I chose the X-Pro 1 by Alex Friberg

I chose the X-pro 1

by Alex Friberg

Hi Steve!

Congratulations on a successful and inspiring blog!

I am a huge fan and checks for updates daily! My name is Axel Friberg, I’m from Stockholm, Sweden and I have been following your site for about two years. About the same time I got my first camera, the Nikon D5000. When I got the D5000 I knew very little about cameras or photography. But I loved it! I brought the camera and the 18-55mm lens to a concert (I think it was Teddybears STHLM) and started shooting. A guy behind me in the crowd, apparently also interested in photography, asked which camera and lens I used. Then he recommended the 50mm f/1.8, which he claimed was THE LENS to get for a newbie like myself. And it would be fairly cheap too! – Like I said, I knew very little about photography at the time. I looked it up on Amazon and started reading specs and reviews etc. I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to tech-specs. And that is how I learned about Bokeh, crop-factor and how aperture regulates DOF. Somewhere around “Bokeh”, I stumbled upon your blog! I think you had just been testing out the 50mm Voigtländer f/1.4 or something-rather. Like many, I like your real-world reviews and has been a follower ever since.

Pretty quickly, I felt that my DSLR was too bulky. If you want to bring a camera with you at all times, you really can’t with a DSLR. I started looking for smaller options. A few months after I got the D5000, Nikon released the successor to the D3000, the D3100. I understood that Nikon would do the same to the D5000, so I quickly sold my camera before it lost too much in second-hand value. I had been looking at the Canon G12, but that buy never happened. In a very short period of time, there were a lot of new cameras being released. Somewhere along the way, I got a crush on the Lecia M series. – Now, I had made some serious progress when it comes to photography. I only shot manual and loved it, but to be fair, a M-seires Leica was still too good of a camera for me. And too expensive!

So I looked at the Leica X1. – Still too expensive. Then, a miracle! The release of the Fujifilm X100. So I started saving. Then, while saving up for the X100, more cameras captured my attention. During a year, I think i changed my mind on which camera to get, about 5-6 times. Now we’re in the first quarter of 2012. Olympus announces the OM-D. I am 100% sure this is the camera I’ll get. Great specs, great IQ, excellent lenses and very compact. A couple of months later, I got to try it in my camera store. I wouldn’t say it was a let-down, because the AF was so fast and 5 axis-IS worked really well, but i felt it was a bit small in my hands. To sum it up, I went for the best possible IQ in a compact camera and chose the Fujifilm X-Pro1 with the XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens. (My budget was around 2500 dollar)

Some might argue and say that the Leica X2 has better IQ. The first picture in Daily Inspiration #350 by Sharookh Mehtasure looks amazing!

I’ve had the X-Pro1 since June and I kind of like it. On the positive side, The IQ is amazing, even when using high ISO like 3200 and pictures are extremely sharp! You could crop a photo and still have a nice image (See picture of the flower). I would say ISO 6400 is fully useable in B&W with f/4 or smaller like f/5.6 etc. The menu-system is great, the buttons and dials are placed where they should and hybrid VF is a joy to use. On the negative side, the AF is a bit slow. I don’t experience it to be as slow as some of the reviews say it is, but it is unfortunately too slow to use on moving subjects. So the AF is not quick enough for street-photography. One could apply zone-focusing, but I think that it is difficult to do with the 35mm f/1.4 which I experience has a very shallow DOF when your subject is 1 or 1,5 meters away. Moreover, Fuji developed the X-Pro1 as a competitor to the Leica M9. They have even released their own dedicated M-mount adapter for Leica and other manual-focus only lenses. Despite this, it seams Fuji forgot to add a working manual focus system, like Sony’s focus peaking. One can of course press the scroll wheel on the back to “zoom in” 100% on the selected focus area, but it is not fast enough for street-photography either. I’d rather use the AF.

However, I am excited about the upcoming release of the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R lens! I think it could be a good lens for street-photography and zone-focusing with a deeper DOF than the 35mm f/1.4. I’m also excited for the new firmware update which is said to be released 2012-09-18. They say it will improve AF-speed in low light conditions, among other things. Also, I really hope Fuji will introduce a better manual focus system in a future update. When they do I will consider buying a Leica lens.

