Dear Streethunters.net Readers,
It is time for another camera review for Street Photography! This will be the 3rd camera review we have done so far. In the past we have written a review about the wonderful Ricoh GR for Street Photography and the powerful Canon 6D for Street Photography. Both those reviews are highly recommended because they are from a Street Photographer’s perspective.
Today, we will review a camera that was talked about by many when it first hit the market. Some praised it for what it had to offer, others gave it a serious beating because of its really bad AF performance. There are numerous reviews about it all over the web, and countless YouTube videos and tutorials on how to get best results from its focusing system. Despite any quirks this camera may have it is still a wonderful work of engineering that produces some of the most amazing files one could hope for. Today we review the Fujifilm X-Pro1.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 for Street Photography
As with the previous reviews we wrote, this review is going to be from a Street Photographer’s perspective. It is a completely personal point of view. I am not a camera expert – anything I know about cameras is from personal experience, as I am not a professional camera guru. So, what you will read below is purely my personal opinion about the Fujifilm X-Pro1 for Street Photography and nothing more.
ATTENTION: This is going to be a review about the camera body only, not the camera body and the XF18mm F2.0 R lens that you see attached in the photos. I plan to write separate reviews about X-Mount lenses in the future.
If you would like me to add anything to this post after you have read it, please feel free to make suggestions in the comments at the bottom of the page. During this review I will discuss the X-Pro1’s size & weight (portability), build quality, handling, performance, features, low light performance, image quality and value.
Size & Weight = Portability
The Fujifilm X-Pro1’s dimensions are 139.5 x 81.8 x 42.5 mm (5.5 x 3.2 x 1.7 in.) and weighs 450g (15.9 oz.) including the battery and the memory card. So it isn’t as small as a compact camera but not as big as a DLSR. Surprisingly, when I held it in my hands for the first time I remember that it felt much smaller than what I thought it would when I looked at it in magazines and on various online reviews. In the streets it is unobtrusive and when it is noticed it is usually mistaken for a vintage film camera. Particularly when equipped with a small lens, such as the XF27mm F2.8 pancake or the XF18mm F2.0 R, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 manages to pass unnoticed, making Street Photography a pleasant experience.
The Fuji’s weight isn’t annoying and sometimes when I am totally in the zone, I don’t feel it hanging from my neck at all! Fortunately Fujifilm does provide a moderately good kit camera strap that is quite comfortable. When I am not using the X-Pro1 it lives inside my Camslinger around my waist. Its weight doesn’t annoy me, unless I have to run.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 body is made from die-cast aluminium alloy. The dials on the top part of the camera body are metal and feel perfect to the touch. They have a lovely mechanical feel just as I like and are not flimsy. The buttons and dials on the back are of very high quality plastic that make the camera feel like an expensive piece of kit. The optical viewfinder glass is amazingly sharp and of the highest quality. The X-Mount itself is made from metal. I couldn’t find what kind of metal, but it feels very sturdy when I attach lenses to it. The LCD is a 3.0-inch RGBW (White) LCD monitor with 1,230,000 dots that offers 100% coverage. The LCD screen is of good quality. Overall, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a professionally built camera that feels like it can take some heat if needed.
One of the reasons why the Fujifilm X-Pro1 became so widely talked about when it first came out in 2012 was because it handled well. This camera is such a breeze to use, especially for someone with a basic understanding of how a camera works. For anyone with previous experiences with older film cameras, the layout of the X-Pro1 becomes instantly recognisable and feels very familiar. Personally I felt right at home once I got my hands on it and set it up to my liking. Now, I hit the streets with it and don’t have to use a single menu. I control my camera using the top dials and the aperture ring on the lens, while my LCD is constantly turned off, unless of course I need to compose from a rat’s eye view point. I have used many cameras in my life, but for me, this one is just excellent.
The X-Pro1 has a large X-Trans 16MP CMOS sensor with primary colour filter. Image quality will be looked at in detail further on. When the Fujifilm X-Pro1 was first released it felt as if it was a beta version camera. Even though its IQ was amazing and its handling was great, it lacked good AF, to the point where it was actually pretty annoying. But as you might have heard before, Fujifilm really listens to its customers and since then has released many major firmware upgrades that have literally transformed the X-Pro1 into a totally new and different camera! The AF speed has improved dramatically and various features have been added that were missing. However, even after the upgrades one can’t claim that the AF is lightning fast, but it is fast enough to work on the Streets with. Personally, I use AF rarely. I use zone focusing or hyperfocal distance 90% of the time.
