Let me give a little background. I became a more serious about photography over 20 years ago (when I was 17) and got my first 35mm SLR for a photography class offered at school. It was a Minolta X-370 with a 50mm f/1.7 lens. It wasn't fancy yet it was able to spark a passion I wouldn't want to shake even if I could. But, like most entry-level anything I eventually outgrew (or at least felt I'd outgrown) the limits of that camera.
I moved from Minolta's X-series to their Maxxum series (8000i and then a 7) and from a hodgepodge of aftermarket manual focus lenses to mostly Minolta AF lenses in search of higher quality images. As I became more experienced it seemed that fine detail in enlargements (11x or larger) was just not to my liking and I moved on to medium and large format.
My use of large format is limited to a pressview 4x5 that yields insanely detailed negatives. Anyone who has shot large format knows its challenges and also the rewards. Over the years I've found that for my own style and way of shooting 6x7 medium format really provided me that fine detail in enlargements and handling I was looking for. A full-blown 4x5 camera with all its swings, tilts and shifts doesn't work for the way I like to shoot. Though the argument surely can be made that image quality for enlargements can be subjective. And, that 4x5 inch negatives will offer more of that fine detail than 6x7 centimeter (2-1/4x2-3/4 inch) negatives I think few would argue that 35mm film could ever compete with medium or large formats for large prints. And, as I've already said, up to this point digital did not really impress me as the images were always soft. So, how does this relate to the Fujifilm X-Pro 1? It's about the fine detail in the images. Fujifilm figured it out.
As a long-time Minolta shooter I naturally went to the Maxxum 7D when Minolta thought that it was time they got back in the digital SLR game. It had a 6.1MP sensor when Canon and Nikon were releasing 8MP sensors. And though, as time has gone on, I've played with both Nikon and Canon DSLRs and have seen some very nice images from those cameras they, along with my Maxxum 7D, always seemed to fall short in that area that had me leave 35mm so long ago ... lack of fine detail in 11x and bigger enlargements. For a long time I couldn't put my finger on why.
Was it that the lenses just didn't work as well with digital? That turned out to be partially the case with all manufacturers as there has been extensive design changes in not only the optical corrections but the coatings as well in recent years. All changes necessary to get the most out of digital sensors. The real problem was the anti-aliasing filter. It didn't matter how high the resolution of the sensor was or the resolving capabilities of the lens because a stupid filter on the sensor always softened the image to prevent moire. I hate the damn anti-aliasing filter!!
Along comes the Fujifilm X-Pro 1
The beauty of film:
Kodak 400UC scanned on Epson V750-M
©2004 P.T. Dante CiulloIn medium format I shoot only film and I shoot Mamiya and Fuji. In Mamiya I have both an RZ67 Pro IIkit and a 7IIkit. My Fuji is a GF670. All three are fantastic. The lenses, when coupled with fine-grained slow ISO films produce stunningly detailed images that can easily do 30 inches and have detail to spare. Hell, not even just slow ISO films. I have some Portra 400UC negatives (left) from Rome in 2004 that printed at 24x30 have detail to spare.
Fujifilm X-Pro 1 w/ 60mm XF Macro lensThere are many reviews about the pros and cons of the X-Pro 1. I borrowed a kit to test it out because of those reviews. Unless you're going to hold one in your hand and get familiar with it you'll never know the joy the X-Pro 1 System brings to photography. Yes, it has bells and whistles that the purist might be turned off by and yes its autofocus system doesn't do moving subjects well. I do portraits and travel photography mostly. And, for the first time ever someone has produced a digital camera and lens kit that stands up to my demands for fine detailed enlargements. The first serious portrait images I shot (right) through the X-Pro 1 with 60mm macro lens excited me when I saw them on the screen. I've never been too excited about the images I'd gotten from other digital cameras. And some cameras, like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1K with its Leica lens, were huge disappointments. So, outside of the image quality, what do I like or dislike about the X-Pro 1?