So we are at that time again. Mere weeks before a possible new Fujifilm X-Pro 3 announcement. What better way to pay homage than revisit the camera which paved the way along with its more advanced successor. Yes, of course, I’m speaking of the Fuji X-Pro 1 and the X-Pro 2. A trip to New York City with these two coupled with the 35mm 1.4 and the new 16mm 2.8. Things are about to get interesting!!!!
While these two are similar in design they both at times couldn’t be further apart. The original Fuji X-Pro 1 is a robust metal camera. Beautifully designed ergonomically but definitely not without its flaws. We get a timeless rangefinder style body which allows for unlimited “nose” room when shooting. That’s right, no more smudged screens. However, Fuji made some choices which I cannot understand. We have a traditional D-Pad on the backside of the camera with a useless Macro button on top. The left and right pad buttons are all but useless for choosing functions while shooting. They cannot be assigned.
The bottom button affords you access to AF area selection. That’s about the only thing that makes sense but then they added a dedicated and marked AF button on the left side of the camera…. why? Selections shutter speeds must be done the “old way” utilizing the top dial. You can use the D-Pad to nudge your speeds up or down a few stops but, to be honest, this can be a hassle and I’ve found it easier to use the camera in Aperture Priority mode and ride the exposure dial. This is where the rear command dial could be helpful but sadly it does not allows access to the full range of shutter speeds or any range for that matter. It’s a dead dial. I’ve assigned the top deck function button to be my ISO to keep my sanity. I find that the X-Pro1 works best on single shot, single point AF or manual. Continuous AF is spotty at best and your results may be less than great.
So after all this, why still own, use or lust after this camera. Well… the sensor. It’s magical and has been made with unicorn tears. While there is certainly something special about owning the original version of a special camera such as the X-Pro series, Fuji’s flagship model. The sensor is what makes this camera a serious shooter.
Classic and simple in its approach the files from the X-Pro1 will continue to make you smile. RAW files are organic and have a true film look. This camera sings at ISO 1600 when shooting black and whites. Skin tones tend to have a magenta slant but once easily dialled in they are some of the most accurate I’ve ever seen.
Now let talk about the X-Pro2. Honestly, for how much love I have for this camera I think this may be the first time I’ve ever written about it. This camera was the one camera that changed my photography. I only had purchased a used X-Pro1 from a fellow photographer a few weeks prior to see if I would enjoy the feel. Soon after I had the X-Pro2 and everything changed for me. This camera puts me in a certain mindset.
I use a hell of a lot of different cameras or professional work but when I have my X-Pro2 with me I know I’m shooting for my own pleasure. I’m continually scanning for events, interactions and small stories that may I fold in front of me. I feel like a hunter stalking its prey. I’m hunting for light, shadows and tones. I’m studying movements and angles in order to place myself in the perfect moment at the perfect time to apply my craft. No other camera does this for me the same way Fuji’s X-Pro Series does and the X-Pro2 does it so wonderfully.
Gone are the annoyances we suffered with on the X-Pro1. No more Macro button or absurdly useless rear D-Pad and control dial. We have real functionality now. A solid AF system to capture moments quickly. While the sensor doesn’t have that same X-Pro1 magic it certainly has a magic all it’s own. Everything else feels familiar with the addition of a slightly wider rubber grip and ISO dial integrated into the shutter speed dial. However, this time we have full functionality choices that can be assigned to the D-Pad as well as the rear and now added front command wheels. The X-Pro2 is a solid street photographer’s tool.
A few thoughts after spending the day with my favorite duo. The X-Pro1 while being a bit long in the tooth and certainly outdated will still hold it own as long as the photographer wielding it knows how to take his or her time and appreciate the art form. If you’re looking to spray and pray then move on, as this purists tool is not for the likes of you. The X-Pro2, on the other hand, is a completely different animal affording you all the luxuries of a current mirrorless system. Nowadays cameras can become too involved in your photography.
Ironically even though the features are plentiful on the newer camera the X-Pro2 has a way of leaving it up to you and staying out of your way. So what will we see with the newest X-Pro3 version soon to be announced? Rumors are plentiful with speculation in the form of a flip-down screen which I would welcome I might add, as well as a small settings display LCD on the rear. Evoking perhaps that old-style feel of film photography where there was no chimping. Whatever it will be I can most certainly say with confidence that it will master the streets just as its predecessors have done so before.
“My name is Joe D’Agostino. I’m a father, husband and Photographer. My passion for photography started at a young age while learning from my father which I hope to pass down to my daughter. I believe failure helps you succeed so I take hundreds of bad photographs every day.”