Thursday, June 9, 2022

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: A Decade Old, Better Than Ever

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: A Decade Old, Better Than Ever
June 2022, Carl Garrard

Hope you don't mind, but I think a little reminiscing is necessary before I get into the meat of this review. I think that is vital to set up the context of this article. So with that said, lets just jump in and start at the beginning. Way back in January 2012 was the first time that I used the Fujifilm X-Pro1, and I can remember that experience like it was yesterday. It was a chilly early morning in Las Vegas Nevada, I was attending the 2012 CES show after a five hour drive from Southern California. I was one of the first in line to get in the show. When the doors opened I made a beeline straight to the Fujifilm booth. Fortunate or, maybe because I hustled, I was one of the first to be able to spend a couple of productive hours of time with a group of Fujifilm folk there, learning about and testing all their new cameras. Although a couple of hours doesn't sound like a lot of time, trust me when I say that it is, especially when you are attending a packed shoulder to shoulder electronics show event. The experience that I had with the staff there at that counter was very positive, they answered so many of my questions (the best that they could) and never rushed me to give the cameras back. Most of that time was spent with the X-Pro1. Fujifilm X-Pro 1 Used and New Prices

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: Prelude

After I finally walked away from the Fujifilm booth that day, I left feeling a little perplexed about this new camera. I recall thinking that the X-PRO1 was a curious sort of beast, because although it was undeniably gorgeous and unique, it also seemed more like a prototype rather than a production quality finished product  when I was testing it. One, in no matter what form, that I felt might also have incredible potential. Frankly though, my experience with it was quite mixed. 

Mostly I found it to be slow, buggy,  a bit awkward to use, and unreliable to focus with or without the EVF. And because of those distractions it wasn't really pleasant to use.  I remember thinking is that despite all that, there was still nothing quite like it out there anywhere. What saved it, is that it seemed to have some very promising and clever design qualities. But it's bugs and shortcomings were obvious, and were especially evident when I inevitably compared it to many more "conventional" cameras that I had been using or reviewing during this time period. 

I decided it was not something I wanted to spend my money on. I thought Fujifilm would have a very hard time convincing others to buy it without first addressing all the firmware bugs and other design errors that could be fixed with a complete firmware overhaul. I mean, I got up at 1am in the morning, drove 5 hours to Las Vegas, just to handle a buggy, unfinished prototype? You can imagine my frustration. I wasn't pleased.

This initial negative impression of the X-Pro1 at the CES counter stuck with me, and in a way has haunted me for well over a decade. But Fujifilm remained committed to improving the X-Pro1 in a way that I had never seen another manufacturer do before. Over the years and with each new firmware update, Fujifilm eventually addressed all of the frustrations and bugs that we, the collective community frustratingly communicated to them. Gotta give Fujifilm props for being accountable for their mistakes. 

We photographers don't expect perfection, but we do expect accountability and an effort to address and solve problems.

So, I decided that after ten long years (and a billion firmware updates) to give Fujifilm another chance and perhaps try one out again. Enough time had gone by to heal those initial wounds, and I was ready to face the X-Pro1 just one more time. Would my opinion of the X-Pro1 change as it had with the rest of the community? There was only one way to find out.

Some of the competition. Monochrome with the X-Pro1? Oh definitely.

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: One Decade and 22 Firmware Updates Later

Lately I'd been unloading a lot of camera gear (and I mean a LOT) I've accumulated over the years in the name of simplifying, organizing, and improving my kit. For every 5-10 cameras or lenses that I've sent out, I purchased one really nice one that either I've never used before or, in this rare case would like to revisit. Ten years was a long time ago, but photographers have long memories. 

In those ten years, I read that Fujifilm had improved the overall performance of the X-Pro1 about as much as it can be technically possible. It wasn't until recently that this fact made me curious enough to purchase one for myself. Afterall, it made some good impressions too, and thus ultimately they and the improvements were the crux of my curiosity and also the motivation for writing this article. 

So obviously one of my recent trades included a like new X-Pro1 (boxed and all), and thankfully it came pre-loaded with the latest firmware update (fw v3.82). Astonishingly, I read that this was Fujifilm's 22nd firmware update for the X-Pro1. Yes, that's correct. I believe that has to be some kind of firmware update record from any manufacturer? Although I can't make any official claim of that. 

