Fujifilm X-T1 Firmware V4 review

When I was asked for my opinions on version 4 of the X-T1 firmware I was a little scared and excited in equal measure. Excited because the opportunity to shoot in a more dynamic style is quite appealing. Scary because relearning shooting procedures is never easy. I’ve never been one to shy away from innovation and I’m certainly not a luddite when it comes to tech so I jumped at the chance. Here are my findings.

A pair of Fujifilm X-T1 cameras set up the same way but with differing firmware versions. Let battle commence.

01. A pair of Fujifilm X-T1 cameras set up the same way but with differing firmware versions. Let battle commence.

I decided to do a side by side comparison in each of my test situations and write up my findings. Writing up experiments and drawing upon the exif data really helps my learning process. I started with two X-T1 bodies running FW 3.11. I set all the parameters on both cameras to be identical and then did an upgrade to X-T1 firmware v4 on the black body only.

I found that firmware V4 affects many more elements than I had expected and it really is a step change not just an evolutionary upgrade. I’ll start with my summary for those of you in a hurry. If you read on past that list I go on to give advice based on the mistakes and experiences I’ve had with FW4. All the updates are positive with some features being more useful than others.

A summary of highlights

  • 3D AF tracking of moving subjects comes to the X-T1 and happens best with an un cluttered background and with a single subject that is moving towards camera at between 5 and 45 miles per hour. This includes; skiers, mountain bikers, skateboarders, race cars in pit lanes, cyclists, runners, charging lions etc.  This is quite a big deal because this area of photography has been dominated by SLRs in the past. Lenses that are faster at focussing will likely perform better than the rest especially with fairly close subjects.
  • For slow moving subjects single point AF with AFc mode selected is still the best option.
  • It takes practice to get the most from the system and it can be fiddly changing AF modes in the menus.
  • Low light autofocus performance has been improved when focussing using the central area focus points especially with telephoto lenses.
  • The auto macro function for close up shooting tidies up a system oddity and frees up a function button.
  • The shutter speed can now be set in 1/3rd stop increments and used to trim exposure in the proper manner. It is set by the front command dial with the shutter speed dial set to ‘T’. The value set remains even if the camera is switched off then on again.
  • Exposure compensation now works in manual mode with Auto ISO set.
  • At last ‘Silent Mode’ has been renamed to avoid confusion but unfortunately the new name adds even more confusion. See below for the full story of all these upgrades…
  • Firmware V4 Download link to the official Fujifilm website where you can download V4 now.
  • The camera manual for V4 link.

Low speed autofocus tracking

My first shoot with firmware 4.0 on my X-T1 was for a health and beauty company based in London. One element of the brief was to capture various photographs showing a healthy looking woman enjoying beautiful rural settings.  Light, bright, high key monochrome is perfect for their website and brochure material. I was expecting to shoot fairly static images but I thought this new firmware 4 might let me shoot Leela my model on the 50-140mm lens wide open at f/2.8 as she strolls through the wild flowers, poppies and woodland that I’d reccied for the shoot. The video clip (also for my London client) shows the pace of her movement.

The scene is set. I started out with wide zone AF mode, single shot mode and AFc set on the camera. I worked mainly at the tight end of the 50-140mm zoom lens and had it set to f/2.8. I set the shutter speed to 1/500th second and adjusted the ISO between 200 and 400 to trim the exposure as the light changed. I directed Leela to walk towards the camera and I just kept shooting to see exactly what the camera was creating. Unfortunately the camera wasn’t really sure what my subject was. At times it was quite happy giving me a cluster of focus points on the daisies to the right of frame rather than Leela. I tried the face detection on and off too and this helped but the camera still liked the daisies as a subject every now and then, especially the foreground ones. I think there must be some kind of foreground bias to the algorithm. I later learned that apparently, even when working in the wide zone mode with the predictive AF area covering the whole frame the placement of the focus point matters. I missed that at the time and it’s not mentioned on the Fuji Guys video that I’ve just seen on YouTube.  Having said that, I think it is only relevant for the initial ‘lock on’ after that, the focus point setting is ignored. In my tests Leela was locked on in AFc wide tracking mode but the camera later decided to check out the daisies. More testing on my part is required so that I can fine tune my focussing settings for each situation.

