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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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The x-e1 is that way - if you've chosen your aperture and shutter speed manually, but have auto-iso, the exposure control dial has no effect.

In fact that is what they had to do from the begining. IMHO. O perhaps they wanted to make this and they failed :-)

The speed dial only shows the approximate speed. The front wheel can adjust the speed + or - 2/3rds of a stop in 1/3rd stop increments.

Unless you're a man with outlandishly gigantic hands, that thing is positively dainty! In many photo's on the web those Fujinons come across as large lenses, whereas in fact they seem reasonably proportionate to the XT-1.Hope it handles as well as it looks.

Mike, the exposure compensation dial on my X-T1 stops doing anything when I set all three exposure parameters to manual. This makes sense to me. The scale on the viewfinder shifts from showing the amount of compensation to an indication of how close your manual settings are to a 'correct exposure'.

What doesn't make sense is that it also stops working when ISO is in Auto and the other two are set to manual.

I suppose the logical (?) way to solve this issue would be to automatically disable the auto ISO function if you were to dial in some exposure compensation. To me, it makes more sense in Manual mode to use a fixed ISO and use the shutter and/or aperture adjustments to move the histogram to where you want it (or, of course, use Spot metering and set your exposure to taste).

Am I the only one who really doesn't like top deck control dials that are hard to adjust while keeping your face plastered to the viewfinder?

I've never quite understood the gushing nostalgic love for these things when the anonymous CaNikon-style front/back adjust dials for A and S are (or S and exposure compensation) are soooo much easier.

P.S. We had snow here yesterday too, but it didn't stick to the ground. Thank god.

Sometimes even better than "at a glance," when one learns his or her knob-and-dial equipped camera really well, it can be set without even looking.

I'm very happy with my XT-1 but here are a couple of minor complaints.... the aperture ring on the 23mm turns too easily and I cant find the focus assist button by touch- its too flush with the back. I never use auto ISO so that glitch doesn't bother me! All in Fuji has a real winner. Its the first camera I've been really excited about since my D700!

Mike:

It might be worth reading Michael Riechmann's "Fujifilm XT-1 - Further Thoughts" article where he outlines the limitations of manual controls:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/fuji_x_t1_further_thoughts.shtml

Cheers! Jay

Mmm yeah, but you've got to look in lots of different places, and with some lenses you get no aperture ring, so you need to know the electronic stuff anyway. The alternative is seeing the same info all clearly laid out on one screen. Unless you want to ditch the electronics too, eventually this half and half aproach will get frustrating. I've got used to the button/dial approach, though it took quite a while, and it works better for me. E-M1, please.

Dials and knobs are great for quickly determining settings as you mentioned, until it gets dark. Then screens become more useful. Maybe Fuji should add illuminated dials and knobs to the feature list for the X-T2.

If it's any consolation, Fuji will probably fix the EC issue in their next firmware upgrade since they seem to fix just about everything people take issue with.

I don't want to look like a Fuji-hater (on the contrary, I fell in love with its look at first glance), however I would like to object to what you say.

Firstly, many "modern looking" cameras allow you to see at first glance what the settings are. I am familiar with an EOS 1n, for instance, with its LCD on the top that groups together all the settings in a small space. From this point of view, knobs are not a necessity - they may be handy to change the settings, surely, but not as much to see them.

Secondly, and this is my strongest objection: if you pick a Nikon FM2n (that I regularly use), not only you have knobs telling you at first glance what the settings are but, more importantly, they tell you ALL the settings that are in place. Unfortunately, with the X-T1 you still have hundreds of options that are hidden and only accessible through the menus. How is the white balance set, for instance? Is it small or large jpg? Is the LCD on Auto-brightness or not? Etc etc.

I've always wondered about FujiFilm's approach to exposure compensation when using ISO-auto setting in manual mode.

