There’s a new camera in my bag of tools, toys and lightsabers – the Fuji X-Pro1.
A year ago I purchased a Fuji-X100 and I love that camera, still do. And occasionally I want to blast it to bits. I used it intensely in South America and it replaced my Canon 5D Mk II as my camera of choice, at least when working alone and walking streets. Simply because I usually had more fun with the Fuji, quirks, frustrations and limitations and all. In March this year, I had a chance to play with my mate Christian Fletcher‘s pre-production Fuji-Xpro1. Actually my first impression was mixed, in many ways it was awesome but it still had some of the X100 quirks and it also had its own quirks on top of that. But, like anything worth anything, you have to fight for it. The Fuji and I synchronized our quirks.
So I decided it was time for a change. My trusty old Canon gear, the 5D Mk II and all lenses, has served me well for many years but was simply no longer the camera I wanted to use. It was “getting in my way” as in, it annoyed me, heavy, big, obtrusive, loud, noticeable on the street, scared people away in South America, heavy, did I mention heavy, traveled around the world 3 times with this gear and just can’t do it anymore. I need a light weight “rangefinder” style kit for documentary work, that’ll fit in a small shoulder bag — I no longer need a landscape photographers kit that fills a big backpack. Sold all of my Canon gear, my 5D went to live with a fellow Danish nomad photographer, quite brilliantly, she travels on, adios amiga.
Money in my pocket, I rushed to my local pusher – Photografica – and bought my Fuji X-pro1 and the 18mm and 35mm lens, before the money went to boring things like food and lodging.
The production model Fuji X-pro1 is a nice improvement on the pre-prod model I tried, it appears to be a lot faster. The focus system might not be light speed but it’s extremely precise. And I am just really enjoying shooting with the Fuji X-pro1 and X100. RAW file support seems it will take a while as the Fuji X-Pro1 files are a pain to decode and Fuji has released no information about the sensor to developers. Presently only the included Silkypix can read the RAW files. Silkypix really makes one appreciate every other raw converter on the market, even Lightroom 4 feels fast. The in-camera jpegs are of very high quality, so it’s not a major issue for me, raw support will come.
UPDATE 30 May — Adobe have now released updates for Lightroom and Camera Raw that support the X-Pro1 raw files. A quick test of Lightroom 4.1 and it looks good (UPDATE: no it does not!), detailed, crisp and sharp decoding of the X-Pro1 raw files.
UPDATE 5 JUNE —I need glasses. Adrian Seah points out in the comments below, the Lightroom support for the X-pro1 must have been coded in 10 minutes before the release. It sucks. Well, it works, but it omits all fine details to the point of making images look like paintings. Silkypix in comparison, has much better detail. Oh well, Silkypix it is then :/
Some major improvements on the X100 are a lot less shutterlag to the point of it not being noticeable for me. Much faster autofocus. Exposure compensation wheel is so annoying on the X100 but much better on the X-Pro1. The Q button is a nice feature. On the pre-prod model I kept accidentally hitting the Q button but I haven’t yet on my prod model. If you use the automatic metering it still (like the X100) overexposes (for my liking) by 1/2 to a full stop. I keep the EV at -2/3 at least. I have discovered some nice little tricks which I’ll cover in a later blog post.
Really love how I now have a small lightweight high quality kit, with amazing optical viewfinders making me feel very connected to the scene, with awesome image quality and spectacular lenses. The 35mm (50mm equivalent) at f/1.4 is brilliant, Lulu the dog below (a perfect model as far as staying still) is shot at f/1.4.
These are some of my first snapshots with the Fuji X-pro1, from processed in-camera jpegs. Not that it matters what camera was used, and the images are not much but as a test they confirmed that I made the right choice, having so much fun with this small lightweight black box. More to come.
Hi Flemming, sounds like the two of you are bonding well, I look forward to hearing a lot more about your adventures with the camera… I have arranged to borrow one when I return to Perth so I am looking forward to that.
I’m still in the UK and finally the sun has come out which is lovely – I’m having great fun with the OMD and like you find these smaller cameras a joy to use. I’ll still have to keep the Canons for a bit yet but all my personal work is with the OMD or M9…
Was thinking about you last night as I watched a great Danish TV show called Den som dræber… It’s a really well made show blows 99% of the US TV away.
