More thoughts on the Fuji focus peaking.


Firstly I should mention that Fuji are indicating a problem with the X-Pro 1 update. See http://photorumors.com/2013/07/25/fujis-last-x-pro1-firmware-update-was-faulty/  So if you've just updated your camera it would be a good idea to check this out. Nothing reported on the X-E1 as yet.

Above is a video showing what happens with this new peaking feature. The video is made for the X100s, but on the X-E1 it looks exactly the same. Now sometimes its nowhere near as clear as in the video, depending on the target subject, and indeed sometimes it doesn't work at all. However, after doing lots of tests there is an advantage here. Because of the increased contrast of the screen when in peaking mode, if the white 'shimmering' doesn't register, the heightened contrast gives a version of the previous just using your eyes option which makes it easier to see the exact point of focus. I was initially using it in the same way that I used my Sony NEX cameras, looking for those telltale spots and outlines. The Fuji system isn't as good at showing in-focus areas in hyperfocal distance terms as the Sony and I can't get any accurate focus without magnification but the increased contrast does seem to offer a useful 'backup system' when the peaking / shimmering effect doesn't work well enough, which I've found is very useful for low light. I'm now finding that I can get pretty close to 100% success by realising that its a different system and I'm looking for different things. 

In terms of speed It doesn't seem to me to be particularly quicker than any other system, the Leica rangefinder, Nikon white dot or other peaking versions, but then thats just the nature of manual focusing. Plus its always worth bearing in mind that no AF system is perfect either. Lots of people talk about the speed of the Olympus OM-D in terms of AF, but that camera does struggle in low light.

Obviously the light and contrast of the subject do make a difference, and since I used manual focus a lot when I first started with photography I've developed ways around problems which work well for me even with AF. Finding a high contrast target in the same plane as what you want in sharp focus is a good solution. 

So my intial reservations seem to be waning somewhat. I feel confident enough it in to use it 'for real' now and will report back on how that goes.