My easy Fujifilm X-T3 setup for vintage lenses

As you know I bought a Fuji X-T3 mostly to shoot with vintage lenses. For me most cameras have too many functions that I do not need. I also dislike using menus or touchscreens. That is why I like Fuji because you can see all the relevant settings by just looking at the camera. So I went and checked every function to see if I would need it and mentally crossed out every item that I would not use later. This method simplifies any gadget not just cameras.

I am not a technophobe at all (I do work in IT after all) but with photography I want to enjoy a more hands on approach. Almost like shooting film but with digital’s advantages. I favor a slow and methodical shooting style and use jpegs only because I do not want to spend more time editing than shooting. This is reflected in my setup. I suggest keeping the manual handy and let’s go. This setup is valid for any vintage or fully manual lens. It might look like a lot but with this setup I only need the menu for the mount adaptor setting and the Q-Menu for the film recipe.

Fujifilm X-T3 setup for vintage or manual lenses

Buttons and Dials
  • the shutter button controls the shutter with a half-press locking in the exposure
  • D-PAD up: histogram (I rarely use it though)
  • D-PAD down: digital level
  • D-PAD left: AUTO ISO settings (more on that later)
  • D-PAD right: white balance (I’d put this one in the Q-Menu but you can’t shift the white balance from there)
  • Q-Button: Q-Menu (standard)
  • AE-L and AF-L: standard functions (AF lock is useless for vintage glass but I do use autofocus lenses sometimes, AE lock comes in handy)
  • Focus Joystick: when I use an autofocus lens I use this in combination with the rear dial to change focus mode and focus area/point, otherwise you can use it for menu navigation, I ignore it)
  • top FN button: boost mode, for whenever I do use autofocus and want to capture my kid, I could have left the button empty though
  • front FN button: drive mode settings
  • rear dial: focus zoom, menu selection (standard)
  • front dial: exposure compensation when I wear gloves (set the exp. comp. dial to “C”)
  • all marked dials are used the way they are intended to

I love the Q-Menu. I use it to setup my film simulations. I made myself a small spreadsheet on my phone with many film recipes from this wonderful website. Therefore my settings look like this:

Film SimulationHighlightsShadowsColor
Dynamic RangeSharpnessNoise ReductionGrain
Color Chrome EffectB/W ToningImage Size*Image Quality**
Self TimerShutter TypeLCD BrightnessMF Assist
* This controls the aspect ratio like 3:2 or 16:9 or 1:1 (please I wish they would add more ratios or just custom ones)
** I use this to get smaller file sizes for ebay images or quick uploads

You can see the first three rows are used to setup the film recipes and the last one has some general functions.

The My Menu

I so much hate the My Menu. If you open up the main menu you can add another item with your most used settings. But when you do so, every time you press the menu button it will open the My Menu. I only ever use it for the “mount adaptor setting” to set the focal length of my manual lens. Because some idiot valuable employee at Fuji decided that this setting can neither go on the FN-buttons nor the Q-Menu. I hate it.

Important Menu Settings

I won’t go through all menu items just the ones I changed or deliberately kept.

Image Quality
  • Long Exposure NR = OFF because I rarely do long exposures, set it to ON if you do
  • Lens Modulation Optimizer = ON for when I use Fuji lenses because I don’t do post-processing and this does some lens corrections. It does nothing for manual lenses
  • Color Space = RGB don’t change it unless you know why
AF/MF Setting
  • AF Mode = ALL this let’s you use the joystick and rear dial to change into every AF mode without diving into menus, of course does nothing for manual lenses
  • AF-C Custom Settings = preset #2 for when I do tracking with my kid, does nothing for manual lenses
  • Face/Eye Detection = AUTO for the same reason as above, again nothing for manual lenses
  • MF Assist = Focus Peak Highlight Red (Low) this gives all edges that are in focus a red glow in the viewfinder. Setting it to low makes it less distracting. I tried all the other assists but this one and a simple zoom are the ones I like most. These assists together with the big viewfinder made me buy the bigger X-T3 instead of a more compact camera. Seriously this is much better for manual focus than an old (D)SLR camera.
  • Focus Check = OFF does not work with manual lenses anyway
  • Interlock Spot AE & Focus Area = ON again for when I shoot my kid so the face is in focus and measured for exposure
  • Release Focus Priority = Both on Focus, this does nothing for manual lenses but I keep it on focus so the camera only takes a shot when it thinks it has focus with autofocus lenses
  • Touchscreen Mode = OFF(!)
Shooting Settings
  • Shutter Type = EF+M+E so electronic first curtain for low shutter speeds against shutter shock, mechanical for everything else and electronic for high shutter speeds. I have this on my Q-Menu as well for when I want to switch to silent electronic mode indoors for example
  • ISO Auto Settings = I use three modes all with min. ISO at 160 and maximum at 12800. One has auto shutter speed, the other has 1/250s for moving subjects and the third is 1/60s for low light shooting
  • Mount Adaptor Setting = enter the true focal length of your manual lens. This is used for the shutter speed calculations (when on Auto) and EXIF data. I use the EXIF data to sort the pictures and manually add the lens name to it via exiftool*
Flash and Movie Mode
  • I don’t do movies nor flash photography so I guess you need to google this yourself ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • all sounds disabled
  • EVF/LCD brightness, color,adjustment all neutral at zero
  • Image Display = 0.5sec yes I chimp sue me, I like it
  • Preview EXP/WB in manual mode = both on I shoot JPEG only I want to see what I get
  • Natural Live View = OFF see above why
  • Framing Guideline = GRID 9 is what I like
  • Display Custom Settings = I like less distraction so I “only” have the framing guides, the electronic level, the focus frame, aperture/speed/iso/exp. comp and drive mode/boost mode/remaining frames/battery
  • focus lever = press to unlock, I don’t want to change settings by accidentally hitting the little knob
  • Function Setting = see right at the top for button settings, I disabled all swipe gestures
  • Shoot without lens = ON
  • Touch Screen = ON but everything else off so I can use the Q-Menu via touch or D-PAD

There you have it. Once I set my film recipe for the day (mostly at home before I leave) I can go on shooting without touching a menu or any kind of post-processing software.

*an example for linux
exiftool -lensinfo=”28mm f/?” -lensmake=”Fujifilm” -lensmodel=”FUJINON EBC 28mm/F3.5″ -lensid=”FUJINON EBC 28mm/F3.5″ -overwrite_original *.jpg