Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro Series lust/hate/love story:
Part 36: The X-Pro2 Review: Taking a Look at last October’s big Firmware Release
Now I first wrote this a few months ago, so NO Fuji didn’t just release more new FW (it’s rumoured to be happening soon though), however in case you just got your X-Pro2 or missed it the first time, here’s my review of the FW release from October 2016
On October 6th, (2016) Fujfilm released new firmware (FW = basically the camera Operating System) for the X-Pro 1 & 2 cameras, and also many of the XF (and some of the XC) lenses.
Focusing on the X-Pro2, which received the bulk of the updates, let’s take a look at some of the improvements and new features.
If you haven’t already; you can download the latest X-Pro2 FW from this link:
The Full list of Camera and Lens FW can be found on the link below
A document (in English) detailing the features can be downloaded here
Here’s the complete list of features and improvements.
I don’t have the full info on all of these items, but here’s what I do know!
The NUMBER OF THE FOCUS POINT has increased.(*)
The options available are 91 POINTS(7×13) and 325 POINTS(13×25) on the NUMBER OF THE FOCUS POINT of the AF/MF SETTING in the Shooting Menu.
This update has added additional (user selectable) AF points. Before the update the figures were 77 and 273, which has been increased to 91 and 325 respectively. This means that we can select more parts of the frame to focus on. If your camera was already set to the (previous) maximum of 272, then this setting will update to 325.
Improvement of phase detection AF accuracy.
By employing the new AF algorithm used in the X-T2, the AF accuracy has been improved.
The X-T2 camera features a more advanced Auto Focus algorithm. This has been rolled out to the X-Pro2. Time and usage will tell if we see a ‘in real life’ improvement or not.. If we do, we’ll soon get used to it 🙂 please note that the advanced AF tracking modes from the X-T2 are not included
You can read Fujifilm’s own words describing this improved algorithm here so rather than writing a lot about this I’ll sum this up as: the camera is now able to better divide it’s focus calculations between the (faster) PDAF and (slower) CDAF systems. So before if PDAF didn’t yield a immediate focus result, then it swapped over to the (more reliable, but slower) CDAF system. Now it’s able to perform more focus calculations with the PDAF system, leading to a faster AF time.
AF tracking function has been improved when CONTINUOUS L in the AF-C mode.
Although not benefiting from the advanced tracking features in the X-T2, the improvements to the X-Pro2 AF algorithm combined with the increase of AF points means that AF tracking is improved over the pre-existing FW
As per the general AF improvement I’ve detailed above, the new TRACKING AF algorithm means that the camera is capable of performing more “AF Target Searches” between shots. As per the Fuji link I’ve posted above; the claim is that previously the camera made one search between each frame (aka each shot taken in a continuous burst), Fuji now claim up to 10. In layman’s terms… If you’re looking for something, being able to look 10 times more without spending extra time searching, means you’re more likely to find it 🙂
In AF-C mode, AE function will work while pressing the shutter button halfway.
When you use continuous focusing mode (AF-C) the camera is now able to meter (ie ascertain the exposure parameters required) the scene whilst the shutter is half pressed. This enables you to track a subject and shoot at the desired moment without being locked into the exposure parameters that the camera had selected before. This is beneficial if the subject you’re tracking goes from a sunny to a shaded area for example.
I tested this claim RE the AE tracking out!
I used a black cat, and possibly Fuji’s slowest AF lens (the XF60) wide open (F2.4) to test with a narrow DOF (area of focus)
Here’s what happened:
Shot#1 in focus. Shots 2, 3 ,4 are NOT in focus. 5 to 8 in focus
All shots in focus
All shots in focus (shallow DOF excepted for closing ups)
All shots in focus (shallow DOF excepted for closing ups)
But let’s look at the change to metering, which gets ‘confused’ (sic) when black cat fills the frame, but it was a blue cloudless sky and black cat, so a real dynamic range challenge
All in all I’m happy with that… (YMMV) 3 missed shots out of 25, using the 60 and F2.4 and AE change between shots, which proves it’s metering between frames
AF tracking function works while CONTINUOUS shooting in the AF-C mode with the Electronic Shutter.
