Too many (fixable) SW issues to commit to Fuji XE1 at the moment...

Started Oct 31, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Sulis2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,120
Too many (fixable) SW issues to commit to Fuji XE1 at the moment...

Having realised that my (heavy, bulky) Nikon D3 and (heavy, bulky) fast glass is spending most of the time sitting on the shelf, I am happy to accept the compromises of mirrorless in terms of DoF and AF speed - in return for taking more pictures.

And the Fuji XE1 is the most attractive option to me out there at the moment. It has the looks (I am a serious photographer), the larger sensor (DoF, highlight retention), and the classiest lenses (even the zoom is better than average). I have tried the X Pro 1 and find the AF to be fine for my purposes, and am not concerned about focus peaking or RAW conversion (happy to do RAW in camera).

I realise there are far too many people who demand that camera makers create models specifically for them ("I refuse to buy XXXX unless they put XXXX function in!"), but to me there are too many small but significant SW issues that will stop me being able to shoot the way I want to, and which I cannot rely on being dealt with in a future SW update. These are not new - they have been discussed in these for a before, but these few are MY reasons. I accept that Fuji have made their own decisions, and am not issuing ultimata - this is just why I will not be moving to Fuji at the moment:

1. Changing AF point. I do this a lot, as I like off-centre subjects, and use narrow DoF which makes focus and recompose less advisable.

On the XE1 this requires taking my hand from the lens to press the AF button, using my other hand to press the arrow keys to move the AF point on the EVF, then using the left hand to press the AF button again to confirm the AF point selection.

Why? It makes a commonplace action far harder. Why not give me the option to just use the arrow keys (like my D3) - I won't be doing anything else with them, and if they should get pressed accidentally I can see it in the EVF and correct.

2. No WYSIWYG in EVF. The one advantage of having an EVF over an OVF is that you can see what the sensor sees - and so what the final image will look like.

On the XE1 you can see some of the effects of your settings, but not all - especially your exposure changes. I use exposure compensation all the time, as it is a great tool for reflecting the non-18%-gray world we live in. And I absolutely love having an EC dial in such a prominent position right at hand, so I can see at a glance what my setting is - it's a big attraction for the XE1. Not being able to see what it will do in the EVF makes both the dial and the EVF far less useful to me than they should be.

Why? Seems to be just Fuji's choice - there's no obvious SW reason for it (as most other EVFs show WYSIWYG). I can see that it's not a great option when using a flash in a studio, but that seems a poor justification!

3. Auto ISO. We'll take the "no changing lowest shutter speed setting" issue as already broadcast enough. However, AFAIK exposure compensation doesn't really work with most Auto-ISO setups - not just Manual mode (which many other cameras seem to suffer from as well).

This may be connected to the DR settings (which seem to constrain the limits of Auto-ISO anyway), but the result is (again) that that big, lovely EC dial becomes useless in many situations. In street shooting, or in rapidly changing environments (weddings, travel) you need to get the ISO selection out of the way as much as possible, so you can concentrate on the shot.

Auto-ISO has been a godsend for much of what I do - and really, the principle is pretty simple: the ISO should always be at the lowest setting it can be (why would you want less useful data?) without breaching the limits of your aperture and shutter speed priorities. Once the camera knows what your priorities are, it can set the ISO to match that. If I have set my aperture and/or my shutter speed, and I look through the EVF and decide that the scene is too dark, the logical tool for changing that is the Exposure Compensation dial. The camera can then make that exposure change in several ways, depending on my priorities - if I have a specific aperture set on the lens, then the camera can increase the exposure by reducing the shutter speed. If I have a specific shutter speed set on the camera, it can increase the aperture. When it gets close to the limits of either aperture or shutter speed, it should start ramping up the ISO.

Obviously, if I am in Manual, the camera has far less flexibility - if it is at base ISO (200) and I want to make the scene darker (via the EC dial) it can't decrease the ISO (well, it can a bit, but possibly not enough): so should it change the shutter speed or the aperture to make my compensation? If I'm in Manual, I have taken responsibility for both of them. However, there is no reason why the EC dial should not make any changes in ISO that are possible: making the scene lighter, or darker by the one stop or so that seems to be allowed in the extended ISO set. Why not? And why not let me use the (underused) Command Dial to set the ISO in Manual Mode - that way I can keep the balance between aperture, shutter speed and ISO completely under my control...

Equally, is there any reason why Auto ISO shouldn't be able to take advantage of the full extended set of ISO values? If I am in a situation where the light has changed radically, but I want to get a shot quickly, the camera should be doing everything it can to help me get the shot, rather than have to dive back into settings to make a change. What are the downsides to letting me use the full range? I know that the IQ won't be as good at the extended ISO range - but it's better than no shot sometimes. And I know I won't be able to get 400% DR either - still better than no shot.


All systems are compromises, but - compared to the EM-5, say - these issues are more than I feel comfortable with at the moment. I will accept a small drop in IQ and DoF for the chance to get more shots than I otherwise would - usability is more important to me.

Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon D3
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