Fujifilm X-Pro1 Digital Interchangeable Lens Camera Review

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, September 2012
Manufactured by: Fujifilm
Requires: An interest in good photography and the rangefinder camera form factor
MSRP: US$1699.00, CAN$1699.00, 1199.00 UKP, 1599,00 Euro

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The Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital interchangeable lens camera features a 16.3 megapixel Fuji X-Trans CMOS image sensor coupled to the latest Fujifilm processor, a superb dynamic range, excellent high ISO noise performance, professional quality controls and handling, extremely accurate autofocus, Fujifilm's pioneering hybrid viewfinder, and all in a rangefinder-style body that is about as solid as anything you'll find outside the Leica factory. The camera is a handful, but feels (and is) so solidly built that gripping, handling and controlling it should come naturally to almost anyone who picks it up. Battery and SD card slot access is on the bottom plate, through the usual sort of locking door. Each end of the camera has a full size, stainless steel lug post for mounting a good quality strap. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 uses the new Fuji X-mount lens system, but adapters are now available from Fuji and Novoflex which give you access to Nikon, Canon and Leica autofocus and manual focus lenses in addition to the Fujifilm lenses. Fujifilm released three, excellent quality, fast X-mount lenses at the same time as it released the X-Pro1 - 18mm f/2 prime, 35mm f/1.4 prime, and a 60mm f/2.4 macro prime. As this review is being published, Fujifilm is getting read to released its X-mount 18-55mm f/2.4-4.0 zoom. With the initial lens lineup in place, it's clear enough that Fujifilm believes that the X-Pro1 is ideal for landscape and street photographers. The X-Pro1 sensor is an APS-C size, so the lens offer angles of view equivalent to 27mm (for the 18mm prime), 51.5mm (for the 35mm prime), 90mm (for the 60mm macro prime), and 27-84.5mm (for the 18-55 zoom). For street shooters like me, it's an ideal lens collection.

The rear LCD is top-notch at 1.2 megapixels, so image review, settings and exposure information are clearly displayed. The remarkable Fujifilm hybrid multi-viewfinder, first introduced in the Fujifilm X100 in late 2010, is present and improved in the X-Pro1. The viewfinder provides several modes: pure optical which automatically adjusts depending on the prime lens you've mounted, optical with a digital information overly, full electronic (EVF) , and eye-sensor triggered (lower the camera and the rear LCD comes on, raise the camera to your eye and viewfinder turns on). The X-Pro1 also features a high-definition movie mode that captures either 1920 x 1080 pixels or 1280 x 720 pixels (24 frames/sec) with stereo sound. Individual movies can not exceed 29 minutes in length.



The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is packed with features that help make the camera stand out.

  • Fuji X-Trans CMOS Image Sensor - Fujifilm has worked closely with the sensor engineers and fabricators to create a real gem, so image quality is as good as we've ever seen from any APS-C-based camera, which is to say excellent
  • Hybrid Viewfinder - Choose between optical w/information overlay, pure EVF, pure rangefinder, eyesensor automatic switching between rear LCD and viewfinder, but all modes are excellent
  • Rangefinder Style Body - It feels right, looks right, provides some weather resistance and works well
  • Accurate Autofocus - The v2 firmware update makes the highly accurate system quite fast as well
  • Controls, Controls, Controls - Shutter speed, aperture (on the lenses - hooray!), ISO, white balance and exposure compensation are all at your fingertips, all in addition to the detailed configuration system in the Menu
  • Large, Detailed LCD - A big, color-accurate, scratch-resistant rear LCD for shot review, video playback, and live view focusing
  • Battery That Lasts - Not the very best we've seen overall, but one of the best in this type of smaller-size battery so you can shoot all day
  • Lens Support - A great new camera without top quality lenses, just won't produce technically accurate photos, but Fujifilm has released three fast primes (one of which is a macro) as well as a new, fast, standard zoom, and adapters are now available for use with Canon, Leica and Nikon glass
  • Intuitively Usable - The X-Pro1 feels and operates as though it was designed by experienced photographers
  • Weather Resistance - A bit of weather sealing goes a long way toward expanding your sense of when it's safe to get out and shoot


The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a street photographer's dream - almost. The only thing I'm waiting for is a high quality zoom lens for the X-Pro1, and Fujifilm says a standard zoom, built to X-Pro1 standards (excellent quality that is), f/2.8-4.0, should hit store shelves in November 2012.

People forget (or never knew) that Fujifilm was producing superb digital SLR camera bodies with Nikon F-mounts for quite a few years. The Fujifilm S1 was a very good, professional SLR. Fujifilm has also been producing a long series of highly-rated point & shoot cameras and superzoom consumer cameras for many years. My point is that Fujifilm knows how to design cameras.

