantages of the OVF; the frame lines and AF point by default is shown for infinity, so will move when focus is acquired on neared objects. That’s one of the reasons it has an EVF, which is mandatory when focusing in “macro” mode – it gives a completely accurate FOV. No “rangefinder” type OVF can ever do that.

  47. The Accordian Player….XPro-1, color OOC JPEG’s converted in LR4….35 Fujinon @ f/2ish

    [IMG]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7071/7190430474_afacc6871a_b.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8166/7190430178_101a83036a_b.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5311/7190429780_348d1e9183_b.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5152/7190429464_e06da44f2a_b.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7101/7190429080_234113b4c5_b.jpg[/IMG]

  48. Nice write up… thanks for doing this. I find the X-Pro1 rewards those who take the time to carefully compose their images, be technically accurate and get back to basics. Here is an example of what I am talking about (check out the photos… they are great):

    http://roel.me/fujifilm-x100-and-x-pro1-on-assignment-in-china/

  49. Let me be very clear about my view on the X-Pro 1. I personally like Fuji’s color scheme better than all the rest —- but the X-Pro 1, while it has some real strengths, still consistently looks slightly overexposed and too light to me. This is why I love the Leica M9 sensor even though I prefer the Fuji color scheme. With the M9 everything looks so consistently real and solid:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nokton/5448133524/in/photostream/

    Similar to what I see with the SD1 although the SD1 is softer:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/digigrss/7187483348/in/set-72157629608146477/

    And years back the CCD sensor of the Fuji S3 Pro and S5 Pro also had this real life solid look as well but with the Fuji color too. Only problem is that those cameras stopped evolving and lost in the megapixel race.

    I think this X-Pro 1 is a very nice camera and fairly priced for a strong value but it needs to be tweaked. They need to get the colors and contrast more solid and deeper looking – at least to my eye. And I hope Version 2 is a full frame camera so i can get the correct depth of feild with my lenses.

  50. I read through your review of the Fuji X-Pro1…and have also been looking at sample images from various other websites.

    Since the “look” of an image is very dependent on the photographer, the post processing done, etc, I am unable to judge the color reproduction of the camera by looking at photos on the internet. From what I saw, I feel the X-Pro1 with a 35mm lens produces images that have a slight tint of blue color. Is my perception correct? The image of you with coke cans in the background…coke red looks slightly pink (red + some blue = pink i guess).

    Or, does the color occur only with JPEGs and not the RAW files? Or, is it true that the output color is very accurate like the Leicas?

    Your opinion would help me a lot.

    thanks,
    -shankar

    • Hi Shankar, I have used the Provia (STD) JPEG setting so far, as I am waiting for lightroom support to start shooting the camera using RAW files, which is my preference. In general, I feel that the standard setting does reproduce colors accurately, and I haven’t really seen much of a cool temperature shift. I do notice that the camera doesn’t handle red highlights very well, particularly in artificial low light, when the red channel can get blown out. Otherwise, it’s done a great job, maybe better than Leicas, at capturing the color of the scene.

  51. Hi Ashwin!
    Really enjoyed your review of the Fuji X-Pro 1!
    Which would you say you enjoyed using more: The Fuji X-Pro 1 paired w/the 35mm 1.4 or the Sony NEX-7 paired w/the 24mm 1.8 Zeiss?
    Stay Hard!
    -J-

    • Hi J,

      For me, it’s definitely the Fuji with the 35 over the NEX-7 with the 24. There are a few reasons. The Fuji provides more DOF, given f/1.4 and 50 mm effective focal length. Second, the Fuji sensor is better than the NEX-7’s for my purposes.

      The only drawback is focusing speed, which is better with the Sony/Zeiss combo. When I get home, I smile when looking at images from both camera/lens combos, but I am more enamored by what I am getting out of my Fuji/35 for sure.

      Thanks, J

  52. Dude,
    Great article, i have to say. But bottom line remains, the poor man’s Leica sucks.
    Save money for a real M and buy it when the time comes. This Japanese stuff is not worth the money.

    Otherwise great article!!!!

    • Sorry, my X pro makes my m8 with 35mm summicron TOTALLY on the bottom shelf. The usability of the two is not remotely similar. I get a 35mm 1.4 with the fuji which is easily the quality of the summicron 2.0 and costs a HELL of a lot less. The quality of the sensor on the two cameras is hugely better in the x pro, and the high iso of the x pro blows the m8 or m9 away. Leica ia a lovely anachronism-so are LP RECORDS.

