Testing The Fuji X-Pro1 :: Quiet Hounds

February 26, 2012 | • Gear & Gadgets Shop Talk

How have I gotten hold of the new Fuji X-Pro1?

[montypython]The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft the Fuji X-Pro1 from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Zack, was to test the new X. [/montypython]

That is exactly what happened. Well, not really. The X-Pro1 isn’t waterproof. I got an email asking if I’d be interested in using the new camera since I loved the x100 so much. Will this system have the same soul as the x100? I won’t reveal that yet but as I unboxed it I think I said OMG 26 times in a row. :) I’ve never been asked to test a pre-production camera before so this is going to be fun. I’m also allowed to say anything I want to about it. I can love it, hate it, or be indifferent.

I will be running the camera and it’s three new lenses through the paces on assignments and personal work over the next three weeks and will report my findings here. If you have specific questions about this camera please let me know in the comments. Many of you have already been asking questions on Twitter. Focus speed, manual focus, ISO performance, lens performance, overall image quality, is it worth the money, is it a DSLR killer, does it eat M9’s for breakfast, etc, etc. As always, I won’t be counting pixels or describing bayer patterns or burning villages because of menu layouts. I’ll let you know how it actually works in the real world instead of a testing facility with Macbeth color charts and thrift store knick knacks. Off to find some squirrels.

In the mean time, check out Quiet Hounds. They played their first show last night to a packed house and I have to say they are one of the best new bands I’ve heard in recent history. Meg has been going on and on about them and she’s right. (She’s always right) The show was amazing. Sign up on their email list and get their music for free.99. The image above was shot under extremely challenging lighting with the X-Pro1 and the 35mm f1.4. F1.4 @ 50th @ ISO 1000. Shot B&W jpg in camera, cropped in PS, slightly sharpened for downsizing for web. (.2 pixels @ 80% @ 0 threshold) Blah, blah, blah.




  • Blake said on February 26, 2012

    A few posts back, you said you were hoping the Xpro1 could replace your MkDII kit. My question is can it, and why/why not? I’m personally interested in focus speed in tough lighting conditions, high ISO performance, and its ergonomics.


  • Sean said on February 26, 2012

    I can’t wait to read your review on it Zack! What do you think so far about the auto focus speed compared to the x100? Do you think this could replace a dslr?

  • Bret said on February 26, 2012

    Squirrels before girls, hoss.

  • Lea said on February 26, 2012

    I purchased the Leica X1. Love it for some things, hate it for others. Want something that is smaller than my 5DM2, but with great image quality that can focus quickly. I’m considering the Fuji but also the Olympus OMD. It’s hard to go to a smaller sensor after shooting full-frame for years and being used the quality. But, like so many others, I’d love a lighter camera with excellent build and image quality and top rate focus speeds in all light. I’m excitedly following your posts on this camera.

  • Cyclopedia Brown said on February 26, 2012

    I’m glad they chose you to test it out. Your review of the X100 was stellar. All the tech talk isn’t for me. I want to see real world results.

    It looks like your first test was in a low light, high movement atmosphere. How did it perform focus-wise?

  • Nasir Hamid said on February 26, 2012

    I have no idea or interest in what this camera is or what you’re so excited about but I’m looking forward to seeing some new images from you :-)


  • Stephen Coombs said on February 26, 2012


    I would love to hear how it preforms in low light and how it’s higher ISO’s image quality compares to the current Fuji X and your Canon 5Dmkii.

    (I am often found taking local live music photos, helping support and promote the scene in Charlotte, NC.)


  • Daniel said on February 26, 2012

    Looks great so far. If it even has the same foibles as the x100 it’d still be an excellent camera. My argument against interchangeable lens cams is that I have one of those already. The reason I’d want a RF would be for compactness (portability/street photography). How protuberant is the 35mm lens? Did fuji provide a pancake like the X100?