02. On the move with the XF 50-140mm zoom lens wide open at f/2.8. The focus is on Leela in just one of these frames as she walks towards the camera.

02. On the move with the XF 50-140mm zoom lens wide open at f/2.8. The focus on Leela is spot on in only one of these frames as she walks towards the camera. Sometimes the focus is on the background as in the picture top left but mainly it was the foreground where errors occurred.

 

03. As you can see the frame left of centre is completely out of focus but the others are fine. Leela is stationary for this scene and it seems the AF in wide area mode likes a moving subject to lock on to.

03. As you can see the frame left of centre is completely out of focus but the others are fine. Leela is stationary for this scene and it seems the AF in wide area mode likes a moving subject to lock on to. This is all part of the learning process and one I always go through with new equipment. I like to really know what my camera is capable in each setup so that I can make the right decision about shoot settings in an instant.

04. Image at the top is fine while the one at the bottom is soft. The camera preferred the daisies blowing in the wind at the bottom of the frame and the little green boxes danced with the daisies.

04. The image at the top is pin sharp while the one at the bottom is soft. The camera occasionally preferred the daisies blowing in the wind at the bottom of the frame and the little green boxes danced with the daisies. It’s quite mesmerising watching the technology in action. I’m easily distracted.

05. I thought that continuous AF with intelligent subject identification might have a problem with such a busy scene so I shot a few frames for my client in my usual way using my usual system of AFs combined with a small focus area. That part of the X-T1 autofocus engine has always been fabulous.

05. I thought that continuous AF with intelligent subject identification might have a problem with such a busy scene so I shot a few frames for my client in my usual way using my usual system of AFs combined with a small focus area. That part of the X-T1 autofocus engine has always been fabulous.

I repeated the testing trying different combinations of wide area and zone modes at my next location, poppies.

06. A the poppies location I switched to a 3x3 grid in zone tracking mode and had more success with the walking shots but there were misses and I found myself choosing locations and framing so that the AF would perform best.

06. A the poppies location I eventually switched to a 3×3 grid in zone tracking mode and had more success with the walking shots but there were occasional misses and I found myself choosing locations and framing so that the AF would perform best. I wouldn’t normally attempt to use focus tracking so this kind of shot is new to me. For my standard method of shooting action I place my model in the perfect spot and mark it in some way with a leaf or something. I pre set manual focus on the model in that spot then I direct the model to take three steps back before walking forward past the spot. As they hit the mark I take the shot. This can be repeated time and again and adjusted slightly until the right combination of expression and pose is achieved.

07. A few edited shots for my client from this serene looking scene. All the frames in this location were shot on my trusty 50-140mm lens wide open at f/2.8.

07. A few colour shots for my client too from this serene looking scene. Shot on the X-T1 using the 50-140mm lens wide open at f/2.8.

We then went to the woods just as the sun came out. Even so it was dark in the woods with the occasional splodge of high contrast foliage on the woodland floor. This proved a real magnet for the focus engine. So after a few attempts at walking shots here I resorted to my usual focussing techniques to get the shots my client needs.

08. A few of the close ups I shot in the woods. I thought I'd use face recognition with eye priority set to auto. It sort of worked but I was still happier to use single point AF and know exactly where I want to focus the image. I think with time to practice and gain confidence this eye detection feature has a future.

08. A few of the close ups I shot in the woods. I thought I’d use face recognition with eye priority set to auto. It worked but took a bit of time to activate. I found it a bit of a distraction too. I am still happier to use single point AF and know exactly where I want to focus the image. I think with time to practice and gain confidence this face and eye detection feature has a future.

We left the woods after about 20 minutes and it was a wrap. Not bad for a morning’s work.  I’m really happy with the existing focussing systems in the X-T1 and my experiments here are to determine for myself what circumstances I can use the new options that we have been given. After all the sample video put out by Fuji looked like it was shot at f/11 or f/16 so everything in the frame looked sharp anyway. I wanted to shoot at f/2.8 and see just what is possible.

The conclusion I drew from my first testing of slow moving subjects was that for slow moving subjects I will continue to use single area focus. I scoot it over to the correct position using the D pad and either use AFc of AFs depending upon the direction and amount of movement.