On a Nikon, you can switch to manual to choose both shutter speed and aperture and (optionally) allow the camera to set ISO to achieve the right brightness; exposure compensation is important for that last step and is fully functional. Very useful if you want to avoid shutter shake, set a certain depth of field and know how the meter tends to behave in certain scenes; the EC affects the metering, not the actual shutter speed or aperture.

Doing this is quicker than shooting aperture-priority and digging through menus to set the minimum shutter speed -- the Nikon way, you can change it instantly on a dial for every shot, depending on your need to freeze motion. It would be even better on the FujiFilms, with their dedicated knobs and dials.

I use (and love) an X100 but this is one of the few remaining frustrations of that camera. (One of the others is button placement, which was much improved with the X100S.)

I just checked my X-Pro1, and can confirm the exposure comp dial does not work when in shooting in "manual" and Auto-ISO. I guess I'm too old-fashioned, and spent too many years shooting my OM-1; it seems to me that "shooting in manual" also means you're making specific ISO setting choices and manual adjustment to ISO, not just shutter speed or aperture (I also never noticed because I never shoot in Auto-ISO).

If I wanted "fingertip control" of apeture, shutter speed, comp, etc, I could just as well use my Canon. The standard DSLR experience of "fingertip control" is NOT what these cameras are about. For me, one of the real pleasures of shooting with my X-Pro1 or X-T1 is to have physically put my hands on the controls to change settings; to slow down a bit rather than speed up the process making images (and my photography is the better for it).

Another note for you regarding controlling the X-T1: using the Fuji Remote App overrides the control dial settings on the camera. You control everything from the on-screen controls on the app. In this case, this makes perfect sense, there's no point in having a remote control app if you can't completely control the camera. BTW, if you haven't tried out the Fuji Remote App on your iPad yet, you should, it's EXTREMELY cool. This is going to make macro, studio, landscape, product and architectural photography considerably easier and more convenient.

One last point, if there's something you don't like about the design or functionality, let Fuji know. They actually listen. For example, they moved the AF selection activation button from the left of the camera to the down arrow on the D-pad in response to customer comments. This makes changing the AF point on the X-Pro1 much more fluid. Unlike the majority of other camera companies, Fuji actively practices "Voice of the Customer" and "kaizen"...a Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement. This is a big part of why they have such a devoted installed base of users. X-shooters know Fuji's got their back.

From the list in the manual on page 116 the exposure compensation dial does not function on "manual" mode, it does however work in P,S,A Panorama and Video modes.
Personally that is great since I am predominantly a "manual" user and the dial is far too easy to hit with your thumb!

I would like for Fuji to become aware of this Exposure Compensation issue, which is the case with the XPro1 through all the firmware updates. if shooting on Manual mode, and with the shutter speed set in 1-stop steps, and the ISO fixed, then it would be REALLY necessary to have the Exposure Compensation work to offer a granularity on the shutter speed by changing the Exposure Compensation.

seriously, an otherwise delightful camera has this major problem for those that like to take photos manually — very important at concerts, where the lighting conditions are generally low-light, but with momentary blaring lights that would affect auto-metering, and must be kept in check with manual settings.

Mike, if you like knobs and dials you might want to include this in your home office upgrade.

http://www.wimp.com/buildsdesk/

So why was the Nikon Df denigrated as "faux retro" and "for hipsters" for having knobs and dials?

I've not checked how the the operation of the exposure compensation dial depends on mode with my newly acquired X-T1 but I am scratching my head trying to figure out why you would want separate exposure compensation when in manual mode (and scratching it some more when you fold into the equation the matter of automatically adjustable iso). Surely the whole point of manual mode is that you set the aperture and shutter speed manually. If doing so whilst peering through the viewfinder than the exposure meter will tell you whether you are over or under and to what extent. If what you want, however, is to set the exposure referenced to the recommendations of a hand-held exposure meter, then in that much more considered process, I would have thought that calculating the required adjustment to over or under expose would be straightforward. So, in summary, I'm not at all clear why anyone should be outraged at this quirk (if indeed it is a quirk). Are we mixing up expectations deriving from antique methods of operating a camera with the way in which the modern camera is designed to work (i.e. quickly). Please educate me.

