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Wednesday, 11 July 2012


You ought to be able to scratch off the next most expensive, too, due to the location of the EVF (the NEX-7).

I completely understand you , I brought back my brand new X100 today for a refund, for the sames reasons ( except I am "right eyed" ) and many more .

No way I am gonna try a x-pro wich seems to have the same flaws.

As you said it "try before you buy".

I am confused. If you like to work with the LCD why are you complaining about the VF. Or is it that you use the LCD through the EVF.

I am left eyed so I also rub the screen with my nose. No big deal; the image I see on the screen is fine and I can clean it at the end of a shoot.

I use the X100 with the same positioning of the VF.


I think it would be more honest to just say "For you the Fuji X-Pro1 sucks"

Couldn't agree more about the importance of trying before you buy - good cameras are expensive and their handling is crucial to the user experience.

Some cameras grow on you with repeated use - I didn't like the OM-D first time around, but after a more extended try of someone else's I decided I'd dismissed it too soon - others just work really well as soon as you pick them up (for me: Pentax K-5/K-7, Olympus E-1).

As for histograms, the X-Pro shares a feature with many other Fuji's including the X10 - in being useless in M mode: quite how a camera manufacturer can imagine that anyone would want a histogram in M mode that only ever shows you what it would look like with a perfect exposure, rather than the one you've set, is totally beyond me - it's based on the image on the rear LCD rather than the image you're set to take. M mode with decent histogram is my favourite mode with digital cameras when conditions get tough, rendered absolutely useless by Fuji.

However, you can get the histogram on playback (you probably need to make sure the information button is pressed and then use the control dial) but luminance only with no option for RGB.

My hands-on time with the Fuji X-Pro1 was only 10-15 minutes (in a San Francisco camera store). But I, too, became a disliker of it. (I could become a hater with more cockpit time.) I see plenty of evidence that Fuji has a lovely sensor in the camera. And I certainly recognize that there are guys out there who like the camera. But its a version 0.9 usability turd.

"I'm going to get three columns out of my experiences with it..."

Why in the world would you spend three weeks of columns on this camera? If you want to write about cameras this summer why not just move along to something you bought and like? We don't want to hear your pissing and moaning! ;-/

Got it! Now, just one question. Despite the ergonomic setbacks, did you manage to take any high quality pictures with it?

I have a Fuji X100, and I still get smudges on the LCD despite being able to view the OVF with my right eye. The X100 also has a long list of other idiosyncrasies. Somehow, I just don't care. The camera has delivered many very satisfying images of outstanding quality. That said, I also recently stepped up to a Nikon D800E. Like Crocodile Dundee's famous "That's not a knife, this is a knife" comment, all I can say is WOW!!. The D800E is a hell of a CAMERA. But it's no walk in the park for the casual shooter. It scoffs at good lenses. You gotta have really great lenses to understand what the image quality of the D800E is all about. And you've got to be really patient learning all the features despite the fact that it's functionality is otherwise an evolution of classic Nikon dSLRs.

All in all, I totally agree with the basic premise of the article. A great" camera will always be a very personal choice. I tend to sum up all camera reviews just like committees forming a consensus. At the end of the day a consensus is only an averaged view of reality.

So, aside from all that, what do you really think of it?

I'll be the first to agree with Ctein that this is not a camera for everyone, but for many -- including me! -- it's practically perfect in every way and the few quirks it has merely give it character rather than seriously annoy me.

As my accountant friends like to say, there's no accounting for taste! 8^)

Great article Ctein! It should always be about "you" and not about me or others when it comes to buying new threads. A personal camera in my book is a set of new threads.

I recently bought the NEX-7 sight unseen because I needed an upgrade from my Canon G9 and the 24 mp were what I was looking for this time around (I may need to crop). I got lucky; not only did I find one slightly used (less than 100 clicks), but it came with an extra OEM battery and a cool case at a price that was 25% less than a new one without the extras. And best of all, it fits my hands, nose and mouth (gear-talk) just fine.

Since the EVF is on the left-side, it may not interest you, but the screen is one of the nicest adjustable ones I have seen. Give it a try as I too like my screen-clean like an empty canvas.

Good luck on your endeavor!

First? Can't be! Maybe it's because Jeffrey Goggin is my friend too. :-)

I too, last week, was shopping for a new, smaller* camera. I looked at a number of 4/3s and M4/3s cameras that JG mentioned but finally concentrated on the small APS-C-sensored cameras such as the Sony NEX and Samsung NX series. I guess because I prefer** the looks of DSLRs, the Samsung NX20 appealed to me enough for me to order it; it'll arrive this Friday (the 13th). How this turns out will be interesting to this lover of large, heavy*** DSLRs.

*...than a Canon 5D with batterygrip.
** It is indeed about ME, huh!?!?
*** The 5D's predecessor was a Canon 1Ds.

Having a bad day ?


"Left-eyed", you say. That gets me thinking.

I don't know what I am, left or right. I like to use either, randomly. Or I like to think I do (the truth, as always, is probably in favor of the shocking view that, in this as in most things, I'm fooling myself). Doubtless, in reality, I favor one eye over the other.

I like to think that in switching eyes, from time to time, I am not privileging one of two ways of seeing. In that, I rely on the probably erroneous idea (self-fooling comment applies again) that I use different parts of my brain if I use different eyes. Thereby I hope to see differently, from time to time, in a different mode, perhaps one more analytical and rule bound, the other more integrative.

If so, if I am indeed leveraging two different ways of seeing, I would rather not know precisely which works better, because I'd rather not choose. This approach aligns with my general idea that I'm probably not the photographer that I think I am, or, what I think I know about good photography is not the same as what I know about good photography, or, the good stuff arises more by luck than intention (although only after having done the hard technical work of arranging the conditions for good luck to arise).

I like the possibility of serendipity. Plus, they say randomness always wins.

Care to enlighten me, perhaps on the neuroscience part of this? Or randomness? Or say a little more about why you're "left-eyed"?


Having early adopted the E-P1 and worked through its quirks & UI, I was kinda "relieved" to read the same negatives for the OM-D user interface. It meant: "you're going to be at home there".

