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