Fuji X-T1 firmware update brings a barrage of improvements

Fuji X-T1 firmware update
Fuji's flagship camera gets a speed boost and more

When Fujifilm announced its fancy X-T1 Graphite Edition, it listed three key enhancements over the regular model, including a high-speed electronic shutter, a Classic Chrome film simulation mode and a Natural Live view function.

But these aren't high-cost add-ons to go with the graphite paint job - they're actually part of a larger firmware update that will be available free to all Fuji X-T1 owners.

This is an update to the camera's operating system software that offers new features, enhancements and changes to the controls, without the need for any physical modifications.

The update is scheduled for release in December 2014, and features a number of significant improvements.

Electronic shutter

The X-T1's mechanical shutter tops out at a speed of 1/4000 sec, but if you're using one of Fujifilm's super-fast prime lenses wide open to get creative bokeh effects in bright sunlight, even this might not be fast enough. The new electronic shutter goes right up to 1/32,000 sec, allowing you to go three f-stops wider in bright light.

That's not all. The electronic shutter is completely silent and you can use it at regular speeds right up to 1 second - perfect in situations where you don't want to make a noise.

Classic Chrome and live view

Fujifilm cameras can simulate the look of Fuji films like Velvia, Provia and Astia. This new Classic Chrome mode goes for a "vintage" look with subtle colours and muted tones.

One of the advantages of electronic viewfinders like the one in the X-T1 is that they can show the effect of different picture modes and colour settings – but this can be a distraction. This update brings a 'natural' live view mode designed to give the neutral look of an optical viewfinder.

These first three changes are already in place for the Fuji X-T1 Graphite Edition, but the ones that follow won't be available until December (these can be added to the Graphite version too).

Focus improvements

With the firmware update, you'll be able to set the focus point with the four-way controller on the back of the camera, without having to press the Fn button. You'll be able to turn the Macro function on and off without accessing the menu screen, and you'll be able to lock the spot area to the focus point in spot metering mode.

In manual focus mode, the Instant AF button will now use phase-detection AF for faster focusing, and you'll be able to change the size of the focus area while you're in Instant AF mode.

The function of the AE-L/AF-L button is fixed in the current camera, but the firmware update will allow you to change its behaviour. You'll also be able to customise the layout and contents of the Q menu to make commonly-used settings easier to change.

Better video

The X-T1 currently offers 60fps and 30fps frame rates, but the update will add 50fps and 25fps so that users in PAL regions, such as Europe, won't have to convert frame rates. There will also be a 24fps option for a 'cinematic' look.

You'll also be able to choose the ISO before you start shooting, and adjust both the aperture and shutter speed while you're recording.

Program mode expansion

Currently, Program Shift mode offers a slowest shutter speed of 1/4 sec, which is pretty limiting in poor light. The update will extend this range to four seconds, so you'll be able to make longer exposures without having to change modes.

This is a pretty substantial set of improvements, so if you have a Fuji X-T1, you'd better make a note in your calendar.

Rod Lawton is Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography magazines, including Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus, Professional Photography, Photography Week and Practical Photoshop.