Fujifilm is using firmware updates for its enthusiast/professional X-series cameras not just to fix bugs and tweak settings, but add all-new performance features to existing bodies – effectively providing owners with a better camera than they initially purchased.
It will be interesting to see if other camera companies follow Fujifilm’s lead with this innovative form of non-price competition. It seems to be a clever way of responding to photographers who resent feeling compelled to upgrade their camera body every second year, and fully exploits the flexibility of digital camera technology. It also makes Fujifilm cameras potentially better value for money than their competitors.
The latest and greatest of these firmware updates is for its X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras, X-T2 version 2.00 & X-Pro2 version 3.00. The update is slated for availability late March, but isn’t on Fujifilm’s website at time of publication. This update will add almost 30 new features and improvements including a Voice Memo function which allows you to record 30-second audio clips in Platback mode – a brilliant substitute for pen and paper captioning and notetaking – and a Copyright Info feature which allows photographers to embed the copyright holder’s name into the EXIF data of each photo. This isn’t the first time a camera company has improved the performance of its cameras via a firmware update, of course, but it takes the process to a new level.
Here’s the full list of improvements which will be available to owners of X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras:
1. Shooting RAW in Bracketing and Advanced Filters: Enables you to use the RAW format when shooting not only in AE Bracketing but also in other Bracketing modes (ISO, Dynamic Range, White Balance, Film Simulaitons) and also in Advanced Filter modes;
2. Extended ISO 125 and 160 selectable;
3. Programmable long exposure of up to 15 minutes – up from 30 seconds;
4. ON/OFF for 1/3-step shutter speed adjustment (X-T2 only – already in X-Pro2);
5. Full-range ISO adjustments with the Command Dial (X-T2 only);
6. AUTO setting added for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting;
7. Faster Face Detection AF via Phase Detection;
8. Improved in-focus indication in the AF-C mode, making it easier to track a subject;
9. Addition of a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF – facilitates pin-point focusing;
10. Addition of AF Point Display (X-Pro2 only – already on X-T2) also makes it easier to track a subject;
11. Addition of AF-C Custom Setting (X-Pro2 only – already on X-T2). Choose from five presets according to your subject’s type of movements;
12. Addition of Portrait / Landscape AF Mode Switching (X-T2 only);
13. Change of focus frame position while enlarging it. Allows you to move the position of focus frame while enlarging it in Single Point in the AF-S mode or in manual focus;
14. Activation of the Eye Sensor in video recording (X-T2 only). Automatically switch between EVF and LCD;
15. Change of ISO sensitivity during video recording (X-T2 only);
16. Re-autofocusing in video recording;
17. Display live histogram during video recording (X-T2 only);
18. Optimization of external microphone’s input level (X-T2 only). Reduces noise when an external microphone is connected;
19. Addition of Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display in the View Mode. Shoot through the viewfinder and check images on the LCD;
20. Shorter EVF display time-lag (X-Pro2 only – already in X-T2);
21. Constant Dual mode display (X-T2 only). The small window in the Dual mode stays on even when you half-press the shutter release button;
22. Automatic vertical GUI for LCD (X-T2 only);
23. Name Custom Settings;
24. Copyright information in EXIF data. Register the photographer’s name and the copyright holder’s name in advance so that the camera automatically adds the information to EXIF data for each image.
25. Voice Memo function. Record 30-second Voice Memo clips in the Playback mode;
26. Extended AE Bracketing. From the current 3 frames +/-2EV to up to 9 frames +/-3EV;
27. Addition of (Don’t) Shoot Without Card mode. The camera can not shoot when there is no SD card inserted.
There will be another firmware release in May which adds further features such as support for computer tethering and some mainly AF and configuration enhancements for more sophisticated photographers.