Fujifilm X-Pro1 Review

Inside Fuji’s first compact system camera (CSC), the Fuji X-Pro1, is a 16.3 million pixel X-Trans CMOS that produces images of up to 15.89MP. This means that when images are printed at 300ppi, they are just a small fraction short of full A3 size – ideal for most enthusiast photographers. Although this sensor is APS-C sized, Fuji claims that its cunning design enables the XPro1 to produce images that are superior to a full-frame camera‘s. The secret is in the arrangement of the pixels.

Unlike most cameras that use a Bayer pattern of red, green, green and blue receptors (usually referred to as RGGB) arranged in a 2 x 2 grid, the X-Trans CMOS device uses a 6 x 6 RGGB filter array pattern, with a random arrangement of colour filters within each block of 36 photoreceptors. Fuji claims this avoids the issue of moiré patterning, which can occur as a result of the fine grid structure that makes up the average Bayer pattern sensor. As a result, the Fuji XPro1 isn’t fitted with an anti-aliasing filter, which means it should be able to produce sharper images from the outset.

Unlike most cameras that use a Bayer pattern of red, green, green and blue receptors (usually referred to as RGGB) arranged in a 2 x 2 grid, the X-Trans CMOS device uses a 6 x 6 RGGB filter array pattern, with a random arrangement of colour filters within each block of 36 photoreceptors. Fuji claims this avoids the issue of moiré patterning, which can occur as a result of the fine grid structure that makes up the average Bayer pattern sensor. As a result, the Fuji XPro1 isn’t fitted with an anti-aliasing filter, which means it should be able to produce sharper images from the outset.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 (Specs)

  • Depth1.7 in
  • Sensor Resolution16.3 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor TypeX-Trans CMOS
  • Effective Sensor Resolution16300000 pixels
  • Optical Sensor SizeAPS-C (15.6 x 23.6 mm)
  • Sensor Dust ReductionYes
  • Sensor FeaturesDust Reduction (image sensor vibration)
  • Image ProcessorEXR Processor Pro

The Fuji X-Pro1 is the brand’s first interchangeable lens camera since the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, which dates from September 2006. While the S5 Pro is a DSLR that accepts Nikon F-mount lenses, the Fuji X-Pro1 is a compact system camera debuting Fuji’s X mount.

To coincide with the release of the X-Pro1, Fuji has introduced three compatible XF lenses; the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R, XF 35mm f/1.4 R and XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro, these have a focal length equivalent to 27mm, 53mm and 91mm optics on a full-frame camera. Traditionalists will love the fact that each of these lenses has an aperture ring for adjusting exposure. Similarly, the top plate of the camera has a shutter speed dial to set the shutter velocity in whole stops running from 1/4000 to 1 second. There are also Time and Bulb options on the shutter rate dial, with the first enabling exposure to be set to 2-30sec in steps of 1/3EV and the latter enabling manually timed exposures up to 60 minutes.

Check Fujifilm X-Pro1 Price

Fujifilm X-Pro 1 16MP Digital Camera with APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor (Body Only)
  • 16.3MP APS-C "X-Trans" CMOS sensor
  • 6 frames per second continuous shooting, not suggested for moving objects
  • 49-area contrast detection AF system

Both the aperture lens rings and the shutter speed dial have an A (Automatic) setting. Setting both to A puts the camera in program mode, while setting only one or the other to A selects aperture or shutter priority mode. There are no scene modes, but the Fuji X-Pro1 isn’t designed to attract novice photographers who need to use them. In manual exposure mode (when the photographer sets both dials to anything other than A), the correct exposure can be judged using the scale on the left side of the viewfinder and LCD. In other modes this level indicates the exposure compensation. As a compact system digital camera, the Fuji X-Pro1 has no reflex mirror to bounce light into the viewfinder, but, like the Fuji FinePix X100, it has a hybrid viewfinder that combines a direct optical viewfinder (OVF) with an electronic viewfinder (EVF).

A small lever on the front of the camera enables the user to switch between the two finders – more of these later. Images may also be composed on the 3-inch 1,230,000-dot LCD screen on the back of the camera. This is one of the highest resolution camera screens around, but unlike the units on many recent CSCs, it’s not touch-sensitive.

Another consequence of there being no mirror in the Fuji X-Pro1 is that it has a contrast detection autofocus system rather than a phase detection system.

There are a total of 49 individually selectable AF points arranged in a 7 x 7 grid across the image frame. Helpfully, the size of these points can be quickly adjusted (there are five options) using the command dial near the thumb rest, so if you need more precision it takes just a second or two to achieve it. Fujifilm has a history of making film, so it’s hardly surprising that the company is underlining this in its latest camera in the form of Film Simulation modes.

In total there are 10 of these modes, with names such as Provia (the standard JPEG setting), Velvia, Astia, Pro Neg H and Pro Neg S ringing bells with photographers who started shooting on film.

No CSC would be complete without video technology, and the Fuji X-Pro1 can shoot Full HD (1920 x 1080pixels) movies up to 29 minutes long at 24fps and with stereo sound.