I think you'll feel the same way and honestly, there's not much to dislike about this new Olympus, it's a thoroughbred.

Please keep us informed!
I'm looking for a new camera and I'm left-eyed too. The NEX-7 would probably be as problematic?

Wait, so you are saying the camera sucks?!

That's it. I'm done reading TOP.


I have a Sony NEX 7 and I was 'left eyed' but you won't have any fun with the NEX 7 unless you learn to use your right eye. I found that it wasn't a problem. I adapted right away, and my photos haven't suffered at all. Indeed, I'm using the Sony 18-200E mount which is a bit large for my taste, but the photos are breath taking in their sharpness and beauty. The files push the resolution of my Epson 4800 printer. I'd put that little camera up against anything out there up to a moderate enlargement. The native resolution is 12x18 (almost) at 350 dpi in RAW when you open the photo in PS. That'll do pig.

Too right! If I had a fiver every time someone asked the masses for recommendations on first 'proper' camera and said masses argued amongst themselves over the relative 'IQ'/NR/pixelpeeping merits of a Rebel or a D90, I would be a richer man than I am.

My answer to newcomers to SLRs or compact system cameras is always that any camera will do what they want and they must try them out.

In this day and age, no camera will take 'bad' photos, except at the extremes such as low light (which do not interest me). However, many cameras will offer such poor user interfaces that the user will end up taking bad photos.

For me, Pentax still get it so much more right than Nikon (just as they did with the LX versus the F3) and I've not used a Canon in over a decade.

Even though this was All About You, there are a lot of other photographers who would be just as frustrated with the X-Pro 1's shortcomings as you were. One would think that by now the camera makers should know how to design a user interface that most photographers would find acceptable and useful--you included. The fact that so few can speaks volumes.

Hi Ctein,
Have fun choosing your next camera! Its quite and adventure doing so these days.

I have the XPro1. Not much you can do with the "left eye" thing I suppose. I put one of those schott glass screens on mine, so I'm not bothered that I might have to scrub it frequently.

Regarding information in the viewfinder. Using the menu selections (Shooting Menu #4, Disp Custom Setting), I'm able to have an optical VF view containing only the tiny exposure compensation gauge in the lower left corner, and a letter for focusing mode ("M", "S", or "C"). That's it! Pretty wide-open view.

However, the EVF custom settings don't seem to take affect when I enter them in the Custom setting table. Not sure why yet. Back to the manual!
Cheers from Oakland,


Thanks for the review. Makes good reading,

If the Nex-7 is on your list there's always LensRental.com, $60 for four days.

Pulling up a chair, the responses should be good!

Took me a couple of weeks to get used to the buttons on the back of the OMD. Just sayin...

Your rant sounds like my suspicions, glad you vented yours.
Be careful of the OM-5, I have one and am kinda sorry I spent the money, files are great, getting there is not. Things you really want to do are buried in a menu structure designed by a team of people that never used a camera for anything but "snapshots".
Even if you stay with the present selections a much better navigation system is needed. Nothing gets done fast and the path to the desired function is not obvious. UI is not good.
Kinda reminds me of the government, they will do anything for you if you know how the find you way thru the web, people that design the system never have to use it to do any real work.

It's great to read your honest comments, these are exactly the kind of issues that we often don't discover until it's too late (the lack of RAW review zooming for example).

this non-review makes things clear that many reviews either neglect to mention or conspicuously downplay. thank you for not being lame!

now this is what I call a Review. You have to like holding the camera. Balance and heft. You have to like using it. Then the pictures will follow. Even compact cameras these days print fine images up to 16 x 20, but so many people enjoy blaming their tools rather than having the integrity to acknowledge that they just aren't that good making images. Really. Marketing plays on this.
I sometimes sell a large print simply by saying its a best-seller.....sigh....

Yep. That camera is NOT a good fit for you. Probably will work great for a lot of people but, like most things, it's not a "one size fits all". I found out the same thing about the Fuji X10 when I ordered one based on reviews and without ever having a chance to handle one. There wasn't anything about that camera that worked for me. I hated it and returned it the day after UPS delivered it.

Funny though. Most of the things you mentioned hating about the X-Pro are features I actually think I would like.

One size fits some.

I hate the size but the Nikon D7000 does it all for me.

Dear Jay,

You're going a bit too binary in your thinking. It's not like I NEVER want to use the eye level viewfinder, just not most of the time. When I would find it especially valuable would be on sunny days when I'm in a situation where it would be difficult to shade the LCD back screen from the direct sun. I tried that. The big greasy noseprint in the middle of the LCD kills the anti-reflection coating, making the screen much more difficult to view under daylight conditions. So, every time I use the eye level viewfinder, I have to follow it up with a cleaning of the back screen LCD. It didn't take me long to realize that this was enough of a nuisance that I would end up trying to avoid using the eye level viewfinder at all.

That, in a nutshell, is why it proved a letdown. It was a tool that I thought would be helpful that proved too inconvenient to use.


Dear Ken,

Perhaps you should wait and see where the next two columns go. Believe me, there's no way you could guess.


Dear MHMG,

The image quality does relate to my reactions to the camera. It produces very nice image quality. But it's not genuinely extraordinary image quality. If, by some miracle, Fuji were delivering Pentax 645D or Leica S2 quality in a package of this size and price, I would put up with a hell of a lot of inconveniences for that. But it doesn't. The photographs are very good, but I don't even know that they're better than those of its direct competitors; they're most definitely not massively better. So, no, I've got no gripes about the image quality, but there's nothing there that is so seductive that it would make me put up with a substantially unusable (for me) interface.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

You lost me when you started with being left eyed . I mean jeez haven t you ever used a camera with a viewfinder on the left side of the body ....maybe a Leica M .

One of the advantages of the position of the viewfinder is to be able to keep both eyes open when viewing a scene .

Your other points mirror my experience with this camera and the Sony Nex 7 ... I sent both back after having them a day . Just too many short comings based on a clumsy consumer electronics interface .

I'm left-eyed and have shot an M6 for 15+ years with the finder in the same place as on my X-Pro1. Nose-on-screen happens with every DSLR I've used, too. The Schott glass thing is helpful.

