“Free upgrades will provide support for “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO”, improve studio flash controller usability compatibility, introduce new AF tracking algorithm and include other functional and operational updates for the ever evolving X Series mirrorless camera range.
FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) will release free firmware updates for the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (“X-Pro2”), FUJIFILM X-T2 (“X-T2”), FUJIFILM X100F (“X100F”) and FUJIFILM X-T20 (“X-T20”) X Series mirrorless digital cameras. These updates will be released in November and December 2017 and are a result of requests for improving usability and adding new functions.
Installing these firmware updates will add new support for the “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO” software which allows the user to connect the camera to a computer via USB cable for developing raw files in camera (X-Pro2, X-T2, X100F). The new firmware will improve third party studio flash controller usability (X-Pro2, X-T2, X100F) and will dramatically improve the AF-C tracking algorithm in zone and tracking AF mode (X-Pro2, X-T2), add 4K video support, computer tethering function (X-Pro2) and enhance the touch panel operation when using the EVF (X-T20).
Firmware Version -due late November : X-T2, X-T20
Firmware Version -due late December : X-Pro2, X100F…“
“I was shooting street photography before I encountered X100, but ever since I held one in my hand, I simply have not been able to let it go.
The perfect fit in my hand, quick response, high image quality, and independent dials for shutter speed and aperture…. the list goes on and on. The camera is compact and has all the features I need to capture moments with quickness and ease.
The 35mm equivalent angle of view is exactly what I need for my street photography. I do not need any additional cameras….”
“… I hear from trusted sources, that Fujifilm is working on a major firmware update for the Fujifilm X-Pro2, which will, among the others, give X-Pro2 owners 4K video and more.
Here on FujiRumors, the community asked for 4K on X-Pro2 multiple times, in dedicated articles and comments, and finally also Fuji Guy Billy joined Fujirumors critics on February 2017, when he said here he is also “fighting with Japan” to implement 4K on X-Pro2.
Well… it seemed all this pressure helped ;)…”
News of a really big kaizen update coming for the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is welcome indeed and may turn around my current thoughts about purchasing a second X-Pro2 as a back-up for my current lone X-Pro2 for documentary photography and video projects.
I grew up on rangefinder analog cameras in all film formats and the unique rangefinder aka OVF (optical viewfinder) vision for stills photography. I used and still own analog OVF movie cameras and they also helped shape my cinematography. Applying a similar vision to still images and moving images was uniquely liberating.
The appearance of the groundbreaking Fujifilm Finepix X100 rangefinder camera liberated me in my use of digital photography after finding the DSLRS of the day stultifying by comparison, despite Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II being such a liberation when it came to HD video.
I am holding out hopes that the 4K video functionality that some Fujifilm staff members were convinced would appear on the X-Pro2 after the arrival of the 4K-capable X-T2 will finally make its appearance even if it must be implemented via a similar line-skipping technology to the one found in Fujifilm’s X-T20.
There are distinct advantages to shooting and editing in 4K UHD and 4K DCI compared to the 1080p HD and 720p HD currently available on the X-Pro2, not least being better quality from downsizing to smaller release formats and the ability to apply software-based stabilization via firmware or NLE plug-ins like CoreMelt’s Lock & Load without losing too much of the frame.
There is more to useful video capability than 4K though, and Fujifilm needs to add other video-centric features to its X-Pro2 and X-T2. I might add that I am not the only video and stills shooter saying this.
Here is my current full-length X-Pro2 firmware wishlist, not in order of importance:
4K video – even if it must be implemented via line-skipping as in the X-T20. Every camera I own must be capable of acceptable, professional-quality stills and video. You never know when a situation demands one or the other or both and I cannot always carry a stills kit and a video kit.
Highlight tone, shadow tone, color and noise reduction adjustments – all absolutely necessary for serious, professional video.
Ability to easily choose, set and lock 1/48th or 1/50th of a second for video.
Improved autofocus in low light aka available darkness – I bought the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 R lenses after seeing how documentary event photographer Kevin Mullins uses them so effectively in his work. The latter lens is much slower to manually focus than the former, and faster autofocus on both would help compensate for their optical configurations and slow focussing motors.
Changeable focus point for video – same as when shooting stills.
Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) – has a distinct colour cast that changing the settings does not affect well enough. I understand that a great deal of the X-Pro2’s hardware development effort went into the Hybrid Multi-Viewfinder, an advanced OVF, but not all lenses work best in OVF mode. I wish to see the EVF improved as much as firmware permits.
Live exposure zebras – are crucial to obtaining and maintaining optimal exposure when shooting video and stills, especially when using ETTR – exposing to the right.
Tethering – I bought the X-Pro2 primarily as a handheld documentary stills and video camera, but I also use it for studio and on-location portraiture and increasingly still-life photography due to the X-Trans sensor’s remarkable colour rendition. Tethering would be an asset especially given the X-Pro2 lacks a fully-articulated or even partly-articulated LCD monitor.
Full range of ISO adjustments with a Command Dial – I often use the X-Pro2 in fast-moving documentary situations where fiddling about with its combined ISO/shutter speed dial is out of the question. Although I often rely on the camera’s AutoISO function in those situations, there are many others where quickly setting ISO manually is optimal.
Color Chrome – having briefly tried out the Fujifilm GFX 50S and later studying the results other photographers have obtained from that camera’s JPEGs with the Color Chrome setting, I would love to have it on the X-Pro2 and other Fujifilm cameras. I have been using custom JPEG settings more lately after some photographers published their own but there is something still lacking especially in the Velvia (Vivid) analog film simulation of one of my favourite films of all time.
HDMI port live view – crucial when using external monitors and recorders.
Focus points for portrait and landscape mode – just like the X-T2, especially invaluable when shooting portraits.
Panorama mode – brilliant when regular photographs will not do the job.
Improved face detection – especially when the subject is anything but full face frontal to the camera.
4:3 aspect ratio – Fujifilm cameras currently offer three aspect ratio choices – 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. Panasonic adds 4:3 on its Lumix cameras which have micro four thirds sensors and I use that aspect ratio a great deal, whether vertically as 3:4 or horizontally as 4:3. Either way, the 4:3 aspect ratio is excellent for portraiture of all types and is close to the 5:4 aspect ratio of the 4″x5″ sheet film, 6cm x 4.5cm and 6cm x 7cm 120 roll film analog cameras. I find 2:3 too narrow for vertical portraits. Granted, one can crop in post-processing but years of experience show it is better to design the image perfectly in-camera without leaning on later cropping for tightly-designed images. Also, magazine page aspect ratios are closer to 3:4 than 2:3.
1:1 pixel-level image review – critical applications such as portraiture and product photography demand accurate viewing of shots in-camera at the pixel level, at a 1:1 magnification. I can check if eye highlights are razor sharp on my Panasonic Lumix cameras so why can I not do this on my Fujifilm cameras? This feature is even more crucial given the lack of tethering on the X-Pro2. We need all our mirrorless cameras to have a full set of professional features.
“If you’re uncertain in any way about even one thing your X100F does, then save time and money and grab this book….
… Written for Fujifilm’s outstanding X100F street camera, this is EVERYTHING X100F explained in easy to understand language! It is the Manual on Steroids and much more… Make sure you read what others say about Tony’s books in the unsolicited comments below.
So if you’re uncertain about anything your X100F does, grab this book! It’s packed with clear tutorials and examples, with over 400 tips, tricks, and tweaks to help you master photography with your X100F. And you can try it risk-free – read on for details!…”
“Fujifilm just released new firmware that fixes the following issues:
The phenomenon is fixed that in the MF mode, repeated halfway shutter pressing can shift the focus point under a specific exposure condition.
The phenomenon is fixed that in the AF-S mode, repeated halfway shutter pressing can shift the focus point with SHUTTER AF setting OFF….”
Whenever possible I wait until a number of reports are in from other users on new firmware updates before applying the update to my own cameras. Websites like FujiRumors and their social media channels are invaluable in that regard.
I have held off on applying the version 3.11 firmware update to my X-Pro2 until more user reports are in. So far there have been reports that, post-update, “the EVF is laggy, even in High Performance mode, and the image ‘sticks’ in the screen while shooting. Also the pop-up screen for the hybrid OVF sticks up while the EVF is active, and performance slows considerably.”
Another user has reported slower face detection and focus confirmation beeps even when the lens in not in focus after installing the firmware update on his X-Pro2 and X-T2.
“If you’re not wanting to inconvenience your life with taking your cameras, lenses, flashes and other necessary items out of your bag, then you should consider this list of cameras that will get through the TSA’s new regulations….”