Re: AF/MF -- Characteristic of the Fuji X camera designs the X-T1 has a tiny "S/C/M" (Single-frame/Continuous/Manual) switch on the FRONT of the camera that enables a default mode setting for the body. Lenses with their own AF switch can override this switch setting. Confusing, eh?

An example of usage:
Because I've become accustomed to on-demand auto-focus I generally leave this little front switch set to M (manual) and then use the "AF-L" button just above the thumb grip to snap auto-focus on-demand.

BUT if a lens's auto-focus switch is set to "Off", as would be possible with the 23mm lens that Mike is using, the AF-L button would not respond to a press and the camera would be adamantly in manual focus mode. That is, the lens would have the last word on focus mode.

Changing over to the superb 18-55mm zoom changes the ball game. This lens features two switches, one for the lens's OIS and the other for manual(ring)-or-auto iris operation. But no AF switch. So when using this lens the body's "S/C/M" switch is the last word. (FYI, the 55-200mm zoom is designed this same way.)

As I remarked in a post weeks ago the X primes each seem to have been designed by separate teams. Their AF and iris operation designs are rather independent! It can be a bit jarring and frustrating. I write it off as minor "brand character", rather like having to dismantle a Leica camera to change battery and memory card.

Another thing which looks very attractive to me is the depth of field scale on the outer rim of the lens. It would be better further back, adjacent the aperture setting ring, but any scale at all is a decided step in the right direction.

Yeah, we've been complaining to Fuji for a while about the M mode with auto ISO disabling the exposure compensation dial. This takes away a potentially very useful auto mode, which I am not sure what to call. It's not ISO-priority, since that's the only automated exposure value. I suppose we can call it Manual-priority but that seems wrong somehow.

I mostly get around ths by setting my auto-ISO to 1/160th minimum shutter speed, which works fine in most situations. But still, every other auto-exposure mode allows use of the compensation dial, so why not this one?

Drives me nuts that exposure comp doesn't work with autoISO in manual mode. It's been a common complaint since the original X100.

Mike wrote, "I like being able to check settings by looking at them."

I like being able to check settings without putting my glasses on -- by looking through the optical or electronic viewfinder.

What really puzzles me about Fuji's decision to disable the exposure comp dial in certain modes is why they did it. Assuming it was done intentionally, this suggests it offers some benefit to some photographer somewhere, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what that benefit might be...

Is this camera really tiny or do you have Paul Bunyan hands?

For a while now I've been bemoaning the loss of "top of the camera" indicators like these, which were standard on cameras for years. As an amateur photographer, I don't live in the viewfinder like the pros do. I find it an uncomfortable way to take a photograph (I prefer Rolleiflexes and old Nikon SLRs like the FTn -- though I'm sure there are many others with dial and indicator layouts that are similar). Then again, I like zone focusing too, so take this with a little grain of salt.

I can't think of any other way to get this kind of feedback except for old cameras. There doesn't seem to be any reason to go back to these layouts, because autofocus is so good and they're moving a more complex dialog of settings to the EVF. My hope is that there is someday a perfect EVF / screen (at least 4" x 5") that you can see in daylight that provides instant feedback on easy-to-adjust settings.

Hey, a guy can dream.

Mike does manual not mean "Operator" decides everything. Turn off auto ISO and set by the top dial, then exposure control functions as expected.

Howard

Mike further to my earlier comment:the x-e1 does not have a top iso dial, the x-t1 does.
Howard

I think it is important to add that you also adjust the settings in the same place where you check them. When my brain says "change that," it likes it when my fingers go to the place where my eyes are looking.

