Fujifilm Apps and Potential Data Loss

My X-T1 had been powered off for long enough that it reset itself to factory defaults. After using the Camera Remote app for iOS to import about 50 photos, I was doing some post processing in Pixelmator where I noticed the pixel dimensions of an uncropped photo were conspicuously low. After a moment or two, it occurred to me what had happened.



Please Throw Away 13MP of Each Photo

That is the default setting on WiFi-enabled cameras, and there is no prompt at import, or any indication of a reduction in file size in the user interface. Had I not realized before formatting my memory card,1 I would have inadvertently thrown away 13MP of the data from a bunch of photos, some of which I really like.

Imagine If…

Someone new to Fujifilm goes on vacation armed with their brand spanking new camera and smartphone. Whilst on vacation, they go through the tedium that is importing images 30 at a time.2 They post them to their social media(s) of choice, get Likes, Stars, Loves, and Favourites, everything is great. After importing their photos,3 they do like all good photographers do, and diligently format their memory card. The next day, they proceed to merrily overwrite yesterday’s originals. Once home from vacation, they decide their images are so good, they’d like to print them. They send what they think are 16MP files off to the printer only to find out their pixel dimensions have been cut by more than half. That person would likely be pretty annoyed with Fujifilm.

This is a Pretty Big Problem

Fuji needs to address with either a firmware update, or an app update as soon as possible. Users should know when their images are being reduced in size. In the meantime, my readers can double check the setting that’s buried 3 menus deep to ensure they aren’t also in danger of downgrading their cameras from 16MP to three.

  1. I happen to also have SD card recovery software at my disposal, but that’s a. not typical, and b. has it’s own set of problems like renaming files. Plus, if our imaginary traveller is formating their SD card everyday, odds are most of the orignal files would be overwritten long before a recovery tool was used. 

  2. Are importing all photos and a “Select All” button too much to ask for? Oh, iPhones 6 optimization would also be good. And a new icon. And...

  3. And ensuring they have a backup, but in this case, they might be backing up 3MP images. 

Fujifilm Filter Threads

If there’s one thing Fuji doesn’t make easy, it’s keeping the number of filters sizes you need to a minimum. I’ve had a write-up on filter threads in my drafts folder for months now, but Marco Larousse’s rant on episode 3 of the WeShootFuji podcast motivated me to not only get it finished, but to really hone the fancy new chart I had planned, which started out as a basic HTML table.

For a detailed visualization of Fuji’s filter thread diversity, and some strategies on lens kits that optimize for the number of filter sizes needed, check out my latest Extras piece, Fuji Filter Thread Sizes.

And if you’re reading this site, and don’t listen to the WeShootFuji podcast, you should give it a shot. Scott and Marco come from opposite, and outer-most edges of the photography spectrum, so they bring very different insights to all things Fuji from hardcore street, to landscape and nature photography.

Fujifilm Blog; Interview with Takashi Ueno

Fantastic interview with X-Series product planner, and certified photo master expert, a moniker that makes the fact this interview was conducted in Japanese gloriously obvious. Mr. Takashi Ueno reveals more on why Fujifilm opted for APS-C instead of full frame, and their lens strategies. Here are some highlights.

We have official confirmation on the red badge:

Yes, the red badge series are the zoom lenses intended for the professionals.

Regarding the XF 56mm f/1.2:

If the minimum working distance had been 40cm with the compromise on the image quality on the peripheral parts, then we had to extend the focus lens movable range. And as a result, the lens will be bigger and autofocus speed will be slower.

Our priority was to create a lens that has high resolution from corner to corner and that has adequately fast autofocus, so the minimum working distance became 70cm, which is enough for portrait photography – its presumed purpose.

I personally haven’t heard any complaints about the minimum focusing distance of the XF 56mm f/1.2, and in fact, it’s 15cm closer than an 85mm lens from Nikon. The impact on AF pace with closer focusing distances is interesting though, and explains the the necessity of a quad-linear motor in the XF 90mm f/2, which focuses as close as 60cm.

And Ueno’s recommend first lens for photographers new the X-Series?

