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New Firmware Features (3): X-T1 Firmware Version 3.00
The Fujifilm X-E2: Beyond the Manual (use coupon XPERT40 for a 40% discount)
This Thursday (18 DEC 2014), Fuji is releasing new firmware for the X-Pro1, X-E1, X-E2 and X-T1. This is the third and final article explaining the changes and enhancements brought to you by these updates. In this edition, I am going to cover features and enhancements of firmware 3.00 for the Fujifilm X-T1.
I have sorted the X-T1 firmware enhancements into 18 categories, starting with the…
Already available in the X100T and in firmware version 2.00 for the X-T1GS, the electronic shutter offers fast shutter speeds of up to 1/32000s. Due to the rolling shutter effect, this option is not suitable for fast-moving subjects or flash photography, but it’s a great way to take portraits in bright light with a fast, wide-open lens—no need to attach an ND filter.
Here’s a sample shot I took with the X100T at f/2, using 1/32000s:
1/32000s SOOC JPEG
With firmware 3.00, X-T1 users can now also enjoy this feature.
Here’s what the electronic shutter (ES) can do for you:
- Completely silent shutter release
- No shutter shock, hence less camera shake
- Fast shutter speeds (up to 1/32000s) allow wide-open use of f/1.2 lenses in bright daylight without attaching an ND filter
And here are some drawbacks of the electronic shutter:
- The ES is not suitable for moving subjects (rolling shutter effect). Accordingly, AF-C tracking isn’t available in burst mode (3 fps, 8 fps) when ES is engaged.
- There’s no flash photography when the electronic shutter is engaged.
- ISO is limited to 200-6400, and the slowest available shutter speed is 1s.
SHOOTING MENU > SHUTTER TYPE offers three different shutter settings:
- MS is the standard mode that exclusively uses the mechanical shutter. Hence, maximum shutter speed is limited to 1/4000s. Flash and AF tracking work as usual.
- ES exclusively uses the electronic shutter. ISO is limited to 200-6400, shutter speed is limited to 1s -1/32000. No flash photography, and no AF-C tracking in burst mode.
- MS+ES combines both shutter types: The camera defaults to the mechanical shutter, but it will automatically use the electronic shutter for shutter speeds beyond 1/4000s. The speed limit is 1/32000s. Once again, no AF-C tracking in burst mode. ISO is limited to 200-6400. If you fire a flash, the camera will always use the mechanical shutter with the usual maximum sync. speed of 1/180s and maximum shutter speed of 1/4000s.
Adding the Classic Chrome film simulation to the X-T1 is another feature that was already available in firmware 2.00 for the X-T1GS. Many users like (or even love) this JPEG rendering, so it’s nice to have it not just in the X30 and X100T, but also in the X-E2 and X-T1. Hopefully, it will also find its way into the X100S (internally, such a firmware version has been available for months) along with the promised intervalometer function that was already part of firmware 3.00 for the X-E2.
Classic Chrome SOOC JPEG
Live View Enhancements
These improvements bring the X-T1 one step closer to the X30 and X100T. Here’s what you get (and don’t get):
- Individual brightness and color saturation controls for the LCD and EVF (located under MAIN MENU > SCREEN SETUP). However, there’s no EVF auto brightness option like in the X30 and X100T.
- Natural Live View mode (MAIN MENU > SCREEN SETUP > PREVIEW PIC. EFFECT > OFF) presents a live view with less contrast that ignores all JPEG settings such as film simulation and contrast parameters (Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone). Unlike the X30 and X100T, the Natural Live View of the X-T1 only lifts shadows and doesn’t add 2 EV of highlight dynamic range to the viewfinder or LCD image. Accordingly, the X-T1 offers no WYSIWYG representation of extended dynamic range settings (DR200% or DR400%). Natural Live View is still useful when you are shooting contrasty scenes that make it difficult to view what’s going on in dark areas. Some of you may also use this setting as a “RAW shooter mode”.
