Who would have seen that coming, the Oly fan-boy venturing out in neighbor’s garden. Even I myself never thought I might be exploring another camera system. But it has really happened. I bought a Fuji….
As I’ve written a few times on this blog, I used to be a DSLR shooter, having assembled a nice collection of Nikon lenses around a D7000 APS-C body. But then it all became too heavy. I was tired of lugging around a huge backpack with a ton of glass. So when Olympus started the Micro Four Thirds system with the original OM-D E-M5, I jumped ship for something smaller and lighter, and really never looked back. I sold all my Nikon gear and, over the years, built up a nice assortment of Olympus bodies and their fabulous glass. I never minded shooting the smaller sensor, given the small packages (in comparison to full frame DSLR’s) and and the great IQ.
Even when the smaller full frames from Sony, Leica and later Nikon and Canon appeared, I never really glanced over. Something that really attracted me to Olympus was the great retro look of some of their bodies, like in my trusted PEN-F. And it was also the looks of the cameras that always had me squinting over at the Fuji X system, that was introduced 2010 with the legendary X100. But I never had (and still don’t have) the intention of embarking on another system change.
But lately there appeared dark clouds over the Micro Four Thirds system in general and Olympus in particular. Olympus sold its loss-making imaging division to a financial investor earlier in the year. It is still open whether, after some restructuring, they will continue the consumer camera business. But it seems already clear that the brand Olympus will cease to exist, potentially the hardware will be marketed simply as OM-D in the future.
Then, the other player in the m43 market, Panasonic, lately started their full frame journey. And there are many advantages to the larger, full frame sensors in still relatively small mirrorless bodies. So as it looks today, the future of Micro Four Thirds is very much in limbo.
But again, what I own in terms of Olympus gear, will last me my remaining lifetime, so another change of systems is not on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t take a look into neighbor‘s garden 😉
The last new piece of gear I bought was the body of my OM-D E-M1X a few years ago. Apart from that, I’ve been selling and buying bodies and lenses via eBay or classified ads. If you know what your are looking for and do proper research, you can get awesome deals on used gear (I will do a separate post on my experiences buying and selling used camera gear).
And so I came to look for a Fujifilm X-Pro1 to get my feet wet in the Fuji X system. You have to know, the current model is the X-Pro3. The X-Pro1 was originally released in 2012 (priced at 1600€ body only). Doing some bargain hunting, I found one on ebay classified ads, that, according to the serial number, was one of the last units produced in 2016. And it had a shutter count of just 3000 images. In pristine condition, spotless. And I paid just 300€ for it. Shooting only prime lenses lately, I also hunted for a Fujinon 23mm F/2 R WR lens, which translates to a 35mm full frame equivalent on the APS-C sensor of the X-Pro1. And I found one in great condition for another 300€ (it retails for just below 500 these days).
So why the Fuji X-Pro1? The first X system camera for professional demands quickly gained a cult following, but due to initial problems around the auto focus never really became a mainstream camera – this started only with the successor X-Pro2. But the thing is, over the years Fuji also kept upgrading the firmware of the older X-Pro1, and a lot of the early deficiencies were eventually mitigated via software. The auto focus, while not on the level of the succeeding X-Pro2, is doing just fine.
The X-Pro1 is perhaps one of Fujifilm’s most underrated digital cameras, but that is beginning to change, the aftermarket prices of the remaining used bodies have stabilized and start to even increase again. The 16,3 mega pixel sensor of the X-Pro 1 is rendering images like no other Fuji camera that was released later, and its almost filmic look is still very much recognized, turning the first X-Pro camera of Fuji into a classic. And this is why I went after one as my small scale and affordable start into the Fuji system.
I used my new toy to shoot on the streets of Genoa last weekend, and the camera did not disappoint. There are many advantages over my earlier Olympus bodies (not comparing it to the M1X), like the embedded film simulations and the much better possibilities of customizing buttons for quick access to functions. I will keep you posted on my experiences shooting with it.
Have a great Friday!