Still, it's both testament to how much work was left to do on the X-Pro1 when it came out initially, as well as Fujifilm's dedication to its loyal customers on getting it right.

Then there are the other reasons I was curious about the X-Pro1. My needs, taste in equipment, and even my personality have all gone through some pretty measurable changes in the last decade. You could say that I've learned a heck of a lot more about digital cameras and design, photography, and even myself during that time. A lot can and did happen in ten years. 

Safe to say that it's finally now in its completed form, as Fujifilm's last firmware update was issued back in 2020. I anxiously anticipated its arrival, wondering if using the X-Pro1 this time might feel completely different than my first experience long ago. At least I hoped, I really hoped. 

Obviously it arrived, so lets get started. 

How did you ignore me for so long?

Since that fateful day I met the X-Pro1at CES in Vegas, I've also gained extensive experience with the Fujifilm X system. Although I've owned and reviewed many Fujifilm cameras since then, just prior to the recent X-Pro1 purchase I had reduced the amount of X mount gear I owned dramatically. With exception to the newly acquired X-Pro1, I was left with only the X-S1 and X-E4.

My intention with this recent purchase, at least initially, was to also use my Leica M lenses on the X-Pro1 alongside my few remaining native lenses. However, as you will see later in this review, the more I used the X-Pro1 the more I wanted to use other lenses too.

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: A New Beginning

I'm happy to report that my tango with the X-Pro1 this time around was completely different than my initial impressions with it. It was apparent to me, and I mean right from the beginning, that the last ten years the X-Pro1 had morphed it into something complete, something refined with a distinct and individual personality. I was blown away. It's not so easy to be surprised in this day and age, but I was definitely that and more.

This review should have been written a decade ago. That is not my fault. Look, Fujifilm spilled the milk way back when so there's no use in rehashing further, but I do wonder how history would have been written had the X-Pro1 came out correctly ten years ago. Since then the company has learned a lot, done a lot, and is one of the bigger players in our current camera market. There is  no doubt in my mind that is because they were committed to improving and  being accountable for their mistakes.

If only we all took that same path personally. Eyebrow raise.

So, the question is. Has Fujifilm's X-Pro1 become a camera befitting to its current cultist status? Dare I question that it had become legendary? Read on...

If you want larger heavier lenses for the X-Pro1, the add on grip is a good idea.

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: A Digital Leica M Alternative

The X-PRO 1 may not be a true rangefinder, but there are familiar qualities shooting with one depending on what mode and settings you use. The shape, size, and layout of some of its controls also have some similarities. Yet the X-Pro1 is completely different too. True that it lacks the core feature of what a digital M is fundamentally a range finding mechanism of any kind, that being mechanical or digitally imitated.

If you buy any X-PRO camera with the expectation that you'll get a bonafide Leica M experience for much less money, you're likely to be disappointed. In many ways the X-Pro1 has improved upon the digital M experience. It is now apparent to me that the M shouldn't be held up as some pinnacle of design to whit all rangefinder like cameras should be compared or judged by. Fujifilm made something different, in some ways something definitely even better.

Although there are commonalities, they are very different cameras to shoot with.

Shooting with an M, especially the older digital models like my M9-P or M8, or the newer models using only the rangefinder focusing (no live view), is a unique singular experience. And I won't get into the breadth of that experience. What I will say is that relying on a rangefinder and distance scale on a manual focus lens only isn't what shooting with an X-PRO camera is like at all. The two designs are completely different in how you have to approach your shooting style. 

In short, don't let its looks fool you into believing anything. If I were an engineer with Fujifilm and someone was comparing the X-Pro1 to a Leica M, I would probably be insulted. The two designs are very much different, with only some similarities. In comparison to a Leica M, I find the X-Pro1 to not only be a much more capable design, but simultaneously it's a complete digital camera that gives you all you need and nothing more. 

Any digital M, even the Typ 240 variants, feel much less capable as a multi-functional tool than an X-Pro1. They are much like a scalpel or fountain pen, a collector quality wrist watch. A unique investment, of both money and technique.

X-PRO cameras such as the XPro1 on the other hand, are much more advanced. Thus they are also more complicated than a digital M. The inclusion of autofocusing, the unique built in hybrid (glass and electric) viewfinder, and a much more in-depth and complicated menu system/external control layout all contribute to a more modern experience, or perhaps ones' expectation from a mirrorless camera.

