Fuji XF1 Low Light Autofocus

Discussion in 'Fuji' started by Biro, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I have to kick myself because it's my own fault and I should have known this would happen (blame it on a couple of glasses of Glenfiddich). I was out with some friends at dinner last Saturday night. I had my Fuji XF1 with me - currently my preferred pocketable camera. But it had been a while since I used it in very low light. Know also that the people I was with are notoriously impatient when it comes to having their pictures taken. No waiting for manual focus or a second try with different settings. So I had the XF1 in EXR mode. And nearly every shot came out with motion blur (because the shutter speed was too low) or out of focus (because the camera's autofocus struggled in low light). Of course, I should have used shutter priority and let the ISO go to 1600 or 3200 and dealt with either the grain or underexposure in post. For the record, I didn't want to use flash. I also have to wonder if the autofocus would have done better without the focus-assist light (as the Sony RX100 III reportedly does).

    So I have to ask... are any there any current or former XF1 users who have any thoughts on how they use the camera in such low-light situations (and with such impatient people)? I wonder if any other truly pocketable (as in the pocket of a blazer or shirt) cameras do much better in low light. Reviews of the RX100 III indicate image quality is very good in low light... but that autofocus speed and accuracy isn't so fabulous in the same situation. And I'm not sure the Ricoh GR was the camera for this situation. I have enough cameras overall. But this is one specific use for which I may consider trading the XF1 for something better. I'm not expecting DSLR performance, mind you. But something that's reasonably reliable in terms of autofocus speed and accuracy in low light.
  2. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    I bought one for my wife but she is not using it. I have a broken RX100 and didn't have any low light af problems unless M3 change that w the new lens. Online reviews are confusing eg some come from dslr side and gave bad reviews. I wonder about that when I read some of the reviews eg a6000, GR, Nikon A, etc. All I can say I stayed with the gm1, since when I tried with a prime in a dark bedroom and it focused though it took some time to find the contrast... I think Panasonic m43 cameras are great in low light and I know RX1 af is slow but focused pretty much at night at beach. RX100 was similar. The issue with RX100 was hand holding in low shutter speeds. You can check my street shots from Istanbul with RX100, no problems except the min 1/30 sec shutter speeds (I don't use focus-assist lights):
    • Like Like x 1
  3. carlb

    carlb All-Pro

    Feb 6, 2013
    I had the X-S1 (same sensor if I'm not mistaken), and it had the same issues. I think you're spot-on with what you want to try for settings though, keep the shutter speed up. So give those a try with any in-house test subjects available to see what can be done. And let us know how you do.

    I want to work-up a "late-night" configuration of settings for the Stylus 1, so I'll be trying to boost the ISO and limit the shutter for that as well.

    One "of course" finding to relay: The E-M1 with Nocticron at f0.95 has little problem with test subjects in low-light. Uhm, well we'd sure hope so with that much glass and that camera. :rolleyes:
    • Like Like x 1
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    The Nikon Coolpix A is a good price right now ($399). Small with a big sensor but a single FL. The talk is that the AF is not better than average speedwise but is sure to lock on in low light. I have an XF1, but I tend to grab the E-PM2 with the 17 or 14 for nighttime shooting.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    If you put the LX100 on the "spot" (crosshairs) autofocus setting, it does pretty well. I just tried it, focusing on some books in a darkened corner of a bookcase, and it locked on in less than a second.

    In addition, the manual focus function on the LX100 is very quick, very intuitive. Slide the switch on the lens barrel to MR, rotate the ring on the lens barrel until the "sparklies" appear on the thing you want in focus, and you're done! It's about 3/4 of a turn of the focus ring from infinity to full macro.

    Cheers, Jock
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I'm going to try playing with the settings first. It seems to me that ISO 1600 is about as high as one would want to go with the XF1. 3200 is pretty ugly. I'm wondering if an original Sony RX100 (Mark 1) might be a reasonable solution - if only because ISO 3200 might be as useable as 1600 on the XF1, thus allowing faster shutter speeds.