Along with a new camera body and new lenses, Fuji announced that new firmware for the X-Pro1 would be available for download starting September 18th.
Fuji’s press release says the following:
Improvements made after firmware update:
- Improved performance of auto focus*1
Focussing in challenging lighting conditions, where light is low or bright, will now be much faster in Auto Focus mode. The focusing distance has also been improved, allowing you to get closer to the subject and capture a great shot without switching to macro mode.
- Manual Focus improved performance
• Improved operability
The speed of the image coming into focus when turning the focus ring has been vastly improved. When adjusting the focus ring using the electronic viewfinder or the LCD panel on the back of the camera it is now much easier to focus, always displaying the image closer to full aperture with minimum depth of field.
• New addition of 3x magnification for checking focus
The 10x magnifications / focus check feature on the X-Pro1 has been well received and in this firmware update an additional 3x option is now available. It is also now possible to find the optimum focus point whilst viewing the entire screen.
- Improved writing speed/ processing speed.
• Improved wirting speed to memory card
At maximum speed the X-Pro1 can now write to memory card twice as fast as before. *2
• Improved speed for playback after shooting
Image playback now occurs less than one second after pressing the image playback button. On some occasions previously, for example when using continuous shooting, you had to wait until the images had been processed before they were shown on screen.
- Other additional functions:
Auto (6400) has been added to the ISO setting. This increased ISO not only speeds up the shutter speed, but also stabilises the image and mitigates blurring of the subject.
*1: The effect will differ according to the lens attached.
*2: the effect will differ according to the card type and image compression.
It’s item #1 that I care most about. DPReview has been playing with a beta of this release and they write:
The write times are the most noticeable improvement with the last firmware. Using a comparable SanDisk 45MB/s UHS-I card as used in our review, we found the time taken for the buffer to empty dropped from about 14 seconds in JPEG mode to 10 and from 55 seconds to around 29 seconds. The camera also gains the ability to enter playback mode during card writing, making those write times much more less of an irritation.
Both autofocus and manual focus feel much more responsive. Manual focus in particular is greatly improved – the lens aperture stays fully open when trying to manually focus, meaning that depth-of-field is minimized and focus precision is increased. This is a big step forwards from the original behavior that would adjust the aperture uncontrollably. The ‘feel’ of manual focus has also been tweaked so that you don’t find yourself repeatedly turning the focus ring with no obvious change in the focus distance.
Well, I’ll know for certain in two weeks’ time how much of an impact this release makes.
To be honest, my frustration level has been increasing rather than decreasing. I find myself leaving the camera home and taking my Nikon D800 out with me more frequently – in particular the last few times I was out at night, simply because I knew the Nikon would give me the shots I wanted while I felt that the Fuji’s slow auto focus in “challenging light conditions” would make things more of a crap shoot. This firmware will be a “make or break” for me in terms of whether or not I stick with this system.