Hi Mike,

Regarding seeing most major settings at a glance, I suspect the appeal of this is more a yearning for "the good old days", than any real distinguishing advantage. For instance, my D800 has an INFO button that displays all major settings on a single screen (no menu diving necessary; I assume most modern DSLR's and mirrorless cameras have something similar). With one button press you can see f stop, shutter speed, ISO, focus mode, focus pattern, drive mode, battery charge, shots remaining . . . well, you get my point. AND, you can see it all even in pitch darkness. Knobs and dials, vs one button push - it seems a wash.

Which is not to say I don't drool over the XT-1. I do. But mostly for the small size, huge viewfinder view, always-on EVF live view with instant exposure and depth of field feedback, and the very accurate focus (I have to engage live view on my D800 to achieve comparable focus accuracy).

Regards,
Hans

I notice that Sony has backed away (slightly) from LCD menus on some new releases. Maybe the trend will continue.

I use a pair of X-E1s as my main cameras, and have been very happy with the X-series system. The X-E1 shares the AF/MF control on the front of the camera with the X-T1. In practice it is very easy to adjust this using the middle finger of the left hand without taking the camera from your eye. For lenses without the push-pull control of the 23mm, this is all you need.

Enjoy the X-T1! I'm hoping to get one myself soon.

>>Mike replies: Oooh, bad Fuji. Very bad.

If you are in full manual what would you expect that dial to do?

[I would expect it to reduce or increase the exposure by whatever amount that it's set to! Of course. Just because you never need an EC dial in manual mode doesn't mean the dial should be silently disabled and not work. The issue in that case is "transparency," not functionality. You don't want to have to remember when a dial works and when it doesn't. It should just work all the time, period. --Mike]

My Canon 5D (and most or all other Canon DSLR's AFAIK) does not allow exposure compensation if the camera is in Manual Shooting Mode.

The questions is: Does one really need it? If you want to add/subtract stops of exposure in Manual Shooting Mode, just use the exposure scale in the viewfinder. Why futz with another control button?

Granted, having exposure compensation in addition to what you can do with the viewfinder exposure scale gives one more stops of compensation at one's disposal, but does one really need 20 stops of range?

Ummm... [The thingymajig] "is obvious; you just need to know how to look for it"?! Isn't this just another way of saying "_I_ prefer it this way, and _I_ am the gold standard around here!"

I don't see the difference between glancing at a hard dial vs. an LCD. It's true some cameras require a button press to turn on the LCD, but how is that different from knowing "how to look for it"?

You could have made stronger arguments about tactile feedback, or security from unintentionally nudged settings. But you focused (ahem) on the visuals. Well, I would like to point out that I too check the settings on my LCD screen by visuals, not Braille.

At least with LCDs, I have the option checking my settings in a dark venue (performance art, street photography at night, sunrise, etc.) I couldn't do that with my Canon FTb, even before I got presbyopic.

Someone is going to have to explain this thing about exposure compensation dials. I am a lifelong pro photographer, sometimes semi, my cameras have always been either on manual, aperture priority or shutter priority. I have researched what a couple manufacturers cameras do when you inflict exposure compensation. duh, open the lens? use a slower shutter speed? Why do people need this. In program or auto I could understand. Am I stupid? Is this a case of stay quiet and have people think you dull as opposed to opening your mouth and proving them right? I am going to take a chance here.

[Ken, it's sort of one of those cases of "different ways to do the same thing." Personally I used EC the most back in the days of averaging meters, because you could get a good sense of how the meter was making errors. With evaluative metering it's not so clear-cut. And of course now we have histograms and image review too.

Remember my "Wisconsin #7" picture from the print sale last week? That was taken with –3 (or was it –2?) exposure compensation, even with evaluative metering. Naturally when you're shooting on manual you'd never use EC! But mostly it's just a matter of preference based on how individuals like to set exposure when they shoot. Others can chime in here with their own answers. --Mike]

When exposure is set to full manual mode, no X-Serries camera enables exposure compensation via a the E.C. dial.

