Fuji X-Pro1 Mirrorless Camera Review

Fuji X-Pro1 Mirrorless Camera Review

The Fuji X-Pro1 is an amazing piece of imaging equipment, hands down. Apart from the professional build and lens offerings, there are certainly other features to consider that set this one apart from the rest of the crowd.


The Good Stuff:

When you first pick up the X-Pro1, it’s obvious that it’s a solid camera. Roughly the same size and shape as the Leica M9, this is a true competitor in terms of build. An array of buttons along the back side of the camera might seem daunting to novice users, but I encourage anyone considering a camera in this price range to try it out. With time, you come to appreciate rarely having to go into the menu system to change a setting.

The lenses offered with the X-Pro1 system are light, yet also feel sturdy. Something I love about them is the aperture ring. First, these lenses have one. That isn’t too common with these mirrorless cameras. Second, however, is that they stop at 1/3 stops (twice between each marked setting). This means you can manually shoot with an incredible amount of precision and control over your exposure with fine adjustments of the aperture ring.

The hybrid viewfinder is nothing to balk at. It’s quite an improvement over the standard electronic viewfinder and gives you a few options, including use of the standard LCD screen on the back of the camera as usual. That LCD, by the way, has a great anti-reflective coating that helps colors pop while keeping glare to a minimum.

Autofocus is rather quick and snappy thanks to Fuji’s concentration on technology within both the body and lens of this system -- the firmware update that came out a while ago made quite a difference. In fact, with that firmware update, I think Fuji really is where it needs to be with this one.

The-Not-So-Good-Stuff:

I don’t have much, here. But I’ll say that while the body has a solid build, some of the metal can get just a little slippery after holding it, even with the grips that Fuji has added. That’s a silly thing to be worried about, though. The camera is big enough to fit into anyone’s hands quite comfortably.

On that note, only other aspect to complain about is that it’s not the smallest in its class. But Fuji obviously isn’t going for the pocketable camera. It’s going for ease of use, practicality, and image quality. And hits five stars on each of those.

Image Quality:

This is where the Fuji truly excels, going above and beyond the competition. Fuji ditched the anti-aliasing filter that removes moire from images with various patterns by essentially ‘blurring’ the photo slightly. Leica does this with their cameras, which is part of the reason they’re so sharp. But with the Fuji, a new sensor technology arranges pixels in a ‘randomized’ order that isn’t in line with the normal Bayer pattern that leads to moire. And so, in one fell swoop, Fuji introduced an incredibly sharp camera that exhibits no moire.

Couple this great technology with a large, 16MP ASP-C-sized sensor for great low-light performance and you have a system that is truly competitive with the Leica rangefinder cameras, especially when considering the price.

This image shows a great example of the sharpness as well as shallow depth of field you get with this sensor (and I wasn't even that close to the subject). Click, download and resize to 12" width at 400ppi to see the full sharpness -- given here at 72ppi for web).

Overall:

Of all the cameras that I’ve been testing this month, the Fuji has so far been up there among my favorite. It’s easy to use, has buttons for just about every setting, still has all the automated panorama and HD movie features, etc., that the average consumer is looking for, and is just a joy to use. It’s been the one that I pick up when I walk out the door.

At $1699 for the body, you’ll pay for this kind of functionality, but not much more than you would with any other higher-end mirrorless system. And for that, I applaud Fuji. They’ve created quite the gem at a very reasonable price, all things considered. The only thing that’s left is a full-frame version. I’d by that one yesterday. But for now, the X-Pro1 will more than fit the bill.

Order the Fuji X-Pro1 and lenses at B&H. Want a lot of the same technology within a slightly less practical body that gets rid of the viewfinder and a few other features? Consider the smaller sibling, the XE-1. Either is a great option. Don't forget, you can always get bargains on great used models, too, at B&H.

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6 Comments

I would buy all fuji cameras new as they are very strict on having your original receipt from a certified dealer and warranty information. If you want a great deal, shop Amazon's Warehouse deals as these items are heavily discounted and considered to be in new condition with minor things like damaged boxes. The xpro1 has sold for as low as $1096 from Amazon.

Also reviewers should cover the xpro1/xe1's raw file conversion from important programs like Lightroom and Capture One.  If you do some deep research on major Fuji forums you may find out why people are not all happy with the raw files that come from the Xpro1/Xe1.

The slow auto-focus didn't bother you?

Adam's picture

It's not yet DSLR-like, but for what it is, it's pretty darn good -- on par or better than a lot of its competition (any phase-detection system should theoretically be a bit better). Fuji specifically worked on their lens motors to help aid in fast AF, too. So no, I thought it was okay all things considered.

Firmware upgrade has pretty much fixed the AF speed issue from what I hear. Also this camera isn't really targeted to sports/action photographers anyways.

If they're not going for "pocketable" then what are they going for when you can get the Canon 5dii for the same price and full frame right now?  Maybe if it was the same size and full frame it'd be worth getting, or at 1000 bucks maybe.  A 5dii with the 50mm 1.4 is a steal right now though.  =)

It's small, its got nice lenses, it's not even that expensive if you get it from Amazon. The problem is the quality of RAW files. None of the other things even matter. Bad file conversion from Lightroom is simply THE reason for a serious pro to not get this camera. Reviewers seriously need to begin to report the RAW files using professional grade software in a professional environment. Google "Fuji xpro1 painterly" and you will see exactly what many reviewers are some how not talking about.