Mar 192012
 

When a new camera is announced, the press release always makes it out to be flawless and the best thing since sliced bread. With the passage of time, reviews begin to appear and a more balanced view begins to emerge. Finally, the camera reaches the hands of early adopters – I mean people who have actually paid out hard earned money to buy the camera rather than photographers invited to try out the new product. With the latter, it is hard to know just how critical they can be about the product. Human nature being what it is, people are reluctant to pan something they have had free access to.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2012. All Rights Reserved.

When the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera was announced, its specifications on paper certainly impressed me – a camera with a hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinder, the former was a great plus; a compact retro design; three small prime lenses; Fujifilm-designed revolutionary 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor with no anti-aliasing filter; and a much improved menu from that in the X100.

Most important of all was the mention of an M-mount adapter. Fujifilm has yet to release this adapter but third-party manufacturers have wasted no time in bringing one to market. Such an adapter would allow the use of Zeiss ZM lenses, and you all know how fond I am of Zeiss lenses, as well as Leica M lenses.

The X-Pro1 seems to offer what the Ricoh A12 M-mount lacks, namely a built-in viewfinder; the option of using an optical viewfinder and a 16MP sensor.

Of the three newly-designed lenses for the X-Pr01 — Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R; Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4R; and Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro – the first two interested me the most. Given that the crop factor is 1.5, those lenses are the 35mm equivalent of 27mm, 52.5mm and 90mm respectively. The f/2 wide-angle lens would be faster than those offered by Zeiss and Voigtlander. The AF on the 35mm f/1.4 lens would be of great benefit to my ageing eyes.

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera was beginning to look good and ticked a great many of the boxes with regard to what I am looking for in a camera.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2012. All Rights Reserved.

At this point, I have to make it clear that I have never held an X-Pro1 let alone shot with one. The comments I am about to make are based on reviews I have read and comments posted by early adopters.

No one can argue that the image quality produced by the X-Pro1 is phenomenal, rivaling even full-frame cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark II. Fujifilm gets full marks for the design of the sensor and its new approach to sensor technology. In its review, What Digital Camera, gives the X-Pro1 a score of 20/20 for image quality. Some of the examples I have seen taken by enthusiasts have caused my jaw to drop in terms of the colour and clarity of the images.

The final product emerging from the X-Pro1 can look amazingly good but it is how that final product is achieved where things start to go a little awry.

The AF focus although adequate is described as slow and some users have found a degree of inconsistency. The AF also has a tendency to hunt, particularly in low light. While the AF is fine for static objects, in continuous AF mode it can only keep up with fairly slow-moving subjects.

The three lenses offer manual focus but it is manual focus by wire. Of greater concern is the difficulty in obtaining critical sharpness in both the OVF and EVF modes of the viewfinder. Unlike the Sony NEX range and Ricoh’s A12 M-mount, the X-Pro1 does not feature focus peaking. Fujifilm dropped the ball there and it is hoped it can be introduced with a firmware upgrade. With the lack of focus peaking, the X-Pro1 began to slip off my radar. Techradar’s review concludes by saying:

The hybrid viewfinder is also excellent, although it doesn’t work as well as we might hope when focusing manually.

Several posters on DPReview have also commented on the difficulty of manual focusing and also the EVF freezing when focus is attained. Basically that means the image taken when the shutter is fired is not the image seen in the EVF at the time of focus. That seems a bit of a handicap when it comes to portrait and street photography, two subject areas for which the X-Pro1 is designed.

I have not been overly impressed by the performance of the 18mm f/2 lens, particularly when shot wide open. The lens does not create a pleasant bokeh.

Some samples shot with the 35mm f/1.4 also display a harsh bokeh that deflects the eye from the main subject. The 35mm lens also suffers from “aperture chattering” as it attempts to achieve focus. I think I would find that annoying.

EV compensation is adjusted by a dial on the top of the camera, which offers convenient access but some people have reported accidentally moving this dial while using the camera.

The problem of write speeds is highlighted by Photography Blog. It states:

Shooting a single RAW + Fine JPEG takes about 8 seconds to record to the card, although thankfully you can take another shot almost straight away.

Although the reviews commend the X-Pro1 for being a solidly built camera, What Digital Camera did report that the black paint began to peel off after just a couple of days use. Given the camera body costs $1,700, a “well-used” look after just a couple of days is something most people would expect to find so soon and after such an outlay.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2012. All Rights Reserved.

I really wanted to like the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and for a time saw it as the replacement to a bulky DSLR camera but I am afraid my interest has completely waned in the light of the reviews and hands-on experience. And that is a great pity because the image quality it produces really is outstanding.