This has been discussed and debated ad nauseam in Fujifilm camera forums for three years.

In full manual mode you can set the aperture ring in 1/3 f-stop increments. The shutter speed can be set in +/- 1/3 stops by turning the front command dial. The exception is the flash sync speed which is always 1/180 sec.

So, one argument is the EC dial is redundant in manual mode.

The other argument is why not do it as Nikon does it and for more than 1/3 shutter stops takes two steps (change the shutter dial, then the command dial.

Fujifilm has not changed this for three years and it seems unlikely they will ever change it.

Having exposure compensation in manual exposure mode makes no sense. You compensate for yourself by adjusting either the aperture or shutter speed, depending on the circumstance.

To me, auto ISO in manual exposure mode also makes no sense. Auto ISO in manual mode is really unpredictable, completely defeating the purpose of shooting manually.

As for turning auto-focus on or off: There is a plainly labelled focus mode switch on the front of the camera body for lenses that don't have the push-pull focus ring. It works exactly like the one on a Nikon: M for manual, C for continuous auto-focus, S for single-shot auto-focus. For lenses without the push-pull switch, the focus ring is deactivated when either of the AF modes are enabled.


I assumed, and would expect the exposure compensation would somehow advance or retard the sensor electronics to change the exposure, not change the shutter speed or aperture. Am I wrong ?

Olympus does a similar frustrating thing with auto-iso and manual mode. For me, shooting in certain situations, I should be able to set my ideal shutter speed and aperture, and then let the iso "float," using exposure comp as needed. Instead the camera insists on shooting everything in the middle (middle gray) so manual mode becomes sort of like full auto.

In full manual, WHY would you want to use an exposure compensation dial at all? You just stop down or open up a bit to compensate. Just like on a Nikon F, F2, Pentax Spotmatic, Canon F1, Rolleiflex and most of the cameras that many of us grew up with.

I've had photos ruined by manual mode respecting exposure compensation. In a hurry, when EC isn't cutting it (which, the more I think about it, is all the time; these days I refuse to use EC), when I switch to manual and set exposure per the meter, I forgot that it was lying to me because of the EC setting. In my head, EC is associated with automatic exposure. I really hate the idea of some other camera setting causing my light meter to mislead me!

With the modern possibility of auto ISO it does get more complicated, and I see the argument for having EC function in manual exposure auto ISO mode. I think that's probably "right".

I'm with others on this exposure-comp-dial-disability-while-in-manual issue. I also would not expect e/c to drive ISO excursions when I've pre-set my aperture and shutter speed. Seems silly. The exposure indicator (in the viewfinder/lcd) already shows the over/under. So turn that beloved shutter speed dial or crank the iris! Dat's wat yoos sed yoos wanted da darn dials for, ain't it?.

Cameras have become too complicated. I still like Leica for its simplicity, and ME better than M10 just beause it is even simpler. It still does what you tell it to do and that's it. I can sort of understand the logic that manual is manual, so no exposure compensation. But to me the logic is missing when suddenly a control wheel that shows -1 or +1/3 actually does not do anything. They have a big screen in the back. They could show a warning if you put on Manual mode that you have compensation set at the same time. Sometimes we might even find a need for it. If you want to under expose by1/3 stop to preserve highlights you could set that in the comp wheel and then use manual to just center the exposure. Then there is auto ISO. Logically, manual aperture and speed with auto ISO is auto exposure where you decide the aperture and shutter speed but camera adjusts ISO to come up with its own idea of exposure. Some cameras disable auto ISO when set to manual exposure. So it is really manual exposure. Is that better? Ricoh/Pentax now have a separate TA mode for this. To me the single most important thing is that the camera does what I tell it to do and does not start thinking on its own to adjust things when I don't specifically tell it to adjust. Like shutter speed in A mode.

It seems that some commenters are confusing the exposure compensation issue.

