Top of camera controls

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The X1's top plate is its operational nerve center, and plays home to its major shooting controls which could scarcely be more traditional in concept. The shutter button is surrounded by the combined Power / Drive Mode button, and behind it sit the shutter speed and aperture dials (stylistically we're not convinced by those off-center screws, by the way). Each dial has a red 'A' for auto, and the four exposure modes are set by logical combinations of these positions:

Shutter speed dial
Aperture dial
Aperture Priority
Sets aperture
Shutter Priority
Sets shutter speed
Sets shutter speed
Sets aperture

When both dials are set to 'A', the camera is in program mode and sets both shutter speed and aperture automatically. This is no dumb fully-auto mode though; the user can still apply any exposure compensation they consider necessary, and freely shift the camera's chosen exposure settings towards either faster shutter speeds and larger apertures, or slower shutter speeds and smaller apertures, using the rear dial.

In shutter priority and manual modes, shutter speeds are available only in the single stop increments marked on the dial (there's no intermediate click stops); when the dial is set to '1+', speeds up to 30 seconds can be selected using the rear wheel. In contrast, aperture priority or program modes use the full range of intermediate speeds. Apertures are available in third-stop steps from F2.8 to F16, with positive click-stops at each position.

The only problem we've found with this system in actual use is that the click-stops at the 'A' positions are nowhere near firm enough, especially on the larger shutter speed dial, so it's all too easy to knock the camera into the wrong mode when taking it out of a pocket or bag. So you can't (quite) just set the X1 to full Auto and forget about it, if that's what you want to do - you have to continually verify it's still in the right mode. Much more positive click stops for the 'A' position (or maybe a lock switch) would be in order here.

The three small holes beside the shutter speed dial, by the way, are for the tiny speaker which can be used to emit operational sounds, if that's your cup of tea (including a shutter sound that's apparently sampled from the original M3).

Switches / Dials

Options / description
OFF/Drive  • Off
 • Single shot
 • Continuous drive (selectable 2 fps or 3 fps)
 • Self-timer (selectable 2 seconds or 10 seconds)
Shutter Speed Dial  • Shutter speeds selectable in single stop increments
 • 1/2000 sec to 1 sec directly selectable
 • In the '1+' position, up to 30 seconds can be set using the rear dial
 • No 'Bulb' setting
Aperture Dial  • F2.8 to F16 available
 • Third-stop increments

Rear of camera controls

The rear controls of the X1 are arranged into two sets. A column of five buttons runs down the left side of the LCD, and on the right side of the screen we find the ubiquitous 4-way controller. This has a set button in its center, and is surrounded by a control dial which is used to change settings and magnify the image in playback mode. Each of the four direction keys also provides direct access to a shooting function. At the top right is the manual focus wheel, which also serves an unexpected dual purpose, as a means of browsing images in playback.

Shooting mode controls

EV +/- Exposure Compensation/Bracketing

Cycles through exposure compensation (+/- 3 EV, 1/3 EV steps), Exposure Bracketing (+/- 3 EV, 1/3 EV steps) and Flash Exposure compensation (+/- 3 EV, 1/3 EV steps).
Bracketed exposures are taken in a burst from one single press of the shutter button.
Settings are changed with either the rear dial or left/right buttons.
Self Timer

This doesn't put the camera into self-timer mode - that's on the top-plate drive mode switch - but instead allows you to select between a 2 second and 12 second delay when you are in self-timer mode. (In single shot and continuous drive mode, this button does nothing.)

Enters the main menu, also used to confirm changed settings
Flash Mode

Enters the Flash Mode sub-menu, select from Auto, Auto + Red-Eye reduction, Forced On, Forced On + Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Red-Eye reduction, and Studio modes. The latter allows you to use the built-in flash to trigger studio strobes in slave mode (it appears to fire at full power, crucially with no metering pre-flash).
AF/MF Focus Mode

Chose between AutoFocus (with minimum focus limited to 60cm), AF Macro (minimum focus of 30cm) and Manual Focus.
Manual Focus Dial

Used to change the focus in manual mode - a basic distance scale is displayed on screen marked in meters and feet, and the center of the display can optionally be magnified to assist focusing.
Command Dial

Used to change settings in combination with other buttons
PLAY Play mode

Switches to play mode and displays the last image taken or viewed. The X1 is a shooting priority camera, so a touch on the shutter release will cancel play mode and return you to shooting mode.
Focus mode select

This allows you to select the focus mode - choose from single point, eleven point, spot or face detection modes. The single and eleven point modes each have two flavors - normal and 'H' (for High speed), which utilizes a different sensor readout mode for faster autofocus, but at the expense of a temporary freeze of the live view image.

In single and spot modes, press and hold this button for a second, and you can then move the AF point freely around the frame. In manual focus mode, pressing this button brings up the focus distance scale and central magnified 'loupe' (if enabled).
WB White Balance

Calls up the white-balance sub-menu. Changes to the WB setting are previewed live on the screen.
ISO ISO Sensitivity

Calls up the ISO sub-menu. This allows you to choose from 100-3200 in whole stop steps only; you can also choose Auto ISO, with user-configurable slowest shutter speed and maximum ISO.
INFO Information Display

Changes the level of information overlay displayed on the screen. Also used to return the focus point to the center of the screen in single point and fine AF modes.

Play mode controls

Delete single / all

Displays the 'Delete: Single / All' dialog which allows you to delete the currently displayed / selected image or all images on the SD card (except those which have been protected).
INFO Information level

Pressing this button switches between normal image review and a more detailed INFO display which includes a histogram and exposure information.
Previous / Next image (Manual Focus Dial)

Allows browsing from one image to the next.
Magnify / thumbnail index / page

The command dial enables you to magnify the image (turn clockwise) or enter a thumbnail index view (turn counter-clockwise), in which you get a 4 x 4 view.
Browse (Left and right arrows)

Use the left and right arrows to browse through images. In magnify mode the direction buttons are used to scroll around the image.

Menu controls

SET Confirm Setting

Press SET to confirm settings changes
Navigate (Manual Focus Dial)

Navigates quickly up and down through the main menu, jumping one full page at a time
Navigate (command dial)

The command dial can be used to navigate menus, clockwise to move down options, counter-clockwise to move up options.
Navigate (direction buttons)

The up and down arrows can also be used to navigate menus and select options, the left and right arrows enter and exit sub-menus for choosing options