X-T1 firmware 4.0 The Impossible Test

Today, Fujifilm is releasing version 4.0 of the X-T1 firmware, and once again, they are trying to make Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Toothfairy appear at the same time. And off season for two of them actually. Did Fujifilm manage to pull it off? Well read on and find out… 

This time around the Fujifilm firmware buzz really hit the roof, with claims of an all new autofocus system that would practically give existing X-T1 owners a brand new camera. Bold claims indeed. Claims not only made by those saying they had gotten hold of rogue and secret beta versions of the firmware, but also claims made by Fujifilm themselves in their marketing teasers.

So, since Fujfilm decided to play the cocky marketing game, I set out to prove them wrong. I mean, it can’t be that good, can it?! Again I mean, because firmware 3.0 was a pretty fab upgrade. So I begged my friends at Fujifilm Nordic for an early version, so I could weave my secret web and reveal to the world what v4.0 was really about. So with this devious plan in mind, and an evil laughter soon to come, I jumped in the front seat of a car, and we head out for the highway.

Having set the camera to the new Zone focus mode in the menu, continuous focus on the front switch, and Continous High as my drive mode, I told the driver to hit his continous high with the maximum allowed speed of 80 km/h. But that was only half of my devious plan. Because what lens did I choose for this test?! Well one of the oldest lenses of course, a lens that many people claim to be both slow and sluggish at AF. The XF35mm. And of course, I’d shoot it at maximum aperture, f/1.4, through a windshield that seemed to suffer from some bad programming. It wasn’t bug-free… In other words; The Impossible Test!

As we entered the highway, I started shooting objects alongside the road. Objects coming towards the camera at blazing speed, well 80 km/h that is (insert evil laughter here).

After 20 minutes with everything from pillars on a bridge, small and medium sized traffic signs, and a few meeting cars travelling at 80 km/h towards us, I decided that we’d stop to have a look at all the out of focus shots.

I started looking through the last series. A high-end professional photoshoot of a road sign. Great art! I had managed 7 shots before we had passed it. To my surprise all 7 where sharp and in perfect focus. Had to be the photographer I thought, gave myself a good pat on the back, and promised to buy the photographer a cold beer for doing such a great job.  

 But as I flipped backwards through all those great images, ending with the one we started with, the bridge, I had to throw in the towel. I had managed 23 shots of those pillars coming at us at 80 km/h, and well, they where actually all tack sharp…  

 Ouch… My devious plan had failed. No evil laughter. No pointing nose at and making fun of the big Fujifilm 4.0 hype. Because the hype is real. Firmware 4.0 R.E.A.L.L.Y. is that good…!

And just to do another test that day, to see how it performs on more ordinary situations, I decided to throw a dark meeting room at the X-T1 as well. Same lens. Same aperture. But in ordinary single point autofocus mode. I quickly focused 20-30 times at different small key sized objects around the room. And the XF35mm, that usually hunts a little, and does its little in-out-in thingy when trying to acquire focus, really doesn’t do it that often anymore. And it nailed the focus all those times. Not once did it miss focus, and that’s a great improvement too.

A couple of days later, when my initial shock was over, I took the X-T1 out shooting some lifestyle images with a model. And continuing being a bad boy, I kept looking for difficult AF situations. Like shooting into the blazing sun with the model backlit. Placing her hidden behind straws in that same strong backlit situations. And shooting with the camera held high over my head, down on the model lying on the ground in a dark forest. I hardly saw the screen, and was just hoping that the camera would find the correct eye. Almost all images from that day are in perfect focus. Damn…

Shot directly towards the sun (just outside the frame top right corner)
Shot while the model walked towards me, and I walked backwards

Camera held over my head, but the AF found the eyes
Both the XF35 and the XF56 lenses seems to be from another planet now, that’s how fast and precise the new AF system is, and that’s how much better existing lenses are with it. Earlier, I found the XF56 to be a little difficult to nail focus when shooting at f/1.2 and things where hectic. It’s easy to move slightly between shots. With the new focussing system, I can literally shoot from the hip or way over my head without looking through the EVF or at the LCD. Fujifilms new voodooware just seems to solve every problem thrown at it. As long as I place the Zone focus area somewhere loosely around the face, and have the new eye detection turned on, voodoothings happen. I know some might say that a few others have had face and eye detection in their cameras for a long time. But not with the level of speed and precision the X-T1 now delivers with a 56mm wide open at f/1.2. This takes things to a whole new level. 

