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This question comes from one of our new readers, Dave, but is an echo of several other Fujifilm users who struggled with the same thing – how do you change the aperture on Fujifilm X cameras? How do you use the aperture ring? How do you switch between manual and automatic aperture?
Fujifilm camera manuals, while still better than some other camera manufacturers, don’t do a great job of answering these questions. It’s like a puzzle where you need to find all the pieces in the manual and assemble them. So I’ll try to do that all in one place here.
And part of the problem stems from the fact that there is more than one way to change the aperture in Fujifilm X cameras. And different cameras and lenses handle these differently.
This article will only address Fujinon X-mount lenses. If you have a third-party lens, you’ll simply be adjusting the aperture on the lens barrel.
Which exposure mode are you in?
You can only directly change the aperture in Fujifilm X cameras in two exposure modes: Manual and Aperture Priority.
If you see “M” (Manual) or “A” (Aperture Priority) in the lower left of the display, you’ll want to continue reading to know all the ways you can change your aperture in Fujifilm X cameras.
But if you see anything else – AUTO, P, S, a mountain or portrait icon, etc – you cannot directly control the aperture. The camera is in control, choosing the aperture for you.
There’s a little cheater way to know if you can change the aperture or not, or if the camera is in control. If you see the f-number in blue, you can control it. If it’s white, the camera is in control of the aperture.
This means that on the X-S10, you’ll need to rotate the Mode Dial to either M or A to be able to control the aperture. On cameras like the X-E3 and X-T30, you’ll want to make sure that Mode Selector Lever is out of the “AUTO” position. But on most cameras, all it takes is to move the aperture out of the Auto aperture mode (which we’ll get to next).
If this all sounds like gibberish so far, I’d recommend familiarizing yourself with your camera a little more so that you can operate it more efficiently.
Changing the aperture with the camera
I want to start off by describing how you can change the aperture using the camera body controls since that’s a feature that all Fujifilm X cameras with Fujinon lenses have.
Aperture control settings
Let’s talk settings first. Different settings are found in different Fujifilm cameras; you can find all of these in the Setup menu under Button/Dial Settings (if your camera has them).
COMMAND DIAL SETTING
This is a setting that controls the function of the command dials. Different options are available depending on which generation camera you have.
- In older cameras like the X-T2, X-E3, etc., you only have an option to swap the front/rear command dials to control the aperture or shutter speed.
- In newer cameras you can actually assign several functions to the front command dial, aperture being one of them (“F”). You push the front command dial in to cycle between the available functions; your selected function will be highlighted in the display. Or you can assign the aperture to the rear command dial.
How do you control the aperture on lenses that don’t have an aperture ring? That’s what you’ll set here, and there are a few options. This menu will be grayed out if you have a lens with an aperture ring installed on the camera.
- AUTO + MANUAL: Rotate the command dial to change the aperture, including selection of Auto aperture.
- AUTO: The camera will choose the aperture; the command dial will do nothing. You will not be able to select Manual or Aperture Priority exposure modes.
- MANUAL: Rotate the command dial to change the aperture. You will not be able to set an Auto aperture; the camera will always be in either Manual or Aperture Priority exposure modes.
I just recommend setting the first option (AUTO + MANUAL) for maximum flexibility.
APERTURE RING SETTING (A)
What happens when the lens aperture ring is set to “A” (on lenses that have an aperture ring)? That’s what this menu controls.
- AUTO: Like it sounds, the camera is in control of the aperture when the aperture control on the lens is set to the “A” position. You cannot use the command dial.
- COMMAND: When the aperture control on the lens is set to “A”, now you can use the command dial to set the aperture (instead of the lens aperture ring), including setting Auto aperture.
Using the command dial
Some people would prefer to use the command dial to change the aperture instead of the aperture ring on the lens.
If your lens does not have an aperture control ring, just look at the bottom of the display for the little “half-moon” icon next to the f-number. This will tell you if you use the front or the rear command dial to change the aperture.
If your lens does have an aperture control ring, set it to “A”. Look at the bottom of the display for the “half-moon” icon to know which command dial to use. If your Button/Dial Setting menu has the “APERTURE RING SETTING (A)” option, you’ll want to set this to COMMAND first.
When you have “F” set to one of the three functions for the front command dial, just push the front command dial until you see “F” highlighted in the display. Then rotate the command dial to change the aperture. You’ll verify this by looking for the “half-moon” icon next to the f-number at the bottom of the display.
Note about GF series lenses
I know this post is about X-series cameras, but I wanted to add a quick note about the medium format GF lenses. These lenses also have a “C” position on the lens aperture ring. This stands for “command dial.” Set this position to use the command dial for changing the aperture.
Changing the aperture with the lens
The “traditional” method of changing the aperture is via a ring on the lens barrel, and nearly all Fujifilm lenses maintain that tradition. These are the lenses with “R” in the name.
There are some, however, that don’t have aperture rings. These include the XC lenses, like the XC15-45mm and the XC16-50. To change the aperture using these lenses, you’ll need to use the camera body controls as described in the previous section.
Lenses with aperture markings
If the aperture control ring has numbers and an “A” inscribed on the barrel, just move it to the f-number you want. These numbers are in whole stops.
Lenses without aperture markings
If the aperture control ring is unmarked, you’ll see a switch with an “A” and aperture icon. Make sure it’s set to the aperture icon (not “A”) to utilize the aperture ring. Then move the ring to select the f-number you want. You’ll see which aperture is selected in the camera display.
Taking control of your aperture
There are definitely reasons for taking control of your aperture. To let in more or less light, or to change your depth of field.
In order to do all of this quickly and efficiently, you’ll need to know when you can and cannot change the aperture on your Fujifilm X camera, and how. I hope this article clears that up!
To learn more about your specific camera, or check out courses about exposure and using Fujifilm cameras, take a look at my Fujifilm X Course Membership.
Did I cover it all? Any questions or comments about these methods? Let me know below!
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Thursday 24th of November 2022
controlling the apeture via the command dial is not working on an xe3. No aperture setting (a) available. lens is 18-55 f2.8-4
Friday 25th of November 2022
Not all cameras have all of these menu options. Try setting Aperture Setting to Auto+Manual and then set the lens aperture switch to A. If that doesn't work, you'll just need to use the aperture ring to change the aperture. I don't recall if Fujifilm added this functionality before or after this gear was released.
Monday 2nd of May 2022
Useful article John ! It's a simple task, but it's not always easy to navigate all the options when there are so many variables.
Thursday 5th of May 2022
There are ways to make it easy :)