High speed autofocus tracking

Next up that evening was a shoot with a Ducati 899 Panigale. Riders of Bristol, the local Ducati dealership kindly lent us the bike to do some high speed AF testing. My mate Len arranged a safe industrial location for us to shoot in and Jez came along too to help me test the new X-T1 firmware in it’s target role.

08. Len on the Ducatti and Jez on the Yamaha rode towards me at various speeds so I could learn how to shoot action with the Fuji X-T1 V4.

09. Len (the black stig) on the Ducati and Jez on the Yamaha rode towards me at various speeds so I could learn how to shoot action with the Fuji X-T1 V4. It took quite a few circuits but I had success in the end. I was eventually shooting action that I’d never have been able to capture before this new firmware upgrade.

We got the firmware testing underway first. We had a good hour of sunlight left at our location so we set up a circuit route for both bikes, a Ducati 899 Panigale and a rare Yamaha SZR 600 single.

Jez travelling at 45mph is pin sharp in all of these shots.

10. Jez is travelling at 45mph and is pin sharp in all of these shots. I used AFc, the drive in CH (continuous high) mode, zone focussing set just left of centre and rattled off a burst of frames. We tried 55mph with some success and 65mph with no success so the system is limited. It might be the lens that is the limiting factor or the processor. I tried the 90mm lens for a few moments at a trade show the other day and it seemed to focus significantly faster than the 50-140mm zoom so progress is being made by Fujifilm as the system evolves.

11. Remarkable. I've never had the kit required to track focus like this. It took practice but I eventually nailed the technique required.

11. Remarkable! I’ve never had the kit required to track focus like this. It took practice but I eventually nailed the technique required. The snag with zone focussing is all my concentration was on keeping Jez’s crash helmet in the rectangle and no consideration was given to the framing. (straight out of camera jpeg with sharpening set to -1 in camera)

At 45mph the wide area tracking worked well but it's only available on drive mode S or CL. If you switch to CH (continuous high speed mode) it automatically switches to a central zone.

12. At 45mph the wide area tracking worked well but it’s only available on drive mode S or CL. If you switch to CH it automatically switches to a central zone. However wide Area mode is easily fooled by other moving objects. When I had both bikes coming towards me in the frame the clusters of focus points often jumped between the two. Selecting a central zone seemed to work much better for some situations.

By 55mph it all started to fall apart with the grass bank in the background becoming the camera's point of focus. It did wake up again but it was all a bit too late.

13. By 55mph it all started to fall apart with the grass bank in the background becoming the camera’s point of focus. It did wake up again but it was all a bit too late. 511 jpegs later and I know quite a lot about what the fuji X-T1 with firmware 4.0 can and can’t do with reference to focus tracking.

There are now a lot more autofocus options to consider and here are a few of them:

  • AFs, AFc or MF
  • Wide tracking, zone or single point
  • Size and position of zone, size and position of single point
  • Face detection on or off
  • Eye detection auto, left priority, right priority or off
  • Release/ focus priority for AFs or AFc each set to either FOCUS or RELEASE.
  • Pre AF on or off

For the past 3 years I’ve been used to using just one setup; AFs with a small single point, scooting it around as required. It is now going to take me some time to really master these new autofocus features that the X-T1 now has to offer. Camera craft is becoming increasingly more involved, it’s a bit like driving a formula 1 car I suppose with many more buttons, knobs, dials and menus to negotiate than there used to be. Some people will just choose to carry on as before, others will fully embrace this new technology as it continues to evolve.

Jes with his newly acquired special sport bike. One of handful of Yamaha SZR 600 in original factory specification in existance

14. After our AF testing session we had time for me to set up a few shots of Jez with his newly acquired special sport bike. This is probably one of just a handful of Yamaha SZR 600s in original factory specification in existence.

10. A bike shot for the dealer was next up. I lit the bike with a pair of Elinchrom Quadras. I used one with the Rotalux 25cm x 130cm Striplight soft box from the right of shot and my backlight was a Quadra with an 18cm reflector and 30 degree grid. The back light was at 1/4 power (or 100Ws) the key light was at 1/8th power (50Ws). This could have been lit with Speedlights at a push.

