The Fuji X-Pro 1..My “Soulmate” Camera by Christina Davis

The Fuji X-Pro 1..My “Soulmate” Camera

by Christina Davis

Thank you for letting me share, once again, with the readers here on this site. I am a Fujifilm camera user (X-Photographer wannabe….I can dream, can’t I?). I sold off all of my DSLR equipment and the XPro1 was my main camera. Like many Fuji enthusiasts I, too, got one of the X-T1 cameras when they came out. While I was less than thrilled with the form, the performance was as described and I happily shot away with it all spring and summer this year. In fact, the XPro1 was gathering dust and as August rolled around, I was considering letting it go. As I thought it over I remembered one photo I took this summer with it. On an outing to The Huntington in Pasadena, California, I took the XT1 and the XPro1. I put on the 18mm lens on the XPro1 “just in case”. Well, this is the photo I made with that “just in case” set up:


That picture drew me in – it spoke to me, if you will. The tones I got out of the XPro1 that day were far and above any taken by the X-T1 on that same day. So I pondered my decision to sell the XPro1 and then I decided to put the X-T1 aside, except for shooting my son’s sports, and focus once again on using the XPro1. I have been using the XPro1 almost daily since the end of August. It just feels right and even when I do use it for sports shooting, the handling and shooting experience are much more satisfying. The set-up in camera is different and I get many fewer action shots with the XPro1, but it is still possible to shoot a soccer game with it.

On a nit-picky level, one of my biggest issues with the X-T1 was the placement of the movie mode button. I was used to changing ISO on the XPro1 with the function (Fn) button. It is quick, easy and I don’t have to take the camera away from my eye to change ISO settings while in the process of shooting. It just works for me. I can’t count the number of times, while shooting with the X-T1, that I engaged the movie mode. Even while shooting for a number of months on end of the X-T1, that reflex to change ISO with my shooting finger never went away.


Another thing I notice is the original X-Trans sensor is just a little more….subtle? I can’t put it into words, but there is a difference in the way the original iteration of the X-Trans sensor handles the files when compared to those from the updated sensor in the X-T1. Both are perfectly fine and produce wonderful files. I just find the original X-Trans sensor output more pleasing to my eye and taste.


Old habits die hard. How many times did I open the battery door to remove the SD card in the X-T1? Every. Single. Time. Every time I went to download the photos, I looked for the card under the battery door. Also, my SD card door on the X-T1 opened up on me constantly while out and about. Minor? Oh yes! Annoying? Yes.



Feeling in hand? I like the rangefinder styling of the XPro1 over the slr styling of the X-T1. I mentioned in the first paragraph that I was a little disappointed with the style of the X-T1. It handles just fine, I don’t have any major complaints at all – just the minor ones I noted above, but it does not give me the same shooting experience, tactile experience, as I get when holding and using the XPro1.
When I jumped into Fuji I lusted after the XPro1 but avoided it for months due to higher price. I finally broke down and got one, used it and love it – then put it aside for something newer. Now, I can’t believe I actually considered getting rid of it. It is my main camera and camera of choice with the Fuji 35mm lens. I still have the X-T1. It is great for shooting my son’s soccer and football games with the 55-200 lens. I won’t get rid of it, either.


As corny as it sounds, the XPro1 is my soul-mate camera…unless the X100T takes its place. It is a never-ending cycle of newer and better and I do fall victim to liking the shiny new toys. With the layout and style of the X100T….only time will tell.

If you like what you see, you can see what I’m up to on Instagram @cldavisphotography.

Thanks for letting me share with you again!

Best to you all,
Chris Davis


  1. I had an xpro1 for 12 months, purchased with the 18mm & 27 lens offer in the UK at the time.

    I enjoyed the way I had to compose more deliberately with the xpro, but decided I wanted to dabble with full frame, so traded and sold to make the funds….

    18 months on, I am back in the fuji fold, a newly acquired X100T which I love, an Xpro 1 and an XE 1, with vintage manual lenses and I have a whole new level of inspiration for my hobby.

