Fujifilm has today announced that it will be releasing a firmware update for the X-T1 in late June 2015.

The changes in the update are mostly concerned with autofocus. The X-T1 is an excellent camera, not only winning Premium Compact System Camera of the Year at our Amateur Photographer Awards, but also snagging the most votes for Reader Product of the Year. However one of its biggest weaknesses is focus tracking with moving subjects, which until now has been limited to working with just the central AF area.

With firmware Ver. 4.00 Fujifilm has completely overhauled the camera’s autofocus system. New modes have been added specifically designed for moving subjects, AF accuracy has been improved, phase detection now works in lower light, and eye detection added for shooting portraits.

Fujifilm already has an enviable record for continually update and improving its cameras via firmware updates, but it’s extremely rare to see such a significant set of improvements, and a firmware update as major and comprehensive as this is very exciting news. Let’s take a look at major changes Fujifilm will be delivering.

Wide/tracking and Zone modes

Zone mode (monkey not included)

Zone mode (monkey not included)

New Zone and Wide/Tracking modes increase the coverage of AF points across the frame, something we criticised the X-T1 for lacking in our review.

Upping the fast and accurate 49-point AF system to a 77-point system, the update allows users to use Wide/Tracking mode to expand coverage across the frame and more easily track moving subjects.

Zone mode allows users to specify a specific 3×3 or 5×5 focusing zone within the frame, and then instruct the camera to continue tracking a subject at the centre of this zone. Fujifilm says that the zones in the centre will be particularly snappy thanks to built-in phase detection pixels.

Improved accuracy

Version 4 improves low light AF (mist not included)

Version 4 improves low light AF (mist not included)

Fujifilm has beefed up the X-T1’s ability to accurately focus with Single-point AF, which divides the focusing area into smaller sections.

The phase-detection AF has also been improved, with built-in phase detection pixels now carrying a detection range of 0.5EV, an improvement from the previous 2.5EV.

Fujifilm has also optimised its algorithm for AF in Movie mode, which it says will deliver a more ‘natural and smooth’ AF action when recording video.

Eye Detection AF

Version 4 now includes eye detection autofocus (model not included)

Version 4 now includes eye detection autofocus (model not included)

One for portrait photographers, this update adds Eye Detection AF, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like and allows for quick and easy focusing on a subject’s eyes even in complex or challenging conditions.

Auto Macro mode

The X-T1 will now automatically switch into Macro mode when the photographer attempts to focus on a close-up subject. This renders the X-T1’s Macro Button redundant, and it can now be assigned to a different function.

Other new improvements

The update also carries a number of other smaller updates to the X-T1’s operation.

Improved Shutter Speed Dial Operation

Fujifilm-X-T1Users can now set a full range of exposure times from 30-1/32000sec (as opposed to 30-2 seconds) with the command dial when the Shutter Speed Dial is set to T and the Shutter Type to Mechanical + Electronic.

This will allow for quicker and broader changes of shutter speed without the need to change camera position or stop shooting.

Exposure compensation control in Manual

The exposure compensation dial can now be used to make adjustments in Manual mode when ISO is set to Auto.

Framing grid

Lines on the optional framing grid have been made finer for greater visibility.

Silent mode rename

Silent mode has been rebranded as “SOUND & FLASH OFF”, to better reflect which it actually does (apparently the fact that it was turning the flash off, as well as silencing the camera, was confusing people).

The new update will be available at the end of June.