Focus Pokus

One of the most important aspects of a modern camera to understand is the autofocus system. On the Fuji X-T1 this was recently totally changed and updated by new firmware. It was this change that led me to taking the plunge and switching to an all Fuji line-up. So, how do I set it up and how do I use the X-T1 autofocus system?

First I want to say this is not a be-all or end-all guide to using the AF system, I’m not going to go into every setting and describe it, I’m going to run through how I have it set up at the moment (it may well change), what I have found to date and that will sort of indicate why I have this set-up.

Firmware 4.0: New Modes.

Firmware 4 added the following improvements to the X-T1:

  • Zone and Wide Tracking Modes.
  • Improvement of Single Point AF accuracy.
  • Eye detection when Face detection is enabled.
  • Auto-Macro (no longer needing the Macro button to be pressed to focus on close objects).

Focusing in the studio.

To be honest, I do studio type shoots maybe once or twice a month, mainly corporate type portraits or headshots. Recently I shot a series of “amusing” portraits for a book and it was the first time in the studio with the new firmware.

For these I set the system into “single shot” mode and switched to the “zone focusing” with “Face Detection enabled” (as the settings shots below show – excuse the quick iPhone images).

Single Shot Focus Mode

Single Shot Focus Mode

Zone and Face Detect (Top Left)

Zone and Face Detect (Top Left)

The camera finds the face and eyes fine and after a few shots I was confident that the system would do as it was set up to, and find the face!

Yay! Face Found

Unless of course you cover it….


Out and About.

When out and about my settings are basically to set the camera to Continuous AF (AF-C) Mode and Single Point. The main menu settings are below.

Continous Mode

Continous Mode

2015-08-05 20.42.59

AF Settings 1 (AF Mode is wrong here, should be point)

AF Settings

AF Settings 2

For this to work properly, elsewhere you need High-Performance switched on and (so I have recently read but not yet confirmed) the shutter on Mechanical (i.e. MS not ES or MS+ES).

I use the single point over the zone or area modes because I have found it to be faster. In the zone modes I have found there to be a slight delay when pressing the shutter which does not seem to be there in single point.

The key here is the Instant AF setting. By having this to AF-S (Single), it means if I use the back button, I can pick a point, focus on that point and recompose. If i place the single point on a subject and half-depress the shutter, the continuous starts tracking it!  Thats 2 modes, without changing settings!!

X-T1. 55-200. AF-C. 1/1700 @ F5.6 (AP)

So in practice, this fast moving kite-border was tracked by selecting a single point in the lower right of the central area (the bigger squares in the viewfinder are faster phase-detection points) then half-pressing the shutter and tracking, keeping the single point over him until I had the shot I wanted. Luckily I do not photograph fast moving sports (Motor Racing for example), if I did I’m not sure the tracking would keep up – I’ll test this soon.

Note: I should add this is exactly how I tracked moving subjects on my old system as well, I did not trust it’s full tracking modes either.

X-T1, 14mm 1/180 @ F14 (To balance Flash)

These girls with balloons were photographed at Brighton Pride where I was walking about, using AF-C to focus on people walking and moving, When I had people pose, I was able to use the back button to focus the single point on the faces, re-compose and shoot. (This was shot with an off-camera flash in my left hand as I held the camera in my right, a subject of a future post).

This is how I have it set up at the moment – it will might well change in the future as I learn more and if it does I will let you know. How do you have yours set up? Have you found anything different? Let me know.!


Julie x

Making Waves

If I see another 10 Stop, dreamy, long exposure seascape I’m going to scream! It’s been done! Move on! Try something new!

Well this is the antidote to that, the anti-long exposure seascape.

From my last post (and if you have looked at any of my previous work on my website) you will see I photograph a lot with shallow depth of field. In fact I probably do it too much. At WOMAD I was playing with the 56mm wide open (F1.2) in the bright sun. I thought I needed to play with it more, to see what was possible, maybe I could use it in other circumstances, so, I did what I always do when I want to test and play, I headed to the beach. Of course it helps I live 2 minutes walk from the sea but it does mean I end up with far too many photographs of seaguls and kite-boarders (testing focus tracking) and seacapes (well, because thats where I live).

The tide was comming in and the waves were breaking quite nicely. Set the ISO to 400, Aperture Priority and F1.2.

Full frame:

Worthing Sea: X-1T, 56mm, F1.2 @ 1/32000

1:1 Crop:

1:1 Crop from Centre (and rotated)

Look at the patterns, the droplets and overall the detail! I’ve of course photographed waves breaking at fast shutter speeds butnever this fast! The electronic shutter opens up new possiblites that was only possible using flash in the past. I’m sure that the speed effects themselves are going to add much to my day-to-day work in itself however the fact that I can now shoot wide open at almost any time without filters is a huge benefit.

As for the anti-long exposure seascape? I love something about this; just the single groyne post sharp. Even Classic-Chrome has it’s use sometimes….

Breaking Waves: X-1T, 56mm/F1.2 @ 1/15000, Classic Chrome