The amount of post-release support Fujifilm has been providing its X-series users is, quite frankly, staggering. Yet another major firmware update for the X-Pro1 (v3.01) and X-E1 (v2.00) cameras is now available for download. In a nutshell, the firmware further improves autofocus performance for both cameras with most Fujifilm X-mount lenses. In addition to that, a current must-have feature for all mirrorless cameras, focus peaking, has also been added.
Update: Fujifilm X-Pro1 has just received firmware update v3.01, which fixes movie mode bug present in the v3.00 version.
1) What We Think
I would have never expected a new compact system camera manufacturer to release perfect products right from the start. Of course, Fujifilm is far from being new to all-things photography. The company is well-known for its analogue cameras, high-end lenses and photographic film of all sizes. But when it came to digital consumer products, the most serious they tried before entering highly competitive and promising mirrorless camera market was digital point-and-shoot cameras. Let’s face it. Cheap point-and-shoot cameras are not something buyers are too picky about. Mirrorless and high-end, large-sensor compact cameras are a whole different story. And here, Fujifilm X-series cameras have been plagued with bugs, glitches and minor niggles likely more so than any other manufacturer. Autofocus speed and accuracy was likely one of the most talked-about shortcomings of X100 and X-Pro1 (click for our in-depth review).
Having said that, what I expected even less is just how persistent Fujifilm is at improving its existing cameras. Update after update, their cameras seem to transform with time into something much more capable and grown up. Even after new models are introduced, you are never left hanging with a product that could have been better had the manufacturer bothered to tweak the software and add much-needed functionality. When the X-E1 came out boasting improved AF algorithms, the X-Pro1 firmware update quickly followed with the same improvements.
By doing so Fuji has quickly become a manufacturer that feels involved with its clients more than any other camera maker no matter how well-known or popular. It feels as if they want to do good by their customers, as if you are using gear that real people design and improve, rather than a faceless company. We can’t help but admire such devotion here at Photography Life. On top of that, they also seem to be making all the right choices regarding camera bodies themselves as well as lenses. As a wedding photographer, I find XF lens lineup extremely tempting, especially considering the upcoming XF 10-20mm f/4, 56mm f/1.2 and 23mm f/1.4 lenses. The camera bodies are wonderfully photography-centered, the new sensor technology brings some very welcome freshness and the hybrid viewfinder is a well thought-out dessert. AF will improve and niggles will be taken care off. Like a bottle of good wine, these cameras seem to get better as time passes. The main idea behind the cameras, the core approach to design, the character is, hopefully, here to stay.
This is why we are so thrilled to receive all three Fujifilm X-series mirrorless cameras as well as all available lenses shortly. We will run X-E1, X-M1 and the lenses through our usual review procedures after spending enough time using them in all sorts of situations. X-Pro1 review will also be updated with our experience from using the camera running latest firmware version 3.00. Rest assured, we will spare no critique towards these amazing cameras. Happily, Fujifilm seems to want us to.
2) The Problem
Fuji has found two ways to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive mirrorless camera market. First of all, by releasing good-looking, photography-centered innovative cameras and fast, quality prime lenses. Secondly, by providing all the post-release firmware updates to further improve their products as much as possible. But when you stop to think about it, their continued attempts at improving even older camera models should not be at all surprising. The biggest surprise comes when you realize that it’s not what Fujifilm is doing, but what other manufacturers are not. Even so, such a fact does not undermine Fujifilm’s efforts at all.
3) Latest Firmware Improvements
Here is the list of improvements the latest firmware version brings when compared to previous release (v2.05 for the X-Pro1 and v1.06 for the X-E1):
- Improvement of AF speed on most existing XF lenses.
The updated algorithm will enable AF speed to become faster with the following XF lenses:
- “Focus Peak Highlight” function for manual focusing is added.
The function, which features on FUJIFILM X100S and X20, is added and assists accurate and sensitive manual focusing by enhancing the outline of your subject in high contrast.
- Improvement of the method to switch magnification during manual focusing.
Press the “Command dial” to activate image magnification during manual focusing and then turning the dial in either right or left direction will enable you to alternate the magnification of 3 times and 10 times.
- Improvement of focus accuracy in various scenes.
The focus detection algorithm is improved to provide more accurate focus for low contrast subjects and scenes containing horizontal stripes.
An important note: in order for these improvements to work, you will also need to update firmware for each lens.
4) Download Links for Camera and Lens Firmware Updates
Here are the links to the official Fujifilm website. Firmware download links are at the bottom of each webpage.