Sure there are similarities too, like the general size and shape of the X-PRO series, along with the viewfinder position and shutter speed dial on top. It definitely has the classic rangefinder look, but the experience of shooting with one is much more modern day in many respects. Especially when you are using its auto focus and the viewfinder in the evf mode. But there's more than that.

Because the X-PRO cameras can also be switched to all manual focusing and aperture control, you can get closer to a Leica M experience. Sure you can do similar things with a DSLR or, any other mirrorless camera too, but there are some key differences that the X-Pro1 offers that they do not. The magnificent, the versatile, the surprisingly good hybrid viewfinder being the most obvious and unique aspect.

I'm most happy when I use the X-Pro1 for casual candid or street photography.  Remy though, is always happy.

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: Appeal and It's Intangible Draw

There are some cameras that just have a charm about them that make them irresistible. If manufactures could clone that magic and put it in a bottle, they would make nothing but winners. I've found that cameras that have that intangible magnetism literally beg you to pick them up and fiddle about with them. You don't even have to shoot with them necessarily, just practice, fiddle around, get to know it haptically. 

Some, like the X-Pro1 are so good they actually inspire you to get off the damn couch, leave the damn bag of Cheetos behind, and get out there and take a few photos instead. What a concept.

Since the X-Pro1 landed on my desk, I haven't been able to leave it alone either. It's a camera that  merges a combination of so many wonderful attributes that I can't decide whether it's new or it's old, it's a film camera or a digital camera, and/or if it's practical or impractical. The truth of the matter is, it's a bit of all of those things, and a little bit more.

I keep struggling with the irony of how I feel about it now, versus my first experience with it. I can now do nothing but admire where this camera has come from and where it is now. It's almost comical when you think about its transformation over the years.

The story of it and all of the firmware updates almost seemed to have created a soul in the camera itself. Something living and breathing inside. I'd almost feel a bit silly for not revisiting this camera sooner, but cest-la-vie all things happen for a reason and when the time is right.

The lack of external adverts on the face of the X-Pro1 definitely adds to its clean classic appeal.

Staring from the outside, the X-Pro1 is a real looker. Perhaps the best looking X mount camera of all time, and I'd put it up right there on the same pedestal as my Leica M-P rangefinders. Compared to the X-Pro2/3 cameras, it's both simpler in appearance and in use, and I find that fact about it to be a particularly attractive- it's a unique quality compared to the other X-Pro cameras. 

Simplicity of design and/or of use may not be today's most popular desire, but honestly I don't care about what "popular" opinion is. I know what I like, and this camera is something to like. For those of the same mindset, the X-Pro1 will likely feel just as enjoyable to use, as it is to look at on a shelf or desktop. 

Of all the digital cameras I've ever used or owned, the X-Pro1 may well be the most unique and personal experience of them all. In full manual mode this camera really sings, and that's when you really focus, slow down, and dig in on making a photograph. In this way, the X-Pro1 seems to almost disappear in your hands, it becomes a lens in-between you and your subject- the opposite of an obstacle of distraction. 

On top of that, I don't feel limited with the camera as a multifunctional tool either; if say I want to shoot a little video, do a panorama, shoot macro's in live view, whatever the case may be. I've really grown to like shooting with it. A lot.

Obviously I wasn't always of the opinion that the X-Pro1 was so enjoyable to use. I'll just say it, I used to hate it. The firmware updates have made all of the difference by removing almost all of the annoying bugs or quirks in its initial design. I'm no longer distracted by any of those things. It's almost like starting over with this camera, it's complete and different now. Today I am focusing on all of the good aspects of it's design that I saw in it initially. 

Something about the X-Pro1's raw files are distinct. They require no sharpening and have plenty of dynamic range without any shadow fixed pattern banding. A real treat in post to work with.

In fact, I can't recall its current configuration ever once pissing me off. That's huge right? I mean what a story behind this camera. It's night versus day, and boy does it shine bright now.

Admittedly, it's taken some practice and much exploration to become proficient at leveraging the best this camera has to offer. But as I navigated the X-Pro1 this time around, I really enjoyed that learning experience. Smiles crossing my face often when using it, that kind of enjoyment. 

And really I mean it.

For those who haven't yet used an X-Pro1 in it's mature form, I'd say there's more than meets the eye here now. If you are patient enough to adjust to its design and have reasonable expectations on its capabilities, you'll likely be very pleased. 

