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Fuji X-T1 settings

My trusty Fuji X-T1 has been my principal camera now for 16 months and in that time it has travelled the world with me to Cambodia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan. It's

My trusty Fuji X-T1 has been my principal camera for the past 16 months and in that time it has travelled the world with me to Cambodia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong, and Japan. It’s the camera I use day in day out to make my living. I use it for shooting portraits, weddings and stock library submissions. Here is how I set up my Fuji X-T1 to deliver wonderful pictures and a perfect shooting experience.

Several times each day I’m asked about some aspect of the way I use my Fuji X series cameras via social media (Twitter: @damienlovegrove, Instagram @damienlovegrove, Facebook: damienlovegrove ) and now that the firmware has settled down for the X-T1 The time is right to share my settings and more importantly my way of shooting with you. Note: The new autofocus engine developed for the X-T10 is coming to the X-T1 via a major firmware update in June 2015 but as I always shoot in AFs mode this will have no affect on my settings or on the way that I use the camera.

My Fujifilm X-T1 settings

There are several ways of shooting with digital cameras. With SLRs I used to set up my LCD to mimic a simulated final processed image. This was punchy, vibrant with deep blacks and peaky whites. The image on the back of the camera was very different from that of the real world projected on the focussing screen in the viewfinder. However I have adopted a completely different approach to setting up my viewfinder and LCD with my Fuji X system. I have established the optimum camera jpeg settings to give me a viewfinder image that shows exactly what is recorded in the raw file. The jpegs produced with my settings are somewhat flat or calm and are not always representative of my finished photograph. Anyone who has shot raw video footage will know just how it looks prior to grading. That’s what I like in my stills camera too as it allows me to accurately assess the image exposure while I’m setting shutter speed, ISO and aperture. Here are my settings and why I’ve chosen them.

The Qmenu of my X-T1 is set out like this.

The Q menu of the latest X series cameras is customisable and after much deliberation I have settled on this layout for the menu items on my X-T1

Q Menu

Row 1 of the Q menu

Row 1 of the Q menu

I’ve parked Face Detection over on the left because at some point in my life I expect to need it and I’ve always struggled to find it in the main menu system. When the camera is switched to AFs it is greyed out as shown here.

Then there is BASE I leave it alone because I’ve not had a reason to programme C1 – C7 yet. The fact that you can’t name the custom settings makes them unusable for me because I’d never remember what one does what.

The Macro function had to be moved here because it used to be switched on or off via the top button of the four selector/ function buttons arranged in a circle around the Menu/OK button. I have set all those selector buttons to FOCUS – focus area. This allows me to quickly move the focus point around. More on that later. (I’m not sure the Macro function does anything anyway. I certainly never use it)

White Balance is on the right. This is nearly spot on however I would like to be able to see and adjust the ‘K’ setting once highlighted in the Q menu from the front command dial rather than have to assign the White Balance to the function 2 button. The white balance is critical for me as it is one of the settings that gets saved to the RAW file and carried through to Lightroom. I don’t like having to faff about with white balance in Lightroom, I like to get it right in camera. I only use three white balance settings, Sun, Cloudy and K. K gives me the control I want in mixed light or when I’m colour shifting.  Being able to preview the colour effect while changing the K value is wonderful.

Row 2 of the Q menu

Row 2 of the Q menu

Row two of the Q menu starts with Noise Reduction. I’ve no idea why I parked it here as I always leave it set to Minus 2. If I could switch it off altogether I’d do it. in camera noise reduction is the single most evil thing in the Fuji menus. NR set at any level above minus two kills detail. I have my Lightroom defaults set to zero too.

