Return to tethered shooting

Now that my new “digital darkroom” is set-up and running, it’s time to resume my experimentation with tethered shooting.

Adobe Lightroom Classic can be used to tether many models of Canon and Nikon digital cameras with computers (running either macOS or Windows) that meet the system requirements. For example, my Canon EOS 5D Mark II appears on the list of tethered cameras supported by Lightroom Classic.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II works as expected when tethered with Lightroom Classic. “Live View” on the computer screen plus the ability to change camera settings and trigger the camera using Lightroom are among many features I like. And it’s FREE. Free is good!

In contrast, Lightroom Classic doesn’t support tethering with my Fujifilm X-series digital cameras (X-T1 and X-T3), that is, unless you buy a plug-in from Adobe. The plug-in is available in two versions: Standard ($29.00); and Pro ($79.00). I recommend the Pro version. The plug-in runs on my 11″ MacBook Air (Intel processor, 2011); it DOES NOT run on my new 13″ MacBook Air (M1 processor, 2020) although both Adobe and Fujifilm report they are working to update both Lightroom Classic and the plug-ins to be compatible with the Big Sur macOS.

Full disclosure: There is a work-around that allows limited tethering between Fujifilm cameras and Lightroom Classic. More about that in a follow-up blog post.

In the meantime, this post will focus upon Fujifilm X Acquire, a free stand-alone application that enables tethering between many models of Fujifilm cameras with macOS and Windows computers. The app is limited in what it can do, but it is useful.

Why tethered shooting?

Tethered shooting enables me to quickly check composition, exposure, and focus, to name a few advantages of tethered versus non-tethered shooting — on a larger screen than the LCD on the back of my digital cameras. For example, the LCD screen on the back of my Fujifilm X-T3 camera is ~2 7/8″ diagonally (rounded to 3″); the screen display on my new MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is 13″ diagonally — a little more than four times larger than the camera LCD. That might not seem like a lot, but it makes a big difference to my tired old eyes!

My Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera is tethered to the new MacBook Air computer via a TetherTools USB cable although that IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT for TetherTools products — in my opinion their products are way overpriced, some do not work as advertised, and their product support/customer service was a very frustrating experience for me!

Fujifilm X Aquire can be used to save JPG and/or RAW (RAF) photo files to a select folder on the computer, in my case, a folder on the desktop of the MacBook Air: I save JPG files to the computer; both JPG and RAW (RAF) files are saved to one of two memory cards in the Fujifilm X-T3. Apple “Preview” is used to view the JPG files saved to my MacBook Air.

The FUJIFILM X Acquire – Features & Users Guide provides helpful information regarding how to make the necessary camera and software settings. It’s worth noting that as long as you select USB AUTO [full name “USB TETHER SHOOTING AUTO”] as the CAMERA SETTING/PC CONNECTION MODE, it’s set it and forget it — there’s nothing to reset after a tethered shooting session — your camera will work as always in stand-alone mode.

Fujifilm X Acquire (Version 1.18.0.8)

Version 1.18.0.8 is an updated version that is compatible with the Big Sur macOS. Looks like the update was rushed to market, as evidenced by the first window that appears after the app is launched.

I don’t like clicking the “OK” button without knowing what those cryptic characters mean — you could be agreeing to all kinds of mischief!

The next window might provide some insight into why one of X Acquire’s features doesn’t work. (See below.) I’m thinking X Acquire should prompt the user to grant the necessary permissions at start-up.

It’s necessary to set some preferences for X Acquire before beginning a tethered session. Screenshots of the three tabs in the Preferences window are shown below since it has changed a little in the latest version of the app.

I recommend tethering via a USB cable rather than a Wi-Fi network — it’s faster and a lot less complicated!

As I mentioned earlier in this blog post, I save JPG files to the computer and both JPG and RAW (RAF) files to the camera.

The button labeled “Linked Software” is problematic. I linked the JPG files to Apple “Preview.” When a JPG photo file is saved to the user-selected target folder, it should open in “Preview” automatically.

“Should” is the operative word because the following error warning appears on-screen every time a photo is saved to the target folder.

In order to fix the problem, I did exactly what the warning says. The problem persists. Advice from my knowledgeable readers is invited and welcome. Please leave a comment if you can tell me how to fix the permission problems in the X Acquire app.

So it’s a Mac problem not Fuji acquire problem as it works nearly perfectly on Windows 10. Source Credit: Comment by David Hoult on my related post in the “Fuji X Gear & Talk” Facebook group.

In the absence of a fix for the “Linked Software” problem, I simply double-click on each new JPG photo file and it opens in “Preview.”

Fujifilm X Acquire (Version 1.16.0.9)

Version 1.16.0.9 is the version of X Acquire running on my 11″ MacBook Air (Intel processor, 2011). As you can see, the splash screen looks quite different from the one that requires literacy in either Chinese or Japanese.

A small window can be shown that displays your camera model and settings, including (from left to right) shutter speed, f/stop, ISO, exposure compensation, and white balance. The window is a feature of both versions of X Acquire.

The window cannot be used to change camera settings. Notice the window doesn’t feature a button that can be used to trigger the camera. I think it would be nice to add a trigger button to both versions.

The “Linked Software” problem is one that predates the Big Sur version of X Acquire. C’mon Fujifilm, it’s time to quash this annoying bug, otherwise a nice feature of the app is useless!

Related Resources

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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