Reminiscing the X-Pro1

I used the X-Pro1 for about 18 months, it is the camera that made me fall in love with this compact system. Sure the X100s is the camera that I first fell for but it isn’t apart of the X-Series compact system, instead it is simply a wonderful compact. The X-Pro1 is special to a lot of people, despite it’s quirks of which there are a few, it is a beautiful camera that produces stunning results.

This week the X-Pro1 went back to Fujifilm UK (thanks so much guys!) and despite the fact that I now shoot with two X-T1s, the X-Pro1 will still hold a special place in my heart. The romantic, discreet rangefinder styling was what appealed to so many and combined with the constantly growing lens range, this really is/was a brilliant mirrorless set up. To remember this beautiful camera I thought I’d share my twenty favourite photos taken by it. The images are in the latest order they were taken so I’ll count down to my first favourite image.

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20. Taken two days after Christmas, this is one of my favourite places in the country, Curbar Edge in the Peak District. It snowed the day beforehand and so I jumped on a train and headed up to my girlfriend’s which is a short drive from Curbar. We headed out before sunrise and were greeted by a tremendous view. I was using the 18-135mm on the X-T1 and the 10-24mm on the X-Pro1. The sun eventually rose enough to start lighting up the valley and then it kissed the top of the rock in the foreground.

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19. Again, taken at Curbar Edge, this shot of the sun rising was taken while I was being filmed by my good friend Ismar Badzic, you can watch the short film here – http://youtu.be/dWy3yKr-Wbs The forecast was pretty terrible, but as it is so often, the forecast was off and we were treated to a beautiful sunrise, horizontal rain and an enormous rainbow. When we saw that sun rise up above the horizon we simply couldn’t stop smiling, it was a beautiful moment, made all the better for sharing it with a good friend.

The EVF capability of the X-Pro1 made all the difference here, where I could see the exposure compensation I wanted before I took the picture. Such an asset being able to easily switch between the OVF and EVF.

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18. It was in the heart of the afternoon on a late September day in Lisbon, people had gathered by a glorious church, of which I can’t remember the name, as there was a spectacular view of city below. Moving back for a moment to take in the scene made for a great collection of silhouettes against the bright, clear sky.

Walking around with the X-Pro1 and X-T1 with the option of the 14mm, 23mm and 56mm,made a wonderfully portable and discreet package to document a long weekend in this fantastic city. Carrying this gear around all day in a shoulder bag was so freeing from previous experiences of large zooms in rucksacks.

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17. Being so unobtrusive, the X-Pro1 and 14mm lens was ideal for this tram-jam situation on another hot day in Lisbon. As everyone peered out the side to see what the problem was, this set up meant that I could discreetly take a few photos, no problem. Combined with the rangefinder styling, meant that I could still experience all the commotion as only a tiny portion of my face was obscured by the camera.

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16. One of the main attractions in Lisbon is the castle in the centre of the city. To take full advantage of the crowds, there are now numerous restaurants built into the castle so the masses can enjoy the view. At one of the more expensive restaurants a couple sat quietly with their bottle of wine and sparse company, taking in the coastal capital. Here the 56mm was used; this lens is a dream, fast, sharp and portable. It meant that I could ensure the focus was on the couple but also that the scene was still present to give some context.

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15. The pedestrianised streets in the heart of Lisbon are a photographer’s dream! Full of people and picturesque scenes, you can walk around with so much potential for inspiration. Here I used the 56mm at F1.2 to keep the grand statue at the end of the street in focus and to have everything in the foreground soft. Keeping an otherwise very busy scene under control.

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14. Found much closer to home, Chesterton Windmill is a very popular site for photographers. This is very understandable as it is a beautiful building and often a place where recently married couples are hurried to for photographs. Though the write speed of the X-Pro1 isn’t what you’d call fast, if you’re patient enough to use it for long exposures (fast SD cards do make a huge difference), then if can produce very nice results. I often find it difficult to photograph large manmade objects like this, especially if there is nothing to give context in the picture. However, I enjoy experimenting and seeing what works in a given situation, here I used a 10-stop ND filter to stop the amount of light reaching the sensor.

