Long term review of the Fuji X-Pro1 (2019)
Long term review X-Pro1
Ah, nostalgia. The X-Pro1 is the camera that made me fall in love once again with the art of photography. I lost the flame, after shooting professionally from 16 to 20 years old. I sold most my gear before my 21st birthday and it wasn’t until my 23rd that I decided to re-invest in photography. I had the Fuji X10 in the meanwhile, until someone stole it from me in the Himalayas. It’s been a full five years now, and I got much to say on the art of photography. This camera went around the world and back in one piece. I sold it to get a X-Pro2, and I regret my decision. The first generation of X-Trans sensor had a special look to them.
The all-metal body of the X-Pro1 made me reach for it more than once. It made me go take walks for no other reason than it’s fun to hold on to it.
Strolling down the dark alleys of the human demise, across many villages and towns, the camera was always fitting in the moment: Never too much, à la Nikon D3/D4, never too little, à la Pen-F, but just right. It was the perfect tool for the intrepid voyager, sojourner here and there on Earth at the conquest of some rare glimpses of cracks on the egg of human consciousness.
Many worlds were crossed, traveled, and departed with this X-Pro1 in hand.
I wrote a while ago that the Nikon Df was the Plato of cameras. If that’s the case, then the X-Pro1 is the Joseph Chilton Pearce: it takes you to the depth of the worm at the core of the human consciousness without ever leaving you in the limbo, staying away from grey zone of the human existence where many young men loose their will to chase the perfection of being. The X-Pro1 was always the official philosopher’s camera. It was the tool to lurched oneself forward into the chase of the Higher Self.
The X-Pro1 led you to a chase of The Something Else and that’s why it was so great.
The kingpin of the X-Pro1 was its fantastic new sensor, something entire new on the market. Having a clean and usable ISO 6400 sensor into a small retro style body was amazing in 2012.
Fuji scored even a higher score by launching one of the world’s greatest lens: The 56mm f/1.2. And they didn’t stop there. The 60mm f/2.4 macro lens is phenomenal. The 35mm f/1.4 is one of my all time favourite lens. And this isn’t coming from a random man that never shot with anything great in his life: I had the privileged to work using the Nikon golden trio (14-24mm, 24-70, 70-200) for years, as well as their top prime, 35mm f/1.4 AF-S G, 85mm AF-S G, 300mm f/2.8 VRI. The fuji system beat all of these, in a way.
Sadly, the original X-Pro1 was plagued with the slowest autofocus in the industry. I must have missed so many shot because of it…Yes, despite the new firmware update. But unlike the Pen-F, I never sold the X-Pro1 out of frustration. I just decided to get the X-Pro2. Yet, I miss the X-Pro1 so much. The first X-trans sensor is still a legend when it comes to colour rendition. So much so that I bought a XE1 when I was in Singapore.
Below is a comparison of my X-Pro1 vs a Nikon D800E with a 20mm f/1.4 Sigma Art. Further down in the pictures, you’ll see some of my pictures taken in the Tatacoa desert in central Colombia, South America.
Pros and cons
Best colour rendition ever made (debatable)
Brilliant camera body construction
Bulletproof (can’t kill the damn thing)
Sexy as ever
Tons of physical dials
Awesome rangefinder style viewfinder
Outstanding image quality
Terrible battery life
Worst autofocus ever made in a camera
And so the question to answer is, should you get a second hand X-Pro1 in 2019 if you get the chance? Absolutely yes. Just like the Nikon F5, the X-Pro1 is a mythical body that will become a classic. Chances are that it will keep on going even in ten years from now. The made-in-Japan body is sturdy enough to bring to a war zone.
Finally, although I have an XE1 now (reviewed here), I still miss the all-metal body and tactical feeling of the X-Pro1. I will try to keep my eyes upon on eBay for a good deal…
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