Did Fujifilm Fail Photographers With The Firmware 4.0 Update?

Did Fujifilm fail photographers with the Firmware 4.0 update? I'm Giovanni, this is Geek Beat.

Hey guys, this is Giovanni. I went out and shot a major league soccer game a few days ago using the Fuji XT1 and the new, newish 50-140 millimeter OIS lens that Fuji's put out here recently, and I wanted to give you guys some feedback on what I found, what's some pros, some cons are, things that I'm working through right now with the setup, 'cause I've really committed to the system. In fact, I'm getting a second XT1 that I'm gonna borrow from somebody to be able to use at Lollapalooza next weekend. I want to make sure that I give you guys some insight that doesn't come from the Canon world, doesn't come from the Nikon world. There's a lot of coverage out there for Sony, there's not a lot of coverage on the Fuji set up. So first and foremost, let's look at the 4.0 upgrade to the Fuji. Now, this has been a long time coming. There's been a lot of hype around this on the internet, and some folks aren't getting the full benefit out of this, or at least from what I'm reading, there are some folks that are frustrated with what was expected out of the upgrade and what they're actually getting.

Let's talk about a few things you can do to make sure you're getting the most out of this Firmware 4.0 update. The first thing you wanna do is you wanna look through your menu and look at the mechanical versus the electronic shutter on the camera. Now, these are two different ways that you can shoot. Electronic shutter's really nice whenever you wanna shoot in an area that requires silence, that you don't wanna have that shutter sound distracting from the goings on in the room. However, on the continuous focus and especially on the Firmware 4.0 upgrade, whenever you're shooting in CL or CH mode, which is continuous low or continuous high mode, if you're using either the mechanical plus electronic shutter mode or just the electronic shutter mode, the camera cannot focus in between and cannot track your subject and keep a good focus going as a subject moves throughout your frame. So absolutely critical that the first thing you do once you upgrade, if you're gonna be shooting this for sports, if you're gonna be shooting moving subjects, go into your settings, change the setting from electronic or from mechanical and electronic to just mechanical shutter. It's gonna give you the ability for the camera to actually track your subject in between your different shots so that you can make sure you can keep a steady focus throughout several different frames.

Number two, make sure you've got face detection off. When you've got face detection on, the camera uses the slower CDAF to focus and track objects within in your frames. You want phase detection auto-focus which is faster, and you only get that if you've got face detection turned off. So that's gonna help with the performance on the new Firmware 4.0 upgrade. The next item you need to do is make sure that you've got higher performance mode turned on. Now a lot of folks don't even know that this exists. Some people will turn it off in order to save battery life. I just make sure that I carry extra batteries with me 'cause I wanna get the most out of my camera whenever I'm shooting. So by default, my cameras always have high performance mode turned on. But if you have it turned off then it's gonna cause the camera not to respond as quickly whenever it's trying to focus, especially when you've got fast moving objects, so let's make sure that that's turned on.

Number four, now, your phase detection pixels that are tracking the objects within the frame are centered inside the middle of the frame, so this area right here. So make sure that whenever you're shooting that you're keeping your subject within the center box of the frame. And now that might kinda bum you out because you might wanna set something up on your thirds over here or on the thirds over here. But whenever you're using the Firmware 4.0 upgrade and you specifically are tracking something that's moving quickly, especially if it's moving forward or back in the frame, you wanna keep that object right sitting in the middle of the frame like this to make sure that the phase detection system can work. Now, maybe in the future, we will see a Fuji camera that has phase detection throughout the entire frame. Right now it's not there so that's a big thing that you can do to make sure that we're tracking properly, especially on fast moving objects.

So a couple of more things, make sure that you've got your pixels set. Whenever you go into the settings of the camera, you can change how big or how small the pixels are that are using this phase detection system. The largest that you can set that is a 5x3. Make sure that you've got that set at 5x3. I find that it helps especially if I'm shooting things like soccer, if I'm shooting hockey, sports that require... Football, sports that have the subjects moving around the frame quite a bit. The more space I have inside this phase detection area on the frame that I'm shooting, the more likely I am to be able to grab that subject and keep a tight focus on it. The last thing that can I suggest to you is to make sure that whatever lens you're using like this is the brand new, the 50-140, make sure that the lens has got the latest firmware upgrade to it. We'll send you a link inside the show notes to show how to go and upgrade the firmware on the lenses. But you've gotta make sure that that is latest and greatest as well.

So those are a few tips about how you're gonna get the most of the firmware upgrade. I will show you here, before we leave in this segment of the show, some of the images that I took with this brand new lens. Now, a couple of things that I found with the lens. Number one, it does come with an attachment on the bottom that allows you to attach this to a mono-pod or a tripod. Highly suggest that because without that, this camera is pretty unbalanced because you've got all the weight of the lens up front. If you have the battery grip, which I don't use on this camera, if you had that battery grip on here that would help with the balance. But because the camera's so small and I've even got pretty small hands by standard kind of measurement, it's still kind of difficult to hold on to the camera, especially if you're running around with this big heavy lens on it. So what I did is I had the monopod or tripod attachment on the bottom of the lens and I was running around the field using a monopod to steady the camera.

The other thing that I noticed in shooting with this is back in the days when I was using the Canon cameras, I typically shot Aperture Priority Mode with everything that I did. So I was allowing the camera to make the determination on shutter speed and make a lot of decisions for me. I was controlling aperture whenever I would shoot and aperture, for the most part, was the only thing that I would change during a shoot. Because of the way that the Fuji is set up with all your manual knobs up on top, even when you're shooting in auto mode, you have access to all this stuff a lot easier. And I think a lot of the reason why I fell into shooting in aperture priority on the Canon cameras was because flicking back to a touch screen or flipping back to a menu system on any system is inherently more difficult to do, especially when you're in the heat of the moment and you're shooting something like sports or documentary type stuff, when you've just gotta get the shot. The Fuji cameras tend to allow you to, since they allow you access to all your controls up here, and they're always available and they're always gonna function for you and they're much easier to get to, I tended to, when I started with this system, always shoot in manual mode.

I was having some challenges at the soccer game the other night, because I wasn't getting the shots that I was wanting, and they weren't turning out the way I wanted to, and I was missing some shots. Then I kinda stepped back and I thought, "Well, what was it about that Canon system that allowed me to get these shots and not miss the shots? I kind of remembered that I was always shooting in aperture priority. I took that philosophy of the way I used to shoot and I started doing that with the Fuji in the second half of the game, and I didn't miss any shots. So if you're gonna make a move and whether you're making a move to Olympus, to Sony, to Fuji from a Nikon or a Canon or another DSLR system, one thing I might suggest to you is think about how you used to shoot with that other setup as a baby step and replicate that on the new system before you start going in and trying to exploit some of the new benefits you get from the new system.

That's just something that I've found and it worked like a charm for me, because at some point in time, as photographers, we wanna be creative, we wanna try new stuff, but we also have to get the shot for the client. So whether you're shooting for editorial, for someone else who's paying you, a sponsor, whoever you're shooting for, you've gotta make sure you take care of them and we can't spend all our time of goofing around with the equipment. So I fell back on some tried and true methods, and that helped me out quite a bit and the pictures look fantastic. If you like the tech news and the tech reviews and the cutting stuff in half, and the general goofiness that we got going on at Geek Beat TV, we like you supporting us. If you could, if you're so inclined, go to geekbeat.tv/patrons, have a look at what we've got to offer. We'd love it if you could help us offset the costs of production. We'd like it a lot. It'd be great. It'd be fantastic. We'd like it. Go and do that, now. Help.