Using the Fuji XT-1: Real World Focusing


Focusing on any camera should not difficult and the focusing on the Fuji XT-1 is very, very accurate. Why Fuji even bother to have a manual override is beyond me.* It a level of customisation that this camera simply does not need. The focus has never failed in a year and half of using this camera professionally. I use 55-140mm f2.8 zoom for my job and I shoot pretty much exclusively wide open. The lens IS is superb and I can happily shoot at 1/60 using the longest focal length without fear. Its frankly a wonderful camera in that respect.

20160130-_DSF9199Fuji XT1 focus







Setting up the focus is simple enough. Go to menu AUTOFOCUS SETTING > AF MODE > and choose the focusing method. Of the 3 focus modes you can use only 2 are useful for my headshot photography. Single point and zone. I suggest you set up the the Selector Button options to change the focus point easily. This is done by selecting in the menu BUTTON/DIAL SETTING > SELECTOR BUTTON SETTING > FOCUS AREA. With the Selector Button you can then change the focus pointy or Zone. I also have the front Fn 1 button set for FOCUS AREA so I can swap focus methods quickly.

You can adjust the size of the focus point using the rear command dial. No real need to use the smallest as that can be quite fussy and can hunt a lot while trying to find focus. The next size up appears to be ideal and accurate for most jobs.

Fuji XT1 focusI was sceptical at first in using zone focusing especially at f2.8 but I have found this method both accurate and slightly quicker than single point. Also for my job, headshot photography, I find if move the focusing zone from the middle to the upper third in portrait orientation I get the zone to focus on the eyes pretty much all of the time. The distraction is that all focus points remain illuminated when they have achieved focus rather than disappearing and giving the photographer a clear view of the subject. Something I hope Fuji will correct with the next firmware upgrade.

You might ask why as a portrait photographer I don’t use face recognition mode? Because its next to useless. Why? Drop me a line Fuji..

Horse Guards

I have only ever used the C (continuous) mode once and it did a pretty good job. This was shot at f4 on a 55-140 mm f2.8 lens using the 3 frame burst rate. I wouldn’t use the camera as a sports photographer though. Using the burst modes doesn’t  ‘feel’ right. On a Canon it sounds and feels like a machine gun going off, strong and powerful, on the Fuji its more like a toy rattle. That said the images were sharp and the focus did not hunt very much.

*I have since learnt there are lot of Fuji owners who use legacy lenses which require manual focus. So my apologies to them. I do have issues with the Focus assist button on the XT1. If you switch to manual the XT1 will show you a zoom view in the EVF  then revert back to normal. Thats clever so why the need for the Focus Assist. You could re assign that button for WB for instance

For discussions about headshots and workflows ask to join my FB forum.

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  1. Joan Ranlsey says:

    Thanks so much for this. Really helpful. I was tearing my hair out reading through the instruction manual.

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