FUJIFILM X-Pro1 / SHOOTING REPORT
The X-Pro1 is "the interchangeable-lens X100" in a nutshell. Just like the X100, it has the hybrid (optical/LCD) viewfinder and the conservative appearance. But, it uses high-quality lenses (the initial lineup consists of fixed-focal lenses only!) and a unique sensor. I leave the detailed explanation of its structure of the sensor to other sources, but since the early period in digital photography, Fujifilm has been making sensors slightly different from others. For example, they had been using the "Super CCD Honeycomb," which consists of octagon-shaped pixels, for the very early models. Perhaps, as a film manufacturer, they stuck to images shot with film more than any other manufacturer. The X-Pro 1 has the "X-Trans CMOS." Basically, it's a Bayer pattern sensor without a low-pass filter. Generally, if a sensor doesn't have a low-pass filter, it's more prone to moire and false color reproduction. Meanwhile, the color filters on this sensor are arranged randomly, taking a cue from the random arrangement of silver grains in the film. As a result of this unique design, the sensor acquired the native sharpness at the sensor level. Together with the short flange focal distance and the high-quality prime lenses, it realized even sharper, high-quality image formation. Because of the hybrid viewfinder, high-quality body construction and finish, conservative appearance, and user interface on the top cover, this camera isn't just another mirrorless camera. It also gives a joy of using and owning. Plus, while the image quality is high, the system remains compact. Undoubtedly, this is a camera for serious shooters.
( Photography & Text : K )
Sharpness for 3D quality
Speaking of "lowpass-less," the Leica M9-P or SIGMA's SD/DP series are well-known. By removing a lowpass filter, we are freed from the contradiction of sharpening images (via image processor) once unsharpened by a lowpass filter, and we can avoid the phenomenon where drawing lines thicken. I believe that the thinner the drawing line is, the more precise the rendition would become and this adds to 3D quality as well. Look at the image below to check the effect of the sensor construction without using a lowpass-filter. The reproduction of the leaf hat is so realistic that I can imagine its dry and frayed touch.
This "color" is the greatest appeal of Fuji
The default mode, corresponding to the standard mode of conventional cameras, is "PROVIA" with this camera. In addition, it has the famous high-saturation high-contrast "Velvia" favored by nature photographers and the light and soft "ASTIA." Plus, it has two "Professional Color Negative Film" modes although I didn't have the chance to try them this time. Using the film names is never easy because they cannot use the ever so popular names unless the users are convinced of their rendition. Personally, I like the dramatic "Velvia" mode, but I'm most impressed by the standard "PROVIA" mode because it is very PROVIA. Even though the shadow tone is brighter than the film, but it's extremely close. And as a long-time user of this film, I want to use Fuji's cameras just because of it. Digital photography has increased the burden on photographers primarily because of the image processing after shooting. So, I often want the camera to finish with color toning to some extent. Fujifilm's cameras, on the other hand, deliver convincing outputs even with the JPEG mode, which is great news particularly to experienced slide film shooters.
All lenses are tack sharp wide open and they take graceful images
I'm impressed by the beautiful bokeh of all the three lenses. I expected the 35mm and 60mm macro to generate good bokeh, but I was surprised by the beautiful bokeh with the 18mm. Because of the focal length, the perspective gets too strong at close distance. But, look at the image below. Isn't it beautiful? The 35mm is very sharp wide open and produces dazzling bokeh. I'd say the 60mm is a bit softer not being too sharp, and it's great fro macro and portraits.
This is the most compact system for high quality images.
This is a system for serious shooters who want to shoot anytime, anywhere.
Because the X-Pro1 is a mirrorless camera, you may want to compose with the rear LCD first. With this approach, you may feel awkward because the camera are not completely integrated with your body and you may feel more distance to the scene. What makes the X-Pro1 different from other mirrorless cameras is that it also provides other options for better approaches. When using a lens with a focal length which doesn't require precise focusing or when stopping down to get more depth of field, you can use the optical viewfinder. If you want to compose precisely checking the depth of field, use the LCD viewfinder with 100% coverage. And, if you need to compose with a large screen, use the rear LCD. After taking more than 1,000 shots, I had the following impression. With the new sensor realizing sharper image formation and the high-quality interchangeable lenses, Fujifilm has created a new system which is irresistibly compact and capable of delivering high quality images which is even higher than expensive cameras. Because it looks like a rangefinder camera, at first I tried to focus with the optical viewfinder to be stressed with the manual focusing experience in comparison with other rangefinder cameras including Leica. However, with some exceptions, rangefinder cameras are designed to focus manually. So, it's nonsense to compare this AF camera with other cameras optimized for manual focusing. And, my stress was completely gone after I understood that this camera has the hybrid viewfinder just to realize more options to increase usability. By learning the structure and operation system, I could imagine how hard they had tried to eliminate the difficulty in focusing with a mirrorless camera featuring a large sensor. As for the lenses, there're only three primes at this launching time. So, if you had used zoom lenses only, they're not easy to master. But, the best part often comes from constraints. Only when there're restrictions of focal length, you'll understand what it means to use a zoom lens and hence you can use it more freely. Want to be into photography? Need higher image quality? Get the X-Pro1. Always carry it with you and keep shooting.