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Learning to Accept Fujifilm’s New Custom Setting Structure

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I was absolutely infuriated with Fujifilm’s new Custom Setting structure when I first used the X-E4. I should have known this was coming since the X-S10 had similar changes. And there was a glaring bug in the firmware that kept it from working properly, so there’s also that (it’s since been fixed).

But this is where things are headed, and now that I’m using the X-T30 II as a secondary body, it’s time to accept it.

This is how I’m transitioning to Fujifilm’s new Custom Settings system in the X-T30 II after years of using the completely different old system.

I do have a walkthrough of setting up all of these options, along with the rest of the X-T30 II settings, in my Fujifilm X-T30 II Tutorial course.

Who is this article for?

When I published my first aggressive article & video about the new X-E4 Custom Settings, comments flooded in with “it’s about time they’re doing this!” “Other camera brands do it this way, Fujifilm finally got on board!” “What’s wrong with you for not liking this?” You people are just fine then, no need to keep reading. This is what you’re used to and transitioned right into it without any problem.

But an even greater number of comments were along the lines of, “this is an absolute disaster for the way I shoot and how I’ve been using Custom Settings for ten years!”

Custom Settings in Fujifilm cameras have always been a way of styling our photos. Not quickly recalling focus settings and whatnot. It was different from other camera brands for a reason. All those other camera function settings are irrelevant and independent of our styling. This new system isn’t an “upgrade” or “addition,” it’s completely different functionality for a completely different purpose.


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This article is for the latter group trying to wrap their heads around how to still make use of Fujifilm’s new Custom Settings.

Real-world frustration scenario

So I took the X-T30 II to Peru with me as a secondary body; I had to retire my X-E3. The lack of the rear command dial and focus mode switch on the X-E4 was an absolute no-go for the way I shoot. The X-T30 II was the next choice for a secondary body to match my X-T4 innards.

I knew I’d have some problems in the beginning with the new Custom Setting setup in an assignment environment. But at least I was prepared to look out for this.

So here are just a few examples of some problems I had the first couple of days. I did eventually minimize these things being a problem and I explain that later.

MF ASSIST

I had a wide MF-only lens on my X-T30 II while shooting indoors in a tight environment. It was easiest for me to use Red Focus Peak Highlight to quickly focus so I set that after turning on the camera. I’d turn the camera off and go back to my X-T4 for closeups. Then pick up the X-T30 II again for another wide shot and it’d be reset to Standard MF Assist. I’d long-press the Rear Command Dial to get back to Focus Peak, but the color was White, which is useless. So I’d have to go back into the AF/MF menu and set it back to Red. This was a few minutes of WTF-style panic. Where’s my red? Ah, that’s part of the programming now.

FOCUS MODES

I was then at the beach shooting some surfing lessons and had my telephoto lens on my X-T30 II. The X-T30 II AF-C Tracking works pretty well; I set this while tracking students catching some waves. I’d go back to my X-T4 for some beach photos. Then see a student about to get up on the board, flip on my X-T30 II to start tracking them, but the Focus Area would be reset to Single Point, not Tracking, and I’d miss the focus – and the ride.

surfing
There’s no time to fumble around with focus settings that have reset themselves when quick reflexes are necessary.

These are just two things that happened to me in the first two days and is a great example of why I tell people to never bring a new camera on an important trip 🙂

Using the Auto Update Custom Setting

Fujifilm’s new Custom Settings has an Auto Update Custom Setting feature. I was hesitant to use this for one reason.

I worked hard to come up with my “film recipes” and didn’t want to chance losing those as I made small contrast & color adjustments for current lighting, color schemes, etc.

If Auto Update Custom Setting is Enabled, any changes you make will be preserved when you turn the camera off and back on, or go to a different Custom Setting and come back.

Sounds great, but won’t that overwrite your original custom setting? What happens when you want to go back to the image styling as it was originally programmed?

Well, you can’t. There’s no quick way to go back to the original settings if Auto Update Custom Setting is enabled.

fujifilm new custom settings
When Auto Update Custom Setting is Enabled, there is no quick way in the camera to reset the original settings since any changes are permanent.

I’m a nerd and have always had a spreadsheet in the cloud with my Custom Setting programming. I’m just going to have to go to that sheet if I do make any changes.

But maintaining any changes to the focus & shooting settings is far more important to me when I’m on a shoot and cycle the camera power. Those “surprises” of being in a different autofocus mode than what I was expecting are just too costly.

Enabling this feature really helped minimize the frustrations in those scenarios I mentioned earlier, even if it does cause me to lose my original settings.

If you don’t have this feature enabled, any changes you make will have red dots next to them. You can go into the Edit/Save Custom Setting menu and choose to save those changes or reset back to the original settings. Those changes will be automatically reset when you cycle the camera power if you do neither of those things.

fujifilm disable auto update
When Auto Update is Disabled, any changes made will have red dots next to them.
Fujifilm reset the changes
Changes can be reset in the camera or by cycling camera power when Auto Update is Disabled.

How to set up the Shooting & AF/MF Menus

If your image styling isn’t tied to a specific focus mode, shutter type, and so on, then how do you program those things since you must program those things?

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I looked at my various image styles – the seven custom settings I have across all of my X-series cameras – and asked myself when I most likely use them.

My “Portrait” style that uses Pro Neg Hi, as you might guess, was designed for outdoor environmental portraits. So I set my focus & shooting settings as I would usually want them for outdoor environmental portraits.

I don’t always use it for outdoor environmental portraits though; it was my default styling for my entire Peru trip and I was photographing a range of subjects that require different focus & shooting settings. This is where Auto Update Custom Setting helped me use the camera as I had always been used to with Fujifilm.

My “Landscape” style that uses Velvia, go figure, was designed for landscapes. I programmed my focus & shooting settings as I have them for most landscapes.

But again, on this trip, there are some marvelous dusk opportunities in this town where this image style works great but the rest of the camera settings do not.

Help with My Menu

My Menu can be a big help here. Be sure that you’ve set up My Menu so that you can quickly access these focus & shooting settings from one menu page rather than hunting around for them.

You can read how to set up My Menu here.

Fujifilm my menu
Using My Menu to quickly access commonly-changed settings

Nothing Selected

If all of this is just too much, you always have the option of choosing “Nothing” for the Custom Setting. Any changes you make in any of the menus will just always be there until you directly change them again. No surprises when you cycle camera power.

My wish

If anyone from Fujifilm is reading, my wish would be for us to choose whether or not certain settings are included in a Custom Setting. Like if I don’t want a Shutter Type programmed to a custom setting at all, let me choose not to include it.

I know this will take a good amount of coding to get done but it’s not impossible. That’s my wish 🙂

How else are all of you old curmudgeons dealing with it?

Shawn

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

I’m just getting started with custom settings. I was unaware of the auto save feature. I was wondering why my settings would always update. What’s the point of saving a custom if it just always going to save each tweak. Anyways this article was timely and informative. Thanks !

John Peltier

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Yeah, it's kind of annoying, but I guess some people want the flexibility to make those kinds of edits...permanent.