Fuji’s latest cameras have been so good, they rival each other almost as much as other systems. And as we saw in our X-Pro1 vs X-E2 comparison, the oldest current model in the X-mount compact camera system, the X-Pro1, already struggled against its lower-end sibling. In this article, we will compare it against the newest member in Fuji’s line-up of mirrorless cameras, the weather-resistant, DSLR-style Fujifilm X-T1.
As we have mentioned before, Fuji planned to release a major firmware update to most of its X series cameras on December 19, 2013. Well, today is the 19th, which means that you can download the latest firmware and apply it to your Fuji camera! I am very excited about this release, because it brings very important and key features to the X-Pro1 and the X-E1 cameras that have been rolled to the X-E2 and X100S cameras. The first key feature is Auto Gain control. As I have mentioned in my Fuji X-E2 review, auto gain is something that controls the brightness of the LCD and forces it to always show average brightness, no matter what settings are set on the camera. In short, it is an inaccurate representation of the actual exposure. While the feature can be very useful in low-light situations or when working in a studio, it is not something that I personally like to use 90% of the time. With the new firmware, you can now turn Auto Gain off, which will show the correct exposure on the LCD!
Fujifilm has joined the Black Friday rebate program with its own mirrorless cameras and lenses. It is a “Buy Together and Save” kind of program, which means you need to purchase either an X-E1, X-E2, X-Pro1 or X-M1 Fuji mirrorless camera along with a lens to receive a rebate on the latter. Savings range from $100 all the way up to $250. The more lenses you choose to purchase, the more you save, as savings for each lens stack up. If you were planning on investing into a Fujifilm X-series mirrorless system, this is a good time to do so. In general, due to the system’s premium (-ish) status, the lenses have been quite expensive, although well worth the price. Right now, with these rebates, they represent tremendous value. Even the newest and extremely sought-after XF 23mm f/1.4 lens is $100 off!
A while ago, I posted a detailed article about a very defined pattern of red dots / artifacts that I saw on the Fuji X-series cameras when shooting against the sun. This was the first time I encountered such a problem, so without fully researching the issue and understanding the real cause, I wrongfully blamed the Fuji X-trans system for creating those patterns (my sincere apologies to all the Fuji fans!). A couple of our readers pointed me to some other links on the Internet that show a similar issue on different camera systems from Sony, Panasonic, Olympus and a number of others. The pattern indeed seemed to be quite similar between those and what I saw on Fuji cameras. I then decided to take my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera for a side-by-side comparison and see if I could reproduce the issue on it as well. Now that I have done enough research to understand the root cause of this problem, I will not only explain the red dot phenomenon in detail, but also show image samples from two different mirrorless systems to illustrate the point.
We have already compared the recently introduced Fujifilm X-E2 camera to its predecessor, the X-E1 (click here to read our comparison). Based on specifications, the newer camera proved to be better than the old one, but with price taken into account X-E1 can easily hold its ground and is still a very viable option. But how does it compare to the still-current Fujifilm flagship camera, the X-Pro1?
This is an in-depth review of the Fuji X-Pro1, a highly anticipated mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera. Built on the success of the Fuji X100 and aimed at pros and photo enthusiasts that need a lightweight camera alternative to a DSLR with amazing image quality, the Fuji X-Pro1 is the first mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Fuji. Along with the X-Pro1, Fuji simultaneously introduced three prime lenses – Fujinon 18mm f/2.0 XF R, Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 XF R and Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro, all specifically designed to be used for the new Fuji X mount. In this Fuji X-Pro1 review, I will not only provide detailed information about the camera, but will also try to answer the many questions that we have gotten so far on the camera from our readers, along with comparisons to Nikon and Canon DSLRs.
Our readers have been asking us about reviewing Fuji cameras and lenses. Since Fuji has been on the roll lately, releasing the X-E1, X-M1, X100s and a bunch of new lenses, we decided that it would be a good idea to review all of Fuji gear that is out there. Although I reviewed the Fuji X-Pro1 a while ago, I decided to update my review, because the new firmware addressed a lot of the issues that I talked about in the review, including some of the autofocus issues. Here is everything I received yesterday:
Update: Fujifilm X-Pro1 has just received firmware update v3.01, which fixes movie mode bug present in the v3.00 version.
The amount of post-release support Fujifilm has been providing its X-series users is, quite frankly, staggering. Yet another major firmware update for the X-Pro1 (v3.01) and X-E1 (v2.00) cameras is now available for download. In a nutshell, the firmware further improves autofocus performance for both cameras with most Fujifilm X-mount lenses. In addition to that, a current must-have feature for all mirrorless cameras, focus peaking, has also been added.
