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drummerboy

Please help with AFL/AEL button

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I'm no photography expert but I love my X100s and its fantastic IQ. One puzzle about the need for the AFL/AEL button. I have always focussed with a centre point by getting focus on my target then recomposing the shot whilst holding the shutter button half down. This works for me and I'm used to it. Alternatively, I can use the numerous focus points using the AF button on top of the rotary controller. The camera sets exposure when I take the shot. Am I missing the point of the AFL/AEL button. I would find it quite useful if it was programmable as a second Function button. Please tell me where I'm going wrong.

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artuk   

Different photographers like working in different ways.

many people use the "focus and recompose" technique you describe, where the focusing and exposure are set when you press and hold the shutter half way.

In some cases, the thing you want to focus on may not represent the exposure you want - or vice versa. Imagine a very brightly lit statue to one side of your photo, with a darker background. You could use the normal focus and recompose technique, but that might not give you an exposure you like - the statue might be too dark, or the background too bright. You could use exposure compensation to adjust this. Alternatively, if your camera is in "spot" meter mode, you could take a meter reading for something that you want to be "mid gray" in the photo (middle of the exposure range), exposure lock it, then recompose your picture, focus on what you want, and fire the shutter.

EV lock becomes most useful when combined with spot metering in my opinion.

AF lock may also be useful when the thing in focus is not the thing you want the exposure set for - so you lock AF (e.g. on something on one side of the picture in very different light to the rest of the picture), then recompose and half press the shutter to set exposure and take the picture.

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pcg   

Great reply. (I'd been scratching my head about how to write something so succinct, and hadn't had an inspiration. Nice. Fuji should steal your copy to add to their manuals.)

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artuk -I agree with pcg - a very clear response for which I am grateful. I see what you are saying concerning exposure but isn't the scenario in your last paragraph just the same as "focus and recompose"? I think I will carry on as normal but use the AFL/AEL button as AEL only. And - am I right in thinking that if the button is set to "switch" as against "press" it will stay on after the shot is taken or will it automatically turn off when the shutter is pressed fully and the picture taken? Anyway, I live in a flooded area of the UK - we rarely have light that is "too bright"!!

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sweeze   

"Press": press and hold to maintain whatever you are locking, Focus, Exposure, or both.

"Switch": tap the button and it will maintain whatever you are locking, Focus, Exposure, or both, UNTIL YOU SWITCH IT OFF BY DEPRESSING THE BUTTON AGAIN.

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mikescri   

Many thanks @artuk and others for this really clear and useful (for me) explanation -- it's one of the standout responses I've seen on this forum.

@christopher is there any way that you or some other moderator could flag such clear and helpful responses when they come along (which isn't all that often) so that the forum builds up a first-place-to-look area when new members subsequently ask similar questions? It would be a pity for such great replies quickly to get lost under the daily chat, or become just one of many that come up in search results.

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jcx   

Just a suggestion for an alternative modus operandi - rather than use AE-L and fiddle about with recomposing, I have found it faster to work with fully manual exposure (or auto with exposure compensation) and set the "Preview exposure in manual mode" to ON. When you can see the effect of your exposure settings through the viewfinder it serves as, what is for me, the most effective aid to setting a desired exposure when that might be different to what the camera would set under an auto exposure setting. It leaves you free to autofocus and recompose if necessary. It's a completely different approach I know, and not strictly addressing the OP's query about the point of having an AE-L function, but just thought I'd throw this out there as a discussion point/suggestion for working with exposure variation.

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artuk   

Just bear in mind that the view in the EVF is only an approximation of the actual exposure (as is the histogram), and the final exposure may vary a little (1/3-1/2EV maybe? based on the X Pro anyway)

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Another way to focus with that AFL/AEL button is this:

1. Set camera to manual focus

2. Press the AFL/AEL button and it will focus on whatever is in the rectangle (an added side benefit is it will also focus in macro mode without having to manually switch to macro mode.

3. Shoot your picture (and you can still press the shutter halfway to change the exposure but your focus stays locked).

This is incredibly handy for taking pictures of things that remain in the same spot or if you have prefocused on a spot and are waiting for something or somebody to walk into the scene.

P.S. In order to make the AFL/AEL button function as an on/off switch you have to make an adjustment in the menu: go to AE/AF-Lock Mode and select "AE&AF On/Off Switch".

Enjoy!

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sweeze   

Just bear in mind that the view in the EVF is only an approximation of the actual exposure (as is the histogram), and the final exposure may vary a little (1/3-1/2EV maybe? based on the X Pro anyway)

LCD Brightness setting can alter the perception of this a bit as well.

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artuk   

Just bear in mind that the view in the EVF is only an approximation of the actual exposure (as is the histogram), and the final exposure may vary a little (1/3-1/2EV maybe? based on the X Pro anyway)

LCD Brightness setting can alter the perception of this a bit as well.

