When Fujifilm unveiled its new line-up ahead of CES 2012, there was a feeling among enthusiasts that the company was holding something back. Sure enough, the Japanese photography behemoth has now pulled back the curtain to reveal a new interchangeable lens digital camera system called the X-Pro1. The 16 megapixel camera will be initially joined by three prime lenses when made available next month, with more to follow later on. It features a number of new digital photography developments, including a brand new sensor, a film-like color filter array and the second generation hybrid multi viewfinder first seen in the FinePix X100.

With the success of the X100 and the X10, it was only a matter of time before Fujifilm added a top end, pro-level mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras to the range. The X-Pro1 continues the traditional, 35mm compact camera body look of other X-Series members, with its magnesium alloy chassis, die-cast aluminum alloy at the top and bottom, and a leather-like finish in stark contrast to the cutting-edge tech within.

Kicking off the new developments is the 16 megapixel APS-C (23.6 x 15.6 mm) X-Trans CMOS sensor with a newly developed color filter array. Fujifilm says that the new sensor offers superior resolution to other APS-C sensors, and even manages to match some full frame examples. The sensor is kept free of image-spoiling dust using ultrasonic vibration.

Breaking away from convention (in this case the Bayer pattern configuration), the new filter array is made up of 6 x 6 RGB pixel sets - translating to a red, blue and green pixel in every vertical and horizontal series. It's said to have been inspired by the random arrangement of fine film grain, and removes the need for an optical low pass (anti-aliasing) filter to get on top of moiré and false color issues.

That brand new array requires a powerful new image processor, which sees the newly developed EXR Processor Pro stepping up to the plate, supported by an integrated co-processor for faster and more detailed performance. The standard ISO sensitivity range is between 200 and 6400, but this can be extended to between 100 and 25600.

In addition to the 3-inch, RGBW 1,230,000-dot resolution LCD display at the rear, the X-Pro1 has also been treated to a 0.47-inch (11.93 mm)/1,440,000-dot resolution, second Generation Hybrid Multi Viewfinder that is capable of switching between an optical and electronic viewfinder, with the ability to overlay vital information about the photo being taken.

As you'd expect from a premium camera, the 5.5 x 3.2 x 1.7-inch (139.5 x 81.8 x 42.5 mm) X-Pro1 supports both JPEG and RAW file formats and is capable of recording full 1080p video (in H.264 format) with stereo sound. It's SD/SDHC/SDXC media card compatible, has both USB 2.0 and HDMI ports, and comes with a Li-ion battery that's said to be good for about 300 frames between charges. It does lack a built-in flash, though, but benefits from an accessory-friendly hot shoe mount.

Of course, Fujifilm also has a long history in film photography and has managed to bring a few aspects of that medium to the digital world inhabited by the X-Pro1. The Multiple Exposure mode digitally simulates the 35mm film technique of superimposing one frame on another, and the company's film simulation modes have been further improved.

Initially, the X-Pro1 will be released alongside three fast aperture prime interchangeable FUJINON lenses - the XF 18mm F2 R (27mm equivalent) f/2.0, the XF 35mm F1.4 R (53mm equivalent) f/1.4 and the XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro (90mm equivalent) F/2.4.

A newly-developed lens mount will secure the new lenses to the camera body. The X-Mount has a short flange back distance of 17.7 mm, and the attached lens goes some 7.5 mm into the body, which puts the lens elements close to the sensor for claimed "high resolution all the way to the edge of the image."

Pricing for the X-Pro1 interchangeable lens digital camera system has not yet been revealed but it's thought to be around US$1,700, with individual lenses tagged at something like US$650 a piece.

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