Fujifilm releases transformative AF/MF software update for X-Pro1/X-E1

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If you're anything like me, you love Fujifilm's X-series cameras in spite of their sluggish and idiosyncratic focusing systems — the AF is slow and often fails to lock onto a target, while the fly-by-wire MF doesn't give you any indication of whether you're in focus or not. It's been pretty much my only major complaint about the system.

Well, that all changed today. Fuji has released firmware v2.00 for the X-E1 and v3.00 for the X-Pro 1, and though I've only tested it on the former camera (my primary body) so far, the difference is huge. So far, I've found autofocus vastly quicker than it was before, and it seems a lot more reliable at finding where to focus. Before, it'd often hunt back and forth even when only using the central focal point, but I've had a hard time catching it out with the new firmware so far.

The 60mm f/2.4 macro, which previously held the distinction of having the single worst AF performance of any lens I'd ever owned, is now actually usable in auto mode, and the 35mm f/1.4 is much snappier as well. It is, however, a little bit louder than before. Overall, the X-E1 with these two lenses now focuses at least as quickly — and probably more accurately — than the NEX-7 I sold about six months ago.

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Manual focus has also gotten a lot better with the addition of focus peaking. Though Sony's NEX implementation is a little more comprehensive, letting you choose colours and more prominent highlights of the in-focus areas, it's a massive improvement — particularly on my X-E1, which doesn't have the sharpest rear display.

You can download the updates here; you have to update each lens individually, too.

Of course, it's not quite up there with a DSLR in terms of speed, but I'd now recommend the Fuji X system to pretty much anyone that doesn't need it for sports, action, or video: it offers the best mirrorless image quality, in my book; the lens lineup has filled out nicely, especially if you prefer to use primes; and now the X-E1's focusing system finally performs to the same standard as its optics and sensor.