I would recommend the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 as the gateway to the X series. As I said earlier, although the lens is a kit lens for starting out, it doesn’t mean that the image quality has been compromised.

While the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is nowhere to be found in my Recommended Kits, I can certainly vouch for its quality. The image used in my masthead1 is a panoramic captured with the first interchangeable Fuji kit I owned, the X-E1 and XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens. You could do a lot worse that this kit lens. →

  1. I’ve attempted to update this image on a number of occassions, but I’m always unsatisfied with anything else I place there. I love the fact it came from my first interchangeable Fuji, and is a testament to what the first generation of X-Series is capable of.

Lightroom 6.1 / CC 2015.1

Adobe Lightroom.png

I originally set out to write up a quick blog post about the relatively marginal differences in how the two latest versions of Lightroom handle sharpening. We’re still in limbo while Adobe “collaborates with Fujifilm in investigating methods to improve fine detail rendering and overall edge definition,“ after all.

It somehow morphed into what I hope was an interesting exercise in confirming what the optimal methods of sharpening in Lightroom are (Amount vs. Detail, which slider will emerge victorious???), the difference between Clarity and the new Dehaze feature, as well as whether or not Lightroom is best tool for the job of extracting detail from RAFs.

If you’re up for a fairly long post detailing subtle differences via loads of fancy new before and after slider images, check out my latest Extras piece. It focuses on detail for now, but I hope to add an examples of the “reduced colour blur” once I find a suitable image.

Lightroom 5.7 vs. 6.1 for X-Trans

The Evolution of Mobile

Fuji Fujifilm Camera Remote App and the X100T.jpg

Fuji’s Camera Receiver app was pretty cool when it came out. Being able to email a street photography subject’s photo to them on the spot is awesome. Then the Camera Remote app arrived, and that took things to another level. I’ve used that app to capture images for this site1 and for work. It’s so much easier than going to and from the camera to adjust settings, set the timer, run back to the front of the camera, repeat. It’s a fantastic app when it works (most users have no trouble, a few have all kinds).2 With that written, I hope Fuji are putting serious development time into the app, and mobile connectivity in general.

Here’s What I’d Like to See:

  1. I want to be able to push the WiFi button on my camera, launch the app, and be connected. No selecting networks (or at the very least, ask to disconnect me from my current network), accepting the connection, etc. It should just work. Additionally, I’d love the option to have photos pushed to my phone without user interaction via some sort of tethering.3
  2. Remove the limit of 30 photos at a time, and give me an option to import all new photos. The task of tapping each image and being restricted to 30 at a time is tedious.
  3. Allow me to switch between Functions (Remote, Receiver, Browse, Geotagging) without disconnecting the camera, which results in a power-cycling and reconnection juggling act.
  4. I’d love to be able to pair the app with my camera to sync/backup and restore my camera and custom settings for all my cameras. Those custom settings banks, by the way, should be nameable, and transferable from camera to camera too.
  5. All the available in-camera processing should be available in the app. Whether the rendering happens in-camera or on the device (more on that in a minute), I don’t really care for now. I just want access to real Fuji colour, curves, profiles, and film knowledge in post, on my iPhone.
  6. For new flagship cameras, a touch screen that allows us to make these adjustments on the rear LCD of our camera (until editing on our device is possible), and then push it to our phones via that tethering is another possibility. Fuji should not be like all those “Smart TVs” and connect directly to our social networks, offer us weather info, stock prices, or play Netflix. We have devices that do that well already.

Connectivity is going to be as important a feature as whatever next generation sensor is in Fuji’s cameras. They’ve nailed image quality, colour, and optics. They need to nail the ease of use customers expect from devices that capture photos. Being able to connect via WiFi is great, but it’s not as seamless as it could be. I leave photos on my camera with the intention of connecting later,4 and I often forget until I copy photos over via the SD card reader in my Mac, like an animal. Maybe I’m just the lazy exception, but I doubt it.

