EXR Mode On The Fuji X10

As my daughter and I were finishing up her spelling review this evening, we both noticed that the sunset was giving off this reddish/pink color.  She looked outside and said to me, “Daddy, look, the sky is beautiful tonight.”

It certainly was beautiful and i told her that i would take a picture of the nicely colored sky for her.  Therefore, i grabbed my X10, turned the left hand dial to “EXR” and took some quick photos.

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I did increase the color a tad, as well as increased the contrast a bit in order for that color to come out more.  Other then that, this is what came out of the camera.

What is EXR mode?:

That is a good question.  Essentially, it is an automatic scene mode.  I have yet to find what EXR stands for, but perhaps it does not really matter.  What matters is what it does for you.

If you are an X20 owner, you unfortunately do not have this feature built into your camera, which is a shame.  I am not sure why Fuji opted to go a different route with the X20, but they instead incorporated a feature called SR+ (Scene Recognition mode) into the camera.

I have read that the SR+ mode is more or less on par with the EXR mode in regards to it’s “raison d’etre“, but it does take some getting used to if you have been an EXR user for any length of time.

In regards to the finished product, your photo, it does seem that the X10 with it’s EXR mode comes out on top.  Though, it is not a landslide win.

The process:

The whole EXR process starts with the EXR CMOS sensor in the the Fuji X10.  The sensor is a 12mp, 2/3″ CMOS sensor.  From the sensor, the information about the “scene” is sent to the EXR processor in the camera.

The processor has two CPUs to work with and the processor is re-configurable, which means the circuits are re-writable in order to dynamically adapt to perform complex processing tasks and corrections.

With the information from the sensor, the processor can then decide how to best process the information to produce a final image.

The EXR mode can instantly recognize if there is motion in the scene.  Further, it has the ability to recognize 54 different types of “scenes”.  Everything in this process is automatically worked out: white balance all the way to exposure.

In order for the processor to get the exposure just right, it will first decide on one of three base lines: High Resolution for well lit scenes, High Sensitivity/Low Noise for low light and Dynamic Range mode for high-contrast scenes.

Once it has decided on a final “overall” exposure, it will then go on to pick one of 99 patterns to finalize the photo.

Of course, the whole process that i described above, has far more twists & turns and would take pages upon pages to explain fully.  Let’s just say that the EXR mode is a sweet piece of Fuji technology.

Why bother talking about EXR, an “automatic” mode?:

I won’t lie to myself, the X10 is a point and shoot camera, though a very advanced one.  Therefore, it is understandable that it will have all sorts of “auto” features built in, like EXR.

Of course, you don’t have to use these “auto” features if you don’t want.  You can use an X10 just like you would use an X-Pro1 and this is how i use my X10 most of the times.

However, what i don’t understand, is why some “photographers” are so against “auto” features?

I have heard it many times before, “If you are going to use scene modes or auto mode on your DSLR, why don’t you just buy a P&S?”

Or, “A camera with scene modes is not a ‘pro’ camera.”

I am thinking that some of these people don’t have a clue about all the “automatic” things that are happening inside their camera once they take a photo.  Oh well.

You will probably not see a professional use a “scene” mode on their camera.  This is because they most likely want their photos to have a certain “flavor” to them, a personal “flavor”.  Besides, most pros will be shooting in RAW anyhow; therefore, there would be no use for a “scene” mode.

Personally, i would discourage anyone who wants to advance in photography, to just simply use “scene” modes for every photo you take.  You just won’t learn anything.

But let’s not get all snobby about it.  The perception of some people, is that you are really not performing “photography” when you use auto functions.  Rather, they see the person as just pushing a button and that’s it.

Yet, some of these same people are the ones who spend hours manipulating a photo in Photoshop.  From my experience, some of the Photoshop “jobs” i have seen, are far worse then any photo taken on a cameras auto mode.

I have always said that the most important thing in photography, is what you produce with the camera and it does not matter with what camera.  The final result, the photo, is THE most important aspect.

In addition, depending on what camera you have, you may have spent quite a bit of money on it.  Therefore, why not use it to it’s maximum potential?  Use every feature it has, explore it, learn it, be one with it.

By no means am i advocating using a camera in auto mode at all times.  If you are serious about photography, this would be the wrong avenue to take.  You need to learn about all the aspects that make up a proper exposure.

On the other hand, i am advocating that photography should be fun and you have to get out of your comfort zone at times and try different things.

If you do own a camera with “scene” modes or an Auto mode like EXR, give it a go.  Get out there, have some fun shooting, while not having to think to much of the settings.  I guarantee you that no one will know that you did so, unless you tell them of course.

The photos in this blog are dedicated to my daughter 🙂

Happy shooting!

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