Switching between the full-info display (with histo) and a cleaner custom display is done with a single, dedicated putton press (DISP/BACK).

The histogram implementation is not good.

I hadn't noticed the RAW zoom issue because I always shoot RAW+JPEG -- the only acceptable RAW converter for this camera so far is RPP64 (in my opinion) and it's not something I enjoy using in batch, so image review is done in JPEG anyway, and the JPEGs are not a huge storage burden.

It is a camera with many quirks, and it has a steeper-than-usual learning curve. But the image quality is stellar and for the way I work it's unquestionably the best digital camera to date. Love it.

Wise conclusion, at least.

This is the digital dilemma; we've abandoned film with its "exposure-triangle is all" mentality, so we get accustomed to our own particular way of making each shot[0] using our favoured subset of features each time, some of which become so important that shifting to other hardware becomes a cause for concern.

I've been loving using the GH2 since I got it ~15 months ago; I'm also tempted by the NEX-7 for reasons of image-quality *but* I held a NEX-5 in a shop a while ago and wondered how on earth the ergonomics of the thing worked in my hands; the experience has slowed-down the upgrade process as I wait to see whether a GH3 will give me a better sensor and keep the ergonomics...

[0] aperture control happens on the lens, LCD flips-out WLF-style, black&white preview, either square or 16:9 ratio - it's a linear algebra thing, choosing combinations other dimensions for one's axes.

I feel your pain as a left eyed shooter - I bought a 5D3 the day it was released in Australia, drove 3 hours south of Sydney before even opening the box.

I was very confused to see the first images looking like the lower portion was really blurry - Took another frame - same thing... a lemon? this is a major problem I thought... oh wait it's just my nose print on the LCD.

Wasn't an issue with any previous DSLR (*istDS, K10D, 5D or NX10) just something about the new screen - and it continues to bug me on shoots. Otherwise a great camera.

Dear Glenn,

No, having a great day. Why, aren't you?

Surely you can tell that my reasons for not liking the camera have nothing to do with my mood, and that that is NOT really the point of the article, anyway.


Dear Dennis, darr, Patrick, et al.,

Most people are one-eye dominant. Much the same way most people are one-hand dominant. And, as with hand dominance, you can retrain yourself if there's a good reason to. So, the NEX-7 isn't really off the list, it's just I won't put much of my interest into how the eye level viewfinder performs. If there's a good enough reason, I can retrain myself. The real problems with the Fuji for me are the user interface, So there's not a good enough reason.

Probably this is a good place to stick in another note about ergonomics. One of the big reasons why back side LCDs are loved by some people and hated by others is that some people are nearsighted, some are farsighted, and some are neither. And some people still have great focus accommodation and some (well, everyone, as they get older) suffer from presbyopia. So, how well you can see the back side LCD strongly depends on your personal physiology.

At this point in my life, my presbyopia is almost total. But, I'm extremely nearsighted; without my glasses, my normal focusing distance is about 8 inches from my eyes. I've been that way my whole life; I'm so used to peering over the top of my glasses to look at something closely that it's entirely unconscious second nature now. So, whenever I want to look at a back side LCD screen, I just peer over the top of my glasses and I see a nice big sharp display. Which is why they are my favorite viewing method.


Dear Jeff,

If there is no accounting for taste, then how do you take it off your taxes?! You're the expert, you tell me. [VBG]

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

I love the X-pro because it gets out of the way and lets me capture great images. It's definitely got quirks and is not for people who like to have the camera AI holding their hand through everything. I ditched my 5D2 for this and my m4/3 gear is collecting dust. As they say, diff'rent strokes!

I bought one about a month ago. Its a frustrating camera, it seems to change settings all by itself, it takes a looong time to write to even a fast card, and many of the software decisions in the menus are incomprehensible to me. The software updates really didn't stop the lens chatter chatter issue.
I gave up on autofocus with the 35mm lens and bought a nikon mount adaptor which was better for manual focus and I could use my old Nikkor ai mount lenses. This was a little better but still ultimately maddening.
I've decided to cut my losses and sell it and stick with Nikon dSlrs. They aren't little but they don't drive me crazy. Maybe someone else will finally make a small camera that isn't such a disappointing mess.

Ctein, a few years ago, I found out that my left eye was slightly better than my right eye. I did a ton of reading about eye dominance, and I ultimately found out that eye dominance is often overstated. It isn't anything like the difficulty of switching hand dominance. I decided to switch from right to left eye shooting, and it took less than a day for it to become natural for me.

I've since switched back and forth between eyes several times, and it really isn't a big deal. In fact, switching back and forth helps with eye fatigue, IMO.

Now, of course, if one eye is particularly better than the other, than you probably want to use that eye, but actual eye dominance is over emphasized.

FWIW, I find my cheek and nose to smudge up the LCD screen on a DSLR no matter which eye that I use. At least the rangefinder oriented viewfinders give the option of clearance with the right eye.

But, but, but -- it has trendy retro styling, and all the really kewl guys ...

Thanks, I glad to see that I'm not the only one who isn't impressed with the Emperor's new cloths.

I just said good-bye to mine, the complete kit, camera, lenses, flash. I wasn't find much buyer interest in my usual places, and then someone offer to trade me a Leica MP. Done. I won't miss it. My hang-up was the auto-focus which sometimes just didn't. Terrific image files, Fuji, but when it comes down to it, I want manual focus.

Well, at least part of the solution is to get aggressive plastic surgery on your schnozz.

As that Great American and Presidential candidate Pat Paulson used to say: "Picky, picky, picky!"


If you prefer to work with LCD screens and you're looking for an attractive price point, I would strongly recommend the Pentax K-01.

Body plus three excellent primes (21, 40, 70) ran me about $1950 (CDN) and the files are marvelous - best I've ever worked with.

Unless you really hate the styling, it's definitely in the league of the NEX-7 and the OM-D.

Surprised it hasn't been mentioned here yet.

Some street & some nature.