Here’s Why

Since I started shooting Fuji, like many others, I’ve largely abandoned RAFs for my workflow. For a while, I was shooting RAW + JPEG, but more often than not — I’m talking 90% of the time — I would end up deleting the RAF. Part of this is being satisfied with how JPEGs are rendered in-camera, and the other part is a shift in mindset from “RAW tinkerer” to “shoot and (mostly) be done with it.” I still enjoy post-processing, but I really like being able to do it on my phone wherever and whenever I want.


Due to this shift, I’ve been in workflow limbo for the last 18 months. Vacation photos have been copied to Lightroom and forgotten about, while daily photos are sometimes left on my SD card for weeks on end. What changed recently is Apple’s Photos app. I’m attempting to move away from Lightroom for my daily hobby shooting,5 and my SD card stays in my camera as photo transfers are done using the Camera Remote app. This is why the 30 photo limit is getting painful. I’ll still capture RAW + JPEG when I’m out to “make a picture,” but for the most part these days, Film Simulation Bracketing + iPhone editing gets me most of what I want. It’s great, but I want more.

Instant On

This is also why I want it to be as quick and easy as possible to connect my phone to my camera. There really ought to be two taps, the WiFi button, and launching the app. Even better, make the app intelligent enough to be “paired” with whatever Fuji cameras are owned, and connect auto-magically when the app is launched.6

RAF Processing

The next level is for the app to see RAF files, and prompt me to choose my Film Simulation mode via taps on screen. Then, I should be able to make selections on all image aspects that are currently handled in-camera — Dynamic Range, White Balance, Noise Reduction, Highlights, Shadows, and Sharpness — followed by a “Done” button that pushes the resulting JPEG to my iPhone’s Camera Roll. Again, the actual processing could still be handled in-camera7 if Fuji can’t or don’t want to port their secret sauce to another platform for some reason, all the more reason to make connecting flawless.


Fuji has been on quite a tear with their X-Series system. The hardware release schedule continues to astonish and they’re well on their way to becoming the preeminent mirrorless camera company. For Fuji, or any camera manufacturer to continue to be reached for instead of the “good enough” smartphone, they need to put serious resources against mobile connectivity to make it as easy as possible for users to get their superior photos — selfies, eggs benadict → and all — off the camera, and into their social world.

Perhaps what I’m asking for has already been considered, maybe even attempted. Maybe it’s impossible. I have a feeling it just hasn’t been a high priority. If it was, the app would probably be optimized for iPhone 6 Plus by now. I hope app development hasn’t stalled completely.

  1. If only it was around when I made my Versus image.
  2. For those having trouble, here’s how I’ve had success with iOS devices:

    1. Tap settings > WiFi, then push WiFi on your camera
    2. Your camera should show up in the list of available networks. Tap it.
    3. Once your phone has connected to the camera as WiFi, launch the remote app, either select a function (Remote, etc.) and/or tap connect, you may then need to accept on the camera.
    4. You should be good to go from here, but you may need to hit the “OK” button on the camera in order to establish the initial connection. A prompt should pop-up on the camera’s screen.
  3. This could even be a notification saying the app has detected new photos on my camera, and asking if I would like to import them. Bluetooth may be required for this sort of communication.
  4. That happens much more in the winter when I don’t want to take my gloves off to fumble with devices, but if I could hit a button, tap an app, or just accept a notification and be done, I’d be much more likely transfer photos sooner.
  5. Whether or not this ultimately works is another story. I intend to write a post dedicated to this in the near future, but I’m already finding challenges, namely, being able to quickly and easily view all the photos captured with a particular device or lens.
  6. Connectivity could go even further. Photos could bypass internal storage of any kind entirely, and move straight from the buffer or a cache to a mobile device with adequate storage, then up to the cloud.

    It’s not hard to imagine a day when our cameras become “dumb boxes” with exquisite lenses attached to them that capture and push sensor data to a mobile device where vendor (Fuji)-specific demosaicing and post processing algorithms can be applied to the images before being saved to the camera roll. Maybe one day.

    Oh, and Apple could really help out by making their damn SD card reader compatible with their own phones.