15. A bike shot for Riders Ducati dealership was next up. I lit the bike with a pair of Elinchrom Quadras. I rigged the Rotalux 25cm x 130cm Striplight soft box on the head to the right of shot and my backlight was a Quadra  head with an 18cm reflector and 30 degree grid. The backlight was set at 1/16th power (or 25Ws) the key light in the softbox was at 1/8th power (50Ws). This shot could have been lit with a pair of Speedlights at a push.

Face Detection and Eye Detection

I find the X-T1 face detection often takes a while to find faces in anything wider than head and shoulders shots especially if they are wearing glasses or are in profile. When it does find a face and locks on it then can take a moment to sort out eye priority. Eye priority is only an option in AFs mode. When combined with a touch screen on a future camera the face detection feature will work as well as it does on smartphones where you can touch the LCD to tell the camera what face you want your focus priority on. Until then it’s going to be the trusty single point AF without face recognition for me. I expect hobbyist photographers with more patience and less time constraints will find this improved face and eye detection feature useful.

Exposure compensation now available in manual mode with Auto ISO

This is another feature that has been on the cards for a while that will be well received by photographers the world over. When the aperture is set to a value other than A, the shutter speed is set to a value other than A  and Auto ISO is activated the exposure compensation dial can be used to adjust the exposure.

Why am I happy? I’m happy because I tend to set my aperture to a distinct value and it’s nearly always wide open. I set my shutter speed to the lowest value that I can use to get camera and subject movement free pictures and I manually adjust my ISO to taste to get the exposure. Now the camera will do the ISO dial twiddling for me while leaving me in fine control of the exposure via the exposure compensation dial. This will be great for changing light situations at a wedding for instance.

Most of the time I will stay in manual mode but having this function available direct from the ISO dial without having to go into menus is fabulous.

Shutter speed can now be set throughout the range in 1/3rd stop increments

This has been a big ask but now it is here. If you are used to having all the shutter speeds available on a command wheel (SLR style) now they are here on the X-T1. They stay where you leave them even after switching the camera off and on again. Just pop the shutter dial to the T position and away you go. You can now set the shutter speed from the from the front dial.

Why is this important? Many years ago we had distinct single stop shutter speed dials like the one on the X-T1. The looked cute but had the limitation of not being able to set 1/3 increments. This soon changed in the early 90s and from then on the shutter speed was set by a command dial and the value set was displayed on the LCD top plate of the camera and in the viewfinder. This meant that the shutter speed could be used to set exposure with 1/3 stop accuracy and now that function has arrived on the X-T1.

I will certainly be using this feature on a day to basis. Well done Fujifilm.

Better autofocus performance in low light

Another of the highlighted features of firmware 4 over all the previous versions is a better low light autofocus performance in AFs and AFc modes. This is because the phase detect micro pixels that reside on the Xtrans11 sensor are now set to work at a threshold of 0.5 EV instead of the previous 2.5 EV threshold.

What does this mean? This means that in the central 9 AF zones of the sensor (now highlighted in white when you move the AF point around) the phase detect part of the focus system can work in two stops less light than it could before.

EVs or Exposure Values, are an old measure of shutter speed/ aperture combinations that for all intents and purposes died out in the 1980s simply because they are independent of ISO and don’t relate to photometric exposure.

With firmware 3, the phase detect AF function started to contribute to the focussing effort at 2.5 EV. The Xtrans sensor has a base ISO of 200 so 2.5 EV equates to an exposure of ISO 200, 1 second at f/1.8 or more likely setting of ISO 3200, 1/15th second at f/1.8. This is a pretty dark environment but one I find myself in quite often. I use my monopod when working at a 1/15th of a second and have no problem using ISO 3200 if I need to.

With firmware 4, the phase detect AF function starts right down at EV 0.5. That’s a whole two stops darker. How have they managed that? I don’t know, but it will certainly be useful. Here are the threshold exposure settings for 0.5 EV: ISO 6400, 1/15th second at f/1.2. Now that really is dark. The sort of dark where your eyes have to adjust. Useful if like me you shoot in dark cellars or out on the street at night.

