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Fuji X-Pro 1: Thoughts On A New Camera

This is not a tech heavy, pixel peeping review (you can easily find that elsewhere). I really don’t care about all that. What I care about is the final image.

I’ve been reading everything I could about the new Fuji X-Pro 1 since its announcement around the first of the year. This is a new class of camera. It’s not a DSLR, not rangefinder, it’s a hybrid. Great for street shooting. It’s very light and discreet. The APS-C sized sensor is a radical new design. The system was launched with three prime lens’s: an 18mm wide, a 35mm normal, and a 60mm telephoto. The camera has an aperture ring and a shutter speed dial, gasp. You can shoot it in full manual mode, gasp. It has different aspect ratio’s including 1:1, gasp. In short, my kind of camera.

After reading Zack Arias’s blog and seeing his steller X-Pro 1 images, I pulled the trigger.

When I first got the camera and the 35mm lens from the good folks at Service Photo in Baltimore, I did not have the time to sit down and read the manual or give the camera much time. I charged up the battery and took it to my daughters track practice.  My first reaction while using the camera was not good. Slow to focus and the image review in the viewfinder slowed things down, a lot.

I put the camera aside until I could really set it up to my liking after having a look at through the manual.

Second time out with it I had a different reaction, whoa. Sleek, quite, fun. Shooting in 1:1 was a treat. I quickly learned the camera’s quirks and was happy to be shooting with it.

I have to say that the camera has unleashed a new creativity. Simply having it with me at all times, shooting in 1:1, and only having the 35mm for now, is very liberating. It forces you to “see” in a new way. When I cut my teeth as a photojournalist I only had primes and I’m glad to be heading back in that direction.

The biggest problem right now is no support from ACR in Lightroom or Photoshop. So for now it’s .JPEG’s instead of RAW. But man these .JPEG’s, sweet!

If you are an amateur photographer, I’d steer you away from the Fuji. If, however, you are serious enthusiast or pro photographer, I’d run to your nearest camera store and grind down the credit card to get this beauty. Love the Fuji. The Fuji will be my “art” camera and the Nikons will do the client work.

What is your opinion on the Fuji X-Pro 1? Pro or con, leave your thoughts.

This post will be continually updated as I shoot new images. 

 All images were shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1 camera with 35mm lens @ 1:1.

(1:1 is the aspect ratio. For the Fuji X-Pro 1 you can choose: 3:2, 16:9 or 1:1 and the change is reflected in the EVF and OVF)

 ©www.geoffreybakerphotography.com

Trash can patterns along Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

Fiddlehead fern greets the morning sun. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, macro mode, manual focus, 35mm @ 1:1.

Runners streak by on a track. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

My wife Ann. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm, wide open @ 1:1.

A lone cross on a hill in Ellicott City, Maryland. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1 @ 1:1.

Morning dew drops on leaves. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1 in macro mode, 35mm @ 1:1.

The Catonsville Kavern, dusk. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1 @ 1:1.

 

Bill's Music Store in Catonsville, Maryland shot at dusk on a Fuji X-Pro 1 @ 1:1.

 

Main Street Ellicott City, Maryland at 1 a.m. after a rain.

 

Backlit leaf and rain drops in morning light. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

 

Storm drain detail shot. Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm.

 

Morning light on the Ellicott City, Maryland train trestle. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

 

A well dressed man at the Baltimore, Maryland Flower Mart. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

 

Hollywood Cinema, Arbutus, MD.

 

Purple Dew

 

Ninety Years Of Smiles. Baltimore Flower Mart. Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

 

J.W. Treuth and Sons in Oella, Maryland. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

 

Griffith. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm. Four stop ND, 1000ws of strobe into a Softlighter II, triggered by PW's.

 

Howard County Library, Miller Branch at dusk. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm, @ 1:1.

 

Early morning sun through railing on the bridge over the Patapsco river in Ellicott City, MD. Shot on a Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm @ 1:1.

  • Ed. Dickau - I love the thing as I cut my photo eye teeth on early rangefinder cameras, both Nikon and Leica. Am awaiting arrival of both Nikon and Leica lens adapters with a stable of usable Nikkor lens and a nice selection of Voightlanders to be pressed into fun service.

    My only problem, and maybe you or some one out there can identify an off camera flash cord for my fill flash needs/moments. I agree; this camera is not for the inexperienced or too lazy to learn folks.

    A dedicated Nikon photographer since the 1950s I welcome this camera and what Fuji can an might do next with its niche camera developments. (Ed.)ReplyCancel

    • Geoffrey Baker - I just tried my SB-800 on a Nikon SC-28 remote cord and it worked just fine. Mind you, no TTL, but you can run the strobe in A mode, set the F stop for the strobe, match in on the camera and you are good to go.ReplyCancel

  • Phil - Geoff,

    Beautiful shots. They really show off the capabilities of the Xpro 1. I’ve had mine for a few weeks now, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

    I think most of the negative press is from folks who have either (a)not taken the time to learn how this camera actually functions or (b) are bringing unrealistic dslr expectations to the table.

    I find the auto-focus to be quite accurate and, while not the fastest, it is certainly fast enough. It is also very easy to use in manual focus mode. I hit the af-l button, then I’ll fine-tune with the ‘focus zoom’ for even greater precision.