The issue isn't with using exp. comp in full manual mode, where it is disabled as it should be.

The issue is that exp. comp isn't activated when using manual shutter speed and aperture with autoISO, so there's no compensation control of the autoISO function. Without that control, Fuji might as well not make autoISO an option with manual shutter speed and aperture. It's one of the things that Sony has actually been getting right, lately.

For the benefit of those who don’t understand why you might want to use Auto ISO and exposure compensation in manual mode, here’s an example. I frequently take photos of birds in flight from boats. Playing with settings on the go is best avoided where possible – trying to get the autofocus square on the bird without overbalancing while the boat is bouncing up and down in the waves is challenging enough. So I tend to put the lens on say f8, the shutter on about 1/1500th, and use Auto ISO to take into account changing light conditions. Works OK for predominantly dark birds, but if the sun comes out and an albatross flies by I end up with lots of blown highlights. What I’d like to be able to do (but can’t with my Canon gear) is wind in about -2/3 of a stop as soon as a white bird flies into view, and then fire away.

I suppose that example is a bit academic when it comes to mirrorless as none of the manufacturers seem that interested in quality telephoto lenses.

While we're pointing out quirks and outright travesties of the Fuji X system, let me relay one of the latter: Min Shutter Speed is broken.

You may have set this in the Auto ISO menu. You set a shutter speed below which you don't want the camera to go so that you don't find yourself taking shots of people at 1/20s and ISO 400. Set the Min Shutter Speed to 1/80s and the camera will go no slower than that and then take your shot at ISO 1600. That's the theory, but it's a lie. Min Shutter Speed is only respected as long as the ISO is below the set upper limit. Once the camera hits its maximum ISO and needs a brighter exposure, it will ignore your Min Shutter Speed and shoot at speeds below it.

I have found this to be annoying to no end, as I often shoot at max (RAW) ISO of 6400 while in Av and would like my Min Shutter Speed respected. I go into more detail in a classic useless internet argument about this issue here.

Incomprehensibly, the lower and upper limits you set for ISO are respected, so it's not like Fuji engineers don't understand the concept of "limit", it's just that they deem it not worthy to be used for shutter speed.


The Exposure Compensation dial, on any manually controllable camera, is superflous.
If you are shooting on auto, you deserve what it gives you.
If you can easily switch it into manual, well......put it this way:
Don't you want to control the settings instead of leaving it to a brainless machine?

Dials are nice, but other means could also be used to the same affect, no? The Sony A7 series, for example, has a large empty space on the left side of its top plate. I'm not sure why a small LCD or e-ink display couldn't be put there showing at least the shutter speed and aperture, if not also the ISO or whatever else one chose to have displayed there. It would make that camera much more useful in the "at a glance" category.

For what it's worth, the Olympus EM1 operates the same way: if using Auto ISO while in manual mode for shutter speed and aperture, the EC doesn't work. It makes sense to me to have no EC function while in manual mode, but once one is using auto ISO, it's not truly manual anymore, so it'd be nice to have EC working in that case, it seems to me.

Amen on the controls! Beautiful camera. For similar reasons, this is exactly why I really love my Leica - you can set everything you need without having to resort to looking at the screen. It's just that much more discreet and efficient, especially for shooting manually in lower light when you want the camera to just do what YOU want and not what the meter wants. To this day, I do wonder why Leica didn't implement an ISO dial on their M as an update to the interface -- after all, it has always existed on their film cameras.

The EC bug would throw me off as well. At the very least, they should make it user configurable in a menu. For instance, have a custom function in M mode: do nothing or alter overall meter result. It shouldn't be that hard...

Pak

To pick up John Linn's point above: Yes, Mike, but what would it do in full manual?

Which would it change -- the aperture,the shutter speed, or the ISO? I may be missing something fundamental here, but there is no abstract "exposure compensation" quantity that could be adjusted up or down, surely?