Does it work? The test:  I locked myself in a darkened room with both of the X-T1 cameras and the XF16mm lens (the newest glass I own). I tested the focussing speed of both cameras on various subjects and I struggled to find a difference. Both of the cameras were remarkable at hitting focus about 4 out of 5 times in very dark situations. There were moments where I struggled to see which camera was the Graphite Silver model and which was the black body. I tried different light levels from black hole to murky via dingy and neither camera performed noticeably better than the other using AFs mode with a small square set to the centre position. I switched off face detection for this test because the Fuji is great at seeing ghosts. Every now and then a big box indicating a face found would appear in the blackness at the edge of my frame and scare me just a bit. Now, as the phase detect pixels occupy the central portion of the sensor and they work best when finding vertical edges I concentrated my focussing tests on some upright features. I did notice that the fw4 camera was quicker at locking on with less hunting but the differences were not remarkable.

So without a lot of evidence of improvement I contacted the tech team at Fuji UK to discuss matters further and they suggested using a longer focal length so I repeated the experiment with the 35mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 lens and voila! The difference became quite obvious.

Here's a chart of EV values on the left showing the shutter speeds for a given f number. The Xtrans sensor has a natural sensitivity of ISO 200.

16. Here’s a chart of EV values on the left showing the corresponding shutter speeds for a given f number (shown along the top or bottom). The Xtrans sensor has a natural sensitivity of ISO 200 so any real world photometric exposure value for a given EV can be extrapolated from the chart.

When either camera wasn’t happy that it had achieved focus it showed a red box and there was no beep so at least I knew. I love the fact that the X-T1 gives the lens a little nudge back and forth each time whatever the situation even if I focus on the same subject twice. My Canon was lazy in this department it would just sit there nearly in focus and not budge even just a bit. I often had to focus away then focus back again. Those dark days are gone for me now though.

Any improvement to low light autofocus performance is always welcome even when the camera performs as well as the Fuji X-T1.

Q & A:

  • Does the new phase detect threshold affect shooting in normal or bright conditions? No.
  • Can I use AF to photograph a black cat in a coal cellar with wide angle lenses? Yes, just as before.
  • Can I now use AF to photograph a head shot of a black cat in a coal cellar ? Yes especially if the cat has white stripes on it’s forehead.

 Silent Mode renamed

One last point of note is the ever so confusing “SILENT MODE” has finally been renamed after three years of confusion. It is now called “SOUND AND FLASH OFF”. Unfortunately this adds to the confusion and doesn’t really help. It now has two states ‘sound and flash off on’ and ‘sound and flash off off’. So to switch the sound off you have to select on. No doubt the error will be picked up soon and I expect by FW4.1 it will have been changed to “SOUND AND FLASH” then it can be ‘sound and flash on’ or ‘sound and flash off’.

Conclusion

All in all X-T1 firmware v4 delivers a great set of features that Fujifilm have added to a camera that is already 16 months old and it goes to show Fujifilm’s commitment to its existing user base. I hope this review and my findings have been a worthwhile read. Please feel free to join the discussion, tell me where I went wrong, or leave a comment below.

Download link

Here is the official Fujifilm web page where you can now download the firmware. Do not download it from anywhere else online as there are a few copies of beta versions floating around that claim to be V4 but aren’t.

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comments

49 Responses

  1. photolibrary12

    Hi Damien,

    I am not sure what format you used for your video in the Firmware 4 review, but it will not play on Apples Ipad. Apart from that the review was excellent as alsways.

    Regards
    Michael

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your kind words. The video was created on my Mac Book Pro in Final Cut Pro X, It was exported for ‘Apple Devices’ and uploaded to Vimeo. It was then embedded into this blog. It looks fabulous on my iPhone 6+ so I think there must be an issue with the iPad. I don’t have an iPad to hand to test as I’ve migrated to the iPhone 6+ to replace my iPhone and ipad combo. I hope this helps, Damien.

      Reply
  2. j.a. leaman

    Nice to see a comprehensive review of the new nuts and bolts – thanks for taking the time Damien. More than helpful again…

    Reply
  3. Peter

    A to the point review, thanks!

    AFAIK, you’ve always been able to adjust the shutter speed in 1/3 stops around the chosen one using the front dial.

    Love the poppies!

