on February 29, 2012
I have an X-pro1 with the 35mm/f1.4 lens. (I live in Canada, and ordered it from Japan.)
Here are my overall first impressions:
If I had to sum it up, I'd say it's not perfect, but for me it's the closest thing to the ideal camera that I've found.
- Image quality is beyond reproach - in terms of colour rendering, highlight/shadow detail, sharpness, quality of the bokeh.
- Feels very solid; excellent build quality
- It looks better in person than in the pictures I had seen of it
- Controls are big and easy to operate, even with gloves on
- Shutter sound is very soft & quiet
- Viewfinder is fantastic
OVERALL PERFORMANCE & SIZE
- In terms of performance, I'll compare it to the Panasonic GF1 /w 20mm pancake, as it's a camera I'm very familiar with. While the camera isn't aimed at exactly the same market, both cameras fit into a similar category - they're both alternatives to DSLRs that aim at providing excellent image quality and handling, with less bulk and weight. And many photographers fell in love with the GF1 / 20mm combo.
- Focus speed: In my experience, the X-Pro1 autofocus speed and reliability is very similar to the the GF1. While I haven't done millisecond timing to compare them, I can say that they feel about the same in autofocus performance. So, while a good DSLR can outperform both cameras for fast action focussing, the autofocus performance is more than adequate for most other types of photography.
- Operational speed: No major issues here - startup time is definitely less than a second, and I haven't even turned on the "quick start" mode. You can shoot quickly, and there's no delay before you can take more shots in either single or burst modes. Again, very similar to the GF1.
- Size and weight: The X-Pro1 is obviously bigger than the GF1. I'd describe it as somewhere between the GF1 and a DSLR in size. In terms of subjective impression, the X-Pro1 isn't quite as small and innocent looking as the GF1. Depending on who you are, this may be a good thing or a bad thing. The GF1 has the edge if you want the camera to be small, discrete and non-intimidating, while the X-Pro1 is a little more substantial in keeping with its professional target market. But what really matters when it comes to always having the camera with you, is its weight. The X-Pro1 manages to feel solid, while not feeling overly heavy. Unlike a DSLR, I wouldn't hesitate to carry the X-Pro1 around all day, although the GF1 still has the edge in portability and ability to tuck it into a jacket pocket. From my brief experience with the X100, I'd put it somewhere between the two in this regard, but closer to the GF1.
- Manual focus: Very similar to the manual focus-by-wire of the GF1 / 20mm combo. It's not ridiculously slow as I've heard the X100 was, but I'd still prefer direct mechanical manual focus.
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
- If there's just one thing I'd ask for in a firmware update, it would be a central magnified area to aid manual focus. While you can magnify the whole screen by pressing the "command dial", this is an extra step, and awkwardly takes you away from seeing the overall composition. Panasonic has gotten this right in some of their recent mirrorless cameras. I know some people like Sony's focus peaking, and while that too would do the job, I find it ugly and suspect that Sony's patents might make it hard for Fujifilm to copy this.
- While aperture ring has a great feel to it, actual aperture adjustment lags. This is manifest when viewing the aperture number through the viewfinder while turning the dial, and in terms of actual aperture adjustment in DOF preview mode
- Autofocus, while not loud, also isn't silent as I'd wish it would be.
- There is no option to visually preview exposure when setting shutter speed manually
- I like the film simulation bracketing, as an option to record both a colour and black-and-white version, for easy comparison of black-and-white vs colour shots right off the bat on the computer. This mode allows you to choose which 3 film simulations you want to record, but it has a couple drawbacks. One is that it will always give you 3 versions - no options for just 2 for instance. Also, unlike single or burst mode, the camera locks up and doesn't let you take another shot until it finishes writing.
- Exposure compensation dial does nothing after you've engaged AE lock.
- It would be nice to have some confirmation that the exposure compensation dial is centered. Ideally, there would be something to let you tell physically, perhaps with a bump/indent on the dial, and different feeling to the click when it returns to the 0-location, so that you can confirm without looking. Also, it would be nice if the exposure compensation indicator in the viewfinder changed color when centered, to again let you quicly confirm when it's centered.
- The "command dial" does nothing when in the menus and other situations where it would be nice to have an alternative to pressing the arrow buttons.
Update 27 Sep 2012: I've to rewrite a big portion of the review because firmware 2.0 is a rather significant improvement.
The image quality on this camera is sublime. The colours are absolutely gorgeous, mesmerizing.
It has the best image quality compared to previous cameras I've used, namely Canon 7D (sold), GF1, GH2 and X100. 7D is quite good, except in high ISO, relatively speaking. X-Pro1 is significantly better in image quality than the GH2, which I use frequently for videos. I've also borrowed an Olympus OM-D E-M5 to try out and the Olympus camera is close but the X-Pro1 is still one notch better. I've read that many say that E-M5 is as good as X-Pro1, but you really need to have used both to see the difference.
I don't post-edit much with the X-Pro1 because the jpeg quality is just too good. That's just JPEG. Since I don't need to do post editing, I guess I'll be shooting just JPEGs from now. I've read many complaints regarding the RAW files and photo software being unable to process them to the best of their potential. I can't comment much since I don't shoot a lot of RAW.
After a series of firmware updates, latest being 2.0, AF speed for the three prime lens have improved. The AF speed is now more satisfactory, although still not as fast as DSLR or Micro Four Thirds. I've two tips on even fast AF. Turn Power Save Mode off to have faster OVF AF speed. Another tip is not to pre-focus and hit the shutter all the way - the camera will get the focus most of the time.
The AF speed could be a source of frustration and potential deal breaker for many. But it comes down to what type of photography you're into. This is not a sports camera, that's for sure. So it's not that suitable for shooting subjects moving faster than walking speed. It's definitely not a general purpose do-it-all camera. Depending on what you shoot, you might actually need another camera. It's also not a beginner's camera, although if you're willing to learn, you'll learn a lot. I'm learning a lot.
Speed is quite subjective. For example on the GF1 & X100, I expected them to be slow, so their speed is satisfactory. I expected X-Pro1 to have faster AF speed, so it's slightly unsatisfactory in that sense. But since I'm already used to the X100 speed, this again becomes satisfactory. When you consider the price, it becomes borderline satisfactory. It's all about expectations.
Manual focus is responsive to the turn of the focus wheel. The 3x magnified view is useful as it's large enough to see the subject clearly, but not too large as to have the subject move too much, such as when you're using a long telephoto lens. The overall focus-by-wire implementation has improved a lot, way better than X100, almost as good as Micro Four Thirds.
