My X100F Setup for Street Photography

As I write this I have owned a Fujifilm X100F camera for just over 9 months. It is my first mirrorless camera and it was 6 months before I found a setup I was happy with. I am now so happy with it I thought it worth sharing because it is a very different arrangement to anything I found online while researching.

I have listed the physical settings on the camera itself and all required changes to the default software settings at the end of this post. However you won’t know if this is likely to work for you unless I first explain how it allows me to work on the street.

As a rule I use zone focusing to allow immediate reaction to a scene and this obviously means aperture priority exposure. However I still need a minimum shutter speed to avoid motion blur so this means auto ISO as well.

I put the focus mode to manual and set focus on a point 3 metres (10’) away. Using an aperture of f8.0 on the X100’s 35mm equivalent lens results in everything from 1.5 metres to infinity being acceptably sharp. If an opportunity presents itself I can take the shot before it disappears and then refine my settings if time allows and take further shots.

If I need to refine exposure I can rotate the front command dial to quickly adjust the camera’s choice for auto exposure. I can turn it counterclockwise to reduce exposure and block out the shadows while maintaining detail in the highlights or move it clockwise to ensure adequate detail in a scene with heavy shadows. I find the X100F’s live display does a very good job of replicating the actual exposure of a jpeg (with the RAW file obviously offering even greater exposure latitude).

To change shutter speed the Fn1 function button on the top plate allows me to quickly select one of three auto ISO settings. I use 1/500th, 1/160th or 1/80th as the minimum shutter speed with a max ISO of 12,800 in all cases. Adjust this to your own taste.

When I need to focus on a specific point I generally use the AEL/AFL button for back button focus and by using MF assist I can also quickly pull focus manually and have red highlighted pixels show me how my zone of focus has shifted.

Depth of field is controlled by rotating the physical aperture ring on the lens - as God intended ;-)

If I need to switch from single exposure mode and shoot at say 4 frames per second to make sure I capture my subject at just the right moment, the drive button on the selector ring on the rear of the body is where I get this done.

Other controls assigned to the selector ring are focus check, AF mode and face/eye detection (the last two require switching the focus mode to S)

All this can be achieved without taking my eye from the viewfinder because the relevant buttons are easily found by touch and the changes are displayed in the viewfinder. Speed is everything in street photography and this is a fast, almost frictionless, set up for me.

I hope this works for you or at least gets you closer to a setup that does. Here are the changes to the defaults.

Settings on the Camera Body

Shutter speed/ISO dial
A for both shutter speed and ISO
Exposure compensation dial
C
Focus mode selector
M or S as required
Aperture ring
Set to desired aperture - not A
View mode
Viewfinder only + eye sensor
Viewfinder
Electronic [1]

Changes to the Default Setup Menu

Image Quality
Image size and quality
RAW
Film simulation
Classic Chrome or ACROS [2]
Colour space
Adobe RGB
AF/MF
Focus frame area
Largest
AF point display
Off
AF illuminator
Off
AF+MF
On
MF assist
Peak
Depth of field scale
Pixel
Shooting
Shutter type
M+E
Set Up
Set Up > Sound Set-Up
AF beep volume
Off
Shutter volume
Off
Set Up > Button/Dial Setting
Focus lever setting
Off
Set Up > Button/Dial Setting > Function (Fn) Setting
Fn1
ISO auto setting
Fn2
ND filter
Fn3
Focus check
Fn4
AF Mode
Fn5
Face/Eye detection settings
AEL/AFL
AF lock only
R-Dial
Film simulation
Set Up > Power Management
Auto power off
5 min
Performance
High performance

  1. I will on occasion, pull the viewfinder lever to switch to the optical viewfinder to use the close up focus preview feature.  ↩

  2. This is just a personal preference. Because I’m shooting RAW this only effects the look of the image in the viewfinder and on LCD screen. I like the muted colour of CC but sometimes seeing in monochrome works for me too.  ↩