    Cheers,
    Peter.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you. I just never liked the faff of using both the dial and the wheel to set a shutter speed. Now I can use a wheel for every shutter speed and it stays where it’s left even if the camera is switched off. There was a reason that all cameras adopted this system in the 1990s and now it’s back on the Fuji.

      The poppies were fab. Thanks for the compliments, Damien.

      Reply
  4. Nigel Betteridge

    Thank you Damien, a well written and extremely informative article. It is so much better to read such information from someone who really knows what they are talking about.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi James,

      Thanks for that. I thought it must be a problem with that particular iPad.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  5. paul biagui

    Just upgraded mine a few hours ago here in Atlanta ( Stayed up until 3AM local time ) and can’t wait to get on the field and do some “testing”…Than you again Damien for your valuable inputs and hands on review. (y)

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Paul,

      I must admit I was in the deep end here and I know that with more practice I can eek out more performance from the X-T1 V4. Have fun, Damien.

      Reply
  6. Peter

    Updating mine later today :) sounds like lots to relearn so this will be booked marked so I can come back to it many times for the help I am sure to need. Many thanks for taking the time to do this.

    Reply
  7. Jarek

    Hi, Thanks for your review ! I must ad from self that in v4.0 upgrade my camera i find only one good things. It’s exposure bias in auto iso. Autofocus in continous mode is still bad, I try it on 35/ 23/ 18 mm lens. It works without stop on focus point if it stop ;( Face detection is like in children camera and it must be locked on left or right eye – not at clouser eye ! ;( for who it was made ? for marketing only ;(

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Jarek,

      First things first. If you only get one improvement you can use, be thankful. The camera is still an improvement on the one you bought. The eye detection when left on auto opts for the nearest eye so you are not restricted to left or right. I must admit I’m not a fan of face detection but I’m quite happy it is there in my camera. My phone has it and I must admit I occasionally find it useful there. I found focussing speed and accuracy improved across the board especially in low light.

      Stick with it and practice. With experience you will really find the limits and the combination of settings that really deliver the results you want. Stay inspired and enjoy your photography.

      Respect and regards, Damien :)

      Reply
  8. The Stig

    Comprehensive and well informed article mate as always, personally found it difficult to use all the settings and ride the Ducati at the same time. Need to practice it more!!

    Reply
  9. john canavan

    Thanks Damien for the review great stuff ,i won’t attempt to understand they chart thingy but get the rest thanks again.
    John

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks John, I was wondering why Fuji don’t use Lux like everyone else to describe the scene brightness. It’s far easier to understand.

      Stay creative and have fun,

      Damien.

      Reply
  10. Delmege Christian

    Damien thank you for this overview of the new firmware.
    Your photos are absolutely fantastic.
    I’m pretty sure the firmware v.4 doesn’t do much to take better pictures, but I’ll install it anyway.
    Best regards
    PS: the model is gorgeous too. I hope to be able one day to sublimate a model as you do

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Christian, I thought sublimation was going from solid to gas without going through a liquid state :)) Stay inspired and take wonderful pictures.

      Kind regards, Damien.

      Reply
  11. Jin

    Thanks Damien for your review. With all the glowing reviews I was starting to wonder if I just wasn’t getting something. I tried Eye AF and to be honest was disappointed – I kept getting the eyebrow, or past the eye, or the eyelid. It is also hit-or-miss on finding the eye at times.

    I couldn’t even get the zone tracking to work, it may be a busy background. I’ll try again later but for now I like your method of pre-focusing and having the model take three steps back.

    The one upgrade I do like (and it’s a major one) is the PDAF EV sensitivity increase, which really helps for low-light/studio shots. I found less hunting overall with the XF56. Although I won’t be shooting a black cat in a coal cellar anytime soon ;)

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Jin,

      It takes practice and I agree on the eye detection thing. It won’t be long though and this will get improved further. It might be the next generation of cameras but It will come at some point soon.

      Enjoy your photography,

      Damien.

      Reply
  12. Delmege Christian

    Hello Damien
    Sorry, english is not my native language.
    From the french word, sublimer : “figuratively idealize, magnifying the beauty”
    Thank you for the encouragement

    Best regards
    Christian

    Reply
  13. Jimmy Schwen Hsuen

    Hi Damien

    Thank you for the informative and thorough review on the Firmware v4.0 update. I really appreciate the hard work you have put into writing the article after spending time shooting in the different situations.