I was left eyed as well and always thought that being able to compose effectively with my right would be an impossibility- like trying to throw or bat right handed. Then I got floaters in that eye which made focusing quite difficult at times (not a fan of auto). So I started practicing what I previously thought impossible; it took considerable patience, time and effort- but it is, in fact, possible. Not something you want to voluntarily do, but possible. I now focus and compose with either (when the left is not blurry), but primarily with the right.

I have an X Pro-1 and enjoy using it. However, it is without a doubt one of the best examples of why cameras manufacturers should open source their firmware. Or publish a set of APIs that permit others to adjust the camera's operation. Great image quality, build quality, and ergonomics (a shutter speed dial! Aperture rings!). All drug down by really bad software engineering.

Mine is in aperture priority mode and currently has a Konica Hexanon 40mm F/1.8 lens mounted on it. Love it, warts and all.

An aside, but I read Ctein regardless of my interest in his topic, and the comments, because his kind and gentle ripostes amuse, and make me happy …

Fuji has an impressive ability to get so much right, and yet so much wrong, in the very same product. (I still hang on to my F30 though — it's a classic.)

Interestingly, when I was last in B&H, I noticed that the X-Pro1 wasn't displayed on the floor and that the X100 no longer was. The salesperson said Fuji didn't want them out anymore…

I'm very happy with the E-M5. Being familiar with the Olympus way of doing things already, I don't share many of the complaints of those coming from other systems. I'd encourage you to give it a try.

The X100 zooms raw to 100% with one press of the toggle button. Can't the X-Pro 1 do this?

Ctein, out of curiosity, have you ever enjoyed using a rangefinder/viewfinder-style camera? I've been using them, left-eyed, for seven years—Not ideal ergonomically, but for me, just another of life's little left-dominant joys, like having to restring a guitar, reposition a computer mouse, or use a can opener.

I haven't tried the pro1, but I own the quirky X100 and love it. Every time I think I should sell it and use the cash on another DSLR lens I use the camera for a day and always end up with shots I really like. Fuji just has a look that I love. I suspect the pro1 will be like the X100 in that fuji will probably work ou a lot of the bugs wi firmware updates. Not sure why they can't get most of it right the first time - its too bad as I bet a lot of people return the cameras for reasons that are resolved later, My X100 is a LOT better after about four firmware updates.

While I have been considering the same three cameras, a fourth option occured to me - the Nikon D5100. None of them are pocketable anyway and the Nikon is less than half the price.

I predict that within five years(hopefully less), some camera manufacturer somewhere will produce a small, coat-pocketable camera that isn't lame. But...it hasn't happened yet!

Alas, the brick and mortar camera stores are no more. "Try before you buy," spared me from making many bad purchasing decision in the past.

Only left eyed shooters suffer with smudged LCDs? You know, I never considered it. I too shoot left eyed, so my nose is always jammed against my 5D's LCD. I never considered it a problem. I can still see my histogram better than when I'm using a film camera.

I was more concerned with shooting low-level macros with the X-Pro1, and I bought a FlipBac stick-on angle finder, which fits perfectly over the LCD. It does help with those shots, but also - to my left-eyed delight - solved the smudging problem, as it also serves as a cover when closed. You have to keep flipping it up and down while you shoot, but it's quicker than wiping, and protects the LCD as well.

You can customize the levels to appear in your viewfinder while shooting, also in playback (with button controls on the back).

As for zooming in, I've chosen to shoot RAW+JPEG from day one. You can choose to copy only one type onto your hard drive. I use a 95MB/sec card, which helps keep file recording time down.

All of this will only help if you're looking for excuses to like the camera, of course.

I believe the divisive nature of the commentary on the XPro pretty much means that Fuji's achieved it's goal of becoming the second tier Leica. Just like the red dot, it's either loved (oh the image quality) or abhorred (overprice toy for poseurs.

Put me in the 'love' camp. I'm not the target user; never used a rangefinder before. And I'm ridiculously left eye dominant. But I really dig it, less for the image quality, and more for the immediate familiarity (add a film advance lever and center the viewfinder and it has the same layout and basic manual of arms as an ME Super). I never use the LCD while shooting except to occasionally chimp; a swipe on the shirt is good enough for the grease spot and in any case I'm learning to shoot with both eyes open, using my right for the viewfinder, like using a red dot scope. The histogram thing is a pain, as the inability to turn off auto-gain of the EVF, or select the CoC for the focus scale, but if someone gives you a new one and you can't stand to keep it, just holler.

I was looking forward to trying one, so when a friend got a loan of one I went straight over...

It looks cool, and physicall handles well. I love the look of the files, and the 3 lenses I tested are super sharp.

Focus is barely passable with the standard and wide angle lenses. Fit the 60mm and it makes my old DCS290 Kodak compact look like a Ferrari when it comes to focus speed..

What can I say?? If I were using it with an adaptor and non AF lenses I'd be thrilled with it..

As a replacement for a D SLR - even my original digital Reblel...I think I'll stick to the Rebel..

I have an x-pro1 and I love it. It's pretty much replaced my 5dmkII because I got sick of carrying that big of a camera & lens, and I felt like too much of a camera geek when I carried it. I enjoy carrying the X-Pro1, and you know what they say about "the camera you have"..

The main thing I like about the x-pro1 is that it works like a camera, not like a little computer. It's got old fashioned aperture and shutter dials rather than little plastic wheels in weird positions. I set up all my options, and I almost never use any of the menus. And I love carrying it with me and the way it feels in my hand (albeit with the add-on grip). Oh, and my pictures with it seem to have a high percentage of "keepers".

I find it strange how this camera has elicited such a love/hate reaction from so many people. I mean, how many times have the editors of TOP posted that they HATE a camera for what seem like pretty weak reasons? It's a camera, not a religion.

My main complaint with the X-Pro1 is that the menus, settings and operation are quite different from the 5dmkII, Nikon DSLR and Canon P&S cameras that I have, seemingly for no good reason. Admittedly pretty aggravating.

If you don't account for it, it doesn't get taxed... unless you are more than scrupulously honest.