Until Fujifilm irons out some of the flaws with updated firmware, it is a case for me of the cons outweighing the pros of the X-Pro1.

If you are thinking of buying a Fujifilm X-Pro1 or any photographic gear please help support this site by clicking on the Amazon link.

  25 Responses to “Fujifilm X-Pro1 appears to have too many cons”

  1. Sad. Condemning something before even experiencing it. The worst type of article/blog entry. It is good that you mentioned that you have no experience with it. Responsible, one could say.

    I had a friend who never touched an x100 and bashed it from the start of some of its inconsistencies. He said why am I even looking at this camera if it doesn’t do that well.

    Hours after getting to use one and experience what it was like shooting with this style of camera…. He was hooked.

    The x pro 1 is not for everyone. Control and image quality are its forte. I still carry around a fuji gw690ii, no electronics , no meter, all manual…..it’s In my hands more than my d700 and d7000

    • So basically, Eric, you are condemning me for pointing out what reviewers and early adopters have found regarding the Fujifilm X-Pro1.

      I happen to think the image quality of Fujifilm X-Pro1 is superb. It is just a pity that the flaws rule it out as a potential purchase for me, as I point out in the last paragraph.

      For others those flaws will not weigh so heavily and they will indeed have a fine camera in their hands. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is just not for me. I wish it were otherwise.

  2. ‘At this point, I have to make it clear that I have never held an X-Pro1 let alone shot with one. The comments I am about to make are based on reviews I have read and comments posted by early adopters.’

    +1 on Eric’s comment. Hastily formed opinions on complex products like digital cameras, with no personal experience of the item, seems to be de rigeur on the internet; shame.

    • Given the amount of research I have done on the Fujifilm X-Pro1, I would hardly call it a hastily formed opinion.

      It may be shame to you but it is common sense to me to pass on buying something that will not meet my expectations.

      See my reply to Eric.

  3. Hi Calvin
    I just found your site via a Google alertI I posted this on my site the other day…
    Interesting what you have to say. I’m seriously interested in a Fuji Xpro1 or the Olympus OMD. A month ago I sold my canon 5D MK II not there was anything wrong with it was probably the best DSLR I have ever used. And with the MK I which has now been converted into a IR camera they both have been the workhorses of my practice since the 5D first appeared. But after lugging them, three or four large L lenses plus a pile of other kit through 40 degree heat on various jobs I decided enough was enough. The weight and the bulk were taking their toll and the physical effort required was taking all the enjoyment out of the work. This week I handled the Fuji curtesy of Camera Electronics in Perth – Western Australia. It is so light and the viewfinder is gorgeous. The auto focus was quick in fairly low light and contrary to what I have read elsewhere the menus were reasonably logical and whats more its half the price of a 5D MKIII? It also looks like there is going to be a lot of adaptors to allow legacy lenses and I have a few of those. I have also just read a really good review by Nick Devlin on Luminous Landscape. The only other choice that is in the wind at the present is the Olympus OMD which also has a lot going for it and cheaper still with a weather proof body and that 5 axis stabilisation which will be wonderful for closeups on the fly when I’m too lazy to set up a tripod, so which is it to be? I will leave it a while longer to see what adaptors appear for the Fuji – I like my old lenses some of which I even used on the 5D’s And hope that someone will publish some RAW shots on both using common lenses .

    • Just to add to my comment that business about the paint flaking is a worry I thought it was and it surly felt like a polycarbonate surface. I also found the ergonomics to be good for my arthritic hands.
      Regards

      Michael

    • Michael,

      Good luck in deciding between the X-Pro1 and OMD. I thought the X-Pro1 may have been the answer to my camera needs. There is certainly no disuputing the image quality but I don’t know if I could live with its many quirks. I am also not sure how easy it would be to achieve critical focus with legacy lenses. It does not appear to have focus peaking that the Sony NEX and Ricoh A12 M-mount cameras have.The OMD also has a lot going for it, in terms of the lenses available and its quick autofocus. I should imagine reviews on it will be forthcoming.

      Leica is also making an announcement on May 10, whether it is the Leica M10 or a scaled down version to compete with the X-Pro1 is anyone’s guess.

      One thing is for certain, we live in interesting times as far as cameras are concerned.

      • The critical focusing issue in the Xpro 1 also crossed my mind. The EP-2 has a workable peeping system that is quite accurate with the VF2 fitted once set to manual. It was a bit confusing at first as it is very easy to get locked into one set of functions and until the proceedure is learn’t to escape it was frustrating. Apparently the OMD is better in this regard.
        I regularly use Leica R , M42 Zeiss and Canon FD lenses on the EP-2 with excellent results.

  4. Why even bother posting, when you have no direct experience, and hence no way of knowing whether comments posted online are valid?

