I rented an X-Pro1 for the weekend from LensRentals to see if it could work as a lighter weight replacement for my 5d. The ideal camera for me would be small, light, have a full frame sensor with interchangeable lenses. Basically a Leica M9 with autofocus but not with a $7000 pricetag. The X-Pro1 has most of this on its spec sheet: APS-C sized sensor (~1/2 of a full frame), swappable lenses, electronic viewfinder, and autofocus.
The real things that I really liked about it:
The simplicity of a shutter speed dial plus aperture ring stands out compared to using my 5d. Immediate visual feedback of what the camera is set to is really nice. The Single, Continuous and Manual focus selector switch is similarly obvious.
It felt like there was less friction in bringing it along, just because. At an RSL game this Saturday: it fit in the pocket of my jacket, its not large and intimidating to point at friends and its not heavy when hanging off its simple neck strap. I wouldn’t have brought the 5d to the game.
Nothing to complain about in the image quality department, would be good enough for me. Really liked the 18mm f/2 lens (27mm equivalent), but I would want a prime in the 20-24mm equivalent range in the long run for climbing.
In this light, I could not get it to focus on the flags. However, the manual clearly states that the AF will struggle in scenes with high contrast.
Curious things (thinks I didn’t like) about the camera:
The focus-by-wire and no manual override on the lens force you to wait on the autofocus. Its not that slow, but its still slow enough that in the time it takes to turn it on, bring it up to your face, wait for it, then take a photo; the moment may have passed. You could pre-focus on a spot, then use the AF-lock, but that doesn’t help the out-of-the-bag speed.
The camera seems to reward patient, well thought out shots, and its great if that’s how you shoot. ‘Photo missions’ while climbing and skiing aren’t the norm for me. I end up shooting more documentary style (as it happens) and there are rarely re-dos, spending the time to set up a shot or waiting for light.
After a weekend with the X-Pro1, I think the quirks loose out and I’ll just keep dealing with the weight and size of my 5d. Its a really close call though, if the next version has faster autofocus or a faster time to ready-to-shoot then it will be hard to want to keep the 5d.