Fuji X-Pro1 Review

Over the Easter break my family and I were lucky enough to head down to the North Cornwall coast. The journey down was horrendous taking us eight hours to travel a four hour journey, I should have expected the delays due to the school holidays! Cornwall is a really special place, the light is intoxicating, especially for a photographer. Lazy family days on the beach, reading a book, digging for pirate treasure, cliff top walks, exploring villages and coastal towns or a picnic in the camper!

Packed away in my luggage was a shiny new Fuji X-Pro1, (little late to the party I know!) but I was looking forward to using the X-Pro1 and getting used to using the camera. My work cameras are large, bulky and heavy to use, the Fuji on the other hand is small, lightweight, discrete and attracts less attention, perfect for more documentary style photography.

The build quality on the camera screams quality, the all metal construction is solid and all the dials and buttons feel as they should. The Fuji has a 16MP 1.5x half-frame (DX) 1.5:1 aspect-ratio sensor and included is a Fuji X-Mount 18mm lens and a 27mm lens. I preferred to use the 18mm lens (closer to 30mm on a full frame camera). The optics for their small size are good quality compared to my Nikon lenses but do lack a certain clarity and sharpness, if compared like for like.

The X-Pro1 includes AF-S, AF-C and MF. The AF-S is accurate and fairly quick, AF-C is not so good as the older Fuji X100, sports and action photographers should look elsewhere. I can’t comment on MF, I did not use this function.

The X-Pro1 comes with both an optical and electronic hybrid viewfinder. Call me old fashioned but I just don’t like to use the rear LCD screen to compose a photograph especially in bright sunshine so I selected the electronic viewfinder. I found the optical viewfinder too confusing and fussy to be of any help but the big advantage with the X-Pro1 is as soon as you have taken a shot the image is shown on the viewfinder, instant playback, that’s a real bonus compared to Nikon and Canon!

I used the X-Pro1 in manual and auto mode, the exposure is accurate in most lighting conditions, highlights are excellent, even shooting in the direction of the sun, blown highlights are kept to a minimum. The sample images I have included did require a small amount of shadow correction. As always Fuji’s colour rendering (including the all important skin tones) are exceptional and have been since the introduction of the S2 Pro back in the day.

Noise reduction on high ISO images is fantastic. ISO 200 – ISO 6,400, push modes to ISO 12,800 / ISO 25,600. I have used the X-Pro1 on an interior commercial shoot and have shot at 5000 ISO hand held at a 60th, the images can be used straight out of the camera. Menus are easy to navigate (how you set-up your settings is down to personal preference). File formats include RAW and JPEG. Battery life is no shorter than my Nikon D810 but I do have a spare battery for the X-Pro1 which I found very handy.

The Fuji X-Pro1 is a well built, small and discrete camera, ideally suited to unobtrusive documentary photography, whether it be people, travel or a perfect back up camera for a professional photographer with limited space in their camera bag. The X-Pro1 will be with me wherever I go and not having to worry about the size or weight of my camera equipment will be a huge advantage. But there are limitations, action photographers will find AF-C a big problem as is the buffering time to the SD card (only one slot), lens choice is still a little limited from Fuji but I expect the X-Mount lenses will be introduced periodically, especially with other Fuji cameras being rumoured in the pipeline.

The Fuji X-Pro1 packs a lot of technical wizardry in a small carry anywhere package and at a decent price…