10 Reasons to Love a 10-Year-Old Fujifilm Camera

10 Reasons to Love a 10-Year-Old Fujifilm Camera

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 has become something of a cult classic. Released in March of 2012, the camera was an immediate hit with photographers due to its aesthetics and outstanding image quality. I picked one up used a few years ago, and it quickly became my favorite take-along camera. As it nears one decade on the market, here are 10 reasons to love the X-Pro1 — 10 years later.

1. Outstanding Image Quality

I am always pleasantly surprised by what this 10-year-old, 16-megapixel sensor can do. The image quality is superb, even by today’s standards, with beautiful, vibrant colors that usually need little to no post-processing. In fact, the images straight out of the camera are so good that I often shoot JPEGs when out and about with the family. The camera also performs extremely well at high ISOs, so it’s become one of my favorites for concert photography and other low-light situations.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens. 

2. Levers and Dials

Part of the reason I purchased this camera was for the ability to dial in my shutter speed and aperture via manual, old-school dials. I still prefer this method over command dials and thumbwheels and feel like it’s the most intuitive way to use a camera. I’m sure this is partly based on the fact that I grew up using manual film cameras, but when shooting with the X-Pro1, I feel a connection to the camera that I don’t experience with most other digital cameras. Having a shutter speed dial on top of the camera and an aperture ring around the lens make adjusting settings a breeze on the fly.

A photo I snapped during a rehearsal at the Jazz Loft in Stony Brook, NY using the camera's Monochrome mode.

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 features a manual shutter speed dial and aperture ring. 

Fujifilm X-Pro1 shooting in 6 fps burst mode.

3. Amazing Build Quality

The X-Pro1 is built extremely well. 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 nice heft to it for a small camera. I have shouldered my X-Pro1 through packed concert venues, inclement weather, road trips, and crowded streets because it’s 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 Button and Viewfinder

Although the X-Pro1 is basically a small rectangle with a minimal grip, it still manages to feel excellent in the hands, especially when paired with a small fixed lens. The shutter button is perfectly placed, and the traditional screw thread allows you to attach a soft release button, which greatly improves the entire experience. The placement of the viewfinder makes this camera ideal for shooting at eye level, rather than using the LCD screen, which was clearly the intent. For those of us who have used rangefinders in the past (or still do), it achieves its goal of replicating the feeling and experience associated with using a classic film camera. 

A photo of my son, taken at the park. Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 35mm f/1.4 in Monochrome mode.

Fuji X-Pro1 and 35mm f/1.4 lens, taken in Velvia mode. 

5. Film Simulation Modes

At this point, videos and articles praising Fujifilm’s film simulation modes have become ubiquitous. And they are not without merit, as these modes offer a level of creative options that are hard to beat. Although I am not regularly a JPEG shooter, the X-Pro1’s film simulation modes, in combination with Fujifilm’s excellent JPEG quality overall, have made me a believer in shooting JPEG (plus raw just in case!) for certain situations, primarily 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 the Monochrome mode is for the time it saves in post-processing. I rarely edit the JPEGs, and if I do, it’s generally a few quick tweaks. I appreciate this since I spend a ton of time editing for clients, and I don’t have the time to spend additional hours on family photos or “just for fun” projects.

The X-Pro1 is an excellent choice for street photography, especially in Monochrome mode.

Taken with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 35mm f/1.4 Fujinon lens at a vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. I snapped this photo just before a performance, and often take the camera along with me in a pocket of my double bass case. 

Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 35mm f/1.4 lens.

6. Pocket-Sized Portability

Now, to be realistic, this camera is obviously not pocket-sized, unless we are talking about large coat pockets. But, it is highly portable, especially when paired with a compact lens. I can carry it around all day without it feeling burdensome, and it doesn't require much more effort than carrying my large cell phone. This makes me take the camera along more often when out for a day with the family or even while I am working as a musician. I often put the camera in one of the pockets on my double bass case and lug it to rehearsals and performances. I've gotten some great images with the camera in one hand and my bass in the other!

The Monochrome mode in the X-Pro1 is one of my favorite ways to shoot with the camera. The images look great with little to no editing in post. Plus, the camera is robust enough to handle inclement weather.

I often carry my X-Pro1 in a pocket of my double bass case when traveling around New York as a freelance jazz bassist. 

7. Fast Continuous Shooting

This 10-year-old camera has a snappy 6 fps burst mode, which I find to be more than adequate for taking pictures of the kids playing or a band on stage. Mind you, I am not talking about the autofocus, which someone, no doubt, is already feverishly commenting on. But, the X-Pro1 has a decent buffer, and the 6 fps bursts have made it a lot easier to get great photos in a variety of situations. When I shoot in either the 3 or 6 fps burst mode, I use the AF-S autofocus mode in favor of continuous autofocus. I have found this to be an excellent combination that helps me achieve crisp images.