  • MikeScott said on February 26, 2012

    What I really want to know – are they going to let you keep this kit for your trouble or do you have to return it when you’re finished with your evaluation? :-)

  • Alex England said on February 26, 2012

    How many years does it take to turn on once you throw the switch, and how long does it take to wake back up when it goes in to power saving mode? Please tell me it’s better than the x100.

  • Ivan Boden said on February 26, 2012

    It looks great, but seems pricey for APS-C. If you can, tell us what the advantages are over a full-frame DSLR, if any, that would be cool. And, to spend that much money on a camera system that only has 3 lenses, to me, makes it hard to justify the cost. What is your opinion on that?

  • Komparc said on February 26, 2012

    Nice music in did. Love it.

  • Michael said on February 26, 2012

    Listen — strange women lying in ponds distributing fuji cameras is no basis for a system of obtaining said cameras. I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an photographer just because some moistened bint had lobbed a Fuji at me they’d put me away!

    Looking forward to the sample images and blog post. Don’t care about the camera, out of my budget but your reviews are interesting reading.

  • jeanie said on February 26, 2012

    Hi Zack! I’m hoping that this can be a REAL camera that I can use on assignments. I have an x100 but as much as I love it it’s not really robust enough for most shoots. I’m thinking of selling it and getting a small pocketable cam for those times I don’t want to use my iPhone.

    Do YOU use your x100 for anything other than posting to 500Px? Sure, it looks cool and David Beckham has one, but other than that, what’s the fuss.

    Opine please, Master Z!


  • Christopher said on February 26, 2012

    There’s always been an implied professionalism in showing up for jobs with pro gear. In some people’s minds, bigger = better. However, after shooting as a pro for over 20 years and establishing that reputation for quality & service, I’d love to be able to “downsize” my equipment, literally, and pack a couple of camera bodies, lenses and speedlites into a small bag. Of course, I wouldn’t do it if the image quality and camera handling weren’t up to pro standards. So I’d like your opinion after you’ve put it to the test. . .is the new Fuji system capable of replacing Nikon D/Canon 1D gear for portrait, editorial & commercial work? Looking forward to your review.

  • Lesley Potts said on February 26, 2012

    The Quiet Hounds put on a great show! And that’s a great shot. How you managed to get it around that crazy woman, I don’t know…

  • Zack said on February 27, 2012

    @Lesley – I know! :)


  • Peter said on February 26, 2012

    The sample images I have seen so far show an extremely homogeneous. smooth and creamy depth of field/bokeh, almost Gaussian Blur-like. How much of a distinct and recognizable look do these lenses have? I’m a bit concerned the images that come out of that camera might feel a bit sterile based on what I have seen so far.

  • Eric said on February 26, 2012

    Love this shot Zack. I usually don’t find concert photography images very interesting but your captures are often the exception! Your consistently find a way to breathe life into these pictures and make them seem very personal somehow. The new Fuji looks like a solid performer too. Can’t wait to see more.

  • Manson said on February 27, 2012

    Thanks a lot for the link to the free Quiet Hounds album. Listened to it 3 times in a row and am blown away. Oh yeah, have fun with x pro. I loved the X100 so if it’s even slightly better it will be in my bag. I don’t care what anyone says about the quirks, when you nail a shot with the X100 its hard to beat the image quality.

  • Adam Malcolm said on February 27, 2012

    My dad has the Holy Grail on Vinyl :)

    I say the Quiet Hounds owe you a bottle of Newcastle Brown for this free publicity.

  • Thomas said on February 27, 2012

    I’d like to hear your comments about using the X Pro 1 as a dSLR replacement, pros and cons. I’d assume that accessories such as flashes would be a consideration point if you don’t use manual lighting, but either than that, why or why not would you replace the 5D Mk II with the X Pro 1?

    – Thanks

  • Ethan N said on February 27, 2012


    I’m really curious about the MF and AF. I love my x100 but sometimes focusing can drive me insane. MF sometimes takes too long and AF sometimes misses. The other thing I’m ocd about is dust getting in my viewfinder (or anywhere on the camera). Please let me know if you see anything in the X Pro 1 viewfinder after a few days. I think if it improves on those two areas I’ll definitely get one. I already know IQ and high iso performance is going to be spectacular. Thanks for all you do and love the site man. Keep the good stuff coming.


