By Ken Tanaka
(This is an addendum to Ken's Fujifilm Finepix X100 Review, below. —Ed.)
In addition to the various fixes that Fujifilm implemented with its recent X100 1.1 firmware update, they also quietly introduced a very nice new feature to the camera's auto-focus system that's worth noting here.
The feature, which Fujifilm calls "Corrected AF Frame," adjusts the visual auto-focus target position in the optical viewfinder to account for the parallax when focusing on close subjects. The feature is activated from the bottom (screen 6!) of the camera’s "Set-Up" menu.
Confused? It’s actually simpler than it sounds. First, consider that in a rangefinder-style camera (like the X100) the point of view when using the optical viewfinder (OVF) is ever so slightly different than when using the electronic viewfinder (EVF), which presents its view directly from the lens. This difference is called the parallax.
Focusing on relatively distant subjects is not significantly affected by this difference. But parallax can cause auto-focusing target errors on closer subjects. So this feature is designed to enable the photographer to account for this when framing a subject.
Consider the following images taken through the OVF. Here is a subject quite close but not close enough to require macro mode for focusing. You can see two auto-focus target frames, one solid and the other, to its lower right, dashed.
The dashed target represents the focus area for close subjects. You can see below that when I half-press the shutter button to set focus the camera has indeed lit-up that lower right area, indicating the actual area of focus.
For distant subjects approaching infinity, as in the scene below, we can see that the camera uses that solid target area to illustrate focus area.
Note that this corrected AF target is only presented when using the optical viewfinder, not when using the electronic viewfinder (in either the LCD or the eyepiece). It is also not active when the lens is in Macro-focus mode, since the camera automatically switches to its EVF display for this mode.
This feature appears to be a direct and rapid response to early X100 adopters who noted that parallax could be an issue with this design of viewfinder. Or, it could also be a feature that wasn’t quite ready when the camera was let loose. Either way, Fujifilm is to be commended for implementing this clever feature in the X100. In my opinion it clearly demonstrates that the company is making every effort to meld this legacy design with new technology to present owners with a new old photo experience.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Kelvin: "Ken, I've had my X100 for about two weeks now and have been shooting with it every day whilst overseas this week. When I treat it like the 'best Canon IXUS ever made,' then I am blown away by its versatility, image quality, and manual control. It is not a Leica M replacement and people buying it as one will most definitely be disappointed. Horses for courses!
"I've found myself using the LCD screen for about 75% of my shots and the optical viewfinder when outdoors in bright light.
"So far I'm quite pleased with the camera despite the FUBAR software interface. A UHS-1 class SD card transformed the camera from a lag beast to something quite responsive, and I would call it a necessity."