Having had my Fuji XT-1 for around 3 months now, it’s fair to say I’ve been itching to write a comparison review of it next to my well loved, but at times frustrating Fuji X-Pro1 for a while now. Following the recent firmware upgrade of both models, now seems to be a good time to re-appraise my thoughts on the X-Pro1 and how it fits in alongside the XT-1. I’ll warn you now though, this isn’t so much of a technical appraisal, rather a look, touch and feel kind of review.
For sure, it appears my X-Pro1 has become something of a shelf queen. As much as it saddens me to say, when I reach for a camera now, it’s the XT-1 I reach for. With perhaps the exception of the X-Pro1’s fantastic looks, the XT-1 outperforms the X-Pro1 in almost every situation.
The AF is faster, much faster. The EVF whilst no OVF is huge…and bright…and refreshes fast. Articulated screen makes shooting high and low really easy. The top plate controls offer simple, easy fast change of settings. EV is +/-3 stops as opposed to 2 with the X-Pro1. It now shoots at 1/32000 thanks to the Electronic shutter option. Wif-fi communication It’s weather sealed, not a biggie for me, but for some it is.
As far as styling is concerned, the X-Pro1 still wins for me. It feels chunky and solid in the hand, everything seems to fall effortlessly to hand, despite the lack of extended top plate controls. Maybe it’s muscle memory, but the controls on the X-Pro1 just seem a little more logical.
It’s also nice that the OVF/EVF is offset to allowing you to use 2 eyes to look at your target image, or put another way, you’re not smudging the rear screen with your nose constantly.
However the X-T1 becomes a different beast when you add the vertical grip to it. It takes a compact camera and turns it into a mini DSLR. The virtues of the vertical grip can be found here, in my recent review, but it’s certainly worth consideration if you’re looking to add ease of use for portrait shooting and to add bulk to the camera.
Shooting with the XT-1 v X-Pro1
The XT-1 shoots quicker, works faster and does everything just that little bit sharper than the X-Pro1.
Of course, in some ways that’s to be expected. The X-Pro1 is what, 3 years old now compared to the comparative newness of the XT-1.
Unfortunately through firmware upgrades alone the X-Pro1 is never going to compete against the XT-1, and it’s now starting to show it’s age against it’s younger upstart cousin.
In low light the 9 central PDAF points found on the XT-1 will help to find and lock focus more quickly than the X-Pro1, the EVF will truly astound you, and the option to shoot and wirelessly transfer images from your phone is a great step forward.
One way XT-1 street? Not quite
However, don’t think it’s a one way street. There’s a certain something to shooting with the X-Pro1 that you don’t quite get with the XT-1.
There’s a film-esque quality to the X-Pro1 which lends itself perfectly to a slower way to photograph and enjoy photography.
An argument that's often touted around in some Fuji circles is that the original CMOS sensor used in the X-Pro1 and first generation of X camera bodies (including the X100), had something that got lost very slightly with their updated counterparts. It’s hard to define, but certainly there is a slight difference for sure.
If you don’t need fast AF or the whistles and bells the XT-1 comes with, then the X-Pro1 is still more than capable. For studio work and landscape photography the X-Pro1 is a great companion. If you’re shooting faster work such as wedding photography then you should give serious consideration to the XT-1. It's fair to concede though that both are great cameras and perfectly capable of holding their own.