In the last few weeks I have been able to play with the new fuji, the X-Pro2 focus joystick is the feature that I am loving the most. I may not be aware of similar solution already been implemented by other brands; should this be the case I hope you will pardon my ignorance.
In any case, the X-Pro2 focus joystick is that little knob on the back of the new Fuji that allows to select where the camera will focus. Moving the point is not something new and every camera I have used in the past had its way to do it; Fuji’s innovation is in the ease of use that this X-Pro2 focus joystick brings.
Before the X-Pro2 focus joystick
Before falling in love for the X-Pro2 focus joystick, my preferred method for focussing was the old school “focus and recompose“. I focussed in the middle and then, with the focus locked, I recomposed the image. I was mainly used to this method because of its familiarity: the cameras before my Fuji did not excel for their autofocusing capabilities and the centre point was usually the one to use if you wanted faster and more precise results.
The main issue with the “focus and recompose method” is that using wide aperture lenses, the recomposing movement could result in slightly out of focus images. Imagine using a fast lens which allows just a couple of centimetres of depth of field; tilting the camera to recompose the image without being perfectly in line with the axis could make you miss that centimetre.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with that method, and as long as you practice, it works wonders.
The alternative options was to use the cameras’ focus point selection, but I have never find a solution that was user friendly as the X-Pro2 focus joystick.
The advantages of not recomposing thanks to the X-Pro2 focus joystick
The main advantage of the X-Pro2 focus joystick is that it is intuitive and very fast to use, and it overcomes the issue of the “focus and recompose” method. You see, I think that before pressing the shutter, every photographer should wait for the “decisive moment“, and this may imply your subject to move. If you have your focus locked and the decisive moment just happens with a movement, then the image will be out of focus. On the contrary, if you so not need to recompose, and you just focus and click, capturing the moment is much easier. The X-Pro2 focus joystick is just a side story of this, as it makes it easy to decide the framing before the focussing. Once you have the perfect framing, it is just a matter of waiting, or solicit, that unique moment.
The real innovation of the X-Pro2 focus joystick is the fact that Fuji took well known and used function and made it simpler, quicker!
What enhancements would I love to see on the X-Pro2 focus joystick?
I would say that the X-Pro2 focus joystick is brilliant. I don’t believe in “perfection“, so everything can be made better; Fuji Kaizen Philosophy makes me hopeful to see one small improvement in the near future: the focus point selector colour. You see, the X-Pro2 focus joystick lowers the risk of missing a shoot due to recomposition; however, under bright condition, the white square with which you select the focussing point may become invisible. Especially when shooting backlit, the indicator is invisible if it falls in one of the bright areas of your frame.
I would love to see the X-Pro2 focus joystick to indicate the selected point in a colour different from white. If you want to avoid the green and red (they indicate the focus lock or unlock) a nice bright blue would avoid having to hunt for the selected point.