This experience, in contrast to say the X-Pro2, is different. I felt Fujifilm over engineered the XP2 to cater to the "we always want more" crowd, for me it's a bit too cluttered internally and externally for my taste in a hobby camera. And don't get me started on the ISO dial either. Nope, just a deal breaker for me. It really is a nice camera, so is the X-Pro3, but they are too complicated for what they are intended to do in my opinion.

I don't feel that way about the X-Pro1 at all. To me, it's a superior stills camera than the other X-Pro cameras because of its simplicity and relative limitations, even if the others are imminently more capable on paper. That's fine by me. I'll take a camera I enjoy to shoot with over a complicated one 10/10 times as long as it can do the job. And that is the key here, the XP series isn't supposed to be a multi-functional too, it's supposed to be a still shooters camera- something better and more capable than a Leica M in many ways, without blurring the line too much between still shooter and hybrid. And in that respect, it is highly successful.

The X-Pro1's raw files produce rich, realistic colors that blow me away. 

There's a just-rightness about it which sort of reminds me of two other Fujifilm cameras- the X-H1 and X-E2, only different, and perhaps even better. Although both of those cameras are very much different  than the X-Pro1, what  they all have in common is this sort of refinement of design that translates to executing the intended task. They fit the niche they were designed for, not trying to be something they are not. Plus they are complete and wholly enjoyable to use. 

Fact is, the X-Pro1 has two qualities about it that I always wished my X-E2 had- an optical finder and a slightly larger, thicker, and more comfortable footprint in the hand. Same goes for my X-H1, which lacks an optical viewfinder option and the attractive qualities of a "rangefinder design". Lastly, when I compare it to my Leica M-P's (Typ 240/M9), it's the same thing. I find that the X-Pro1 gives me an autofocus option and other capabilities those cameras lack completely, such as an EVF and optical finder magnification feature built in. So cool.

So while I appreciate all of those cameras for what they are, in a way, the X-Pro1 seems to fill the niche between all of those extremes without giving up much in return. It's both a camera of multiple personalities and yet it has a singularly unique personality all of it's own. 

And yet those personalities remain equal yet identifiable. To me it's well deserving of its ever increasing status as a cult classic.

6,400 ISO Raw, Vintage 7 profile in ACR... Love this look of grain and subdued blacks.

I'd lump the X-Pro1 in with a few other legendary digital cameras. Cameras that have never lost their draw or sheen no matter how long I have owned them (others tend to agree with me). Cameras such as the Canon 5D and 6D (especially), Leica M8 and M9(P), Olympus E-1, or Nikon D700/D3s for example. Being associated within this prestigious company is somewhat of an honor, afterall, these are camera designs that will always be remembered and have their fans as long as there are working copies out there making memories.

Yin and Yang breakfast.

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: Tips and "Secrets"

While most features and modes are obvious and instantly accessible without referring to the operating manual, I have compiled a short list of helpful tips and or "secrets" here that will defer the need to refer to the manual. I encourage you to play along and practice with your X-Pro1 because you'll commit these items to physical memory so that you can access them in the field without thinking about it, or, set up your X-Pro1 prior to a shoot so that it's already configured how you prefer. There's nothing worse than missing shots trying to figure out how to change the camera to your preference when you're already out there trying to take pictures. Be prepared, it's worth it.

I put secrets in quotes because although they aren't actually secrets, some of these items are so buried in the menu or user manual that they can often go unused to the photographer new to the X-Pro1.

1. If you pull and hold the OVF/EVF switch lever while in OVF mode, this will activate a physical optical element that slides internally in front of the finder that increases its standard .37x magnification to .60x. This is automatically engaged when you use a native lens that is 35mm or greater, but its easy to forget when you use wider angle lenses or zoom lenses. It does not automatically activate when you use a zoom @35mm or greater, but you can still activate it manually through the entire zoom range.

2. Using Panorama mode I've found that Fujifilm are one of the best at creating in camera Pano's with the least amount of stitching errors (plus Fujifilm have great out of camera Jpeg image quality). This is accessed through the drive button by highlighting the pano icon. While in this mode you'll be given options on which way to sweep the camera, and how wide you want the panorama to be. I suggest choosing the down arrow, which means you'll need to sweep the camera tilted in portrait mode, but the benefit is that you get a higher vertical resolution (2160 vs. 1440) in your final image. 

