Two weeks ago, I traveled to Pushkar for the annual Camel Fair. For 8 days, I was armed with only my X-pro 1, the 18mm f/2, and the 35mm f/1.4. This was my first experience working extensively with the X-pro 1. It felt different.
Last year I walked the grounds of the Pushkar Camel Fair with a Canon 1D Mark II with a 70-200 2.8 IS and a Canon 5D with a 16-35 II f/2.8. A 35mm 1.4 and a 50mm 1.4 were stowed in my backpack. I came away with images I really liked, but also came away each night with a sore neck and back and an ever growing frustration of hauling so much stuff. For one day I decided to carry just my 1d Mark II with the 35mm 1.4 to "free myself." It saved my back but not quite my neck and I still felt like this big camera was all people looked at when I first approached them to have a chat, ask questions, etc. I needed something less obtrusive.
Along came the X-pro 1 that I purchased a few months ago. The Pushkar Camel Fair was the first event I felt I could give it a good working test and compare its performance and image quality with the performance and images I shot last year with my Canon gear. I also wanted to see how it held up in the sandy elements of the desert. I am very pleased with the results.
The image quality, I feel, with the X-Pro 1 and 35mm f/1.4 combo is as good as the image quality of my Canon 1D Mark II and 35mm 1.4 combo. I love this.
Performance wise, the auto focus SPEED with the X-pro I doesn't even compare. It is slow in the world of pro SLR's but then again, for travel, I am usually not shooting anything that is moving fast, so speed is not an issue. It is not too slow to frustrate me in any way...especially since the firmware update a couple months ago. I have found that shooting in manual AF mode and using the AEL button for auto focus is a bit faster and easier.
The auto focus ACCURACY with the X-Pro 1 is great. Once it locks on, it's good to go. I took 2-3 extra shots in certain situations early on in the camel fair just to make sure I got one in focus as I was a bit skeptical. All the images came out tack sharp. Very nice!
In regards to weathering the the sandy elements for a week, I did notice some grit get into the focusing ring of both lenses. When I manually turn the focusing rings now, I can sometimes hear one or two pieces of grit, but it is nothing that has caused any problems with the focus speed or accuracy. You can say my X-Pro gear is getting a bit of personality now...but I should probably have them cleaned soon. I also noticed in my OFV a piece of something that just just poped in there and is stuck. It looks like a small broken piece of leaf. It doen't show up in the photos as it is just in the OFV, but it is sometimes annoying to look at. I've inspected the camera to see where something could get in but haven't figured it out yet.
This is now my go to camera for travel. It takes a bit of getting used to if you are used to pro level SLR equipment, but once you get used to its style and quirks, it is a true pleasure. In a way it has helped me slow down which has been a nice side effect.
I am not switching totally over to the X Pro system for all my photography, but I feel like it is a start that may lead to a full transition one day as the technology advances and my fluency with the system gets better. Is it worth the price tag? Yes.