Cameras

The gear that keeps on giving

The above image was taken with the X-T1 which had recently had a firmware update to make it compatible with the XF18-135mm lens which was used to obtain this shot, via the remote control feature and a monopod.

I remember when I first approached Fujifilm UK with the idea of testing their equipment in the jungles of Borneo. My intention was to rely on the X-Series to document my trip, which had a heavy focus on nature. Unfortunately at the time the X-Pro1 and X-E1 weren’t quite up to the speeds I required to use this system exclusively. If I had done this trip in 2014, oh how things would be different. Not purely because of the wonderful X-T1 but because of the firmware improvements made to the X-Pro1 and other cameras.

These firmware updates are so much more than simply updating cameras to optimise their usability with lenses launched more recently. If you look at this link you can see the timeline of improvements made to the X-Pro1, from large improvements like auto focus performance and better “single-hand” settings operability to extra functions being added like focus peaking for manual focusing. Below shows a screen grab with some of latest firmware updates for the X-Pro1.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 12.48.48

It wasn’t just the flagship model which gained firmware upgrades; the X-E1 had much the same improvements and the X100 had an autofocus improvement that meant that it was in fact the ongoing firmware updates that were the most spoken about thing of this camera, instead of the previously poor autofocus. Further down the line, the X-E2 has had the refresh rate of its EVF improved to the very high standard of the X-T1. The X-A1 and X-M1 can now both wirelessly transfer pictures to the brilliant SP1 printer for near-instant prints.

Now the X-T1 is set for a major firmware update. The Internet has been buzzing with excitement around the new features that are integrated into the X100T and X-T1 graphite edition. Other than the wonderful 6-part creation of the graphite finish, this new version has some very exciting software improvements. The first headline feature is the new Classic Chrome JPEG film simulation that’s blowing everyone’s mind with its unique style that’s so different from the other film simulations available.

The second feature is the crazy electronic shutter toping out at 1/32000! For those of you using the fast prime lenses at F1.2 and F1.4, this opens up a huge realm of creativity. Only recently I had to juggle a neutral density filter between the XF23mm F1.4 and XF56mm F1.2 while exploring sunny Lisbon to take full advantage of the thin depth of field on offer. This new feature will make this a thing of the past, one less thing to have to worry about. The benefits of the electronic shutter don’t stop there – being electronic there are no moving parts to generate noise meaning it is truly silent shooting. This has always been one of the big factors that has made the X100s such a joy to use to quiet situations, a factor that often meant I would lean towards the X100s series instead of the X-T1.

Lisbon

Taken in the centre of Lisbon using an ND filter so I could use f1.2.

These aren’t the only updates to look forward to, as there are many many more features due to happen in a December firmware overhaul:

  • 4-way controller AF selection
  • Changeable focus area during MF
  • Q menu customization
  • Interlocking AF and metering points
  • Unlocked AE-L/AF-L buttons
  • Direct selection of macro mode
  • Phase detection AF support for instant AF
  • Expansion of shutter speed in Program Shift mode
  • Manual shooting in video mode
  • New video frame rates

These all look like great improvements as the X-Series continues to evolve into an increasingly refined camera system, appealing to an increasingly wide genre. Notably for action/fast paced photography, the addition of the 4-way controller being able to move the AF point is very help for quickly adapting to situations instead of having to focus and recompose which can get annoying and frustrating with fleeting moments. The customisation of the Q menu is definitely a bonus, allowing photographers to really tailor the camera to their needs, prioritising the features that are most frequently used instead of constantly having to search through menus. I could go through and state the pluses of each new feature upgrade but this webpage explains them all

These are the upgrades that Fujifilm have let us know in advance about, I can only imagine the other ‘goodies’ they have in store in the near future. Logically you would think that the X-E2 could potentially have remote shooting via phones or tablets like the X-T1 and X100T. Both the X-E2 and X-T1 might be able to wirelessly transfer pictures to the SP1 for wireless printing on the go. There are so many features that Fujifilm could add to the ever-increasing list of benefits for using the Fujifilm X-Series. I think the number 1 benefit on this list is that Fujifilm look after their current users, with upgrades such as this.

To look for the latest firmwares updates for your Fujifilm product search here.

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