Handling is excellent. All the things you need to shoot are there: the aperture ring, shutter speed dial and exposure dial. It's taking photos at its simplest form, with no need to go into menus.
After using the camera since March 2012, I've had a lot of people telling me they really like the design of the camera. The design may not be as discreet as I thought. Most people are so used to seeing DSLR and P&S cameras that this rangefinder-shaped camera actually stands out as a result! I've also noticed that people are generally less guarded when being pointed with this camera than with big DSLRs.
So to buy or not?
In my opinion, if you're coming from the best Micro Four Thirds camera, you're gaining high ISO performance, colour rendition and a huge step in image quality.
If you're coming from a heavy DSLR camera, you're gaining high ISO performance and a lot of weight advantage.
This is a camera that challenges expectations, in the most literal sense. You'll either love it, or hate it. I like it very much. There are still some quirks but Fujifilm has shown themselves to being able to listen to customers and release the appropriate firmwares.
5 out of 5 stars for image quality and handling.
4 out of 5 stars for everything else.
+ Excellent build quality
+ Nice weight for body (450g) and lens
+ Discreet just-a-piece-of-black design
+ Lens have aperture rings
+ Rubber hand grip works well enough
+ Exposure dial is tighter, less prone to accidental hits
+ Buttons have nice tactile feel
+ Hybrid viewfinder (OVF and EVF) works nicely
+ Sharp 3-inch LCD
+ Shutter dial has a lock at A
+ Shutter sound is soft, blends with ambient noise
+ Impeccable image quality
+ Legendary high ISO performance
+ Amazing quality JPEG at default setting
+ Auto White Balance is almost always correct
+ AF speed is satisfactory
+ Able to focus in extreme low light, although it takes more time
+ AF accuracy seems slightly improved over X100.
+ Manual focus is responsive
+ Start up is fast
+ Menus have tabs that show everything in plain sight
+ Writes as fast as your SD card can write
+ Average to good battery life. Get an extra battery.
- OVF is smaller than X100
- Not sealed. I've dust inside my EVF (not OVF) after 1 week.
- No way to adjust diopter
- Triangle rings causes lug wear. The ring is more durable than the lug.
- 18mm lens framelines covers less than 100%. Your photos will cover more.
- Drastic parallax adjustment for 60mm lens in OVF for closeup subjects
- Battery lid feels filmsy and placement is bad
- Shutter dial lock is not necessary - Yes, I contradict myself
- Still has slight tendency to back-focus (Shooting with EVF reduces that)
- Strangely, OVF focuses slower than EVF
- No ability to set minimum shutter speed in AutoISO
- Lacking in video settings and lens aren't optimized for video.
- No manual aperture control during video recording
- No digital zoom during video mode (compared to X100)
- Moire effect is easy to create in video
- Video is only 24fps
- Have the ability to set minimal shutter speed
- Ability to turn the arrow buttons into function buttons
- Ability to turn on depth of field preview ALL THE TIME. E.g. When I turn to f/8, the aperture should close down.
Update 24 April 2012:
Firmware 1.01 removed the noise from chattering aperture blades
Update 8 June 2012:
Firmware 1.1 makes manual focus easier. Images are sharper in OVF/LCD during manual focus zoom in mode.
Update 27 Sep 2012:
EVF no longer freezes while the lens autofocus. MF lag is almost gone now. The focus-by-wire MF has improved significantly and is now more responsive to the turn. A 3x magnification mode during MF is added to the original 10x and the magnified view is more useful now. Autofocus speed has improved for the three lens after the lens firmware. Auto ISO at 6400 has been added but there's still no ability to set minimum shutter speed. Write speed has also improved.
on April 19, 2012
WHY WHAT WHO
I chose to write this review because the reviews on Amazon are so polarizing and sometimes downright pushy, so much so that they made me buy this camera to judge it for myself. I have to admit that it has been a long time since I had to defend my spending to myself. I am sure many must have faced the same internal struggle. Let me admit that this camera is a keeper for me. The decision came after a long search for a discrete both in use and appearance camera with a image quality worth taking prints and blowups of. I didn't personally own too many of micro four thirds, DSLRS and compacts but have friends who shared fair and clear opinion about the equipment they own(ed).
What this camera is? It's a collection of wishes in a very ambitious package and just like any other ambitious technology firsts, suffers from lack of polished user interface as well as competition. Some might find it downright offensive but X-Pro1 does not really have a competitor and for those who own M8 and M9s you know that you are eventually going to hit that buy button on your shopping cart sooner or later. You may say what about NEX7 and O-MD? I must say, to me NEX7 seems like a very light and compact laptop running Microsoft XL to take pictures, that is to say extremely flexible, configurable and fast but requires you to dedicate your brain, hands, fingers and eyes behind a thick software interface. Hardly photography for me since it would be so hard to make mistakes both unintentional and deliberate. I haven't touched O-MD so can't say much about it. And then there is the IQ, yeh well.. Fuji Xs can make any photography lover's eye go all watery but X-Ppro1 IQ can really grab on and hold on to a photographer's soul, especially when you get it going past its many issues. Although to be fair all issues are under MY limits of acceptable.
Who is this for? I understand why the reviews are so heavily opinionated since people have different photographic needs and have certain expectations from a camera especially an expensive one like this. If you:
Do landscape photography: You'd love it.
Do portraits: You'd love it.
Do street photography: You'd love it.
Do kids photography: You'd hate it.
Do sports photography: No way, this camera is not so sporty. You'd hate it.
Do low light action photography: You'd hate it.
Do want your camera to do photography for you: You'd hate it.
Want to show off your new toy to friends: You'd hate it. It would be hard to justify the cost to them in the 10 mins they hold the camera and the red dot owners would think that you don't know squat about photography.