By using zone focusing I know what will be in focus and I save tremendous time when clicking the shutter button. As a standard I usually mount the XF18mm F2.0 R (27mm equivalent) lens to my X-Pro1 and set the aperture to f8.0. I then chose a focus distance of 2m, that gives me a hyperfocal distance from 1m to infinity. That way I am sure that everything I capture from 1m onwards is always in focus. As I did with the Ricoh GR, I set my shutter speed manually and set ISO to auto. That way I always get a good exposure while at the same time I control my camera myself. For performance I will rate the X-Pro1 with a 7 because of the Auto Focusing it has, even though for me personally this isn’t important at all.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a camera with a fair amount of features that makes it ideal for most types of photography. For Street Photography its feature set is more than enough. It offers 7 custom presets that can be setup according to one’s needs, it has exposure compensation, exposure and focus lock options, and a rich and comprehensive menu filled with interesting options. One particular feature makes it stand out amongst others is that of the hybrid viewfinder that lets a Street Photographer switch between an EVF (Electronic View Finder) and a highly sophisticated OVF (Optical View Finder). The OVF is an engineering marvel. All the information that one would ever need is overlaid over the OVF just like in the X100s. According to Fujifilm the Optical viewfinder is a Reverse Galilean viewfinder with electronic bright frame display and Magnifications of 0.37x and 0.6x, while the Electronic viewfinder is a 0.47-in. colour LCD viewfinder display with approximately 1,440,000 dots making it bright enough for an enjoyable experience. I noticed that the EVF does have a slight lag when in low light especially, but the OVF is a truly fantastic experience once mastered. The camera has no WiFi and no Tilting screen. It has no weather sealing and does buffer when shooting many photos one after the other, but as a Street Photographer’s tool, it is more than capable to face any surprise the street might happen to throw at it. I would like to give it a better rating than 7, but because it lacks some really standard modern features, that is what it will get.
Low light performance
There is not really much I can say about the Low Light Performance of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 other than it rocks! Even at 6400 ISO, RAW files are easily usable and JPG files look great. I have never found myself in a situation where the X-Trans 16MP CMOS sensor couldn’t cope in low light and believe me I shoot night Street Photography most of the time. The image noise even in colour looks very filmic and is pleasing to the eye. There are no noticeable unpleasant image artefacts, at least not to a point where the images are considered of low quality. Just crank that ISO up to 6400 and shoot at anything wider than f 2.8 and you are good to go! When shooting in RAW the X-Pro1 will go all the way up to 6400 ISO, whereas in JPG mode the camera can go up to 25600. I recommend shooting at up to 6400 ISO in both formats. Compared to the Ricoh GR that also has an APS-C sensor, it performs better in low light.
The X-Trans 16MP CMOS APS-C sensor of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 offers fantastic Image Quality that can only be rivalled by the newer generation X-Trans II APS-C sensor in my opinion. I have shot with many APS-C cameras, but I have never experienced the quality that the X-Trans sensor delivers before. Colours are fantastic and details of the photographs produced are stunning. Also, the X-Trans 16MP CMOS sensor produces lovely filmic results that make the images pop as if they were shot with a full frame camera. Pair that with the amazing Fujifilm glass that is of the highest quality and you get stunning results. As an APS-C sized sensor camera I award the X-Pro1 with 10 points.
When the X-Pro1 first came out in 2012 it wasn’t the best camera at its price range. Considering the features it initially shipped with and the AF performance it had it was overpriced. Yes, the Image Quality has always been of the highest quality and the build of the camera is professional grade, but the features were lacking and that Auto Focus was a true test of character for some. Fast forward to today though, after 3 years and 14 Firmware updates (YES 14!), the X-Pro1 is a brand new camera that has nothing to envy from its rivals. But that isn’t all. The price of the X-Pro1 body is quite low and can be found new for as low as €450 on some websites! I know this is a 3 year old camera, but after all the updates it feels like a bargain to me.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a Street Photographer’s camera. It makes fantastic images of the highest quality, performs great in low light, handles like a dream, it is unobtrusive and comes at a really good price. It is comfortable and it sports an amazing Hybrid Viewfinder. Its Auto Focus might not be the best in the world, but when shooting in the Streets it is almost always better to shoot using zone focusing or hyperfocal distance so for me the average AF speed is not a real issue.
Its build quality is professional grade and its features are more than enough to satisfy even the most demanding Street Photographer. When used properly the X-Pro1 battery can last for hours on end. I use it with the OVF only and the LCD screen turned off. I get a whole 16GB SD card of RAW and JPG files out of one battery charge. The LCD and EVF are the real battery drainers, so if those are not used, the camera can last for hours.
Would I recommend it? Yes I would! It is a 3 year old camera body packed with 2015 software that now comes at a very affordable price and still delivers one of the best (if not the best) APS-C Image Quality results on the market. I purchased my Fujifilm X-Pro1 in January for under €900 including the XF27mm and the XF18mm lenses that cost somewhere around €900 together. This package still exists on Amazon.co.uk. It is a Fujifilm UK special offer. I will link to it below.
If you want to know more about the Fujifilm X-Pro1, just ask me in the comments. If you would like me to share with you my personal settings, I will gladly do so. All you have to do is ask and I will deliver.
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!
Do you want to buy the Fujifilm X-Pro1?
As you know we are affiliated with Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, so if you would like to buy the Fujifilm X-Pro1 from one of these e-shops, please support us by using the links provided below:
- Buy the Fujifilm X-Pro1 Digital Camera (16MP) with APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor (Body only) on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Fujifilm X-Pro1 Digital Camera with XF18mm and XF27mm Lens (16MP, APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor) 3 inch LCD on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 16MP Digital Camera with APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor (Body Only) on Amazon.com
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!