    Many of the ‘experts’ I’ve read reviews from, have clearly had the camera for a short time, failed to get to know how to use it correctly, and posted poorly researched conclusions as ‘fact’.

    You then take that ‘fact’ and post it again, and pass it off as some useful service.

    Pure BS on you’re part – you should be ashamed.

    As a Canon user for 15 years, 1 series film & digital, and 5 series film & digital – L lenses up to ying-yang including their best fast primes – and after 3 weeks use with the X-Pro1 and all 3 Fujinon lenses, I can confirm the following:

    The -Pro1 camera system is stunning – not perfect, but a huge leap in a new direction, and something I’ll be using a lot more than my Canon systems I suspect.

    And you can quote that!

    • I was merely expressing an opinion based on what I had read. I have conceded that the X-Pro1 has outstanding image quality. I had great hopes for this camera as a possible purchase but the flaws that have been exposed by reviewers were sufficient to put me off. I don’t see any shame in reaching that conclusion, especially since you state that the X-Pro1 is not perfect.

      The entire article is simply stating why the X-Pro1 is not for me — nothing more, nothing less. I hope you subscribe to the notion of people having the freedom to express opinions contrary to your own?

      I take it you walk round with a badge proclaiming that you have been a Canon user for 15 years. Did you get it from DPReview?

      I hope you get a good deal when you sell your Canon equipment and I also hope you don’t live to regret it.

      • Wow – chip on your shoulder or what?

        Firstly – your defense for publishing this online is lame – you just found a bunch of negativity and regurgitated it. You have zero perspective to validate anything you’ve read – but you still ‘made up your mind’… riiiigght…

        Secondly – I wanted to be sure that, unlike yourself, my perspective was clearly established up-front. What I used before buying the X-Pro1, and how long I had been using it. How long I had owned the X-Pro1 and which lenses I had bought.

        Who ever mentioned DPR – and what does that forum have to do with anything?

        And who mentioned anything about selling equipment?

        Your whole perspective appears to be deeply skewed – you came out of the gate in full troll garb, and you seem hell bent on continuing along that path.

        Sure, you can say what ever you like – does’t mean it’s right, or worth a dime…

        • Calm down, dear.

          I am sorry that you seem perplexed by my reply. I simply assessed the information that was out there and decided the X-Pro1 was not for me.

          I tend not to tolerate fools gladly but feel free to keep on digging.

          • Ah abuse – nice…

            So sorry that I shone a bright spotlight into your BS, and made you go all defensive.

            Please continue with your charade, I’m sure it’ll be most entertaining…

          • Abuse? I have merely made an assertion based on what you write.

            My second reply simply reiterates what I said in the first. If you choose to view that as being “defensive”, it serves only to reinforce my assertion. If anyone is being defensive, I would say it is you — defending your purchase.

            Surely “a bright spotlight” is an oxymoron and further evidence to back up my assertion.

            Like I said before, keep on digging.

  5. Ahhh, anything to keep the click-throughs coming, and the revenue stream rolling.

    Pick a popular topic – post something controversial, make a few bucks off of the click-through sales on Amazon.

    What a life – I would pity you, but it would be a wasted effort.

  6. Hello,

    How very, very, very odd. A vicarious camera review.

    To host a blog, write reviews and to then write a review based around zero experience. That, to me at least, would appear to be the height of either laziness or conceit. I’m not sure which.

    I understand that you have done ‘research’ (although, reading other people’s opinions and cherry picking the negatives does not really constitute research – perhaps if you’d just ussd this camera, we could consider what you present to be authentic research), I’m sure if I look hard enough I can find someone online who will tell me that the Bugatti Veyron has a terrible problem with blah, blah, blah. Th point is not what ONE person thinks, the point is what YOU think and you simply can’t think anything because you have no experience.

    I own this camera. I have owned all types and brands of cameras over the past 25 years that I’ve been involved in photography. I’ve owned Leica, Bronica, Mamiya, Rollie, Nikon, Canon, Ricoh etc and I’ve used even more brands – Sinar, Hasselblad etc. This little Fuji has it’s faults – see? I can say that because I’ve used it and experienced the faults – but these faults pale into nothingness when considered besides the positives it brings.

    Forgetting about it’s stunning image quality, it’s robustness of build, it’s incredibly sharp lenses (at least, the 35 and the 60) – this camera makes you want to photograph – and that’s the highest praise that I can give any camera.

    Why don’t you just go and try one? You may hate it utterly. You may love it.

    But you WILL then be able to give your opinion based on experience, not the hearsay of others.

    • Excuse me but this piece is not a camera review. It is simply my thoughts on assessing whether the Fujifilm X-Pro1 could be a potential future purchase.