So why would you go the distance to buy this camera? Just look at the images in flickr. Also it's truly an enjoyable experience to shoot with this camera. Here are my reason why I choose to keep this camera:
The OVF is not complete by itself, it's the combination of OVF and EVF on a flick of a switch that makes this camera probably the best tool to compose great images. The bright lines and a little extra of the world that you see around them makes you think in terms of a `photograph' you are going to take not a `scene' you are going to capture. If you think that's a subtle difference, just try making a frame with your hand in front of your face and see it for yourself how a frame helps you compose when you can also see around it. One suggestion is to enable the parallax adjust focus frames, so that you can avoid about 10 mins of frustration when you think that the camera can't focus correctly. The frame lines are a bit tighter than the actual image that comes out but hopefully a fix to it is just a firmware update away. I have a 35 f1.4 and if I need to get a DOF preview, instead of enabling the function button to do that, I find it easier to switch to EVF and half press the shutter button. Needless to say my camera stays with OVF most of the time. One truly amazing thing is that OVF lets you compose your multiple exposure images, which may as well be a gimmick but is never the less very awesome to experience. The manual override to the magnifier is also sometimes useful like when I am taking images for a panoramic image. Yes I don't like the in camera panoramic composition, I would rather use a desktop software do it.
I think since it is almost fashionable to say that the camera has a slow autofocus, it is possibly the reason, I am almost glad that it's not as bad as I thought it would be. In bright situation it's just as fast as your run of the mill SLR. It does hunt in the dark and so does MOST of the cameras. It needs high contrast objects to allow it to focus in dim light. Now I am almost encroaching on the domain of Captain Obvious. One thing that I have already mentioned that you need to enable the parallax adjusted focus frames to correctly relate to what the camera is focusing at. I don't understand why Fuji didn't choose to enable it by default. Some people suggested that you use the continuous autofocus to work around the so called slow autofocus but I found it rather annoying but it's just my opinion and I DON't think AF is terribly slow on this camera or even slow enough to be even considered a limitation of the camera system although I wouldn't mind a firmware fix which can make it faster. Then there is accuracy. I have to admit that I don't spend a lot on modern cameras and I still love my MF Film SLRs but the 35mm 1.4 with AF can cause serious burn in issues on my plasma TV if I ever chose to render the images 1:1 on it. No, but really you get, very very accurate focusing and extraordinarily sharp images.
SENSOR AND IQ
Does it gets rid of moire without an AA filter?, my test says not completely but you won't see it on 99% of your images. Are the images sharp? Please check out full size images on Flickr. The noise performance is stellar. Someone mentioned on one of the forums (need to look up the link) that due to the modified sensor design Fujifilm will have to do excessive color NR which would result green or red patches on dark low contrast portions of the image and I was able to find a few of those patches but, I am guessing that can as well be a limitation of the in camera JPEG engine and possibly can be fixed with firmware updates but overall the IQ is just down right fantastic. The patches are not very obvious unless you know what you are looking for.
The film simulation modes are really what they say they are. Velvia just takes you back to those Fujifilm colors without the noise of course. As for me I don't think I am going to miss the lack of RAW support in Lightroom but on the other hand would LOVE to have it.
LOOK AND FEEL
The camera looks stunning, even better in real than it ever looked to me in all the images on the internet. People say its not as heavy as the money they have paid for it but I really don't intend to use it for self defence like I would if I had Leica M9 in my hand (and I would need its self defence capabilities if I had M9 in my hand). On the less humorous side, I feel the weight is perfect, does not tire me out and I feel that strap is redundant since I can carry it in my hand the whole day. Just get one of those beautiful Gordy's straps and you are good to go.
I live near NYC on the waterfront in a little infamous place called Jersey City and the boardwalk is very touristy and I often exchange looks of people looking at what camera equipment you are carrying. I noticed that people don't even look at my X-Pro1, which is awesome. I am sure the number of camera buffs / intersection is much higher in NYC and I might get caught but I am yet to test my theory.
The real dials to adjust aperture and shutter speed is a blessing. The shutter speed dial is a bit stiff but does have an excellent feel to it. The aperture dial feels a little too easy to turn but then you realise that you can change it with a single finger without taking your eye off the viewfinder and you catch yourself saying `damn Fuji'. Don't know if it is luck or its by design but it's perfect.
7 configurable settings and one Q menu to control them all, brilliant user interface, thank you Fujifilm!
The display is really good as long as you are not directly under the sun. Some say its the best in the industry but I wouldn't know.
I have big hands so even though the camera is big and chunky, I think the grip might help.
Here is a list of things that I would like the Fuji engineers or anyone who has some influence on them to consider when they start giving firmware updates:
1. Get rid of power save mode - this mode only makes users unhappy, instead try to reduce the cost of the spare battery.
2. Make the fly by wire manual focus logarithmic, so that I can get to the focusing distance quickly and do the finer adjustments with slower turns of the focusing ring.
3. Keep the focus detection algorithm running in manual focus mode and highlight the focus rectangles on the parts of the frame as they get in focus. Kind of like focus peaking in NEX7 but on the OVF as well. My old EOS 20D used to do it for about 30 seconds when you switch from automatic to manual focus. You may choose to run the algorithm only with the half press of shutter to save on battery life.
4. Focus confirmation with the magnifier with the loupe only partially covering the frame like in many micro four thirds and point and shoots like S90/95/100 etc.
5. When the camera is in completely manual mode, i.e. user set shutter speed, user set aperture, user set focus and user set ISO, DONT think, just take the picture.
6. More accurate framing lines on the OVF.
7. Histogram on the image preview in EVF.
8. Faster autofocus.
9. Ultrasonic motor on the future lenses.
10. I would like to have more configurability of the buttons on the camera but i am not sure if that would make it another NEX clone.
I know that is a big wish list BUT again the camera is still very good and to me its a keeper. More than anything this is the camera that inspires me to take pictures, play with different settings and be creative. At this point I am totally enjoying this camera and I hope things get better or at least stay the same with the future updates from Fujifilm.
on April 14, 2012
I am a photojournalist, A documentary, studio, and sometimes wedding photographer. Previously I have owned a number of DSLRs and Point and Shoots. Right now I have a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a Canon EOS 7D. Both are great cameras for what they allow me to do professionally. However, neither made much sense to carry around on a daily basis. So I decided later to purchase a Canon G series camera, the Canon PowerShot G9. It was great to carry around, but it was horrible in low light and Bokeh was non-existent.
On my birthday I decided to start a 365 project where I take and upload at least one image per day. The project was fun, but towards the end I realized that over 50% of the images were being taken with my cell phone because I had it handy more than any other camera and it worked decently in low light. Better than my P&S (Go figure). After noticing that my cell phone had become my main camera, I began to look at other options that would give me better image quality. The Fuji X100 was the first thing to hit my radar.