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13. My other favourite place in the UK is the Isle of Skye. This island is glorious, full of tremendous scenes that inspire and give faith to the soul. I last visited in January 2014, an odd time to visit perhaps, but it was while I was revising for some university exams and I thought to myself “I know where I’ll revise better, Skye…” Convincing myself that I wouldn’t get distracted and that it was a good idea. What I discovered was that this island is great to visit no matter the season. Sure you might get a little wet here and there but it will be worth it.

This view is what greets you in Elgol, a small, quiet village, the view across the bay to the black cullin mountains is one of the more famous of Skye. No matter its apparent popularity (if you search online, there will hardly be anyone there at any one time) it is brilliant.

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12. It had been a grey, damp day and only as the clouds started to shift were glimpses of the sun possible. But then the view quickly evolved as the clouds started to disperse and the warm, golden light poured down into the bay. Taken with the 55-200mm, a brilliant compact telephoto zoom.

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11. As is often the case on the Isle of Skye, the weather was constantly changing around every bend. Heading up the north eastern side of the island we saw a rain shower ahead and then the sun broke through the clouds we were leaving behind and created this glorious rainbow. Peering the camera out of the sun roof with the 14mm attached it managed to do some justice to the moment.

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10. Anyone that is a hardened whisky drinker should recognise this bay, Talisker Bay. The weather on the drive over to the bay was incredible, the light was so vivid and the colours were magical. I knew that once we had arrived we would have missed the best of it but on we went. Having not visited the bay before I had no idea what to expect and was greeted by a black beach and dramatic coastline. It was a beautiful place to wonder around with the X-Pro1.

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9. This epic individual wouldn’t move for anyone, not even the local bus service. Highland cattle are full of character and I was able to get close to this one allowing me to use a wide angle to set the scene with the road and the other cattle in the background.

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8. One of the other highland cattle looking more like a minotaur against the moody sky. Again the EVF helped me to expose this correctly.

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7. These fishermen were so welcoming that shortly after this photo I was on their boat! This was taken in Kota Kinabalu, the Malaysian capital of Borneo. Using the X-Pro1 and the 14mm I quietly wondered around the bustling harbour as the latest catch was brought to market. The set up was so intuitive that I quickly took the photos and was aware of my surroundings so I didn’t get caught out in the bustling situation.

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6. Taken at the Hungry Ghost Festival, where ghost money is burnt to commemorate the dead and to bring prosperity for the coming year in business. It was a busy event, so much so that my friend ended up in the regional newspaper the following day! There was a good press presence, with lots of SLR equipment. I wondered around with just the X100s and the X-Pro1, unnoticed and able to capture lots of candid moments.

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5. The combination of the X-Pro1 with early firmware and the 60mm macro makes for a hair pulling experience, especially when you’re trying to get photos of insects on a swaying leaf! Nevertheless, once the combo eventually found focus the results were really very good, making them all the more satisfying.

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4. Being a bit sadistic, I decided to make the experience that bit more frustrating by introducing a manual flash… This must have made for quite a scene, camera in one hand, flash in the other, trying to sway with the wind to compensate the moving leaf. Using the flash off-camera, gave this strong directional light producing the shadow of the beetle on the leaf.

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3. Again, taken with the 60mm lens. This proboscis monkey was far too busy stuffing it’s face to worry about my presence. The 90mm equiv. lens proved great in this situation. I love the apparent desperation of the monkey to fill it’s mouth as quickly as possible.

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2. Possibly my favourite photograph taken with any X-Series camera to date. This was taken with the 14mm. I followed a small troop of macaques out into the bay at low tide in Bako National Park, Borneo. They go foraging for marine life to feed on. The mud was thick and steadily got deeper and deeper, by the time this picture was taken I was knee deep in this thick sludge. It was well worth it though to follow this individual in this idyllic scene.

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1. The final image is of a mother orang-utan and her child. The 60mm strikes again, capturing beautiful light. I don’t have much to say about this image, I just like it.

The X-Pro1 is a special camera and though I will miss it, but I am looking forward to moving on with the X-T1s and the X100 series. When I come to doing this same exercise with either of these cameras I will definitely find it difficult to narrow it down to my favourite twenty. Until then I hope you have enjoyed my favourites from the X-Pro1.

You can check out more of my work at www.bencherryphotos.com
Or alternatively find me on facebook, instagram and twitter via the links in the tab page of this blog.

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