A great camera is an amalgam of great handling and great image quality. Fuji has really nailed it on the latter of these. Image quality is superb. A number of working pros have observed that the X-Pro1 is seriously competing with their full-frame DSLRs in image quality and hence for space in their camera bags. I have to agree. In fact, let me stick my neck out and say that Fuji's X-trans is probably the best APS-C sensor yet. I have certainly not seen better.
This camera can see in the dark. Its performance up to ISO 6400 is nothing short of remarkable, in particular for an APS-C sensor. This is the first camera I have used where ISO is just not an issue. When I sent Michael a file shot at ISO 6400, he had the same reaction I did: this looks like a good ISO 1600 file. Even more impressively, the bulk of my evaluation has taken place using in-camera jpegs, given the current agony of RAW conversion. Relying on the in-camera jpeg engine appeared to impair performance very little. If more can be wrung out of a proper RAW file, as doubtless it can, a good thing will have been made even better.
Significantly, the high-ISO performance does not appear to be the product of mindless shmeering of images with indiscriminate application of suffocating noise reduction, as was the want of certain makers not that long ago. Rather, the Fuji seems to strike a nice balance between saving data and suppressing chroma noise. I have no hesitation in saying that this camera is fully usable for street photography up to ISO 6400. For landscape work one will generally stick to the base ISO of 200. Nevertheless, I would feel comfortable making a significant enlargement from an ISO 800 shot, and even beyond, depending on the subject matter. By any measure, this is superb performance.
The short take-away is that the X-Pro1's sensor leaves nothing on the table and can take anything the finest glass sends its way. The images coming off this sensor are superbly detailed.
I am particularly excited about testing this camera with my "M" glass once the appropriate adaptor arrives. Unfortunately, it didn't get here in time for this segment of the review, but I will update as soon as I've had a chance to put the camera through its paces with the ne-plus-ultra of lenses.This combination could make for a potent landscape solution.
I will say this, however: in a carefully shot side-by-side test, I could see little difference in resolution at 100% between the M9 with a 50mm late-model Summicron and the X-Pro1 with the 35mm f1.4, both at optimum apertures. The Leica had a barely perceptible edge in micro-contrast and, curiously, a clearly noticeable edge in colour gammut and sensitivity. The former of these is attributable to the lens. The latter seems more likely to be a function of the sensor. Whether this is intrinsic to the sensor, something about the X-Trans configuration (unlikely) or bad de-bayering, I don't know.
To be clear, there was nothing wrong or deficient about the X-Pro1s colour reproduction. In fact, I find it to be pleasing and accurate, and pretty on-the-mark in auto white balance. If I hadn't been looking at side-by-side files, I would never have noticed the Leica's advantage. (And no, it's not a function of the jpeg conversion. The colour issue caused me to crack-out the Fuji RAW conversion software and I could not do much better with it than with in-camera jpegs at a fairly highly saturated setting).
All in all, however, the sensor is excellent. If scaled to full-frame, it would have cleaned the Leica's clock (being 30-40MPs!). As it is, this APS-C sensor is highly competitive with the best-of-the-best, when equipped with the right lens, and when things are in focus....
i would hope that canon has the balls to put such inventions (like the x-trans sensor) in their DSLR cameras.
but canon is too conservative. once the leader... now the follower.
the 5D MK3 and 1D X are great cameras.. don´t get me wrong.
but they are just small updates when it comes to sensor technology.
i don´t want 30+ MP.. but more DR and no need of an AA filter would be very welcome.
i had great hope for more DR (not so much that canon get rid of the AA filter yet) but DR seems not be improved that much (if at all).