    High ISO performance? Amazing. (This camera sees in the dark.) Resolution (at least with the 35mm f1.4)? Incredible.

    I guess it all comes down to priorities. For me–with IQ at the top of the list and portability second–the Fuji Xpro 1 really hits the mark.ReplyCancel

  • Flax - I never dared shoot at 6400 or even 3200 before. Now it’s not even an issue. The noise at 6400 is fine and uniform, like film, not the typical digital random blotches.

    I’m convinced Fuji did not make this sensor, they stole it from an alien craft at Area 51 because it’s IQ is out of this world.ReplyCancel

    • Geoffrey Baker - Have to agree. Folks who do not have this camera are missing out. They have no clue. Now I just need Lightroom camera raw to support it and I’ll be in heaven.ReplyCancel

  • Peter Flynn - Truly, a wonderful and inspirational set of images. Amongst the best I have seen demonstrating the astounding image quality this camera is capable of!

    And, I agree (not wishing to sound elitist!), this is a photographer’s camera, aimed at those who have some fundamental understanding of the art.

    Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Geoffrey Baker - Thanks for the kind words Peter. I don’t know. Something happens when I put this camera in my hands. It’s really special. I hope it does well for Fuji, it does for me :).ReplyCancel

  • Dick Quinn - Geoffrey, thank you for your superb X-Pro1 photos. They’re gorgeous! My X-Pro1 is even more joyful than my X100. Fuji cameras do wonders with subtle light and accurate colors. Regarding Ed.Dickau’s question about a camera flash cord, he might want to view this discussion: http://goo.gl/k9jAq. THANKS AGAIN!ReplyCancel

  • Michael Campbell - Great images. Love the low light colour renderings. I have the camera a month now and am loving it. I really need to set up the 1:1. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Ben - Great series of images Geoffrey. I have been waiting for Adobe RAW support to pull the trigger on this camera, but your mini review and stellar X pro-1images may change my mind. Thanks for taking the time to post this review.ReplyCancel

  • ppnuts - Wow, what wonderful images you have in here! You have demonstrated the great capabilities of the XP1. It’s people like you who are willing to share good things in life that brings joy to other people.

    I got my XP1 two weeks ago after tracking the views of independent users on web pages. I confirm without reservation that the XP1 is truly capable of capturing extremely good quality images, both in bright and dim light. It is not meant for amateur users, but is neither difficult to use. It becomes addictive to use, once you are familiar with it.

    Please keep your site going, giving us good glimpse of your thoughts through THE camera. I enjoy coming here.ReplyCancel

  • Pablo - Geoff,

    What do you mean by 1:1?

    Thanks,
    PabloReplyCancel

    • Geoffrey Baker - 1:1 is the aspect ratio of the image. If you go to the quick menu, you’ll see you can choose between 3:2, 16:9, or 1:1. The bonus is that the EVF and OVF will show the change so you can compose correctly. Give it a try on the X Pro-1. It is a whole new way to see.ReplyCancel

  • Gary - Why do you have to be a pro to use this camera. I know it’s a learning curve, but why can’t I learn? My last camera was a Panasonic GF1. Its been a few years since I had this camera and I am trying to decide between a Nex 7 and an XPro 1. I know I’ll have to read the manual and it may take a few months, but I like the images it produces. Give me your thoughts.

    GaryReplyCancel

    • Geoffrey Baker - Gary, You can absolutely learn this camera.

      I think a pro or advanced amateur will have the knowledge and appreciation of a simple interface and the ability to go all “manual.” A non pro might get frustrated at the X-Pro 1 thinking that it’s a DSLR. The camera is more “similar” to a Leica than a DSLR. It’s about expectations. The X-Pro1 occupies a new niche, not quite rangefinder, not quite point n shoot, not DSLR.

      I cut my photographic teeth using a fully manual camera. It’s nice to go back to my roots via the X-Pro 1. The shutter speed dial and aperture ring give the photographer control. Most from the point n shoot crowd, will not use or understand those features. That is what the camera is all about, for me :).ReplyCancel

  • Ed. Dickau - I just finished testing both the Canon Off Camera Cord and The Micnova Universal Cord and they both work with X PRO 1 and Fuji Flashes. I’ll be using the Micnova as it is well built and reserve my Nikon, Canon and Pentax Cords for their respective cameras.ReplyCancel

  • Ed. Dickau - For anyone who doubts the image quality possible with the XPRO 1..

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QOTw6Hz9qT0/T6gly7SV8II/AAAAAAAAc9I/KA1tYxRATks/s1600/8.pngReplyCancel

  • David - Gary, if you decide on the NEX-7 let me know. I have both the Fuji and Sony and will gladly sell you my NEX-7 with a full set of lenses… Haven’t touched it since my Fuji came in the door. david@tadmor.com.ReplyCancel

  • Mike - Hiya – have you tried shooting raw and then an in camera conversion? I find it works great for B&W images on the x Pro 1 and yes, I love it. After shooting editorial work for newspapers for the last 17 yrs, it has reignited my passion for making pictures for pleasure! Nice pictures here. Cheers for your thoughts – MikeReplyCancel

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