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Fujifilm X-T1 New Auto Focus System Explained

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Fuji today have announced a new auto focus system for the XT1. The new firmware, which is yet to be released (late June) will have a few auto features that will improve the X-T1’s focus capabilities to make it more in line with higher end DSLR cameras. I’ve broken down the focus modes below to explain them further.

Auto Focus Still (AF-S) + Single Point

This new focus mode is very exciting. Before, users would typically struggle when they focused in low light or focused their lens on a small subject. What Fujifilm have done to overcome this is simply divide the single focus point down into small areas. This has allowed the focus to be much more precise. Adding to this, the XT1 uses the inbuilt phase detection filters to greater assist focusing in low light areas. Previously the phase detection pixels only had a detection range of around 2.5 EV, but after you install the firmware the X-T1’s phase detection pixels will have a detection range of 0.5EV, what this means is you’ll have much better focusing in low light and when trying to photograph low contrast subjects. 

Auto Focus Still (AF-S) + Zone

Using AF-S with zone focus will give you the ability to choose either a 3×3, 5×3 or 5×5 focus grid from the 77 point auto focus area.

Auto Focus Still (AF-S) + Wide / Tracking

Cleverly the camera will automatically track a moving subject when using a wide angle lens. It does this by automatically focusing on any subject that moves within the frame, by using the 77 autofocus points within the frame. So, if a boat is moving from left to right and you’re using a wide angled lens then this would be the best focus setting to use.

Auto Focus Continuous (AF-C) – Single Point

Like the AF-S auto focus mode, the AF-C mode will do the same thing, however it’s recommend you use this mode if your subject moves. For instance if you are photographing a flower in the breeze, we would recommend you use this focus mode.

Auto Focus Continuous (AF-C) – Zone

When you use this mode you will be able to select either a 3×3, 5×3 or 5×5 focus grid from the 77 point auto focus area. The focus system will then track the subject by using the middle of the grid. If the subject moves left to right or up and down, the next focus point in the grid will automatically track the subject and focus will be maintained. It’s recommended you use a large grid (5×5) to focus on fast moving subjects. This is because the subject can be tracked on the outer parts of the grid, as opposed to the smaller 3×3 focus grid, which wouldn’t track fast moving objects as effectively.

Auto Focus Continuous (AF-C) – Wide / Tracking

Again, this focus mode is very similar to the AF-S mode. The difference here is that the AF-C mode will automatically track subjects that are moving closer or further away from a photographers lens. An example would be if you have a wide XF lens pointed at a group of runners, as the runners run toward you the 77 auto focus points within the frame would automatically keep the runners in focus, so you wouldn’t have to resort to manual focus.

The new firmware also opens up the added focus modes of Eye Detection Auto Focus which will basically track a subjects eye and automatically focus on it when using face detection. This will be great for all those portrait photographer who use the XF 56mm f1.2 wide open! Also in the list of improvements is the new video focus mode that offers a more natural auto focus when filming.