  7. RAF process can currently be done in-camera already, but the process is, clunky.

The New Autofocus System and the X100T

Fuji’s new Autofocus System is sure to be a big hit with X-T10 owners, and sooner or later, X-T1 owners and even X-E2 users. The next obvious question in my mind is, what about the X100T? What I’ve heard so far is that nothing has been announced or even talked about yet, but it “probably will come.”

The reason comes down to how Fujifilm operates. Each camera moniker (X-E, X-T, X-Pro, X100, etc.) has its own team, so the feature set of the X-T10 and X-T1’s firmware are done by the same team, whereas the X-E2’s firmware update would be implemented by another.

Originally I thought the optical viewfinder might be the reason for the delay, but apparently that’s not the case. There does seem to be some technical limitations to the OVF,1 however multi-point AF, Zone, Tracking/Wide are not among them. If Zone and Tracking/Wide are going to be added to the X100T though, the number of selectable AF areas should also be increased.

Currently, only a 5 × 5 grid is selectable for autofocus in the optical viewfinder as compared to the EVF/LCD, both of which offer a 7 × 7 grid of AF points. In both cases, the central 3 × 3 grid of AF areas are Phase Detect enabled.

Fuji Fujifilm OVF EVF LCD AF points.png

Now, the new autofocus system uses an 11 × 7 grid. Based on what I understand about where the Phase Detect points land relative to the Zones,2 and some guesswork, I’ll assume the new autofocus system would overlay something like this:

My guess as to how the new autofocus grid overlays the 7 × 7 grid of selectable AF points

My guess as to how the new autofocus grid overlays the 7 × 7 grid of selectable AF points

This means that 5 × 5 Zone and Wide/Tracking would behave almost the same when the OVF is selected unless single area selection remains a 5 × 5 grid, and the new autofocus system uses an expanded 11 × 7 grid in the OVF. Either way, it would present a UX nightmare or be even more confusing than having different numbers of AF points available between the EVF and OVF.3 The obvious solution is to expand the number of AF areas in the OVF to the same 7 × 7 grid for consistency.

How the 5 × 5 Zone would overlay the X100T's OVF

How the 5 × 5 Zone would overlay the X100T's OVF

Fuji has to be working out a solution to this though if an X-Pro2 is going to have an optical viewfinder, and arrive with at least as sophisticated an autofocus system as the X-T10 has. OVF users won’t want their preferred method of composition crippled, so hopefully one of those teams gets things figured out soon. I’m missing the new autofocus system on my X100T already.

  1. Face detection isn’t visually represented in anywhere close as user-friendly a way as it is via the EVF, and I suspect Eye Detection would be another challenge due to draw limitations, but I have yet to confirm.
  2. While being briefed on the X-T10, I asked specifically if the 3 × 3 Zone aligns with the 3 × 3 Phase Detect grid and the answer was “sort of.” As can be seen in my assumed grid graphic, there is some overlap.
  3. For an idea of why it’s confusing, select any of the outer most perimiter AF areas while composing via the EVF. Now hit the lever to switch to the OVF, then back again, and note which AF area is now selected. ಠ_ಠ

Chasing the Milky Way

Ross Kennedy has created an outstanding guide for Fuji shooters on capturing the Milky Way, and astrophotography in general.

This type of photography appears very complex and difficult but once you actually work through the process a couple of times it becomes fairly easy…provided a few simple guidelines are followed. A successful Milky Way photo requires the right equipment, a bit of research and a sprinkle of luck from Mother Nature.

The whole post is well worth your time if you have any interest in capturing actual stars on camera, and includes links to some great tools.

Fuji X-T1 Firmware Update

With the announcement of the Graphite Silver X-T1 and its enhanced feature-set, Fuji has once again done the honourable thing by promising existing owners of the X-T1 a firmware update that will include all these new features. The nicest thing about this announcement is when I heard about the new features, I wasn’t the least bit concerned that my X-T1 was going to be out of date. I knew Fuji would take care of me. I can’t think of another camera company with customers who can feel more at ease.

