p1010189-sp7rz

The X-Pro2 and the Electronic Rangefinder

The Electronic Rangefinder or “ERF” is, to my mind, simply a superb idea.

I don’t think there’s any other camera anywhere (X100T excepted of course) that has this function.

And before all you mechanical rangefinder users write in… PLEASE, aligning two images together in the centre of the screen is a completely different animal. Sure in certain situations that’ll be preferable, in others it wont. But at the end of the day it’s a completely different piece of tech.

There has been quite a lot of noise on the forums about the nomenclature of this feature (not a surprise), what is a rangefinder? Is it a mechanical device for achieving focusing or can it be digitised? If we can say it can (be digitised) then is not every camera with a EVF a rangefinder?

Yup, that one will run and run… For me? ERF sounds like marketing speak 🙂

Maybe we should call it a hybrid (as it features both OVF and EVF functionality in the same view) or maybe a split screen..

Or let’s just call it the ERF, as that’s what it’s been marketed as!

Call it what we like, the ERF is an exceedingly clever and well thought out feature.

I don’t tend to find that I use it all the time… But when I do I really like it a lot!

For me, in MF mode, the ERF is particularly handy for subjects that are neither moving nor sitting still! For example; someone sitting on a chair, they’re not exactly moving a lot, but equally they’re not 100% static either.

I find that for scenarios like that, I don’t re-focus between shots, but instead I move myself backwards or forwards a bit, keeping an eye on the ERF (with focus peaking enabled) to keep my subject in focus, whilst the OVF provides me with a real time live view to decide exactly when to take the shot.

The ERF has 3 view mode settings, 100% view, 100% of the focus box view and a semi-magnified view.

I’ve shown it above with the 100% view (as it shows up clearer in the picture) but for me, I prefer the semi magnified view.

The 100% view is effectively tiny – like the world’s smallest EVF!

The 100% contents of the focus box view, can be very hard to pin-point if the scene you’re shooting is busy and has repeated details.

The semi-magnified view is just about right, the figurative ‘Goldilocks’ setting 🙂

You can cycle through these three views by pressing (not scrolling, as per the focus views in the EVF) the rear command dial in. Personally I wish this was a scroll function, as the command dial is quite recessed and not always easy to press in.

The ERF isn’t just good at having your OVF cake and eating your EVF cake at the same time.

It’s also superb for determining parallax error. When using the OVF you are (of course) looking through a hole on the top corner of the camera, whilst the lens and sensor are (more or less) in the middle.

This means that in OVF mode – when you position the focus box to where you need it in the frame, it might not actually be where you need it! But a quick glance at the ERF will confirm whether or not you’re in the right place.

Superb.

So why don’t I use the ERF all the time?

Well it can a little distracting. I wrote above keeping an eye on the ERF but of course that’s the problem, you can only use one eye at a time in the viewfinder – so for times when I’m shooting something where I don’t need the ERF (for example a land or city scape, or if I’ve zone focused the lens or I’m using a focus trap) then it’s easier just to turn it off.

The battery life is a bit better if the ERF isn’t on all the time.

But also…

Apparently Fuji have made either a coding error or a (in MY HUMBLE opinion) poor judgement call in how the camera meters in ERF mode.

According to Rico Pfirstinger (the author of several EXCELLENT books about Fuji X cameras) in this post (on Fujixspot Forum) here and also in his book “115 X-Pert Tips for the X-Pro2” he states the following

In ERF mode the camera’s histogram basically displays ONLY what the ERF patch is set too… So basically if you have the ERF set to one of the zoom modes, then the histogram will ONLY meter that portion of the total frame.

This effectively makes the histogram unreliable (and being luminance only, it already needs all the help it can get!) in the non-100% view ERF mode.

I don’t know if this is a bug or a feature… But I do know, that I make sure I’ve done any metering that I need to do before I switch the ERF on.

Which is another reason why I don’t use it all the time.

The big take away for me on this, is that the X-Pro2 histogram is basically driven by the EVF, not the sensor itself. This has implications on how you set the jpegs up… for example, like big black shadows? Crank your shadow tone setting up to plus 4? Well your histogram now tells you that you’re cutting signal far sooner than you really are.

Of course, now that we know this – it’s not so hard to work around. You can set your jpeg tone curves to make the best use of the histogram (which is -2 for shadow and highlight tones); and you can use the OVF or any of the 100% EVF/ERF views to use the histogram.