    The colours, the clarity of the image quality, the realisation that at a recent family wedding at which I was the photographer, the full frame camera took just 10% of the images.

    The portrait shots with the vintage lenses have the feeling of being composed rather than shot, the unique character of one helios lens along with its sharpness has brought so many comments

    The Xpro is for keeps this time

  2. It’s 2016 so does this all still hold true? Hell yes!
    I came from Canon 5D Mk2 and all the lenses for an xpro1 and all the lenses.
    Went crazy for an XT1 sold the Xpro1 had the XT1 for a year and then sold it……..What did I get?
    The Xpro1 I missed it like an old friend the images from the XT1 seemed over cooked in my opinion too sharp and processed too much.
    I got a barely used xpro1 and I really prefer what the sensor gives me
    I get the “soulmate” feeling I really do
    Great blog and great photos

  3. I remember lusting after the X-Pro1 years ago when it came out and was miles out of my price league – I loved the design and what I saw of the pictures but could barely dream of owning one. Fast forward a few years and I found a great deal on an X-E1 – almost like an X-Pro1 right? Well the IQ was everything I wanted but I found I didn’t really enjoy the camera itself that much, the viewfinder was laggy in low light and it was all a bit frustrating. I assumed the way to fix this was to upgrade, so swapped it for an X-E2. Yes the AF was a bit faster and the EVF was better, but still… Still. It didn’t feel quite right, and worse, the JPEG quality was worse. They lost the magic of the X-E1’s files, and at high ISO skin tones turned waxy and people looked downright weird.

    So my solution was.. To downgrade! And this time I picked up a new X-Pro1, my dream camera, for not much money at all. I don’t think I could be happier with it; it absolutely feels right. Beautifully built, comfortable in the hand, the OVF is fantastic and so much nicer than having to use an EVF in most situations, and of course I have that brilliant first-gen image quality again, the original X-trans magic. Dreams do come true, eventually!

  4. I just sold my Xt-1 last month and was feeling a little sense of remorse with the firmware update and all….I had an xpro 1…it was my first camera in the digital realm and then I got snookered into getting the new and improved xe-1, xe 2 etc/ I have an x100T that I absolutely love but my fuji lenses were getting lonely….

    At any rate, I was surfing around and found a barely used, still with warranty xp1 for sale for about $400. I just could not stop thinking about it…felt hounded by really wanting to get my hands on one again but, gee, I would be going backwards or something??? But I bought it last night, and then found your fantastic article today and I just know that this was the right thing to do…I had sony and olympus cameras, great cameras but I just did not Love them…this was also true of the xt 1…fantastic camera but the bond was not there…not rational at all…crazy? Photography is so little about the gear many say…but then how little??

    Thanks for an inspiring article and photos that remind me of the fairy dust that comes with the xp!!

  5. God such great comments regarding x p 1 . I’ve been contemplating trading mine in for something faster like for an xt1. Or even looked at olympus em5/1. I was a nanosecond from trading it in. Then it occured to me that I just love the look of the x p 1 as well as the unbelievable image quality I get . I pick up the x pro and feel in harmony with it. It feels natural in the hand. It is like photographic poetry to me. Instead of getting rid of it, I will wait for the next iteration of the XPro. And btw the bokeh is breathtaking. Almost like the first time I used a Zeiss 80mm f 2 and saw its bokeh. It took my breath away. Thanks for reaffirming my fuji choice sincerely, stephen

  6. Thanks Chris ! Your pictures are excellent and after reading your article i went and bought de Pro 1 with the 18-55. Amazing, and autofocus..?? Perfect.No problems!
    Happy Easter
    Gerard (Netherlands)

  7. Thanks Chris for the great read and the beautiful shots.

    Already a X100 owner and totally impressed with its looks, size and image quality. I wanted to update to something newer. I also considered other brands, but for some reason I kept coming back to the Fujifilm DNA.