The upgrade is going to be a big one, with a combination of user-requested features, and some other added niceties. Let’s do a quick rundown with some commentary. One of the features I’m most excited for hasn’t received a lot of press that I’ve seen.

Main Features

Electronic shutter, max speed of 1/32,000 second

This is a big one for me. It’s going to be really nice to not have to worry about neutral density filters in order to shoot my faster lenses wide open, even in broad daylight. I might be even more excited by the silent shutter. I’m occasionally conflicted about whether to bring the X-T1 or X100 with me exclusively because that silent leaf shutter on the X100 is so nice. Soon we’ll be able to take ultra covert pics of unsuspecting street subjects (don’t be creepy) without any concern that the shutter will be heard.

Classic Chrome Film Simulation mode

Some people don’t care about this feature. Others are gushing and hash-tagging about it like there’s no tomorrow. One thing’s for sure, I’m looking forward to testing it out for an extended period of time. I did have some time with it in the X30, but not enough to really gauge if it will become my go-to. I’m still finding new uses for the current Film Simulations, the latest being cranking the Shadow Tone to +2 with PRO Neg. Hi. As I’ve mentioned before on this site, it’s nice that Fuji are being so selective with these Film Simulations and not spamming users with endless presets. I guess it helps when your business model isn’t based on selling presets.

Natural Live View

This would have come in really handy just the other day. I was looking to preserve the highlights in my RAFs while shooting landscapes, but I also wanted to capture a Velvia JPEG. The LCD and resulting photo/histogram would show highlight clipping based on the Velvia Film Simulation, and that resulted in me being much to conservative and underexposing a few images. Natural Live View should give us a more accurate idea of how far we can push things when exposing to the right. Great feature.

“Further Improvements”

1. Direct selection of AF Area

“The update will let users select the focus area using the 4-way controller, without pressing the Fn key.”

Lots of users will be excited for this feature. I would guess that RAF shooters in particular who need frequent fast access to their AF point will love this addition. I say RAF shooters because JPEG shooters likely need at least a couple more controls immediately accessible. This is what I was familiar with in my DSLR days, but after trying it out, I miss being able to use the D-pad for quick access to other features. Perhaps once I have more time with it, and I’m able to move the items I want access to into Q menu I’ll give it another try. For now, focus and recompose is fine for quickly grabbing a shot and when things are slower, I have time to tap the AF selection button.

2. Unlocked AE-L/AF-L buttons

“The function of the AE-L/AF-L button is currently locked, but will be interchangeable, depending on the user’s preference.”

These aren’t buttons I use a whole lot so I can’t say I’m particularly excited about being able to switch them. I probably should have learned to use the AE-L button more given my gripes about how spot metering used to work (more on that below, they fixed it!), but using the AE-L button has always felt somewhat cumbersome for me, and I’m just as happy to go full manual.

When it comes to the AF-L button, Fuji now need to add an option to decouple autofocus from the shutter release so the AF-L button can be used exclusively for acquiring focus, the shutter release button exclusively to release the shutter, without the AF-L button being held. A lot of DSLR owners use their cameras this way, particularly for fast action shooting.

UPDATE: A Fuji vs. Fuji reader wrote in to point out that this can already (mostly) be done.

Menu > Tab #4 > AE/AF-LOCK MODE > set to "AE&AF ON/OFF SWITCH" (default is "ON WHEN PRESSING")

Clearly I need to spend some more time hunting around in the menus. More good, if old news for X-T1 owners, however it still isn’t quite the same as my DSLR days. The difference is in this mode, a second press of the AF-L button doesn’t reacquire focus, rather it merely unlocks the focus, and another press is needed to refocus. It’s debateable whether or not this way of doing it is actually better as I’ve had readers write in to say it is, and others to say it’s not. I’ll leave that for you to decide. For complete decoupling of autofocus from the shutter release, X-T1 owners need to switch to manual focus. More on that in #8.

3. Variable focus area during manual focus

“When working in manual focus mode, the update will enable changing the size of the focus area during Instant AF with the AF-L button.”