Previously the continuous shooting function only worked with the mechanical shutter that topped out at 1/8000 of a second. Now the electronic shutter can be used, which can be set to silent and goes up to 1/32000 of a second
AF tracking function works while CONTINUOUS H shooting in the AF-C mode instead of zone AF.
I’m not 100% clear on this… It seems that continuous shooting HIGH (the fastest burst mode) now functions with tracking auto focus. (I hadn’t ever tested how it worked before – I’m not much of high burst mode, tracking AF shooter 🙂 )
STILL IMAGE(single frame shooting) is available when CONTINUOUS L in the AF-C mode.
When the camera is set to continuous shooting LOW, the user can chose to take only a single photograph. This burst rate is 3fps.
I tested this, and couldn’t get any less than 2 shots taken when I used the shutter.
I’ve since discovered that this ‘single shot’ Low burst mode feature only works in parallel with AF-C (which I should of noticed from the Fuji info 🙂 ) I’ve tested this and it works as described.
The focus point of Eye Detection AF has been changed to the eye closer to the camera.
I’ve not had chance to test this yet… It seems that Face Detect algorithm has been improved to be more accurate.
Compatibility with the Shoe Mount Flash EF-X500.
Additional functions like the multi-flash lighting, high-speed flash sync and so on can be used with the EF-X500.
Accordingly, the FLASH SETTING and the Shooting Menu is dramatically changed.
The items that can be assigned to the Quick Menu have changed.
FLASH FUNCTION SETTINGS and FLASH COMPENSATION have been added due to the compatibility with the Shoe Mount Flash EF-X500.
The EF-X500 flash is not available yet. I do not own any 3rd party HSS flash units to test the menu settings for HSS, zoom, off-camera, etc flashes.
I still don’t own a Fuji or aftermarket HSS Flash!
However, the internet forums are ringing to the clitter-clatter of people with various types of 3rd party aftermarket flash units, and whether they work or not…
I do have a standard (ie non-HSS) aftermarket flash (made by Meike) that used to function TTL.
I’ve tested it, and it still functions TTL
The only apparent annoyance (and it’s minor) is that the digital read out on the flash, that tells me the ISO is seldom accurate, but works best when I use a set a single ISO (eg 200, not a range like 200-800)
The camera meters with this flash, sets the max (1/250) shutter speed where it can, tells me when it can’t. The flash menu in camera let’s me control flash compensation and flash type (eg slow sync etc)
To the best of my recollection (I’m not much of a flash guy) it works as it did before. (Except the display of the ISO value)
The roles that can be assigned to the Function buttons have changed.
FLASH FUNCTION SETTINGS, TTL-LOCK and MODELING FLASH have been added due to the compatibility with the Shoe Mount Flash EF-X500.
New items to cover quick access to settings related to the upcoming flash unit can be assigned to the quick access function (Fn) buttons
Addition of AUTO POWER SAVE.
AUTO POWER SAVE option has been added to the POWER MANAGEMENT of the Setup Menu. Select ON to save the power consumption and make the battery life longer.
Previously only available in economy mode and on by default with no user switching possible; I THINK that auto power save, reduces the EVF refresh rate (and perhaps some other things like histogram refresh) when the camera has been idle insufficient time to provoke auto power off, but still idle long enough for it to find ways to save power. I’ve no clue what the timing is on that though.. I usually get 400-420 shots (RAW + Jpeg, so 800-840 files) in high performance mode, per battery, so I’ll see if that number goes up at all
Addition of setting time in AUTO POWER OFF.
15 SEC, 30 SEC and 1 MIN have been added to the AUTO POWER OFF of the POWER MANAGEMENT in the Setup Menu.
These new settings mean that the user can chose a shorter duration of time before the camera enters sleep mode. Which can be handy for saving the battery
S.S OPERATION option has been added to BUTTON/DIAL SETTING in the Setup Menu.
Select OFF to disable the shutter-speed fine-tuning using the command dials.
When SS (Shutter Speed) dial is set to a user defined position, that’s not automatic, then selecting 1/3 stops via the front (default) or rear (if changed in the menu) command dial can be disabled.
Change of the CORRECTED AF FRAME in the OVF.
Specification of the CORRECTED AF FRAME of AF/MF SETTING in the Shooting Menu has been changed.
·OFF: The frame moves according to parallax to show the focus point.
