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Fuji X-Pro1

Fuji X-Pro1

Can Fuji's X-Pro1 really perform professional duties? Can you really live without a DSLR? Portrait and fashion photographer KARL SHAW explains how this little Fuji has gotten under his skin I could start by leading you up the garden path — waxing lyrical over all the things that are wrong with Fuji s X-Pro1. Complaining about this, pointing out what s wrong with that and generally having a right old moan, then 1,000 words later in a Top Gear-esque twist —cue the rousing music and stunning imagery —turn the whole story around and come clean with what an epic machine I have to hand. I could, but I won‘t. I ll go on record right here, right now and state that the Fuji X-Pro1 is a game changer. Now, you may be thinking that this is some form of advertorial or I have a particular allegiance to Fujifilm. Far from it — cut me in half and you ll see a yellow square with black text. I m a Nikon man through and through and come over all funny if for any reason I’m parted from my D3s. But, and I never thought I would hear myself say this, the Fuji X-Pro1 has completely bowled me over. Given that this is neither a full test or a long-term report you might be wondering what the point of this article; why is so much space being given to a camera that has already graced these pages? Simple really, when something comes along that gets me this excited I think its important to spread the word. I genuinely believe that it makes sense for photographers to listen to other photographers, especially as this is something new, something that doesn’t add to your DSLR but sits alongside or dare I say, replaces. Replaces? A big word when it comes to camera systems but trust me, you’ll be sold on the quality of the images alone — images that possess a kind of painterly quality that hard to put into words. Okay, you won’t be in a hurry to head off to Silverstone to shoot some motorsport or pack your bags for Kenya to capture some fast moving animals, but for everything else the X-Pro1 is outstanding. Being mainly a portrait and fashion photographer I was a little unsure how the Fuji would handle strobe duties, but what can I say? The X-Pro1 performs like a, well, a pro, with genuine OMG moments as I chimp and zoom in on the images. In the studio or out on location nothing seems to phase the Fuji — using strobes alone or mixing with the available light you can totally rely on the camera to deliver the kind of shots that you used to seeing from hi-end DSLRs. A lot of this is down to the quality of the lenses —18mm f/2.0, 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm f/2.4 macro —the 35mm and 60mm being particularly effective for portraits. Even wide open there no hint of softness at the point of focus, with that lovely fall off you get when you combine a very good lens with a very wide aperture. So, by now we established that it does just about everything as well, if not better, than a DSLR —we forgive the Fuji for not handling sporting duties quite so well as, say, a D4 or 1D Mark IV and check out its looks and handling.
Fuji X-Pro1 Kit

Fuji X-Pro1 Kit

A thing of beauty Well, to look at, the X-Pro1 is a thing of beauty. If you the kind of photographer that appreciates how a camera looks as well as how it performs then you can go wrong. This Fuji is one sweet camera, the kind of camera you want behind glass or on a shelf to keep as a classic, a collectors item that is only meant to be gazed at and never used. However, use it you must, because when you do you appreciate its old-school charm. For starters theres this new way of changing the aperture, you actually use the lens itself and not some disconnected dial! How cool is that? Of course Im joking, but to some younger photographers this ’way of doing things will be totally alien and at first seem a tad clumsy. But combined with the top dial, which takes care of the shutter speed, this more measured approach with a proper exposure compensation dial where you normally find a dial to change the shutter speed, takes little time before it becomes second nature. There are also the same focus point adjustability you get on a DSLR, the same Live View mode and all the in-camera customisation, including function button —which I suggest you set to change the ISO — that you expect in any DSLR. Even the viewfinder is a dream to use. Fuji called it a Hybrid Multi Viewfinder — basically you can switch between an optical (yes, including a parallax view) and electronic version, which surprisingly takes very little time to adjust to. The bonus being you get instant gratification as the picture you’ve just taken appears in the viewfinder. Of the many ’, less professional cameras I tested I always judged the quality of the images alongside the images that the likes of a D3s coupled with, say, a 24-70mm f/2.8 produces and every camera fell short. Okay, they are bound to, we’re talking about cameras which are a 10th of the price but if your livelihood depends on producing quality images, if you are used to professional results day in day out and need that performance on a daily basis, its very difficult to accept anything less. Time after time I wished I had my D3s with me rather than my point and shoot, knowing that an image from any ’camera would be a compromise. With the Fuji X-Pro1 things are very different, very different indeed.

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