[The metering. EC is a metering override primarily. —Mike]

The designer only has two options, I think: either make the dial functionless in manual, or make the user declare (in the settings) which of the the three variables they would prefer to have adjusted when in manual, maybe in order of preference.

Logically, it's harder to see why Fuji also makes the knob inoperative when two variables are set and the third is on "auto", as the software could surely adjust the auto element up or down, as required.

Mike

When in manual mode, a change to the EC would need to increase/decrease exposure by changing either the shutter speed or the aperture. [Don't forget the ISO. --Ed.] Fuji could dictate which of these would change, or they could allow the user to make that choice an option in the setup menu. Either way, checking the "visual" of the aperture setting and shutter speed in Manual mode would give you a false reading if the EC dial was at minus 1-1/3. So you'd have to look at three dials to know where you were at. At a certain point, you are introducing an expanding set of hairy variables (hairiables) that really are at odds with the whole concept of, "I want to set the aperture and shutter speed manually, please." All that said, I too went through this moan when I first got my Fuij, but you know what, I got over it, and after a year with the camera, operating it in all modes, I would not have it work any way but the way Fuji has set it up. They have changed the things that matter to me and left the rest as is. I think you will adapt and not find this to really be a problem.

Hey Mike,
Sometimes I think we just can't help ourselves, we never had exposure compensation on most manual film cameras, manual is manual period! There is no need for compensation dials in manual control.....isn't that the reason to use manual, to set exposure without the camera dictating. Modern cameras have so much more and were still complaining....mind you, the LCD screen would have been handy on my Canon F1n.

FWIW, I always shoot in P (sometimes A or S) and then tweak the exposure compensation to get the right exposure.

Rather than worry about what manual mode does, the real answer is to realize the truth: manual mode is silly with computer cameras. You get the same level of control in any of the auto modes + compensation. The only difference is that manual mode is a lot slower.

The only time I actually use manual is to lock in a particular setting if I'm using external flash.

While I agree with others that Fujifilm actually listens and makes changes based on user feedback, I still have a problem with this: it's happening too late in the process. We've careened around from the XPro-1 to the XE-1 to the XT-1 and things STILL are not quite right. Bottom line is that there is just too much distance between design and customer, and that means we'll always be playing catch up.

Fuji have actually designed the digital camera I called for some five or six years back... with physical dials to read all settings clearly. So why am I not jumping up and down with excitement? Because since then I have discovered the EVF, where all my settings are viewable as I shoot. That's a lot more useful for today's highly automated and customisable cameras.

Consider: since I never use shutter-priority, do I really need to be forever staring at a shutter dial permanently set to "A"? Generic control wheels actually make more sense than this retro styling.

And so, I admit it, five years ago I was wrong.

Slightly off topic but the main use for EC in manual mode that I've found is to control the power of any automatic flash that the camera is controlling. It's an easy way to give you more control of a built in flash on a p&s or any other camera. In other news the XT-1 looks like a gorgeous wee camera. WANT.

Considering the number of comments, I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned one of the best reasons why auto-ISO and EC can complicate things when you're shooting in manual mode: flash exposures. Flash photography, flash sync and fill-flash are hard enough for most photographers without also having to factor in a variable ISO and whether f/5.6 at 1/125 second is really how the camera is set.

Enough about knobs and dials. What about the image quality of these cameras? That may be subjective, but I would value your opinion.

[I'll get there eventually, I promise. --Mike]

An additional problem in all this is the rate and speed of change. In the old days we used our cameras for several years, even decades and really got to know them. We could turn the dials in the dark without looking. And changes between models were small and incremental. 500C, C/M and the latest whatever 501CW are very little different, over the span of some twenty years. Same with F/F2 and M3/4/6. Now the cameras have more switches and buttons than my computer and we tend to change them every two years and we never learn them well. Many of us have more than one camera system, for several reasons, and again the operation between them is completely different.

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