Fujifilm X-Pro1 review: Fujifilm X-Pro1

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Fujifilm X-Pro1 (Body Only)

(Part #: CNETCNET57357291)
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4.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars 2 user reviews

The Good Great looks; Good still images; Sharp lenses; decent value body; Loads of manual controls.

The Bad Small lens selection; Lenses are rather pricey.

The Bottom Line You can run about snapping quick shots with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 set to auto, or take your time and enjoy the art of composing great pictures with close to full manual control -- it's up to you. Either way, it's a joy to use, and the results won't disappoint.

8.8 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice May '12

The latest addition to Fujifilm's line of attractive retro cameras is the top-end X-Pro1. It comes in a chunky metal chassis with an interchangeable lens mount, behind which you'll find a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor.

The X-Pro1 is extremely stylish. It's a camera you'll be proud to show off, and it's less likely to turn heads than a bulky dSLR. So if you're a street photographer, you'll likely get more candid shots with this than a larger, more conspicuous model.

You can buy the body for £1,300, or expect to pay £1,800 with one lens.

Handling

The X-Pro1 is highly reminiscent of the Leica M9 . It sports a very traditional design, with a no-nonsense boxy body and a viewfinder that's offset from the lens.

Often this is a problem, as the offset means the viewfinder and lens provide different views, but in this case Fujifilm has come up trumps. Not only can you switch the rear display between live view and two levels of information, but the sensor beside the eyepiece can be set to swap out the offset optical view for a live through-the-lens sensor view.

The sensor view can be overlaid with the same information as the rear display, including the division of thirds and a live horizon alignment guide.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 test photo
Composite image of the sensor view (left), and optical viewfinder framing (right), as seen through the hybrid viewfinder. Note that you won't ever actually see the two views simultaneously.

As with the best professional cameras, you'll spend very little time trawling the menus as all of the most important settings are directly accessed using hardware buttons and dials. On the rare occasions when you'll want to resort to software settings, you're still saved the chore of working your way through every option, as a Q button calls up a menu of the most commonly used settings, which you can adjust with the rear-mounted wheel.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 test photo
The Q menu gives you speedy access to the most common settings. The rear-mounted wheel lets you change the variables of each one.

Shutter speed runs from 30 seconds to 1/4,000 second, with a top-mounted dial beside the flash hot shoe (there's no built-in flash) giving you direct access to 1 second and faster. There are supplementary options for auto, bulb and time, the latter of which lets you dial in a time between 2 and 30 seconds using the left and right buttons on the four-way controller.

Focus mode is selected using an old-school three-way lever on the front of the box, while exposure compensation of +/-2.0EV in 1/3EV steps is handled by another smaller dial on the top of the chassis, set back from the shutter release.

There are 49 auto-focus points arranged and selected using Fujifilm's now familiar grid system which, unlike some rivals' implementations, extends right into the corners of the frame, so you'll spend less time focusing and recomposing to get the shot you're after.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 test photo
At present there are only three X Mount lenses to choose from, but they're sharp and beautifully made.

There are only three compatible X Mount lenses for this camera right now, covering off 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm f/2.4 macro. Expect to pay around £500 to £550 apiece for these, and budget to buy at least one on top of the camera body itself.

The lenses are beautifully made, with manual aperture control and a smooth manual focus ring should you switch out of auto. If you prefer to leave everything in the hands of the camera's firmware, turning the aperture dial beyond its narrowest setting drops you into auto, at which point you only need point and shoot. Doing so, though, would rob you of much of the fun involved in taking pictures with the X-Pro1. The more you get involved in the look of your pictures at the point of shooting, the more satisfying an experience it is.

Once again, Fujifilm has made much of its paper and chemical heritage, with 10 film simulation modes including Provia, Velvia and Astia. Used with care, they can really bring life to a dull shot on an otherwise overcast day. The built-in monochrome modes feature simulation for various filters, allowing you to accentuate particular tones in-camera, rather than waiting for post-production.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 test photo
The built-in film simulation modes can really lift dull shots. The left of this image was shot using the standard picture mode; the right was shot using Velvia simulation (click image to enlarge).

If you can't decide which film mode would best suit your particular shooting conditions, then you can use them to bracket a single shot, as you would with sensitivity, exposure and dynamic range.

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