Goedenavond my photo friends. Today i want to show you how to setup your X-Pro-1 to take advantage of the back button focusing. But before we go into any details on how to engage this in camera, lets take a few moments and explore this idea in some more detail.
What is back button focus and why should you care?
I switched to using the back button (AE-L AF-L) to focus my camera a few months ago and can honestly say i could never go back to the traditional way of auto focusing using your shutter button. It will take a little getting used to at first, but if you stick with it, i can promise you will feel the same way i do. So what is it exactly? In the traditional way of auto focusing your camera, you would half press the shutter, which engages the auto focus system, get the camera to lock focus, and then take the picture by pressing the shutter button all the way down. Ok i am not undermining your intelligence by stating the obvious here, but i wanted to set a baseline for our discussion. With back button focus, you essentially disassociate the function of auto focusing your camera from the function of taking the actual image. You use two buttons instead of one which on the surface may seem quite odd and less efficient but works wonders once you get used to it. Things look even peachier (yes i said peachier) with the X-Pro-1 because the genius minds over at Fuji, know their ergonomics, and placed the buttons in a fantastic place. We will get to that in a minute, first lets continue exploring the idea of back button focus. Here is why you should care about this, and possibly give it a try:
- Decouple AF (auto focus) from AE (auto exposure). Normally the shutter button acts as the vehicle for doing both, you press it half way to focus at which point the exposure is measured, then press all the way to capture the magic. If you half press and then re-compose your scene, the exposure has already been measured by the camera which may not be ideal for your new composition. With back button focus, you can recompose all you like, and get a proper exposure for what the lens is pointing at, then all you need to do is press the AF-L button to capture the correct focus and take the picture.
- Good for action. Track your subject with back button focus, and get a perfect exposure when you are ready to take the picture.
- Better thought process. This one is a little difficult to put into words, but from my personal experience, i can tell you that the number of keepers from individual shoots have gone way up. I tend to put more thought into composition and setting up my shot, and i know this is something that has very little to do with separating the focus from exposure, but it is simply my personal experience.
- X-Pro-1 specific – better focussing in low light. Don’t ask me why, or how but i have noticed that the camera tends to lock focus a lot better in low light situation using the back button focus. I have come across this same phenomenon beign described on other sites, so i know i am not crazy. Try it for yourself and you will surely notice a difference.
Fuji X-Pro-1 setup
Now that we have discussed the advantages of back button focusing, lets take a look at how to enable it in your Fuji X-Pro-1
First off, the button that will become your back button focus is the AE-L AF-L button located above the “Q” button on the back of your cameras.
In order to enable the functionality follows these steps:
- Click the “MENU OK” button to access the camera menu
- Navigate to Camera Menu 4 -> AE/AF-LOCK MODE as shown below
- Press the right arrow button to access the menu and select one of the two options shown below
- Select the options that best suits your style of shooting. The first option will force you to keep the button depressed as long as you want the camera to keep the locked focus. The second option will act as a switch, press it once and the camera will lock focus. Personally i selected the “AE&AF ON WHEN PRESSING” option, it just seems a little more intuitive to me but i would suggest you try both and see which fits you better.
- Go back out to the menu, and select the next option down “AE/AF-LOCK BUTTON”
- Press the right arrow button to access the menu items as shown below
- Select “AF LOCK ONLY” to enable the back button focusing
- Switch your focus mode to M
That is it for the setup on the camera. I hope you found this useful and please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts on the back button focusing using the Fuji X-Pro-1.