Next is Jpeg size and aspect ratio. I always leave this set to L 3:2 and I have good reason to do so. The jpeg image that is saved embedded in the RAW file on a Fuji camera is just 50% in size and that means when shooting RAW only the playback is limited to a 50% view. This isn’t enough so I end up shooting large fine jpegs too just to get a decent image to review in camera. I throw the jpegs away in computer. Some say that if your card fails you get two chances of having a non corrupted file as either the jpeg or RAW are likely to be okay. I’ve never had a corrupted SD card so I’ve no way of verifying this. I use the UHS2 type cards by Sandisk with a 280mb/s write speed. These are the cards the X-T1 was designed to use.

File type RAWF is my permanent selection for reasons discussed above.

Film Simulation is my most accessed Q menu item. I mainly use Pro Neg S but I also use Bg. Pro Neg S delivers an image on screen that is calm and natural. It looks flat to most people but it gives me the chance to assess the digital file dynamic range precisely. Bg ‘Soften skin tones in black and white portraits’ as the user manual describes and I happen to agree with them. When I get my images into Lightroom I have to remake these film simulation choices but they are so worth it as the  “Adobe Standard” camera profile is not great.

Row 3 of the Q menu

Row 3 of the Q menu

Highlight Tone I set this to minus 1. In conjunction with Pro Neg S this lets me see exactly the limits of highlight recording in the RAW file. I can accurately set my white level where I need it. I often find myself shooting white clothing into the light and I want to know just how white it looks. I’m not one of those photographers who is scared of white and makes everything a shade of grey but I am very tuned in to where I place my white point threshold in the scene.

Shadow Tone I set this to minus 1. This allows me to see every last bit of detail being recorded in the shadows. With the film sim set to Pro Neg S and the tone end stops set to minus 1 I can see exactly what I will see in the RAW file in Lightroom. It’s like previewing what highlight and shadow details can be recovered with the adjustment sliders without having to guess. Once the image is in Lightroom it builds it’s own preview completely ignoring these tonal settings. That’s fine by me.

I leave Colour set to zero as the Pro Neg S film simulation doesn’t exaggerate or reduce saturation.

I set the Jpeg sharpness to minus 1. I do this so that the screen image on my LCD or EVF isn’t giving me an over confidence. I hate seeing an image in camera that looks acceptably sharp even when viewed at 100% only to discover that in the computer it it looks slightly blurred because of the onset of camera shake etc. I want sparkling pictures in print and with sharpness set at minus 1 I regularly shoot another frame after image review that I would have not bothered to do with sharpness set to zero.

Row 4 of the Q menu

Row 4 of the Q menu

Self timer is useful so it’s there on my Q menu.

Shutter Type is always MS for me. I regularly use flash and I don’t want issues with flash timing plus I work under artificial and fluorescent and light sources that ‘beat’ with the ES leaving banding in the image. The mechanical shutter in the X-T1 is perfect.

Flash I use this to toggle flash on or off. I’ve never used rear and I expect someday we will be able to use commander mode when the Fuji flash system is released.

LCD and EVF brightness. I set this to zero as it gives me an image exposure I can rely on.

Function buttons

I set the Selector button to Focus area

I have set the Selector Button to Focus area and this negates having to set each segment individually.

That one press saving when moving the focus zone around is vital in speeding up the camera shooting process plus it means I never switch on macro or some other function by accident etc. This is a game changer for me.

Focussing regime: I always move my focus zone to where it is needed before I take the picture. This is because the Fuji X system lenses are flat field meaning a focus reframe method of shooting doesn’t work with subjects off centre in the frame [see note below]. The added advantage of doing this is when I check for blinks on playback and zoom in using the instant access 100% playback It goes straight to where it’s needed and not some arbitrary middle position.

Note: Fuji lenses are flat field meaning if you point one at a brick wall 2 metres away and set it wide open focussed at 2m it will create a sharp shot edge to edge and corner to corner even though the edges of the frame may be 3m from the lens. The focussing distance changes as you pan away from centre. That’s why focus and reframe system of focussing doesn’t work. Incidentally it’s also one of the main reason SLR users get back focus issues. With an SLR only the centre focussing areas are sensitive due to the way the prism operates. With the Fuji X system all the focus zones are sensitive even right into the corners and that is why focusing errors are a thing of the past.

The function buttons can be configured in just about any way you want them

The function buttons can be configured in just about any way you want them. In this shot Fn2 is set to face recognition (I’ve no idea why, must have been changed at some point recently) I usually have F2 set to white balance so I can easily change the Kelvin setting. Face recognition has been assigned to my Q menu.

When I'm shooting my screen is clear of data. This gives me 100% unrestricted view of what I'm shooting.

When I’m in shooting mode my screen is clear of data. This gives me a 100% unrestricted view of my photograph before I press the button. By not having technical information distracting me I can concentrate more fully on the image composition and framing.

The other things to mention are my accessories. You will see in the top picture that I have the Fuji deep eye cup optional extra. I have had to trim it down a bit on the top right using a Dremel to fit my left eye. You can also see that I have a base plate and grip. The L section of this base plate and grip unit is badly designed and restricted the tilting screen access so it has gone. When I am out shooting landscapes I now take my trusty three year old Fuji X-Pro1 with it’s fabulous Really Right Stuff L plate and grip. I never use camera straps as they get in the way of the lens or restrict my movement with the camera.

Please feel free to discuss these settings. Bear in mind there are many ways to set up an X-T1 and what works for me may not be ideal for you.

Feel free to see examples of my work shot with the Fuji X-T1 over the past 16 months by clicking on the gallery image or by clicking here.

Feel free to see examples of my work shot with the Fuji X-T1 over the past 16 months by clicking on the gallery image or by clicking here. You can click on each image or run a slideshow to see the photographs at up to 1000 pixels in size.

Ask a question or leave a comment. All comments get a reply.

52 Responses

  1. Steve Farrell

    Absolutely love the fact that you are happy to share your settings with everyone. Most photographers jealously guard “their secrets!’ I am relatively new to the Fuji X-T1. Matt Hart finally convinced me to make the change, with a little help from your fantastic images. This camera is amazing, I am so pleased I took the plunge away from Canon. I will definitely try your settings Damien.Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Steve Farrell

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your kind words. Matt, myself and most of the X photographers are always willing to share our methods with fellow Fuji shooters. I’ve learned a lot from the X community on the way too. Stay inspired and do ask questions when you need to.

      Kindest regards, Damien.

      Reply
  2. Toby V Photo

    Very interesting. I am keen too make the jump from DSLR to Mirrorless. My shoulders are killing me!
    Damien, do you think an X-Pro 2 is in the offing?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Yes, X-Pro2 is definitely on it’s way. There is so much technology to get spot on that the longer we wait the better the camera will be. Maybe it will be a wonderful Christmas pressie ;)

      Reply
  3. paul biagui

    Hi Damien, I’m a new to Fuji (own a XT1) coming from over 10 years as a Nikon shooter. Ever since I ran into one of your videos series with models in low light places i’m a HUGE fan. Which lenses would you absolutely recommend for portraiture/wedding? Thank you

    Reply
  4. Jin

    Hi Damien – thanks for sharing your knowledge. Do you have any tips on focusing wide open at 56mm 1.2, especially from a distance of 2m? I am using the smallest focus box but sometimes still mis-focus slightly. Perhaps just more practice? Thanks =)

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Jin, yes, use the smallest box. You must move the box to as close the correct spot as you can. Don’t focus the reframe as you will introduce errors. The new firmware 4 on the X-T1 might well solve all the issues :).

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  5. Ondrej

    Hi Damien,

    Thanks for sharing! Do you also change dynamic range sometimes?

    Thank you

    Ondrej

    Reply
  6. Richard Hales

    Hi Damien

    Thanks for the tips. You probably know this but you can set up a Lightroom import preset to automatically change the camera calibration to Pro Neg or whatever; I probably go the the wrong end of the stick reading the article and took it that you were changing profiles “manually”.

    Keep up the good work!