  53. would be interesting to test it against x2

  54. Hi Ashwin,
    Firstly thanks for a great, honest review and some wonderful shots really showing what the Xpro1 can do.
    Secondly not so many thanks because I’m saving for a M9-P with the 35 and 50 crons.
    To do this I will have to drive a crappy car, make do with my average laptop and printer and live of beans forever or. …
    I could get the complete Xpro1 kit with all 3 lenses, upgrade to a PC with a very nice monitor, buy a fab Epson pro quality printer, get some nice off camera flash gear and even take it on holiday for a few weeks. Damn !!!
    The question is..will I be really happy with the Xpro1 or would I be much happier eating beans and living with the camera of my dreams ?.
    My feeling is that once I hold the M9 all reasoning will fail, why ?. Well probably some of the best photos I’ve taken were with a Yashica Electro 35 GSN. I could focus quickly and get the shot. The thought of having to wait for the Xpro1 to focus and then not getting the framing or focus is really steering me to Leica.
    I know you are using both systems and as this is a “once in a lifetime” purchase opportunity your thoughts on this would be great…No pressure..ha…ha..
    Zakk

    • Hi Zakk,
      That’s a tough choice. The M9 and XPro-1 are different beasts, despite similar shapes….If your heart is set on an M9, then that will never be sated until you have an M9 in hand. It’s the pride of ownership factor. The XPro-1, however, is fantastic, and to be honest, IQ is quite close to that of the M, and surpasses it at high ISO. If IQ is your primary driver, I’d say: go for the XPro-1. If the RF experience is what you are after, go with the M9….Given how you have described your sentiments, I’d probably get the M9….

  55. This goes across many posts-Posters- put your money where your mouth is. I am, by virtue of the amazing links on the right side of the website, RENTING a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 with the 18mm for a week from lensrentals.com to compare it to my GF-1 and 5D. I do not work for them or receive anything from them. I have used them for big canon glass and specialize dlenses over the past year or so. Great service.I am a photojournalist and enjoy trying out new systems and techniques.For a tenth of the purchase cost, I will get to use it on the job in direct comparison to other cameras.Try it some time.

  56. You touched on it and it’s worth keeping in mind regarding the X-Pro 1. Fuji has invested a lot into this camera system and no doubt will address the AF and other issues with a firmware update. In a lot of ways, Fuji almost seems to release “beta” versions of their cameras. For the life of me, I don’t know why they don’t have people like Steve or even Ashwin come to a few meetings and make some suggestions. Fuji has this maddening habit of teasing us with such potential but, overlooking major flaws.

    In another comment on the Olympus M5, I remarked that I was trying to make my mind up about how best to get the most bang for the buck with my $3200 budget. I tried a X100 and loved it. I am leaning towards getting an X100 and a X-Pro 1 with the 35mm lens. I like what I see with the Olympus M5 as well but, I am not much for flash and love the low light capabilities of the X100 and X-Pro 1.

    It really is a roll of the dice as to whether Fuji can perfect the AF issues with the X-Pro 1. I am leaning towards a “yes” today. Tomorrow who knows? Just read a brief preview of the Leica X2 and although I wish it had a faster lens, it looks delicious anyways. BTW, recently I sold my D700/D300 bodies along with 7 of Nikon’s best lenses due to a difficult financial time. I loved the D700 but, I grew weary of all the gear too. I am relishing the lighter load I am going to have now. I’ll be turning the corner to a different type of photography now and am excited about this.

  57. Received the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera (heretofore referred to as the Fuji for brevity) and 18mm f2 lens today, and it is nice, but very different/ A lot I suppose is the Nikon friendly intensive menu, whereas I switched to Canon a few years ago.Not insurmountable, just different. Camera is MUCH lighter than I expected, weighing ( by hand less then the comparable GF-1.) I will, if the powers that be allow, give a hands on report vs my GF-1 in the upcoming days. I was going to put it against the 5D as well, but that comparison is a stretch after using the Fuji.

    My initial thoughts: Fuji feels great in the hand, buttons and dials are just right,The body is a bit more plastic than I expected, but is rubberized in the grip area to offest that.I will say, this thing sees light like few other cameras. I shot in an area that had two very different color temps, and the damn thing actually got them right without blowing out highlights.Quick downside? Trying to turn off the chimp display is a royal PIA if you don’t have a manual., and finding the AF parallax correction feature is aother bother. Saying that, six more days to go to see what this camera really can do.

    • One quick gripe- I somehow turned on the eye actuation feature which turns the display off and the OVF/EVF on whever the camera senses it it near a human. It vibrates a bit and can be quite startling. Can’t find it in the menu to disable it yet.

      • my end of week use review..
        Love the look, feel and basic setup of the camera.
        IQ is terrific in most film modes.
        BW monochrome is OK
        Menu is annoyingly comlex and vague. I found some features one time and lost them after that.
        Autofocus in regular light is fab,in low light lacking and ineffective.

        My final thoughts.

        Could I use this camera for spot news ? NO WAY. Too unpredictable in focus.

        Feature/portrait/landscape art? Yes. Perfect.

        Sports? fuggedaboutit.

        This is very much a slow twitch camera, if you will. It coes the slow things very well, the fast things not so much.

  58. I just re-visited this review, after handling a couple of X Pros and much reading of other reviews and articles. Thanks, Ashwin, for this review, your images, and your replies to the comments and questions. Also, thanks to those who have contributed to the discussion.

