Tethered shooting with Fujifilm X Acquire and X-T2
Recently, Fujifilm released a new software application for Windows and for Mac; FUJIFILM X Acquire. The simple application allows X-photographers to shoot tethered with either a USB cable or wireless over WIFI. In principle, it can replace tether-plugins for Lightroom. I decided to try it out with my X-T2 and this post is about my findings.
Overall, the software is very simple but works almost flawlessly. You can save some bucks on plugins, if you can accept a workflow, where you import photos into your post processing software. Currently X-T1, X-T2 and GFX support tethered shooting. Future firmware updates will add X-Pro2 and other cameras to the line.
In the post, I describe the Big Picture, the installation, how it is launched and configured, how tethered shooting works, and how ON1, Photoshop CC 2018 and Lightroom Classic CC works in combination with the X Acquire software.
The Big Picture
Once, the FUJIFILM X Acquire software is launched, the software starts to copy your shots down to a preset destination folder, provided you have set the camera up to tethered shooting. Once the (RAW and/or JPG) image files are saved, you can import them into your favorite post processing software like On1, Photoshop or Lightroom.
The FUJIFILM X Acquire software can be downloaded from Fujifilm at no charge. It is not easy to find, but appears on the Application Software page.
In stead of repeating the obvious installation steps (you download an installer for Windows), I recommend the Users Guide. The guide is remarkable short and precise.
After the installation you get an icon on the desktop. You restart your computer, and you are ready to launch the software.
After you launch the X Acquire by double clicking the icon, apparently nothing happens. The X Acquire opens a small icon on the toolbar in the same area as other service icons appear.
When you click on the icon, a menu pops up with seven items. If a camera is not connected, some of the items are greyed out. By default, Fujifilm X Acquire stores image files in a subfolder named ‘XAcquire’ in a folder named ‘FUJIFILM’ in your Documents folder. Unless you want another destination folder, you can go with this setting.
If you want to set another destination, be aware that Microsoft OneDrive is activated. If you don’t have an active account, you will meet this dialog window, you have to close again:
In the ‘Preferences(P)’ menu item, you can select whether you want to download RAW-files and / or JPG-files. At least one of the file-types must be checked.
The X-T2 can also save a copy of the RAW- and JPG-file on the SD-card. The last two checkboxes allows you to control if a local copy should be stored in the camera.
The second tab in the Preferences dialog is for setting up wireless connections. The software allows you to use wireless tethering via WIFI. I did not test it (requires an additional installation of drivers), since my experience with the Fujifilm PC Sync and the FUJIFILM Remote Camera App is rather disappointing, when it comes to speed.
The last tab ‘Linked Software’ simply enables you to launch an application, after an image is stored in the destination folder. The manual is quite sparse on this topic, but I tried to bind ‘Paint’ to JPG-files. For each image a new Paint-application was launched. I don’t think that’s the way you want to work , so I pressed the ‘Not to Link’-button, to remove the binding. Not to link???
Connecting the camera
Before you can start shooting tethered, you must set the PC connection mode to ‘USB Tether Shooting AUTO’ or ‘USB Tether shooting FIXED’. In the ‘AUTO’-mode you can shoot as normal, but when a USB cable is connected to the camera, it waits for the X Acquire software to connect and download images. In the FIXED-mode the camera always waits for the X Acquire software to connect and download images. Until the image is downloaded, the small LED on the back of the camera blinks red and green.
ASIDE: You can end up in some bizarre situations, when you turn off the camera, but the camera insists on delivering the image, before it will turn of the camera;
When the connection setting in the camera menu is set to tethered shooting, you can connect the camera to the computer via a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 cable.
When the computer recognizes the camera, the FUJIFILM X Acquire icon turns blue in the task bar, and all items are active. If you put your mouse over the XAcquire icon, it will display the camera type
Once the FUJIFILM X Acquire is running, the camera is connected and the XAquire icon has turned blue, you can start shooting tethered from the camera. It is not possible to remote control your camera from the application. If you select the ‘Show Window’ option from the XAcquire icon-menu, you can get a very minimalistic window (a bar?), showing the basic camera settings-
The ‘Window’ puts itself on top of all your normal windows. When you press the shutter and the camera records an image, a small progress bar appears and a green bar shows the download progress. When the download is finished, the image pops up in a miniature for about three seconds.
The tethering works with or without the window opened. Once you disconnects the camera, the window simple states ‘NO’
Shooting tethered with On1, Photoshop and Lightroom
In principle, the FUJIFILM X Acquire software only simplifies your import process. In stead of first shooting, connecting via USB and then import, it simply drops the image files in a folder as soon as you have captured an image. The point of this – and being constrained with a USB-cable connected to the X-T2 – is that you can verify the images immediately after capture. For this, you need a viewer, so that you can see the whole image – and sometimes pixel peep. Most post processing software packages has a viewer in their import module, and I tested my three most commonly used tools:
On1 Photo Raw 2018
In the On1 Browse module, you select the folder from the folder navigation menu to the left. Whenever a new shot is downloaded, the image(s) are automatically shown in the grid. If you select an image, and zooms in, you can go to the next picture with the ‘right’-arrow on the keyboard.
Photoshop CC 2018
When you select ‘Open’ in Photoshop, a modal file view appears. New images in the file list, while the window is open. If you want to view the images, you need to make the modal view very large and select ‘Large Images’ as viewing option. OR you can right click and select the windows image viewer. But the windows image viewer will not allow you to see new images, after it has been opened. Not optimal! Photoshop has a link to Bridge, so this may be the way to go.
Lightroom Classic CC 2018
It is fairly easy to navigate to the X Acquire destination folder in the Lightroom Import module. Once selected, the path can be accessed via the ‘Recent folders’ drop down in the top.
The Import module lets you browse the images and zoom in and pixel peep. But the grid view does not update, when you shoot tethered with the import window open. You have to click on the folder in the left side, before the grid view updates with the new additional images.
The FUJIFILM X Acquire software is very simple to install, setup and use. Once the camera is configured for tethered shooting via USB and the application is launched, it works as expected.
In addition to tethered shooting, the software also lets you download your camera settings. So if you like to alter the custom settings and camera settings, this software is an easy way to save time, in case you need to restore your camera to factory defaults, or you have different settings for different occasions.
As mentioned before, it supports WIFI. To my experience, the RAW-file transfer is unbearably slow. So before I get a camera with Bluetooth and the Fujifilm X Aquire application supports it, I dont bother fiddling with the wireless setup.
Whether you want to let it replace a tether-plugin for Lightroom is up to you. The “Fujifilm X Pro tethered”-plugin for Lightroom enables you to remote control the camera and costs about $80. The simple ($30) plugin has not a live view, so it basically saves you the click on the folder during import…