Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro1 lust/hate/love story:
Part Seven: Fixing My Focus Issues with the X-Pro1…
Here we are at part seven! So I’d like to take a moment to thank anyone reading, with an extra thanks to anyone that’s followed this from the very start!
Let’s have a quick recap of my personal X-Pro1 story before taking a cold hard look at the X-Pro1.
When I first saw the X-Pro1 I had to have it. Eventually I got it. I disliked shooting with it. I bought a X-T1 and it suited me better.
Then I was looking through some old X-Pro1 shots and I fell in love with the look of the files. So I re-obtained the X-Pro1.
But of course the X-Pro1 was still s-l-o-w to focus, so I changed the way I worked with the body and enjoyed a more usable shooting experience.
And that’s basically the story.
Now, sycophantic camera blogs are great (not that I’m at all biased!!) but let’s now take off the rose tinted UV filters and have a slightly more subjective look at the X-Pro1.
So the X-Pro1, what’s all the fuss – mythology and downright untruths…?
The X-Pro1 is so well built, easily the best in the Fuji range?
As the kids say “lolwhut?”
The X-Pro1 is far bigger than it needs to be technically, it hasn’t got any extra stuff inside that the smaller X bodies don’t, and the net result is of a rather hollow feeling camera that belies its physical bulk. The dials have a pleasant tactile feeling, but wobble about a bit if rocked back and forth and the EV dial is so easy to rotate that checking it’s where you left it (it won’t be) quickly becomes second nature.
The EVF/OVF switch is upside down in my opinion (well if you use a thumb grip that pushes your hand further up the body, it makes sense as fitted), it’s attachment feels flimsy and the whole mechanism for swapping between OVF and EVF feels like the camera is performing a great labour
The scroll wheel on the back feels especially flimsy, wobbling about with too much vertical play, but it does at least have the decency to double as a physical button (XT1 why don’t you have this?)
The shutter button rattles about like a ball joint that passed its useful life several thousand miles ago.
The slow operational speed of the X-Pro1 makes me a better photographer. It gives me time to think
No. You give you time to think. BUT personally speaking the fact that the X-Pro1 is slow, means I have to work to its pace. This can be helpful, but I don’t personally consider it a feature! The honest truth in my opinion is that learning a slow and quirky camera makes you better at using a slow and quirky camera. If in the course of that learning curve you learn more about photography in general, then rejoice – but take the damn credit – YOU did that, not the camera.
Other little foibles, include strap lugs that wear out (see my post here) and an inconsistent experience when viewing images in playback at 100% (I can scroll through images at 100% using the rear command dial but then the view reverts back to the standard size when you encounter an image in a different orientation. For example; if you shoot 11 shoots, all in landscape, except for image 6 in portrait, then the 100% scroll stops when you reach image 6)
In some ways, not only is it a little bizarre that this quirky camera piqued my interest, but also that it captured the attention of so many photographers, and gave birth to a whole range of X series cameras.
I think we really have to hand it too Fujifilm, not only have they offered significant and featured filled firmware updates to all their ILC bodies, but they’ve also continuously worked to improve their subsequent products at ground level.
And yet, here I am (and I’m not alone!) extolling the virtues of Fujifilm’s inaugural X camera, I prefer it (in usage) to my X-T1, I’ve yet to decide if I want a X-Pro2 (re getting one… well stranger things have happened!) and so far, the X-Pro1 is still the only camera I’ve ever had twice.
So, as I said – you’ve really got to hand it to Fujifilm. In 5 years they’ve built the X system from the ground up. They now offer multiple bodies, a great many XF lenses, quality accessories (like the Arca compatible grips) and pioneering tech (like the UHS-II card slots).
Just to put some perspective on this…. If I remember correctly… the exciting Fujifilm camera in 2011 was the HS20EXR. It was a compact sensor equipped bridge camera. Users complained it had a plastic tripod mount.
By the end of 2011 the X100 was out. In 2012 along came the X-Pro1. By 2013, we had X-Trans II with PDAF capabilities and soon we will have the X-T2 with 4k, and many tracking AF options.
That’s progress, commitment and desire to make a good product.
But I think you also have to hand it too photographers. The tech keeps getting and better. But photographers are still perfectly able to use older cameras to get the shot.
Because if a tool works for you – then there’s really no logical reason to upgrade.
But if a tool not only works, but also inspires you to use it, implores you to pick it up and start making it do what it was designed to do, then that tool has a special feature – namely it instigates an emotional attachment, and when things get personal, then people tend to bring their A game, and a strong A game can accomplish anything.
This in my mind is the USP (Unique Selling Point) of the Fujifilm X series – the ability of the product(s) to gel so well with the psychological USP of whatever makes a person wish to take photographs.
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