Today’s shot provides a great excuse to talk about two of my favorite updates to the X100F: the joystick and the autofocus. I raved about these two features a lot during my 30 Days with the X-T2 series, and I couldn’t be happier that they’ve (mostly) arrived to the X100F as well. I can honestly say that the joystick and improved autofocus have changed the way I shoot on the streets.
After seeing this scene develop while walking behind this man, my workflow for taking the image looked like this: frame the composition, use the joystick to move the autofocus box to the bottom right “rule of thirds” zone where I knew the man would walk into, take the shot when the man walked into the autofocus box. Easy. Without the joystick, I wouldn’t have been able to move the autofocus box quickly enough. And without the improved autofocus speed, the camera would have hunted for too long that it wouldn’t have taken the image at the exact right time and the composition would have been ruined.
When I used my X100S for images like this, I wouldn’t even try to use autofocus. I would stick to manual focus and try to pre-focus on what I thought was the right distance (usually using a back-button zone focusing type of technique). That’s a decent way to work, but I definitely missed a few shots that way because the focus was a little too far off. I use that technique a lot when shooting film on my Leica, but it’s much easier on film because you have more room for error when it comes to focus.
This new approach of using the joystick and autofocus is something I picked up when shooting with the X-T2, and it’s an absolute winner with that camera. The autofocus on the X-T2 is absurdly fast, especially with the newer lenses. With the X100F, the speed of the autofocus isn’t great…but it is good. I doubt I’ll ever miss a shot due to autofocus issues with the X-T2, and while I probably will with the X100F I’m sure it’ll be a rare occurrence. Overall it’s a really welcome upgrade, and it’s made shooting on the streets a much more enjoyable experience.