Fujifilm X-Pro1: Performance

by Jim Keenan Reads (24)
Editor's Rating
8.60

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 9
    • Features
    • 10
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Expandability
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 8.60
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

The X-Pro1 commands a DSLR-like price for its body and lenses but is, after all, a mirrorless interchangeable lens compact digital – a class which traditionally doesn’t match up with all of the performance parameters of a DSLR. Does the X-Pro1 make any performance inroads above and beyond what we usually see for cameras of its type?

Shooting Performance
The X-Pro1 starts up a little quicker than most cameras in the class, displaying a focus point in about 0.9 seconds – I was able to get off a first shot in about 1.75 seconds. Single shot to shot times ran about 1.3 seconds with a 1.5 second write time for JPEG fine captures. Even though the camera had not finished completely writing the first capture it would allow you to capture subsequent images as long as the buffer wasn’t full. Write time for a RAW image ran about 3.7 seconds; a RAW/JPEG image took about 4 seconds – all on a 16 GB SDHC (UHS-1) 633X card.

The camera made its advertised 6 fps continuous high-speed shooting rate and I stopped at 20 JPEG fine images – write time for these images was about 10.5 seconds. Switching to RAW/JPEG image format the camera managed 11 captures before the buffer slowed, and write time was a glacial 40 seconds. Both high and low speed (3 fps) continuous shooting modes establish focus and exposure for the first shot of any sequence and apply it to all subsequent images in that burst.

One interesting aspect of continuous shooting is the X-Pro1 offers you the option to review only the first shot of each sequence instead of every capture. One nice aspect of the OVF is that it provides a real-time view of the subject with no interruptions between captures when using continuous shooting modes.

AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)

Camera Time (seconds)
Sony NEX-7 0.13
Olympus E-M5 0.13
Fujifilm X-Pro1 0.16
Pentax K-01 0.62

Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate*
Sony NEX-7 20 10.0 fps
Olympus E-M5 12 9.0 fps
Pentax K-01 6 6.6 fps
Fujifilm X-Pro1 6 6.0 fps

*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.

Autofocus acquisition time came in at 0.16 seconds, among the best in the cameras of this class that I’ve reviewed. AF time predictably drooped a bit in dimmer lighting conditions. Fuji claims a 0.05 second shutter lag time but our studio measurement gave it a 0.01 – either way the camera shutter does not appear to be an area of concern and takes images promptly when asked.

If any of you are wondering if you missed any mention of stabilization, you haven’t – there is none in either the X-Pro1 body or the current three lens offerings. There was no mention if the lenses due to be released later this year and next will be stabilized, but it would be surprising if at least some of them (the longer telephotos) didn’t pick up stabilization along the way.

There is no built-in flash on the X-Pro1 and while Fuji makes several flashes that will mount externally on the camera we did not have one available for this review. I did, however, trot out my 30-year-old cable release and can confirm it worked perfectly on this Fuji’s shutter.

Battery life is listed as 300 images but Fuji claims up to 1000 images may be captured by activating the power save mode and using the OVF exclusively. A spare battery is a good idea for all-day shooting sessions, power save mode or not.

The motion panorama shooting mode is among the best on any camera I’ve reviewed. Once you select the panorama shooting mode, acquire focus with a half push of the shutter button and then give the button a full push to start the capture process. You don’t need to hold the shutter button down after the full push, just pan the camera in the direction of the arrow on the viewfinder or monitor. There are two options, L (7680 x 1440) and M (5120 x 1440) when shooting horizontally and the camera also offers vertical panorama options. While Fuji recommends use of a tripod for this feature I found it was easy to make captures handheld by locking my elbows into my side to stabilize the camera and simply pivoting my torso above the waist. Here’s a look at the L and M options, both captured on the first try.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Panorama M Mode

Fujifilm X-Pro1
Panorama L Mode

While the X-Pro1 does not have continuous AF available when capturing in either of the continuous shooting modes, continuous AF is available for still image capture and may be selected very simply by a switch on the camera front to designate C, S or M for continuous or single autofocus as well as manual focus. Carrying the X-Pro1 around in continuous AF and single image capture results in a busy (and somewhat annoying) camera as you can feel the AF constantly working even when you’re not actively composing an image for capture, at least until the camera goes to sleep due to power management settings. It’s also an additional drain on the battery, two good reasons to set S for most of your still image capture needs.

