Hands-on: Fujifilm X-Pro1

Hands-on: Fujifilm X-Pro1

Hands-on: Fujifilm X-Pro1

The interchangeable lens camera party has just gotten even more crowded. At CES 2012, Fujifilm unveiled its long-awaited ILC camera, the Fujifilm X-Pro1. The shooter has a new 16-megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor and uses Fujifilm's EXR processor. The innovative sensor doesn't use a low-pass filter and sees a new color filter array that has the RGB pixels arranged in 6x6 pixel sets with high aperiodicity (randomness) to create accurate color reproduction.

While we aren't able to evaluate the X-Pro1's performance based on what we heard of its specifications, we did get some hands-on time with the new ILC. Our first impressions, brought us back to how Fujifilm kept the retro look consistent (think of the X100 and X10). The magnesium alloy design definitely gives the X-Pro1 a premium look (and feel) when we held the unit in our hands.

The X-Pro1's magnesium alloy and synthetic leather design will definitely be a hit for those who prefer a premium feel on their ILCs.

Though ILCs are designed to be the middle ground between heavier DSLRs and lightweight compact, we found the X-Pro1 relatively heavy for an ILC. However, we absolutely love the retro look and feel of this shooter, with the leather-like feel all around the body, including the grip on its side. Incidentally, the grip isn't as deep as we had hoped for. While it's sufficient to give us a good grip, the weight of the body and a shallow grip could be quite straining on your arms.

The dials (one of which has a lock mechanism) are easily reached and aren't too loose to the point that you can slide it by accident.

Speaking of the dials, a lock mechanism is attached to the shutter speed dial. This is especially useful to prevent any accidental movement of the dial and adjusting the settings without meaning to. However, we do find it awkward to hold the lock mechanism down and scrolling the dial to the settings we wanted. Nonetheless, the dials weren't too stiff, and the milled squared pyramids on the sides of the dial gave a good grip for our thumbs.

Given a choice, we'd prefer the LCD display over the electronic viewfinder.

The X-Pro1 comes with a 1.23 megapixel 3-inch LCD and a 1.44 megapixel rangefinder-like Hybrid Multi Viewfinder, located to the extreme left of the body. A dedicated lever toggles between the optical and electronic viewfinder; the LCD would also turn itself off when you bring your eye to the viewfinder. During our hands-on, we preferred the LCD over the viewfinder for one reason - the latter is placed too far off the left for comfortable use. That being said, we can't deny the cleverness of the viewfinder's hybrid design; both modes give you quite a fair bit of shooting information.

The X-Pro1 will be available in February, with the X-Pro1's body to cost around $1,700. During launch, Fujifilm will be launching the X-Pro1 with three prime lenses, namely the XF18mmF2 R f/2.0 pancake; the XF60mmF2.4 R Macro 90mm f/2.4 macro lens, and the XF35mmF1.4 R 53mm f/1.4 lens, all of which costs approximately US$650.

The new XF Fujinon lenses are compatible with the X-Pro1's new X Mount which promises a lower shutter lag thanks to its short flange back distance of just 17.7mm. According to Fujifilm, a total of nine lenses, both prime and zoom, can be expected over the next three years.

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