The X100 seemed like an obvious choice, but I was a little turned off by the fact that I would be stuck with the one 35mm focal length. Of course I had the same issue with my cell phone, so it was something that I was thinking I could live with. That is of course, until rumors began to surface about Fuji releasing an interchangeable lens X series camera. I decided to wait it out.
The X-Pro 1 was announced and I was one of the first people in the Amazon pre-order line to grab one. It was released pretty late out here in the U.S. which gave me time to read a lot about the camera prior to buying it. I read about all of its quirks and issues with slow auto focus. None of the quirks bothered me. I had been able to get some amazing images with a cell phone prior to this so I figured this would be wonderful, but it was actually much better than I expected.
I wont discuss all of its quirks because those are all well documented here and on DPReview.com. What I will say is this.... This camera, for me, is what all those gold chains were for Mr. T back in the 80s. It's something you see around my neck whenever you see me. In class...? I have my X-Pro1. At the mall....? I have my X-Pro1. Driving down the street....? I have my X-Pro1! Due to this fact I can snap off shots anywhere and start new projects that will not include any cell phone images.
In the first week of owning this camera I have captured some outstanding images. The image quality is outstanding. In fact I am willing to put the out of camera JPGs up against my 5D Mark II and state that the IQ of the Fuji tops that of the images from my 5DMKII. The sharpness of the Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R bests that of my Canon L series zooms quite easily and at the very least, matches the sharpness of the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM which is considered, by many, to be Canon's sharpest L prime lens.
The low light capabilities are also better than my 5DMKII, making it more useful in near darkness.
For me there is no reason to carry around a DSLR unless I need the focus and FPS speed. That is the only time that I bring the DSLRs out anymore. That and if I need to shoot video, as the video on the Fuji just wont match the awesomeness of the 5DMKII. But other than that, The Fuji has become my go to camera. The others have to come off the bench when the Fuji gets tired or fouls out....
Overall, I would recommend this camera to photojournalists, street photographers, wedding photographers(as a second to a DSLR), studio photographers( I was amazed by the images I got with the studio strobes), Landscape photographers, and people who want an everyday carry around camera.
The Fuji X-Pro1 has easily become my favorite camera because of it's amazing image quality, portability, and it's ability to make me want to shoot more and have a lot more fun in doing so.
I am giving it the ultimate 5 star rating because there is no 4.5 and 4 stars just wouldn't be fair. The 0.5 taken off would be for the Focus system. To me that is its only Achilles heel.
on April 27, 2012
To start off, I would like to say that I sold a Panasonic GH2 + 14mm f/2.5 and a Nikon 55-200mm DX lens before purchasing the X-Pro1 + 35mm. I kept the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 that I was using on the GH2 because it's a great lens and used on the X-Pro1, gives me 75mm equivalent, close enough to 85mm full frame macro for my use. While I loved the GH2 (especially for its video), I decided to sell it for the X-Pro1 because I want to focus primarily on stills now. In short, during the 1 month that I've had the camera, I think the camera is amazing. It shoots AMAZING pictures. Seriously, I'm repeatedly amazed at how sharp and vivid the pictures are (when you grab the right focus, hehe) and how little post-processing I need to do. To make sure this review stays objective and that I don't get flack for being a fanboy, I'd like to address the drawbacks to this camera first:
-Slow autofocus & lens chatter (though the chatter has primarily been fixed by the new firmware)
-Unless you're using zone focusing (which I've now grown accustomed to using), it's hard to get shots in focus in time for proper street photography
-The throw for the focus ring is too long. It takes wayy too many turns to change the focus from zero to infinity!
-Autofocus is limited to only one location on the screen, instead of automatically adjusting to where the camera believes it should be focused (e.g. a face). In AF-S or AF-C mode, you can manually change where you want the focus point/area to be, but that takes too long for real-life shooting unless you are shooting landscapes/very still objects.
So I'm sure you're wondering why I like the camera so much despite the above limitations! It really boils down to one concept: while the above limitations are frustrating, IT'S POSSIBLE TO COMPENSATE FOR THEM if you know what you are doing. Here are my own personal methods of working around each of the above bullet points:
-I lied. You can't really increase the autofocus speed without changes in firmware, etc. But one workaround is to shoot in higher f-stops (primarily f/5.6 or f/8+) so even if you miss the precise focus point you were looking for, that area will still be *mostly* in focus. If you really like shooting as wide as possible, then I recommend one of three things: 1) Don't half-press the shutter button. Imagine that the camera is a point-and-shoot and just fire the shutter button without waiting for the focus confirmation from the half-press. It gives you just a bit more speed to get that split second you need to get the shot off before the scene changes. 2) Use the drive mode! This camera can shoot 6 fps. Use it to your advantage! If you're worried or frustrated that you're not getting the right shot because it's taking too long for you get the right exposure, then just fire off 6 frames per second with the exposure bracketing! If you have the right exposure already and are just worried about focus, then just fire the camera and you're bound to get at least one great picture out of 12 or so duds. 3) Even if that doesn't work for you, then start figuring out how far away your subjects are. This is actually what I do most of the time, which sounds REALLY HARD (and believe me, it was REALLY HARD when I first started doing this), but with a lot of practice, you eventually can get good approximations of how far away something is, and as long as you're not using too wide of an aperture (I only use f/1.4 on rare occasions, and prefer the look of f/2 or f/2.8), you can just manually adjust the focus really quickly to a designated distance, quickly press the DOF preview button (I manually programmed it to the Fn button on the top) to confirm focus, and then fire the shutter. It sounds like a lot of work, but this is actually one of the reasons I like the camera - IT FORCES ME TO GET BETTER. I've never had to think more about my exposure and how I'm going to shoot it properly than with this camera. It makes me understand more and try more advanced techniques, which in the end makes me a better photographer. Too many cameras these days do too much of the work for you (which I understand appeals to most of the general population), but I like the fact that this camera makes me work for my shot; it makes it that much more satisfying when I'm looking in the LCD after firing the shutter and I see a perfect shot.
-As for the note about street photography, it is indeed tough with the Fuji lens because the throw of the focus ring is so long. It takes too long to adjust your focus for a person walking in front of you. My suggestions: 1) Get an M adapter and an M lens. The manual focusing on those lenses is much superior and you even have dials that calculate your hyperfocal distance ranges for a given aperture, which is HUGE for street photography. That being said, I don't have the money for M lenses, so I resort to 2) Zone Focusing. I had to brush up on this technique (and even estimate the circle of confusion for the Fuji 35mm) but once I estimated the hyperfocal distance to be around 3.8 meters away, I just set my aperture to f/8-16 based on available sunlight and started firing away. It's great because it's so much easier to shoot from the hip with this method. People in the city (I live in Chicago) still fear a camera being pointed at them, so being able to do it discreetly without you having to look at them through the viewfinder is great. All you do is look at the LCD to confirm your shot and fire away!
