Fujifilm brings new firmware for the X-E1, X-PRO1 and XF lenses

Remember the long-awaited firmware update from Fujifilm that was supposed to offer improved performance? Well, it is finally here.

  • launch day: July 23rd
  • cameras affected: Fuji X-E1 and Fuji X-PRO1
  • lenses affected
    XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 LM OIS
    XF 35mm F1.4
    XF 60mm F2.4 macro
    XF 18mm F2
    XF 14mm F2.8
Fuji X-E1 front view

Fuji X-E1 front view

It’s important to update both camera and lenses to get the benefits of the new firmware. The process is very easy and straightforward (just remember to have a topped-up battery).

You can also read the Fujifilm public announcement.

Fujifilm firmware update – what are the improvements

improved autofocus speed
All the “older” lenses get improved AF speed through revised algorithms. I put older in quotes as all Fujifilm lenses are modern and even the classic XF 35mm is just 2 years old.

I have the XF 18-55 F2.8-4 and the XF 35mm and both of them get new firmwares. On July 23rd, when the firmware updates become available, I will update my lenses.

Autofocus speed is one of the weaker points of Fuji system. I think the speed is on par with older lenses from Canon and Nikon, but today’s standards are very high. As Fujifilm lenses are built and specced to a very high standard, AF speed was the Achile’s heel.

improvement in focus precision in poorly-lit scenes
High AF speed in good light is one thing, but low light brings a host of new problems. Low contrast scenes, shot in low light, can be a problem. An AF speed of 0.10s or 0.05s is irrelevant if the lens hunts through the whole focus range. Fujifilm promises us revised detection algorithms for these scenes.

“focus peaking” mode in manual focus mode through new firmware
Although I can mount manual focus lenses on my Fuji X-E1 – and I am lusting for a Rokinon Fisheye – the fact that manual focus with an electronic viewfinder is painful kept me away. The solutions for easier manual focus are: zooming on the subject (which the new firmware also improves) and focus peaking.

Focus peaking is a white shimmer of a few pixels around the high contrast, in-focus areas. It is very useful – and easy – to get accurate focus with manual lenses, or in macro mode.

Focus peaking I think was first introduced by Sony for its NEX line of mirrorless cameras. For a long time they were lauded for the easiest manual focus mode among all mirrorless cameras.
Now Fuji brings “focus peaking” to the X-E1 and X-PRO1.

where and when will the firmware be available?

The official place for Fuji firmware is http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/.

The new firmware will become available on July 23rd.

Happy shooting!

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