With a hybrid viewfinder and a new colour filter array on its 16.3-million-pixel sensor, Fujifilm’s highly anticipated X-Pro1 compact system camera is more than just a pretty face
At the heart of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is its APS-C-sized, 16.3-million-pixel X-Trans CMOS sensor. However, it is the sensor’s new colour filter array and lack of a low-pass filter that are the most interesting aspects of its specification.
I’ll go into this in more detail later, but briefly the new colour filter array has a different pattern to the regular Bayer version used in most digital cameras. It looks more random and is said by Fujifilm to reduce moiré patterning, removing the need for a low-pass filter. This, in turn, is said to improve the sharpness of images.
The sensor has an equivalent sensitivity range of ISO 200-6400, with an extended range of ISO 100-25,600. The most sensitive extension is a 1EV increase from the ISO 12,800 setting found in the X100. However, these extended settings are only available when shooting JPEG images.
Ultra Sonic Vibration is used to rid the sensor of dust, but the camera doesn’t offer image stabilisation. The lens road map for the X mount shows that Fujifilm plans to introduce optically stabilised lenses, the first of which we are told will be an 18-72mm f/4 IS zoom, due for release later this year.
At its launch, the X-Pro1 was introduced with three lenses – a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2, an XF 35mm f/1.4 and an XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro – and I was fortunate to have all three available to me for this test. The introduction of the zoom lens to the existing range should provide all the basic focal lengths required by travel and street photographers.
In addition to this, there are five more Fujinon lenses listed as in development: a 14mm f/2.8, a 28mm f/2.8 pancake, a 23mm f/2, 72-200mm f/4 IS and a 12-24mm f/4 IS. All these lenses are due for release in 2013, except the 14mm optic, which is due out later this year.
One of the advantages of compact system cameras is that the short flange depth allows many other lenses to be mounted and used, via a mount adapter. Measuring just 17.7mm, the Fujifilm X mount actually has one of the shortest flange depths of any system camera. It is fractionally shorter than the 18mm depth of the Sony E mount used on the NEX models, and more importantly for many, it is more than 10mm shorter than the 27.8mm depth of the Leica M mount. Fuji has already shown a prototype of a Leica M-to-X-mount adapter at the recent CP+ show in Japan, and it should be released this year. Novoflex has also announced that it will be making lens mount adapters for the X-Pro1, presumably in all the standard lens mounts, including Nikon F, Leica M and Pentax K.
Having the option to use Leica lenses on a classic rangefinder-styled camera will delight many Leica film camera owners, as well as potentially saving them a fortune. The Leica M9 costs around £5,000, while the X-Pro1 comes in at around £1,400 body only.
Like the X100, the X-Pro1 uses a hybrid multi-viewfinder, which combines an optical viewfinder with a digital display. At the flick of a switch on the front of the camera, this optical finder is replaced with an electronic view, so users get the best of both analogue and digital worlds.
Other interesting features of the X-Pro1 include exposure bracketing, ISO, dynamic range and film simulation bracketing. The latter allows three different film simulation colour styles to be selected and saves three different images when a picture is taken.
Continuous shooting is available at either 3fps or 6fps, whether shooting JPEG or raw image files, although the focus is locked at the first frame. I found I was able to take one raw and JPEG image before the shooting rate slowed. After a few more shots the buffer fills and it takes a few seconds before shooting can continue at the full 6fps.
Dropping to 3fps didn’t change much, although I was able to shoot 12 raw frames before the shooting rate slowed right down. Switching to JPEG made an obvious difference and I was able to shoot around 23 images at 6fps before the buffer became full. Dropping to 3fps allows nearly 40 JPEG images to be taken before the buffer fills and the shooting rate drops.
The feature set of the X-Pro1 is as comprehensive as a serious photographer would want, but without being bloated with facilities that will never be used. Many photographers will simply set the camera up with a suitable image style, or set it to raw for later adjustments, and then use the camera as a traditional rangefinder, forgetting about the bells and whistles.