3. You can turn off the rear display entirely if you prefer (which is often the case for purists or those wanting to save battery life). This is not accessed through the disp/back button, but accessed through the view mode button which with each press will take you through three options. Eye sensor, rear LCD only, and OVF only mode. It is the third mode that shuts off the rear lcd allowing you to shoot with the finder only in evf or ovf mode. The latter may be preferred because you'll double or even triple your battery life in this mode, and its easier to view optically in bright outdoor conditions. When in this mode you can press the disp back button to cycle through a standard or custom overlay mode you choose in the main menu system.

4. Raw shooters using Adobe Camera Raw may want to choose the Provia/Standard profile in the raw convertor. This profile gives you near the same DR as Adobe's muted profile, but with much better color output. And backing off the contrast slider will reveal more highlight and shadow detail if you clip over either end.

5. For quick access to film simulation modes I recommend using the down arrow selector button in the shooting menu set to Film Simulation. This is accessed in the Function (FN) Setting (3) tab. Once set, it's a very fast way of accessing different sim modes that your  thumb can "remember". And if you are using the EVF most of the time, its a quick way to get a different live preview look at the film sim modes.

6. Setting the auto ISO to a bare minimum of 1/80th of a second for non-stabilized lenses, and 1/10th of a second for stabilized lenses should ensure a sharp shot less hand held blur for most shooters that can hold the camera reasonably still. The image quality of the X-Pro1 is so good at all of the native (200-6400) ISO settings that I use the entire native range (I shoot raw) in auto ISO almost 100% of the time. Setting the minimum shutter speed keeps the ISO to the bare minimum it needs and ensures a sharp shot (in most cases) at the same time by keeping the shutter speed at the desired minimum.

7. Since the X-Pro1 has a 1st generation X-Trans sensor, you don't need to sharpen raw images in your post processing workflow. The sensor's design inherently eliminates the need for a separate anti-aliasing filter than most other cameras use to remove false color aberrations. To sharpen in post only degrades fine detail and micro contrast in your final image. There is no free lunch. I suggest skipping this step, use a better lens for more detail if you really need it. This is a two fold benefit: It saves you time post processing and keeps integrity to your final image that you'll definitely see in a final print.

8. If you're the type that desires the most retro, film camera/rangefinder camera type shooting experience, I suggest setting up the X-Pro 1 a few ways. Set the view mode to turn off the rear screen entirely, and disable image playback in the menu (Tool icon setting 2/Image Disp.). Use the optical finder in AF mode, and the EVF for manual focusing modes. Turn off all unnecessary custom view options for the ovf/evf in the DISP. CUSTOM SETTINGS menu so there is less clutter in your view. For example I only enable the basic necessities- histogram, aperture/s-speed/iso, photometry (metering), and battery level. This is the best way to simulate an old school shooting experience and will save your battery big time (especially the ovf mode).

9. When you switch to manual focus mode, the shutter button becomes your AEL lock button, just like shooting with a Leica M camera. This is huge, and a real time and hassle saver. It keeps your shooting hand in the same position making for rapid exposure adjustments and re-composing. LOVE IT.

10. If you are using the optical finder, you can press in the rear control wheel and it will automatically switch to EVF  mode and simultaneously zoom in for a precise focusing aid. Half pressing the shutter switches the camera back to OVF. Seamless, easy and quick. Better than a rangefinder for precise focus, almost as fast.

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: Practical and Fashionable External Additions

There's something about bonding with the X-Pro1 that made me want to spend a little extra money on it, not so much as to personalize it although that was part of it, but also to slightly improve it practically and aesthetically. Now you may be wondering why I'd want to improve it's aesthetics considering how handsome the X-Pro1 is inherently, and to that I'd reply that I feel that smartly chosen practical upgrades do in fact improve it's aesthetic nature. There are all sorts of gimmick and rather tasteless third party accessories for the X-Pro1, so let me share what I filtered out of the internet for my own X-Pro1 that I'd recommend to you.

All of the items below are featured on my X-Pro1 in this image. 