(UPDATE: The new firmware v 2.0 is out and it does improve the speed)!

Now, there are rumors that Fuji will release an X-Pro2 in the first quarter of 2013. I highly doubt that. It is more likely that Fuji would release the X200 if they are going to announce a new camera at that time. Some believed, including myself, that the X200 would come now, this fall. Instead we get the X-E1, which is a cheaper version of the X-Pro1. But do not abandon hope. The X100 will have a successor. I’m sure of it. The X-E1 comes first so that Fuji can maximize their sales of their XF lenses. I.E. the 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 lens. Also, if I was about to buy a camera now and the choice was X-Pro1 or X200 (which would probably have the same EXR-sensor as the X-Pro1), I’d choose the X200. So right now, customers have three options: The “old” X100, the fairly new flagship the X-Pro1 or the cheaper version capable of utilizing the excellent XF lenses, the X-E1. Sales of the X100 are still good. There will be some X-E1’s sold and a lot of XF lenses. The X-Pro1 sales will go steady. For now.

Anyhow, I am glad that I bought my Fuji. Colors are great and it suits my kind of shooting well. I’m going to New York this fall to visit my aunt and I am really excited about that. Hopefully I’ll get some lasting pictures! In the pictures I sent you this time, you see my girlfriend’s dog, A tree outside my window at sunset and my much younger half-sister. All of them are straight out-of camera except the one where Alexandra is holding the bags filled with recyclable, where I did some minor edits in Lightroom. Hope you enjoyed!

Keep up the passionate work Steve!


  1. That X-Pro 1 lookst abolutely stunning in the flesh, but it’s not small. The general trend (step way from the hype for a second) is moving up in sensor size, moving down in camera size and weight. I wonde where we will be in 5 years time. A ff sensored X sounds extremely tempting…

  2. Well, enjoy the x pro 1 great camera! On other news Fuji is now seriously contemplating on releasing a FF cam. If all goes well by next year we will see the 1st Digital Fuji FF! On the down low some of the wide angle lens won’t work but definitely the newer lens release will!

  3. Thanks for the great story!

    I owned an X100 for 9 months and it was the camera that really got me hooked on photography. Using it taught me all about the basics – exposure, bokeh, even diffraction and hyper-focal distance.

    Since then I have made my way to the E-M5 and it is the perfect camera for me with that creative connection other commentrs have mentioned.

    I still have a soft spot for Fuji. Its great that they are releasing so many new things and really moving the mirrorless world forward with their cameras and lenses.

    Keep enjoying that Fuji X!

  4. I am also a X100 owner. I’ve bought it last year and i enjoy it too much, day by day. It taught to me the possibility to take all my pictures with simple a 35mm equiv. It set me free from zoom lenses.This camera with its perfect size is always with me and this gave me the possibility to shot more than ever. At the moment i’m looking also for leica M and for fuji x-pro1 in order to get more DOF, expecially for portraits, by the FF sensor, or by lenses in the other case. My hope is to see an X200 or an x-pro2 with FF sensor and the hybrid viewfinder (that was one of the first reason that i don’t want to leave fuji for anyone including leica). A the same time i hope, i don’t trust too much that a FF will be released because the quantity of prime recently lenses optmized for the aps-c current sensor. But probably sony rx1 can change this Fuji position.
    In these days i have discovered the beauty and brightness of OVF that give me more satisfaction and backs me to basics. No matter for me for parallax or for other issues that all OVF has vs. EVF. No matter because at shooting time OVS is automatically switched to EVF in order to show the pictures you’ve just got. You don’t have a preview but an istant “postview” while continuing to point the scene and without moving the eye off. Bad shot…….. try another. Obviously this work for my kind of protograpy. Others can have different needs. I’m sorry for X-E1 that comes with only EVF. It has the correct weight i need but without Hybrid v. it has lost most of its appeal. fo me..
    Best Regards from Italy.

  5. Alex, you have done well. The Fuji is more then just the camera. As with other good camea companies you have entered into a system. The Fuji lens a excellent, therefore, cameras come a go you glass will be fore a long time. You also do not have break the bank. If you like what you have, shooting comes next. Have fun. I have already ordered my 14mm f2.8.