  59. Great, and very useful review, Ashwin!

    However, could I possibly plead with you to pay attention to the distinction between ‘its’ (possessive adjective) and ‘it’s’ (subject + verb). It is (almost) as annoying as the shutter lag on the X Pro 1! It’s not an incredibly distinction to master…

    Thanks!

    • Sorry. I was a biochemistry major, spending most of my time far away from the arts and language. I will try to pay more attention to grammar and syntax in the future. Similarly, I would hope that Fuji will continue to work on improving this camera’s focus, which is its one achilles heel….

  60. My 7 year love affair with my Contax G2 ended when Kyocera gave the system up and I went digital. The G2 was truly an amazing rangefinder-like system that had me smiling and chuckleing everytime I used it. I just loved the way it dealt with parallax at the point of lens change and my faith in the autofocus system was the reason I stayed with it for so long. Those amazing CZ lenses were the other reason. So sharp you could cut yourself with them. Yes, it had its cons – the viewfinder was no bigger than my pinky fingernail for instance, but boy was it accurate! Why oh why Fuji couldn’t replicate that camera rather than trying to become a poor man’s M9 is beyond me. When Fuji deliver the same accuracy with the XPro series as Kyocera did with the G2 I will definitely consider selling up my Canon 5d MKII and Lseries lenses to finish my photographic days with it. Until then, I don’t think it is worth the same price as say the 5dMKII and a 24-105 lens, in either build quality of accuracy. I could be wrong of course, but I can’t afford to take the risk.

  61. G’day Ashwin

    Thanks for the review. If you took the X Pro 1 and used a Leica 35m lux lense obviously manual focus better but does this have an effect on AF speed and capability in low light?

    Excuse my ignorance but this world is new to me. I have been DSLR up to now with likes of 135mm F2 L lense quality. I am not using my DSLR enough and looking for some simple inspiration in this class of photography.

    At the moment my thinking is the X Pro 1 with their 35mm. However if they can not fix up it’s low light AF capability (manual focus is too slow on Fuji lenses) I would look at a third party lense.

    Thanks

    Andrew

  62. I appreciate the review. I sent my X Pro-1 back as while I did enjoy the IQ and shooting Leica and Zeiss M mount lenses, manual focus was too difficult for moving subjects with the EVF. I have a short review up I hope some people might find useful:

    http://innerdharma.org/xpro1_review.html

    • why in the hell would you try and manual focus with the evf. Its an autofocus camera. Thats why Canons and Nikons are used for sports and action photography. The M9 is useless for action photography as well. That logic is as relevant as buying a Mazda Miata because you want to haul a load of plywood.

      • Hi Cory,

        A tool is only as useless as the skill of the operator. Read my review, including Part Two. I should have posted a follow up comment here. To summarize: the firmware Version 2.0 update on the Fuji X-E1 I settled on provided *very good* focus through the EVF. I’ve gotten good street photos, including bikes with the X-E1, including with a 90 Summicron lens. The reason I care is I have been enjoying capturing photos of people on bicycles when I travel.

        I also have a Canon 5D Mark III and use that for fast action photography (e.g., martial arts) and when it is wet out. The autofocus is very useful in those cases, if you know how to use it correctly. If you don’t, it doesn’t work magic.

        I’ve also been getting back into film; the reason I shoot with the Fuji with Zeiss and Leica glass is to economize and use the same lenses I use on my M7. When prices come down I will be interested in the M9. I’ve rented the M Monochrom and enjoyed it thoroughly, except for the battery life, but for now I am shooting PanF Plus film with the M7 and scanning. I am hoping to experiment with medium format film some time this summer.

        Anyway, I also drive my sports cars in the rain — not just left in the garage, and you would be surprised how much lumber can fit on the roof rack of a BMW M3. Your mileage may vary.

  63. I can not agree with the wide spreaded opinion that the colors of it are “just good” or that it is comparable with the M9. Those are very different cameras: The Leica is made for “Analog Thinking” people who want some invisible stuff: The Leica is the most discrete thing you can have. When you use it, people think that it ist at least 50 years old. That is a big advantage in some situations. Fuji did something similar: They copied parts of the Leica- Philosophy and made them usable for “digital thinking” paople. There are a lot of folks around in the world who are just do not want to operate anything manually.
    I think the color rendition of it is fine even because you can adjust the intensity and the character according to mood or just ideas.
    The Leica is different: It has only one look. But its B/W out-of-the-box-rendering is the best i ever saw in the digital world.

  64. could some one tell me if he has used a 5m mm Cron from leica or a 90 2.0 cron with this camera. Results or even 28/28 asph elmarit?
    thanks for your answer.

  65. Ashwin, you are one good photographer. I been following your blog and photos on Steve’s site for a long time. Thank you you for all your great user reviews and snaps. However I got one burning question. How many systems do you own or have used? If you got GAS you got it bad and it seems that you can feed it and use it to good purpose. Just asking…:-)
    Regards,
    Howard

  66. Here my take with the Xpro-1 during a wedding in Sicily. BW convertion done by Camera RAW:
    http://500px.com/SimoneRaso/sets/wedding_in_sicily

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