Hiya - my process was somewhat similar - Panasonic gh2 to now Nex5n -
Nex5n makes better stills- for the way I shoot - get great images with adapted mf lenses - ones I had been using on the gh2 - and wow how 20 year old canon lenses shine, or 50 year old lecias ;).

I can use the LCD in direct sun, with a $6 LCD hood... The mf support is 7x or 14x

If I needed an ECG I could buy one...

For you a setup and learning curve - but I am about 30% of the way to it being an extension of my body - after 5 weeks - something I never felt with the more "advanced" gh2...

As others mentioned rentals are now so cheap! Vs. buy and regret.

I expect to be flamed - so few external controls - I like the images - I could care less what it looks like...

Nex7 might do it - but for less and a m43 to nex adapter - $30 - you can use all your already adapted lenses -

Comes back to how you shoot - but between 16mm to 210 in 4 lenses for less than $1500 - wide and macro, it made a better $ choice for me than olympus - but again - don't need weatherproofing...

Thanks for sharing!

If you had a large investment in Olympus m43 glass I would look at om-d, I was able to sell my stuff for break even ;)

I can see a huge market for a red version of the microfibre nose patch for the Christmas holidays - although personally i'd go with a premium buffalo hide leather one (to go with a matching money maker harness)

@John Robinson, I live West Sound - and I have no problems laying my hands on new gear by going to Seattle. South Sound, like West Sound, is the boondocks... you have to go to the big city.

Dear Michael,

Had I titled the column,“For me, the Fuji X-Pro1 sucks,” it would end up being, in effect, a very inaccurate title. Way too many readers would entirely ignore the first two words or would just take them to be typical reviewer's personalization of the writing. Having often seen how stuff I write gets taken out of context and misquoted, I know that what would get promulgated on the net would be the notion that Ctein thinks this camera sucks, as as semi-objective observation. Which would be substantially LESS accurate (he said with understatement). Your literal wording might be truer to my reactions, but what people would take away from it would be anything but.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

I’d have thought the logical move would be to follow the EP trail to the newest version, number 3. That should make life easier as you are already used to the camera and its quirks.

I did a podcast with four friends, three of whom absolutely loved their X-Pro 1, and the fourth who returned it because of issues that had been addressed by the firmware update and therefore planned to buy it back. Basically, there was nothing but love for the Fuji. A couple weeks later, we had the same round table discussing the OMD, and while everyone liked it, you could tell that the Fuji had their heart and the OMD was a distinct second fiddle.

Some weeks later, I finally got a chance to hold the Fuji at Hunt's Photo in Melrose, MA. I was fully expecting to want one and live with the sadness that budget was not permitting, but 10 minutes with the camera made it pretty clear that it wasn't for me. I left with even more appreciation for my OMD.

The bottom line is that we're lucky to have all of these choices. Remember when Mike wrote about the DMD, and there was nothing that even resembled one? What a great time it is to be choosing a camera.

I tried the Fujifilm X10 as well as the Olympus offerings. I loved the Fuji colors- and also the Olympus look-but the results I got with the nifty well built and fast-fast-fast Nikon V1 coupled with a very sharp 10mm pancake optic-and hefty battery- sure put a smile on my face.

I was turned off the X-Pro1 (not that I could afford it) by the proprietary mount. Same with Sony NEX. I'm not going to play these exclusivity games. I've just bought my first 4/3, an Oly E-PL2 at a bargain price. That mount is now well established and I will not be hemmed in.

I have to boggle, though, at all you Yanks saying, "I found I didn't like it so I returned it." Australian consumer law is that you can return a product, but not if you just change your mind or find you don't like it.

It has to be actually, demonstrably faulty; or "unfit for purpose" eg can't be used due to some incompatibility - maybe your eye really cannot see the viewfinder image; or if there's been a misrepresentation of the product, eg maker says 12mp and that really meant milli-pixels. You can't expect a refund under law just because you change your mind. The retailer may be good to you and play ball, but he's then got an opened box and can't really resell it as new.

Thank your stars if you can return something if you just can't live with it.

Don't think anyone has specifically tested this feature of right or left "eyedness" with the EM-5.

So I'm "running some tests" for suitability for eye preference. One caveat, I'm not sure if you wear eyeglasses or not, which might affect the results of the tests.

Here's the result. With glasses, nose does NOT touch the OLED screen with any eye peering through the EVF. (Did not test without glasses, since can't see a thing without them.)

So there you have it. Scientific proof. OM-D/EM-5 equally good for right-, and left-eyed users.

Check it out. You'll like it.


Not trying before buying is the origin of GAS.

Also, eye dominance reflects differences in the way one uses one's hemispheres. I believe eye dominance reflects hemispheric dominance. Thus, while It is certainly possible to change eyedness (such as by actively suppressing the visual field of the dominant eye) it means changing depth perception, probably -at least temporarily--losing hand-eye coordination and supposedly changing the way you judge image composition.

I kept reading that you really had to try a Ricoh to appreciate it. I wanted to try one, as I really had no philosophical problem with the lensor thing, in fact I love the idea. But I live in little old Toronto, you know, up here in Canada. Due to our iceberg/igloo/toque situation of course we normally have to import Ricoh ourselves, plus some of us are too polite to order something just to try it out and return it, and have no Ricoh-wielding friends to help out. Oh, the pain.

John Krumm wrote:
"Hmm, wonder if I could market nose covers to the left-eyed crowd [...] I could make it out of micro-fiber cloth so the LCD actually becomes cleaner as you use the camera. Better check the patent office."

This "prior art" explains why nose grease isn't really a factor anymore in a Japanese camera designer's subconscious when he's considering the positioning of the rear LCD ;-)

  • Exhibit A
  • Exhibit B

  • Bill Pierce & Ctein, what an unexpected encounter! TOP is really at the top, and we learn more here than in all the "reviews" of the Net.

    The wise advices of Bill Pierce are so precious, I'm a follower for a long time on RFF.

    "Try before you buy."

    Most excellent advice.

    Now if only there was a way to follow it, I'd love to know how. I'm middle-aged but I still can't remember when I was able to try a camera before I bought it - for more than a few minutes in the store, anyway.

