As promised, this is a continuation of the previous article (Part 1) on how to get the most out of your Fujifilm X-Pro1. This has become my main camera system when I travel and since have shot at least 10,000 frames with it over the past 4 months, I have discovered a few things that have made my life a lot easier, which I would like to share with you.
Here are the remaining 12 tips I have found to be very useful during the 4 months that I have used this camera system.
The “Fn” button on the top of the camera (circled in red in the above photo) is set by default to change the ISO value. You can customize it to something else (by holding it down for a couple of seconds), but I find it is quicker to change the ISO with this button. By doing this, you will have all exposure settings at your fingertips without having to dive into any of the menus (including the “Q” menu – to be discusssed next).
“Q” is your friend. No, this isn’t a take from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but a suggestion to make common setting changes really easy. Press the “Q” button (circled in red above) and you will see the following menu:
From here, you can change many commonly used items such as:
I find changing settings this way much faster than diving into the menus. Just select the item you want to change (it will tell you what you are changing at the top of the rear LCD) using the 4-way controller and then use the dial (in the red retangular box shown 2 photos above) to change the setting. Then press “OK” and you are done.
If you have the Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro (B&H – Amazon – Adorama) lens mounted on the camera body, you can capture macro images by pressing the “MACRO” button (shown above) while in shooting mode. One thing that is really useful is that all of the X mount lenses have a close focusing mode which is engaged using this “MACRO” button.
Give it a try with all of your lenses – I think you will like it.
The JPEG engine on the X-Pro1 is superb – it is, IMHO, the best of any camera in the market today. One reason I like it so much as that I can emulate multiple film stocks previously offered by Fujifilm:
Sometimes when I am shooting, I am not sure which film stock would look best for my image. I can take a few shots and manually change the film setting each time, which is time consuming. What I do instead is use “Film Bracketing”. Here is how it works:
Now, when you press the shutter release, you will capture only one image but three (3) JPEG files will be written to your SD card, each one using the film settings you previously chose. Easy. Don’t forget to press “DRIVE” when you are finished shooting this way and set it back to single shot mode (or else, you will get 3 copies of every image you shoot).
Another useful feature when I am working with a high contrast scene is Dynamic Range (DR) bracketing. When I correctly expose for the highlights in these scenes, I often lose shadow detail – or if I expose for the shadow areas, I blow out the highlights. DR bracketing creates two (2) additional exposures – one with 200% DR and another with 400% DR. I will then examine the files in post processing and choose the best one.
Three (3) JPEG files will be written to your SD card, each one using a different DR setting. As before, don’t forget to press “DRIVE” when you are finished shooting this way to set it back to single shot mode.
Here is an example from a recent assignment I had in China. I used DR bracketing in the next 3 images you see. Notice as the DR increases, so does the highlight detail in the background.
You could of course shoot in RAW and carefully expose/process your image, however, given that my preferred RAW processor (Lightroom) currently has issues with X-Pro1 RAW files, I am still shooting using JPEGs.
The above shot (of the Shanghai skyline) was taken in “Panorama” mode which is comprised of several shots stitched together. It took me all of 15 seconds to do this – and in camera.
When I first heard about the Panorama mode on the X-Pro1, I thought it was a gimmick, but it has turned out to be a useful feature for me. To use this mode:
It took a few practice shots for me to get this right, but once I did, I was really happy with the results. I was able to produce a decent panoramic image with ease – no cropping or stitching of images required. This is a feature I plan to use often.
Shooting at 6 frames per seconds (FPS) sounds great in theory – but shooting in bursts on the X-Pro1 will lock up your camera (especially if you shoot JPG+RAW like I do) for a long time. This camera is by no means a speed demon in any department and sticking to single shot mode will help ensure that your patience does not wear thin.
I turn “Image Review” off on page 2 of the setup menu. I get two benefits from this:
I set “Quick Start Mode” (page 2 of the setup menu) to OFF. If it is set to ON, the camera never completely powers off in order to decrease start up times, but this comes at the expense of increased power consumption. According to Fujifilm, setting this setting to ON could decrease battery life by up to 50%.
Since I am fairly slow in composing and capturing my images, I can live with the slightly increased start up times in exchange for better battery life. If, however, you prefer faster start up times and don’t mind shorter battery life, then you might want to consider turning this ON. Your choice.
I set “Power Save Mode” (page 2 of the setup menu) to OFF. When I do this, it improves the AF speed.
I always shoot in RAW+JPEG Fine. By doing this, you get the added flexibility of using the RAW format (if need be) – plus the X-Pro1′s excellent JPEG engine produces beautiful files that you can use right away. There are times when I like to revisit a RAW file to further refine an image, so I like to keep the RAW files on hand.
I know that Lightroom/ACR currently has issues in demosaicing the X-Pro1’s X-Trans sensor (with its unique Colour Filter Array), however, I do believe that Adobe will further work on this to give us a decent tool for X-Pro1 RAW conversions. I am currently working on some Lightroom settings that you can use with your X-Pro1 RAW files to (hopefully) produce sharp images with no (or minimal) colour bleeding and will share this information in the next couple of weeks.
After I analyze a JPEG file on my computer, I sometimes wish I had used another film mode or changed JPEG settings (such as DR, etc). A big benefit of shooting in RAW on the X-Pro1 is that you have the ability to reconvert your RAW files in camera using completely new JPEG settings.
It is easy to do:
Aside to Adobe: if you can sort out the RAW file conversions and also create camera profiles in Lightroom to emulate the X-Pro1’s film modes, you will become my favourite software company
Fujifilm has included with the X mount lenses some really nice (all metal) lens hoods.
Fujifilm has also supplied rubber caps for these hoods on the 18mm f/2 (B&H – Amazon – Adorama) and 35mm f/1.4 (B&H – Amazon – Adorama) lenses. They are useless. Every time I take one of those lenses out of my bag, the rubber cap always fall off. In fact, if it weren’t for a few very kind (and observant) people over the past few months, I would have lost these caps.
I have purchased some 52mm screw-in Leica style lens hoods that accommodate the original 52mm Fujifilm front cap supplied with each lens. These are a lot more secure and I don’t have to worry about the lens cap falling off.
There you go – these are a few things you can do in order to get the most out of your X-Pro1. I am sure I have missed a couple items but please feel free to post a comment (or question) as I am happy to respond.
Enjoy your X-Pro1 – when you are armed with a little knowledge and some patience, you can produce some incredible images with this camera.
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