“In my last video I went through my bag of lights. For this video I walk you through my bag of cameras and lenses. I’ve spent a lot of time streamlining my gear to the essentials and it has really helped clear my head and make life easier for me. I was constantly moving from bag to bag and one set up to another depending on the job at hand. I wanted to simplify my photographic life to a bag of cameras and a bag of lights.
While I feel my bag of lights is complete, I’m not so sure yet about my bag of cameras. I’d really like to add the Fuji GFX to this kit to be a back up to the Phase One and to be my run-n-gun camera. I’m still trying to decide if that will be the best option for me and the work I do….”
“FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) is proud to announce that its 17 major products, including the compact and lightweight medium-format mirrorless digital camera “FUJIFILM GFX 50S,” carrying a large image sensor, have won the Red Dot Design Award 2017, a product design award program organized by Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen based in Essen, Germany.
Fujifilm has won the Red Dot Design Award for five consecutive years since 2013 with its products, including the X Series of digital cameras, praised by professional photographers and photography enthusiasts for their outstanding image quality, excellent operability and premium design. This year, 17 products, the highest record for Fujifilm, have won the honor in recognition of their innovative product concepts that address leading-edge user needs, excellent performance, advanced technologies that enable the performance, and premium product designs….”
Fujifilm has a well-deserved reputation for its Kaizen – continuous improvement – firmware updates, a practice I first encountered with my first Fujifilm digital camera, the classic rangefinder-style Finepix X100S. The X100’s updates turned a revolutionary camera into one that remains fun to use and usable for documentary photography assignments to this day. And now, Fujifilm is set to outdo itself with a massive list of firmware improvements to its two flagship cameras, the rangefinder-style X-Pro2 and the DSLR-style X-T2. Happy days.
The full firmware list contains a record-breaking 33 new and improved items of which 27 will appear in late March and the final 6 in late May. Some are for both the X-Pro2 and X-T2, some are for the X-T2 only and some are for the X-Pro in a catchup with the X-T2’s current feature set.
For the X-T2 only, 😦
The X-T2-only updates indicate that Fujifilm has chosen to increase its differentiation between both cameras’ video capabilities. The X-T2 is about to gain:
#14. Activation of the Eye Sensor in video recording (X-T2 only).
#15. Change of ISO sensitivity during video recording (X-T2 only).
#17. Display live histogram during video recording (X-T2 only).
#18. Optimization of external microphone’s input level (X-T2 only).
Other X-T2-only updates indicate other differentiations by Fujifilm between its flagship cameras, in tethering and for portraiture and other genres often requiring vertical orientation of the camera:
#22. Automatic vertical GUI for LCD (X-T2 only).
#28. Support for computer tethering via Wi-Fi (X-T2 only).
Tethering, the ability to connect cameras to computers by wire or Wi-Fi, has been an accepted, often client-demanded, tool in commercial photography for some time now and has been well supported by medium format and DSLR camera makers, and some raw processing software. USB tethering recently came to the X-T2 via standalone software and plug-ins for Adobe Lightroom.
Many of the new and improved firmware items for both cameras are welcome indeed, speeding up their accuracy and operability. Some may have limited usefulness while one glaring omission from the firmware of both camera remains AWOL – zebras.
AWOL, an immigrant from video world
Zebras for ensuring accurate exposure are welcome immigrants from the world of video camcorders and high-end stills/video hybrid cameras like Panasonic’s Super 16/Micro Four Thirds GH4, GX8 and the new GH5.
Zebras have rapidly proven themselves just as useful for stills as for video, helping combat the all-too-prevalent problem of overexposure that pushes high values over the shoulder into unrecoverable burn-out territory.
High value or highlight burn-out is as problematic in stills as it is in video, whether one is shooting raw or JPEG files. Although extreme high values can be recovered to some degree in raw files with recovery function sliders – going under names like “whites” or ‘highlight” in raw processing software – doing so in video or for JPEGs results in muddy high values that can become an eye trap for viewers.
Eye traps are areas in the frame that draw viewers’ attention at the expense of the most meaningful objects in the image, weakening its message and damaging effective storytelling. Hard-edged burnt-out bright patches are particular eye-trap culprits even when their values are lowered in post-processing.
Avoiding burn-out and needless processing
Far better to avoid the burn-out eye-trap problem and fruitless correction work in post-production altogether by getting exposure right in the first place, and that is where zebras excel compared with histograms.