    I have however run into a problem after the v4.0 update And hope that you and your readers might be able to assist me. All the lenses work well with my Xt1 body with the exception of my xf 27mm lens that does not have an Aperture ring. I am able to change the Aperture setting in Programme Mode by setting the Aperture Setting to A+M in the Shooting Menu.
    Shutter Priority Can also be set by turning the Shutter Speed dial.

    I cannot set Aperture setting using the thumb dial at the back of the camera located between the AEL & the AL Lock. I have been able to st the camera in Aperture Priority mode by changing the Aperture setting dial to Manual in the Shooting Menu. I would appreciate your input or your readers’ help if someone can point me:-
    1. How to change the Aperture Setting.
    2. How to change the setting to Manual Mode.

    the camera seem to suggest via an icon that the Aperture is to be set using the Thumb dial.

    thank you

    Jimmy
    jimmyschwen@rogers.com

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Jimmy for your kind words. I don’t have a 27mm but I hope one of the readers here can help you.

      Cheers Damien.

      Reply
  14. Richard

    Thanks so much for a great article and detailed tests. It’s impressive that you evaluate each new feature with an honest assessment of where they are really helpful, maybe more for hobbyists, or still needing work.

    So often when I read articles by Fuji photographers I worry they must have a Sword of Damocles hanging above them ready to fall if they mention any slight concern.

    While I am grateful for a company that excels at supporting its products and serving its customers, it is strange that Fuji seems to have no interest in extending the auto exposure bracketing range.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for the compliments about my ‘say it as it is’ approach. I must admit I’ve never used AEB and I’ve never heard of requests to have the feature extended. It’s a new one on me. No doubt you have your reasons :)

      Kind regards, Damien.

      Reply
  15. James Hsuen

    Hi Damien,

    Thank you for all your response. I was able to resolve the issue I had by changing the Aperture Setting under the Setting Menu to Auto + Manual. The front wheel then was able to change the Aperture Setting and the Back Thumb Wheel was able to control the Shutter Speed setting to shoot in Manual Mode. With the A set on the Shutter Speed Dial, I was able to get Program Mode . When the Setting Menu was put into the Manual Mode, I was able to operate the camera in Aperture Priority Mode.

    Best wishes and kind regards.

    Jimmy

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi James,

      Phew, I’m so glad you are sorted. I don’t have a 27mm lens and I was unable to help you.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  16. Vic Chapman

    Thanks for the excellent review Damien. I shot a couple of events already and love the new XT1 AF functions – all I want now is the 90mm f2. I have big thumbs and too short a memory for more than a few fn buttons so I assigned mine thus: Front fn to face detect. Wifi fn to MS/ES. For my big thumbs – top + R selector both to AF area. Bottom and left selectors both to AF zone. (Hit either or both don’t matter). My physical and mental problems both solved. I don’t supose I’m the only photographer with such shortcomings so I though I’d share. BTW, I have an early XT1 and solved the mushy button issue (more a too low set issue really) using Sugru plastic glue molded (in red!) onto the front fn, rear selectors and AF-L buttons.
    Best regards, Vic

    Reply
    • Damien

      Cheers Vic for your compliments and solution options to the big hands conundrum :) Best regards, Damien.

      Reply
  17. Vic Chapman

    BTW I also suffered the ghost face detected or rather faces. I was shooting a music event and turned around for some crowd shots switching to face detect expecting to lock onto near faces but instead it locked onto a pair of nicely rounded buttocks! That’s what happened officer – honest!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Vic,

      Buttock detection function – now that’s something not yet thought of. You are onto something there. Damien.

      Reply
  18. Kh5

    Could it be that you didn’t notice much difference in low light (and maybe other situations) because you had face detection activated? Obviously phase detection AF (PDAF) is turned off, when face detection is activated.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Kh5, Yes you are right but I did switch it off after I saw ghosts. I eventually managed to satisfy myself that the AF sensitivity threshold is improved with the new firmware :)

      Thanks, Damien.