A nice addition for manual focus shooters looking to ensure ultra-precise focus on an isolated part of their composition. Again, I can’t say that I struggle with how things are now.

4. Direct selection of Macro mode

“In auto focus mode, the update will enable the Macro function to be turned on or off, without accessing the pop-up menu screen.”

This one is nice. Macro mode is accessible via two quick presses of the Macro button on X-E cameras and the X100(S), but with the advent of user-configurable buttons on the X-T1 and X100T, we lose that functionality. Soon we’ll be able to turn Macro mode on and off with just one button press. This could result in accidental changes to macro mode, but it’s a worthwhile trade-off.

5. Q Menu customization

“To make the Q Menu (used for quick access of frequently-used items) even more efficient, the update will allow its items and layout to be changed to the user’s preference.”

The level of customization offered in Fuji’s cameras now is really impressive. This is something I imagine I’ll leave at the defaults for the most part, and supplement with Function buttons. I don’t want my cameras to operate too differently, and I haven’t heard of these changes reaching back to the X-E2 or X100S yet.

What I was really hoping for, and I’m actually astounded we haven’t got yet, is reversible Q Menu operation. In Western countries, turning the dial to the right should increase the settings effect, whereas turning the dial left should decrease it. As it stands, I’m still constantly having to stop and think about which way to turn the dial to get the setting to change the way I want to. It’s probably the most frustrating part about shooting Fuji cameras for me, and it seems like it would be a fairly simple change.

6. New video frame rates:

“As well as the existing 60fps and 30fps selections, 50fps, 25fps and 24fps options will be available with the update. 50fps and 25fps allow video editing in the PAL regions, such as Europe, without converting the frame rate. 24fps offers a cinema-like view.”

Videographers rejoice! Me? I don’t do video much. I rather configure the record button to behave like another Function button.

7. Manual shooting in Video mode:

“The update will enable ISO sensitivity selection prior to shooting videos, as well as the ability to adjust aperture and shutter speed during movie recording.”

Videographers rejoice! Me? I don’t do… wait. Seriously though, I can’t imagine even attempting to shoot much video without these features. It’s great they’ve been added.

8. Phase Detection AF support for Instant AF

“In Instant AF mode, which is operated by pressing the AF-L button during manual focusing, the update will enable Phase Detection AF, providing faster focusing speeds.”

Even more reason for Fuji to add an option for the shutter release to not trigger autofocus, even without the AF-L button pressed.

UPDATE: See update to item #2, but I’m a little unsure about the whole user experience of this as when a lens with a manual focus collar is mounted, the AF-L button doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot. A complete DSLR-style decoupling of AF from the shutter release button while in autofocus would address this.

9. Interlocking of metering and Focus areas

“Users will be able to interlock the AF area position with the metering area when Spot Metering mode is selected.”

Outside of the lightning fast and silent electronic shutter, this is the feature I’m most looking forward too. This is how Nikon does it and how it should be, in my opinion. Having your AF point and spot metering point independent of each other makes absolutely no sense to me.

10. Expansion of shutter speed in Program Shift mode

“In the current Program Shift mode, the slowest-speed setting is 1/4sec, but this will increase to a maximum of 4secs.”

I haven’t shot in P mode in years, but this strikes me as an odd change. P mode is typically used by novices and is great for people who are just starting out in photography. I started there too. If you’re at the stage of capturing exposures that are 4 seconds in length, you’re likely not a novice any longer and should be fairly comfortable in aperture priority, shutter priority or full manual modes. In any event, if you’re the sort of photographer who likes to set everything but ISO to “A,” you’ll now be able to override the camera-chosen shutter speed to as slow as 4 seconds.


This is shaping up to be a nice upgrade. December is going to feel a little like getting a new camera, and for free. This isn’t a reason why I switched to Fujifilm in the first place—I had no idea they had this firmware strategy—but it’s a big reason why I recommend them. No other camera company adds this kind of functionality to a camera. Most expect you to just buy another camera. I wrote above that I pretty much expected we’d see improvements to the X-T1 like this; that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it.

Thanks, Fuji.

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