While in many ways the Fuji X-Pro1 looks and feels like a traditional rangefinder camera with the addition of an LCD screen, it has just about all the features you respect from a modern digital camera. These include a virtual horizon display to help keep shots level, plenty of control over white balance, a range of bracketing options, dynamic range optimisation settings and a motion panorama mode.

The only really noticeable absence is a built-in flash, but there is a hotshoe to accept flashguns such as Fuji’s EF-20 TTL or the larger EF-42 TTL.

Fujifilm X-Pro1: In-depth Specifications

  • Sensor: 16.3 MP (1.5x crop factor), 4.8µ pixel size
  • Sensor Size: 23.6 x 15.6mm
  • Resolution: 4896 x 3264
  • Native ISO Sensitivity: 200-6,400
  • Boost Low ISO Sensitivity: 100
  • Boost High ISO Sensitivity: 12,800-25,600
  • Sensor Cleaning System: Yes
  • Lens mount: FUJIFILM X mount
  • Weather Sealing/Protection: No
  • Body Build: Full Magnesium Alloy
  • Shutter: Up to 1/4000 and 30 sec exposure
  • Shutter Control: Focal Plane Shutter
  • Storage: 1x SD slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC compatible)
  • Viewfinder Type: Hybrid Multi Viewfinder with 100% coverage in Electronic mode
  • Speed: 6 FPS
  • Exposure Meter: TTL 256-zones metering
  • Built-in Flash: No
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Manual Focus: Yes
  • LCD Screen: 3 inch diagonal with 1,230,000 dots
  • Movie Modes: Full 1080p HD @ 24 fps max
  • Movie Exposure Control: Full
  • Movie Recording Limit: 29 minutes
  • Movie Output: MOV (H.264)
  • GPS: No
  • Battery Type: NP-W126
  • Battery Life: 300 shots, 900 in power save mode
  • USB Standard: 2.0
  • Weight: 400g (excluding battery)

Fujifilm X-Pro1: Performance

Perhaps the best way to sum up the image quality from the Fuji X-Pro1 is to say that images have a film-like quality. It’s a hard thing to define, but at normal viewing sizes images look natural and not overly digital. There’s smooth graduation of focus, and out of concentrate areas look naturally soft.

Meanwhile, in-focus areas of low sensitivity images have plenty of detail. There’s not quite the same level of fine detail that we’ve seen from full-frame DSLRs, but it really isn’t that far off, and moiré patterning doesn’t seem to be an issue, despite the lack of an anti-aliasing filter. Zooming into JEPG pictures reveals that strong edges are over-sharpened and the best results (as usual) are achieved by processing raw images post-capture. The native sensitivity ranges run from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, but ISO 12,800 and 25,600 are available as JPEG only options. These top values are best kept for emergency only as the results suffer from oversharpening, presumably in an attempt to correct the softening created by the noise reduction.

At ISO 3200 and 6400 the X-Pro 1 produces respectable outcomes, JPEG images have little sign of colour noise and luminance sound isn’t obtrusive. However, some out of focus details can look a little smudgy at 100% on the computer screen, so if large prints or selective enlargements are required it’s best to stick to lower sensitivity settings if possible.

Low sensitivity images have lots of detail and the very best results are attained by processing natural files with reduced noise reduction and bespoke sharpening.

Fuji supplies SilkyPix software for processing raw files, and while this provides a comprehensive range of tools, it doesn’t feel especially tailored towards the camera. We found that the standard Film Simulation mode, Provia, is a good option for many situations, and Velvia will be good for boosting colours, although spring grass looks unnaturally vibrant.

As with most cameras, the basic Monochrome option makes fairly muddy-looking pictures that benefit from a contrast boost.

While it’s fun to use the Film Simulation bracketing option to record three shots with different looks, we were just a little disappointed to discover that only JPEGs are recorded and there isn’t an unprocessed natural file available, even if the camera was originally set to report raw files. On the whole, the auto white balance system does a good job of getting colours as they should be, but it struggles a little in warm lighting indoors.

This can be addressed by setting a custom white balance value, but unfortunately, the option is located on the second page of the main menu. It would be nice if it could be accessed via the Quick menu.

Verdict

The X-Pro1 features a newly designed 16 megapixel CMOS sensor whose colour filter array introduces a higher degree of Fujifilm X-Pro1 randomness of its pixel-units than a more conventional sensor. This new array has allowed Fuji to dispense with the optical low pass filter (also known as an anti-aliasing filter) found on virtually every digital camera and used to deal with moire and false colours. In very general terms, moire will sometimes occur in captured images consisting of a subject composed of a repeating pattern – the camera sensor adds a second design that overlaps the first, producing a third pattern that is the moire.

Check Out FujiFilm X-Pro1 Price
Fujifilm X-Pro 1 16MP Digital Camera with APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor (Body Only)
  • 16.3MP APS-C "X-Trans" CMOS sensor
  • 6 frames per second continuous shooting, not suggested for moving objects
  • 49-area contrast detection AF system

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