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Customer Review

120 of 125 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has Impeccable image quality but also operational quirks., 21 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Fujifilm X-Pro1 16 MP Digital Camera with APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor (Body Only) (Camera)
Update 27 Sep 2012: I've to rewrite a big portion of the review because firmware 2.0 is a rather significant improvement.

The image quality on this camera is sublime. The colours are absolutely gorgeous, mesmerizing.

It has the best image quality compared to previous cameras I've used, namely Canon 7D (sold), GF1, GH2 and X100. 7D is quite good, except in high ISO, relatively speaking. X-Pro1 is significantly better in image quality than the GH2, which I use frequently for videos. I've also borrowed an Olympus OM-D E-M5 to try out and the Olympus camera is close but the X-Pro1 is still one notch better. I've read that many say that E-M5 is as good as X-Pro1, but you really need to have used both to see the difference.

I don't post-edit much with the X-Pro1 because the jpeg quality is just too good. That's just JPEG. Since I don't need to do post editing, I guess I'll be shooting just JPEGs from now. I've read many complaints regarding the RAW files and photo software being unable to process them to the best of their potential. I can't comment much since I don't shoot a lot of RAW.

After a series of firmware updates, latest being 2.0, AF speed for the three prime lens have improved. The AF speed is now more satisfactory, although still not as fast as DSLR or Micro Four Thirds. I've two tips on even fast AF. Turn Power Save Mode off to have faster OVF AF speed. Another tip is not to pre-focus and hit the shutter all the way - the camera will get the focus most of the time.

The AF speed could be a source of frustration and potential deal breaker for many. But it comes down to what type of photography you're into. This is not a sports camera, that's for sure. So it's not that suitable for shooting subjects moving faster than walking speed. It's definitely not a general purpose do-it-all camera. Depending on what you shoot, you might actually need another camera. It's also not a beginner's camera, although if you're willing to learn, you'll learn a lot. I'm learning a lot.

Speed is quite subjective. For example on the GF1 & X100, I expected them to be slow, so their speed is satisfactory. I expected X-Pro1 to have faster AF speed, so it's slightly unsatisfactory in that sense. But since I'm already used to the X100 speed, this again becomes satisfactory. When you consider the price, it becomes borderline satisfactory. It's all about expectations.

Manual focus is responsive to the turn of the focus wheel. The 3x magnified view is useful as it's large enough to see the subject clearly, but not too large as to have the subject move too much, such as when you're using a long telephoto lens. The overall focus-by-wire implementation has improved a lot, way better than X100, almost as good as Micro Four Thirds.

Handling is excellent. All the things you need to shoot are there: the aperture ring, shutter speed dial and exposure dial. It's taking photos at its simplest form, with no need to go into menus.

After using the camera since March 2012, I've had a lot of people telling me they really like the design of the camera. The design may not be as discreet as I thought. Most people are so used to seeing DSLR and P&S cameras that this rangefinder-shaped camera actually stands out as a result! I've also noticed that people are generally less guarded when being pointed with this camera than with big DSLRs.

So to buy or not?

In my opinion, if you're coming from the best Micro Four Thirds camera, you're gaining high ISO performance, colour rendition and a huge step in image quality.

If you're coming from a heavy DSLR camera, you're gaining high ISO performance and a lot of weight advantage.

This is a camera that challenges expectations, in the most literal sense. You'll either love it, or hate it. I like it very much. There are still some quirks but Fujifilm has shown themselves to being able to listen to customers and release the appropriate firmwares.

5 out of 5 stars for image quality and handling.

4 out of 5 stars for everything else.

+ Excellent build quality
+ Nice weight for body (450g) and lens
+ Discreet just-a-piece-of-black design
+ Lens have aperture rings
+ Rubber hand grip works well enough
+ Exposure dial is tighter, less prone to accidental hits
+ Buttons have nice tactile feel
+ Hybrid viewfinder (OVF and EVF) works nicely
+ Sharp 3-inch LCD
+ Shutter dial has a lock at A
+ Shutter sound is soft, blends with ambient noise
+ Impeccable image quality
+ Legendary high ISO performance
+ Amazing quality JPEG at default setting
+ Auto White Balance is almost always correct
+ AF speed is satisfactory
+ Able to focus in extreme low light, although it takes more time
+ AF accuracy seems slightly improved over X100.
+ Manual focus is responsive
+ Start up is fast
+ Menus have tabs that show everything in plain sight
+ Writes as fast as your SD card can write
+ Average to good battery life. Get an extra battery.
- OVF is smaller than X100
- Not sealed. I've dust inside my EVF (not OVF) after 1 week.
- No way to adjust diopter
- Triangle rings causes lug wear. The ring is more durable than the lug.
- 18mm lens framelines covers less than 100%. Your photos will cover more.
- Drastic parallax adjustment for 60mm lens in OVF for closeup subjects
- Battery lid feels filmsy and placement is bad
- Shutter dial lock is not necessary - Yes, I contradict myself
- Still has slight tendency to back-focus (Shooting with EVF reduces that)
- Strangely, OVF focuses slower than EVF
- No ability to set minimum shutter speed in AutoISO
- Lacking in video settings and lens aren't optimized for video.
- No manual aperture control during video recording
- No digital zoom during video mode (compared to X100)
- Moire effect is easy to create in video
- Video is only 24fps

