And the battery life in this entire class of cameras is sad.
Design and features
Attractive to look at and sturdily built, the X-Pro1's design and operation are mostly very well executed with only a couple of facepalm-level annoyances. While the camera isn't particularly compact, it's a nice size for people who like a little heft. I do wish the grip were a little deeper, though.
On top of the camera are a couple of dials, one for shutter speed and one for exposure compensation, and the shutter button has a cable-release connector. You dial in both shutter speed and aperture, with a real old-fashioned aperture ring on the XF lenses. Putting the ring in A enters shutter-priority mode; setting the shutter speed to A puts you in aperture-priority. If you put both on A, you've got full auto. My one complaint with this scheme is the slavish adherence to history means that you're stuck with full-stop shutter speeds in shutter-priority mode: I've gotten used to shooting at speeds like 1/80 sec. On the other hand, the lens' aperture dial does support third stops, which is a nice feature.
There's also a Fn button next to the shutter button, which is the single user-assignable control. Given that there are multiple relatively unused controls -- like three of the navigation buttons -- this is a bit disappointing, and I suspect could be changed in a later firmware update. Not only does the camera lack a dedicated movie record button, you have to be in movie mode to record (unlike the rest of the world, Fujifilm considers movies a drive mode), so I ended up wasting the Fn button by mapping it to movie mode. On the plus side, the X-Pro1 has seven custom settings slots that are easily accessed via the quick menu.
Overall, I found the control layout and button design comfortable, though the learning curve will be a little steeper if you're not used to Fujifilm's mindset. Down the left side of the LCD are the drive mode, metering, and AF-area selection buttons. On the right, the AE/AF lock button and quick menu button sit on a plastic protrusion that provides a little extra stability when you're gripping the camera. Of the four navigation buttons, only one is hardwired -- to macro, which I used a lot because of the odd minimum focus distances of the lenses (7 inches for the 18mm lens and 11 inches for the 35mm lens). It's kind of annoying that when you hit the macro button you then have to arrow over to macro mode; it should just toggle.
Like the X100, the X-Pro1 uses a hybrid viewfinder that can swap between a reverse-Galilean type with an electronic overlay, and a straightforward EVF. To accommodate the different angle of view of the various lenses, a magnifying element with lens-specific framing and parallax compensation shifts in. Getting the right viewfinder display can be a little confusing. The View Mode button on the back rotates among the optical and electronic viewfinders and auto eye sensor, and this switch on the front toggles between the optical and electronic viewfinders. Ultimately, I found the EVF a lot more useful than the OVF, even with the adjusted framing. But overall the viewfinder is very nice -- big, bright, and comfortable.
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||Olympus E-P3||Sony Alpha NEX-7|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||12.3-megapixel CMOS||16.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS||12.3-megapixel Live MOS||24.3-megapixel Exmor HD CMOS|
|23.6mm x 15.8mm||23.6mm x 15.6mm||17.3mm x 13mm||23.5mm x 15.6mm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 (expanded)/200 - ISO 6400/12800 (expanded)||ISO 100 (expanded)/200 - ISO 6,400/ 25600 (expanded)||ISO 200 - ISO 12800||ISO 100 - ISO 16000|
10 JPEG/8 raw
unlimited (LN) JPEG/17 raw
unlimited 10 JPEG/6 raw
(10fps with fixed exposure)
magnification/ effective magnification
90 percent coverage/
1,440,000 dots 0.47x
90 percent coverage/
1,440,000 dots variable
|35-area contrast AF||25-area contrast AF|
|Shutter speed||30-1/4,000 sec; bulb to 60 min||30-1/4,000 sec; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync||60-1/4,000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/4,000 FP sync||30-1/4,000 sec; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync|
|Metering||256 zones||256 zones||324 area||1,200 zones|
|Image stabilization||None||Optical||Sensor shift||Optical|
|Video||720/24p H.264 QuickTime MOV||1080/24p H.264||1080/60i AVCHD @ 20, 17Mbps; 720/60p @ 13Mbps||AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28, 24Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/60i @ 17Mbps; H.264 MPEG-4 1,440x1,080/30p @ 12Mbps|
|Audio||Stereo||Stereo||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input|
|LCD size||2.8-inch fixed
|3-inch fixed OLED
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||300 shots||300 shots||330 shots||350 shots|
|Dimensions (inches, WHD)||5.0 x 2.9 x 2.1||5.5 x 3.2 x 1.7||4.8 x 2.7 x 1.4||4.8 x 2.8 x 1.7|
|Body operating weight (ounces)||15.8||15.7||13||12.4|
|Mfr. price||n/a||$1,700 (body only)||n/a||$1,199.99 (body only)|
|$1,195.95 (built-in 35mm lens)||n/a||$899.99 (with 14-42mm lens)||$1,349 (with 18-55mm lens)|
|n/a||n/a||$899.99 (with 17mm f2.8 lens)||n/a|
|Ship date||March 2011||February 2012||August 2011||November 2011|
My biggest problem with the design is the placement of the SD card slot in the battery compartment. While this is a standard location on consumer cameras, it just doesn't work well for advanced and pro photographers who frequently take the card out. But even worse, the X-Pro1's battery compartment is right next to the tripod mount (and some users may take issue with the mount being so far to the right rather than in the middle), which not only makes it a huge pain to pull the card when the camera is mounted on a tripod, it means you can't even open the battery compartment when using a tiny tripod-mount attachment for a sling strap (which looks like this). I know -- this seems trivial. Until you're in the middle of shooting and realize you have to disconnect your strap to change cards. Also, the battery isn't keyed to a particular direction, so it's easy to put it in backward and then wonder why the camera won't power on.
As for features, the X-Pro1 provides the basics and nothing more; perhaps even a little less, given the price. There's no on-camera flash, and it's got a fixed LCD. Compare that with the cheaper Sony Alpha NEX-7. Do a lot of people at this level use features like in-camera HDR or special-effects filters? Probably not. But the feature set still seems pretty stripped-down.
All of this raises the question, Who is this camera for? Though the X-Pro1 delivers pro-level photo quality that should appeal to wedding and portrait photographers, if you have to process large volumes of images on a regular basis, the lack of widespread raw support may really impede your work flow. Not to mention its battery would need frequent changing over the course of a wedding.
Ultimately, I keeping coming back to it as a poor man's Leica. That's not necessarily a bad thing to be -- and when Fujifilm ultimately comes out with its Leica mount adapter it should be even better -- but there's also a lot of competition for that deep-pocketed enthusiast.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Raw shot-to-shot time||JPEG shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim light)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)