    >the new Nikon D3200? 24 Mpix, Kirk Tuck seems to like it. cost - $697 with kit lens. Seems to be a good option for travel and when you need a light but high quality kit. I was hot about the X-Pro 1 until I started reading the reviews. I have the X100 which is an excellent camera for certain kinds of shooting. Image quality is really good.

    The central bit of wisdom to take from Ctein's column is not whether the X Pro1 is a fine camera or no. Try before you buy is great wisdom, and something that, if you do it, will save you time, headaches and dollars.

    I'm a manager for one of Minnesota's oldest independent camera dealers. 98 years this year, of which I've been around off and on almost 30. John Camp will know the store. As a young pup, I had the pleasure of helping him on occaision. He had a taste for super 8 movies at the time.

    At least one post in this thread bemoans the fact the brick and mortar stores are gone. Well, guess what? No, we're not! And while many towns have lost their camera stores over the years, some of us still exist where we put all our gear on display for folks to pick up, look at, look through, fire away. And talk face to face with another entusiast!

    Look for us brick and mortar stores when you're out and about. Pop in and spend a little time. You might even find that you want spend a little of your money with us as well.

    Wow! I think the only people who might hate this camera more than you do are the CEO's of Canon and Nikon.

    I tried the X100, didn't like it. I tried the X10, didn't like it. No interest in even trying the Xpro1.

    Similar for the NEX cameras.

    You have Micro-FourThirds lenses presumably so the Olympus E-M5 will be of interest to you. The latest in Oly and Panny lenses are right up there by all reports and they do well with adapted lenses.

    But if you like the form factor of the E-P1 and would be interested in a niche choice, you owe it to yourself to try a Ricoh GXR fitted with the A12 Camera Mount camera unit. Takes Leica M mount lenses and does the best job with them. Only the M8/M9 does better. Viewfinder (optical or EVF) is optional. Excellent features, excellent controls, a 12MPixel no-AA filter sensor with superb acutance. Very high q JPEGs, DNG raw right out of the camera. Very customizable. Only manual focus, of course, if that's important to you. $1000 sans lens.

    It suits me very well. Does everything you felt was lacking. Worth a try.

    Well, as a left-eyed shooter myself, I'd have to say the "nose grease" thing is hardly a reason not to buy a camera. I've dealt with the "nose mash/nose grease blob" issue with ALL my cameras--including all my rangefinders--for as long as I've been shooting. I just consider it as "the cost of doing business", in my case.

    Used to wonder why, say, Leica couldn't build a "left-eyed" rangefinder, like Fender builds guitars for left-handers. But then I realized that literally "reverse-engineering" the camera would make it prohibitively expensive....

    Left-eyed people just have to turn the camera upside-down...


    The nose grease solution is right in front of most of us, well maybe only some of us and certainly, me. It's that big soft round belly handily located just where my camera hangs from around my neck... Just be sure to wear a clean T-shirt.

    You may not be saying it, but the URL (x-pro1-sucks.html) sure is!

    I like Fuji, and I hope the X Pro system does well. More options = good. Personally though, I found the theory of the camera a lot more interesting than the actual camera itself. That said, the lenses are awfully nice, if well beyond be my budget-range.

    Used to wonder why, say, Leica couldn't build a "left-eyed" rangefinder, like Fender builds guitars for left-handers. But then I realized that literally "reverse-engineering" the camera would make it prohibitively expensive...

    As opposed to their current plebeian affordability?

    Dear Michael F.,

    Yer right; the Pentax K-01 should be on my list. Knowing me, I'll likely end up taking the path of least resistance and getting an OMD, but I'm trying to explore the other options.


    Dear James W.,

    Oh yeah, I had rangefinder film cameras I used regularly. They didn't have this big LCD screen in the middle of their backs.

    I never found rangefinders to be superior to SLRs. Didn't mind'em when I had'em, but didn't much care one way or another, really.

    Nowadays, it'd be a convenience when the back LCD isn't suitable.


    Dear Dear Mike O'D.,

    I don't see the later EPs offering me any particular advantages over my EP1 that would justify spending the money. It's not like I HAVE to buy a camera.


    Dear LD,

    Aw c'mon. I described a couple of missing features that make the camera totally unsuitable for me. It's not like I damned it from one end to the other. If you really think that's a major hate, then you've been reading way too many of those creampuff reviews that never dare speak a bad word about anything. Ya needs ta broaden yer horizons! [smile]


    Dear Michael B.,

    I didn't build the page. That's the Editor's job.

    URLs are not editorial comments, they're just URLs. Anyone who clicks on it gets the headline that says just the opposite.


    Dear Peter,

    There are mount adapters for the XPro. Jeff included a Nikon adapter with the kit he sent me.

    pax / Ctein
    -- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    -- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

    I wonder why nobody has mentioned the NEX5n with the removable EVF. That viewfinder, apart from being very good, can be tilted up to 90°. When you look down into it, and bend forward a little, your perspective changes in a way that makes all the difference when photographing people from medium distance. Not to speak about how in makes photographing ground level objets easy without needing to lay flat on one's tummy.

    And, of course, no nose marks on the LED display. Also, if you don't need the EVF, just take it of. Makes the camera jacket pocketable, at least with some FF lenses like the excellent Sigma 30mm.

    I very much enjoy my X100 and X-Pro 1 cameras. One of them is always with me.

    For me they represent the best compromise of cost/performance/usability. I find the OVF to be a pleasure and they EVF is always there when needed. The X-Pro 1 is the first camera I have used in manual exposure mode on a regular basis since I sold my Ziess Ikon M system. This is odd because all the cameras inbetween could have been used in manual exposure mode too. Somehow, the X-Pro 1 encourages me to be a more thoughtful photographer.

    Fuji has saved me from lugging a larger heavier camera around. I tried using smaller digital cameras and could not tolerate the raw file quality and limited DOF. i. I really don't even think about new cameras anymore which helps me spend more time on production. So all I can say is: thank you Fuji.

    At the end of the day we each use what we enjoy using or what someone pays us to use. In my case these are the X100/XP1 and the D700. Others obviously enjoy different tools. These sort of decisions are a complicated process where some degree of compromise is unavoidable. I am grateful the for the diversity photographers enjoy in today's market.

