The X-Pro1 - First Impressions
It has been an exciting spring in the camera world with some interesting new releases. I have been going over many scenarios trying to decide which solution would fit into my kit. As a Canon shooter I have of course been watching closely as Canon rolled out the 5D Mark III earlier this month. The 5D III will no doubt be a winner for Canon and this camera may very well end up in my kit down the road. For now though my 5D Mark II works very well and I will continue to shoot it alongside my 1D Mark III. The 1DX is another interesting option. However despite an October 2011 announcement, the camera has not been released yet. In the beginning of January Fujifilm announced the X-Pro1 and I have been watching closely, reading reviews and checking out sample images. Initially I did not give this camera a chance due to the 1.5x crop factor but since then I have been very impressed with the sample images I have seen. I have been checking fellow shooter Patrick LaRoque's blog frequently as he always is on top of Fuji news, X100 and X-Pro1. Check out his site. His blog post on Friday with X-Pro1 links sent me over the edge.
In short I have picked the X-Pro1 to compliment my current kit and in no way to replace my SLRs. Initially I have chosen just one lens, the XF 35 1.4 R. With the crop factor this will be the equivalent of a 50mm standard lens. I look forward to using this combination as a lightweight alternative to lugging around the SLR every single time I leave the house. The X-Pro1 has already been named the poor mans Leica. Although it shares very little with the Leica M9 it still looks like an old style rangefinder camera, which may be less obstructive when out shooting.
Let me move on to my first impressions. Keep in mind I have only been shooting with the camera today. I have only worked with JPEGs so far, waiting for Lightroom RAW support. First off, the battery was already charged which was nice. I could start shooting right away. As soon as I got the battery in the camera Earth Hour started. I figured, great, this will be the ultimate AF test. So without having much of a clue how to use the camera, my first hour was spent in a candle lit room. Yes, it was a bit frustrating but I kept my cool and actually was surprised to have the the camera lock in AF using the assist light. It wasn't great but it wasn't all bad either. Back to the battery charger. It seems odd that Fuji would have this type of charger with a chord attached to it. It I want to travel light this seems a bit bulky. My Canon charger plugs right into the wall. The camera feels light but durable. Buttons feel like they will stand the test of time and feel solid. The lens hood has a tiny bit of play and perhaps does not feel as solid as I had expected. The lens however has a good feel to it and the aperture ring turns effortlessly. I have not ventured into manual focus yet and actually do not plan to use the camera this way.
Realistically it will take a few days I think to get the hang of the EVF/OVF thing. I prefer the optical view finder for now but can also see the benefit of the EVF for macro. I got thrown off a bit to start with the parallax correction using the OVF but I am think I will get the hang of it. I need to spend a bit more time with the manual to get deeper into the functions.
The photos do not disappoint so far. It has been a pretty crappy day here. We woke up to snow on April 1st, no April's fool. I took the camera for a spin downtown, metropolis Vernon, BC. I did a few black and white conversions and took a few snap shots. AF of course was much better in daylight. Write speed to the cards seems slow and I think I need to pick the quick mode as start up time was a bit slow also. I look forward to experimenting with Fuji's film simulations some more but also to see what the RAW files will look like.
Please check a few samples from today below. If you would like to see larger files, a few more and exif info, jump over to my X-Pro1 Gallery at Smugmug.