  6. Great post Alex. I really like what Fuji are doing. I love my X100 and will be keeping it for a long time. The image quality is superb and I simply don’t use my D7000 any more. I see an XPRO as a future prospect because I to dislike the bulk of DSLR’s but the one thing I would like to see resolved is the lack of support for XPRO Raw files in Apple Aperture.

  7. ” I would say ISO 6400 is fully useable in B&W with f/4 or smaller like f/5.6 etc”

    Why do you say that? I often use 6400 iso at F1.4 and can’t think of any reason you would need to stop down to F4. I also find 6400 perfectly useable in colour.

    The firmware update yesterday has made the AF a lot quicker, especially in low light. The X-Pro1 is a very capable camera.

  8. Timely post, Alex!

    I’m contemplating for a X-Pro 1, and would like to use it on Leica lenses. How well does the Leica manual focusing/aperture work/feel on the X-Pro 1 with the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder after the firmware 2.0 update?


    • The XP1 still has no feedback for manual focusing. Frankly, I can manually focus a 30-year old film camera faster and with less frustration than this modern, 21st century, hi-tech marvel.

      Your mileage may vary…

  9. NicI’m leaning towards stuff. Id like to see yours or Steve’s opinion on the firmware update that came out yesterday. I was deadset on this camera for the longest because I knew Fuji was going to release an update to dramatically change the AF and i liked the idea of being able to shoot with leica glass with a less expensive non leica camera. BUT after photokina, im leaning towards the Sony rx1 because it is smaller, full frame, and a little more resolution. Course I have to wait and see how IQ stacks up and I sacrifice having an interchangeable lens but um practically torn between these two cameras lol. The other reason I don’t want to jump to Fuji yet is because it might get outdated in a couple months. So I’m leaning towards getting the rx1 as my first camera purchase (but considering it as my secondary camera) and then getting a full frame mirror less that’s a non leica (so i dont have to pay exuberant prices) that can be used with leica m glass as my primary camera. What’s your advice? Should I just abandon that plan and get the Fuji x pro 1 or continue with my plans?

    • “outdated in a couple of months”…do you know how ridiculous that sounds?
      The Fuji will take superb pictures if you learn how to operate it (and if you have the talent). I’m sure the other mirrorless cameras will too. Find the one which feels best to you, stop obsessing over obsolescence and go take some damn pictures.

  10. Very nice camera story Alex.

    I’m a fan of Fuji myself. They have done a nice job with all of their X series. I own the X10 and find it very practical to use everyday. Also picture quality is perfect for web posting. I know there are better cameras out there but like yourself I found what works for me and enjoy using it. Plus as a bonus, I look like a cool street photographer when it hangs from my neck.:)

  11. Hi Alex,

    Nice post, I also like different camera’s. I hope you get the opportunity one day to upgrade to a Leica. I’ve done so and still have my DSLR (new one on the way). If you shoot different styles, you need different camera’s. But for now: enjoy your Fuji and your trip to New York.

  12. Nice reading about your story Alex. I agree with you 110% about the wish for focus peeking, but then Sony may sue to ban Fuji’s camera sales globally. It seems to be the popular corporate strategy these days.

    I too prefer manual focus for a camera like this because it completes the experience. I just wish their lenses were tailored for manual focus more than AF because the enthusiasts they market to probably would enjoy a great manual focus system more than an iffy AF anyways. Fuji is trying too hard to be everything to everybody. IMHO, the reason Leica is so successful is that they are non-apologetic about being true to their roots, although they are now starting to give in to all the electronics features with the new M. We’ll see how it goes.

  13. You are correct to chose the Fuji x system. that and Sony nex now Iam afraid are the only sound choices for mirroless. After combing through what’s going on in photokina it’s safe to say the future of CSC’s is going to be apsc and FF. The gh3 proves that m43 is starting to kill the benefits of m43 to begin with, which was good IQ in a compact size..and that gh3 is not compact for sure. The other players are moving ahead with more and more FF cameras and m43 nearer to it’s final stages. It was a valiant effort by m43 but luckily i never bought alot of m43 stuff, as I was always skeptical of Oly and Panny. You take the mirror out of and put in a larger sensor than PS cameras and then later on you make a camera like the gh3 that is basically as big as a dlsr and with that brick grip? So what was the damn point of making a mirrorless to begin with? Canon and Nikon must be laughing.