  • Nikon Eyepice FXA10066: This is a replacement optical eyepiece that fits perfectly and is indistinguishably identical to the original X-Pro1 eyepiece. I recommend getting one while you can (Ebay only) because finding an original Fujifilm Eyepiece is next to impossible.
  • Soft Shutter Release: I'm a fan of a nicely designed soft shutter release, but I prefer the lessor available convex type vs. a more common concave type. JJC makes a real beauty in the convex shape and offers it at a reasonable price in very attractive color options. It comes with small rubber locking rings to keep them secure as well. You can find several color options etc. in here: JJC Soft Shutter Release
  • Hot Shoe Cover: I like well designed hot shoe covers, and prefer metal ones to all other types. I was able to find one with the Fuji X logo on it that remains tasteful and classy, as well as affordable here: VKO Camera Hot Shoe Cover
  • Matte Anti-Reflective LCD Protector: Fuji applied anti glare color coatings to all the glass on the X-Pro1, but the LCD screen still has a glossy surface that shows harsh reflections. In order to combat those harsh reflections and also stave off fingerprints, I found a Matte LCD protector that works to mostly solve that issue here: Expert Shield LCD Screen Protector Anti-Glare
I never think twice about using ISO 6,400, even less so for monochrome images.

Fujifilm X-PRO 1 Review: Concluding 

Over the last ten years I've watched with concern as Fujifilm have incrementally turn the X-Pro line of cameras into a more complicated, albeit more capable, design. In doing so, there's been something lost in translation into their current product. Superior handling goes a long way for me when I'm doing an evaluation of a cameras design. Of the three X-Pro cameras, there is no question in my mind that for stills photography, the X-Pro1 is the best handling, and thus, most enjoyable camera to use. So much so in fact, that I'm willing to give up whatever improvements there are to image quality, video quality, autofocus capability, you name it. 

What is primarily important to me as a stills photographer first comes down to the experience of shooting with a camera. The more a camera feels like a distraction between my eye and the subject, the less I will shoot with it, and vice versa. My secondary priority (very close to the first) is how a camera performs the task I need done, and it's overall image quality output/capability. 

In these respects the X-Pro1 passes, and in many ways succeeds all of my expectations as a stills camera. I do not expect a race car to perform off road, and I do not expect my boat to fly, in the same way that I do not expect my X-Pro1 to be able to do everything better than all of my other cameras. Fujifilm should be credited for listening to photographers needs, however, I think the X-Pro camera line would be better off in the future with cameras designed more simply, not more complicated. In this respect I feel the X-Pro1 is the most balanced towards what it was designed to do in the first place- shoot still images.

Yes the autofocus isn't the fastest or the most sensitive in the world, sure I would love a top end 1/8000th second shutter speed (for fast prime lenses), and perhaps a diopter adjustment knob, but other than that I can't think of a single thing I would change with the X-Pro1. The fact that it lacks these items is in no way a deal breaker for me. The feel is just right, the controls just right, the menu just right, and the shooting experience (with the latest firmware) is divine. Sometimes the grass is green enough right where we stand. 

A Lump of Coal, to a Diamond

What amazes me is the transformation I've seen the X-Pro1 go through over the years; from a buggy, frustrating, prototype like initial release... to a refined, capable, and pleasurable camera that manages to push its mechanical parts to the very limit of their envelope. I would not trade it for a X-Pro2 or 3 if my life depended on it. Nor do I feel it is inferior to my Leica M-P Typ 240. The X-Pro1 has grown on me in a way I never expected, and each day I find new ways of shooting with it, and new tasks for it to complete.

No this is not a camera I would use in harsh climates, nor would it be my first choice for outdoor photography in general. But it wasn't designed to be. If you understand what it is designed to do and use it for those purposes, you'd be hard pressed to find anything else that would give you as much pleasure for those tasks. Wandering around in beach cities, taking family candid's, exploring a new city street, a night out on the town with friends, wineries, food documentation, macro photography, panoramas, and especially portrait work- these are the kinds subjects and work I prefer to use this camera for the most.

The X-Pro1's classic design and beautiful looks cannot be ignored either. I have to admit that there is a high level of pride of ownership that comes with this camera, just like anything else I own that equally looks great but also functions well. It dominates any shelf with its rangefinder like filmesque T-X1 sort of looks. And it won't sit there long because it begs you to pick it up and go shoot with it. Unlike other X-Pro cameras, which seem more fiddly or complicated in comparison, its great looks manifest identically to the shooting experience- it's a simple, elegant, delightful, and capable camera to use. 