Still image quality is nothing short of stellar, and ranks at the top of the heap with the very best APS-C digital SLR cameras including the Canon 7D, Nikon D7000 and Sony a77. Dynamic range in all sorts of high contrast indoor and outdoor lighting conditions that would have blown out or blacked out most such shots only a few years ago, are handled brilliantly by the X-Pro1. It's evident that the days of high dynamic range (HDR) multiple shot blending (and the resulting artificial look) are rapidly coming to an end, something which can't happen too soon in our opinion. Movie capture quality can also be very good - albeit not quite the remarkable quality of the camera's still image capture capabilities. Beware also that even mirrorless, high-end cameras like the X-Pro1 aren't really substitutes for a casual, cheap camcorder. Quite the opposite, to get the best movie quality out of the X-Pro1 you really need to stabilize the camera on a solid tripod and then make use of the excellent X-mount Fujifilm lenses to plan shots, take advantage of shallower depth of field to isolate your subjects, and ensure that lighting is optimal. The camera's default H.264 (MOV format) movie files are handled accurately by all the main consumer and professional video editors we tried including Premier Elements 10, Pinnacle Studio 15, and a variety of other programs.

Using and handling the Fujifilm X-Pro1 takes a bit of practice before it starts to feel natural, at least for photographers and videographers who have been using the bulkier digital SLR camera bodies for years. The feel and the security of your grip initially seems somewhat unfamiliar. After a few hours use, and some attitude adjustments, grabbing the camera, aiming, composing and focusing starts to feel completely natural. The point is that Fujifilm has done an excellent job of designing a serious camera that shortly after you start using it seems to just get out of your way.


The Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera is expensive. It's also a winner. If you absolutely have to get that rangefinder form factor and configuration in your hands, the camera won't ever let you down. It is technically capable of capturing astonishingly good photos. The only thing standing between you and that sort of image quality is you. It's an expensive photo maker, but an excellent one. Buy the camera with the intention of initially being patient enough to work with it, getting to know its capabilities and the approach to its design. You'll be rewarded with great photos for your efforts I think.

Cons: The SD card slot adjacent to the battery compartment on the bottom of the camera is awkward to access because the slot door only opens 90 degrees. We had to figure out a kind of two-finger grip on the sides of the SD card to help line it up for insertion, and a perfectly perpendicular push & release to remove the card. A firmware update (v2) was released on September 12, 2012 and you are well-advised to download and install it in order to resolve slow SD card write speed, slow AF is some situations, among other bugs fixes.

Eye-relief (also called "Eyepoint") is too short. Eye-relief refers to how far away your eye can be from full-press contact with the viewfinder eyecup and still be able to see the full composition and displayed exposure information in the viewfinder. Eyeglass wearers will not be completely happy, because your eye needs to be in contact with the eyecup to get a 100% view. I wear glasses, so when I wander around with my own X-Pro1 I attach a tether to my glasses so that I can take them off without having to hold them while I compose and shoot. Take the hint.

While we're on the subject of the viewfinder, note that the X-Pro1 does not have a diopter adjustment. It's a weird omission. Even entry-level digital SLR bodies have a viewfinder diopter adjustment. Anyway, I discovered that any screw-in Nikon F3 or later diopter eyepiece will perfectly fit the X-Pro1. Most serious camera stores have a plastic box in the back of the store that is full of old F-series eyepieces, so you'll only have to spend a few dollars/pounds/euros if you need one. They can also be purchased online from B&H Photo Video, and many other reliable and professional sources.

The rear control pad selector buttons and wheel are far too sensitive. An odd shooting angle or, sometimes, only the slightest pressure can activate one of the buttons. It takes practice and a conscious awareness of the position of the control pad in relation to your grip and stance for a particular shot to avoid accidentally activating the macro selection, flash mode button and so on. I needed a few days of regular use to get used to the mechanical quirks, button locations and control locations to begin smoothly using the camera.

Pros: What a camera. Despite my whining above about the v1 firmware autofocus speed, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 has accurate autofocus. The v2 firmware update eliminated some of the camera's usability quirks, and improved autofocus speed and SD card write speed so much that the X-Pro1 shooting performance now ranks, in our opinion, with the very best APS-C cameras from any maker. The full viewfinder grid of focus points is very, very accurate and I was able to nail a variety of difficult focus targets at the outer edges of the frame that only the Canon 7D, Nikon D7000 and Sony a77 nailed as easily (but note that the X-Pro1 can't match the low light autofocus or cross-point AF sensor performance of those top APS-C bodies). Image quality is stellar - there's not much that Fujifilm doesn't know about image processing. The APS-C sensor, hybrid viewfinder and the autofocus system make it easy to create good photos. Fujifilm effectively pioneered the hybrid viewfinder, introducing it initially in the X100 fixed lens digital rangefinder about two years ago. The X-Pro1 has a new version of the hybrid viewfinder that is better still. Being able to switch instantly between the EVF, the optical view with digital information overlay (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc.), and the optical-only pure rangefinder view is a revelation about just how versatile and genuinely useful a viewfinder can be. You have to use it to truly appreciate it. Fujifilm is releasing a fast, high quality, standard zoom lens in October 2012 to fatten up the X-series lens lineup. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a wonderful camera, with a functional personality all it own. It's a professional quality camera capable of producing professional quality photos, very good high-definition video, from a company that has been around for generations. Highly recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



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