-There are two workarounds to the focus ring throw problem and they've both been mentioned already. You can: 1) start estimating distances of your subjects to pre-focus your shot or 2) buy M-mount lenses. I guess you could buy old Canon FD and Nikon F lenses with mechanical focus rings too..
-Having the autofocus point fixed to one place at all times is a bit annoying, but there's a simple way to get around this. What I do is fix the autofocus to the middle of the frame at all times, put the camera in AF-C mode (it's a bit faster than AF-S, I've found), half-press the shutter with your subject in the middle of your frame, recompose the image by moving the camera around until your subject is in your desired location in the frame, and then fire the shutter. It won't be 100% accurate (especially with objects very close to you) because the DOF (the area in front of you that's in focus) changes slightly when you move the camera around, but it's about 95-98% accurate, which is more than good enough for my purposes.
Now with those suggested workarounds in place, now I'd like to tell everybody the MAJOR reasons why I love this camera and why it makes my life way easier! Here are the key ones:
-The handling. I had a GH2 and it was actually too small for me. I don't have large hands (about 7.5 or 8 inches from bottom of palm to the end of my middle finger), but when I was using the GH2, I found that I was getting a lot of camera shake because the camera was too small to fit snugly in my right hand and was too light for me to keep it sturdy out in a windy day or cold day. I mention a cold day because shivering kills a shot when the camera is too light to keep sturdy. I feel the X-Pro1 is a perfect size. Many professional photographers actually prefer larger bodies because they are typically sturdier, more durable, and more ergonomic, and while I don't consider myself in that group (I'm not a professional and I have small hands so I still prefer smaller cameras), I feel the X-Pro1 is almost the perfect size. It's not too large for you to have trouble hitting the important buttons while composing in the viewfinder, and it's not too small for you to have camera shake problems. Moreover, the weight of the camera is phenomenal - I can carry it around for an entire day with no arm/shoulder soreness at all! IT IS too large for you to put in most jacket pockets and will never fit in one of my jeans pockets unless I start wearing huge baggy jeans, but it's more than small enough for me to fit 3-4 prime lenses with it in my Crumpler 5 Million Dollar camera bag (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001TIQW4K/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i01).
-The hybrid viewfinder. This thing is wicked versatile and useful as h*ll. When you're shooting low-light, use the optical viewfinder so you can actually see in front of you! When you're shooting a landscape and you want to confirm your frame lines, use the electronic one! Then, when you're using the optical viewfinder to wait for a dog, a car, or a raging alcoholic to come into your frame, quickly flip to the electronic viewfinder (with the DOF preview button or the flip switch on the front of the camera) to confirm focus!
-The image quality. Holy mother of God. This thing spits out incredible pictures. I've never had so much fun with a camera because THE IMAGES ARE SO FRICKIN GOOD. Even when something looks bad or bland on the LCD, it can look amazing on a 27" monitor or a large print. Simply put, I've never had to do so little post-processing in my life.
-The High-ISO capabilities. Just put this thing on Auto ISO 3200, and start shooting. If it allowed you to go as high as Auto ISO 6400, I'd use that instead. ISO 6400 has the right amount of grain to make the picture look like slightly like film, so even that's usable. But don't ever go above 6400, you'll regret it. Either way, having nearly noise-free images at ISO 3200 is a technological marvel (and no full-frame w/ 16MP jammed inside, mind you!) that you wouldn't have gotten 4 years ago unless you were shelling over $3000 for a D700 (which is full frame AND only has 12MP, so the sensor dots/pixels are larger and produce less noise!)
-This is usually overlooked, but I'd like to mention how good Fuji's in-camera white balance and JPEG processing is. THIS SAVES SO MUCH TIME. The auto-white balance on the X-Pro1 is pretty much spot on in all but the most extreme conditions, so I pretty much NEVER adjust the white balance/temperature of the photo in Lightroom/Photoshop! Moreover, they coupled it with an amazing in-camera JPEG processor (as good as Olympus', IMO), so if you're shooting JPEGs you can just avoid post-processing all-together! So many people talk about how they shoot RAW, how RAW is better, how a real photographer knows how to post-process, but screw them! Why not just get the picture right the first time and then go straight to printing/publishing??? This is a hugely underrated aspect of this camera, and it's perhaps the greatest thing about the camera because IT ALLOWS YOU TO JUST TAKE PICTURES ALL THE TIME. Never has photography been so simple for me. I never worry about getting the tones of the colors right anymore and I never worry about spending too much time in post-processing anymore. The last album I published to Flickr had 17 photos in it. The pictures were taken from a BBQ I had hosted where I took 19 shots total. All 17 photos published to my Flickr were OUT OF CAMERA JPEGS. I did absolutely no post-processing. I thought about cropping one photo, but eventually decided against it. The two photos I left out of the album were because the subjects in those photos didn't look too attractive (I was publishing to Facebook too, and you know how women are when you post unattractive pictures of them online..) as I was shooting candidly and just caught them in an unattractive pose.
-The manual controls. (FYI I shoot about 50% aperture priority, 40% manual, and 10% shutter priority) Do you know how refreshing it is to have a mechanical, and not electronic, shutter dial on my camera again? Do you know how refreshing it is to have an aperture dial again on my lens? Do you know how great it is for that aperture dial to have 1/3 stop increments? Do you know how refreshing it is to have a manual exposure comp dial again instead of having to dig for it through menus? Well, imagine having all of that back in one camera. Yes, it's the Olympus OM-D EM-5...LOL jk. While the EM-5 certainly does have most of those features, it lacks in fast primes and image quality IMO. Plus it's MFT..you're not going to get that glorious bokeh you want on an EM-5 because you're limited by the sensor size. Full frame > APS-C > MFT, period (if you're talking about bokeh =D). Anyways, you get the picture here..the X-Pro1 has all of the aforementioned manual controls and they're bokehlicious.
-The preset color modes/filters. The simulated Velvia mode is great for landscapes, and the Black & White Yellow filter is great for street photography. One more thing that slims post-processing time.
