How I Use the Q Menu to Get the Best of the X-Pro1

Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro1 lust/hate/love story:

Part Twenty Two: How I set up my Q menu

Last time out I went through the Q menu with you, you can read that article (which you can read clicking here)

I also shared what I think is a very neat ‘trick’ to get the most out of the Auto ISO feature, namely to get it to truly work for you…

Let’s take a moment to re-visit that. (As I know many of you dip in and out of this series and don’t read them in order!)

ISO

This to me, is the most exciting part of the Q menu!

You can configure a different AUTO ISO AND MINIMUM SHUTTER SPEED setting for each C1-7 menu.

I really can’t stress how cool that is (eat your heart out X-Pro2 owners!! 🙂 )

So for example.

You could set your C1-7 something like this:

C1 = Auto ISO 200-6400 Min shutter 1/60 – for general photography of non-moving subjects with wide lenses

C2 = Auto ISO 200-6400 Min shutter 1/100 – for general photography of non-moving subjects with longer lenses

C3 = Auto ISO 200-6400 Min shutter 1/250 – for general photography of moving subjects with wide lenses

C4 = Auto ISO 200-6400 Min shutter 1/500 – for general photography of subjects with tele length lenses

Now I realise that this isn’t quite as good as an auto ISO system that detects lens length and sets the minimum shutter speed accordingly, which technically on APS-C cameras is 1.5x lens length.

If you set your Q C1-7 menus to be identical except for ISO, then you effectively have 7 variations of the auto ISO!

So, here’s how I set my Q menu.

This is just me, there’s no right or wrong here… Perhaps you’re doing the same/something different/something better… Who knows (hit me up in the comments!)

My settings start with the following premise:

I’m not interested in shooting SOOC Jpegs. If I want a SOOC Jpeg, I’ll make one from in camera using the RAW file.

This means I can maximise my ‘Jpeg’ settings for RAW creation and how I like to use the camera.

ISO:

I have all but 2 of my C1-7 menus set to Auto 200-1600.

1600 is where the X-Trans I & II sensors switch to 100% post ADC amplification (you can read about this here and here) so I can do that myself in post.

These 200-1600 ISO vales are then split up into min shutter speeds (pretty much as I’ve listed above)

The 2 ISO values that aren’t set to this?

200 – for when I know that I’ll be using base ISO
200-6400 – for if I lend the camera to someone else and just want to give them a ‘fully automatic’ camera to use.

DR Mode:

I leave it off, and here’s why, which is DR100

White Balance:

If I’m not using Auto, then I’m using either a WhiBal derived setting or a specific Kelvin value, both of which are set in the main menu. For times when the light is static, I use my own values. For times when the SUNLIGHT changes, (shadow, inside a café, then back outside etc) I use Auto. For indoors and artificial lighting I usually set a Kelvin value of 3200

RAW and Jpeg:

I use the largest Jpeg size at the highest quality. When you check the images on the LCD (chimping) you are looking at the Jpeg. If you want to ‘chimp’ then you owe it to yourself to chimp the best resolution file, seeing as the LCD is small. (If you shoot RAW only, then you are chimping a Jpeg that is embedded into the RAW file, one that is of low quality)

Highlight and Shadow Tone:

I set these both to -2 (lowest value). This makes very flat and low contrast Jpegs, so why do it? The histogram that you view in real time is derived from the Jpeg settings. The RAW has greater magnitude for shadows and highlights than the Jpeg does, so by the opening up of the Jpeg at each end of the tone curve, the resultant histogram bears a closer relationship to the exposure of the RAW file. Remember you can always change these settings using the in camera RAW convertor to make nice SOOC Jpegs!

Film Simulation:

I use the standard Black & White (no filter) simulation. My understanding is that this simulation is based on the standard Provia, which means it’s the most neutral. Some of the film simulations, eg Velvia, jack up contrast and crush the shadows, which has a impact on the histogram that I’m using to judge RAW exposure. Remember you can always change these settings using the in camera RAW convertor to make nice SOOC Jpegs! Why black and white? Well I find that this works best with the X-Pro1 focus peaking. You read how I set my X-Pro1 up to focus here, and how I use it capture motion here.

Sharpness and Noise Reduction:

I have both of these set to -1. Why? Well the focus peaking on the X-Pro1 isn’t great, it helps using a B&W film simulation (see the preceding paragraph) but what doesn’t help is if the camera is artificially sharpening and smoothing the view I’m seeing in the EVF. By toning down these 2 settings, I get a better sense that I’ve actually achieved the focus I want.

And that’s how I use the Q menu to help me use the X-Pro1 to get the best from it!

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