1) What We Think
I would have never expected a new compact system camera manufacturer to release perfect products right from the start. Of course, Fujifilm is far from being new to all-things photography. The company is well-known for its analogue cameras, high-end lenses and photographic film of all sizes. But when it came to digital consumer products, the most serious they tried before entering highly competitive and promising mirrorless camera market was digital point-and-shoot cameras. Let’s face it. Cheap point-and-shoot cameras are not something buyers are too picky about. Mirrorless and high-end, large-sensor compact cameras are a whole different story. And here, Fujifilm X-series cameras have been plagued with bugs, glitches and minor niggles likely more so than any other manufacturer. Autofocus speed and accuracy was likely one of the most talked-about shortcomings of X100 and X-Pro1 (click for our in-depth review).
Having said that, what I expected even less is just how persistent Fujifilm is at improving its existing cameras. Update after update, their cameras seem to transform with time into something much more capable and grown up. Even after new models are introduced, you are never left hanging with a product that could have been better had the manufacturer bothered to tweak the software and add much-needed functionality. When the X-E1 came out boasting improved AF algorithms, the X-Pro1 firmware update quickly followed with the same improvements.
Continuing to bring improvements to existing products, Fujifilm today announced a v2.0 firmware update, developed for the highly popular X-Pro1. The biggest downside of the X-Pro1 for us when we reviewed it, was its somewhat slow AF speed. However, given how Fuji has been addressing problems in the Fuji X100 with firmware updates, we knew it was a matter of time until we see a major firmware update with autofocus tweaks. With the v2.0 firmware update, Fujifilm is bringing us all the auto focus, manual focus and write speed improvements the newly announced X-E1 has to the X-Pro1. Many X-Pro1 owners will be extremely happy with this firmware. We will update our Fuji X-Pro1 review as soon as we get to test v2.0 firmware.
With the new firmware, Fujifilm promises the X-Pro1 will focus significantly faster (in low-light, where it matters most), while also offering a closer focusing distance before the camera has to be set to macro mode, which is very welcome. Also, manual focus should now be much more usable, for, as Fujifilm states, “the speed of the image coming into focus when turning the focus ring has been vastly improved.” In other words, you should expect a shorter focus throw (more feedback from the focus motor) allowing faster change of focus distance. There are also some changes to how AUTO ISO operates, with maximum value allowed increased to ISO 6400 (as you can find out in our review, the X-Pro1 is very good in low-light, so don’t be afraid to use such a high setting if necessary), and you should expect a significant writing/processing speed boost, making your X-Pro1 more responsive.
Set your reminders! The firmware will be available for download from Fujifilm website, “Support” page, on September 18th at 6AM GMT. Fujifilm urges X-Pro1 users to update their lens firmware at the same time in order to fully take advantage of the improvements.
Ever since the often-mentioned X100, Fujifilm has been working very hard not to let their luck slip. Today, they made yet another step (actually – not one, but three steps) into winning over more customer hearts with the introduction of the second X series interchangeable lens camera, the X-E1, and Fujifilm has been bald again – the new baby X-Pro1 will surely attract many buyers, and likely even steal some from the (much) more expensive brother.
The new X-E1 is strikingly similar to X-Pro1 in both looks and functionality, and, while missing on a couple of features, they do seem to be compensated in other areas. The most notable omission is the loved optical viewfinder, first found in the X100. Instead, Fujifilm chose to focus strictly on EVF with this mid-range model. Many users will miss the optical viewfinder, and I am one of them, but Fujifilm has made sure the (new) OLED EVF is up to the task of pleasing even most demanding photographers by offering a very high 2.36 megapixel resolution, compared to 1.44 megapixel EVF found in X-Pro1. Also, leaving out the optical viewfinder has allowed Fujifilm to make X-E1 smaller and lighter than it’s bigger sibling. Also, the camera seems to be beautifully made, featuring die-cast megnesium front and top covers, and while the screen size has been reduced to 2.8″ (with 460k dots, down from 3″ 1.2 million dot screen of the X-Pro1), it’s unlikely to be of huge relevance for most photographers.
Other than that, and also dimensions, weight (350g with card and battery, compared to 450g X-Pro1) and price, X-E1 is identical to the older member of the X series camera system. It even features the same highly acclaimed APS-C sized, 16 megapixel X-Trans CMOS sensor found in X-Pro1, and, as before, Fujifilm promisses Full Frame comparable sharpness and noise. We’ve already tested the sensor and you can read about it in our X-Pro1 review. One has to wonder – how good would a Full Frame X-Trans sensor be? So far, we can only guess.