In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to use the focus peaking on the Fuji X-E1 camera. We will also cover additional useful focus assist features on the E-X1. Most of these techniques can be applied to the newer iterations of the E-X series, too. Read on and become the champ of manual focus on the X-E1.
Why Shoot Your Fuji X-E1 in Manual?
Believe it or not, there was a time when all lenses were manual. Vintage lenses tend to have a distinct character, which gives a unique look and feel to the image. They enable a more personal style, as few photographers use the same combination of gear and technique. There can even be variances between different units of the same lens.
By taking a step back in time, we also get a chance to challenge ourselves and get more involved in the process of taking a photo. Additionally, it’s a hugely rewarding feeling to capture a fantastic photograph in full manual. Although the X-E1 is a ‘mature’ model these days, it’s more than capable of delivering just that.
Why Use Focus Peaking in the First Place?
Focus peaking is helpful when trying to dial in pin-sharp focus in manual focus. When shooting manual lenses, focus peaking is pretty much the only help available and can significantly increase the number of keepers.
Although autofocus generally does a better job at tracking moving subjects and quickly attaining focus, it’s useful to master the art of MF. With some practice, it’s even possible to keep up even with certain moving subjects, too. Knowing how to use focus peaking on the Fuji X-E1 is crucial when shooting the camera in MF.
Fuji X-E1 Focus Peaking in Detail
The focus peaking feature on the X-E1, or ‘sexy 1’ as they call it in Japan, is plain and simple yet functional. There are no bells, whistles, nor colors to choose from. The standard ‘white’ option is all we get, but the simplicity is admirable in its own right. The lack of a gazillion options makes it easy to stick with one. Fewer distractions mean a more pure photographic experience. This is especially so when using it as a budget travel camera.
Standard vs. Focus Peak Highlight
On the X-E1 from Fujifilm, we only get two main focus peaking modes. The standard MF assist does little to nothing and can be quite tricky to use effectively. While you can try it out if you wish to test your eyesight (and your patience), the second and last option, Focus Peak, is where it’s at. That’s going to be the one we concentrate on.
Low vs. High – Which One to Use?
The peak option has two modes: a low and a high. While the high method intuitively might sound like the better choice, it’s worth trying out both to find what works best for your shooting style.
The high peaking mode is more aggressive and prominent. It produces very noticeable peaking highlights, but it can be hard to tell which areas of the frame are the sharpest.
The low mode is more subtle and a tad more precise. It produces mellower highlights and does so more sparingly than on high. While it can be harder to detect the highlights on the screen, it’s easier to dial in the focal sweet spot in low.
How Does The Fuji X-E1 Focus Peaking Work in the EVF?
The EVF provides sufficient visual information in terms of focus assist. It also feels more up-close and personal. In the end, whether you use the screen or the viewfinder is a matter of preference. By setting the view mode to ‘eye sensor,’ the X-E1 will automatically switch to EVF once you place the camera near your face.
Using Magnification for Focus Assist on the Fuji X-E1
Magnification is another invaluable feature for manual shooting. The X-E1 camera offers two steps of digital zoom as a manual focus aid.
First, press the command dial to activate magnification.
Next, turn the said dial to the right for extra magnification and turn it left again for standard. Experiment with both, as the results can vary wildly based on focal length and subject type.
Please be aware that since the X-E1 is more like a classic car and not like a modern track-specced vehicle, the magnification feature can be hesitant while the camera is writing to the card. Use the opportunity to practice patience. Great things take time.
There is a certain appeal to eliminating helping wheels like automation and being the one in control of the entire photographic process. It’s more involving, challenging, and ultimately rewarding. By now, you should be intimately familiar with how to use focus peaking on the Fuji X-E1 camera. It’s a handy skill that will surely help you nail more dope shots with your X-E1 paired with your favorite manual lens.