Well now this is interesting—and unexpected. Here I was looking around at the official announcements for the very cool new Fuji interchangeable-lens X-Pro 1 at CES, and what crops up but this Canon "G" camera with a nearly APS-C-sized CMOS sensor.
Like all the compact G cameras before it, it has a fixed lens, but no more tiny digicam sensor—the size of the sensor in the G1X is 14x18.7mm (Canon APS-C is 14.9x22.3mm—meaning the G1X sensor is nearly the same height but not as long. More, um, square). Looked at another way, it's just slightly larger than Micro 4/3, which is 13.5x18mm. Image aspect ratio is selectable between square and four different rectangles.
The lens is fixed, with equivalent focal lengths from 28–112mm. And it has image stabilization, and shoots Raw. There's an optical viewfinder taking second place to the large viewing screen that's obviously meant to be the primary aiming tool. Price should be around $800.
Cool, or what? We are really spoiled for choice with small cameras these days.
Meanwhile, from Fujifilm comes the X-Pro 1, the mouth-watering interchangeable-lens rangefinder inspired by the X100. The lensmount is proprietary, but will definitely have a Leica-M-mount adaptor available for it. The initial lenses are an 18mm ƒ/2, 35mm ƒ/1.4, and a 60mm ƒ/2.4 Macro, roughly equivalent in 35mm terms to a 28mm, 50mm, and 90mm.
Most enticing is the radical new 15.6x23.6mm 16.4MP sensor. Dpreview.com in its Hands-On Preview says "The X-Pro 1 uses a proprietary, Fujifilm-designed 16MP APS-C 'X-Trans CMOS' chip that eschews the conventional Bayer-pattern colour filter array in favour of a more complex layout. The result, claims Fujifilm, is a practical immunity to colour moiré, which means that an optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter is no longer required. This suggests that in terms of detail resolution the X-Pro 1 should punch above its weight based on pixel count alone—indeed Fujifilm is claiming it will out-resolve the full frame 21MP Canon EOS 5D Mark II."
No image stabilization, apparently. No word on price yet, either, but it's unlikely to be cheap. It appears that the X-Pro 1 goes beyond all the other mirrorless offerings so far, and might even reach for the heights of M9-killer status. Bears watching closely!
P.S. Not to editorialize too much here, but I'd like to refer you once again back to this essay. Seems pertinent; I await the 1XG, the X1G, and the 1GX.
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by ILTim: "I have a seriously hard time understanding why Fuji wouldn't jump on the Micro 4/3 bandwagon here. It would be a bigger market for both lenses and cameras. Seems like a no-brainer."
Featured Comment by Ctein: "A nearly APS-C-sized CMOS sensor? Come on, now, really? It is less than 5% bigger—roughly 1/2 mm—than Micro 4/3. For standards reasons, it can't be called Micro 4/3, but that's really what it is, format-wise.
"Nothing wrong with that at all. But kicking it up to the next larger format (which too many readers think is important, even though it isn't) would be kind of like cheering on a camera that came out with a 25x37 mm sensor as being 'nearly medium format.'
"As for the Fuji, I have this recollection that an early Kodak DCS camera also used a non-Bayer array (720?). The results were impressive. I have this possibly-erroneous memory of very decent 8x10s from a 2-megapixel image. Fuji's resolution claims are plausible, although more modest than they might seem. The resolution difference between a 16.4 and 21 megapixel camera, all things being equal (they never are), would be 13%. That's barely observable in practice, which is why I tell people to never even think about buying more pixels unless they're getting at least a third more, and I recommend they hold out for half. Typically, eliminating the anti-aliasing filter adds 10–15% to the resolution (people who report miraculous improvements are mostly suffering from "golden-eye" syndrome). So, yeah, it might out-resolve the Canon. Fuji has made some awfully, awfully good sensors in the past....
"A number of different sources, of mixed reliability, appear to peg the price of the camera between $1500 and $1800, with lenses running half that each."
Featured Comment by brian: "It looks like you have a candidate for your list of 'The Most Desirable Cameras on the Planet' for 2012. My wife will be pleased that the initial lens set for the X-Pro 1 didn't include a 35–40mm equivalent."
