Fuji X-Pro 1 – Hands on Preview

January 13, 2012

For Romanian press HERE.

“An opinion nobody asked for”

Fuji X-Pro 1 – Hands on preview

As you probably know already, Fuji just launched a brand spanking new camera @ F64. Yep, the X-Pro 1. If we look at the big picture it`s just a mirror-less camera. But that`s just scratching the surface.
To give you a short history lesson:

1. Fuji launches the X100, a fixed focal lens camera with a hybrid viewfinder and a retro design. Everybody is thrilled by this camera because it gets back to the roots of photography with a lot of manual controls and the built-in viewfinder that makes the photographer part of the picture again. Massive sales. Most of the customers complained about the shutter lag and 35mm fixed focal lens.
2. Fuji launches the X10 (retro design), a smaller compact camera with a fast zoom lens and a built in zoom optical viewfinder. Massive sales. Everybody was thrilled, some complained about that lack of info in the viewfinder and the small sensor (thus not the best ISO IQ in the world, not the best bokeh either)

Now they chose to shut everyone up with this new beast. The X-Pro 1

+ Interchangeable lenses (primes: 18mm f/2; 35mm f/1.4; 60mm f/2.4)
+ APS-C sensor 16Mpixels
+ Hybrid viewfinder (Optical AND electronic viewfinder) – and now … it zooms depending on the lens you have on. That`s pretty cool by any standards.

So when I heard Fuji had a “Leica contender” coming my way, I had to put my hands on one to see for myself if it will be a D700 replacement or not.

So this entire Hands-On Preview will be based on the fact that I want a new (LIGHTER) camera that mimics a rangefinder. So if I don`t get that … I`ll be pretty upset. :)

Nowadays you can take good pictures in low light with just about any camera so my main concern is “does it fit like a glove? does it feel the way I imagined?” I`ll try to debate that, and give you something to pixel-peep at at the end of the article.

THE CAMERA:


The shape desperately needs a larger grip. The one that comes by default is kinda small if you`re older than a 8th grader… After 2h of “street” I had finger cramps.

The weight is just right. It feels like a Leica M6 but it`s thicker.

The viewfinder is the main character of the show and If you loved the one on the X100, the new (v.2) will bring you joy. Honestly, I`m not a big fan of non-rangefinder viewfinders in general so I`m a bit biased but I can say for sure it will be fantastic for at least 75-80% of the buyers. The electronic viewfinder was something I tried by mistake. I accidentally touched the lever and went from crispy clear to happy pixels in 0.1s. Did not like the EVF at all. And I hate all of them equally (be it Sony, Olympus, Panasonic etc) Give it enough light and the image on the EVF will keep up with your movements. Turn off the light and prepare for lag! I also liked the fact that after the pre-focus the bright-lines shift to the right to correct for the parallax.

Auto-focus speed was decent. Not Nikon V1 fast but not too slow either. My biggest problem with the AF isn`t the speed though. It`s the fact that it hunts, and misses quite allot, if you`re looking through the viewfinder. If you`re using the back LCD it gets considerably better. (Still hunts but at least you can see if you have your subject in focus or not)

The dials are well positioned but the back dial was a bit loose. That made it a bit difficult to use with the Quick menu. In theory they should work like a charm, I hope the production model will have a stiffer dial.

The battery has 1200MAh – that`s 10% more than the X10 has and you get around the same number of frames.

THE LENSES:

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article the body comes with 3 lenses. All X-Mount (this new X-Pro 1 mount).

18mm f/2
35mm f/1.4
60mm f/2.4

Combined with the filter-less new sensor in the camera these lenses should have a spectacular sharpness. I said SHOULD because I wasn`t blown away. Not by a long shot. They are good, for 600$ lenses but there`s room for improvement.

The overall feeling of the lenses was 50/50. I loved the weight to volume ratio, but disliked the plastic feel. The focus ring is made of hard plastic and I would have loved rubber rings, or at least a tab for focusing. But that`s a wet dream, mostly because the system uses “Focus by wire”: a fancy concept for a ring that transmits info to a CPU that tells the lens to move. So there`s no way of knowing where the lens is focused just by looking at it. You have to use the distance scale in the viewfinder or on the back LCD.

So manual focus is a something I wouldn`t try with this camera and lenses. It can be done, but that`s just about it. Nothing to brag about here.

