Fujifilm X-Pro1 review

Rather than aim for a mass-market camera, Fuji has gone niche for its first ever CSC in the 16.3 effective megapixel X-Pro1. With a DSLR-sized CMOS sensor it is pitched at enthusiasts and professionals and was joined in the dying stages of 2012 by a little brother in the X-E1, marginally smaller yet with the same APS-C sensor and lens mount. Nearest competition includes range topping rivals in the Olympus OM-D and Sony NEX-7, but the X-Pro1 could also be seen as an alternative to an even pricier Leica, with which it seems to share many of its operational dials and weighty build. Sold as a body only, there are currently five lens options with five more promised for 2013. We got to play with the general purpose 35mm, wide angle 18mm and close up 60mm, while a14mm and 18-55mm are also available now.

Fixed focal length lenses tend to give better results than jack-of-all-trade zooms, so the accent here is on picture quality as much as lovingly retro construction; both tempting pros to leave that DSLR at home. Interestingly there are three ways of composing a shot: via a 3-inch, 1.23 million dot resolution LCD on the back plate or hybrid viewfinder above which uniquely offers the choice of optical or electronic viewing. The combination of a ‘view’ button and automatic eye sensor provides a means of swapping between them. However, even if you’re used to DSLRs this is a complex beast that requires persistence and perseverance to achieve the stunning results it’s capable of; it’s not one to pick up and immediately start pointing and shooting with.

That said, when we first looked at the X-Pro1, the main thing we found off-putting apart from the high outlay and the fact that here’s yet another ring-fenced camera system to invest in, was a slightly slow auto focus. Since most enthusiasts will be leaning towards manual control, something the ultra high-resolution viewfinders make possible, this wasn’t a deal breaker. Nonetheless AF is something its maker has recently fixed with a firmware upgrade. 

OUR VERDICT

While for us this is a camera that doesn’t quite match the hype it’s one with personality and in that respect a massive step in the right direction for Fuji.

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