My Hints and Tips post on the X100s has proven to be one of the most popular on PhotoMadd and still continues to get a significant number of daily views.  I’ve had a lot of comments and e-mails about it, with photographers obviously finding it very helpful, so I thought I’d write something similar for the X-T1!

These are my Fujifilm X-T1 hints and tips for getting the best from your X-T1 based on my own experience, questions I’ve had, information from the manual that you never read, stuff I’ve discovered for myself that wasn’t in the manual, and things I’ve read and thought were useful!

photomadd top tip

TOP TIPS

If you can’t be bothered to read through the whole lot I’ve highlighted a few of the ones I find most useful with this icon, so look out for those!

 

Let’s get started then!

Button Settings

Setting up the Function (Fn) Buttons

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There are an amazing three ways to do this!  Firstly you can go into the menu – Tools menu 2 – Function (Fn) Setting.  Unlike some of the other cameras makes, this is actually not a bad way to do it because rather than just giving you a random Fn number button, there is a nice pictorial which displays what button you are assigning.

The second way is the press and hold the DISP button.  This immediately jumps you into the menu option described above.

The third, and my preferred way, is to press and hold on any function button and you will be presented with a menu that gives you the choice to select the function you want assigned to that particular button.  I find this an easier way because you know directly what button you are assigning.

How do I have mine setup?  Pretty much the same as with my other X-Series cameras (apart from the X100s, which is an oddity!) so Macro is top D-pad, White balance is right D-pad, Self-timer is left D-pad.  I have face detection assigned to the down D-pad button and AF point adjust assigned to the button on the front of the camera.  Using the same settings as much as possible as my other cameras means that I can switch between them more easily.

Button Lock

Press and hold the Menu button to lock everything but the most useful buttons.  This helps prevent accidental changes to settings.  Press and hold again to unlock.

The dials – when shooting

The front and rear dials have different uses depending on what you’re doing and what mode you have selected.  In manual or shutter priority mode the front dial controls 1/3rd shutter speeds.  By default the rear dial controls aperture on lenses that don’t have an aperture ring.  This can be switched around the in menu – Tools Menu 2 – Command Dial Setting – if you prefer them the other way around.

In manual focus, the rear dial controls the focus assist zoom level.

The dials – in playback

photomadd top tipIn playback mode, the rear dial functions as a zoom and the front dial scrolls through the images, although you can use the left and right D-pad buttons too scroll as well.  However, if you’re zoomed into the image the front scroll wheel will scroll through images maintaining that same zoom level (providing the images are all in the same orientation) When zoomed in, the d-pad buttons will move the zoomed focus point around.

View Modes

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Live-view modes

A new option on the X-T1 is the ability to have both screens (rear and EVF) turned off unless you’re looking through the viewfinder.  This is great for power saving as it allows you to keep your camera switched on all the time ready to go whilst you are walking around and then just raise it to your eye to activate the EVF.  Press the View Mode button on the side of the EVF until you see EVF Only + Eye Sensor fuji-x-t1-eye-sensor-icon.  When you take your eye away from the viewfinder you will see it switch off.  This won’t allow you to get dSLR levels of battery life from your X-T1, and it will still use the battery when switched on, but it will help.  If you’re going for extended periods without using the camera I’d still recommend switching the camera off.

Playback view

photomadd top tipThis is one of my favourite options.  You can separate out the view modes for shooting and playback.  I use this because I very rarely want to playback my images into the EVF and 99.9% of the time view my images on the rear-screen (LCD).  In shooting mode, set the View Mode as you want to use it.  Then press the Play button to preview and image.  You can now use the View Mode button to choose LCD ONLY.  Now whenever you press Play, the rear screen will display the playback image regardless of the View Mode use have set for shooting.  That means for anyone who likes shooting with the EVF but wants to preview on the rear screen can do so without having to use the Eye Sensor view mode when shooting, just like how you would use a dSLR.

Focussing

Focus Adjust Points

The adjustment for the focus point has always remained constant on X-Series cameras, press the down button on the d-pad and adjust away.  Never before have I heard so many complaints about how hard this (apparently!) is to do than with the X-T1.

I’ll tell you something, I moved that function away from the D-pad on the X-T1 and it is a blessing to make it harder to do!  The number of times I’d find my focus point moved was annoying.  On my pro level Nikon dSLR, I could adjust the focus point with a dedicated dial, this was just as annoying and for exactly the same reason and for that reason was locked down most of the time!  My solution is to move the focus adjust button to the front of the camera where it almost never gets pressed accidentally, thank you Fuji!!

But I really really want to be able to adjust the focus point in a hurry!  Well, for those people who are desperate to move that focus point in a hurry there is a neat little solution.  Assign every function button on the d-pad to Focus Area.  Yes, Fujifilm do allow you to do this!  Now, if you want to move focus points quickly in any given direction all you have to do is double press on the corresponding d-pad button and away you go!