“One does not simply learn a new camera system in a few hours” – this is damn true. I bet this camera has allot more to offer than what I was able to pick-up while it was in my hands. And as for many other cameras on the market all the small downsides of this new system will be forgotten with time and clever use.

Overall the X-Pro 1 is a well rounded system for entry level photographers or anyone who wants the PRO package on vacation but considerably lighter and gives a run for the money to just about any mirror-less camera currently on the market.

It will sell like crazy because it can easily replace the entry level DSLRs, both usability and IQ wise.

If you liked the X100 but decided to wait until something with lenses came on the market, go ahead and pre-order this one. You won`t regret it.

Update:
1. And now, there`s a full preview on DPreview.com. Go check it out!
2. There`s a leaked lens roadmap on Mirroless Rumors.com

These are the lenses coming in 2012:

      14mm f/2.8
    18-72mm f/4.0 with IS (Image stabilization).

These are the lenses coming in 2013

      28mm f/2.8 pancake
      23mm f/2.0
      72-200mm f/4.0 IS
    12-24mm f/4.0 IS

And there are still two more unkown lenses to come within 2013.

THE PIXEL-PEEPER HEAVEN

(stuff you have to judge for yourself)
(for the full size pictures – right click -> open in new tab)

ISO test

This was the whole frame

And these are the crops at ISO 100-25600- Caution LARGE IMAGE (7500x4800px)

Sharpness Test

18mm

This was the whole frame

Center

Top left corner

35mm

This was the whole frame

Center

Top left corner

Fringe Sample @ f/1.4

60mm

This was the whole frame

Center

Top left corner

Sharpness Sample

Comparison Fuji X-Pro 1 with 35mm @ f/1.4 vs D700 with 50mm AF-S @ f/1.4

Random Samples @ smaller sizes



And a few by George Dobre:

 


Fujifilm X-Pro1

15 Comments

  1. […] Fujifilm X-Pro 1: Preview As you probably know already, Fuji just launched a brand spanking new camera @ F64. Yep, the X-Pro 1… […]

  2. […] weekend news around Fuji.There is finally a first ISO test at the until know to me very unkown vladdodan.ro website (Click here). There are many image samples ot analyze and even a Fuji X PRO 1 versus Nikon D700 comparison […]

  3. […] you can see a first ISO and sharpness test at vladdodan.ro (Click here / via Fujirumors). The image-crop you see on top (Click on it to enlarge) compares the Fuji X PRO 1 […]

  4. Fuji X-PRO1 says:

    […] Features – Fujifilm's new X-Pro1 mirror-less system camera previewed – Digital Photography Now http://vladdodan.ro/blog/fuji-x-pro-1-hands-on-preview/ Adaptadores y accesorios: http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk…ws_311082.html […]

  5. […] Festbrennweiten zur X-Pro1 anbieten und hat bereits weitere Objektive angekündigt. Eine erste Hands-On Preview ist z.b. hier zu finden. Oder auch hier. Und natürlich bei Steve “Leica Fanboy” […]

  6. […] new X-Pro 1.Here is a nice video overview of the X-Pro 1:More Fuji X-Pro 1 related links:Some more "unofficial" X-Pro 1 samplesKodak alleges patent infringement against FujifilmUnsurprisingly, the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera won […]

  7. […] and no anti-alias filter. The first user reports in the internet – such as Vlad Dodan’s hands-on review and another hands-on short review by Serban Mestecaneanu, both from Romania – indicate that the […]

  8. […] vladdodan.ro website (Click here) now you can see a new test at F64 (Click here). The reviewer compared the ISO results with the Fuji […]

  9. […] Romanian goodness from Vlad Dodan with large ISO image comparison for the X […]

  10. […] 1 image smaples. Here is the short list: Fuji (Click here to see), Christian Fletcher (Click here),vladdodan (Click here), F64 (Click here), Focus Numerique (Click here) and Fotodigitalonline (Click […]

  11. […] current reviews are a sign of things to come. Some of the hands on previews can be found here in Vdodan, DPReview and Photo Rumours Phoenix Phoenix's NEX Gallery & Flickr photostream NEX-7 & […]

  12. […] Pour en revenir à l’autofocus du X-Pro 1 (voir aussi cette vidéo ainsi que que ici et ici), rien ne remplacera un test personnel quand l’appareil arrivera en magasin, dans un mois ou […]

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