I've had my Fuji X-Pro1 for just about a year now so thought it would be a good time to review the past 12 months of living with it and jot down the highs and lows of life with the Fuji X-Pro1. Having made a decision to swap over from an all prime DSLR full frame kit, the X-Pro1 was a shoe in as a change. I did consider the XE1 initially, but as soon as I cradled the X-Pro1 in my arms I was sold.
I was in search of something smaller, lighter, just as capable for image quality and the Fuji X-Pro1 fitted all of those criteria. Added to that was the customer service that Fuji was fast building a reputation for, continuing to take good care of its past client base through firmware updates for its camera bodies and lenses, long after they'd been superseded.
Using the X-Pro1 you don't just buy into a camera system, you kind of buy into a whole eco-system, care included.
Whilst not being physically much bigger in comparison to the XE1, or having any real fundamental differences in specification, in my own opinion the X-Pro1 had more presence.
I loved the manner in which it fitted comfortably in the hand and for that reason promptly bought one alongside an 18-55mm zoom lens, regardless of the fact that back then, the much vaunted XE-2 was only just around the corner.
To this I soon added a 35mm f/1.4 prime lens, which is certainly one of the sharpest lenses I've had the pleasure to use. Those have been the primary thrust of my lenses during the last 12 months, aside from a short period where I've been in a position to borrow a 60mm and a 55-200mm lens to try.
Looks, feel Analogue quality of the images Size especially with the grip 35mm lens Interchangeable lenses Auto ISO Hybrid OVF Film simulation ISO capabilities
AF is a little slow Slow speed write to card Low light focussing Battery life Hit and miss images Lightroom processing No diopter adjustment
As a starting point the X-Pro1 isn't perfect. First off, it has no diopter adjustment and for people like me who wear glasses this is an irritant. Finding the correct diopter to suit is a bit hit and miss.
Having bought the camera, it then took another couple of weeks or so trying to nail down the most suitable diopter to fine tune the viewfinder accordingly. Fuji offer a range of diopters covering -3 to +3, and so buying isn't the issue, knowing which you need is more troublesome.
Since shooting with an X100s which offers this as standard, I still don't think the diopter I have is perfect and is a huge design flaw on the camera.
From buying the camera in October I didn't have to wait long for a firmware update which transformed the camera. In December, the update pushed out by Fuji increased AF speed along with offering an auto ISO function.
These two changes alone made quite a big difference to how the camera performed and with the exception of the AF ideally still needing a speed hike, it's ideal in almost all situations. Fast moving items and sports photography are and possibly never were the Fuji target sector for the X-Pro1, and at these it remains less than ideal.
I have to say life with the X-Pro1 after a DSLR is a learning curve. The focus method is different and this is somewhat confusing to start with. With any reasonable DSLR it's simply a matter of locking on and shooting. With the Fuji you have to start to look for contrast in images to focus on as opposed to edges. This is due to the X-Pro1 using contrast detection autofocus, which when used correctly is very accurate, the issue is it takes time and practice to become proficient with it.
Over the course of the past 12 months it's fair to say I've had more out of focus images than I would have had with my previous Canon 5D kit, however the advantages of weight and easy portability makes up for having the camera with me at times when I probably wouldn't have bothered taking the old Canon with me.
The other issue I've run into constantly with the X-Pro1 over the last 12 months is the processing of RAW files. Whilst out of camera jpgs are fantastic, it's nice to have the RAW file to work with, and frankly Lightroom doesn't work great with Fuji's RAW files.
It's certainly improved a lot over how it was 12 months ago, but still it's not perfect. There's a number of presets I've relied on to increase sharpness and I've also switched back and forth from LR to Aperture on occasion, but neither are ideal. Certainly each day things get better and I've no doubt eventually Adobe and Fuji will end up playing perfectly well together.
For all its foibles, the X-Pro1 is a magical camera though. The IQ of the images it produces is almost film like, with a sense of depth and lustre I rarely see with other cameras, even other Fuji models. It just seems to offer that little something extra other bodies and sensors don't seem to.
It's a joy to use, with controls laid out methodically and easy to dig into the menu controls to change. The hybrid viewfinder with the option to switch between OVF and EVF is wonderful and with the "corrected AF frame" option on in the menu you get a great view of what you're actually shooting through it.
OK, so things like EV compensation is limited to +/-2, but in all honesty that's not such a great deal in everyday shooting terms and you're definitely going to need a couple of batteries for a days shooting but these are all things that can be worked around easily enough.
Having shot with both the X-Pro1 and more recently the X100s, I still go back to the X-Pro1 as my go to camera and given the choice between the two, the X-Pro1 has my heart even if the X100s has my head.