A Handy Trick for Manual Focus on a Fujifilm X Series Camera

If you’re a Fujifilm shooter, you may be aware that there are a few onboard features that can aid in focusing a lens manually. One of these is focus peaking, which I frequently use when shooting macro. When using a manual lens, though, it can sometimes be difficult - even with focus peaking enabled - to determine if you’ve nailed the focus on your subject. This is especially true in sub-optimal lighting conditions.

After occasional frustration with focusing my Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens (which I have reviewed in a previous blog post), I finally figured out a method for focusing that is nearly foolproof. You’ll need to consult your manual if you’re uncertain about the following steps, but in a nutshell here is what I do. A similar approach likely will work with other mirrorless camera systems.

  1. Set your film simulation to any of the various black & white options (you can leave your camera on RAW if that’s how you normally work). This will change your viewfinder to monochrome. RAW images will still be captured in color.

  2. Change your focus-peaking color to red (or any color you prefer).

Now when you focus manually, the area that has active focus will stand out in vivid contrast to the rest of the scene in your viewfinder. This is such a simple trick, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. I find it especially helpful when using my older X-E2, since the viewfinder is considerably smaller than the X-T2.