Because of the absence of the anti-aliasing filter in the X-Pro1, I went out of my way to shoot subjects with repeating patterns in order to test the performance of this filter-less sensor. The subjects included a wicker weave pattern on lawn furniture, horizontal plantation shutters, horizontal and vertical walls of bamboo fencing, birdcage bars and wire lobster traps. None of these shots showed any evidence of moire or false colors, so based on this admittedly unscientific experiment I would have to conclude that the Fuji sensor performs as advertised in this regard.

Lens Performance
I had the 18 and 35mm lenses available for this review – here’s a look at the view provided by each lens.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
18mm
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
35mm

The 18mm had a fast f/2 maximum aperture and seemed to have just a hint of barrel distortion, although the effect would be difficult to notice in subjects other than horizontal lines near the edges of the frame, and then only under close scrutiny. The lens was sharp in the center, with just a bit of softening on the edges and slightly more softening apparent in the corners, but overall fairly good across the entire frame. There were some instances of chromic aberration (purple fringing) in high contrast boundary areas but these were relatively limited and required magnifications in the 300 to 400% range to become readily visible under careful scrutiny.

The 35mm lens has an f/1.4 maximum aperture and appeared free of distortion. The lens was sharp in the center and also turned in a good performance in both the edges and corners, with little, if any softening being readily apparent. Chromic aberration was largely absent, with only a few slight examples in some high contrast boundary areas at high magnification.

Video Quality
Video quality was quite good in the X-Pro1 and continuous AF is enabled by default when you switch the camera into video mode. The AF tended to wander a bit if there were multiple moving subjects in the frame, but did a pretty good job overall.

Download Sample Video

The stereo microphones can be susceptible to wind noise and there is no wind cut feature. Because it utilizes a CMOS sensor, the X-Pro1 may be susceptible to rolling shutter effect during video capture, but my experience required exaggeratedly fast pans to demonstrate the effect, which was fairly well controlled in any event. Rolling shutter should not be of concern to most users unless they are deliberately trying to produce that result.

Image Quality
Still image quality out of the X-Pro1 was quite good at the default settings – accurate color, perhaps a bit oversaturated, and pleasing sharpness. There are numerous adjustments available to the user to shape image quality to their individual taste.

Fuji’s “film simulation” color palette permits users to simulate the look of various types of film, including black-and-white with color filters. Choices include standard, vivid, soft, pro-negative (high and standard versions), monochrome, sepia, and monochrome with yellow, red or green filters. Film simulation options can be combined with tone and sharpness settings. Here’s a look at the standard, vivid, soft, pro-negative and black and white versions.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Standard
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Vivid
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Soft
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Pro-Negative High
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Pro-Negative Standard
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Black and White

The camera offers several bracketing options, including exposure, ISO, film simulation and dynamic range. Exposure bracketing produces three captures, one at the metered exposure and the other two up to 1 EV above and below the metered shot; ISO and film simulation bracketing take a single shot and then process it in the camera to produce additional shots and dynamic range bracketing takes three shots with 100, 200 and 400% dynamic ranges, respectively.

Auto white balance by automatic scene recognition is the default setting for the X-Pro1 and performed well under a variety of lighting conditions. There are also custom and Kelvin (temperature) options available as well as presets for fine, shade, fluorescent (daylight, warm, and cool), incandescent and underwater. I used auto white balance for all the captures in this review.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

The 256 zone TTL (through the lens) multi metering setting is the default exposure calculation method on the X-Pro1 and was used for all the captures in this review. Exposure is based on an analysis of composition, color and brightness distribution. There are also spot and averaging methods available; spot utilizes a 2% area in the center of the frame for its exposure calculation and averaging is based on the exposure average for the entire frame.

ISO performance in the X-Pro1 was nothing short of amazing – I had a hard time telling the difference between 200 and 1600, 3200 was virtually a twin for 1600 and finally 6400 was slightly worse than 3200, but still exceptionally clean in both noise and fine details.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 200
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 400
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 800
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 6400
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
ISO 6400, 100% crop

This camera, without a doubt, has the best high ISO performance of any APS-C sensor camera that I’ve reviewed. While the camera allows the user to extend the ISO range down to 100 or up to 25600, Fuji recommends 200 to 6400 as the nominal ISO range and it’s clear why. RAW format image capture is not available in the extended ISO ranges (100, 12800, and 25600).

Nikon and Fuji have collaborated in the past (the Fuji S5 DSLR was built on the Nikon D200 platform), so maybe it’s just wishful thinking that this Fuji sensor might find its way into Nikon’s replacement for the D300S, but that’s a camera I’d snap up in an instant.

Additional Sample Images

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image Fujifilm X-Pro1 Sample Image


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