Have fun with the Fuji…
“small lightweight black box.”
Me! Pick me!!
I enjoyed reading your account of your experiences with the X-Pro1, mine were very similar, also selling my 5D2 to fund it. Like you, I felt the 5D2 was a great and versatile camera but for travel/documentary/leisure photography, it was just too darn heavy and ‘serious’ looking. I’ve been enjoying my X-Pro1 (also usually set to -1/3 – -2/3 EV). Check out some of my pics at http://handcarryonly.com
Looking forward to seeing more photos from you!
Thanks very much. Lightroom 4.1 was just released, reads the X-Pro1 raw files so that is great news for us.
The conversion results are quite disappointing at the moment, are you shooting RAW yet?
I recently shot 2 pictures that were overexposed (I forgot to tweak the ISO) that would have been saved if I had shot RAW but because I shot jpg, they’re beyond saving. bummer.
Still awaiting decent RAW support (in Aperture especially!)
Hello Adrian. Yes I am shooting RAW, have since day 1 as I set the camera to jpeg+raw. The conversions from Silkypix and Lightroom 4.1 look fine to me. But then I hate pixel peeping, that is not what photography is about for me. Perhaps shoot jpeg+raw, that way you have the raws handy for when your converter of choice supports the X-pro1.
Thanks for the quick reply!
I’m no pixel peeper either, but the current LR 4.1 conversion is so noticeably bad that I can notice the difference even when not at 100%.I’m reluctant to go the Silkypix route as I’m trying to avoid having to generate huge tiffs. I’m eating up hard drives quickly enough as it is 🙂
So for me, a revamped RAW support can’t come soon enough.
I have been so busy selling my book the past two weeks I must admit to having only used LR4.1 for a few hours…so now I just did a bit of pixel peeping actually (arrgh) 🙂 You’re right. LR4.1 omits all fine details to the point of the raw file looking like an painting. Silkypix shows infinitely more details in fabrics and similar things. Oh well, Silkypix it is then until LR gets better. Actually I am so so annoyed by how slow LR4 is that if Capture One nails the Xpro1 conversion at some point, I might switch over. Or learn to love Silkypix 🙂 I only do very basic adjustments to my raw files anyway, white balance, vibrancy, slight curve, that’s it.
Thanks for the helpful comments!
just updated my blog post as well, thanks mate!
Thanks! Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they come up with a revised version soon … as for Aperture, I’m not as hopeful as Apple seems to have all but abandoned pro users, preferring to sell more iPhones and iPads instead 🙁
Did you try putting the RAW image back in the camera and then using the camera to generate a new JPEG. It can handle -1 to +3 EV as well as a few other adjustments. Of course this is awkward if fixing many images, but it’s not bad for a couple. Most people don’t even realize that you have the option to reprocess your RAW images in camera.
Nice to se i’m not the only one in Copenhagen with a fuji x 1 pro. I have heard that Capture one will be able to convert raw files from the fuji…. sounds nice.
I use lightroom myself, but I am not to happy about version 4.
This morning I had to develop 250 images from the Xpro1 in LR4 …now waiting for the export. Lightroom 4 is terrible, so so slow, and the Xpro1 raw decoding sucks too, I am switching to Capture One as soon as they come out with Xpro1 support.
I’ve really love my X-Pro1 and I’m waiting for C1-Support as well. By then I use the excellent jpegs and keep the raws for better times.
In case I want to adjust the white-balance I use C1 on the JPEGs. In almost all cases this works quite fine.
Hi Harald. I have kinda become used to developing the RAWs in LR4 but I still resent it. So slow and crappy engine. Phase one, get on it.
right now I’m not pretty sure that Fuji will hear our prayers and provide sufficient support to the S/W vendors. I’ve just had a disappointing mail x-change with those guys from fuji-HQ. They told me that they provided “all the information” to Adobe and you know what we’ve got so far. In my opinion Fuji should give their algorithms to Phase One and Adobe (or better make it open source) or deliver a native Photoshop-Plugin at least.
So far I calmed my frustration by writing an open letter to Fuji regarding this issue (http://www.face-of-earth.com/?p=252). I would be glad if you could join in.
Hi Harald, great letter, thanks heaps for the great effort. I hope Fuji listen. They have made a great camera, but seem a bit clueless in some areas.