Fujifilm X100S Hints & Tips

I’ve just picked up an X100S so I thought I’d  go through the manual carefully and see what’s new.  Whilst reading the manual I realised there were a few things I’d never actually known about my X100!  Many of these hints and tips can be applied to the X100 as well, but bear in mind I’m writing this primarily for the [easyazon_link asin=”B00ATM1MVA” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”m06d-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]X100S[/easyazon_link].

I’ve done a little write-up of some of the options that aren’t all that obvious unless you’ve read the manual (as many of us don’t!) and include some hints and tips of how I use my X100S that might help you get the best out of your camera.

Before I begin I’m going to include an image that shows you two important dials.  The naming of these is a little confusing until you’re familiar with it, so to clear up any confusion between the Command dial and the Command control, here is a graphic that shows what each one looks like.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 10.35.36

Shutter Speed Adjustments

Where it might be obvious that you can change the aperture in 1/3rd stops by using the Command control (the small ‘toggle/push’ control below exposure compensation)  What isn’t as obvious is that in manual or shutter priority modes, rotating the Command dial (the big round one!) selects the 1/3rd stop shutter speeds.  So for example if you choose 1/250th on the top dial, by rotating the command wheel you can select down to 1/200th … 1/160th and up to 1/320th … 1/400th before then choosing 1/125th or 1/500th from the main shutter speed dial.

If you want to know more see P39 in the manual.

Function Button

The Fn button can be assigned to a variety of quick selection options as we know.  It does have a secondary function though – press and hold it to change the Fn function!  This is particularly useful with the X100S as I used to have the RAW button assigned to ND on my X100, but now this is the Q button on the [easyazon_link asin=”B00HK8ZBE0″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”m06d-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Fujifilm X100S[/easyazon_link] I no longer have that option of having two assigned buttons.

This is useful if you often want access to two (or more) different options quickly.  I use this to change it to something more appropriate to what I’m shooting – for example indoors and at night I’ll have it set to ISO, but if I’m shooting daytime landscapes I’ll change it to ND on/off as I’m more likely to use that.  Using the press-and-hold technique I can do this without going through the menu system.

If you want to know more see P69 in the manual.


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/24 sec, ISO64)

Menu button

The main function of the Menu button is to access the menu system, but did you know that if you press and hold the Menu button that it locks the controls on the right hand side of the camera so you don’t accidentally knock them with your thumb.  I find this useful on the X100S since the AF button was moved and I keep finding myself changing the AF point!  Press and hold again to unlock.


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO64)

Quick menu button

Whist we all know pressing the Q button brings up the Quick Menu, pressing and holding the Q button selects “Sun” mode on the LCD screen, which brightens up the screen to make it easier to see in bright sunlight.  Press and hold again to deactivate.

Be careful with this mode though as if you’re relying on the screen for confirming correct exposure you can often end up dialling in some -ve exposure compensation when you don’t really need it because the screen is artificially bright.  You can tell when it is activated because of the yellow sun icon on the screen (I’ve circled it in red).


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO64)

Custom Settings

DSLR users will be familiar with custom settings, but point-and-shoot up-graders might not be.  This allows you to pre-define a selection of settings to your choosing and recall them quickly when you need to.  As an example, I have three custom settings on my cameras (having an X100S and X-Pro1 means I can be consistent between the two).  The C1 settings is my general ‘family’ mode which is set  to be best for portraits and general shooting, processing JPEGs as I like them straight out of the camera, ISO allowed up to 3200.  C2 is my landscape mode – vivid colours, ISO only up to 800 etc, and C3 is my ‘professional’ mode – designed to work best with RAW.  It’s a great way of being able to be ready to shoot straight away without having to tell everyone to wait whilst you dial in the right settings, and for getting consistent results.

The only thing I’d like to see included was the image quality (RAW/JPEG) setting saved along with the other settings too.


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/24 sec, ISO50)

If you want to know more see P70 in the manual.

