I have been using the Fujifilm X-Pro1 (and the “X” mount lenses) since February 2012 – Fujifilm kindly let me use a pre-production camera for review purposes plus I have had my own copy since they were first released in Canada.
It has become my main travel camera system and I have had plenty of opportunity (and at least 10,000 frames) to put it through a very thorough workout. In the past 4 months, I have discovered a few things that have made my life a lot easier when using this camera, which I would like to share with you.
I had originally written one very long article with all of the tips and tricks I have learned, but it became too long and unwieldy. So, this will be the first of a two part series on how to get the most out of your Fujifilm X-Pro1.
For the past few years, I have been using a Nikon D3s as my main camera and recently, I acquired a Nikon D800 (B&H – amazon.com – Adorama). They are fairly large cameras yet they are comfortable to hold as I have medium to large sized hands. I found when I first started using the X-Pro1, I missed having a sculpted, built in grip.
I purchased the Fujifilm X-Pro1 Hand Grip and it made using the camera a dream. It is very well made and makes holding the camera extremely comfortable. In fact, I just acquired a second X-Pro1 body and also purchased another hand grip for it. That is how much I like it.
I found the battery life on the X-Pro1 to be good, but not great. When shooting RAW+JPEG Fine, I would get anywhere from 250 to 400 shots, depending on how much I used the rear LCD. It is for that reason, I strongly recommend that you get a spare NP-W126 battery (B&H – Amazon- Adorama) – or maybe two, if you plan to do a lot of shooting during the day.
X-Pro1 JPEG (fine) files are about 6MB in size and RAF (RAW) files are about 27MB. When I first started using the X-Pro1, I used fairly slow SD cards (class 4 and class 6) and found the write times to be really slow. I then started using much faster UHS-I cards and found that my write times were reduced by at least 50%. This was important when I did a rapid series of shots, especially when I was shooting RAW+JPEG.
For a list of the UHS-I SD cards that I currently use, you can see it by clicking here.
To get the most out of your X-Pro1, make sure you have the fastest card you can afford. It will make a huge (positive) difference to your camera’s performance – not to forget, will greatly lower your frustration level!
Like the X100, Fujifilm has released firmware updates for the X-Pro1 and lenses. My recommendation is to always use the latest firmware on both your camera and lens as each release always improves the camera’s function.
Case in point – in the latest X-Pro1 firmware update (V1.10), most of the announced changes were to support Fujifilm’s new Leica M mount adapter. But what I have found in the past is that Fujifilm sometimes will include other updates without announcing them – in this case, I found that the camera’s auto focus (AF) improved, even though this was not explicitly stated.
So, keep your firmware current – who knows what kind of (nice) surprises Fujifilm will include.
A pet peeve I have with the Fujifilm X-series cameras is that once you apply a firmware update, it will reset all of the changes you made to settings to customize your camera. Unlike other camera manufacturers, there is no way to save your settings to the SD card to reload at a later time.
Fortunately for me, I do not change many of the settings from the defaults – but I do keep a list of what I have changed. That way, when the firmware update resets my camera, at least I know what I need to customize making the process less time consuming.
I love documentary/reportage style photography and I want to be as discreet as possible when shooting this way. The X-Pro1 has a silent mode which is really useful. Engaging it:
The X-Pro uses a focal plane shutter which will still make some noise, but it is minimal and non-intrusive compared to a DSLR.
To turn on “silent” mode on the X-Pro1, press the “DISP – BACK” button (as circled in red above) for about 3 seconds. Then repeat to take the camera out of silent mode. Easy.
One thing I absolutely love, love, love about the X-Pro1 is the optical view finder (OVF) with the digital overlay. It is pure genius, IMHO, and I applaud Fujifilm for thinking out of the box when they implement this.
The OVF will change the framing lines in the OVF, depending on what lens you have mounted and what (built in) magnification lens you are using. I find that when I am shooting PJ, reportage or documentary style work, the OVF is really useful.
When shooting in this manner, I often have a moving subject and I do not want to draw attention to myself. I will point the camera and lens towards the background I wish to have in the image but away from my subject, so they will not alter their behaviour (hopefully). When the subject enters on either side in the OVF (but not within the frame lines), I get ready to depress the shutter release. Then once they are within the frame lines, I capture my image.
It takes a little practise but this has worked really well for me. Give it a try.
The frame lines in the OVF are approximate and in general, are a good guide for framing your image, but they are not 100% accurate. If you require the exact framing when shooting, then use the electronic view finder (EVF).
To engage the EVF, quickly move/flick the switch (circled in red in the above photo) and the OVF will change to the EVF. This switch acts as a toggle, so you can go back to the OVF by flicking the switch again.
Note that when you are in macro mode with the X mount lenses, the camera will automatically engage the EVF.
Sometimes when shooting in low light, I find it difficult to use the OVF, however, the rear LCD and EVF gains up very well in these conditions. So, when it’s dark and you can barely see anything through the OVF, simply switch to EVF and the scene will be visible to enable you to compose your shot.
The X-Pro1 will remember your last AF point used, even if you turn the camera off. I have gotten into the habit of re-centering the AF point before switching the camera off. Press the “MENU – OK” button (shown above circled in red) to quickly return to centre AF point.
The Auto ISO setting can be useful but also frustrating at times. The inability to set a minimum shutter speed means that the shutter speed can be too slow at times. I found the best way around this issue was to set the aperture ring and shutter speed dial to my desired values and let the Auto ISO adjust accordingly to give me the correct exposure. This works very well and was a “happy accident” on my part.
There you go – those are a few things you can do in order to get the most out of your X-Pro1. In a few days, I will have the second part of this article posted with an additional 11 tips you can use.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them here and I will do my best to answer them. See you soon.
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