More Thoughts On The Camera Fujifilm Should Make

I have to admit to being happier that a pig in a bucket of slop the bush* with my X100s, so I haven’t really felt compelled to slavishly drool over and exquisitely explore all of the new things the X-T1 does,** so there is some risk that what I’m about to say could be met with a ‘Hey, the X-T1 already does all of that, diddle-head!’

It’s a risk I’m willing to take, mainly cos I’ve nothing to do for the next 45 minutes until my train stops where I want to get off.

Anyway, to further advance into the world of the professional photographer (and serious amateur), I think Fujifilm would do well to consider the tethering options it offers. To wit;

  • on all future successors to the X100s, X-Pro1 and X-T1 (& all future pro orientated models), wireless tethering that will connect (reliably) to a computer and integrate with all the popular photography software tools (assuming said apps will allow this). For example, Capture One, Aperture, Lightroom, etc.***
  • firmware and cabling to provide the same via physical tether for the X100(s) and X-Pro1 models (surely something can be done with the existing USB ports – if obviously and blatantly not, see the three asterisks below).

Why? Well, firstly, it’s really useful. Quite simply, it makes life easier. It’s a feature many professionals and even amateurs are increasingly making use of. For some, this could be a deal breaker. Secondly, it would put Fujifilm up near the head of the pack. Some camera makers already do something like this – see here for example, for a list of Nikon, Canon and Leica cameras compatible via physical tether with Lightroom. Working with software vendors and making the top end of the X-Series range really useful and usable across a wide variety of software options via wifi would be yet one more standout, distinguishing feature. Better to lead the way there, rather than follow. Many people who make their living with cameras are switching to Fujifilm X mount cameras; reliable tethering would provide one more reason to prompt those contemplating the switch.

Is tethering to a computer really that important, especially in light of the fact that options for iPads and other tablets also exist? I think so, especially in relation to critical exposure. Camera LCD exposure blinkies♱ and histograms are not always the best for judging what is really going on. The actual software you use to adjust the imported images is far better, and being able to view this information accurately in real time is a valuable tool for portraitists, product photographers, architectural photographers and the like.

You could counter with the idea that it really should be a case of “photographer, know thy camera.” And that’s true, people should really try to come to grips with their tools and understand said tool’s behaviour, including quirks and shortcomings. Having said that, there are some really creative people out there who are just not technically capable and who never will be. Just because their ideas and their lighting and composition are brilliant, doesn’t mean they can reliably and consistently interpret what their camera is telling them.

Another biggie is composition. There’s no substitute for being able to see your photographs at or near the size they will finally end up at. Or just plain large for that matter. I guess for people who print over about 27 inches on the diagonal, there literally is no substitute. But even then, computer screen large, even 13 inches on the diagonal, is way better than camera LCD large. With a large image, not only can a more nuanced and precise approach be brought to the overall figure / ground relationship, but also attention can be given to finer points of position, tone, texture and so on. Composing snapshots on my iPad mini has really driven this point home. So, having results immediately available on screen can be of great aid, if not invaluable even.

The final biggie is critical focus checking. Checking the image at a large size, with software with features designed specifically for this, is the only way to be 100% sure.

To date, wifi cards such as those by Eye-Fi have proved problematic and temperamental, but those oh-so-rare occasions of success I’ve managed so far point to how useful wifi tethering can be.♱♱ Incidentally, I have to wonder too, at what such companies have up their sleeves for the future, if anything. The day will eventually come when all cameras have decent wifi capabilities and what then of their business models?

Anyway, I think I’ll end it there, now that Jimi Hendrix has just conveniently popped up on iTunes. So, come on Fujifilm, be a wild thing and sock it too me!

*ever seen feral pigs? Left to themselves they’re pretty clean and tidy
** thinking about it now, I’m jealous. Not entirely true either, the idea of the new portrait lens on one does make me drool
*** left myself wide open there to those more knowledgable. Go ahead, have at it
♱ you know, those flashing bits in the camera LCD review images that indicate blown highlights or blocked up shadow detail
♱♱ more on possibly cracking that nut later

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