As a final note, I'd like to mention that this camera is not for beginners. You really need to know what you're doing and you really need to understand photographic concepts to be able to think around problems, because the camera is quirky. If you're a beginner, you're going to have a hard time working around the camera's limitations. That being said, a beginner can totally pick up some photography books like Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure and figure out all the kinks and idiosyncrasies of the X-Pro1 for his/her own benefit. But it will be challenging, IMO. If you're an intermediate/enthusiast, I think you'll enjoy the challenges the camera poses to you that will force you to become a better photographer. If you're an expert, well..you're an expert so you shouldn't have a problem with the camera.
All in all, the final rating I'm giving this camera represents one thing: how good the images are and how well it facilitates you taking good images. I believe camera reviews should focus on that instead of high-ISO pixel peeping tests and megapizel/DXOmark sensor comparisons. All I care about is the end result and how easy it was to get that end result. While the camera has its nuances and limitations, I have to give it 5 stars because, like I mentioned before, the image quality is just PHENOMENAL, and the in-camera auto-white balance, color modes/filters, and JPEG processing just makes it SO EASY to take pictures and go straight to publishing. Other cameras may shoot more frames per second, may have a faster buffer, may have more megapixels, and may have faster autofocus ALONG WITH image stabilization and weather sealing. But NO OTHER CAMERA (outside of a Leica) makes photography so fun again and optimizes your time outside in the field actually SHOOTING (rather than in front of a computer screen).
Yes, the focusing is a bit slow. Yes, the camera is expensive. Yes, I wish there were wide angle lenses available for this camera. But damn did Fujifilm make a darn good camera this time around.
(P.S. credit the bespoke X-Trans CMOS sensor)
Edit: One more note. Buy an extra battery or two (you can find them for super cheap on eBay) for this camera and don't look back. It'll let you get through an entire day of shooting. You won't regret it.
on May 21, 2012
-Photographer Background & Introduction-
I'm an amateur photographer that sometimes gets paid for what I do (therefore making me a part time professional [I guess]). My last camera body is a Canon 5D Mark II and own a variety of L glass zooms and good quality Canon primes. I enjoy shooting landscapes, nature, street, and event work. I was looking for a camera that's lighter than my 5D Mark II to utilize for travel and doesn't short in image quality. I'm pretty passionate in the art of photography.
At the time of this review, the current cameras in the mirrorless market for me was this camera, the Sony NEX-7, and the Olympus OM-D E-M5. All of these cameras have pros and cons and I played the game debating which camera system is best to invest in. I eventually went with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and am quite satisfied. This reviews covers my thoughts on it.
Update (4/2013): I've been shooting with this camera for over a year. I've updated parts of my review. Still a solid entry in the market.
1. Image Sensor:
This is probably the biggest reason why I enjoy this camera so much. This bold take on the APS-C-sized image sensor design is pretty legit. When the ISO is cranked up to 3200, there's absolutely zero color noise (or any noise) and images look pretty sharp. The dynamic range is impressive with a good amount of detail brought on in darks and shadows and good control over blowout on the high end. Colors are typically spot on unless it's red. JPG file output are screaming quality. Daytime photos look great. Nighttime photos look great. Still a lot of flex with my Lightroom workflow. The image quality is just as good as the RAW output on the 5DMkII.
2. Prime Lens Library:
Prime lenses typically equate to high quality photos, and Fujifilm went and released prime lenses for the general range. I went and picked up the 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4, and 60mm lenses f/2.4. This translates for 35mm full-frame users to a near-28mm (for landscape work), near-50mm (for the normal-angle style), and near-85mm focal length (great for portrait). The glass for all 3 of these lenses are sharp and contrasty and have performed wonderfully in my use. The bokeh quality for all these lenses is creamy, however, depth of field isn't as shallow as full-frame, as expected, but should be noted.
Update (4/2013): Focus has been sped up for many lenses thanks to Fujifilm's constant dedication to pushing through updated firmware. Another firmware will be coming up when they release the new telephoto zoom. I just picked up their 14mm prime and love the performance and build.
3. Hybrid Viewfinder:
I'm loving the hybrid viewfinder. Want to shoot SLR style? Hit the switch and you get the Electronic Viewfinder. It's a bit sluggish but gets the job done in low light stills regardless.
(Update 4/2013) It's faster, needs focus peaking like the competition.
The optical viewfinder is great if you don't want lose that moment with the click. There are electronic frame lines in the optical view finder to help frame composition and it's nice to see them adjust with the quality of light available. The frame lines also adjust for parallax effect as you adjust the focal length which is pretty intriguing and implemented pretty well.
One thing I truly enjoy with this camera's viewfinder is the hyperfocal distance meter integrated in the manual focus bar. When the camera is set at a certain aperture and focal length, (which is great when shooting street or group) the camera gives you an idea what's in focus. Pair that with the image sensor capabilities and you get a pretty lethal combination when out on the streets.
It looks like a vintage-style rangefinder camera. It's light. It's black. It doesn't fit in my pocket, but slings around my body with no problem. I picked up a Street Strap - 46" Soft Round Camera Strap for Leica, Micro 4/3, Fuji Cameras with Round Rings and like how low-profile (black rope), durable, and functional it is and feel it pairs well with the camera.
(Update 4/2013) Thanks to Fuji's attention to complaints, the autofocus has been drastically improved for all the lenses. It's quite responsive, but will never replace phase detect focusing that's integrated to other cameras. Here's hoping this is introduced in the X-Pro2.
2. Quirky Firmware:
(Update 4/2013) It doesn't really crash or perform funny anymore. It's either I've adapted, or they squashed all the quirks through the firmware updates.
3. RAW Support:
(Update 4/2013) Adobe and Apple now have RAW support. No longer an issue.
4. Battery Life:
I took it to an Occupy protest with some heavy use. I ran through 2 batteries in a quarter of a day. I have to further study how much of what drains the battery. At other times, the battery goes a good part of the day.
5. It's Not Weather-Sealed.
This camera doesn't shoot like an SLR. There's a curve to learning how to harness the camera and the operation manual is a valuable resource in helping use this thing. Please be mindful.
As discussed in other reviews, once you get its quirks. The thing is capable of outputting some seriously quality imagery.
(Update 4/2013) After over a year of use. The only other camera that has my attention is the Fujifilm X100S, and it's mainly because of its upgrades to focusing and that built-in 35mm equiv focal length lens (have to wait for end of the year for the 35mm equiv prime from what it looks like now). The image quality of this camera continues to impress. Its focus... not so much, however it's much much better than what it was before. It's my workhorse and companion. It goes with me everywhere, I'm looking forward to where Fujifilm is going in the future with this flagship camera and cameras to come.
