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Last year I bought my first camera, a Minolta X700 in order to get into photography. I bought it with the prices in mind (100 € with 3 lenses), and I really wanted to try film and the development process. I enjoy it very much, but the costs of film in my country are going higher and higher. A 35mm roll of Ilford HP5 costs 5.8€ plus extra expenses for scanning.

I was thinking to get a digital camera with a prime lens. After a long search on Internet, I settled to some options, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and the Fujifilm X100F. The choice made due to the features and optical viewfinder. I'm planning to shoot in full manual mode, even for focus.

The cost of X100F is forbidding (average eBay price right now 700€), so my "only" option is the Fujifilm X-Pro1. Does it deserve the ~350€ body only, or it is obsolete by means of sensor and processor?

Should I continue with film? I'm not so much of a shooter due to my master studies.

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    You can use the Minolta lenses with adapter on X-Pro1, but not X100F, which has a fixed lens. There will be a 1.5x crop factor vs using them on a native Minolta body, and you'd have to focus manually. There are other models that cost less if you're willing to consider EVF. – xiota Aug 3 at 23:24
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    Due to film companies struggling in today's market, I happily encourage you to continue shooting film. We need it :) – timvrhn Aug 4 at 9:07
  • I don't think we can really answer this question for you in the Stack Exchange format. But as someone who has shot film and now uses Fujifilm cameras, I do have opinions. Maybe try Photography Chat? – mattdm Aug 4 at 9:29
  • Just on the point that your "only" option is the X-Pro 1, well, the X100 is in its fourth iteration. There is also the original X100, the X100S and X100T. Why are you not considering any of those models? They'll be cheaper than the X100F. Beware of differences in features though... I know that one of them introduced a kind of digital rangefinder feature for manual focusing, so then previous models wouldn't have that feature, in case it is important to you. – osullic Aug 4 at 11:58
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    Have you considered the much cheaper Fuji XE-1? I use Minolta SR mount lenses on this body (with an adapter; bear in mind the 1.5 crop factor as xiota points out) and the combination really works quite well. You won't get the hybrid viewfinder of the X-Pro1, but the XE-1's EVF is quite nice (better than the X-Pro1's). Focusing will never be as easy as on your Minolta body, though. – Kahovius Aug 5 at 6:55
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Should I continue with film? ... I enjoy it very much but the costs of film in my country are going higher and higher... I'm not so much of a shooter due to my master studies.

Some people enjoy continuing to use film. I have switched to digital. 

  • Costs are mostly spent on cameras, lenses, and accessories.
  • Images are immediately available for review, editing, and sharing.

If your main concern is price, calculate how long it would take you to spend ~600€ if you continue shooting film. You can also consider older equipment or wait for prices to drop further.

After a long search on Internet I settled to some options, the Fujifilm X-pro 1 and the Fujifilm X100F.

Those two cameras are very different.

  • Cameras in the X100 series have fixed 23/2 lenses that will give you images similar to a 35/2.8 lens on your current Minolta X700. There are wide- (WCL-X100, 0.8x) and tele-converters (TCL-X100, 1.4x) that are reportedly of good quality. (Image quality of generic converters is poor.)

  • You neglected to include a lens in the cost of the X-Pro1. For an XF lens, you're going to have to spend at least another ~250€. A lesser XC lens would be ~100€. If the body costs ~350€, your final cost would end up being over 450-600€, depending on your lens of choice.

  • You can use your current Minolta lenses with adapter on X-Pro1. There will be a 1.5x crop factor vs using them on a native Minolta body, and you'd have to focus manually using focus assist. (However, I would recommend getting at least one native lens, such as XF 18-55/2.8-4 R LM OIS.)

  • Consider other X-series models that use EVFs. They have the same sensors and image quality as their X-ProX counterparts. The same focus assist modes are available. Some models cost a bit less. Some to consider: X-E2, X-E2S, X-T10, X-T20.

... is [X-Pro1] obsolete by means of sensor and processor?

In X-Series cameras I've used, the processor is a non-issue. It does what it's supposed to do.

The older 16mp X-Trans sensors produce good images, but are "obsolete" in that they are no longer used in new cameras. Overall, I prefer the 24mp sensor that followed. It is more finicky, but 6000x4000 is an image resolution sweet spot, regardless of sensor size.

I need an optical viewfinder finder

The OVF of these cameras is different from that of DSLRs. The view through the OVF is not through the lens, so what you see will be slightly different from what the camera records (parallax). Also, when changing lenses, the view of the OVF won't change to match. For focus assist and to see the view through the lens, these cameras have an EVF mode.

Does [X-Pro1] deserve the ~350€ body only...?

Prices are moving targets. If that's the current market value of that body, then that's how much it's worth. Don't forget to look at lenses. Check your favorite auction site for current prices.

  • Thank you all for your very informative answers. I'll wait probably a little bit for the prices to drop. Yeah I need an optical viewfinder finder, that's why I mentioned X-pro 1 and x100f. I agree that digital has way more room for experimentation. And I will go that way, when I can afford it. Anyway, due to my studies photography is a once a week hobby, unfortunately. – Nikos Aug 5 at 16:51
  • Could you explain why you need the optical viewfinder? – xiota Aug 5 at 17:24
  • It seems to me more natural to look through the OVF. Also, I read/saw in some reviews for cameras which have only EVF (mostly low prices bodies or compacts) that there is a lag. – Nikos Aug 5 at 21:18
  • Lag has not been an issue for me with any of the eu-X cameras (with X-Trans sensor) that I've used. When I tried the X-A5 (fau-X with Bayer sensor), performance was poor. – xiota Aug 5 at 23:51
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    @Nikos If you have a camera shop in your neighbourhood you could visit them and try out a couple of EVF-only bodies, and see if you like it or not. From my experience: I was initially fiercely opposed to EVF but nowadays don't even notice that I'm looking through an EVF rather than an OVF. – Kahovius Aug 6 at 10:46
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The costs of film photography seem prohibitive to me for a beginner, even if there is probably a lot to learn from this practice, especially in that it leads to thinking before pressing the shutter button.