FIRMWARE REQUEST

- Have the ability to set minimal shutter speed
- Ability to turn the arrow buttons into function buttons
- Ability to turn on depth of field preview ALL THE TIME. E.g. When I turn to f/8, the aperture should close down.

Update 24 April 2012:
Firmware 1.01 removed the noise from chattering aperture blades

Update 8 June 2012:
Firmware 1.1 makes manual focus easier. Images are sharper in OVF/LCD during manual focus zoom in mode.

Update 27 Sep 2012:
EVF no longer freezes while the lens autofocus. MF lag is almost gone now. The focus-by-wire MF has improved significantly and is now more responsive to the turn. A 3x magnification mode during MF is added to the original 10x and the magnified view is more useful now. Autofocus speed has improved for the three lens after the lens firmware. Auto ISO at 6400 has been added but there's still no ability to set minimum shutter speed. Write speed has also improved.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jun 2012 15:03:48 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 13 Jul 2012 14:40:04 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2012 07:35:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Sep 2012 16:44:38 BDT
Parka says:
Links to photos I took:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/teohyc/sets/72157629224687668/detail/
http://parkablogs.com/picture/sketchwalk-bukit-brown

Video:
Penang Trip: vimeo.com/45560650
SAM Sketchwalk: vimeo.com/48222615

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jun 2012 15:22:03 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 13 Jul 2012 14:40:41 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jun 2012 19:53:04 BDT
Parka says:
Perhaps. Oh yeah, I've always wished that I could see 5D/D700 like image quality in a body so light. This is the closest I've imagined.

Now I hope they don't just come up with incremental upgrades but significant ones for the X-Pro2 in who-knows-what year.

The manual focus implementation is the one that left me most disappointed. Micro Four Thirds got it right with their first try with the GF1. I just don't understand why Fujifilm still can't do it after the technology has been out there for at least 3 years.

Posted on 14 Sep 2012 01:05:53 BDT
Good review. Version 2 of firmware coming out soon and this is supposed to fix the focus speed issue. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts after this upgrade (assuming you implement it). Do you use the evf or the ovf, which do you find you use the most? I am mulling of purchasing either this or the X-e1, and I am not sure if the loss of the ovf in the e1 would be a thing of concern, what are your thoughts?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2012 10:34:42 BDT
Parka says:
I'll update my review after I try out firmware 2.

So far, I've been using a mixture of OVF and EVF on the X-Pro1.

I switch to EVF usually when I'm shooting close objects or at areas where I can't move around much, e.g. corridors. That's to avoid the parallax error that comes with the OVF for shooting close subjects. Some people prefer to pre-focus and re-compose the focus box, but my preference is to use the EVF and skip the re-composition part.

Also, some say that the OVF is great for shooting in bright sunlight conditions because the dynamic range is preserved. True. But with the EVF I can get a very instant visual feedback that my scene will have overblown highlights, and adjust settings according.

By the way, I also use a GH2, mainly for video. That's EVF only and I have no problem with that. BUT the GH2 EVF has a better refresh rate, and their manual focus implementation is fantastic. Those are two areas you will want to find out from X-E1 reviews to see how good they are.

If I were to choose between the X-E1 and X-Pro1 today, it would be a difficult choice. X-E1 represents a better deal for the money in my opinion.

Posted on 27 Sep 2012 15:21:52 BDT
Parka says:
I've updated my review to reflect the significant improvements from firmware 2.0.

It's great that Fujifilm is releasing firmwares to address issues customers are talking about.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2012 16:13:25 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 8 Oct 2012 15:35:43 BDT]

Posted on 11 Nov 2014 11:30:43 GMT
Thank you for your thorough review, it has been immensely helpful.
Here are some sample photos of all kinds of photographers using all sorts of lenses: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/tag/fuji-x-pro-1/ (Just scroll down.)
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