The next best thing to a Leica.
So no, I don't have any insider information regarding the upcoming Fujifilm X-Pro 1, and I swiped that image from Steve Huff's website, but I am pretty excited about it as it looks to be everything I've wanted in a mirrorless camera body: it's compact, has at least an APS-C sized sensor, has analog-styled controls, well-built, and has high quality, fast aperture fixed-focal length lenses. I'm hesitant to say that this camera would make a good replacement for my M8, but...but this is the camera that Leica should have been developing, or perhaps the camera that Kyocera should have released as a Contax G3.
Anyway, I'm impressed Fuji, and I'm impatiently awaiting the official announcement and the first user reports. And I'll update this post with any future thoughts once we know a little more about it. Exciting stuff.
The Specs (possibly):
- 16 megapixels APS-CMOS "Xtrans" sensor with better than fullframe picture quality
- no anti-aliasing filter
- new Fuji X-mount with flange distance of 17.7mm
- launches with three lenses: 18mm f/2.0, 35mm f/1.4, and 60mm f/2.4
- second generation hybrid viewfinder like the one on the X100
UPDATE Jan. 09, 2012:
Well it's official, and wow what a camera!
Quite simply, if I could have designed a camera like this, this would have been the camera I would have designed. It would really do Leica well to look closely at what Fuji accomplished with this, because I think a lot of people looking at used M8s are now going to be looking at this camera instead. I love my M8, and I don't think I could ever bring myself to sell it, but if I was buying from scratch today, the M8 would be off the table. Now, Leica has sort of hinted around that they might be getting ready to release just such a camera later this year, but I sort of wonder how far they would go towards producing such a strong competitor to the M9 level camera.
But anyway, after reading through a lot of the previews on the internet I'll add a couple of thoughts.
One of the best things I've seen on the X-Pro 1 is the inclusion of a PC-sync port. I can't imagine why Leica decided that this was a feature that isn't necessary on their cameras anymore, but considering that you occasionally need the hot shoe for a viewfinder or other accessory, it's very annoying to not have a PC-sync port if you're using off-camera flash or working with studio strobes. In fact, it's such a glaring omission on the Leicas that I really question whether Leica believes that the M-series are truly professional calibre cameras. Fuji on the other hand, must really be commended for including this very useful feature, and it leads me to think that they may be committed to this new system on a professional level in a way that none of the other current mirrorless makers seem to be positioning themselves. Service and support would be the way they drive that point home, so we'll have to see if they offer something similar to Canon's CPS for X-Pro users--I sort of doubt that they will.
One thing that I'm still not too sure about is the viewfinder. And I know that was one of the biggest selling points of the earlier X100, but it seems to me that an all electronic viewfinder would be much cheaper to manufacture and probably more useful to the majority of photographers. That said, I've got a couple of objections to electronic viewfinders. For one I've always felt so much more disconnected from the scene with an EVF, but I'll admit I still haven't gotten to use the newest EVFs on the Sony NEXs and Panasonic GHs, so maybe things have changed. The other thing that bothers me with EVFs is that in very low light shooting situations staring at a very bright LCD tends to make it that much harder to see in the dark when the camera is away from your eye. So there's pluses and minuses to both optical viewfinders as well as EVFs, and maybe Fuji's taken the best approach to viewfinders in general; however, it still seems like it might be an unnecessarily complicated solution. I'd like to get one in my hands and see what I think; it might turn out to be the best thing since sliced bread.