  • bsmitty said on February 27, 2012

    looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

  • Josh Mitchell said on February 27, 2012

    My big question is will it be a viable alternative to shooting full sized DSLRs for wedding photography? I held one at WPPI and the weight and feel were great. The idea of using two of these light weight cameras versus my Nikons makes my back happy. Reading the specs of DPReview make it out to be a battery annihilator.

  • Alex said on February 27, 2012

    I bought the X100 after I’d read your post about it. It’s a great camera for me. Thanks !

  • Matthew Finnigan said on February 27, 2012

    Hi Zack, my question is really simple. Is it worth the money compared to what you can get for the same price?

  • Tenisd said on February 27, 2012

    I see You have what looks like an original lens hood on X100 instead of the famous Zarias 49mm filter hack here: http://instagr.am/p/HcS3FpGovj/
    Did they give that also to You for testing, and how did it go 😀

  • Russ said on February 27, 2012

    [montypython]The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft the Fuji X-Pro1 from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Zack, was to test the new X. [/montypython]

    Listen Zack, strange women lying in ponds distributing cameras is no basis for a system of testing. Supreme reviewing power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

    You can’t expect to wield supreme reviewing power just because some watery tart threw a Fuji at you.

    If I went around saying I was a reviewer just because some moistened bint lobbed a compact system camera at me, they’d put me away.

    Or something.

    Looking forward to seeing what you have to say.

  • DK said on February 27, 2012

    Please let us know more about the autofocus… Can it also be used as a family cam to take pics of fast moving kids for our wives who may want to just leave it on auto mode

  • kenito said on February 27, 2012

    Thank you. I use to shoot nature, mountains, ladscape but also like portrates indoors. Dose the X-Pro 1 good for nature & portret shooting?

  • Shane said on February 27, 2012

    No pictures of cropped thrift store nick nacks ! Darn it man. Lol

  • Jon M said on February 27, 2012

    “Off to find some squirrels.”

    That literally made me laugh out loud (more like a quick HA!) which isn’t good cause I’m at work and immediately made it clear to everyone else that I wasn’t really working. We all know that white ducks in direct sunlight are the only way to really test a lens though so be sure to get some of those.

  • Mladjan said on February 27, 2012

    Hey Zack, how’s going, long time no see… I see you’re coming to Dubai again?

    Questions – x-Pro1 AF vs x100 AF… is it improved, faster, more accurate?
    How is MF working, can you see that clearly in OVF/EVF?

    Cheers man.

  • Elias said on February 27, 2012

    Hey Zack,

    What about weight, size and general maniability ? I think to buy it in order to keep my 5dmII for studio shootings and get the fuji for outdoor and travel images. It would make sense for you ?

    Thanks !


  • Chris said on February 27, 2012

    All I want to know is if focusing speed/distance has been improved since the X100.

    Thanks Zack!

  • JInny Hawkins said on February 27, 2012

    I’m interested in the low light ability, focus speed in low light, and compared to a DSLR what it does better and what it doesn’t. In the meantime I’ll try to contain my jealousy.
    +1 on the Quiet Hounds!

  • Bob K said on February 27, 2012

    1/50th? Must have been a ballad. If I want to shoot at 1/50th, I have to put the singer on a tripod.

  • Joel said on February 27, 2012

    My major question is what is the response time like. DSLR’s clearly have a very quick focus then shutter response, but it seems most point and shoot’s I’ve used have almost a 1-2 second response (i’m talking as if you just bring the camera to your face and push the shutter release without “half-pressing” first to lock focus). Is the X-Pro1 closer to a DSLR or painfully slow like a P&S? Thanks!


  • Mike Padua said on February 27, 2012

    Dynamic range – how is it?

  • Gregk said on February 27, 2012

    Why no squirrels? Where are the squirrels?

