I’d been an x100 user for the past year, and was truly, truly excited when the rumors of the x-pro1 started cropping up.
In the past, I’ve used some of the equipment from the other camera manufacturers, namely – Nikon (the dSLRs), Sony (Alpha & the NEX), and Olympus (only the compact ones) — with none of them truly satisfying or enhancing my photographic experience. This is just my personal opinion, and although I was extremely happy with many of the photographic abilities of the above-mentioned and they served me very, very well, I just never felt like they were truly “complete”. Once I got hold of the x100, I felt like every photo had a sense of wonder. The quirks, the slow autofocus and the somewhat clunky menu didn’t matter that much, as the photos that it produced were truly a revelation to me.
I’m not a professional photographer, more close to being an enthusiast than anything. The following is just a hands-on experience that I would like to share with the other people who either already have the camera or are waiting for it (as I understand there are many questions that are yet to be answered — and I myself have many questions/discoveries to share!)
I managed to get the whole bundle for the x-pro1 (minus the ef-x20 as it’s still “on it’s way” to hong kong) just a few days ago. Basically, I have the following items:
– FUJIFILM X-Pro1 body
– FUJINON LENS XF18mmF2 R
– FUJINON LENS XF35mmF1.4 R
– FUJINON LENS XF60mmF2.4 R Macro
– Hand Grip HG-XPro1
– Leather Case LC-XPro1
– Shoe Mount Flash EF-X20 (waiting for shipment, should arrive by next week)
– 2 x Li-ion Battery NP-W126
– 3 x B+W UV Filter
My first impressions when I first held the x-pro1 body, was how light it was! It felt lighter than the x100 with more “space” inside. The x100 felt more compact and more metallic. I prefer the larger size of the x-pro1, it fits much better in my hands — and I like the substantial amount of mass more. However, it is definitely much, much better with the hand grip. The only gripe with the hand grip is the lack of access to the battery/SD card slot. The shutter speed dials and the exposure compensation dials are much firmer and don’t move as easily as the x100. I actually like the black color of the x-pro1, as I found that the silver/black of the x100 was a little distinct — but that’s just my opinion.
All the lenses feel nice and well made. They are light, but don’t feel “cheap”. However, my 35mm’s aperture ring is quite loose and there’s a tendency for it to drop to f16 whenever I’m changing lenses. That’s something I have to keep aware of — the aperture ring on the 18mm and the 60mm is a little tighter and doesn’t move so easily. The lens hoods are beautiful and feel great. They click into place and look fantastic. I also really like the rubber caps that the 18mm and the 35mm have for the lens hoods, helps to keep dirt away from the lens when the hood is attached and it looks great! Fuji even provided little dustbags/cloths that you can store the lenses in — a very nice touch I think!
One thing I have to highlight is the “chattering” of the aperture blades. This is extremely apparent in the 35mm, rather loud in the 18mm, but pretty quiet on the 60mm. The aperture blades on the x100 is nearly silent – like a “tick” sound. The 35mm has a very distinct “click” sound which is particularly loud when you are in an enclosed room. I suppose that since I’d been using the x100 for so long, I have to get use to the other sounds of the x-pro1. However the sound of the “click” is similar to those of the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 on my friend’s EP3. It’s just another sound to get used to I suppose.
In terms of sharpness, I find that the 18mm really pales in comparison to the 35mm and the 60mm. The 18mm edge sharpness is also lacking, I would just rate it as an average lens. The 35mm is pretty sharp, even at f1.4, however the 60mm is the one that really, really amazes me. I find that the detail it retains is amazing, and it’s really, really sharp especially from f5.6. You can see individual hairs and skin pores!
In terms of autofocusing — it’s definitely much faster than the x100. It’s not as fast as the Nikons or the Olympus, but much, much more usable. Do note that the lens will move in and out when hunting for focus. The motor is not that loud, but it is very distinct and can be heard on the video mode. I suppose the best bet in video mode is to set manual focus and leave it at that. Then again, I’m not much of a videographer so I’ll leave that to another person to comment on.
The battery life so far has been pretty good for me. I’ve taken at least 400+ photos and it is still at full charge. The extra battery is still kept in my bag and I haven’t taken it out yet. Good news, the battery charger fits the battery without any need for an attachment!
The menu system is slightly better, but I find that there’s ever a slight lag when viewing photos and sometimes selection some options in the menu. I also experienced this during the first version of the x100 firmware which was then rectified later on. I hope this will be fixed later in the firmware update, but it’s not much of an issue at this point.
The leather case is really nice, and the genuine smell of leather is gorgeous. However, the x-pro1 does not look good in it. It makes it clunkier and doesn’t accommodate the hand grip. I’m keeping that in the closet for now — the only thing i use is the circular leather case, where I store the extra lens caps or the body caps.
One problem I’ve found is that there’s one hot pixel that appears in my photos from iso200 at the same spot. This is only noticeable if I zoom it to 1:1, and I’ve tried taking the pictures with the lens covered at lowest based iso with varying shutter speeds. Funnily, the hot pixel disappears at shutter speeds of 1 second and above (noise reduction kicks in I suppose?) I’ve called fujifilm and they’ve said that I can send the camera in and they can repair it. But I don’t know if I should just keep the camera and live with the one hot pixel (?).
This is it for now, all in all, I truly like this camera very much – and am looking forward to the ultra wide-angle. The 18mm is an average lens, and I prefer something wider. Also, I’m looking forward to the flash — will post my thoughts on that once I receive it.
UPDATE: FujiFilm Hong Kong has been tremendously helpful with regards to the hot pixel defect and have provided me with a brand new camera. Kudos to them, and to the exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable technician! I have no regrets about investing into the FujiFilm system, that’s for sure.