      Reply
  19. Frued

    Beautiful and very informative writing about the newest Fuji firmware 4.00 upgrade for the X-t1. Thank you very much. You gave me an enlightening lesson and clarity sharing your trials and findings, giving me (if not to all) a shortcut not having to experiment this on my own.

    Reply
  20. Carlos Valentino

    Damien, your videos are really great and better than some of the BS on cable tv! My question. Do you believe it’s safe to put down my DSLR and shoot an entire wedding with the XT-1?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Carlos,

      Thank you for the compliments about my videos. I shoot complete weddings on my Fujis. I shoot everything on my Fujis. The question is how confident are you at capturing a wedding on the X-T1. When the light is great it’s easy but how are you in dark or evenings or working with flash. You will know when you are ready for the switch. So many wedding photographers just use Fuji now it’s not a case of if the camera or lenses are up to the job.

      Cheers, Damien. :)

      Reply
  21. Ian Mylam

    Thanks for a very thorough and informative review, Damien.

    One question: I notice that you like to set exposure manually with aperture set for aesthetics and shutter speed set to the minimum for sharp pictures with that lens. You then trim the exposure with manual ISO adjustment. You like the new feature allowing you to adjust the ISO via the exposure-compensation dial without needing to adjust ISO manually, which I can understand.

    However: why not simply let Auto-ISO do this for you? In other words, set the minimum-acceptable shutter speed for your lens/subject combination in Auto ISO, set your desired aperture, and set shutter speed to Auto. The camera will then give you your desired aperture and also give you your minimum acceptable shutter speed, plus give you the minimum ISO consistent with that aperture and shutter speed. And all this is (and was previously!) trimmable with the Exposure Compensation Dial. Just curious, as this is how I normally have the camera set up, and I have wondered on a number of occasions why you preferred manual aperture, shutter and ISO.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Ian,

      Great question. Auto ISO is great if you are only using one lens as it takes time to switch the base shutter speed to suit the lens. I know there are three auto ISO options but I switch between 4 or 5 lenses in a jiffy and having to program the base shutter speeds in Auto ISO is a bit of a pain. I find full manual working suits me best for most of my shooting. Each time I change a lens (that can be 3 times in one minute) I set the shutter speed I want to be working at with that lens. Sometimes I use my monopod too so the shutter speed decision is the critical one for me. Fast enough to get crisp sharp pictures without shunting up the ISO unnecessarily. The process makes me think and for the most part that’s a good thing.

      I’m just off to Dusseldorf and Rotterdam and I’ll be taking my 16, 23, 35, 56 and 90mm lenses. I’ll be shooting the 90mm on a monopod when inside because I’ll need 1/500th to get spot on shots every time without it. Outside at f/2 won’t be a problem. I’m happy shooting hand held with the 16mm at 1/60th, the 23mm at 1/125th, the 35mm and 56mm at 1/250th.

      I now use the wheel to set shutter speeds so all the intermediate ones are available for me now too :)

      It’s great that we each have different ways of shooting and it’s even better to have a choice.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  22. Tony T

    Good review, but still miss a few details, there are new menus and display symbols, and a few new features not mentioned. Link to v4 manual does not work. Still very useful review.

    Reply
  23. Thierry

    Hi Damien. After 7 months, how do you use these AF modes? In what circumstances? Thank you for your review.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Thierry,

      It just so happens that over the past 7 months I’ve not had to shoot any action. I did shoot water taxis at speed when I was in Venice but that was just to check out the X-Pro2 focussing speed. I used the wide area AF mode with continuous and blasted away and It worked really well. The pictures were a bit boring so I didn’t post them here. I do like to be up to speed with what my cameras offer just in case that need for an action shot arises. I’d hate to be all fingers and thumbs. I’m off on a Wild West adventure in the USA and I might just get to shoot some mustangs kicking up the dust in the morning light. Who knows?

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply

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About The Author

Damien Lovegrove is a world renowned portrait photographer specialising in making women look fabulous. “I’m inspired by beauty and as I have matured as a photographer I’ve learned to see beauty in just about everyone and everywhere. It’s not what I look at that matters to me, it is what I see. I love people and I suppose women in particular. I love their mannerisms, fashion, style and beauty."

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