    After seeing all the great reviews on the new XT1, I left a deposit as it was out of stock at the time.
    This was good thing because the store rang me some two weeks later to say it was in, but for the following reasons I had gotten cold feet over this camera. At the time of ordering it was probably the bells & whistles that had gotten my attention, but there was something bugging me about the IQ from what I’d seen on the web of other users. Though the images looked ultra sharp, to me they looked clinical.
    The other thing that changed my views on this camera was that there was so much going on with it’s estethics with the extra dials, buttons and particularly the small font, that it was no longer apparent to me as being a simplistic camera like I was used to with my X100, to me that was anyway!

    As I had a large deposit pending, I needed to buy something or else take the XT1. There was a great deal going on the XPro1 / 35mm lense and hand grip. So I decided on that kit.

    I’ve had the XPro1 for 3 months now and do I have any regrets? absolutely NONE whatsoever. I adore its film like IQ, its FAST focusing speed, it’s weighty built quality, I especially love the way it fits in my hand and the button layout are neatly placed and easy to reach.
    I fully understand now why this camera is called a Pro1 (Professional), it does feel better build than the X100.

    I’m impressed with this XPro1 and it’s a nice compliment to my X100.

    Happy shooting everyone.

  8. I had an XT-1 and XPRO-1. I sold the XT-1. The XPRO-1 is such a nice camera. My picture from it is much more satisfying than with the XT-1. The XPRO-1 is much more laid-back. I take more time to compose my image. It is like a film camera, think and shoot instead of shoot and see later what you have. To my eyes the quality of the pictures is more pleasant. I hope Fuji will make the Xpro-2 similar. Maybe a faster focus and water resistant that’s all. I don’t need a camera with full of gizmos like GPS, Wifi or even cigarette lighter.

  9. The Xpro1 has a learning curve, once I was there it became my soulmate too Chris
    It made me take better pictures, more in contact with the subject then in the 40yrs before.
    Just a very fine camera in+outside, with the 35mm it goes where ever i go
    Your beautiful pictures explain this very well .
    Thanks for sharing

    • That is does (learning curve). I’ve seen many people I have been acquainted with give up on Fuji cameras after only a month or so. They often complain that the camera isn’t “fast enough”. It did take me quite a while to fully mesh with it and learn its “ins-and-outs”, so to speak, but once I got the hang of it, it was quite capable in almost any situation, including shooting sports. I also find it interesting many complain about the 35mm lens. It is my favorite lens and find it works fast enough and accurately enough for my needs. In some situations it hunts a bit, but you have to know how/where to focus. A lot of success is in the set-up of the camera and then working thoughtfully with that set-up. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  10. Totally agree with you views, sentiments and experiences!!
    I too, sold all my Nikon gear to purchase the Xpro 1 together with the wonderful 35mm lens. That was 18 months ago and I’ve never looked back!!!

  11. I’m glad you like your XPro-1. I bought one and didn’t like it and took it back. Then the firmware came out and everyone was raving about how much it improved the camera. I bought another one. I hated it. Sent it back and bought a Leica.

    Every time I picked up the XPro-1 to shoot I felt like I was launching a missile strike with a severly compromised guidance system. It was just no fun to shoot. It felt like the camera was working against me.

    I liked the image quality. That was great, but IQ alone does not make a camera fun to use. Even when I’m working I enjoy using my Leica.

  12. Well said Christina…I just purchased an X-Pro1 along with the 14, 23, 35 and the 56mm lenses. That’s after the s100T came out. After reading everything I could about the X-Pro1, it grew on me…it has personality along with some of it’s quirks…but I think that’s what’s it’s charm is…it makes you think a bit more and makes you slow down a tad…Thanks for sharing those lovely images..!!

  13. Some nice photos there, Christina. 🙂 Perhaps it’s my imagination but there is a ‘signature’ look to the Fuji files, though not always obvious.

    Quite a few people – on this site and elsewhere – really like the Fuji system. I’ve said it before, but I’m tempted to give it a shot. I’m wondering, though, if you’ve ever encountered artefacts like this:

    Perhaps it depends which RAW converter one uses, but it does put me off a little bit.

    I don’t understand why the X-T1 has to have an SLR-like viewfinder, right in the middle of the body. If the VF is electronic, it should be in the left corner (just like the NEX-7). Putting an SLR to your face is not really practical. Back in the film days we just put up with it, but now that we have digital, why are manufacturers stuck half-way?