Mike replies: Why, because then you would have had to buy it?
brian replies: "Yes, Mike, because if the X-Pro 1 had a lens available in that focal length today, I'd probably be hiding from my wife the fact that I'd preordered it. Of course, it does seem that the planned stable of nine lenses should include something of interest to me. Besides, I really loved my Mamiya 7 II (cursed be the swine who stole it!), and, while I know that this is a very different camera, it's boxy, it's got a real viewfinder, and it's...all black...."
Featured Comment by Ed Hawco: "At $1700 just for the body, the X-Pro1 is not the poor man's Leica. It is the less rich man's Leica."
Mike replies: C'mon, we have enough good bargain cameras to choose from. Let's have some spendy ones too. The more money the manufacturers have to work with the more they can do, price being the #1 constraint on any camera and especially lens designer.
Ed Hawco continues: "...But regardless of the price, the direction that Fujifilm is going with this line of cameras is really exciting. I just wish I could afford to buy in.
"By the way, my comment about the XPro-1 being 'the less rich man's Leica' was less of a complaint about the price as it was an early swipe at the inevitable and abundant 'poor man's Leica' descriptions we will be subject to in the coming months. :-) I agree there's room (and even a need) for pricier cameras, as long as said cameras have the chops to justify the price."
Featured Comment by Tom: "$1700 for the camera and $600 or so per lens. Cheap compared to Leica. Expensive compared to Micro 4/3."
Featured Comment by Paul H: "X-Pro 1: Pure camera porn!"
Featured Comment by Gary: "Nature abhores a gap in a market's price progression. The chasm between Leica and Micro 4/3 DEMANDED the X-Pro 1!"
Featured Comment by Bambang Indrayoto: "...Still waiting for Nikon FM3D...."
Featured Comment by Ben: "After watching the Fuji Guys' intro video it looks like the X-Pro 1 controls are spot on. So long as the aperture ring is Pentax M snappy and not Nikon Ai soggy, then that and a nice shutter speed dial is all you need. It's what made the Pentax MX so great, despite being so basic."
Featured Comment by Tom Kwas: "All I need is for a camera to give me an 8.5x11-inch bleed image for a magazine page with as little trouble to me as possible. The Canon G1X could be the golden bullet I've been waiting for. A matched lens with a large image chip. No lens changes, so no chip cleaning, check. I virtually shoot at ƒ/5.6–8 all the time, check. Never have shot for money wider than 28mm or longer than 105mm, check. Face recognition far more important that any other focus type, check. If the images from this in Raw and JPEG are my dream, I'm buying two of these and dumping my DSLR and lenses. I would have no problem shooting annual reports with this all day long. BUT, I want to rent one first to make sure. New Years Resolution: never buy another piece of equipment without physically handling it and using it!"
Featured Comment by scott kirkpatrick: "You can see the new Fuji color array at Luminous Landscape (and probably in other articles). It's called a 'random pattern,' but that is a misnomer. It's really a 3x3 pattern with five green, two red and two blue filters in each. This pattern occurs four times in a 9x9 array, with every other instance rotatied 90 degrees to the right. That is a greater fraction of green than the standard Bayer RGBG (2x2) arrangement offers, so this should give a little better B/W performance. It will take a while for really good decoders to be written so that Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, Capture One and the like can handle the images. Of course, Dave Coffin's DCRAW probably will manage this by the end of the coming weekend...."
Featured Comment by Steve Jacob: "I don't know if you have all seen the projected Fuji lens roadmap posted at DPReview. It really has something for everyone; in fact, I can't think of a more carefully considered roadmap. Most impressive, and confirmed by Fuji as 'pretty close' to the real one. I am beginning to wonder if this could actually function as my 'only' camera. If so the outlay would actually be worthwhile. Moreover, it has all the appearances of a fully professional camera body, something you would not feel that reluctant about turning up to a major shoot with. Roll on the reviews. If this really turns out to be as good as promised (similar resolution to the 5D Mark II) then my bank account will be taking a deep breath. Mind you I could probably recoup a lot of it by selling off all my other gear."