    Photokina so far has proven nothing new but just one centered direction tjhat most makers are taking in the near future. The market will be saturated with PS cameras with biggers senors while dslrs get more and more FF sensors. It’s worrying cause it means another Olympus line is going to be dead in the water. Apsc will survive as it is still cheaper than Ff and provides across the board beter IQ than m43. That’s why dslr makers never made alot of crop senspr lenses, they know that the future will be all FF. Olympus and Panasonic knows it is running out of time and their m43 can only go so far…they also know they cant [ esp olympus] abandon yet another line. I wouldnt be surprised if 10 years from now olympus will make only m43 megazoom hotdog with a handle cameras they used to make for film back in the days when om went into a ditch. So sad, but deserving for not have foresight.

    • The GH3 is all about video, the sensor is the size of a Super 35 sensor, the video specs look very promising, no need for a FF sensor when it comes to film making, but a tough and weather sealed camera with a more usable form factor makes sense. So my guess is that GH3 is going to be a huge success… (though the GH2 is already a very competent video machine).
      For small and handy m43, the OM-D is there and I dare say there to stay : This is the most capable camera I’ve used for a long time (and I’ve used many). m43 sensor is smaller than APSC but frankly I don’t see how this could be a handicap in real life, the OM-D produces stunning files up to 3200 iso and I largely prefer it to my Canon 60D. Only FF could have a real advantage over m43 (but not for low light situations like concerts where I appreciate the larger DOF of M43), but there will be some time before any manufacturer comes with a light FF with small exchangeable lenses 🙂 Maybe Leica could produce a modern CL with EVF, that would be a huge step forward but I don’t see it coming yet.

    • What a load of … opinion. The GH3 is a specialty camera for video – it’s one of the best on the market and certainly without any competition from APS-C. MFT is as strong as ever, and the OMD is – in my opinion – easily on par with the best APS-C CSCs.

      The OMD (and G5) has also shown that quality-wise there really isn’t that big a difference between MFT and APS-C. APS-C’s biggest weakness is that there isn’t just one format, but every company has their own mount which are all incompatible to each other. This means you are tied to a certain manufacturer. If Olympus dies, so what, there’s still Panasonic. If Sony takes the plunge, well, there are no other E-mount cameras. So there isn’t really an “MFT vs APS-C” thing going on at all; it’s rather MFT versus several smaller camera platforms. Most lenses for APS-C are crop lenses, so your argument of cross-compatibility with FF is moot, too.

      With ever-faster lenses coming out and ISO performance constantly increasing I’d rather estimate that in 5 years noone will really care anymore for the exact sensor size of their camera. The current FF trend in my opinion is nothing more than that: a trend. A fad. FF is and probably will always be great for some professionals, but for most use-cases smaller sensors are just fine. At the end of the day FF still requires huge, heavy lenses. I don’t think cameras like the D600 are any danger for CSCs.

      • Get a real video camera, that’s my oppinion for you two. FF is not a trend , just like 35mm film was around till the beginning of digital. the om-d uses a sensor by Sony. Olympus liked the alliance of the m43 so much they had to go to Sony for a decent sensor. With friends like Panasonic, you dont need enemies.The m43 alliance is fractured. Your incorrect views are a trend, not FF.The only hinderance now for FF is cost, but that will not be an issue someday in the near future. The future is already written on the wall, change is already in the wind. The pens IQ was nothing more than shoddy even on base iso’s. The new Sony sensor may have helped, but it is near the end of the line for m43. The heart of a om-s is a Sony, not a m43. Apsc will be the new m43 until FF eventaully becomes the standard. M43 cameras are destined to be in the Olympus trash bin again, to meet their brothers of futility, the film pens, the om and the 43 junk.

        • Hmm i disagree as well i recently switched from my sony nex 3 to panasonic’s g3 and the performance was well not that different. I actually prefer the way that panasonic handles noise surpression and Panasonic’s kit lenses are just flat out better. With that being the case the main reason for the cameras initial success size becomes important and m43 still provides the best compromise between size and performance. The newer generation of sensors have actually closed the performance gap not widened it and cameras like the rx100 have shown that there is a place for even smaller sized more compact sensors.