    Seriously though, playing with the xpro1 was one of the highlights of WPPI. I really wish they named it the X-1 Pro, though. So much easier to say, for some reason.

  • Zack said on February 27, 2012

    @Gregk – Yeah, I agree. I don’t like saying “XPro” because I don’t want to be an ex-pro. :)


  • Romeo Duncombe-Clarke said on February 27, 2012

    Nice!!! Keep up the inspirational work. Mr.Zack

  • James M said on February 27, 2012

    Zack, I remember you playing with the X100 here in LA at the workshop and were talking about the sync speed quite a bit at the time. I have been messing around with it a bit now also and from the looks of it at least on the specs info that the sync speed dropped on the X-Pro 1. Is this correct? What did you find as far as the benefits\downfalls of the higher sync speeds(X100) vs the lower sync speed of the X-Pro 1(if applicable)?

  • Zack said on February 28, 2012

    @James – The x100 has a leaf shutter that allows for fast syncing. The XPro-1 has a focal plane shutter that limits sync to 160th or so. Honestly I’ve not really shot much flash stuff with the x100. It’s more of a grab-n-go street camera for me.


  • Bob K said on February 27, 2012

    Zack… BTW, since I’m one of those who uses the setups with the nick-nacks and color charts for a specific purpose… I gotta explain. For me, it’s the easiest way to can get a handle on differences between cameras. Partly it’s because of how I shoot, I tend to really push the ISO/Shutter/aperture to the limits. But you read a review, or a pro talking about a camera, and they’ll say that it’s good up to ISO xxxx… there’s no way to tell what that means. Good enough for National Geographic? Good enough for an 11×17? Does the photog ever shoot at that ISO or did he just try it out for the test? It’s not so much about pixel-peeping, just being able to have meaningful comparisons. If you want to describe high ISO with the Fuji and the 5D-II, and tell me about the relative transcendent qualities of the detail rendering, that’s better than just telling me you love the look of the Fuji pictures, or that you like it up to ISO xxxx.

    Anyway, thanks for your indulgence, hate to sound like a pixel-peeper, I never read the DxO labs stuff or obsess over MTF charts. Just that in this area, it’s a useful visual comparison, and consistent with real-world results.

  • Jonathan Moore said on February 28, 2012

    Please please please whatever you do, please check the manual focusing in low light conditions. Is it the same type of setup and horrible optical sensor fly by wire that was implimented on the x100? X100 is notorious for not moving or jittering back and forth erratically when attempting to manual focus in low light levels.

    I hope the MF is actually responsive in low light.

  • Wolfshark said on February 28, 2012

    Really looking forward to how the 60mm preforms at portraits. It kills me that they designated that focal length for macro, made it slow(compared to the f1.4-2 norm for tele portrait lenses) and didn’t use more aperture blades. If you could get into some portraits and bokeh examples with it I’d really appreciate it.
    Have fun with the xpro-1, ride it hard and dont keep us waiting too long!

  • Olivier said on February 28, 2012

    I have been using the X100 since it came out and I am considering moving to the X Pro1 with both 35 and 18 mm lenses, but only if the AF has been improved a lot, in terms of focusing speed and (even more important) ability to focus in poor light.

    Any feedback on this subject will be great


  • Sergio said on February 28, 2012

    Fuji missed the boat on the focus speed. They don’t understand that quality also means performance in the mind of most consumers especially when you have to fork out that much money for this new system. Sure, it may not “be that kind of camera”. But overlooking that feature will mean the difference of it being a great camera. Since Fuji does not have the expertise to design performing AF systems, why don’t they just subcontract that out to, say, Nikon or someone else who knows how to do it?

  • Michael campbell said on February 28, 2012

    I would be delighted to hear you opinion on the manual focus. I love the X100 and have an X pro1 on order. Pretty much gave up my 5DII kit but found the X100 manual focus to be unusable.

  • Damien said on February 29, 2012

    One big question for me is how it compares with the other awesome retro-looking camera Olympus just announced.

