I have ben watching Fujifilm X series cameras for a while now. There’s a lot of raving about how good they are and I mostly took this as being marketing hype. So when a friend was selling his X-Pro1 I jumped at the chance to play with it for a while. Needless to say, I’ve not returned it.
What I noticed after my first shooting session with it was the 35mm lens is absolutely gorgeous. I have also bought the 18mm recently and also love the results I get from that. Both lenses are by far the best I’ve used in their equivalent focal lengths.
I’ve always had a soft-spot for (film) cameras that are purely mechanical with no electronics in them. There’s something magical about knowing that once you’ve set aperture, shutter speed and focus distance there is nothing to get the way of firing the shutter. This camera is the closest I’ve come to this experience with a digital camera. Once you set it the way you want it, it just gets out of the way and let you shoot. No interference.
There are some negative aspects to this camera. The biggest being the software support for the raw Fujifilm X-Trans raw format. The files produced by the camera are large (25MB), this equates to slower write times and a lot more disk space needed. The X-Trans sensor uses a 6×6 array of pixels, whereas a conventional bayer sensor uses 2×2. This means the algorithms which perform the de-mosaicing are nine times more complex. Hence they take a little longer to process and make your computer run hotter. This has caused me to shoot less and process slower. I’m actually finding that this is a benefit as I spend very little time deleting and I’m now more contemplative when processing the images.
DxO does not support the X series at all. I was a bit disappointed about this at first, but now after using the camera for a while its not a bad thing. This is because the images don’t require sharpening to look natural and the lenses as so good that they don’t really warrant corrections. Luckily, the raw support provided by Apple works really well so I’m happily processing photos with Aperture. I know the Adobe tools also support the X series, but I’m not that kind of munta who uses Adobe software on raw files.
This has now become my main camera. I’m now selling off all of my micro-four-thirds equipment so I can get the 56mm lens and also another body. Whilst far from being a perfect camera, it does work they way I like to which is why it is the only camera I tend to use these days.