A little bonus extra blog post for you this week! This is an article I wrote last week, and it seems daft to wait 20 weeks to blog it as it’ll be old news by then!
As I’m sure so many of you know… Fujifilm recently released a new Firmware (FW) update for the X-Pro2.
I’ve managed to have a quick play with it, and I’d like to share my thoughts!
The very first thing to note, is that this update is not bug free and contains an issue.
This is best left to Fujifilm to explain in their own words:
Which can be found here (along with the details of the update and a link to download it) and reads thusly:
Notice for customers
We have confirmed that X-Pro2 with the upgraded firmware (ver.4.00) released on Dec 22 2017 stops working in certain settings.
We deeply apologize for your inconvenience this may cause. The symptom will happen only when all three conditions below are set at the same time.
1) IMAGE QUALITY : FINE+RAW or NORMAL + RAW
2) RAW RECORDING : LOSSLESS COMPRESSED
3) DRIVE : any of ADVANCED FILTER
* This is not factory setting. If the symptom happens, please remove the battery once for recovery. We are preparing a revised firmware as a solution and plan to release it as soon as possible.
If you’re a user of the advanced filters along with RAW capture then I suggest you sit this update out and wait for Fujifilm to fix it.
Personally, I’m not – and had it not been brought to my attention it might have taken months before I’d known 🙂
However, this FW update does promise several new features and improvements.
1. Addition of 4K video mode (excluding HDMI out)
2. Support for tether shooting via USB or Wi-Fi
3. New AF tracking algorithm for moving subject
4. Support “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO”(Macintosh)
5. Improve radio flash controller usability
6. Support for backup/restore of camera settings via FUJIFILM X Acquire
7. Support for “Instax SHARE SP-3”
8. RGB histogram display and highlight warning
9. Re-start of AF function during a movie shooting
Now I’m not going to cover off all of these things.
1 and 9: I’ve never used my Fujifilm cameras for video. Sorry I just don’t have any interest. I’m sure there’s a blog somewhere that has, but I’m not going to waste your time by writing poorly about something that I don’t use, there’s a standard of poor writing that you expect from me, and that standard is poor writing about things I actually use and can comment on. 🙂
5 and 7: Again, I don’t have the means to give this subject any justice.
3: I don’t really use AF, and my XF glass is all first and second generation, so I’ll have a look at this when I get the chance, but not at the moment.
4: As a windows user, I’ll look at this when I can (it’s not out for windows yet). As I understand it you can use your computer in lieu of the in camera RAW convertor to do the same thing (make SOOC JPEGs from RAFs)
So that just leaves 2, 6 and 8.
Fujifilm have helpfully provided a guide for tethered shooting which you can read here
I decided to test tethering over USB cable.
Although I can’t see myself using this much, I was keen to give it a whirl!
For my Fujifilm Files I 99% use SilkyPix v8 Pro.
This software offers something called a “Hot Folder” where you can pre-define image edits and they are applied to any image that’s placed in that folder.
This works very nicely with the tethering solution on the X-Pro2!
As I snapped away at the plethora of mess having a five year generates, the images appeared and were edited on the computer!
By setting X-Acquire to save the captured images straight into this folder, SilkyPix can then apply my edits to these shots immediately.
For the things I shoot, I can’t see this being something I use a lot (if at all) – but I do have a light tent and occasionally I use it for well lit still life work (some of the watch shots on my Flickr page for example) and this tethering + SilkyPix hot folder will no doubt be very helpful.
Back in my motorcycling days, I had a tool (still do in fact) to hold the centre of a multi-plate clutch still while I loosened the retaining nut. I needed this tool about once every 2 years, but I was glad to have it when I did. FOR ME (so YMMV) this is how I see the tethering application.
But don’t let my personal usage ambivalence put you off! Fujifilm offering us tethering on the X-Pro2 is a very generous addition and I’m sure many of you will have far more use for it than I do.
On Windows X-Acquire is accessed from the system tray (that’s those icons down where the clock is)
One aspect of the tethered functionality that could prove to be a real headache saver is the ability to back up and restore the way we customise our cameras!
Nice to have in case I ever need it 🙂
Not only is this great news if we have to perform a ‘factory reset’ it also means that if you shoot two different Fujifilm cameras that are the same model (eg two X-Pro2s) then you can quickly harmonise the settings between them both.
Another improvement is the ability to move the zoomed in focus point around the frame. As someone who uses manual focus nearly all the time I’m very happy about this addition. Previously when working with a zoomed in focus point, if the focus point wasn’t showing exactly what I wanted the temptation was always to move the camera a bit! This sometimes lead to unwanted changes in the overall framing. I find this feature particularly helpful when using the OVF as now I can press the rear scroll wheel, bring up the magnified focus box and adjust for parallax at the same time.
For the way I work that’s a big improvement! Thanks Fujifilm.
But there’s one new feature that excites me more than the rest, something I’ve wanted for a long time!
A real time RGB histogram + “blinkies” implementation.
I personally feel this is a mature feature that has great benefits.
The blinkies indicate blown out areas of the image by flashing (or blinking) at you
Having separate histograms for RGB is also incredibly useful.
It’s not always the case that a scene has an equal amount of RGB contained within it. Previously the histogram you were looking at was luminance only (which many say is basically just the green channel) this meant that the histogram wouldn’t necessarily show you that (say) the blue (or red!) channel had blown out.
The original Fujifilm Histogram is that tiny thing at the bottom right!
My other niggle with the previous style of histogram was its size – it’s tiny! Not only was it a bit hard to see, but it also has no easily visible shadow/highlight stops.
The new histogram resolves that, it’s large and easy to see and has clearly defined start and end points.
That’s a bit more legible isn’t it?
There is however a little (and totally expected) caveat.
This histogram tells you only what the sooc JPEG is set too.
This is not a RAW histogram (very few cameras have those) because this is a JPEG histogram, the histogram will reflect your JPEG settings. For example, if your camera is set to Monochrome, then the three channels (R, G and B) will show the same shape. This is unlikely how the image really looks. Similarly, if you have your JPEG settings set so that highlights are really bright and shadows are really dark, then the histogram will reflect this and show clipping before you can expect to find it with the RAW file.
The Film Sim is Acros and the camera reports that all three colour channels are equally represented.
Switch to a colour Film Sim though, and we can see that each colour is not equally represented (I shot this on the greyest day imaginable – trust me, with a clear blue sky you’d have seen a far bigger difference)
Don’t misunderstand me though, very few cameras have true RAW histograms and the usage improvement between the little thumbnail sized luminance histogram that we’ve had for all of these years on our Fujifilm cameras and the new large easy to read version is exceedingly welcome.
FW4.00 might not have been the most hyped and awaited release of all time, but these additions have real tangible benefits and I think we have to (continue to) be thankful to Fujifilm for giving us these new features
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