    • I agree about the signature look you mention. I play around with different cameras and brands and always prefer the “finish” of the Fuji files. I find the original X-Trans sensor particularly nice – almost a “velvety” quality, in that they are just smooth to the eye.

    • That digilloyd post is from nearly 2 years ago. X-Trans RAW processing has come a LONG way since then! That said, I have been shooting and processing X-Trans RAW for over 2 years now, and I have NEVER seen that cross-hatch artifact!

  14. The first shot says it all, gorgeous.

    I have an X-Pro and bought an X-T1 for my daughter, she loves the X-T1, she wanted something more DSLR like.
    Not for me.
    The X-Pro focus is a problem, again just a work around.
    The new firmware with the manual override may help.

    Fuji needs to understand how important excellent autofocus is.

    But the firmware upgrades! What a great company for releasing them so consistently

    • I find for the majority of what I shoot the XPro1 works just fine. Sports can be done if you don’t expect a “chain of shots” like you get out of a dslr. One keeper is OK with me, as opposed to 15 in a row of the same scene, kick, throw, etc.

  15. Chris, I too was taken by your shot at the Huntington. I am one of those who suffers from GAS, sold all my dslr stuff, and went to mirror less. I’ve owned almost everything, including the xt1 (twice!). I just could never get excited about it. For sports, it focused slower than my oly e-m1, the tiny thumb pad was difficult to use, I missed my ovf from my xpro1. I’ve been shooting with an x100t and love it. I thought I’d want a zoom lens on my trip last week to China, but even tho I lugged it around, all my show able pics were with the x100t (occasionally with the wc100.

    You’ve made me miss my xpro1, but honestly, it is the camera I miss more than the somewhat bulky lenses.

    I guess what I’d love is a Fuji xpro2 (24mega pixel), with ergonomics of the x100t, build quality close to a Leica, sealed, with fast auto focus, and lenses that are size wise, closer to Leica than canon!

    • I only use the small lenses with the XPro1 – 18mm and 35mm, so it isn’t much of a size issue for me. I do have the X100T and love it, too; however, it is not the XPro1, but I do like the X100T more than the XT1. I would sell the XT1 if it weren’t for my kids’ sports and other action-type photos I enjoy making.

  16. Ahh, yes, this post explains it so well: my X-Pro 1 is my soul mate. Granted, in my case it often seems more like an abusive relationship: my X-Pro is always stubborn, often ignores my needs, and seldom wants to do the things I want to do (“Can we take a picture, please?” “Not now, I’m busy focusing!”)

    And yet I can’t bring myself to break up with the thing. My Olympus E-M 5 is far more responsive, much easier to live with, and, in all honesty, just as capable of high-quality results (with the sole exception of low light/high ISO scenarios.) But when I cajole the X-Pro into giving me a picture I wanted, it feels like more of an accomplishment.

  17. interesting article.
    The thing that puts me off the X-Pro1 is the electronic viewfinder resolution. The X-E1 is a higher resolution and more to my budget. Under the hood it is essentially the same as the X-Pro1 is it not?

    • Agreed. The X Pro-1’s viewfinder is pure garbage. I can’t believe they still sell an EVF of such low quality.

      • I use an X100T (crazy good EVF) and an X-Pro 1. Sorry, but the EVF on the X-Pro 1 is not “garbage” and perfectly adequate. But it’s obvious by your wording that your just trolling so it’s not like we’d have a decent conversation about this thing anyway. 😀

  18. I have had an X-E1 and now a X-T1. I liked the placement of the EVF better on the X-E1. ASA Dial – I do not have to have an ISO separate dial. But I can not let go of the tilting LCD screen of the X-T1. The Buttons feel much better on the X-E1. But the X-T1 just focuses faster and sharper 90% of the time. I do hope that Fujifilm will upgrade the X-E3 ? with a fully articulating LCD just like the new Olympus OM-D E-P5ii camera. And add Bluetooth or Geotagging. I think I will be very happy with that type of camera.

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