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Learning to Accept Fujifilm’s New Custom Setting Structure

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I was absolutely infuriated with Fujifilm’s new Custom Setting structure when I first used the X-E4. I should have known this was coming since the X-S10 had similar changes. And there was a glaring bug in the firmware that kept it from working properly, so there’s also that (it’s since been fixed).

But this is where things are headed, and now that I’m using the X-T30 II as a secondary body, it’s time to accept it.

This is how I’m transitioning to Fujifilm’s new Custom Settings system in the X-T30 II after years of using the completely different old system.

I do have a walkthrough of setting up all of these options, along with the rest of the X-T30 II settings, in my Fujifilm X-T30 II Tutorial course.

Who is this article for?

When I published my first aggressive article & video about the new X-E4 Custom Settings, comments flooded in with “it’s about time they’re doing this!” “Other camera brands do it this way, Fujifilm finally got on board!” “What’s wrong with you for not liking this?” You people are just fine then, no need to keep reading. This is what you’re used to and transitioned right into it without any problem.

But an even greater number of comments were along the lines of, “this is an absolute disaster for the way I shoot and how I’ve been using Custom Settings for ten years!”

Custom Settings in Fujifilm cameras have always been a way of styling our photos. Not quickly recalling focus settings and whatnot. It was different from other camera brands for a reason. All those other camera function settings are irrelevant and independent of our styling. This new system isn’t an “upgrade” or “addition,” it’s completely different functionality for a completely different purpose.

This article is for the latter group trying to wrap their heads around how to still make use of Fujifilm’s new Custom Settings.

Real-world frustration scenario

So I took the X-T30 II to Peru with me as a secondary body; I had to retire my X-E3. The lack of the rear command dial and focus mode switch on the X-E4 was an absolute no-go for the way I shoot. The X-T30 II was the next choice for a secondary body to match my X-T4 innards.

I knew I’d have some problems in the beginning with the new Custom Setting setup in an assignment environment. But at least I was prepared to look out for this.

So here are just a few examples of some problems I had the first couple of days. I did eventually minimize these things being a problem and I explain that later.


I had a wide MF-only lens on my X-T30 II while shooting indoors in a tight environment. It was easiest for me to use Red Focus Peak Highlight to quickly focus so I set that after turning on the camera. I’d turn the camera off and go back to my X-T4 for closeups. Then pick up the X-T30 II again for another wide shot and it’d be reset to Standard MF Assist. I’d long-press the Rear Command Dial to get back to Focus Peak, but the color was White, which is useless. So I’d have to go back into the AF/MF menu and set it back to Red. This was a few minutes of WTF-style panic. Where’s my red? Ah, that’s part of the programming now.


I was then at the beach shooting some surfing lessons and had my telephoto lens on my X-T30 II. The X-T30 II AF-C Tracking works pretty well; I set this while tracking students catching some waves. I’d go back to my X-T4 for some beach photos. Then see a student about to get up on the board, flip on my X-T30 II to start tracking them, but the Focus Area would be reset to Single Point, not Tracking, and I’d miss the focus – and the ride.

There’s no time to fumble around with focus settings that have reset themselves when quick reflexes are necessary.

These are just two things that happened to me in the first two days and is a great example of why I tell people to never bring a new camera on an important trip 🙂

Using the Auto Update Custom Setting

Fujifilm’s new Custom Settings has an Auto Update Custom Setting feature. I was hesitant to use this for one reason.

I worked hard to come up with my “film recipes” and didn’t want to chance losing those as I made small contrast & color adjustments for current lighting, color schemes, etc.

If Auto Update Custom Setting is Enabled, any changes you make will be preserved when you turn the camera off and back on, or go to a different Custom Setting and come back.

Sounds great, but won’t that overwrite your original custom setting? What happens when you want to go back to the image styling as it was originally programmed?

Well, you can’t. There’s no quick way to go back to the original settings if Auto Update Custom Setting is enabled.

fujifilm new custom settings
When Auto Update Custom Setting is Enabled, there is no quick way in the camera to reset the original settings since any changes are permanent.

I’m a nerd and have always had a spreadsheet in the cloud with my Custom Setting programming. I’m just going to have to go to that sheet if I do make any changes.

But maintaining any changes to the focus & shooting settings is far more important to me when I’m on a shoot and cycle the camera power. Those “surprises” of being in a different autofocus mode than what I was expecting are just too costly.

Enabling this feature really helped minimize the frustrations in those scenarios I mentioned earlier, even if it does cause me to lose my original settings.