As for the X-PRO1: it was when it was released on the market near the frontier of the available technology. This is obviously no longer the case but it remains a fabulous camera body that over the years has received significant improvements such as the "focus peaking". The latter is in my opinion the most suitable of the aids to focusing, especially manual.

From your orientation towards the Fuji X100 or XPRO, we can suspect that you want to have an optical viewfinder. If this is not the case, I see little point in looking for one of these models because of the extra cost involved..

However, there are two things to consider:

1/ The electronic viewfinders are from a few years ago quite satisfactory, and if in second hand, you will not have access to the most amazing, they are quite sufficient for a normal use.

2/ The optical viewfinder of the X100 or X-PRO is very different in nature from that of a DSLR of the X700 type. It is close to that of a range finder, and if it has advantages especially in street photography or in similar styles, it also has disadvantages such as parallax offset. While the viewfinder of the X-PRO and X100 have guides to take this offset into account for lenses adapted to the X Series bodies, this is not the case, with some exceptions, for lenses mounted via an adapter ring. Indeed, it is necessary for the camera to know the shooting distance to correctly place the guide in the viewfinder. Incidentally, focusing aids, whose focus peaking mentioned above, also do not work in optical viewfinder mode.

As far as the sensor is concerned, the 16M pixels it proposes should be enough for many.

Don't let my answer discourage you a priori. If your photoqraphy enters the perimeter where the X-PRO excels, it's probably a good choice.

Disclaimer: I was unable to part with my X-PRO1

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Many of us grizzled old-timers like to boast about how we started with film in the era before autofocus existed and how it forced us to learn how to be real photographers.¹ But the reason we did so was because it was the only way to start back then.

Now that you have a choice, though, learning with film is probably not the best way to get where you want to go - even if your ultimate goal is to shoot your most important work on film.

  • The overwhelming advantage of digital is that it allows one to experiment and learn without the per-shot expense of film. Your initial cost to start is less with film, but by the time you've shot your first 1,000 frames the cost of film and developing will have overtaken the cost of an entry level DSLR. By the time you've shot your first 10,000 frames² just the film and processing could have bought a nice lower end pro-level digital system (either DSLR or Mirrorless).
  • There's also much to be said about the instant feedback of viewing a histogram on the back of the camera immediately following the shot. In the film era some of the best photographers in the world would use a polaroid back to test their lighting setup before loading the film and shooting.
  • Digital allows you to set the ISO and white balance of each shot individually, just as a century ago with the use of sheet negatives. Roll film, on the other hand, locks you into a specific sensitivity and color balance for an entire roll of film.
  • While there is much to be said about the lessons learned from processing your own B&W film in the darkroom there are just as many lessons that can be learned from developing your raw digital files on the desktop. You can also learn a lot about exposure, contrast, white balance and color, composition, etc. by processing your photos critically with the digital equivalent of a darkroom - your computer.
  • Digital cameras record information with each frame that tells you what aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering pattern, AF point, etc. you used. This is extremely helpful when reviewing your images to see what did and, perhaps more importantly, what did not work. In the film days a student would need to stop and write all of those things down for each shot.

If your budget is extremely limited you have other options besides a new digital ILC or a used film camera. You can also find used digital cameras that are 2-3 generations older than the current models for very modest prices. They'll still take good photos, even if they are not on the cutting edge of today's technology. You don't need an SLR, DSLR, or mirrorless ILC to start learning, either. A good used bridge camera or compact that has the ability to manually control shutter speed, aperture, and sensitivity (ISO) will allow you to get started learning the basics of exposure, composition, and post-processing (much of which can carry over to the darkroom - almost everything we do in digital post-processing has a corresponding antecedent in the chemical darkroom). It will also give you the flexibility of shot to shot customization that was once only the domain of those who used sheet film rather than roll film.

Even if you decide you want to ultimately shoot with film, shooting with a slightly older used digital camera is a faster and more economical way to learn many of the fundamentals of exposure, composition, technique, and how using different focal lengths, apertures, shutter times, etc. will affect the resulting image than starting out with a film camera would be. This is particularly the case when you're not sure if any problems you might see in your earliest images are the result of user error or of camera malfunction.

¹ The ranks of those who learned in the era before auto exposure are much thinner than they were just a decade or so ago. There are very few, if any, shooters left who started before most cameras had built-in light meters!
² Henri Cartier-Bresson is oft-quoted as having said, "Your first 10,000 frames are always your worst." He was perhaps the greatest street photographer of the 20th Century and is certainly one of if not the most well-known. In photographic circles, the initials HCB are enough to positively identify him.

  • This answer looks like it's been copied a few times without being edited to address concerns raised in this question. For instance, this question is not about starting with film vs digital. It also does not mention DSLRs. – xiota Aug 5 at 16:35
  • @xiota The OP has clarified in comments that they desire an optical viewfinder, so... – Michael C Aug 6 at 10:45
  • Answer updated to address your concerns. Re: DSLRs. they're a subset of digital cameras, which the OP certainly mentions. Perhaps you were also reading "DSLR' in places where no specific type of digital camera was specified in the answer. As to the comparison between the cost of the "first 1,000 frames" and an entry level DSLR: entry level DSLRs are, at this point in time, more affordable than entry level mirrorless systems. – Michael C Aug 6 at 10:47
  • I would like to thank you all for your input. It's time to do some more serious thinking and take into consideration your replies and what I want! Really thank you! – Nikos Aug 15 at 9:02

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