The X-Pro1 is a tough little camera. On this day, we were surprised by some snow flurries, and the camera did an admirable job.

8. Classic, Super-Cool Styling

At this point, I am sure that someone will remind me that a camera is a tool, not a toy. And that is definitely true. But, aesthetics are an important part of every tool we use, and concerning cameras, the most functional designs are usually the most pleasing to the eye as well. The X-Pro1 is certainly a beautiful camera, but the simplicity of the design is also quite functional as it is very unobtrusive. It’s perfect for street photography and other situations where the photographer wants to avoid becoming a distraction. It is sleek but simple and avoids drawing any unnecessary attention to itself.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 in Monochrome mode, taken at a street fair on Long Island.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 35mm f/1.4 lens in Monochrome mode.

9. Lots of Lens Options

Since releasing the X-Pro1, Fujifilm has done an admirable job of producing an excellent variety of X Mount lenses, including many fast primes that match the camera’s size, weight, and portability perfectly. My X-Pro1 is usually paired with a 35mm f/1.4 Fujinon lens, and it makes for a perfect combination. Fujinon lenses are also relatively inexpensive when compared with some other brands, allowing a lower barrier to entry for lenses that are built extremely well and offer exceptional image quality. There are also a host of third-party lens options available, making the X Mount an outstanding platform in general.

The X-Pro1 is a fabulous family camera and my go-to choice for day trips since it's small and easy to take along. 

10. A Manual Shooter’s Dream Camera

To sum up, all of the above-mentioned reasons 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 it’s all packaged in a simple, straightforward way that manual shooters can’t help but admire. It’s the perfect meeting of analog sensibilities and digital technologies, heavy on the nostalgia, but not just for nostalgia’s sake. It not only conjures pleasant memories of film years gone by, but gives me results that I can love in the digital age.

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30 Comments
STEVEN WEBB's picture

I sold my Fuji X-T3 when I bought a Canon R6. I'm amazed at how much better the image resolution is on the R6 than the X-T3. I mean, I got plenty of nice photos with the X-T3 but to me the R6's results take things to the next level, especially in low light situations. In low light I could never get images as clean and detailed as what the R6 can do.

Stuart C's picture

Article about a 10yr old Fujifilm camera….. must mention I bought a Canon R6 as many times as possible.

Pete Coco's picture

Stuart, should I have mentioned I have an R5!? 😆😆😆

Stuart C's picture

Hahaha im not sure it would have made a difference, guy had his message and needed to get it out there.

Nice article Pete, enjoyed reading it, I took this on my Girlfriends X-E2s last week whilst I was on my decks, its definitely a lovely camera.

Pete Coco's picture

Thanks, Stuart. Great photo!

Marc F's picture

Great Ortofon cart!

STEVEN WEBB's picture

Ya, I guess it's too bad that some people like yourself have to be jerks when another camera gets mentioned. But people like you do exist and everyone else has to put up with you. Congrats on being you.

Stuart C's picture

But the article is about how the guy is enjoying using an older generation Fujifilm camera. Your comment serves zero purpose outside of you bragging about some camera you have bought, with a side dish of trying to preach to the world how bad an unrelated newer generation Fujifilm camera is in comparison.

Let’s not start name calling just because I commented on your very questionable motives and behaviour.

Your comment is meaningless to this article, and if I’m being honest is a bit arrogant/trolling.

Shame you can’t display any evidence of you actually taking photos with either camera, meaning we are just expected to take your word for what you are saying.

charles hoffman's picture

The old sensor can't come close to current ones

And that's what makes a difital camera

Just consider ... For the same price you get 2 xe_4s

Pete Coco's picture

For me, the shooting experience is about much more than sensor specs alone, but I understand your point.

Domonic Boswell's picture

The sensor in my camera is better than yours - blah, blah, blah. Some of the folks making comments are missing the point; the age of the equipment or sensor doesn't matter if it fulfils the photographers / artists vision. Great read - just picked up a Lumix LX10, which nearly five years old and love it! The fact that it is older tech has helped me grow as a photographer.

Zobeid Zuma's picture

In pieces like this I often see nostalgic fawning over the "classic rangefinder style". When I was learning photography, 35mm rangefinders were. . . still around, I guess. They were old fuddy-duddy cameras, not as obsolescent as a TLR, but going that way. 35mm SLRs were the hot ticket, and I loved mine. When I wax nostalgic about recapturing that great classic film camera experience, it's the 35mm SLR experience.