This camera is ideal for photographers that are familiar with cameras already and understand histograms and have a good grasp in manual control.
It's great for street photography, low light stills, model photography, travel photography, wedding photography, and landscape work. It's not so great for sports and maybe fast kids. Rangefinders aren't typically ideal for sports anyway, yes? Crank the aperture and ISO and prefocus when working with kids.
Comments, criticisms, and questions welcome.
I've included some example images and a optical viewfinder example and further discussion of it in the user-submitted photos of this camera.
on April 6, 2012
Ok a little about my background. I am coming from a 5dM2. I loved my 5dM2 and the pictures it made, but I found myself leaving the camera bag at home more than not because of heft. I had to be planning a "photo day" or it was left at home. The X-Pro 1 has really helped in this respect. I am a 50/50 shooter in that I do about 50% paying jobs and about 50% personal hobby work. I have already done a couple of paying jobs with the X-Pro 1 and have been nothing but impressed. I am currently using the 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm f/2.4. I am considering the 18mm f/2.0 but may wait for the 14m f/2.8.
Of course the biggest qualms thus far from everyone have been with the AF. I must say that it is slower than a DSLR in amost every application, but coming from a 5dM2 it is not that much slower. I have found that it may actually be more accurate or at least equal in accuracy. The important thing to remember is that you are not going into this with a top notch AF. With that in mind and knowing what kind of photography is more applicable, this camera does not disappoint.
Ok just a few key points that I want to emphasize:
+Image quality is undeniably excellent
+Color accuracy is best I have ever seen
+Tonal range is incredible
+Bokeh rendering is smooth and pleasing 90% of the time
+Feel/heft is very positive for me
+Both OVF and EVF are very useful in my opinion
+35mm lens is the best lens I have owned thus far (Only lens comparable is the Canon 135mm f/2 IMO)
+60mm Macro is great and consisten but with slightly slower AF but GREAT for portraits
+Film simulations are fun to use and the Velvia really makes the colors "pop"
+Quality feels great in my opinion
+Aperture control on the lens makes me feel "involved" with the picture and allows more video control
+ISO performance is like nothing I have ever seen
+Customers have commented on the "feel" of the pictures being excellent
+I do not mind carrying it with me everywhere I go
-AF can hunt at times but is manageable
-Aperture chattering can be distracting, but to be honest I barely notice it now
-Would like a few more customizeable buttons (Firmware fixable)
-RAW Processing (Will be fixed soon)
-Battery life (HAve always carried multiple batteries anyways)
-MF is a unique and not particularly pleasant experience (but I am getting used to it)
-Would like IS but understand somewhat the omission and I think lens will have later
-Would like a 23mm (35mm equivalent)
-Still somewhat unsure of the utility of AE-L/AF-L button and placement
So as you can tell, I believe the positives far far outweigh the negatives. I loved my Canon 5dM2 and I am in love with the X-Pro 1. The camera has gotten me to taking more pictures and really enjoying my photography again. I will continue to expand this review as my experience with this camera grows but in my truthful and honest opinion, I think that this is a great camera. It is important to know the negatives when purchasing this camera but if you understand what this camera is for and that fits you then you will absolutely LOVE this camera.
Good luck and please feel free to post any comment or questions!
on March 25, 2014
First, a background. I shoot primarily with Nikon, even though I have a Leica system (M8.2, M9). While I get great shoots with the Nikon, I thoroughly enjoy shooting with the Leica. I bought the X-Pro 1 because of several reviews that claimed that it was a Leica done right (a paraphrase of Ken Rockwell's review). I have used it on several tours and guess what - it is great. The picture quality is wonderful. The handling is nice. It is also nice to have a program feature on a rangefinder (Leica only does Aperture preferred). While this is not a Leica, it is nevertheless a very good camera. However, even with the hybrid finder, it is important to remember to treat this camera like a range finder. This is a camera that forces you to slow down and to focus on the picture. With the past problems in Lightroom and Aperture with reading and processing Fuji's raw file now essentially a thing of the past, this camera is a true pleasure to use. Please note that it will not do videos with the same quality as a Canon; it does not the breadth of lenses that you find with a Nikon; it does not offer you all of the bells and whistles that you find on a Sony NEX or A7 series. Yet, it feels right when you are using it. You get the same feeling with Pro 1 that you get with a Leica M9. It is the right size; it handles well. Finally, I really, really like FujiFilm's approach. Initially, when this camera was released, it was plagued by several problems. Over time, however, FujiFilm has been fast to release on a regular basis firmware updates. They listen to their users and they respond; that is the final feature that makes this camera system notable.
A great camera.
on September 10, 2012
I have been an avid photographer all my life...well, since I was 6 or 7 anyway. I became serious about my photography in my 20's, but was only able to afford an inexpensive (film) camera. As time passed, I was able to purchase progressively more pricy cameras up to and including a couple SLR's. When digital first came out I purchased one, then another and another, up through DSLR's. Throughout all those years I felt that there was something I was missing in my gear. I finally realized that what I was missing was the "back to basics" approach from my early adult days of photography. Cameras had become so automated that all I found myself doing was shooting in "auto" mode the majority of the time and I was loosing out on the challenge of making decisions on how to get the best results from my photography.
When I first heard about the X-Pro1, I immediately felt a connection to my past. I finally purchased one and although I have only had the camera for a week, I have already regained the enthusiasm I once had for the art of photography. My photography life is whole again! This camera is every bit as exciting to use as I had imagined. Although this might not be the right camera for everyone, it is for me.
on June 22, 2012
Here's my review for the Fuji X Pro 1 camera body based on owning the camera for about a month now.
Build quality is excellent -- light weight, but NOT cheap feeling. Has enough weight to feel good in the hands and the size is perfect to moi -- not too big, but not overly tiny, as some cams being released of late. Ergonomically, the camera handles well - button placement is very good and the grip works well enough, although it could be a little bigger to offer a more secure one handed grip.
The dials all have a solid feel to them as they move. Nothing lose fitting, etc.
The viewfinder is a hybrid EVF / OVF -- There are both positive & negative points to using each option.
For example, the OVF excels for seeing outside the frame, but you lose the ability to distinguish if you've secured focus on exactly what your're hoping to focus on.
