One thing I liked about old-fashioned mechanical cameras, and one thing I like about the Fujifilm X-T1, is that I can tell at a glance how the camera is set. And by "at a glance" I mean visually, from hard, secure, physical settings. Hey, I'm a photographer; I'm a visual person. I like seeing. I like being able to check settings by looking at them. (That's probably the real reason "knobs and dials" are popular with some people.) Here's a brief list of the things you can tell about how the camera is set just by looking at it:
- Power off or on
- Focal length of the lens
- Manual focus or autofocus
- Exposure mode (check whether aperture ring or shutter speed dial is on "A", or both are, or neither are)
- Aperture ring setting
- Shutter speed dial setting
- Exposure compensation*
- Metering mode (on a ring under the shutter speed dial)
- Drive mode (ring under the ISO dial)
That might not be all you need to know, but it's a lot. It's nice to be able to confirm all that at a glance whenever you bring the camera to hand.
*I've heard murmurs to the effect that the Exposure Compensation dial isn't always operative on the X-Pro1, depending on the mode you're in. Gotta figure out if that's the case on the X-T1. A dial that's disabled part of the time would be a very bad thing—requiring a rap on the knuckles for Fuji and several hours in the corner facing the wall, thinking about the bad thing it did. Control dials must always, without fail, control. I wonder if this camera came with one of those "Instruction Manual" thingys? Where's that box.
P.S. See that white background in the picture up top? That's snow. Arrrgh.
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Aaron: "Re your footnote, 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."
Mike replies: Oooh, bad Fuji. Very bad.
Dennis: "Nice save on the plethora of dials! The MF/AF, drive mode, and exposure mode aren't obvious in the picture. The real question is how easy are they to set in practice."
Mike replies: Actually the MF/AF is obvious; you just need to know how to look for it. Remember when I first wrote about the X-T1, I admitted that the camera was in manual-focus mode and I couldn't get AF back on? The control is hidden. The focusing ring snaps up and back. In the position you see in this picture, it's in AF. If you snap the ring rearward, a distance scale appears and it's in MF. So you can indeed tell at a glance if you're in MF or AF. (By the way, I gather not every XF lens operates this way, so my comments are only true for the 23mm lens and others that function like it does.)
As far as the drive and metering rings, you can see the tabs for them protruding in front of the shutter speed and ISO dials. And to answer your question, both are very easy to set.
Fabio Riccardi: "there are several things that I find puzzling in the the X-T1 UI. Here are a couple that I find most disturbing.
"The camera behaves differently with different lenses: Some lenses have a 'pull to manual focus' ring (14mm, 23mm [does the 56mm have it too? I don't know, I'm just asking. —Ed.]), others have a 'continuous manual focus ring' (the rest) instead. Some lenses have an aperture ring with aperture values, others have just an unmarked ring, others have no ring at all. The dials on the camera body will behave differently with the different lenses, driving you nuts when you switch things around.
With the 'pull to focus' lenses the distance scale is on the lens itself, so the Fuji guys decided that you should not get the distance/DOF feedback in the viewfinder. I spent an hour trying to figure out what happened to my focus distance indicator when I switched lenses for the first time. Confusion aside, It is really handy to get the distance scale in the viewfinder, why do I have to take my eyes away from my composition to be able to figure out the DOF?
"Another thing that behaves weirdly is the exposure lock button. The auto exposure mechanism adjusts the exposure in the viewfinder to reflect the current exposure parameters. With the AE-L button engaged, the live viewfinder continues to adjust the exposure, as if nothing happened. The locked exposure values and look will be 'remembered' only when you will eventually press the shutter button half way. If you just half press the shutter button the exposure in the viewfinder stops adjusting immediately, as you would expect, but then you can't really adjust the focus.
"This behavior is quite irksome in scenarios where the light changes a lot in the frame, and you want to expose for the shadows, then try to focus somewhere else closer to something bright, just to find that the viewfinder exposure changed and you can't see a thing anymore. You have to resort to manual exposure, wasting time and loosing your shot.
"I hope they will fix some of these inconsistencies in a future firmware release."
Marco Venturini Autieri (partial comment): "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 JPEG? Is the LCD on Auto-brightness or not? Etc., etc."
Stephen Scharf (partial comment): "If there's something you don't like about the design or functionality, let Fuji know. They actually listen...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."
William: "When exposure is set to full manual mode, no X-Series camera enables exposure compensation via the EC 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 ƒ-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."
Thingo: "For my Pentax *istD and K-3, exposure compensation operates in P, Sv, Tv, Av, TAv, M, & X modes. (But not B mode obviously.) It's really just about adjusting the exposure metering to which the camera logic or I (Manual mode) react. Of course, like most sharp tools, the operator can get caught. I was initially surprised at the EC in Manual mode, but on reading the manual it made sense. For those unfamiliar with Pentax, in Sv you set the ISO and the camera sets shutter and aperture, while in TAv you set shutter and aperture and the camera sets ISO."
Mike replies: When you say, "It's really just about adjusting the exposure metering to which the camera logic reacts"—exactly so. EC is a metering correction primarily.
Shaun: "Having used the X series for over a year, I can say that one gets used to the quirks of the X system quickly, as one does with any camera system. It's not rocket science. If you have the 14mm or 23mm on, then you can use the very nice feature of pulling or pushing the lens ring to change from AF to MF. If you have the 50–230mm on, which doesn't have an aperture ring, then you use the thumb wheel to change aperture. It's not that hard."
Mike replies: Exactly right. All cameras have "peccadilloes," and when you use a camera, you just learn what its peculiarities are and then accommodate to them (or work around them, however you want to say it). And, as you say, this usually isn't hard. (Although cameras have gotten so complex it's sometimes a lot harder than it should be.)
Partly what we're discussing about the EC issue, here and in the next post, is not so much how to use this camera, as what an ideal camera should do. That's an interesting topic but, as you say, not entirely relevant to using the Fuji X-T1.