Fujifilm Firmware Updates

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Since yesterday’s release by Fujifilm of updated firmware for the X-E2 camera body (mainly to provide enhanced EVF abilities) I have been thinking about the other cameras in the line-up and how apart from an update to support the new telephoto lens adapter for the X100/X100s, the updates seemed to have stalled.

The Fuji Rumours site talks about something called “kaizen” which is Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the best”. This is a policy that Fujifilm adopt and is the reason for the multitude of updates for technically old (discontinued) products.

Fujifilm-Kaizen

However, here we have a fairly major update for the X-E2 only. Now some of the improvements provided by the update may have “technical” reasons for only coming out on the X-E2 but not all of them sound like that. Where is the update for the X-Pro1? This is still one of the current models. I do not expect much more for my X-E1 as this is now discontinued; that said I do expect to see occasional firmware updates for new lenses and there are 5 more (of these lenses) to come out later this year.

Fuji X-Pro1 with 35mm f1.4 lens

The fact that only the X-E2 got an update yesterday is slightly worrying as there are still many improvements that photographers have requested for some time. Personally I am waiting for the exposure bracketing fix.

What is the exposure bracketing fix?
Back in film days there was only one type of auto-bracketing and this was for the exposure. It was a way to ensure that in difficult lighting situations where you weren’t assured of the correct exposure suggested by the camera’s exposure meter (or external meter) you could guarantee a correctly exposed shot by taking more than one photograph. Typically one would be at the “correct” metered exposure and then either the shutter speed and/or the aperture would be adjusted to provide an exposure under the metered value and one exposed over the metered value. In these circumstances 3 frames at up to 1 stop over and under was enough for 90% of the photos taken. The best exposed photograph would be used and the others discarded.

Now we have moved to digital cameras we have multiple types of bracketing in addition to exposure and for Fuji cameras this includes white balance as well as film simulation type. Unfortunately the exposure bracketing is still 3 shots at +/- 1 stop (or EV). In situations as above this is OK for around 90% of the photos taken but if you want to take a HDR (High Dynamic Range) photograph where you merge (in software) multiple photo’s to increase the dynamic range of the picture, more than can be captured in a single photograph.

I am not talking about the over-the-top images (that you have probably seen) where the creator has turned a well fully exposed photograph into a work of art. These tend to polarise viewers who love or hate them just like Marmite (which I detest by the way).

So if 3 frames at + or – 1 EV is not enough what do we need (want?)? From personal experience I find that we should be offered 3, 5 or 7 (some may even want 9) frames with + or 1 up to 2EV per frame (although if we get +/1 1 EV per frame at 5 or 7 exposure this will probably be enough. If Sony can do this with the NEX7 sometime after it was released then Fujifilm certainly can.

Epilogue
Since I started to write this blog post I read Rico Pfirstinger‘s review of the firmware updated on Fuji Rumors site here; he obviously has some insider information on the forthcoming Fujifilm firmware updates as follows:

  • Minor firmware updates in May for all current X-Mount cameras
  • June, adding direct Instax Share wifi support to the X-M1, X-A1 and XQ1
  • Wireless remote and interval shooting will eventually come to the X-E2
  • Plans for a really cool firmware update that will affect (almost) all native lenses