X Series cameras offer a host of ways to personalise your workflow – and many lesser-known settings that can help you on your quest for astounding images
Passionate photographers know the benefits of a good functional setup and making the most of some camera hacks for optimal photography. In part, it’s because they know just how much is going on below the surface. And, they’re an endlessly creative bunch.
Even for the extremely dedicated, we’re sure there’s a few tricks up your camera’s sleeve to discover. For those newer to the range, there’s simply so much in store! Get ready to learn more about your camera.
1) Film Simulation bracketing
Many cameras offer bracketing of exposure, focus and more, but did you know that with Fujifilm, you can also bracket three Film Simulations at one time? This offers you full control over the look of your images, giving you three different edits straight out of camera. You can photograph in colour and monochrome simultaneously, for example, or just choose a few options to bring out the best in your scene.
To set up bracketing, set the drive dial to BKT, then navigate to the SHOOTING SETTING menu. Select DRIVE SETTING, then BKT SETTING, and finally BKT SELECT before choosing FILM SIMULATION BKT.
If you own an X Series camera with a Drive button, press it, scroll to FILM SIMULATION BKT, go to SHOOTING SETTING menu and select FILM SIMULATION BKT.
2) Make your own Film Simulation mode
While the standard Film Simulation modes are comprehensive and well-crafted, each photographer has their own unique idea of perfection. To get there yourself, you can customise Film Simulation modes to create your own ‘recipes’.
Open the IMAGE QUALITY SETTING menu and select EDIT/SAVE CUSTOM SETTING. Here, there will be seven slots. Scroll to your desired slot, select, then select EDIT. From here, you can manipulate many aspects of image quality, such as colour, highlights and shadows, grain and much more. The EDIT CUSTOM NAME option lets you apply an easily identifiable name to that particular slot.
Get started: try searching Google for Fujifilm recipes. Many photographers have been kind enough to share their own online!
3) Customise Function Buttons
One of the best things about the physical design of FUJIFILM X Series cameras is the presence of useful external buttons and dials. But the best camera settings are the ones you use most. To ensure favourites are always at your fingertips, assign custom settings to various Function Buttons.
Press and hold DISP/BACK until the FUNCTION (Fn) SETTING menu pops up on your camera’s rear LCD. Here, a diagram shows you which settings are currently assigned to the available buttons. To change one, highlight it, then toggle to the right and choose from the list. The options are extensive, to suit professional and more basic workflows.
Get started: if you haven’t already customised some settings, try narrowing down those that you think you’ll edit the most. For example, having FACE/EYE DETECTION SETTING and AF MODE easily accessible is helpful when you’re switching quickly between photographing family and friends and your surroundings. For super quick transfer of photos, why not add in WIRELESS COMMUNICATION? Make sure to try the Film Simulations covered above first, to get the edit you’re after straight out of camera.
4) A tailor-made Q Menu
For even greater efficiency, you can change a whole batch of settings almost instantaneously via the Quick (Q) Menu. The icon in the top left – named BASE by default – can be seen as a ‘profile’. As you scroll through, different Custom Settings appear, with all new surrounding icons on each page.
These Custom Settings, or ‘profiles’, can be set up for different genres entirely, or just to suit more slight situational changes. The icons page within each Custom Setting covers AF Mode, Flash Function Setting, Film Simulation, White Balance and much more. Scroll to any icon and press the MENU/OK button to customise.
5) Uncover the wonders of Auto ISO
Now, some settings you can leave for entire sessions or longer, but exposure changes from frame to frame. If you’re after ultimate efficiency, there is an ideal hidden setting.
We’re alluding to Auto ISO alongside Shutter Priority mode. All you’ll have to worry about is aperture in virtually any lighting condition.
In the SHOOT SETTING menu, choose ISO. Here, you’ll see three AUTO slots. Choose any, then set a DEFAULT SENSITIVITY, MAX. SENSITIVITY and MIN. SHUTTER SPEED. When using these modes, ISO will only exceed your set maximum limit when shutter speed drops below your preferred minimum. It’s a good idea to fill all three slots, with each tailored for different situations.
6) Unlock the benefits of back-button focusing
With exposure covered, it’s time to perfect autofocus. There are a few methods, and you’ll have to find one that suits you best, but we’d strongly recommend back-button focusing for its versatility. In short, this option decouples your shutter button with AF functionality, meaning no more half press focusing.
First, the decoupling. In the SET UP menu, scroll to BUTTON/DIAL SETTING, then find SHUTTER AF and set AF-C to OFF. Next, you’ll need to assign AF-C to another Fn button. AF-L is the most obvious choice – just follow the same custom Function Button steps as above.
Now, when in AF-C mode, autofocus will only work when the AF-L button is held down. You can set your focus point and recompose as you’d like, or switch between a fixed point of focus and continuous tracking with the tiny depression of one button.
7) Try Touch AF
Touch focus helps you nail perfect focus every time. With this setting enabled, simply tap your subject on the LCD display. This function is also found in the BUTTON/DIAL SETTING menu, under TOUCH SCREEN SETTING.
As a bonus autofocus tip, try AF Mode ALL. This allows you to cycle through many specific AF options using the Rear command dial (just set it to FOCUS AREA in your Fn settings) when it counts the most. Cycle through SINGLE POINT, ZONE and WIDE TRACKING, then choose a frame size and position the Focus Point.
8) Don’t be in the dark
Here’s a tip for studio photographers. An LCD preview of the exact settings you’re using is very beneficial, but in dark settings – such as a flash-lit studio – it means you can no longer see your all-important subject. So, if you’re in a dark location and wish to opt for a brighter display, visit SET UP, SCREEN SET-UP, then set Natural Live View to ON.
9) Rely on an inbuilt spirit level
Leave no room for error within your compositions by utilising your camera’s guideline features. You’ll be able to ensure you always take a perfectly level photo, meaning no more time spent making slight rotation adjustments in post-processing.
In SET UP, enter SCREEN SET-UP then DISP. CUSTOM SETTINGS. The electronic level is the most useful across most situations, but you can play around with settings here to suit your specific needs.
10) Perfect your panoramas
It’s well known that you can fit more in the frame by photographing in panorama mode – just rotate the drive dial to the bowed rectangle icon. What you may not know is that you can toggle the selector right to change the direction of the pan.
Set the pan direction downwards, hold your camera sideways as if making a portrait, then physically pan to the right. Instead of a very wide panorama, this will leave you with something much closer to a standard aspect ratio, while also gaining a wider angle of view and emulating a larger sensor’s resolution.
That’s enough on the best Fujifilm settings for now. It’s time to put them to good use. And be sure to never stop exploring – knowing your creative tool inside and out is one certain way to make better images, and who knows what secrets you might discover for yourself.