    Richard

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank You Richard, Yes I have Lightroom auto assign Pro Neg s on import Plus it keywords me, adds copyright info etc. I have also assigned sharpening levels for each ISO etc. The only trouble is if I mention this folks will ask ‘how does one do that?’ Haha. Anyway thank you for your continued support, contributions and feedback. Best regards,
      Damien :)

      Reply
  7. Vincent Anthony

    Hi Damien,
    Excellent post mate and love your work, I follow you closely on twitter and IG and find you very inspiring for my own work.
    Can I ask though why you set your HL’s and Shadows at -1 and not -2? I would’ve thought that -2 would reveal even more dynamic range in those areas.
    And lastly do you ever use the auto ISO function (ie. min shutter speed 1/160, ISO range 200-800) or prefer to always use a ‘fixed’ ISO setting for the particular scene?
    Thanks,
    Vince

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Vincent,

      Thank you for your kind words. I decided on -1 because at -2 the screen image is too flat. I do use the auto ISO function on my X100t. It allows me to shoot in any lighting condition with the minimum of decisions needed. When I’m letting my X100t decide on exposure to some extent I use STD as the film simulation to get punchy pics on the rear screen. I don’t use it on the X-T1 as the minimum shutter value would need changing for each of my lenses etc.

      I hope this helps,

      Damien.

      Reply
      • Den

        Hi Damien, calibration of monitor to camera LCD is misleading and often repeated. It’s much better to calibrate your monitor with a hardware calibration device and then adjust your camera LCD to match your monitor. Your monitor luminance should ideally be around 120 (based on a neutral editing environment). I’ve tested this with pro monitors and calibration equipment that support 100% sRGB etc and found that in order to match a calibrated pro grade monitor the XT1 viewfinder brightness needs to be at a setting of -2. If you are using the rear LCD the same applies when comparing side by side with a monitor – but obviously out in the field you would use a higher brightness to compensate for changing ambient light.
        In other words, I would suggest you calibrate your viewfinder to -2 brightness and leave your LCD at 0. If you calibrate your monitor to match your default LCD brightness – you will end up with prints that are too dark.
        I agree that using PRO Ns is the best film simulation for revealing dynamic range in JPG. You can closely match the native RAW file (in Lightroom) by setting shadows and highlights to 0 and boosting Saturation +1.
        Thank you

  8. Terrence Bibb

    Hi Damien,

    Has there been any change to the way you process your XT1 files in lightroom since your last tutorial video? Any future tutorials on post processing and or preparing for print or albums on the way?

    Trying to get to one of your experiences this year If I can. :)

    Terrence

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Terrence,

      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. My X-T1 processing is pretty much the same. The only thing that is different is I have default values set upon import of Pro Neg s as the film simulation and I have default NR and sharpening set for each ISO that I use. I hope this helps.

      Pop over to Spain. That is the event for you my friend :) Here is the link.

      Damien.

      Reply
  9. JohnAllen Magee

    First. Does your Focus regime apply even if you use “Instant AF” or “Manual mode + AF-L” basically back button AF? I find focus remains locked to that point even after reframing. Second. How will the new AF system change your regime if it does?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi JohnAllen,

      In the mode you describe the focus doesn’t move but the subject moves out of the focus zone slightly if you reframe. The new AF is scary. It has the potential to completely turn my method of shooting upside down. It will have to be remarkably good for that to happen. I’ve set aside some time to plan some tests and I’ll write up my findings ASAP. (I don’t have firmware 4 yet but it’s supposed to be with us soon).

      I hope this helps, Damien.

      Reply
  10. Sere Yordan

    Hi Sir,

    What is your best way to focus, focus on center then recompose or to move the focus point to nearest place that i want to focus ? I feel my picture always get a slightly soft when i zoom to 100% when i use recompose method. Please give me advice sir. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Sere, In the article these is a section called focussing regime: “Focussing regime: I always move my focus zone to where it is needed before I take the picture. This is because the Fuji X system lenses are flat field meaning a focus reframe method of shooting doesn’t work with subjects off centre in the frame [see note below]. The added advantage of doing this is when I check for blinks on playback and zoom in using the instant access 100% playback It goes straight to where it’s needed and not some arbitrary middle position.