Above: Photographing in high dynamic range environments like this can be challenging when trying to achieve correct exposure without burning out the high values. Here I used exposure zebras on a Panasonic Lumix GH4 to ensure the best exposure of sky and footpath then raised the middle and low values in a raw processor.
Histograms have their uses in assessing your scene or subject’s dynamic range and determining whether to add a light or accept low value details that can be raised in grading or raw processing.
Both the X-Pro2 and X-T2 have histograms that could be improved by enlargement and better delineating their right and left edges. Judging then setting accurate exposure via histogram can be a slow process unsuited to the speed and stresses of documentary photography or video.
As cinematographer/director Paul Leeming demonstrates in his tutorial on ETTR – expose to the right – zebras are a fast and accurate exposure method that can benefit photographers and videographers using Fujifilm cameras, should Fujifilm see fit to add it to firmware. Zebras are not included in late March and late May’s firmware.
Useful updates for both cameras
There are plenty of impressive improvements for both cameras, many of which photographers have been requesting for some time now, most notably the following:
#3. Programmable long exposure of up to 15 minutes.
#6. “AUTO” setting added for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting.
#7. Faster “Face Detection AF”.
#8. Improved in-focus indication in the AF-C mode.
#9. Addition of a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF.
#13. Change of focus frame position while enlarging it.
#19. Addition of “Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display” in the View Mode.
#23. Name Custom Settings.
#24. Copyright information in EXIF data.
#25. Voice Memo function.
#26. Extended AE Bracketing.
#27. Addition of “Shoot Without Card” mode.
#31. Addition of “-6” and “-7” to EVF’s brightness setting.
#33. Function assignment to the Rear Command Dial.
Having tried shooting HDR with the X-Pro2 and X-T2’s three-bracket-only functionality, I have badly missed the larger bracket range available on many other cameras including my Panasonic Lumix GH4 and GX8.
Some of my favourites for X-Pro2 and X-T2
Number 26, Extended AE Bracketing is particularly welcome. Extreme dynamic range scenes demand five, seven or even nine AE brackets to give a wide enough range for HDR processing in products like Macphun’s Aurora HDR 2017, causing me to rely on other cameras than Fujifilm’s for interior and some exterior HDR work.
I bought my X-Pro2 for the benefits of Fujifilm’s legendary colour rendering and its APS-C sensor as opposed to my other cameras’ Micro Four Thirds sensors, and new feature 26 gives me added incentive to add an X-T2 as a companion to my X-Pro2.
Numbers 24 and 25, Copyright information in EXIF data and Voice Memo function, are invaluable when shooting documentary projects, portraits and similar assignments. Every photograph, not just those shot commercially, needs to have copyright data embedded in its EXIF data from the moment of exposure.
Voice memo functionality is crucial when covering an event or shooting a series of portraits, especially without an assistant. Ever tried making a photograph then whipping out a notebook to jot down your subject’s name and other details? Voice memo features in other brands of cameras name audio files similarly to the photographs they relate to, making them easy to find and transcribe back at home base.
Number 23, Name Custom Settings, is a great improvement over the nuisance of having to remember what subject matter or customized look relates to a cryptically-named custom setting.
Numbers 2 and 3, Extended ISO 125 and 160 selectable and Programmable long exposure of up to 15 minute, are functions that may come in handy for some low light and night scene cityscape projects coming my way soon.
Although I generally stick to ISO 200 or 400 for daylight documentary work, habit and years of successful analog practice means I prefer the lowest ISOs I can get for tripod-mounted small aperture photography. Conversely, Fujifilm’s excellent wide aperture lenses like the XF 56mm f/1.2 R and XF 23mm f1/4 R and their incredible bokeh tempts me to shoot wide open with low ISOs.
Cable releases and remote releases are increasingly becoming things of the past for long-exposure photography as well as all-to—easily forgotten or lose on location so I suspect programmable long exposures will be lifesavers.
Number 9, Addition of a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF, brings the X-T2 and X-Pro2’s focus point size choice to six with pinpoint focussing, crucial when shooting with long lenses on the X-Pro2 and even longer lenses on the X-T2 when picking out the most essential object in a field of them.
I am going to love this one for shooting portraits with the X-Pro2 and the XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens with aperture wide open for razor-sharp highlights in one eye.
