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Fujifilm X-Pro 1 – a review of a very special camera that’s still fantastic

The Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is still a very special camera. Launched in 2012, it was Fujifilm’s first range-finder style camera with the CMOS X-Trans sensor. This began Fujifilm’s journey of creating beautiful, retro style cameras for the mass market, and they have continued to improve on this camera, with several newer models released. They were cameras which felt like they had a soul, rather than cameras that simply took photos, and they had the power to make you want to use them.

When I first held the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, I don’t think I’d ever shot with a camera that I loved as much. There was something about it that made me want to pick it up and look for photo opportunities. I had other cameras with the same sensor, but they didn’t produce the response that the X-Pro 1 had the power to – it felt great to hold, the dials were just where I wanted them and great shots followed.

The Fujifilm X-Pro 1 has a secret weapon, and that’s to create incredible black & white images. They are the best black & white photos I’ve seen anywhere, beyond anything that I’ve seen outside of film photography. In fact, this cameras is the closest I’ve ever shot to a film camera, in digital format. The texture of the photos feels filmic, almost analogue – and this is just how I love photos to be, especially black and white images.

I’ve come to a place called Seven Sisters, which is on the South Downs way in West Sussex, and I want to capture some landscape images with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1. This camera is mainly used for street photography, but I would like to see how it performs for landscape photography.

I wanted to make the most of the fact that that the weather’s a bit bleak today. I really didn’t want this shoot to be bright and sunny, but I prefer atmosphere to my images, which bad wether has in abundance. I want it to be full of soul.

I’ve got my EVF set up to shoot in black & white, with a red filter as this will really help to black and white effect to ‘pop’, adding some significant contrast to the image. 

The view to the sea is hampered by some wonderful mist, and this really adds even more atmosphere to the image. I’m shooting hand held, rather than using a tripod and the camera feels great to hold, with a good grip which makes walking and shooting very easy to do. The weight of the camera is so light, so it’s very easy to throw into a backpack with your lunch and a bottle of water.

As I keep looking towards the sea mist, I can see a cottage with is being hidden by the fast moving clouds, and I can also see a couple of people walking into the distance – this makes for a great photo opportunity.

Sometimes, I prefer no people in the landscape to keep it free of anything that hinders, but in this case it really helps to tell a story. Just putting one person or two people in the photo can give the shot something special.

So far there’s been nothing that i have found difficult on the camera in terms of operating. I can probably understand why people found some of the buttons a little bit annoying because as you probably could knock it with your thumb on them, and i’m sure that’s the kind of thing they’ve probably sorted out over the years. But, so far i can’t think of anything that I don’t like about it bearing in mind that I’m not shooting fast action, like sports or wildlife.

I think that if i was shooting a wedding with it, I may find the AF is a little slow to keep up with people, but for seascape and landscape photography – or anything that doesn’t require fast AF, it’s perfect.

These days, you can pick up a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 in the used camera market for a ridiculously low price, making this camera one of the best bargains in the market, in my opinion. If you like to take your time, and have a more considered approach to photography, this camera should fit you very well. If you love beautiful, filmic colours then I would happily recommend the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 to you.

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