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Walkabout with the Fuji X-Pro1

I was recently loaned a Fuji X-Pro1 with a 35mm f1.4 lens (equivalent to 50mm field of view) for a week to try out. I shot lots of photos of my baby girl and brought the camera out for a walkabout on two mornings.

The X-Pro1 is about the size of a Leica M as can be seen from the 2 photos below. It does not feel as solid as the Leica M but is heavy enough to not feel like a toy camera.

Like the earlier Fuji X100, I really enjoyed using the hybrid optical viewfinder and found the quality of the images from the camera (even at higher ISOs) excellent. I have done a couple of large prints (18×12″ and 11.5×7.7″) from the camera and am very pleased with the results. The autofocus of the X-Pro1 is not very fast as mentioned by the many reviews available. There definitely is a noticeable lag from when I depress the shutter button to the time the camera obtains a focus lock. That said, I found the autofocus to be very accurate in that it manages to lock onto the area I focus on even in extremely dark environments.

The following is a selection of photos from my walkabouts. For the X-Pro1, I did not use aperture or shutter priority. Shutter speeds of 1/125s to 1/500s and apertures of f1.4 to f4 were manually set while shooting, depending on what was being shot. ISO was set to Auto ISO 1600 or 3200; so the camera was still determining the correct exposure by adjusting the ISO on the fly. The RAW files were post processed according to my personal preferences in Lightroom 4.1 and Photoshop (B&W conversion, adding in some grain/noise to some photos and downsizing for the web). Most of the indoor photographs were shot wide open at ISO 1600 to 3200.

I found the X-Pro1 quite fun for street photography. Like a Leica M, the optical viewfinder allowed me to look outside the image capture area to see and anticipate what was entering the frame. The autofocus seemed alright for subjects that were from 1.5 to 2 metres onwards but struggled a bit to lock focus with closer subjects (especially if the subject was not static). With a bit of anticipation, I found that even with the focus lag, there was enough time to focus, recompose, fully depress the shutter button and still capture the moment.

I hope Fuji manages to improve the autofocus in the X-Pro1 or in the next version of the camera. Whether the autofocus is fast enough for you, it really depends on what you are used to and the kinds of photography you are into. If I was comparing the autofocus of the X-Pro1 against an Olympus OM-D or a Canon 5DM3, it would be very slow. If I was comparing it against a manual focus Leica camera, it would be on par or faster in terms of focusing speed and accuracy unless the Leica was set to hyperfocal distance focusing.

After a week with the camera, I was quite reluctant to return it. I am sitting on the fence on whether to replace one of the DSLRs I use for my wedding work with a X-Pro1. It would be great to be able to lighten the load on my shoulders. For the time being, I am adopting a wait-and-see stance. :P

A special thanks to Fuji Singapore for the loan of the camera.