That's very true - my X Pro once got the LCD brightness set to maximum somehow (in error) and I was totally perplexed by why all the pictures looked over-exposed until I check the histograms post capture!

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artuk   

artuk -I agree with pcg - a very clear response for which I am grateful. I see what you are saying concerning exposure but isn't the scenario in your last paragraph just the same as "focus and recompose"? !

No, if you focus and recompose, the exposure will be locked when you focus.

Using my bright statue to the edge of a picture with a dark background example, if you focus and recompose on the statue, the exposure will be based on the statue you focused on (which is bright), so when you recompose the background may be too dark (because the thing you set the exposure from was bright, so the camera reduced the exposure).

If you use AF lock to set focus on the statue, then recompose and half press the shutter, that will set the exposure based on your new composition (e.g with the bright statue at the side of the picture and the dark background in the middle). This will make the camera set the exposure based on the final composition - is this example, it will make the picture brighter, whilst still being focused on the statue to the side of the picture.

As an aside, there is a "bug" with the AF/EV lock feature, where setting it to only lock one thing also stopped you adjusting the other thing later. Fuji have now tried to fix it in the latest firmware, though I think there are still 1 or 2 peculiarities.

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artuk   
On ‎26‎/‎01‎/‎2014 at 7:30 AM, jcx said:

Just a suggestion for an alternative modus operandi - rather than use AE-L and fiddle about with recomposing, I have found it faster to work with fully manual exposure (or auto with exposure compensation) and set the "Preview exposure in manual mode" to ON. When you can see the effect of your exposure settings through the viewfinder it serves as, what is for me, the most effective aid to setting a desired exposure when that might be different to what the camera would set under an auto exposure setting. It leaves you free to autofocus and recompose if necessary. It's a completely different approach I know, and not strictly addressing the OP's query about the point of having an AE-L function, but just thought I'd throw this out there as a discussion point/suggestion for working with exposure variation.

but how are you measuring the "desired exposure"?

are you using the EVF image brightness to decide what you think looks right?  using the EVF brightness is a rather imprecise approach as the EVF doesn't always reflect the density of the file when the shutter is released - you are effectively guessing your exposure based on how bright something looks on a TV.

or are you using the metering scale at the bottom of the viewfinder? (I am assuming in manual mode, the meter scale gives a readout of the currently set exposure against the current scene, as measured by the current metering mode)?

if you are using the metering scale, what metering mode are you in?

I find exposure locking most useful with spot metering - in Minolta/Sony cameras for years, when you EV lock, the meter scale shows you the locked exposure against whatever is within the spot metering area, so you can move the spot area around the scene and see the brightness distribution against the locked exposure. this allows you to judge where the highlights and shadows are falling compared to the exposure, and if you don't like the result, you can use exposure compensation to bias (adjust) the locked exposure until you are happy with what the spot meter is showing for your highlights, mid tones and shadows.  it's an very "analogue" way of metering, but it's good discipline to get good results.

guessing the exposure from the EVF brightness (and the histogram that is driven off the EVF image, not the actual scene) is a rather imprecise way of assessing correct exposure, and very prone to error as ambient light levels etc can significantly impact how bright the EVF image looks.

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Why not switch to manual exposure and enable in screen setup, "Preview exposure/WB in manual mode". Then you can adjust the exposure to your liking regardless of where the subject is in the frame by adjusting whichever control you choose. Similarly move your focus point around the frame to the subject, thus ensuring there is no misfocus due to focus/recompose when using a wide aperture. You can still use back button focus lock for AF in M mode that way.

Vic

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artuk   
29 minutes ago, veejaycee said:

Why not switch to manual exposure and enable in screen setup, "Preview exposure/WB in manual mode". Then you can adjust the exposure to your liking regardless of where the subject is in the frame by adjusting whichever control you choose. Similarly move your focus point around the frame to the subject, thus ensuring there is no misfocus due to focus/recompose when using a wide aperture. You can still use back button focus lock for AF in M mode that way.

Vic

In manual mode, I assume the meter scale shows the current scene metered against the manual settings (it never used to)?

If so, what meter mode is the meter scale using - (I assume) it's the current meter mode?

If you are moving the controls until the meter scale shows a "correct" exposure, why not let the camera do it in one of the program modes?

Or are you suggesting to use the EVF image to gauge the "correct" exposure, based on the preview image against your manually set exposure?

 

I ask for 2 reasons:

- using the EVF image to gauge what's correct is dangerous and not good practice in my opinion, due to the issues of how different EVF images can look in different circumstances and ambient lighting etc (I'm not saying that the EVF image is "wrong", merely that the perception of how the image looks can be influenced by circumstance and external factors)

- I have come across some photographers who insist manually setting exposure is best, yet when asked, appear to simply move the dials until the meter scale reads a correct exposure.  This is an illusion of "control" as you are simply doing what the camera tells you, and may as well let it do it itself in one of the program modes, and use exposure compensation as needed (I'm not saying YOU do this, just that other people seem to, because they think it gives them control in some strange way).

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