·ON: The CORRECTED AF FRAME in the OVF is fixed on the recommended value described in the Owner’s manual. If the minimum focus range of the attached lens is greater than the recommended value, the frame is displayed on the position of the minimum focus range.
In the previous v1.02 FW, the X-Pro2 behaves like this
OVF Corrected AF ON =
You get 2 boxes, infinity and minimum focus distance
You make a bit of a guess of where your subject is, either infinity, minimum or somewhere in the middle and the corrected box (which is the minimum one) helps you make this guess by showing you max and minimum focus distances, so your subject will be either on one of those 2 points or some where in the middle
OVF Corrected AF OFF =
It resembles the OVF in MF mode.
You get one box, infinity.
You take a guess where your subject is, and the frame line movement is the only clue you get (plus if you use the distance scale) as too what subject distance the camera has selected
X-Pro2 2.00 FW
With CORRECTED AF FRAME = OFF
What happens now is that the previously fixed infinity box moves and becomes the indicator of the focus point within the frame
It would appear that there’s also been a change to the setting CORRECTED AF FRAME = ON
It’s a little hard for me to explain, because I can’t compare the 2 (old and new) FW versions!
It seems that previously, the minimum distance focus box couldn’t be exceeded by the green AF lock box. But now it can, if the camera achieves a focus distance shorter than the quoted 50cmm distance of the fixed minimum box.
Confused? Yeah man you tell me…. So here’s a picture 🙂
So here’s premise. You’re using the OVF to focus on a subject that’s as close as can possibly be*
The view through the OVF will look a little (and I mean a little) like the image above.
This next image is how the previous FW would of shown that focus had been acquired by showing the green AF box.
Basically it didn’t – because the green AF box wasn’t capable of moving any closer than the fixed 50cm box.
Now after the FW2.00 upgrade.
The green AF box is able to leave the confines of the fixed 50cm box and show you “exactly” where you have focused.
*for the joy of everything photographical, PLEASE – just use the EVF of the ERF when focusing this close 🙂
The phenomenon is fixed that in rare cases the magnification of the OVF doesn’t switch appropriately when a lens is changed.
Previously there was a bug in the OVF automatic magnification switching =
If you overrode the automatically selected OVF magnification (eg if you wanted the 35 frame lines to be smaller by using the magnification level that’s selected with the 18mm) by holding the OVF/EVF lever for some seconds; then the OVF would never automatically select the correct magnification based on the lens you had mounted ever again… or until you did a hot lens swap or system reset (which loses all your personalised settings
I have tested this and can confirm it’s been fixed.
The bright frame movement in the OVF has become more smoothly while zooming in and out.
I don’t have a zoom to test this, but I’d imagine it “does what it says on the tin” 🙂
OIS function has been improved while using Electronic Shutter.
I don’t have a OIS lens to test this, but I’d imagine it “does what it says on the tin” 🙂
The phenomenon is fixed that in rare cases frames of live view on a smartphone drop while using the application software “FUJIFILM Camera Remote”.
I don’t really use this feature, but I did notice it seemed to work better on my iPad than on my android phone, so perhaps there’s been improvements here.
The phenomenon is fixed that exposure sometimes doesn’t change appropriately in Aperture Priority AE while using an M MOUNT ADAPTER.
I don’t have a M-mount adaptor to test this, but I’d imagine it “does what it says on the tin” 🙂
As you can see, there’s an extensive list of improvements, and for this Fujifilm must be applauded. Of course we each have things that we’d like to see added or annoyances we’re like to see removed, and FW updates are often accompanied with the internet chatter of disappointment.
I too have things I’d like to see added…
Here’s my own personal wish list of future FW modifications:
- Being able to change the colour of the X-Pro2 frame lines in the OVF
- Add the AF-L and AE-L to any of the available Fn buttons
- Make the histogram read the whole frame in ERF mode
- Add the ability to add copyright info into the EXIF data of RAW
- Make an option for the DOF preview in MF mode on the OVF to work like on x-pro1.
- Interlocking of zone-af and center weighted photometry area
But the most important thing to remember is that Fujifilm gives us these updates for FREE, they constantly update the majority of their products, today even releasing updates for a body and some lenses that are over 4 years old.
So I REALLY do think that Fujifilm should be applauded for doing this, not criticised and moaned at 🙂
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