If you don’t have this feature enabled, any changes you make will have red dots next to them. You can go into the Edit/Save Custom Setting menu and choose to save those changes or reset back to the original settings. Those changes will be automatically reset when you cycle the camera power if you do neither of those things.

fujifilm disable auto update
When Auto Update is Disabled, any changes made will have red dots next to them.
Fujifilm reset the changes
Changes can be reset in the camera or by cycling camera power when Auto Update is Disabled.

How to set up the Shooting & AF/MF Menus

If your image styling isn’t tied to a specific focus mode, shutter type, and so on, then how do you program those things since you must program those things?

I looked at my various image styles – the seven custom settings I have across all of my X-series cameras – and asked myself when I most likely use them.

My “Portrait” style that uses Pro Neg Hi, as you might guess, was designed for outdoor environmental portraits. So I set my focus & shooting settings as I would usually want them for outdoor environmental portraits.

I don’t always use it for outdoor environmental portraits though; it was my default styling for my entire Peru trip and I was photographing a range of subjects that require different focus & shooting settings. This is where Auto Update Custom Setting helped me use the camera as I had always been used to with Fujifilm.

My “Landscape” style that uses Velvia, go figure, was designed for landscapes. I programmed my focus & shooting settings as I have them for most landscapes.

But again, on this trip, there are some marvelous dusk opportunities in this town where this image style works great but the rest of the camera settings do not.

Help with My Menu

My Menu can be a big help here. Be sure that you’ve set up My Menu so that you can quickly access these focus & shooting settings from one menu page rather than hunting around for them.

You can read how to set up My Menu here.

Fujifilm my menu
Using My Menu to quickly access commonly-changed settings

Nothing Selected

If all of this is just too much, you always have the option of choosing “Nothing” for the Custom Setting. Any changes you make in any of the menus will just always be there until you directly change them again. No surprises when you cycle camera power.

My wish

If anyone from Fujifilm is reading, my wish would be for us to choose whether or not certain settings are included in a Custom Setting. Like if I don’t want a Shutter Type programmed to a custom setting at all, let me choose not to include it.

I know this will take a good amount of coding to get done but it’s not impossible. That’s my wish 🙂

How else are all of you old curmudgeons dealing with it?

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Saturday 4th of November 2023

Hi, great thread!

I am seriously considering a GFX100S to replace my Nikon D850 and I hadn't known it had the same issues I experienced with a Nikon Z7 until I read this. Now I think I'll park it or maybe see if I can rent one to try out before I buy. So thanks!

I encountered the same problems with a Nikon Z7, having 'upgraded' from a Nikon D810 (which I fortunately kept). The D810 had a seperate set of (4 each) 'memory banks' for customised 'shooting' and 'custom settings' ( ie 16 combinations). These were NOT tied to a 'pasm' dial but were changed via menu. So I could have my 'landscape' shooting settings and use any of the 4 custom settings etc etc. Any changes would be automatically saved to the current setting at power-off. Very flexible and easy. My Menu told me what changes I'd made PLUS each set of custom settings could be backed up to the memory cards so if I screwed up something I could simply reload the original custom settings (ie just the 'landscape' settings, or all of them). Really good. The Z7 was hopeless - the same as you and others have articulated so well here - and after 4 months of trying to use it for my landscape and general on-the-move work I gave up with it - too many user-erors, far too much UNCERTAINTY and STRESS. A costly mistake! I went back to the D810 which I later upgraded to D850 ( same customisation capability as the D810 ) - and back to happy photography. Who would have thought something that sounds so inocuous as 'custom setting' can render a camera unusable!

Interestingly only the 'D8*' and newer mirrorless Z8/9 Nikons aimed at pro-users have this multi-memory bank capability, the consumer grade D and Z models have the dreaded pasm dial. So I was very surpised the GFX suffers from same constraint.

Marc Jaffe

Sunday 29th of October 2023

Hi. I read your article with reckless abandon. I have had my X-T30ll for a few days I have 3 distinct styles that I set custom programs for. My issue is one of my styles requires a focus lock at 15’. I accomplished this with setting to force the focus A/B to 15’. It works. But then I need to switch it back to off for a different setting. I was hoping the settings for the actual buttons were part of the customization as well as other key focus and exposure settings. I mostly have things off and use manual focus. I also have the peak set to red and that’s great for my DayShots but not my NightShots. The system can’t see. I plan on doing as you suggested turning off saving customizations and more my menu. I have dialed in my DayShot needs but still tweaking 2 different NightShots. Thanks for some more direction.