- In manual exposure mode, the live view can now ignore custom white balance settings or presets. This option always uses auto white balance for the live view display—without affecting the white balance of the actual shot. This way, you can use a custom white balance setting for daylight flash in a studio along with incandescent model lighting, and the live view still won’t turn reddish. Select MAIN MENU > SCREEN SETUP > PREVIEW EXP./WB IN MANUAL MODE > OFF to use this feature.
Direct AF frame selection
By selecting MAIN MENU > BUTTON/DIAL SETTING > SELECTOR BUTTON SETTING > FOCUS AREA, you can now directly move the active AF frame (using the four selector buttons) without having to press the AF button first.
Sadly, choosing this convenient option also means that you are giving up four of seven Fn buttons. Fuji could have mitigated this sacrifice by allowing the SELECTOR BUTTON SETTING menu to be a Fn button setting by itself. This could have facilitated a quick change of the selector button mode depending on what kind of subject you are shooting, but in their mysterious ways, Fuji’s product designers forgot to include this option in the Fn button menu. They also forgot to add an option that turns the Movie Recording button into another programmable Fn button. Funny thing, since the Movie button on the X30 already is a Fn button.
Switching AF-L and AE-L buttons
Yet another mysterious enhancement: MAIN MENU > BUTTON/DIAL SETTING > SELECTOR BUTTON SETTING > AE-L/AF-L BUTTON SETTING allows you to make the AF-L and AE-L buttons swap positions. This could be a nice feature if one could use it independently for the AF-L/AE-L buttons on the camera body and those on the vertical battery grip. But no, you can’t do that, so the user interface inconsistency between the camera body and the vertical grip remains: On the body, the AF-L button is located to the right of the AE-L button, but on the grip it’s located to the left of the AE-L button. Switching their positions both on the body and the grip simply mirrors the inconsistency instead of resolving it.
Manual focus enhancements
There are two notable enhancements for manual focus (MF) users:
- The size of the autofocus frame can now be set and changed in manual focus mode (for use with Instant-AF)
- Instant-AF (pressing the AF-L button to autofocus in MF mode) now also works with the faster PDAF method
No surprises here, as these features have already been available in the X30 and X100T.
Direct macro mode selection
The macro mode Fn button now serves as a toggle instead of a menu. Nice! We already asked for this feature when the original X100 was released. However, other functions such as Shutter Type Selection, Face Detection or Preview Pic. Effect still lead to cumbersome menu selections instead of serving as a toggle when they are assigned to a Fn button. Again, the X30 and X100T do a much better job here.
Customizable Q menu
Like in the X30 and X100T, the Quick menu is now customizable. Each of its 16 blocks can control any of the following functions:
- SELECT CUSTOM SETTING
- DYNAMIC RANGE
- WHITE BALANCE
- NOISE REDUCTION
- IMAGE SIZE
- IMAGE QUALITY
- FILM SIMULATION
- HIGHLIGHT TONE
- SHADOW TONE
- FACE DETECTION
- AF MODE
- FLASH MODE
- FLASH COMPENSATION
- MF ASSIST
- MOVIE MODE
- MIC LEVEL ADJUSTMENT
- SILENT MODE
- EVF/LCD BRIGHTNESS
- EVF/LCD COLOR
- ADVANCED FILTER
- SHUTTER TYPE
Like the X30 and X100T, the X-T1 now supports additional video frame rates (50P/25P/24P) to complement the existing 30P and 60P options. If anyone would actually shoot video with this camera, this might be good news for the PAL regions.
Additionally, firmware 3.00 adds manual controls to video, so you can now set your own aperture, shutter speed and ISO. And yes, you can use the camera’s film simulation modes for video recording.
Interlocking of spot metering and focus frame
Like in the X30 and X100T (I am sounding like a broken record now), there’s an option to have the spot metering area determined by the position and size of the selected AF frame. This is a convenient feature for concert and stage photography.
Enhanced face detection
Face detection has been improved by providing an automatic fallback to the active focus frame in case face detection cannot find a target. This is a (so far) undocumented feature, possibly a last minute addition. However, it doesn’t come as a big surprise, because the X30 and X100T already offer this feature.