What's great is the fact that if you disable the image review function, (which brings up the image just taken for immediate review for either 1.5 or 3 secs), while in OVF mode, you will see the subject at the very moment the photo is taken without losing momentary sight of the subject, and rangefinder shooters will know what I'm referring to here.
In DSLRs for example, the moment the mirror slaps/shutter closes, the screen blacks out for a split sec, and you don't get to see the exact point at which the photo was snapped -- the most critical point! You can of course bring up the image for review afterwards by pressing the play button. Again, the downside is that you don't know for sure if you've nailed the focus on the object of your intent.
The OVF also great for a moving subject, as you don't see the lag from the EVF. It works (focuses) better on objects further away from you, say maybe from a 3 - 5 foot starting point. When you're get closer than about 3 feet to an object, I recommend switching to the EVF for more accurate focus ability.
The OVF also gets a bit dim / dark to view through when the lighting is low. Additionally, the frame lines displayed do not exactly correspond to what the final outputted picture will be, and this can be a bit annoying if you don't know / expectant of this. (this is not a defect but a byproduct of parallex compensation)
Now, the EVF gets you perfect framing, as you're looking through the lens. You can also see exactly what's being focused on and if you've hit your point of focus -- depth of field can be viewed as well. Brightness is quite good but the it does get a bit sluggish / laggy when viewed in dim light or panning the camera very fast.
I would say the EVF is a small step below the VF2 on the olympus cams. I would like to see the EVF a bit bigger as far as the overall viewing frame -- the VF2 from olympus seems to offer a larger viewing area.
AF has been noted in several reviews as piss poor, but I would have to strongly disagree with this -- especially after downloading the latest firmware. I have absolutely no issue with the autofocus -- focuses just fine with the 35mm 1.4 under most conditions -- you just have to understand the limitations of such a system of autofocus (contrast detection based) -- you might get a some hunting if your subject and background and of similar color / contrast, but otherwise, it does it's job properly. Might not be as fast as the latest Nikon DSLR, but is certainly comparable to something like a 5d.
This camera's main attraction, and what makes it worthy of the large asking price, is the final image quality overall and also the quality of the image at higher ISOs.
Overall image quality at low ISO (say 100 - 800) is indeed inspiring -- virtually noise free images from ISO 100- 400 -- the output from this sensor matches or outperforms nearly all of the creme de la creme of current crop sensors and arguably surpassing the whole lot of them -- I haven't discerned any camera, from any manufacturer, that produces a finer photo with this sensor size -- and I've compared LOTs of photos and peeped more pixels than I should ever be peering into. Fuji's claim that the photo quality can rival full frame sensors is not BS. In fact, upon comparision and in certain cases, this little Fuji outperforms the coveted Canon 5d, which admittedly has superb output.
It also works wonders with high ISO (from the 1000 - 3200 range) -- It's output at ISO 3200 is as good or better than many full frame Canon or Nikons, save for the perhaps the very latest releases -- the newest & mightiest Nikon might beat it out by a tad, but the difference is very marginal and most likely only seen on larger sized prints.
Compared to my micro 4/3 E-P2 (which I love dearly), I get cleaner photo's at ISO 3200 than I do with the E-P2 at ISO 800 -- same thing with my old Canon 50d -- ISO 800 on that Canon looks like ISO 2000 on this Fuji. With ISO 3200 images being relatively clean, you can confidently shoot a moderately fast lens (min F/2.0) in low light scenarios. Having such a usable high ISO, I feel this camera would make a wonderful night time cam without having to resort to flash.
Lenes -- I'm only currently using this cam with the 35mm F1.4 fuji lens -- this is an excellent lens with wonderful optics, and is sharp even at its widest apeture -- light weight too & priced very nicely -- an excellent 35mm which rivals the Canon 35mm L in image quality, and that's saying something, as that Canon is a very popular lens and for good reason.
Also, I have a few Voigtlander / Zeiss lens, and they performs very well on this cam -- I'm using a RainbowImaging adapter ($25.00) and it locks securely with no play. The output is pleasing (no excessive softness or light falloff/color casts) -- The two lens I've tried are the VC 35mm F/1.2 (VI) & the Zeiss 50mm F/2.0 Planar -- You can only view/compose through the EVF, but I hear Fuji is releasing a special M adapter that also alows use of the OVF as well for various focal lengths...pretty cool!
Focusing with manual only lenses works well -- change the camera to manual focus and you have the ability to zoom in (10x zoomed view) to check critical focus. This whole process works very similar to the way it works on my E-p2. I would like to see Fuji add a focus peaking option, or the option to change the zoom magnification, added in a future firmware update.
Battery life is not bad, but not overly great; I can about 400 photos -- maybe more if you use the OVF or a manual legacy lens as the battery isn't being drained by the auofocus.
This camera can shoot a burst of 6 FPS which is fine for me in such a cam -- afterall, this isn't a super spec pro sport shooting SLR. Bracketing modes are a plenty. I like that you can set the camera to shoot film with the one touch function botton -- sorry, I haven't really had a chance to test the movie mode, but I'm more of a still shooter anyhow, so the video feature is a bit wasted on the likes of me.
It has a great panorama feature which allows you to pan the camera in a horizontal line by taking multiple photos along the pan and then stitches them all together for the final panoramic image. Nice and easy to do, and the final images look great!
I've rated the camera as 5 star, but it was tough coming to this conclusion -- the MAIN reason for that is the price point of $1700.00 for the body only, or $2,300.00 when you factor in the 35mm lens. A bit much, and you can get an older model full frame DSLR for about that amount, assuming you like or have a need for those big hefty power cams.
There are two things that this camera does however, that in my opinion, make it worth the hefty price tag.
First being the delivered image quality, at any ISO up to 3200; it's simply superb -- I cannot imagine someone being disappointed here -- easily at the top or near the top of a long list of good cameras.
The other thing that I feel justifies the cost is simply the overall handling and experience you feel when shooting with this cam -- This cam is an absolute dream to shoot with -- It begs to be taken places and shot with -- the fine build quality, the weight, the way the dials work, and of course that most beautiful shutter sound (amongst the best I've heard!)- this cam just makes shooting a very emotional and enjoyable experience. This cam slows you down and allows you to concentrate on the basics of photography, so often forgotten in today's all too modern world; It draws the closest to matching the experience of shooting with a Leica rangefinder (for those of you who've had that privaledge). Oh, and consider a soft release -- makes a great addition to the handling of the camera.