I recently had a chance to have a brief online interview with a friend about the Fujifilm X-Pro 1. Tom Vrotsos, is an electrical engineer and an enthusiastic photographer whose base is in Plano, Texas. It is interesting to learn how an electrical engineer thinks and handles a Fujifilm X-Pro 1.
OC: Hi Tom, can you tell our readers a little about your background?
Tom: Howdy Kris. I’m an electrical engineer and a computer nerd. I like taking pictures of my family and my dogs. I have a few cameras. My photos are mostly here:
OC: Have you previously owned a Fujifilm camera?
Tom: Yep… I still have my Fujifilm F30. It is a wonderful little camera with a quirky interface…
OC: How did you learn about the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera?
Tom: I‘ve been expecting it since the Fujifilm FinePix X100 came out last year.
OC: What thoughts did you have while you researched the X-Pro 1?
Tom: I really liked the fact that there was no AA filter. Anything else would be gravy!
OC: What thoughts did you have when you first unboxed the X-Pro 1?
Tom: The packaging was well done… not apple quality… but nice stuff.
OC: What was your impression about the design and material of the X-Pro 1?
Tom: The size of the camera is just right. It matches my largish hands nicely. The fit and finish are excellent. And the weight with lens/battery is perfect. The lens caps are awful… but easily replaced. The lens hood is odd looking, but also easily replaced.
OC: As I notice, the weight of the X-Pro 1 is quite well balanced with the Fujinon XF 35mm 1:1.4 R attached to it. IMO, the size and weight of the camera would feel comfortable in most hands.
OC: Are you satisfied with the image quality?
Tom: Absolutely. It’s on par with my 5D MK II, but in a much lighter package… and it’s more fun to shoot.
OC: You have mentioned about a problem with Auto ISO mode, do you think it is a major obstruction in general photography or just in particular scenario?
Tom: I‘m not a big fan of Auto ISO in general… but I tried to use it for a few weeks. Recently, I noticed about 1/2 of my photos were very soft. Turns out it’s camera shake… oddly the shutter speed with Auto ISO is 1/52 s on about 1/2 of my shots. Just too slow for my espresso charged hands. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I set my ISO manually. I like having that level of control. And I picked up a soft shutter release to help eliminate some camera shake.
OC: I recommend the thumb shooting technique. You will find that your thumb puts less pressure on the shutter release than your index finger. This is an old trick that most rangefinder shooters use.
OC: Have you found any feature that is not useful?
Tom: Video bores me…
OC: What do you like most about the X-Pro 1?
Tom: The optical viewfinder… hands down… I’ve never used the rear LCD. And I have to mention the outstanding IQ… again.
The AF takes some getting used to, but the more I use the camera the less I notice the AF lag. The AWB is generally dead on, the jpg’s are lovely and I’m looking forward to some RAW support in ACR.
OC: Which lens are you currently using with the X-Pro 1?
Tom: The Fuji 35f1.4. I have an M adapter and an EOS adapter but I haven’t used them much.
OC: How do you like the Fujinon’s performance?
Tom: The 35 mm is a brilliant lens. Sharp even wide open… The bokeh is very pleasing, colors are accurate. A terrific lens for the price.
OC: What focal length do you wish to see in future Fujinon XF line?
Tom: A 50f1.4… and I would love to see a f2.8 standard zoom, like a 14-60, but looking at their roadmap neither of these are likely, you know… I’d be happy if Tamron adapted their 17-50f2.8 for the x-mount… or if Sigma would adapt their nice little 50.
OC: There are rumors that Samyang will release the first lens for the Fujifilm X system this June. Samyang is a Korean lens maker that is known for their quality optics at affordable prices. They are known as Rokinon in the US and other countries outside of Korea. You may want to check them out. I had few Rokinon lenses and I am very happy with their quality.
OC: What do you think Fujifilm can do to improve the X-Pro 1 as well as their XF lenses?
Tom: I love the 35f1.4… leave the lenses alone! (ok… toss those terrible lens caps… but keep the outstanding optics!)
The Auto ISO needs a user selectable limit on the slowest shutter speed. A bit faster AF would be great… and the EVF is a bit of a drag. I really dislike the EVF’s sluggish performance.
The camera could use a feature to help with manual focusing; ideally a rangefinder type focus for M lenses… or even focus peaking would be dandy.
OC: I’m with you on the thought of help with the manual focusing. It’d be interesting to see a computerized split-image focusing type where users can set the focusing point.
OC: In your opinion, which field of photography do you think the X-Pro 1 suits best?
Tom: First… the X-Pro 1 is not for everybody. The learning curve is steep. It is definitely not a camera for a beginner…
I’ve used it for casual portraits and some street shooting… it seems well suited for both. It’s a very unassuming camera which tends to keep folks at ease. The X-Pro 1 has replaced my MFT cameras as my carry everywhere camera.
OC: Do you have any tip on using the X-Pro 1 that you wish to share with our readers?
Tom: Use the OVF. Turn on the parallax focus correction (Corrected AF Frame) and turn off the rear LCD. I’m a bit old fashioned so I only use AF-S, center spot exposure and the smallest center point AF point I can find, you know… focus/expose than recompose…
The cheapish batteries at Amazon that I bought work every bit as well as the original Fuji battery. It’s always good to carry a spare or 2.
OC: I also bought 5 Power2000 batteries from Amazon and I’m happy with those. I paid $9.75 each when they were on sale.
Also I’ve noticed in the AF-S mode… if I point the camera at a moving object and push the shutter release fully (not 1/2 way), it almost always locks focus on the moving object and snaps the pic. Often it may take a second or two…
OC: Good tips, Tom. Thanks for your time and your thoughts on the X-Pro 1. Hopefully, some of the X-Pro 1 features will improve with the next firmware updates.