Fujifilm X-Pro1: First Impressions
Following on from my previous post with High ISO Picture Samples & AF Speed Preview, here is a summary of my first impressions of the Fujifilm X-Pro1.
As some people will be hitting the Singapore IT show over the weekend in hopes to play or purchase the Fujifilm X-Pro1, I thought that it was timely to put together my initial thoughts on the camera. This is a brand new system that Fujifilm are introducing in the X-mount with XF lenses, and while the new APS-C X-Trans senor and new EXR processor pro appear “ahead of its time”, the AF performance of the systems does not, with many of the other mirrorless systems out performing it.
The main selling point of the X-Pro1 is its new APS-C X-Trans senor and new EXR processor pro, which effectively negated the need for an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) to correct moiré issues. Fujifilm has also put forward rather bold statements that the Image Quality (IQ) of the X-Pro1 (Coupled with Fujinon EBC lenses) can outshine that of a Full-Frame (FF) DSLR. I’ll let the X-Pro1 performance at high ISO speak for itself in the sample pictures I shared earlier. Mind you, the comparison is a bit of a moving target as we have also seen the game “upped” with the recent launches of the next generation of FF cameras from Nikon and Canon in their D4, D800(E), and 5Dmkiii cameras. But the claim that it is “up there” says a lot about where and who Fujifilm are targeting in terms of IQ.
That been said, the potential showstopper may be the AF performance of the X-Pro1 that many commented had riddled the X100. Some X100 users couldn’t live with its AF performance, others didn’t see it as a significant issue. So when it boils down to it, it really depends on what you’re looking for in a camera. Compacts and DSLRs are alternatives if you’re after faster AF – one with a smaller sensor and more DoF, and the other with a superior AF system in a larger outfit.
The AF speed on the X-Pro1 appears to perform variedly depending on the lens being used. The XF18 glass being a lot smaller and lighter appears to AF faster than the XF35. And for this reason, I have taken a larger liking to the XF18. If you’re looking for your “bokeh” shots, the XF35 is the way to go. Sitting between the XF18 and XF35, I personally can’t wait to see how the XF23 lens will perform when it is launched in future.
The 2-year roadmap of the XF lenses does look promising – it includes the potential line-up of fast 18mm(28), 23mm(35), and 35mm(50) (35mm equivalent) lens, as well as F4 zooms covering 12-24mm(18-36), 18-72mm(27-108), and 70-200mm(105-300), also in the pipeline are a 14mm(21) super wide and a 28mm(42) pancake lens.
While I had previously questioned the implementation of an OVF on the X-Pro1, I found myself using it more often than the EVF or the LCD. Naturally, the FoV given by the framelines shown in the OVF are not exact to the FOV through the lens – this would not be surprising for those who have shot with rangefinder cameras before. Likewise, the AF point is not quite exact through the OVF for the same reason – even with the “Corrected AF Frame” option on. Using the OVF, you often get “more” around the edges that you thought you had framed, and every so often, the actual AF may be on the object just to the side of your intended subject, as seen through the OVF. So, while the OVF would likely save you battery power over the use of the EVF or the LCD, the EVF option may yet provide the best AF accuracy.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is larger than its X100 and X10 siblings (no, I have not forgotten about the X-S1, but it’s probably more like the larger cousin, while still in the same family). At 400g-450g weight for the body alone, the X-Pro1 is lighter than the 600g of the Leica M9, at a comparable size. The XF18 and XF35 weigh 116g and 187g, compared to 270g-320g of Leica lenses of comparable focal lengths. The weight comparisons here is not to compare the X-Pro1 to the Leica M-system per se, but to show that the X-Pro1 is deceptively light.
I will not get too much into the “is it worth SGD$2400?” or “is it cheaper in Japan?” discussions. Would I buy one? Good Image Quality in a compact outfit… yes! Is the AF speed a showstopper for me? Not really, given my style of shooting, which tends to be slower and a little more deliberate. I also look forward to the opportunity to mount M, F, FD, OM, etc lenses on the X-Pro1, given the performance of the X-Trans sensor, this could be a potential X-factor for this camera… or a possible disappointment in the potential of the camera, if the “Shoot Without Lens”, live view feed, and manual focus assist are not implemented well.
Text by Edward Teo.