  • CR said on February 29, 2012

    Have you been able to use it with any shoe mounted flashes? Any recommendations for a good one to use with it?

  • Richard Maldonado said on March 1, 2012

    I would love to see more pics , I love the pics you took with the x100 on Cnn , I was going to buy that camera until Scott kelby and R.C. trashed the heck out of it saying it was soooo bad. Why did I listen to them? I will be considering buying a x pro 1. Thanks Zack for being you.

  • Chad Conington said on March 1, 2012

    Hi Zack,

    It would be good to see how the lenses react when shooting an over exposed white wall (ie white cyc wall tutorial) as when using prime lenses on my Nikon this can cause a lot of flare issues but not when I use a zoom. Do you encounter the same problem when using the X Pro 1?



  • David said on March 1, 2012

    I am totally loving my pre-production X-Pro1 is far exceeds my expectations. I am presenting my findings at Focus on Imaging and it is all good :)

  • Paul Reitano said on March 2, 2012

    Dear Z,
    Please say only good things. I’ve pre-ordered the camera, I don’t need any bad news. Thank you.

  • Sam said on March 5, 2012

    Please also report on lens flare, especially if you are testing the 18mm version. I found very bright lighting (sun) to completely blow out the image on my X100, even if the sun wasn’t in the frame. Thx.

  • Renzo said on March 5, 2012

    Do share how it the xpro behaves in the street. Can’t wait to see the colors the fuji makes pop out. I’m loving my x100 and I won’t change it for the xpro, no need for more lenses or to zoom as I zoom with my feet. But still it would be nice to see where fuji is going with their line and perhaps this is only the beginning for a x200?

    btw, the Quiet Hounds do rock. thanks for sharing.

  • Les Doerfler said on March 7, 2012

    “Squirrels before girls” is the best comment on this thread and my new motto for how to live my photographic life.

  • Mike said on March 8, 2012

    Just got my X pro 1 in Hong Kong a few days ago. So far I love it.

  • bashar said on March 10, 2012

    hey Zack, how practical is the camera vs. X100, the best photos in my life are taken with the X100 because of its go everywhere size and egronomics. the best camera is the one you have with you….

  • Rob Holloway said on March 11, 2012

    Loved your comments, thanks. My first camera was a Fujica St 601 in 1975. Totally manual and one lens as I had no money.
    Taught me about composition and dealing with limitations. No measurebating on squirrels for me. The key is a camera I want to take with me everywhere and every day. Struggling with x100 vs xpro 1 decision. Canon DSLR and 24-105 nice, but gathering dust.
    Love your posts and your pictures

  • Bernard Murphy said on April 1, 2012

    Looking forward to the review. When can it be expected?
    I am considering changing from my Nikon D90 to Fuji.


  • Stanley Butterfass said on April 2, 2012

    When are you planning to post the review of the Fuji X pro 1. Thanks!

  • oculeanu said on April 6, 2012

    Hello Zack, I love your images and I’m waiting forward to read the full test with X 1 Pro..I’m agonizinv here because my main sistem is based on a clasic 5 D – never upgraded to mk II – and I’m now wondering if a second system in my backpack is necessary or the X 100 is more than enoug for go anywhere camera..
    Thank you,

  • Frank said on April 10, 2012

    Hokay..I’m biased. Love a “range finder”; I’ve used and understand the allure of the “m” series.Just can’t pay to play.

    Please Pass on to your Fuji buddies:

    leaf shutter,After the “One light workshop” DVD 1/60th(1/200th?) sync speed just isn’t gonna’ cut it. (They could(just)add leaf lenses and leave the focal plane shutter open.)One for the sure to come X200?
    honest to god real range finder focusing(MF). Soccer mom chasing kids be damned.

    leaf lenses and I’d dump the 1DS on b&H TOMORROW.

    Lovin’ all your work Zack buddy.
    Happy you were chosen by the lady in the lake to test! Loved my one light dvd set by the way!

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