      Note: Fuji lenses are flat field meaning if you point one at a brick wall 2 metres away and set it wide open focussed at 2m it will create a sharp shot edge to edge and corner to corner even though the edges of the frame may be 3m from the lens. The focussing distance changes as you pan away from centre. That’s why focus and reframe system of focussing doesn’t work. Incidentally it’s also one of the main reason SLR users get back focus issues. With an SLR only the centre focussing areas are sensitive due to the way the prism operates. With the Fuji X system all the focus zones are sensitive even right into the corners and that is why focusing errors are a thing of the past.” I think this explains it for you. Damien.

      Reply
  11. lucky caoile

    sir damien i just to ask what would be the best setting in my xt1 if use it in a studio with flash to get the right color of the skin tones? can you start which film simulation plus wb should I use? thank you so much and i really love your work. you are the reason why I bought this camera

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Lucky,

      Thank you for your kind words. Please set your film simulation to Pro Neg S, The highlight tone to -1, the shadow tone to -1, the Noise reduction to -2, the sharpness to -1 and most importantly set the white balance to sunny day. Never use Auto White Balance in the studio as the modelling lights may well confuse the camera and the shots will vary from shot to shot. The white balance settings are the only settings that auto transfer to Lightroom so they must be right. You can create and save custom white balances too and this is what I have done for my Studio flash heads and my Lupo spotlights. I have set up my Lightroom to auto apply Pro Neg S as the film simulation to my X-T1 files automagically upon import.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  12. Erick P

    Me Lovegrove, first I want to say THANK YOU for being a GREAT TEACHER – willing to help aspiring photographers of all levels. I own several of your Video Tutorials and over time have finally purchased the Fuji XT-1 , the Cactus V6 Transceiver, and Cactus RF60 Flash.
    The problem I’m having is that when I attached my V6 – (Group is set, Channel is Set), theTrigger won’t Fire my Cactus Flash. Could you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ! Share what STEPS To TAKE TO SET Up THE XT1 Camera to work the V6 and RF60 flash. I’m very FRUSTRATED trying to figure this out. Could you please HELP ? I THANK YOU in advance!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Don’t panic Erick.

      I’m here and will sort out your predicament :)

      Step 1. Set the camera to S mode (not CL or CH)
      Step 2. Set the shutter to MS (not MS + ES or ES)
      Step 3. Switch ‘Sound and flash off’ to off (If you have silent mode instead you need to upgrade your firmware)
      Step 4. Set a shutter speed of 1/180th or longer
      Step 5. Set the flash symbol (looks like AC/DC logo) to active (via Q menu)

      Now you will be flashing fine. The good news is these settings can stay in place and will not get lost if you switch off the camera, change the battery or upgrade the firmware.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  13. joy newbould

    Hello – this information is so useful thanks. Just wondered if you have an updated FW4 version of it available please? Thanks

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Garry, Yes I do except I use the reciprocal of 4x the lens focal length when I’m shooting hand held and not 3x for 16mp sensors. Everything else is the same.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien

      Reply
  14. sandymacnab

    Hi Damien I am new to your site the settings in the Q button have the changed with software updates because the flash I either get manual or flash off sign

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Sandy,

      Yes indeed the settings are often changing making some of the posts on my site obsolete but the cameras get more features so I am happy.

      Regards, Damien.