I understand that for SOOC Jpegs, having a EVF that displays the shot you’ll get is a very worthwhile feature.

But still – one is left with the feeling that the histogram really should tell you what the sensor is metering, not what a fraction of the sensor is metering.

======================================
PREVIOUS PAGE
NEXT PAGE

The X-Pro Series Content: Referenced and All In One Place

Back to Page One

Back to Page Two

Back to Page Three

Back to Page Four

Back to Page Five

Back to Page Six

Back to Page Seven

Back to Page Eight

Back to Page Nine

Back to Page Ten

Back to Page Eleven

Back to Page Twelve

Back to Page Thirteen

Back to Page Fourteen

Back to Page Fifteen

Back to Page Sixteen

Back to Page Seventeen

Back to Page Eighteen

Back to Page Nineteen

Back to Page Twenty

Back to Page Twenty One

Back to Page Twenty Two

Back to Page Twenty Three

Back to Page Twenty Four

Back to Page Twenty Five

Back to Page Twenty Six

Back to Page Twenty Seven

Back to Page Twenty Eight

Back to Page Twenty Nine

Back to Page Thirty (The Start of the 100% X-Pro2 Content)

Back to Page Thirty One

Back to Page Thirty Two

Back to Page Thirty Three

My Blog Click Blog Table of Contents

Other Stories Click Pages and Articles

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “The X-Pro2 and the Electronic Rangefinder”

    1. I deleted the other comment as I think you double posted, let me know if that’s wrong and I’ll re-instate it

      I honestly don’t know!

      According to Rico, the X100T meters across the frame in ERF mode, so unless there’s some technical reason why that can’t be done on the X-Pro2 I should think it’ll work out as a FW update

      That said; the clincher might be how the X100F behaves in the same ERF user case. If it behaves like the XP2 then maybe there’s some technical restriction to it

      Like

      1. Haha.. it’s all good. I can’t remember what I last wrote. there might have been the same comment, but maybe some other tidbits mixed in.. anyways, I know you don’t work for Fuji, but was asking all the same on your take just in case you somehow had a shallow window into Fuji works.

        I have to say it never bugged me before until you mentioned it and I started noticing and got more bothered by the inconsistencies more recently as I was practicing using the OVF/ERF more and manually exposing.. just trying to better hone my skills..

        Hmm.. the X100T is ok in this regard?.. Yeah, there should be no reason why the X-Pro2 can’t do the same thing.. it really should.. it really needs to.

        But, then again you say the X100F reverts back to this metering/histogram issue.. ughh.. maybe they forgot to implement this feature? who knows?.. Fuji does, just hope they take this issue more seriously and fix it.

        Thanks, again, anyways.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Haha.. it’s all good. I can’t remember what I last wrote. there might have been the same comment, but maybe some other tidbits mixed in.. anyways, I know you don’t work for Fuji, but was asking all the same on your take just in case you somehow had a shallow window into Fuji works.

    I have to say it never bugged me before until you mentioned it and I started noticing and got more bothered by the inconsistencies more recently as I was practicing using the OVF/ERF more and manually exposing.. just trying to better hone my skills..

    Hmm.. the X100T is ok in this regard?.. Yeah, there should be no reason why the X-Pro2 can’t do the same thing.. it really should.. it really needs to.

    But, then again you say the X100F reverts back to this metering/histogram issue.. ughh.. maybe they forgot to implement this feature? who knows?.. Fuji does, just hope they take this issue more seriously and fix it.

    Thanks, again, anyways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi,

      Well I’ve been told that the X100T doesn’t exhibit that behaviour and told that the X100F does.

      I don’t know first hand with either camera

      My HUNCH is that the behaviour is caused by Fuji not really metering from the sensor at all, and instead metering from the EVF (even in OVF mode) I SUSPECT all their X cameras do this, and it’s only the particular case of the X-Pro2 (and X100F I guess) that have these ERF modes to highlight the shortfall in doing this. For example the XT1 doesn’t even show you a histogram in a magnified view (so we cannot know if it’s metering the whole scene)!

      So any remedial solution from Fuji would probably have to change a lot of code, will they do that? Who knows… sadly not me

      I’d like them too though!

      Thanks
      Adam

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: