A few weeks ago my wife and I took a short ride to Asbury Park, NJ to hit one of our favorite spots The Asbury Park Festhalle & Biergarten to check out the October festivities. Perfect opportunity to bring out the light and vintage feeling Fujifim X Pro 1. I mounted the seldom praised and often criticized Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens for a day of street photography. My X Pro1 secured around my neck using a beautiful Hyperion Strap I was ready to roll.
People have asked in the year 2017 is this camera still relevant? With most of the photography world obsessed with high megapixel count and dynamic range results is the XPRO 1 still worth it? While I don’t think it is fair to compare all cameras in this case I feel the closest competition to this camera would be a Leica M9 series. The Fujifilm XPRO1 being an APSC Crop sensor and the Leica M9 being a full frame sensor both come in at a relativity close megapixel count. My Leica M9P was amazing but it also hit me in the wallet for $3200 for a used one plus $900 for a 50mm Summicron F2. My XPRO 1 set me back $375 for a used unit and another $225 for the 18 mm F2. There has been a lot of negativity in regards to the 18mm F2 however I found it to be a stellar lens. The 23mm, 35mm, and 56mm Fujinons are incredible and sharp. Far superior in build quality but the 18mm is a cheap way to get into an amazing focal length for street photography. The Leica M9 is a beautiful piece of gear that goes without saying. A solid camera with amazing detail in its construction. The Fujifilm has a wonderful feel to it however it does not feel as solid as it’s Leica competitor. It has a hollow and light feeling to it but this is not to say that it isn’t a very sturdy camera. It has a wonderful shutter sound too. It truly sings vintage.
The similarities between the Leica in the Fuji become apparent when glancing at the rear LCD screen. In my opinion you don’t really get what you see on the screens. They are both lower in resolution and I have found that darks are very dark and highlights tend to look blown out even when exposure is nailed. Once you get the images back to your method of editing its a whole different story. The magic of the first generation Fuji X Trans sensor shows why its still well regarded within the community. The images from the first generation look much different from my XT-2.
Shooting the XPRO1 certain gave me a feeling of shooting a film camera. Adjustable aperture via the aperture ring on the lens. Shutter speed dial on the top. I set my top function button as an ISO selector. Exposure comp dial. If I’m feeling lazy or want to move fast I configure an Auto ISO up to 6400 and a shutter speed of my choosing. I’m not concerned with noise. The older X Trans sensor along with the way it renders color mimics film and black and whites are amazing. Speaking of film you can choose a film emulation in camera which is applied to jpegs but not RAW files. You can add the emulations to your RAW files in post. You are missing the highly popular Classic Chrome emulation however not to worry as it can be found using a google search for Classic Chrome for XPRO1 and you will see a preset named Homebrew.
The autofocus on the XPRO1 while not fast by any means is a lot better then the original firmware when released just make sure your updated. I shoot mine on single AF or Manual regardless. You have the choice of an optical viewfinder or an electronic viewfinder. I stick with the latter as the optical seemed to suffer in strong sunlight whereas my frame lines were all but lost.
To get back to the original posed question. Is the XPRO 1 worth it in 2017 I would give an astounding yes. What do you have to lose? For $300 to $400 on the used market for a system when released in 2012 for $1699.00 it’s a bargain. If your like me a certain camera can place you in a certain mindset then it’s definitely worth it. When I wield the XPRO1 I’m thinking like a film shooter. I’m more deliberate in my use of light and shadow. I’m more in the street photographer mindset, looking for a story to tell. You can’t put a price on that and if you do then $350 is a steal.