      Reply
  15. Steven Wetherbee

    Hi Damien, l am so impressed with your work and willingness to share. I recently switched from Nikon to Fuji as I just purchased the XT 2. I was wondering do you still recommend with The XT 2 not to focus and recompose?
    Thank you again for all of your help!
    Steven Wetherbee

    Reply
  16. Sarkis Antikajian

    What setting on my Fujifilm X-T1 would I use to take photos of my oil paintings using two tungsten lights? I used to use a canon Rebel and set it on Tungsten and P and take photos. It gave fair result but still not true color.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Sarkis,

      Lighting flat artwork is not easy but if you have got that bit sorted you should set your X-T1 up with Pro neg S film simulation (Ns). Then set your white balance to K and adjust the K value so you can see the painting colour change in real time and select a setting that is spot on. Forget about the numbers and concentrate on the colours.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  17. Riccardo Posteri

    Dear Damien, this is Riccardo from Italy (so pardon me for my bad english). First of all I want to thank you, I adore your photography and all the things you share really means a lot to me.
    I am quite new to fuji world (I have an xe1 since September and just today an xt1 arrived) since I’m quite tired of all my canon gear for a lot of different reasons.
    So, this post is really interesting for my new xt1.
    The big question is about a shooting planned for this Saturday, trying to shoot my girlfriend in a old hollywood style (your portrait book hit me), and since I only have speedlights can you give me some tips? I saw you use led panels (and in old hollywood they used very big light) do you think I can achieve decent results?
    Hope I’ll have a chance to meet you in person as soon as possible, meanwhile thanks a lot for your time and inspiration.

    Riccardo

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Riccardo,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Re Hollywood lighting. I do not use LED panels, I use LED spotlights made by Lupo (an Italian company). There is a big difference. Just use your Speedlights without modifiers and zoom them in to 105mm or 200mm if that setting is available. You won’t have modelling lights so you will have do a bit of guess work.

      I hope this helps somewhat.

      Damien.

      Reply
      • Riccardo Posteri

        Thanks a lot for your kind reply Damien!
        In a few weeks I should try again in a small theater.. I’ll try whit my speedlights hoping to find a proper setup!
        Thanks again,

        Riccardo

  18. Andre Roeleven

    Hi Damien, I shoot only in RAW. Does al these settings (NR, Htone, Stone, Sharp and DR) affect the raw image? I did some tests with different settings and could not fine any big differences…. Thanks for your reply

    Reply
  19. engin ersoz

    Hi,

    I’m using XT-1 and 18 mm f2 lens. Generally I’m happy but my photos little bit blue always. But sky is grey. I need to color correction in lightroom. My settings is default settings. White balance is generally auto or cloudy.

    Do you have any recommend?

    Thanks

    Engin

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Engin,

      White balance shift is what you need to use. Go via the main menu and click right an extra time. You can drive the cursor away from blue and towards yellow. Your problem will be solved :)

      Damien.

      Reply
      • engin ersoz

        Hi

        In XT-1 or in Lightroom? I need help settings of xt-1. Sorry maybe I don’t understand my english is very limited.

      • Damien

        Hi Engin, yes in camera. Get the white balance right in camera using white balance shift.

        Damien.

  20. andre roeleven

    Tis question from last year. Unfortunately this was never answered…. So here is the question again:

    Hi Damien, I shoot only in RAW. Does al these settings (NR, Htone, Stone, Sharp and DR) affect the raw image? I did some tests with different settings and could not fine any big differences…. Thanks for your reply

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Andre,

      Sorry I missed your question. I have over 11,000 comments on here gulp.

      The settings you describe affect the image on the LCD/ EVF and this in turn drives your exposure decision and lighting contrast when using lights.

      When you have Pro Neg S, shadow tone -2, highlights tone -1, sharpness -1, noise reduction off the image on the LCD will look light the preview that Lightroom makes. If you have any other LCD settings you are guessing at how much data you can ‘recover’ in RAW. Only the white balance and tone settings carry through to Lightroom.

      I hope this helps,

      Damien

      Reply
      • Damien

        When you get your shot into Lightroom it should look identical to the LCD without using the sliders…

        Lightroom view of unadjusted raw file