Since I prefer that the X-Pro1 balance as well in my hand as possible, I think smaller manual focus primes are best suited for it. Small zooms and smaller auto-focusing primes are also quite welcome. On the occasion that using autofocus is more desirable, I prefer to keep lenses like the 27mm f/2.8 or 18-55 f/2.8-4 zoom handy. 

This camera just feels out of sync/unbalanced with large telephoto or large prime lenses to me, not that it isn't capable to use them of course. If I want a bit of reach, I'll take a fast 50 or 85mm prime, anything over that seems less ideal on the X-Pro1. The 18-135mm zoom is not a bad lens if you are going on vacation either, just not as ideal for daily use to me.

The real magic though is in its simplicity and comparatively relaxed nature, especially in an age where nothing is ever enough and instant gratification has seemingly replaced patience and creativity (god help us all). Yes I too appreciate a high tech multi-faceted modern camera, however, those kind of tools seem to be best suited for highly demanding conditions, so choice would be nice.

For creative photography, the X-Pro1 seems perfectly suited. And with makers continuing down the dead end path of creating only more complicated and expensive hybrid "devices" instead of stills cameras, I'm afraid they are abandoning the everyday photographer in that process. In doing so, cameras like the XPro-1 continue to increase in value as stills photographers realize they will soon have no choice but to look at the used market for gems such as the X-Pro1 as a primary creative tool. 

So has or will the X-Pro1 become a legend, a cult classic? Well I will say without question that it has already become the latter. And if you read the whole review you'll understand just why that is. As far as legendary, only time will tell. I will say though, that it is one of the relative few true contenders aiming for legendary status. 

This is one come back from behind success story that I just had to write about. And everyone loves an underdog. My advice? Get one, and hold onto it tightly. And if you like it, get two.

Stay focused.

Carl Garrard

Happiness is a decision away. Which way will you choose?


  1. Very nice review and I share many of your opinions on this great camera....but 10 years after buying it, my view from close has deteriorated ! And there's no diopter on the Xpro 1...and it is virtually impossible to find a fuji correction eye piece for it. Bought one from Nikon..hopefully it will allow me to keep shooting with it !

  2. Try B and H look for correction diopter made by Zeiss ZI diopter made specifically for X-Pro1, you just have to know your correct adjustment factor.

  3. Very nice review! The Nikon FM/FE/FA Diopters fit, as the Cosina Bessa and Epson RD1 Diopters. A +1 Diopter kompensates the XPro1 Viewfinder -1. Then my glasses are fine. Be aware, that the OVF and the EVF have slightly different focus. I decided for the OVF, so the EVF is best with the reading part of my glasses.
    In Germany I got the Cosina Diopter from Foto Koch, Düsseldorf. The Cosina are MC coated, the Nikon "only" single coated. Good luck!

  4. Your review made me revisit my as new Pro1, I set aside my H1,T1 and V and rediscovered how much I enjoyed using it nearly a decade ago. I purchased through eBay an original and new Fujifilm +3 diopter from Japan a few months ago. I leave for Tenerife in a few days with the Pro1, 14 mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/2.0. The uncomplicated Pro1 has made me slow down and my composition’s look better. Without seeing this review I might just have forgotten it. And you’re right, I can’t express it, but the images it takes are rather good.

  5. Awesome, glad you liked the review and of course your reaction brings me happiness. Happy shooting!

  6. Kudos for revisiting a camera that holds sentimental value for many photographers. Your blog captures the essence of the X-Pro1's impact on the industry and its lasting legacy. I was searching for the Latest Fujifilm Cameras and I found this informative blog. It makes me wonder, if Fujifilm were to release a limited-edition version of the X-Pro1 with updated internals, would you be excited about it or do you think it would dilute the camera's original charm?

  7. As photography technology continues to evolve, it's essential to reflect on the past to understand how far we've come and appreciate the enduring value of certain equipment. Great job on the review, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on this classic camera!

  8. Kudos to Fujifilm for their timeless innovation with the X-PRO 1! A decade later, it's still a remarkable camera, proving that quality endures. This review beautifully captures the essence of its enduring charm

  9. Your review of the Fujifilm X-PRO 1 is both informative and captivating. It's incredible to think that a decade-old camera can still hold its own and even surpass some newer models. Your post highlights the timeless quality of this camera, and it's a testament to Fujifilm's commitment to producing outstanding photographic equipment. I'm eager to read more about the features and capabilities that make the X-PRO 1 a standout choice for photographers. Great job!