An Oldie but a goodie

(C) Dave Whenham
Fuji X-Pro1 and 35mm f1.4 wide open

It may be getting a bit long in the tooth now, especially compared to more recent models, but there is something about the venerable X-Pro1 that screams “pick me up!”  A bit like Alice in Wonderland finding a bottle labelled “drink me” whenever I see the X-Pro1 sat on the side I have the urge to pick it up and make photographs.

It happened half an hour ago; I walked down the stairs and spotted it on the blanket box that occupies part of the first floor landing. “Pick me up!” And I did. It is warm and sunny today with one of those bright blue skies irritatingly devoid of even a wisp of cloud, hardly a day for moody monochromes or sweeping landscapes, at least not in terms of how I like to record them. So a close up of the pear blossom it is.

(C) Dave Whenham
Fuji X-Pro1 with 35mm f1.4

The same thing  happened last Thursday when Zac and I got in from school. This time it was on top of the display cabinet by the front door; it seems to move around the house with a will of its own. “Snap!” A simple little shot of Zac, still in school uniform, running around in the front garden before tea. It may not focus and track like more recent models but experience and anticipation help to bridge the gap.

I think it’s this versatility that is part of its appeal. From photographing the grand children to recording blossom in the garden it will turn its hand to most things and with the array of lenses Fuji have provided, some specifically made with the X-Pro1 in mind, it is well capable of turning out decent images time after time. The X-trans sensor and processor have been superseded and improved upon undoubtedly but this little camera still produces JPEGs with that certain, indefinable “something” to my mind.

It is also a lovely, tactile camera. I enjoy holding and using it, there is just something about the user experience that again I cannot define nor articulate fully. My Nikon D750 is undoubtedly technically superior and I enjoy using it but it does not have the same magic that the X-Pro1 manages to give. The Nikon with the Sigma 105mm macro lens would no doubt have produced a technically superior image of the pear blossom above but there is just something about firing the shutter of the X-Pro1 that the Nikon cannot equal.

It is almost the difference between a film SLR and a modern DSLR. When I take a photograph with the X-Pro1 it almost feels as though I’m using one of my old film cameras. Perhaps that is it – a digital camera that feels analogue in some voodoo-magic way?

Whatever the reasons, the £150 I spent buying this Fujifilm X-Pro1 body last year was one of the best photographic buys I have made since I bought my first “serious” camera in the mid 1970s. It was also one of my best bargains and whilst I have now two newer Fuji bodies in my kit bag I still reach for this one on a regular basis for the pure joy of using it.

An Oldie perhaps but very definitely a Goodie in my eyes.

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