Monday, January 9, 2012

Fuji X-Pro 1 Released

Fuji announced their new mirrorless (ILC) camera today, the X-Pro 1. Official details found here.
The Fuji X-Pro 1 is in many ways a followup to the popular X100 camera that was released early last year. To date this looks like one of the most impressive interchangeable lens compacts on the market. It features an ASP-C sized CMOS sensor with 16 megapixels. The sensor has some new technology, that Fuji says will allow it to match the performance of modern full frame (35mm) DSLRs in terms of noise.
  
Whether the new sensor can meet those claims is yet to be seen, but I suspect performance will exceed what has been seen from the 16MP sensor from Sony used in their cameras and the Nikon D7000. The body of the X-Pro 1 is also well made, being made of die-cast aluminum alloy. In addition the X-Pro 1 features the same hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder first seen in the X-100. Most of the features of the camera are very similar to that of the X-100, so Fuji is building on an already great concept with this camera. Overall the new Fuji system looks very impressive. (Spec list here)
The first three lenses for the system are a 18mm F2 (28mm equivalent), 35mm F1.4 (53mm equivalent) and 60mm F2.4 (90mm equivalent) macro. Fuji, wanting to show that it is committed to this new system, is saying that they have two more lenses planned for release later this year. 
My thoughts:
Fuji seems to see the desire among photographers today for a simple, yet advanced camera for people who don't want to carry a DSLR (at least some of the time). In fact this camera may well be going head to head with the likes of the Leica M9, which has a similar aim, but without auto focus (and an outlandish price). If the performance of the X-Pro 1 can beat the 18MP sensor found in the M9, as Fuji suggests, this camera could be a hit with street shooters. That will happen primarily because the price of the Fuji system will be much lower than anything Leica will offer. Secondly the hybrid finder of the Fuji system gives photographers a lot more shooting information than Leica offers in the M9. 

I could see myself getting this camera at some point (not this year), but I would want to see how well auto focus performs, considering the focus issues noted with the X-100 and X-10. Price is another issue, with the body being $1700 USD. Each lens is also reported to be $650 USD. Clearly not cheap, but not outlandish compared to the Leica M system cameras.