Fujifilm X-Pro1 review : high sensitivity image quality

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I have spent 4 days with the luxury mirrorless camera Fujifilm unveiled lately, the X-Pro1. I have shot 500 images in Malta and will publish the full review anytime soon. To let you wait with something to peep, here is a first comparison shot of the X-Pro1 image quality from ISO 200 to ISO 25,600, 100%crops. You will be able to measure the image quality you can expect with the new X-TRANS sensor of the X-pro1. Just to remind you, Fujifilm has got rid of the optical low-pass filter to enhance resolution while adopting a new low-repetition pattern matrix to prevent moiré that would rise with a bayer matrix without low-pass filter. (wait ! That is what the Nikon D800E is… a DSLR with no OLPF and a regular Bayer matrix !)

So how does the new sensor of the X-pro1 behaves in low-light ISO ? Well, the X-Pro1 does a very good job from ISO 200 (its lowest ISO setting, unfortunately, because, Fujifilm explained me, of the photodiodes filling system that won’t generate any dynamic range enhancement when decreasing the sensitivity from ISO 200 to ISO 100), to ISO 3,200. All these ISO speeds are fully usable without any fear to hurt image quality. As you can see, the smallest details are preserved and there is no significant resolution loss between ISO 200 and ISO 3,200. We see cloud-shape noise reduction artefacts appearing at ISO 6,400 but I have to say, this is quite to the standard of the best APS-C DSLR and even last generation of Full Frame DSLR like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II against which Fujifilm says the X-Pro1 will compete bringing better image resolution (in spite of lower pixel count and lower sensor surface). Actualy Fujifilm hope to lure a lot of Leica lenses owner as well thanks to the Leica-M lenses adapter which they are launching this spring.

To get back to our X-Pro1 image quality, as you see bellow, the image then gets a bit worse at ISO 12,800 and ISO 25,600. I think you can still use ISO 12,800, a sensitivity that will allow to make some decent images otherwise impossible and that still offer a great number of fine details. I don’t understand why, but that is how the X-Pro1 works : these two highest ISO stops are not available if you shoot RAW, but only if you let the X-Pro1 firmware interpreting the sensor’s signal to record the image in JPEG, in the camera. I wish I could feed my Lightroom 4 or DxO Optics Pro 7 with the .RAF files of the X-Pro1…

This comparison image was shot with the Fujinon XF60mm F2.4 macro lens.

100% cropped image taken with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and the Fujinon XF60mm f/2.4 macro lens. As you can see, until ISO 3,200 and ISO 6,400, the image is pretty clean and even though the noise reduction process, fine details are preserved.

As noticed on the Canon Powershot G1 X high ISO test-image, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 does apply a powerful noise reduction algorythm but preserves details and enhances the image sharpness while we usually see soften blured image when the sensitivity increases. So I took an other shot bellow with the Fujinon XF35mm f1.4 lens, of a real-life scene, under artificial light and handheld. Bellow the image are 100% crops of a wine bottle label. That gives a pretty good idea of the potential of the X-Pro1.

The X-Pro1 at ISO 1,600 / 3,200 and 6,400 has the ability to record small details and to preserve them while reducing the sensor noise.

I will publish the Fujifilm X-Pro1 full review shortly, I hope this week. Then will come the Canon G1X review and next week, the other X-series camera I have reviewed in Malta, the X-S1, maybe the only bridge camera I could use.

Today, I’ll get on my Cannondale bike for the first cycling session of the season as spring is definitely back here !

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