X-Pro2 New Focusing Features

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

Part 33: The X-Pro2 Review: X-Pro2 New Focusing Features

It terms of getting the X-Pro2 into manual focusing mode, not much has changed from the X-Pro1. The same buttons do the same things.

But, as they say; beauty is only skin deep, it’s true beauty that lies within, and under the surface the X-Pro2 offers a lot more for manual focusing users than the X-Pro1.

So let’s take a look at some of these features, what they do and how they can help us, along with my recommendations for setting them up. (The key word there folks was recommendations, I’m not trying to act like your line manager or anything like that!)

There’s a new feature, called ‘Focus Check’ if this is enabled, then turning the focus ring, automatically brings up the magnified focus box. PERSONALLY I have this switched off, but I can imagine it being beneficial to some. I might give it a try again in the future. Sometimes when you get a new camera it’s better to disable some bits whilst you get used to others, then enable the extra features and see how they integrate with your usage. I’ll keep you posted!

The ‘Preview DOF trick’ still works – whereby if you assign ‘preview depth of field’ to a Fn button (I use the one by the shutter) then you can instantly change the OVF to the EVF (at a standard 100% view).

BUT this function has lost a nice little side effect that was present on the original X-Pro1.

Let me try and explain… The Preview DOF feature had the rather neat side effect of reducing shutter lag.

Modern cameras with electronic apertures, vary the aperture to facilitate functions such as EVF brightness.

So if your set (working) aperture is stopped down, then the camera doesn’t tend to keep the lenses stopped down (to the working aperture) choosing only to perform this function when you ask it to take a photograph

On the X-Pro1, preview DOF was a way of circumnavigating this lag, for example

Set f8, you’re in OVF mode let’s say that the aperture is set wide open by the camera to make the OVF bright / you press preview DOF / camera switches to EVF and stops down to F8 / press shutter / Photograph is taken

However on the X-Pro2;

Set f8, you’re in OVF mode let’s say that the aperture is set wide open by the camera to make the OVF bright / you press preview DOF / camera switches to EVF and stops down to F8 / press shutter / camera drops preview DOF mode, returns to OVF mode, opens up aperture, then stops back down to working aperture /Photograph is taken

So, on the X-Pro2 (in OVF mode) you’re actually ADDING to shutter lag by using the preview DOF function.

This condition is also present in the ERF mode, but NOT present in EVF mode. In EVF mode the preview DOF function works exactly the same as it did on the X-Pro1

Having a one button press, instant EVF mode is still pretty handy, but (in OVF/ERF mode) it no longer reduces shutter lag.

However, regarding shutter lag…. Fuji have added an AF feature, whereby if you don’t fully release the shutter after taking a shot, then the camera won’t perform another AF run for subsequent shots. I’m pleased to report that this feature also noticeably reduces shutter lag in MF mode too.

Now for me, the headline feature of MF with the X-Pro2 (and a big part of why I bought one) is coloured and easily visible focus peaking.

Personally – I like red focus peaking and I set my jpeg film simulation (which is replicated in the EVF) to Acros.

Please DO NOTE: The strength of the displayed focus peaking is indicative of the sharpness of focus. Namely, the bits that are very red (if you use red) are the most in focus, the parts that are less red are less in focus.

The focus peaking on the X-Pro1 is perfectly usable, but it’s far more legible on the later X series cameras.

So, bear with me while I advise you to make it LESS legible!

Say what?

PERSONALLY, if I’m using MF – I’m doing that to achieve as accurate focus as possible.

In order to help with this, I use the following settings.

Jpeg = set sharpening to -1 (that’s minus one)
Focus peaking = set to LOW

Why do I this?

Well, sharpening adds edge hardening to the image that isn’t really there, and in the case of focus peaking HIGH, the line displayed in the EVF might actually be thicker than the thing you’re focusing on (for example someone’s eyelash)

So without those settings you’re basically using a fake fat line (the focus peaking) to focus on a thin line (like an eyelash or other fine detail like fur or a fabric), that’s been artificially sharpened to appear harder than it really is.

It’s not a recipe for accuracy is it?!!

(Of course, by shooting RAW + Jpeg, you can always make a sharpened Jpeg later on using the camera’s RAW convertor.)

But the most note worthy improvement for MF users is, -in my mind- the ERF (Electronic Range Finder)

And we’ll take a closer look at that next time.

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