Quick Menu Confusion

The Quick Menu is a great way to adjust your settings without having to delve into the menu system (as improved as it is over the X100!).  There is some confusion when using custom modes (C1,C2 etc.) as mentioned above.  You set the custom mode in the menu, choose your settings and save it into the appropriate custom mode.  The confusion comes when you select that mode from the Quick Menu.  Select the first box – top left hand corner – and use the command dial to choose the custom mode you want.  You will see the settings change to that custom mode and C1, C2 – whatever appear.  Where it gets confusing is when you close and return to the Quick Menu.  Instead of showing your custom setting number in the top right hand box – you’d expect it to say C1, C2 – or whatever you chose, but instead it says Basic!  I have no idea why it has been designed like this, but that is normal and don’t worry, your custom settings are still active.


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/24 sec, ISO50)

Custom White Balance

This is a great option in difficult lighting conditions.  Press the WB button on the bottom of the command wheel and scroll to Custom.  Point the camera at something plain white – something like this Lastolite Xpobalance if you have one is perfect.  Press the shutter and the camera will select the right white balance to make white really white!  If you’re not happy with it, press menu/ok and you can manually shift it from that position.


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO50)


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO64)

Being able to fix white balance is very useful when you are doing a shoot where the colours need to be consistent, and better than relying on the camera’s auto white balance, or where none of the presets match your lighting conditions.  Just remember to reset it or change it to Auto once you’ve finished on that shoot!

If you want to know more see P43 in the manual.

AF Focus Point Size

If you press the AF button you can change the position of the focus point on the screen, however whilst that mode is activated if you nudge the command control either way you can make the focus point smaller or larger.

Make the focus point smaller when you want critical focus on a very small area – maybe an eye.


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO64)

Make the focus point larger to help the camera achieve focus under difficult conditions, perhaps in low contrast scenes where it would be advantageous to let the camera have more to choose from to focus on.


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO64)

Press the command dial in to reset it to the standard size.

Contrary to what some people have said, the size of the focus point makes no different to the speed at which the AF system works, but as I’ve mentioned, it can help it along.

If you want to know more see P48 in the manual.

Back-focusing using the AFL/AEL button

Originally introduced by Canon on their SLR range of cameras, this has become popular with advanced DSLR users as a way of decoupling the auto-focus from the shutter release button.  This has a couple of advantages.  The first and most obvious being that once you lock focus with the AFL button, the camera doesn’t have to run through the auto-focusing routine before you can press the shutter, meaning you focus once and then keep shooting the same subject.

This technique can significantly reduce shot-to-shot times when in conditions the camera finds difficult to focus in.  It also makes focus and recompose easier as you can focus on your subject, then recompose without having to hold the shutter button down and fire the shutter once you’ve correctly composed the subject.  Consider wanting to take more than one shot in the recomposed position – if you weren’t using this technique you’d have to wave the camera back and forwards between the subject and composition for each individual shot.

The other advantage is that you separate auto focus from auto exposure, giving you much more control.  Press the ALF button to lock focus, move the camera if you wish and half-press the shutter button to lock exposure, you can then recompose again with focus and exposure locked independently of each other.

To make this work you need to have the camera in MF mode and select the correct options from the menu.  Menu tab 4 – AE/AF-LOCK BUTTON – set to P (AE&AF ON WHEN PRESSING).  AE/AF-LOCK BUTTON needs to be set to AF-L (AF LOCK ONLY).


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO64)


Apple iPhone 5 (4.13mm, f/2.4, 1/20 sec, ISO64)

If you want to know more see P49 in the manual.


I hope that small list of hints and tips will help some of you get more from your camera.  If you have any of your own, get int touch by e-mail (on the side panel) or leave a comment below.

For more about getting the best from your X100S I’d highly recommend the book below by Kevin Mullins

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9 Responses
  1. Hey thanks so much for taking the time to pen this article – much appreciated. I am always too busy and lazy to read the manual – I always just ‘wing it’ as I go along. I must have missed a few things in doing so – this was very informative.


  2. Hi,

    Thanks it’s always nice to get some new hints & tricks for the fabulous camera !

    I didn’t know tha the AE/AF was only working in MF mode !

    Thanks a lot

  3. Thanks for pointing out these great tips.
    I find the focuspoint size very useful!

    Take care and happy shooting!


  4. THanks a lot Matt for making this post. I didn’t know about half of these features, especially the Fn button and the fact that we could adjust 1/3 step shutter speeds!

    I thought we were limited to full stops with this x100s. Your tips made me love the x100s all that much more.

    I’ve re-shared this post twice on G+ (once in the Fuji X users community). I hope everyone there gives you kudos for this post.

    All the best,

    Mark S