Auto Focus – Focus Point Size

When you’re in the mode to move your focus point around, you can also adjust its size.  By rotating the dial on the back of the camera, you will see that the AF box gets larger and smaller.

This can be useful in two scenarios.

With the smallest size AF area selected this allows you to get absolute critical focus on a very small point, very useful in portraiture for focussing on eyes, but it can come in handy in other situations too.  There is a big downside to using the camera with a small AF point though.  You’re not giving the camera much information to go with to allow it to focus, so if there isn’t anything with much contrast in that small area the camera will struggle to lock focus much more than it usually would.  I’d only use this when things are very critical, it definitely isn’t a mode to be used day-to-day.

With the largest AF area selected you’re giving the camera the best possible chance of finding something to lock onto.  This usually results in the AF locking more reliably, though do note that this does not mean faster.  AF speed does not get faster or slower with varying sizes of AF points, it simply becomes more or less reliable.  This is useful for low contrast, or dark scenes where there isn’t much for the camera to lock onto.  The downside to this is that if you’re shooting at small apertures then you may find the camera doesn’t lock onto the exact spot you intended.

For day-to-day use, I’d recommend something right in the middle.  It provides the best compromise between reliable focussing and the ability to isolate your focus spot, then choose either of the modes above when necessary.

photomadd top tipIf the camera is struggling to focus in difficult conditions, try to find a vertical line to focus on as the camera seems to prefer them to horizontal lines.

My focus area point won’t move!

This is caused by one of two issues.

Either you have Face Detection turned on.

Or your AF mode is set to Multi rather than Area.

Manual Focus – Focus Assist

Unlike the previous generations, Focus Assist has its own button now.  Pressing this in AF mode will give you a zoomed preview of the focus point.  Pressing it in MF mode will do the same, but if you turn the dial above the Focus Assist button it will allow you to get two different zoom levels of focus assist.  Sometimes that extra magnification comes in very handily, especially if your subject is off at a distance and focus is really critical.

Manual Focus – Back Focus

You can set up the X-T1 to use the Canon-style ‘back-focus’ by setting the camera into manual focus and then pressing the AF-L button to activate the AF and lock on.  This separates focus from the shutter button, which now acts as an exposure lock only on half press and immediate shutter release on full press.  This can speed up shooting because it means the camera doesn’t have to go through the AF routine before firing the shutter.

Macro Focus Option – What’s the point?!

The Macro focus option may seem a bit odd, but what it does is work like a focus limiter on some of the more expensive dSLR lenses.  It stops the lens from focussing all the way to the extreme short end, where often it takes longer to focus and therefore allows your camera to lock focus quicker.  With the normal lenses it doesn’t make a huge difference, but with the Fuji 60mm and Zeiss 50mm Macro lenses this option makes a big difference to AF lock speed in normal use.  Don’t just leave it switched on, only turn it on when you know you’ll need it.

fujifilm x-t1 arca-swiss grip l-plate

Using Flash

X-T1 Live Preview Exposure – Turn it off for the studio.

photomadd top tipOne of the most asked questions I get is to do with using the X-T1 in the studio.  By default the X-T1 is setup to show you a live exposure preview of the image when you half-press the shutter button when the camera is in manual mode.  The problem comes for studio shooters in that we tend to shoot at small apertures and slow shutter speeds [relatively] for flash sync.  That means as soon as you half press the shutter button to focus, the whole screen goes black!  The camera is simply showing you what you will get if you go ahead and press the shutter button fully.  That’s great when you’re out and about because you know what the result will be before you go ahead and take the photo, but in the studio the camera doesn’t know that you’re going to light your subject with flash.   For first time converts to mirrorless from a dSLR, this immediately causes them to think the camera is useless.  However, on the X-T1 there is an option for just this scenario.

In Tools Menu 1, select Screen Setup. There is an option labelled “Preview Exp. In Manual Mode” – switch this to OFF.

I very rarely turn this on.  It can be a very useful option because it does mean that you don’t have to fiddle about with settings in manual mode to get the exposure correct, but there is always the meter in the viewfinder to do that job too.  This causes so many headaches for new users that I really do think the default option should have been off rather than on.  At least Fujifilm have added the option to turn it off now.  When this feature was originally introduced on the X100S there wasn’t the option to turn it off, making the camera all but useless in studio situations!

Off-camera TTL flash

Strictly this isn’t really an option, but we can make it work!  There is currently no TTL solution to off-camera flash with any of the X-Series cameras, and no official TTL flash lead from Fujifilm.  However, we can make use of a Canon TTL lead, which just happens to have the same pin positions as the Fuji, and using a Fujifilm flash it gives us the option of TTL flash off-camera.  I wrote an article about this a while ago using it with the X-Pro1.  I use one of these TTL leads.

