After the success of its retro-styled fixed lens X100 camera, it seemed inevitable that Fujifilm would try its hand at an interchangeable lens system camera based around the same design. Step forward the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera.
It’s been one of the worst-kept secrets in photography news that Fujifilm were due to announce a system camera to join the same family as the Finepix X100 and Finepix X10 compacts. The newly-unveiled Fujifilm X-Pro1 has few surprises from a design point of view, but an almighty surprise when it comes to the eye-watering price point.
Fujifilm X-Pro1: DSLR-sized sensor, compact body
Fujifilm has stuck to its guns in keeping with the classy retro design that made the X10 and X100 cameras so popular in 2011. The X-Pro1 is similarly head-turning, and successfully stands apart from standard DSLR designs or rival compact system cameras.
Inside the slim body of the X-Pro1 there’s an APS-C sized sensor – the same sensor size you’d find in a consumer-level DSLR. The 16Mp CMOS sensor is claimed by Fujifilm to offer “optimum image clarity” and a lower signal to noise ratio than most consumer DSLRs.
According to Fujifilm, the X-Pro1 can capture cleaner shots with less graininess at higher ISO levels than even market-leading APS-C sensor DSLRs, and that only full frame sensor DSLRs can beat it for image clarity in low light.
Hybrid viewfinder on the Fujifilm X-Pro1
Like the X100 before it, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 offers a hybrid viewfinder that can either function as an optical viewfinder or as an electronic viewfinder. You can change the viewfinder mode by flicking a switch at the front of the camera.
We loved the functionality of the electronic viewfinder when we reviewed the Fujifilm Finepix X100, but found that the optical viewfinder was seriously lacking in usability when you attempted to manually focus.
Since the X100’s viewfinder was an entirely separate element to the lens (there’s no mirror inside the camera to connect the two), you could not see the focus of the lens on the optical viewfinder. We’d anticipate the same issue with the X-Pro1, and users of this camera are more likely to demand regular manual focusing than X100 owners.
Fujifilm XF-system lenses
The X-Pro1 will launch with three compatible XF-mount lenses. This is an all-new lens mount system designed specifically for the X-Pro1 camera, and any future models in this series.
Fujifilm X-Pro1 compatible XF-mount lenses:
- 18mm 2.0 (equivalent to 27mm)
- 35mm f1.4 (equivalent to 53mm)
- 60mm macro lens f2.4 (equivalent to 91mm)
Interestingly, the first three lenses are all prime lenses rather than zoom, suggesting that Fujifilm is aiming this new camera squarely at enthusiasts demanding the highest possible image quality.
You can increase the aperture at 1/3 of an f-stop increments with all three of these lenses.
…and the bad news, the price
With so many high end features, it was inevitable that the X-Pro1 wouldn’t be coming cheap. And given that the fixed lens X100 debuted at £1000 before settling closer to £800, we knew there’d be an even steeper price tag to accompany the X-Pro1.
How much exactly, then? Fujifilm won’t yet be drawn on an exact price, but at CES 2012 a Fujifilm spokesperson suggested that the X-Pro1 body alone would set you back $1700, and the 18mm lens a further $600.
Why, Fujifilm, why? In one fell stroke, this camera could find itself ruled out by potentially interested buyers. At this price point, it will be nearly double the cost of the Sony NEX-7, the closest rival compact system camera specs-wise.
If you were seeking a compact system camera with an electronic viewfinder, you could buy THREE Nikon V1 cameras for the price of the X-Pro1.
Furthermore, last year’s Fujifilm X100, despite boasting a gorgeous design and superb specs, was disappointingly let down by a series of quirks and foibles in the menu structure and workings of the camera. The kind of demanding photographers Fujifilm is aiming for with the X-Pro1 won’t settle for any similar flaws in performance – least of all if they’ve had to shell out such a huge wad of cash for the privilege.