Fuji X Pro 1 Review

DSLR's are dead.  Long live mirrorless!

Now that we've got the linkbait headline out of the way...  :)

So this is a first for me, I've never done a gear review before so let's all try and survive this together.  :)  FujiFilm Canada was gracious enough to send me out a copy of the X PRO 1 as well as the 18, 35 & 60 mm lenses.

I'm obviously not going to nerd out completely and do high ISO comparisons and pictures of test charts... Heck, I'd have to go get a tripod for that.   I'm just going to talk about my experience with this camera that FujiFilm Canada was generous enough to lend me.

As others including Zach Arias and David Hobby have said there is something about these new Fuji cameras.  They're not the fastest cameras in the world.  They don't have the most megapixels.  And they don't have the best high ISO (although it's pretty damn good!)  But they do have one thing... soul.

The minute I picked this camera up it just felt right.  The fact that it's a fraction of the size of my Nikons probably helped but it was more than that.  It's hard to describe but it was very close to the feeling I had when I picked up my old Pentax K1000 for the very first time.  it just feels good in the hands.

I've been using the X Pro 1 for about a month now, using it on a mixture of personal and commercial work... everything from some commercial headshots, family portraits to even second shooting an entire wedding ceremony with it (Here's the link to those pictures)

Things I love about the X PRO 1:

  • The size.  I love the fact that the body and 3 lenses weighs less than just my D700.  They old saying is the best camera is the one you have with you and the size of this camera means I will have a camera with me a lot more.  There's also a huge benefit of this camera not intimidating subjects in the same way a D3 with a 70-200 is.
  • the looks... sorry Nikon Df, Fuji is making the cool looking cameras.  It shouldn't matter, but it does.  :)
  • The frame lines.  I love being able to see what's outside my frame.  it allows me to anticipate the action and help compose my images.
  • High ISO.  It may not be top of the heap, but it's still worlds better than my Nikon D3 and D700.
  • It's may seem like a small thing but having the viewfinder off to one side of the camera means that your entire face isn't buried behind it and it allows you to connect with your subjects a little easier.

Things I'd love to see improved:

  • The frame lines.  Yeah, I know I said I loved them but there are some serious parallax errors with them.  Frame lines are only useful if they're accurate.  (updated... the new firmware really improved this)
  • Speed.  Not so much the autofocus, which could use some improvement, but the working speed of the camera.  Everything from the write times to the cards to startup and image review all feel sluggish.
  • I'd love to see the shutter speed dial overhang the front or rear of the camera the way it does on the Leica M5.  I'd also like to see it work the same way as the X100 where it stops at A and cant turn anymore instead of locking at A on the X PRO 1 forcing an awkward button push.

Will I by buying an X Pro 1?  No, actually.  But not because I don't love it but because an X Pro 2 is rumoured to be right around the corner... and I just got a sweet deal on the X100.

I honestly am starting to believe that the era of the DSLR is coming to end... I'll be shocked if I'm still shooting DSLR's by 2015.  Fuji has really one me over with their new cameras... as well as their design principles as well as their dedication to their existing customers with their amazing firmware updates.