[dropcap]U[/dropcap]ntil this month I’ve never needed to shoot tethered: I rarely shoot in a studio, and most portraits I shoot on location and on the move, so tethering wouldn’t make sense. However, I’m shooting a new series of corporate portraits for one of my longterm clients soon and in the past I’ve wished I could show each subject their picture on a bigger screen.

As luck would have it Fujifilm recently released an Add-On for Lightroom that allows for some basic tethering functions with the X-T1. It requires a specific set-up order to use and it’s a little limited, but it does all I need so here’s how to get your hands on it, and how to use it.

Where to find it

There’s two versions of the same thing, but the version we need is a $29 Add-On from Adobe’s Exchange website; you can find it for Macs here, and for PCs here. Simply log in to your Adobe account and purchase the Add-On, then skip to the instructions below.

Don’t like buying stuff? Well it also exists in another version, as a free download from Fujifilm’s website – but hold yer horses! This ‘free’ download is a .exe file that contains both Mac and PC versions of the plugin, but it can only be opened by a PC-only app called HS-V5 For Windows that Fuji only sold in Japan. So, yeah…

Adobe it is! Honestly, if you need to tether you may as well go ahead and spend the 29 bucks, it’s a tax-deductible expense! ;)

How to install it

If you’re using the Creative Cloud Desktop app and have File Syncing on and working, it should install itself in the background and be ready the next time you launch Lightroom. Look for it on a Mac under File -> Plugin Manager.

As I’m just a ‘Free’ subscriber I don’t have any syncing turned on and it didn’t seem to be installing, but there’s a manual workaround in any case. First, download the Add-On as a .zxp file. Here’s how:

1. On the Add-On page select ‘Where to find it’
2. At the bottom, under ‘Trouble installing your Add-On?’, click ‘Download/Install your Add-On another way’.
3. This should load a page with a link or button that downloads your Add-On.

Then launch Adobe’s Extension Manager (get it here), click the Install button (top right at time of writing) and find the .zxp file in your download folder. Once installed re-launch Lightroom and find it under File -> Plugin Manager.

This is the Extension Manager screen you're looking for when you install the plugin
This is the Extension Manager screen you’re looking for when you install the plugin

How to use it

There’s a handful of reviews for the Add-On that give it one star and say it doesn’t work. There’s also a couple that say it worked for them by following the instructions, and one of them’s mine as it works fine here. Maybe people are missing the instructions so here they are spelled out nice and easy :)

1. Turn on the X-T1 with no cables attached to anything
2. Go to the SET-UP menu and set the USB MODE to ‘PC SHOOT AUTO’
3. Turn the X-T1 off and plug the micro USB into the bottom port on the left side
4. Plug the other end into your computer running LR with the tethering plugin
5. Turn on the X-T1
6. In Lightroom select File -> Tethered Capture -> Start Tethered Capture…
7. Shoot!

So is it any good?

A quick test shot from my X-T1, showing the Tethered Shooting control panel.
A quick test shot from my X-T1, showing the Tethered Shooting control panel.
It’s a little limited but it’s all I need, so I’m happy. It imports as you shoot and you can apply a Preset, keywords and metadata. You can also segment by ‘shot’, meaning I can have each subject’s headshot in their own folder as I shoot; useful for organisation and for each subject’s privacy when viewing their shots back.

Things that might bother you: the X-T1 will only shoot in Single mode, no burst shooting; images are only written to your computer, not your SD card; and while you can trigger the camera from Lightroom using a big friendly button on the control panel next to the shutter speed and aperture readouts, there’s no Live View or other controls so you need to be at the camera for framing and exposure (unless your subject is static and your camera locked off).

None of those really bother me, but I did have one small problem that would have been mitigated by saving images to the SD card: during testing I made 89 RAW+JPG shots but noticed that in one of them the raw file was lost and only the JPG made it across. Not sure if I nudged the cable, or maybe made a few too many shots in quick succession, but losing a raw file is bad news and it means I’ll have to keep a vigilant eye on file transfers during the shoot.

So, that’s how to shoot tethered to Lightroom with a Fujifilm X-T1. Hope this has been useful for you – happy shooting!

A bit about me


I'm originally from Glasgow, and I’ve been a documentary-style London event photographer since 2007. You'll always be able to get me chatting about time travel movies, Alan Partridge, homemade bread, and craft beer...

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I think the best event photos are about the people and the atmosphere. I'll fit in around you to capture it all just the way it happened with stylish, reportage photography, so you can forget about me and enjoy the party.

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