Just for the X-Pro2
Several of the 33 items are for the X-Pro2 only, adding features already in the X-T2’s current firmware:
#10. Addition of “AF Point Display” (X-Pro2 only – already on X-T2).
#11. Addition of “AF-C Custom Setting” (X-Pro2 only – already on X-T2).
#20. Shorter EVF display time-lag (X-Pro2 only – already in X-T2).
Number 11, AF-C Custom Setting, adds action-photography autofocus settings that have well-proven themselves on the X-T2 and that I would have loved on the X-Pro2 for covering intense, fast-moving events like demonstrations. Pine no more.
Likewise, number 10, AF Point Display, will bring more surety when covering those same kind of situations as well as fast-moving portrait subjects flitting in and out of inner city crowds.
Number 20, Shorter EVF display time-lag, will be useful in the same circumstances when shooting with the X-Pro2’s EVF. I default to the OVF or ERF-in-OVF most of the time but switch to the EVF when shooting with a monochrome film simulation or my subjects are moving through mixed bright sun and deep shadow.
Times like that you need a sharp eye on your prime subject in order to hit the shutter at exactly the right moment and the less EVF lag the better.
Plenty of gains, some losses
Thirty-three feature additions and updates for two closely-related cameras sharing sensors, processors and more is quite some feat and Fujifilm deserves heaps of praise and kudos for that.
I suspect that most photographers will be very happy indeed with this list, and some have already described it as “awesome!”. Until the firmware appears, and it is clear exactly how each new item or improvement works in practice, we can only guess as to their implementation and usability but, fingers crossed!
The X-T2 wins some great new video features that I have long wanted on the X-Pro2 and that it will not be getting any time soon if at all, it seems. I will be buying an X-T2 soon enough, as a companion to my X-Pro2 instead of the second X-Pro2 I was originally planning on, but right now my next video-centric choice will be Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 due to its full, mature feature set and sheer usability.
I may not be counted amongst “most photographers” given an equal dedication to still and video that seems to be rare in some parts of the world, but then the X-T2 and X-Pro2 are cameras that appeal to photographers whose work and needs are anything but the norm, well beyond what most photographers demand of their cameras and lenses.
Most photographers, from what I see in the streets of this fair city, are more than happy with the many limitations of DSLR cameras but Fujifilm flagship camera users are a very rare and demanding breed.
And that is, to a large degree, Fujifilm’s own fault. At a time when the independent photo and video landscape was dominated by model after model of DSLRs that barely looked any different from each other, the Fujifilm Finepix X100 was a radical breath of fresh air.
It promised so much, then delivered on it with a succession of great firmware updates that set the expectation of brilliant firmware kaizen for every Fujifilm camera coming after it.
The X-Pro2 3.00 and 3.10, and X-T2 2.00 and 2.10, firmware updates continue in that tradition of satisfying high expectations and have extended both cameras’ usability and capabilities.
Gaps do remain, though, and they are mostly on the X-Pro2 side. Not everyone with high expectations loves the DSLR-style form factor of the X-T2 and there are many of us who are digital refugees from Leica rangefinder days or who could never afford their digital M-System cameras and who can now satisfy their rangefinder-style needs with the X-Pro2.
Will the X-Pro3 one day gain what Fujifilm has left out of the X-Pro2?
Will the X-Pro series lag behind the X-T series’ feature set turning the former into stills-only camera and the latter into a stills-plus-video compromise?
Is the rumoured APS-C super camera the one to watch for high-end Super 35 video?
Does Fujifilm have a blind spot for the incredibly useful exposure zebras functionality on its cameras? And if so, why?
I know I will be getting an X-T2 sometime soon, for the subjects and lenses to which its DSLR-style form factor is well-suited.
I know I will continue to love the X-Pro2 for giving me back the rangefinder-style way of documentary photography I had thought had gone forever during the DSLR ascendancy.
I want another X-Pro2 in my documentary kit as a backup and for when Fujifilm comes out with a revamped XF 18mm f/2.0, as wide lens to the XF 50mm f/2.0’s narrower vision.
But like more than a few fellow X-Pro2 users out there, I want to see the X-Pro2 series flagship cameras remain on a near-equal feature-set footing with their X-T series sisters and that demands improving the video features on both.
Is Fujifilm already planning the next pair of firmware updates and are they listening just as intently to their ever-growing user base?