    "As opposed to their current plebeian affordability?..."

    Well, Ray, there is a difference between expensive and astronomically priced....

    Dear folks,

    May I propose a redirect, here?

    Everyone is focusing on the eye level viewfinder as if it's the most important thing in my column. It's not. It's almost a side issue. All I found out was that, given the way I work, the eye level viewfinder would not be a feature that I could make use of very much. That's a disappointment. But it is NOT why I rejected the camera.

    I rejected the camera because of the total lack of useful exposure information, either before or after I made a photograph. The way I work, that is a major deficiency and one that makes a camera simply unacceptable.

    All you folks trying to figure out workarounds for the eye level viewfinder and such? Thanks, but that's not really the problem.

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    -- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
    -- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

    I can't argue much about the left eye issue, though you would have the same issue with any NEX system, and I have the same issue with all DSLRs and centre mounted systems despite being a right eye focuser. Hence for me the position of the VF is perfect (and very handy on a tripod).

    But I don't get the issue about histogram on playback. Just press the DSP button in review mode and pick the histogram option.

    This also shows blown highlight blinkies.

    No menus involved.

    Ctein,I was just reading your words, " I hate this camera. I hate it so much that if someone offered one to me for free, I'm not sure I would take it;---". I thought that was clearly stated which prompted my post. By the way I have broadened my horizons by purchasing a Nex7 and a X2 Leica which are keeping me busy. Neither are perfect but they are darned close and the handling and IQ are top notch. I had not really thought of this before but the tilting EVF on the Leica will let me keep nose grease off of the LED. It works but is a rather expensive way to avoid the problem. Regards, LD

    You are 200% honest, salute!

    We only need the most essential, versatile, functional and ergonomic tool for anything to get job well done.

    I never understand why people love to buy vintage looking cameras with a ton of disadvantages and cost them a lot of fortune.

    It's more like showing the world, hey now I can afford something that I couldn't buy years ago when I was a broke chap with a lot of dreams.

    It's good to see Mr. Ctein considering other mirrorless formats even if he'd already invested in m4/3 lenses. Would that in the subsequent reviews arising from this one, he will tell TOP readers what he is—or is not—saying, about the OM-D! (and hopefully the other 2 cameras in my short-list).

    Where I come from you can't try unless you buy. Hence, TOP reviews and readers' comments are very helpful to me. Thanks!

    The histogram thing seems like a real problem. The permanently cluttered screen is also annoying, if true.

    What kills me about the X-Pro 1 is that Fuji is dedicated to swiftly releasing all of the lenses I wanted on my Nikons for 10 years, but review after review makes the camera body sound broken. All I need I is a 90-degree wide angle and a 45-degree normal lens, the latter of which must be f/1.4. Fuji would totally get me to buy into the system if I thought it would work for me. Instead I'm making do with a 24/50 kit with my Nikon and a 14/45 kit in M43. I can make the mild wide/short tele combo work, but it's not optimal. Maybe I'll rent and see if the Fuji would work . . .

    Should have typed "reviews". TOP doesn't just review gear. They (Mike, Ctein) deconstruct them.

    Ctein, you have used a Pentax 645; your cameras became smaller and you ended up with digital sub-SLR FujiFilm and eventually the little E-P1. The part of your brain that once made you a chart-plotting scientist type already knows, deep down, that your next system is a Pentax Q. Don't fight it.


    >My X100 is a LOT better after about four firmware updates.

    Here here! My November-vintage X100 developed the well-known sticking aperture blades problem and was duly sent off to Edison, NJ. It came back today with a new lens unit and the latest firmware and it's SO much better than when I bought it. I feel as if I just got my right hand back.

    Also..."try before buy" is now "buy from Amazon, keep if you like." I returned two small DSLRs before the X100 closed the deal, no questions, no problem.

    All I ask for is an OM! fitted witha sensor instead of film. No video, micrphones nothing. Why is this not possible


    OK. Forget the EVF. The EM-5 also has a very nice tiltable rear monitor. And even my ancient, myopic, presbyopic eyes see it clear as crystal, it's beautifully usable practically any way you want it.

    Viewfinder or not, still think you'll like it.


    @Peter Croft: Micro-4/3rds is also a closed mount, you must join a consortium if you want to make lenses or cameras for the system. It benefits from 4/3rds more open approach due to good PR, but m43 is more locked down. The only 'Open' aspect to it is that two manufacturers make cameras for it.

    Sony's E Mount on the other hand has full specs released and anyone can make lenses for it without having to pay any licensing or join any closed consortium. Sony does retain full control over the mount though.

    Of the Mirrorless mounts (m43, NX, E, Fuji X and Nikon 1), E mount is currently the least proprietary while m43 enjoys the widest support.

    The GXR has all the exposure and magnification features you were looking for, including the uncluttered display when desired.

    @Ctein:I rejected the camera because of the total lack of useful exposure information, either before or after I made a photograph. The way I work, that is a major deficiency and one that makes a camera simply unacceptable.

    I just checked mine, and viewing a straight RAW (I always shoot RAW+JPEG so I wasn't sure without touching the camera and my wife had it on the day of the post), toggled DISP/BACK to 'Detail View', voila - histogram of the captured image. Just saying.

    +1 What Alan Green said. Anyone who has compared the profiles of cameras like the OM series, especially viewed from the baseplate, with dSLR APSc equivalents will have been struck by why todays cameras need so much room, and yet can't stick a full frame sensor in there. So many convenient lenses waiting to be enjoyed...

    Could you work around the no-histogram-nor-blinkenlights limitation by adjusting LCD contrast and learning to read the exposure by looking at the picture? Could it be worth it, for the benefits the X-Pro system offers?

    Just playing Devil's Advocate. I use a Samsung, which can do lonely histogram mode plus RGBY histograms in review.

    Ctein, thanks for the blatant honesty. So tried of the regurgitated crap from sites that haven't even handled the camera.

    A trusted acquaintance alerted me to pitfalls regarding my own way of working, so that killed any joy for me.

