10 reasons to love a 10-year-old Fujifilm camera
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 has become a cult classic. Released in March 2012, the camera was an immediate hit with photographers due to its aesthetics and exceptional image quality. I bought a used one a few years ago, and it quickly became my favorite on-the-go camera. As it nears a decade on the market, here are 10 reasons to love the X-Pro1 – 10 years later.
1. Exceptional image quality
I’m still pleasantly surprised at what this 10-year-old 16-megapixel sensor can do. Image quality is superb, even by today’s standards, with beautiful, vibrant colors that typically require little to no post-processing. In fact, the images straight out of the camera are so good that I often shoot JPEGs with my family. The camera also performs extremely well at high ISO sensitivities, so it has become a favorite of mine for concert photography and other low light situations.
2. Levers and dials
Part of the reason I bought this camera was the ability to adjust my shutter speed and aperture through old-fashioned manual dials. I still prefer this method to command dials and dials and feel like it’s the most intuitive way to use a camera. I’m sure this is partly due to the fact that I grew up using manual film cameras, but when shooting with the X-Pro1 I feel a connection with the camera that I didn’t have not with most other digital cameras. Having a shutter speed dial on top of the camera and an aperture ring around the lens makes it easy to adjust settings on the fly.
3. Incredible build quality
The X-Pro1 is extremely well built. The body is metal and doesn’t have the plastic feel of many other digital cameras. The buttons and dials are substantial, and it has a good weight for a small camera. I have carried my X-Pro1 through crowded concert halls, inclement weather conditions, road trips, and crowded streets because it is rugged enough to handle a variety of shooting situations. Although the camera is a precision machine, I never feel like I’m carrying a delicate device that needs to be handled with excessive care.
4. Perfect placement of shutter release button and viewfinder
While the X-Pro1 is essentially a small rectangle with minimal grip, it still manages to feel good in the hands, especially when paired with a small, fixed lens. The trigger is perfectly placed and the traditional thread allows you to attach a soft trigger button, which greatly improves the overall experience. The viewfinder location makes this camera ideal for shooting at eye level, rather than using the LCD screen, which was clearly the intention. For those of us who have used rangefinders in the past (or still do), it serves its purpose of replicating the feeling and experience associated with using a classic film camera.
5. Film simulation modes
At this point, videos and articles praising Fujifilm’s film simulation modes became ubiquitous. And they’re not without merit, as these modes offer a level of creative options that’s hard to beat. While I’m not a regular JPEG shooter, the X-Pro1’s film simulation modes, combined with Fujifilm’s excellent JPEG quality, made me believe in shooting JPEG (more raw just in case !) for certain situations, mainly family use. My all-time favorite simulation mode is Monochrome, which I use almost exclusively for family functions and street photography. I love using the camera in Monochrome mode because the images it produces are punchy, with excellent contrast and deep blacks.
Another reason to love Monochrome mode is that it saves time in post-processing. I rarely edit JPEGs, and if I do, it’s usually a few quick tweaks. I appreciate this because I spend a ton of time editing for clients, and I don’t have the time to spend overtime on family photos or “just for fun” projects.
6. Pocket portability
Now, to be realistic, this camera obviously isn’t pocket-sized, unless it’s big coat pockets. But, it is very portable, especially when paired with a compact lens. I can carry it all day without being heavy, and it doesn’t take much more effort than carrying my big cell phone. This prompts me to take the camera with me more often on a family day out or even when working as a musician. I often put the camera in one of the pockets of my double bass case and carry it around for rehearsals and performances. I got some great shots with the camera in one hand and my bass in the other!
7. Fast continuous shooting
This 10 year old camera has a fast 6 fps burst mode, which I find more than enough for taking pictures of the kids playing or a band on stage. Be careful, I am not talking about the autofocus, which someone, no doubt, is already commenting feverishly. But, the X-Pro1 has decent buffering, and the 6 fps bursts made it much easier to get great photos in various situations. When I shoot in burst mode at 3 or 6 fps, I use AF-S autofocus mode in favor of continuous autofocus. I have found this to be a great combination that helps me get sharp images.
8. Classic and super cool style
At this point, I’m sure someone will remind me that a camera is a tool, not a toy. And it is certainly true. But aesthetics are an important part of every tool we use, and when it comes to cameras, the most functional designs are usually the most pleasing to the eye. The X-Pro1 is certainly a beautiful camera, but the simplicity of the design is also quite functional because it is very discreet. It’s perfect for street photography and other situations where the photographer wants to avoid becoming a distraction. It is elegant yet simple and avoids drawing unnecessary attention to itself.
9. Lots of lens options
Since the release of the X-Pro1, Fujifilm has done an admirable job producing an excellent variety of X-mount lenses, including many fast lenses that perfectly match the size, weight and portability of the camera. . My X-Pro1 is usually paired with a Fujinon 35mm f / 1.4 lens, which makes it a perfect combination. Fujinon lenses are also relatively inexpensive compared to other brands, which helps reduce the barrier to entry for lenses that are extremely well built and offer exceptional image quality. There are also a plethora of third-party lens options available, making the X mount an exceptional platform in general.
10. A manual shooter’s dream camera
To sum up, all of the reasons mentioned above make the X-Pro1 a manual shooter’s dream camera. Its build quality, ergonomics, manual dials, classic styling, portability and image quality are hard to beat. And everything is presented in a simple and straightforward way that manual shooters can’t help but admire. It is the perfect meeting of analog sensibilities and digital technologies, heavy with nostalgia, but not only for nostalgia. It not only evokes fond memories of past film years, but gives me results that I can love in the digital age.