Expanded Program Shift
Program Shift has been expanded to allow shutter speeds as slow as 4 seconds. The previous limit was 1/4s.
Three custom white balance settings
Instead of one, the X-T1 now offers three slots for custom white balance settings.
This function locks the camera and prevents users from misconfiguring the camera by accidently pressing a button, turning a dial, pushing a switch or selecting a menu. You can lock the entire camera or configure this function individually for many dials, buttons and menu functions of the X-T1 (and an attached lens). All in all, I counted 36 camera/lens functions that can be individually locked or unlocked.
I have no clue what such an elaborate lock feature could possibly be useful for (especially since it isn’t protected by a passcode, so everyone can override or change it anytime), but it’s obvious that Fuji engineers have spent considerable time implementing it instead of directing their resources towards other features and improvements that we actually need.
Additional Fn function settings
Flash Compensation, Shutter Type, Preview Pic. Effect, Preview EXP./WB in Manual Mode and the Lock function can now be assigned to any of the camera’s seven (or three, depending on your Selector Button Setting) Fn buttons.
As mentioned before, the Selector Button Setting function cannot be assigned to a Fn button. And the Movie button is still useless for those 99.5% of us who don’t shoot video with the X-T1.
Direct Instax Share printing
The X-T1 now also supports direct Instax Share printing via wifi. Sounds good, but the image is automatically cropped from 3:2 to 4:3, so be careful when you use this feature. Personally, I prefer transferring my images to a smartphone or tablet and printing them from there using the Instax app.
Autofocus and manual focus work hand in hand in this new feature, which is also available for the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-E2. That’s why it deserved its own little column.
Tethered PC shooting
Using the USB port, the X-T1 can now be controlled from a personal computer running Windows. Since this feature requires additional software, I will cover it in a separate column once I get my hands on a (near-)final version of the control software.
For your convenience, here’s a TOC with links to my previous X-PERT CORNER articles:
- New Firmware Features (2): Using Camera Remote
- New Firmware Features (1): Using AF+MF
- First Look: Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR
- Using the Fujifilm X100T
- First Look: Fujifilm X30
- First Look: XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
- X-E2: Behind Firmware 2.00
- First Look: Fujifilm TCL-X100 Teleconverter for X100(S) Cameras
- First Look: Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
- First Look: Fujifilm X-T1
- First Look: Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 R
- Exposing Right
- Using Auto-ISO
- Using Face Detection
- First Look: Fujifilm XQ1
- PDAF & LMO Lens Firmware Updates Coming in November
- First Look: Fujifilm X-E2
- How Fuji could save the X-M1
- X-A1 vs. X-M1: Photo Ninja Edition
- X-A1 vs. X-M1: the Shootout
- Using the Fujifilm X-A1 [& X-M1]
- First Look: Fujinon XF23mmF1.4 R
- RAW Converter Shootout Results
- Ultimate RAW Converter Shootout
- First Look: X-M1 with New Kit Zoom and Pancake Lens
- Zeiss Touit vs. Fujinon XF
- Remote Shutter Control for X Series Cameras
- Apple Camera RAW, X-Trans and EXR
- First Look: XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
- Studio X
- Using the X100S
- Using the X20
- X100S vs. X100
- X20 vs. X10
- RAW, JPEG, Silkypix and “Fuji Colors”
- Adapting Third-Party Lenses (updated with Speed Booster)
- RAW for JPEG Shooters…
- Tips for Updating your Firmware
- How to Clean the X-Trans Sensor
- Using the XF14mmF2.8 R
- Decoding XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
- Comparing RAW converters: JPEG vs. Lightroom, Capture One, Silkypix & RPP
- XF14mmF2.8 R appears to be almost distortion free
- How to Expand Dynamic Range
- How to Use Extended ISO
- EXR, anyone?
- Capture One – When the Going Gets Tough…
- Using Shooting Profiles and the Quick Menu
Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (German version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems. His new ebook The Fujifilm X-E2: Beyond the Manual is available at Rocky Nook.