Shooting through lots of straws in the foreground and towards the sun

So I give up. How on earth can Fujifilm make so drastic improvements, just by reprogramming the firmware? Beats me. The more I think about it, the more I’m sure Fujifilm has their own team of secret Ninjas, sneaking into peoples homes at night and installing new hardware in cameras at night when we are at sleep. Or maybe they hired the Toothfairy?! Yes, that’s got to be it! Gotcha!!

Haven’t downloaded it yet?! Get yours by clicking here.

PS! All images in this blogpost are JPG files straight out of camera (only one have been cropped), and the model images where shot with the Classic Chrome setting.



34 thoughts on “X-T1 firmware 4.0 The Impossible Test

  1. I look forward to seeing similar updates to the Fujifilm X-E2. This will allow Fuji to demonstrate that they are still supporting their other models. Obviously, it can’t do it in cameras with the older sensor. It also helps me look forward to buying an x-pro2, which should be a game changer ( for me). My FF Nikon gear will probably be heading to eBay! 🙂

    1. Yes it’ll be exciting to see if they can bring more goodies to other cameras as well. The only “downside”, is that we users get very spoiled by Fujifilm. No other manufacturers even come close to what Fujifilm are giving us, and how they keep on supporting existing cameras. But we want more, and preferably for every camera they’ve made, but I believe it is quite resource demanding to program new firmware to several different camera models. But they are the good guys, and they make us users happy again and again!


  2. Now I am going right away to the link and downloading it. I mean I have the xt1 and the 35 only (being a real minimalist lol) I want a new camera, so the firmware will fix that..thanks for the post!!

    1. Sounds great Paul! Hope you like it, and get to know all the new functions and firmware goodies.


    1. Thanks a lot Mike, I really appreciate you saying so! I’m just glad to share.


  3. thanks for the nice post and making the impossible test. So once again Fuji gave us a new camera for free. I love my Xt1 without the v4.00, but I’m afraid, after the update, my life will not be the same.
    and last but not least, a very nice Blog you have. I really enjoy to visit it from time to time for inspiration and learning.

    1. Thanks for the lovely feedback Phil! Much appreciated! I’m just glad to share.

      But now you made me curious, why won’t your life be the same after fw4.0…?


      1. With all the new features, I will be even more addicted to photographing, which can be a problem, if you are not a professional. Having a job, a family and a XT1 with fw4.0 … 24 hours are simply not enough :o)

  4. Ho provato il Nuovo Firmware Ver.4.00 Per X-T1…
    Ancora non hanno risolto della funzioni che ad oggi sono inutilizzabili nella pratica.
    Come Nel Focus Assist… che se in modalità Auto Focus non permette nella pratica di poter fuocheggiare per meglio essere selettivi, ingrandendo il Dettaglio.
    Altra Cosa assurda In SET–UP ,IMPOSTAZIONE SCHERMO ,CONTROLLO FUOCO se messo su ON… fa si l’ingrandimento del dettaglio e li resta, anche se non si continua a muovere le ghiera dei fuochi…
    non permette più di tornare a tutta l’inquadratura.
    Queste modalità in Auto Focus potrebbero essere utili ma nella pratica continuano ad essere inutilizzabili.

    1. Sorry Fabrizio, but my Italian (?) is non-existent, so I really don’t know what you’re writing. I tried google translate, but I got things like “moving the rings of fire”, so I guess it didn’t do a good job….


  5. Elvind, thanks for the test drive (literally) of the new firmware. 🙂 I appreciate your sacrifice in the name of science especially with the beautiful model.

    My initial results surprised me. This firmware release has breathed new life into my 60mm f/2.4. Focus is dramatically faster when using the phase detection AF points.

    My other lenses are faster but more testing is required on those.


    1. Haha, thanks Ron! Someone’s got to do the dirty work, but I aim to please, so I’d do it again for all you guys reading this. But man, that was a tough day shooting all those four model pics… 😉

      So cool to hear that the 60 is much better now! I haven’t tested that lens, but I hear people love the image quality, even though many find it a bit slow on earlier firmware versions. Haven’t had the time to test anything else than the 35 and 56 with fw4.0 yet, but they are my most used lenses, so I’m thankful that Fujifilm made them even more stellar in fw4.0.


  6. Ha, well thought out tests for the new firmware, excellent stuff, thanks..Regards Drew

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