My old friend Arthur stopped by yesterday, and I got to see his new Fuji X-Pro1. (He had dropped his X-10 into a river—oops—and, like any good photo enthusiast, used the insurance check as an opportunity to rationalize a step-up purchase. Good show, Art.)
What a lovely, lovely camera. The people who get to use these are lucky b*stards indeed. The camera has an utterly marvelous feeling in the hand, and the quick presto-change-O between EVF and OVF is no gimmick—it's a seriously nice feature. We compared the X-Pro1 physically to a Leica M7 with a 35mm Summilux ASPH I have here, and they are very close to the same size—a bit different in this way or that, but as close as makes no difference. But the Fuji is so much lighter. In fact the weight of the Fuji relative to its size is one of its most impressive characteristics—it's just dense enough to feel solid, and yet it's light enough that it feels oh-so handy and fast.
Comparison courtesy of camerasize.com
I loved it. I weighed Art's X-Pro1 and 35mm ƒ/1.4 XF R lens on my coffee scale, and it tipped in at a little less than 23 ounces. We both guessed the Leica was twice as heavy. It wasn't, but the Fuji feels perfect. I mean perfect.
Of course, it seems a touch hesitant to focus now and then—it's not like it's bad, but Art had a spot of bother several times in my not-so-light but not-so-dark kitchen where we sat drinking fresh-roasted (well, roasted Friday evening) Nicaragua Dipilto Cielo Azul. Maybe that's a feature too—Fuji is wise enough to know it needs to give owners something to gripe about online, otherwise they wouldn't be completely happy. And besides, if somebody actually built a totally perfect camera, the world would have to explode.
But oh, yeah, I liked this. I liked the ergonomics, too—everything just seems to fall to hand just so, from the on/off switch onward. And the lens has (gasp!) an aperture ring, with third-of-a-stop click stops. There's a reason why classic design has evolved the way it has over the years. Obviously a lot of thought went into this.
All this camera needs is, I don't know, say a 23 or 24mm lens of ƒ/2 or faster, and this camera would be a giant-killer. Too bad the system doesn't have one. Eh, what's that you say?
And I wonder if this camera has decent ISO 1600 performance? Eh? Eh?
Just kidding. I know it does. And I've seen the roadmap.
This is the second nice surprise I've gotten recently when it comes to premium small cameras—the NEX-7, although quite a different beast from the Fuji, also struck me the same way, as a particularly successful design that would be a pleasure to use and an absolute treat to own.
P.S. I'll be gone today—GO BEARS!*—so comments won't be posted until tonight or tomorrow. Hope those of you in or near the storm path stay warm, dry, and powered.
*My second-favorite team, loyal cheesehead and former Chicagoan that I am.
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A book of interest today:
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Gene Lowinger: "My first outing with my X-Pro1 and 18mm lens was at the New York Easter Parade. When I loaded the raw files into my Lightroom catalog and began to review and keyword the images I had the wind knocked out of me. The image quality was superior to my D700/24–70mm ƒ/2.8 combo, about a quarter of the weight, and less than half the size. And for high ISO? What noise? Whatever there is, is very manageable. I'm so happy I splurged on this camera, and didn't wait for the X-E1. The optical viewfinder is a pleasure to use. Fuji has done a great job on these cameras!"
Barry Reid: "This column is truly the last thing I need to read...."
JRF: "Great Camera! But horrible to deal with RAW files. As of now you need to use Fuji's RAW converter. No Capture One or Lightroom RAW converter. This is awful for anyone that has a workflow based on Lightroom or Capture One."
Semilog: "My X-Pro1 was stolen a week ago—with a 21mm ƒ/2.8 ZM Biogon mounted. I'm now trying to figure out what will replace it. The kind folks at my local camera store let me borrow a NEX-7 and a Zeiss 24mm ƒ/1.8 for a couple of hours yesterday, so I incremented the shutter count on the demo by a couple of hundred and spent this morning looking at the files.
"I am a Sony sensor partisan, and to my surprise, I like the output from the Fuji XTRANS sensor better. Yes, the workflow is not quite there yet, but I have never seen a sensor that delivers such film-like results. I also played with a D600. This is a 'small' DSLR? Bloated bastard of a camera. A small DSLR would be no larger than an F3 or a Pentax LX. I'll be getting another Fuji, then. Probably an X-E1...."
ashok (Mumbai, India): "I completely agree. Just got a X-Pro1 body from Adorama and tried to buy the announced 18–55mm zoom. Fuji India promised delivery of the first supplies this week, but so far no luck. I prefer to wait and get the zoom instead of the 60mm which is my next option. It's indeed a fantastic piece of engineering and from the reviews the picture quality is excellent. Pity about the eyesight correction not being included in the camera...can't wait to try it out...."
lith: "Quintessentially Japanese, no? Take the spirit of German camera making...and make it more practical, high-tech, and affordable."