Video on the X-T1

Video features on the X-T1 are very limited.  From v 1.1 of the firmware the function of the video record button was changed so that you have to hold it down for approximately 1s to start the video recording.  This is to prevent accidental recording.

You must choose the aperture before you start recording, shutter speed and ISO are both automatic and cannot be adjusted even in full manual mode.  However, once you start the recording you can use the exposure compensation dial to adjust the exposure +/-2 EV.

Fujifilm Camera App

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Sorry Android people, but this is going to relate to the iOS version of the App because I don’t have an Android device, but as I understand the Android version is more of less identical.

Setting up the Camera

fujifilm-xt1-wifi-button

To make things more obvious when connecting, especially if you have more than one WiFi enabled Fuji device, I’d recommend changing the default camera WiFi Hotspot name to something more recognisable.  In Tools Menu 3 – Wireless Settings – General Settings – Name.  By default this tends to be a random selection of characters.  I set mine to the camera name + a short version of my own name, so for example my X-T1 is known as “FUIFILM-X-T1-MEMADD”  The FUJIFILM part is fixed by the camera, but you can choose after that.  When you’re done, highlight SET and press OK.

Unless you’re going to be doing editing on the iPhone/iPad then resize image to 3Mpx is probably a good choice for convenience and social sharing, both in terms of transfer speed and not filling up your device with large image files, but there is the option to send the full-size files if you want to edit on your device.

Activate the WiFi hotspot on your camera by pressing the WiFi button.  But wait!  Before you do that however, you need to decide what you’re wanting to do.  If it’s simple file transfer then you don’t need to do anything beyond go into playback mode.  If you’re wanting to remotely control your camera you need to make sure it is in the right mode first.  For some reason the App won’t let you change modes once you’re connected.  For example, if you set the camera to aperture priority mode then you can only change the shutter speed from the App, and vice-versa.  So decide what you’re going to want to do, even choose manual mode if you’re wanting to change both shutter speed and aperture remotely.  Now you’re ready to press the WiFi button!

photomadd top tip

If you connect to more than one device (iPhone and iPad for example) you need to press the OK button on the camera at this point after activating the WiFi mode otherwise it locks the camera into searching for the last-used device and won’t allow any other device to connect to it in the App.

Using the App

After you’ve activated WiFi on the camera, the first thing to do on the device is select the camera’s WiFi hotspot and allow it to connect, then launch the Fujifilm Camera Remote App and hit Connect.

If it is the first time you’ve used this device to connect to the camera, the camera will ask you if it is OK to connect so you need to press OK on the camera before it will connect.  If you connected to this same device the last time then the device will connect straight away.

From the App select Remote Control and you’ll then be presented with a live view image from your camera and the settings below.  Here you can choose the aperture and shutter speed, ISO as well as going into the Shooting Menu and changing various settings such as film simulation, white balance, flash, macro etc. It is all pretty comprehensive.

IMG_0279.full

 

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If you want to download images from the camera, you can do that by pressing the green play button.  From here you will get a grid view of your images.

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Tick the ones you want to transfer over and press import.

If you’re simply wanting to preview the images rather than download them to the device, you can press the magnifying glass at the top of the screen, select and image and it will show you a full-screen preview so you can check focus etc from within the App rather than having to download it and then go into the Photos App.

Dynamic Range Settings

Should I?!

It depends!  I personally prefer to process the file out of the camera and pull/push it as I want to, but that takes extra time.  When it is useful is if you are shooting JPEG only and don’t want to be messing about processing files, but getting a good dynamic range from the camera in high DR scenes.

The problem with the DR modes are that they work by pushing the ISO up (DR400 has a minimum ISO of 800) then under exposing by 2 stops and pulling the file into a useable JPEG.  When you import the RAW file it will be very dark and not really useable.

One Last Thing – Basic Pre-Shoot Checks

This is pretty much basic stuff, but so easy to forget and go shooting with all the wrong settings, only to get back home and realise what you did wrong when you’re importing!  It happens to all of us!  When turning the camera on you should do some very simple and quick pre-shoot checks.  This is what I do.

  • Check the SD card is either formatted or has enough remaining shots.
  • Check the position of the exposure compensation dial.
  • Check the switch positions of the metering and drive modes.
  • Check the ISO setting is suitable for what you intend to shoot.
  • Press the Q button and make sure everything looks right for the shoot you’re about to do, including JPEG/RAW file setting and any JPEG options.
  • Check on the lens that the OIS button is on/off depending on what you’re doing.

Go shoot!

Comments

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About The Author

Matthew Maddock is a commercial photographer based in the Lake District, UK. Specialising in the hospitality and outdoor sports industry. He is a Fujifilm X-Photographer and Getty Images contributor.
His portfolio can be viewed at memaddock.co.uk

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