          As for the rubbish about the m43 alliance fracturing the reason that olympus got a sony sensor is that Sony recently made a large investment in olympus and they have agreed to share some technology such as sensor tech. This development really isn’t that important though its not like either panasonic or olympus is about to stop making m43 cameras anytime soon in fact if anything they seem to be competing a little more. So long as they keep to the standard (which now its established would be difficult to change without alienating there customer base) it just means more and better stuff for the system. So let those of us who like using small cameras keep our m43 gear its not like we are going to stop buying it just because you have decided that ff is the future.

          • Some people find the truth amusing. I also think the current jump in FF cameras is mostly a blip, caused by increases in production yields of FF sensors. These are still very expensive cameras, beyond the means of many, though increasingly affordable for serious enthusiasts. For dslrs and other large cameras, aps-c was always a compromise to decrease sensor costs. The bodies and lenses got slightly smaller, but are still of no interest to people who want a camera to carry everywehere or who want to pack light. I expect all but the cheapest dslrs to change to FF, but I think mirrorless will eventually kill the sales of the entry level dslrs, and FF mirrorless will threaten sales of all other dslrs. EVF technology will also continue to improve dramatically as oled and lcd designs get more sophisticated.

            MFT and other small sensor designs, and some aps-c mirrorless models will dominate camera sales. With steadily improving sensors, in a decade they will be good enough to rival all but the best dslr FF cameras for anything short of a massive print. In a decade mft sensors will have noise, resolution, and low light capabilities equal to the best current FF sensors. There only major disadvantage will be in dof control.

            Faster lenses for mft can give sufficient background separation for many shooters, and sophisticated software that works with the camera to determine the spatial relationships of objects in the frame will allow all kinds of effects, including precise dof effects. We already have the beginnings of such software, but it will really bloom when cameras capture depth information, probably during the focusing process.

  14. Alex very nice photos. Well done also…….you made a decision! Can be tough once you start looking and thinking!!

    I bought a Canon 20D 7 years ago and since then have owned a 17-40mm L, 28-70mm Tamron, 70-200m 2.8L, 135mm 2L and (since selling Tamron) a 28 – 105mm 4L. I stopped taking photos about 12 months ago. I lost interest. Luckily for me all that glass holds it’s value fairly well and I have my last 2 lenses to sell (it’ll be sad to say goodbye to the 135mm)…….and I am done!

    I bought an x100 today (the black one!) after doing a lot of reading, including Steve’s website (fantastic site Steve). It’s a perfect way to get back to simple and fun photography. One day I am going to own an M9 with a 50m summicron (lux too expensive and I don’t really need 1.4!!) to go with my x100…….but only when i know 35m to 50m shooting is where my heart lies in photos. The time i did spend with the M9 and focusing in range and zone was really cool.

    I am happy to say I won’t be reading too much more for a while on different cameras….I’ll be taking photos!

  15. Nice read Alex. I have to say that I continuously think like you. I’m happy with my M9 and M6, but I allways look at other cameras with high interest! As you, I’m looking forward to a X200, that would be a nice second camera to my M9. And look forward to see some specs. It’s just hard to not get too tempted with all the nice new cameras that are coming.

  16. Hi Alex

    I feel much is how we connect with a camera.
    I swapped my EP1 for Nex5 (technically the better camera). I have not connected with Nex5, i just didnt feel like the same creativity as with EP1. Thus my Nex5 will go to a good home & im looking forward to an ole friend.

    (I must say when i picked up the X100 i felt a connection).

    • DGD’s comments (how we connect) just about sum everything up. It’s all about tools that are comfortable to work with and don’t get in the way of capturing the decisive moment. As long as the image and not the tool is the last word then we all seem to agree that the camera is a beautiful thing. That said, I too suffer an itch when I read about the introduction of the latest bi-annual wonder gizmo. Well, there is, as yet, no known antedote to this man sickness. Incidentally, I have an X Pro1with the 35mm lens. If you read Steve’s review of the Fuji lenses you will see he recommends sticking with the Fuji glass rather than using Leica. I have a range of leica lenses and an adapter. Let me endorse Steve’s comments. Save your money; buy the Fuji lenses. They work better and give at least as good IQ as the Leica.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.