John Peltier

Friday 3rd of November 2023

I suppose you could just have one dedicated setting to the A/B 15' position - but then you have to decide what you're going to save for all of the other settings for that program. I can't think of any other way around it!


Wednesday 19th of July 2023

Hi! Yo you know if fuji has solved this issue? It's one of the reasons I don't upgrade to X-T5 because I tend to play a lot with the different custom boxes but don't want to be dealing with adjusting every time settings different to the IQ ones.

John Peltier

Thursday 20th of July 2023

Nope, still the same hassle. I’ve been playing around with the X-S20 and nothing has changed.


Thursday 15th of June 2023

I'm baffled that this hasn't received more attention. I'm coming from using a Fujifilm X100V, which has the default behavior of retaining only a limited number of settings. This works perfectly, if I want to temporarily set a self-timer, AUTO ISO, specific photometry, and so on.

However, my Fujifilm X-T5 is practically unusable for me when using multiple CUSTOM SETTINGS (I'll refer to them as presets, but styles is also a fitting description). I've tried very hard to embrace the change as you described in your post, but it simply frustrates me so much that I end up not bringing my X-T5 on shoots.

"Why?" I'm often asked. Well, you've obviously gone to great lengths trying to explain it, but let me relieve some of my frustrations here as well. I've been using my presets as different styles/looks with film simulation recipes from FujiXWeekly. I want to set them up in a way that allows me to pick one depending on the shot I'm going to take.

When using multiple presets like this, there are two options:

1. Use multiple presets, but reset any changes after cycling between presets, going on standby, or turning off/on the camera. This is not an option for me as I would have to change all my shot-specific parameters every time any of the above happens. That is ALL THE F***ING TIME...

2. Use the "Auto Update Custom Setting" feature, which retains settings. Now, this way, whenever I want to make a change, I can practically never trust a preset to be correct since everything that is stored is only temporary. That might seem to be the desired action, but as you correctly described, it will make me lose my original settings.

However, this is not the worst part. The worst part is, let's say I want to change the AUTO ISO mode for my shot. I now have to repeat that change for each of my 7 presets. If only done on individual presets, I then have to be hyper aware that whenever I go into a new preset, I might have previously changed something, which in theory means that I should CHECK ALL SETTINGS before taking a shot to ensure that no unwanted settings are interfering.

- I know it might seem like a small thing to some people, but in practice it means I can't trust my camera, since I have to do all the checking and remembering of the settings I want. I might even be wrong about some of the things I wrote above because even though I tried to test them vigorously, because this way of handling settings is so hard to understand. I'm furious about this behavior as it takes away one of the greatest selling points of Fujifilm cameras: their Film Simulations and ability to produce amazing JPEGs. It renders them practically unusable for that.

The last option is, of course, to use only one preset and never switch to any of the other presets.

But is that really what it has come to?

I found this thread going even more in-depth, but I'm so frustrated that I have no idea where to send this feedback. I'm on the verge of selling my camera or throwing it out the window.

Fuji have mercy on me. I want to like you cameras. Fix your shit. Amen.

John Peltier

Tuesday 20th of June 2023

Preaching to the choir. I've tried different methods of using these custom settings in the new cameras but have more or less given up by now. "Getting the shot" by having the correct focus/shooting settings is more important to me than "the right look," so I just utilize the "none" custom setting for my assignment work now. At the beginning of the shoot I'll change the film simulation, color, tone, etc, to get close to the styling I want. But at least I know what my focus & shooting settings are, and I'm not worried about being surprised by what they might revert back to when power is cycled or a different custom setting is chosen. It's an unfortunate concession. The new app has that backup/restore option but that seems like a silly solution to all this. All I want is the option to choose which settings are saved to a custom setting. Hence the word "custom".


Friday 10th of March 2023

Hey John! The change to custom settings really shook up the way I handle certain things like white balance and I was wondering if you had any advice. I typically keep auto-save on since I don't want my recipes getting disrupted, but there are certain things which I want to persist when powering on/off during shooting sessions, such as setting a custom white balance from a grey-card.

Any advice here on how to make a few on the fly changes for a shooting session, but not lose track of the original recipe? Or should I just accept my fate and save my recipes in a note on my phone? I miss the old way of "Base C1" etc. creating temporary alterations of the saved recipes like on my X100F.

John Peltier

Monday 13th of March 2023

Yeah it sucks, doesn't it! I wish I had a good solution for you, but the best one I've come up with is to use the auto-save setting and write down the recipes (I use the Google Sheets app but any notes app will work). I also play around with them in the X RAW Studio software and save them there, so if anything gets really messed up then I can also re-load the recipes into the camera from X RAW Studio.

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