Almost a decade ago, Fujifilm introduced the Fujifilm X Pro 1, the first interchangeable lens camera with a hybrid viewfinder system and a rangefinder-style camera body. When it was announced at CES, many photographers went wild. It reminded so many of the Contax G2 series of cameras. With its gorgeous looks and retro styling, it and its predecessors are still hard to deny. Even though I own the Fujifilm X Pro 3, I still adore my X Pro 1. It’s showing its age, but continues to deliver images that always amaze me. In fact, I find that it’s a camera that creates images that are hard to not find charming.
First off, this was the first camera with a Hybrid viewfinder. You can switch from EVF to OVF. The OVF is still plenty usable, but you’ll get the fastest autofocus performance from the EVF. It’s nice to be able to switch like that. If you’re a fan of rangefinders and looking at the parallax correction, the Fujifilm X Pro 1 can be a fun camera. This OVF is also nowhere as advanced as the later versions. Instead, it focuses on the basics and relies on the skill of the photographer to really get the shot.
An Almost Truly Film-Like Look
I’ve stated before that the Fujifilm X Pro 1 is still the camera that delivers the most film-like images that I’ve seen. And for the most part, I still think so. The X Pro 3 delivers images that truly do look like negative film scans, but the Fujifilm X Pro 1 delivers images that look and act more like slide film. I remember years ago when I brought the Fujifilm X Pro 1 on a press trip and compared it side by side with a Sony camera. The Velvia and other chrome simulations look just like well exposed and developed slide film. And for that reason, I think that the Fujifilm X Pro 1 could really be the camera that slide film shooters love. Again, it appeals to the photographer to get everything right in-camera as much as possible. There isn’t a lot of leeway. It reminds me of a time when photographers had to actually be skilled. Since then, I feel like marketing has made everyone believe that they can be a photographer just by doing a whole lot of post-production. To this day, I think that a photograph should be done at least 80% in the camera. A composite is a composite is a composite. A photograph is a photograph.
Fujifilm Continues to Update the Firmware for It
This year, the Fujifilm X Pro 1 got a firmware update that continued to let it support later lenses. This is incredible; Sony would never have done something like this. To me, it means that Fujifilm is committed to customers that have used their cameras for years and even continue to today. Instead, they want you to go after lenses. And lenses are the real heart of a camera system. I’m confident Fujifilm will continue to do this for a while, but I’ve also been told that the internal computer in the camera is running out of memory.
It’s the Last Great Camera Fujifilm Made Before They Put Wifi Into All Their Cameras
Some photographers have wifi in their cameras and never use it. But the Fujifilm X Pro 1 was indeed the last great camera they made before their lineup all had wifi built-in. Wifi continues to be a super important feature for journalists and storytellers like me. And again, this camera harkens back to a time when you had to do things differently. You had to shoot, bring your images onto a computer, and edit. It was reliable and celebrated in the hands of a skilled photographer. There’s less connectivity here and also less emphasis on trying to get your photos out immediately. Instead, there’s a more significant emphasis on using your brain and worrying about releasing your images to the world later.
And sometimes, I enjoy being less connected. It’s like reading an actual, physical book. For me to do that, I need the right light in my apartment. The same goes for curling up with magazines. All this reminds me of a time when you can much more easily shut the world out. Oh yeah, and you can still get it for cheap.