    At least 4 manufacturers make lenses for Micro Four Thirds, which has to count towards a diverse ecosystem. I think there are actually a couple more.

    I would offer one more option in addition to try before you buy, and that's RTFM.

    Dear Ray and Steve,

    OK, both you guys are saying that a histogram is available when viewing RAW files. Dunno how both DDB and I missed that, and I sure couldn't find it in the manual (but if I were to damn a camera because of a lousy manual, I'd have to go back to using film). But if you say it's there, it's there.

    So, any way to get exposure info (either a histogram or out-of-range blinkies) in live view without permanently cluttering up the custom screen? If so, I might have to put this back on my "maybe" list.


    Dear Michael B.,

    I haven't found that a reliable way to judge exposure, myself. Way too much guesswork. Maybe it works well for others.

    I'm not sure what you mean by benefits of the X-Pro system that I don't get in u4/3. Some incremental improvements, yeah, to be sure. But nothing earth-shattering. Somewhat better image quality (but lots of cameras have that). Nice lenses (but I've got those, although I don't mind switching if there's a good reason). Reasonably compact (but I got... oh you get the idea).

    pax / Ctein

    +1 with a bullet.
    I didn't have long to test this overpriced turkey of a camera, just half an hour in a shop. That was enough. No diopter adjustment? On a camera whose viewfinder - in theory at least - is one of its principal USPs. OK, I wear glasses but how come the OVF was in focus and the evf out? Would a different eyepiece lens solve this? In any case anyone know a shop where they have alternative eyepiece lenses to try? I didn't think so.
    A narrow escape. Based on the reviews I almost shelled out sight unseen. Then I looked at some sample files and handled an OM-D E-M5 (appalling designation). Not without its faults but a delight to use and a lot cheaper, with a large range of excellent lenses at reasonable prices.

    Dear Roy,

    I found the lack of a diopter adjustment a peculiar omission on a semi-professional camera (yeah, I've heard the explanation-- doesn't excuse it). But, is that really a big deal? Lots of film cameras required supplemental screw-in diopters. They ain't expensive. I wouldn't let it affect my buying decision.

    Now, different focal distances for the two kinds of finders could be an unresolvable issue if you suffer from advanced presbyopia.

    Just 'cause I hate it doesn't mean I think the camera is either overpriced nor a turkey. I don't. It just doesn't do what I want it to do.

    Don't confuse a personal dislike with a review or an objective evaluation. I reiterate what I said at the beginning.

    It's not about you, it's not about the camera, it's about me.

    pax / Ctein

    Dear Steve,

    Two of us RTFMed and couldn't find the business about bringing up the histogram on the backside display when reviewing photos.

    pax / Ctein

    @ Ctein:

    FYI, the histogram that comes up when you push the "disp back" button is very small and doesn't show the individual RGB channels, as the E-P1 does, but only the luminance channel. So even though it technically does exist, I don't believe it will meet your needs very well.

    Unfortunately, I don't know of any way to toggle the histogram on-and-off pre-exposure, so you're SOL unless you're willing to dive into the menu to do so, which is a non-starter for me as well. However, after capturing over 7000 photos with the X-Pro1, I've come to have a pretty good sense when and by how much I need to compensate exposure (just as I did with film!), so this hasn't been as important to me as it was with, say, the E-P1, which I found to have less headroom than the X-Pro1 and thus wasn't as tolerant of exposure errors.

    As we have discussed, my attraction to the X-Pro1 has more to do with its traditional form-factor than its performance. While this certainly was not the only reason I bought an X-Pro1 (two of them, actually), it was perhaps the primary one. Here's hoping other camera manufacturers take the hint and follow Fuji's lead!

    Hi Ctein, I know the manual is a bit opaque, but the info is on page 22, which describe the display options in playback mode accessible from the DISP/BACK button. It works for RAW images too.


    A cellphone snap of an XPro snap of the clutter in my basement... but demonstrates the histogram for image review.

    For me, the simplest thing would be to use the standard display mode for the back LCD (toggle the DISP/BACK button). Nothing but the exposure meter on the left, exposure mode, shutter/aperture/ISO on the bottom, and focus spot in the center. If you want a histogram, set it up on the custom display screen, then in use you can toggle to it with two taps of the DISP/BACK button. Back to standard with three taps. The only fly in that ointment is in manual exposure, because then (and this is a teeth gnashingly annoying issue) the histogram stops being live, and starts being what the histogram WOULD be if you were letting the camera set the exposure. I reserve judgement on that because, based on the X100, I assumed that the initial firmware would be a work in progress, with incremental tweaks, and so simple stuff like that will get fixed. And since I tend to shoot in aperture priority, I just use exposure comp, so not that big of a day to day an issue for me. Also, despite the slow-ish refresh rate, the EVF mode of the hybrid viewfinder is quite accurate in my experience (I've shot a lot of live music with my XPro, so not exactly uncomplicated lighting conditions), so in higher contrast situations I tend to use the EVF and check for bright spots.

    My $0.02, YMMV, etc.

    Dear Ray,

    And, so, there it is, in living color. Whaddaya know!

    Had I found this myself, it'd require some rewriting of my original article, but not much. I'd have had to excise the bits about hating the camera (too bad, hyperbolic prose is such fun). But I'd still not have liked it. The standard back screen is too cluttered and distracting for me. The custom one still isn't entirely free of distractions (neither Jeff nor I could figure out how to turn off the slow shutter and silent mode warnings. Even if I could, there's no way to get any exposure info before exposure except to "permanently" obscure the custom screen with the histogram. And after exposure, the histogram is pretty minimal.

    Unlike Jeff and some others, I care nothing about styling-- doesn't affect me one way or another. And all the cameras I'm considering have a wide enough array of lenses and lens adapters available that there's no special bonus there, either.

    Combined with all my other (still accurate) observations, it'd get a distinct "meh" from me. Not a "hate", but nothing that's going to have me spending a premium price or even disposing of my existing kit.

    Which takes us back to my original point. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY. I'd have had a very hard time figuring any of the foregoing out without being able to lay my hands on a camera. It still reads very good on paper. It doesn't work at all well for me.

    pax / Ctein

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