I have to question making reason number 6 "pocket-sized portability" and then immediately admitting that it's not pocket-sized. You know what's pocket-sized? My Ricoh GR II fits neatly in the pocket of my canvas vest, and I can forget it's there until I need it.

Number nine, "lots of lens options", is also a bit dubious. It's true that Fujifilm put out great lenses, and they've made a series of compact ones that are particularly well-suited for a camera like this. However, if "lots of lens options" is something you shop for, either a Sony or anything in Micro Four Thirds would have the advantage.

Stu Eddins's picture

We each have our own experiences - mine included several twin lens reflex in the late 90s - so perhaps your frame of reference is narrower than others? I can understand that from your experience you gravitate toward SLR cameras, but your comments seem to want to invalidate the author's point of view. Why?

I'm not a Fuji loyalist, but I am a fan of well written articles that express a point of view, with or without author enthusiasm. I encourage you to write up your point of view and submit it to Fstoppers, 1,200 to 1,500 words please. And then we'll all have a chance to read it and we can expand the conversation about your article in the comments section. I look forward to reading about and then discussing your thoughts!

Oh, and Pete Coco, I liked the Pro1 too but had to sell it. Thank you for the refresher on the value this model can bring to a photographer inclined toward the rangefinder-style bodies!

Pete Coco's picture

Thank, Stu. I appreciate this feedback and I am glad you enjoyed the article!

Emanuele Velardita's picture

When digital expands to, I photographed with minolta x700s. They had everything I needed. After dark. No camera capable of sending me out to photograph with happiness. Fujifilm xpro1 was a liberating discovery. Easy to use, set up, it was like having a x700 with the sensor. Even today it is so, I could not do without it.

Pete Coco's picture

My first camera was a Minolta SRT-101. The X700 was such an awesome camera, definitely one of Minolta's best.

Steven Kuny's picture

I have the Fuji X-M1. It's slightly later than the X-Pro1 and a notch down on the pro scale. However, it's a great little camera. I've taken it on holiday in preference to my XT-20 because of its lightness and portability. With 27mm pancake it fits easily into one's pocket. It has great connectivity when transferring images to my cellphone. Battery life is superb. Lots of lens options. Oh, and the articulating screen is great to have. No viewfinder thought, but I'm prepared to forgo that for the portability.

Pete Coco's picture

That's a great camera too. I think one needs to use a Fuji camera to see what all the fuss is about.

Graham Jackson's picture

I enjoyed the article and as an owner of an X-Pro1, (along with four other Fuji bodies), a lot of what Pete said resonated with me. Lets face it if you are a good photographer you should be able to adapt to using any camera successfully so a lot of the time its how you feel when the camera is in your hand. Although it is indeed ten years old the technology installed in the camera is still capable of producing 20x24 inch top quality colour or B&W photographs. What more could you ask for.

Pete Coco's picture

Thanks, Graham. Well said! It's funny how every year, last year's sensor – which was the best – becomes inadequate. I'm always amused by this.

Kevin La Presle's picture

I never used an X-Pro 1, I came to Fuji when the X-Pro 2 was released, but it has a lot of the same features. I agree with everything you said, I love my camera and get so many great images with it. I will often use my X-Pro over my X-H1 because it's just easier to use.

Pete Coco's picture

Agreed, Kevin. The X-Pro series is really special. I will probably get an X-Pro3 at some point in the future. I am interested to see how the series has improved from my 1.

Sam Sims's picture

Personally, I think if you use a camera and are very satisfied with the results, then the quality of the camera will still be the same regardless of how many newer cameras and newer sensors come to the market. Unless you constantly strive for perfection, getting ever sharper, cleaner and more detailed results, using older cameras that are still perfectly fine isn't a problem. It's the image results and experience of the photographer that matters most. No use having the latest camera if your images aren't particularly good.

Pete Coco's picture

Great point, Sam. It's all about the photographer, not the equipment!

Ron Cornelison's picture

Thanks for writing an article on a camera you enjoy using. I shoot street photography with a Fujifilm X100S, I love the way it feels in my hands, the image quality of the photos, The fact people on the street are not afraid of it, and the ease of operation. There is a lot to be said about taking a camera you trust and enjoy capturing awesome photos with as you go about photographing daily life in your city!

Pete Coco's picture

Thanks, Ron!

James Dayvis's picture

Nice article. (Often feels like there's two types of photographer: those who appreciate the photographic process, and those who don't understand this appreciation to the point that they feel the need to abuse anyone who does.)

Pete Coco's picture

Thanks, James. I agree!

Marc F's picture

I still love my 50 year old GL690 Fuji camera, and it doesn’t even need that “film simulation” thing…

Zac S.'s picture

Pretty amazing how many people missed the point of this article... I'd reckon they didn't read it, either.