      Given your length of time photographing with a variety of cameras, you are well aware that new cameras are announced on a regular basis. They have features that arouse our interest but what a manufacturer claims and what turns out to be the actual reality can be two very different things. With the passage of time the cameras are reviewed by publications and passed out to professional photographers for their views. In this age of blogs, early adopters also comment on their experience. All this information allows potential purchasers to gain an insight into whether the camera actually lives up to the marketing hype or whether the camera has certain quirks or flaws.

      I read as many such reviews and experiences as I could. I have not stressed the negative aspects of the X-Pro1 but simply cited the reasons, experienced by others, as to why the X-Pro1 is not the camera for me. It is called assembling the facts at my disposal and on the basis of those facts making a decision. I do not see anything particularly heinous about that process.

      Unlike you, I do not happen to live in a city with a decent camera store, so actually trying the camera is not an option. When I buy a camera it will be online, so I try and do as much research as possible before making my choice. I am British and so cannot get used to the idea of returning an item just because it doesn’t happen to suit me, as is the case in the United States.

      I fully agree that there is no substitute for actually handling a camera and it would be preposterous for anyone to give a review of a camera without doing so. That is why my piece is not a review and I find it somewhat incredulous that it has been viewed as such.

      Believe me when I say that I am disappointed that the Fujifilm X-Pro1 does not quite match my expectations. I fully agree with you that the image quality is quite superb and I also like its compact size. But for the reasons I have cited, experienced by others, it dropped to the bottom of my list of potential cameras. I have not completely discarded it from consideration. There is always the chance that the Fujifilm M-mount adapter could provide some kind of focusing confirmation when using manual Leica, Zeiss or Voigtlander M-mount lenses. If that proves to be the case, I may reconsider the Fujifilm X-Pro1.

      Having said that, the more and more I read about mirrorless cameras, the more I realize that I am an SLR and DSLR man at heart and one who values the full-frame format. Should an X-Pro2 or X-Pro3 offer a full-frame sensor, it would again be worthy of consideration.

      I am pleased to hear that you are enjoying your X-Pro1 and it is the right camera for you. It just isn’t the camera for me.

  7. Shoddy shoddy journalism – “That is why my piece is not a review”

    You’re damn right it’s not, it’s a character assassination by a paid mercenary.

    • You seem to have a strange attitude as to what constitutes journalism.

      If you look at the top righthand corner of the web site, you will see the following: “Photographer Calvin Palmer shares his thoughts, hopes and fears over a virtual mug of tea.” I don’t think that qualifies as journalism, so how can anything I write be described as “shoddy journalism”?

      I can only assume that you must have hacked into my bank account in order to describe me as “a paid mercenary”. [Can you be an unpaid mercenary? You do seem to have a penchant for oxymorons.] A good journalist always checks his facts, which probably explains why you never chose journalism as your career.

      If you do have access to my bank account, feel free to deposit a few thousand dollars at your convenience. I may then be able to afford a Leica M9 and a couple of lenses. I promise I won’t be extravagant. I will gladly settle for Zeiss ZM lenses, even a secondhand 40mm f/2 Summicron, costing only a few hundred dollars, which I have spotted at an online store. But make the deposit soon. The Summicron will be snapped up fairly quickly at that asking price.

  8. No, I don’t think I will excuse you.

    Your opinion is invalidated through lack of actual experience.

    To claim that this is ‘not a review’ is both flippant and disengenuous.You can’t claim a lack of exerience in the formulation of an opinion as a positive. It’s clearly not.

    You’re right; I have been photographing for a long time. Long enough to know when someone else either doesn’t know what they’re doing or is deliberately attempting to either inflame or discredit.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here and choose to think that you’re being deliberate in your attempt to inflame views.

    Probably to drive traffic to your site.

    A little tip – never begin a rebuttal with ‘Excuse me…’, it invites ridicule and shows exceptionally weak argument cognition skills.

    • Thanks Kim.

      May I take this opportunity to say how honoured I am that you took the trouble to visit my humble blog in the first place. Clearly, I am not worthy.

      You write: “Long enough to know when someone else either doesn’t know what they’re doing or is deliberately attempting to either inflame or discredit.” Are you absolutely sure about that, Kim?

      Oh and by the way, seeing as you are so keen on giving friendly tips, here is one for you — learn to spell correctly. It does so help with one’s credibility.

      Usually, I correct people’s misspelling in their comments but in your case, I will make an exception. I wouldn’t want to give people the wrong impression about you.

  9. Comments that appeared earlier today have been removed since discovering that those people have been directed here from another forum, as part of a flame war being conducted against this article.

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