The reason I put together the first article was to try and provide a solution to a “problem” ; the problem being when using the Optical Viewfinder the auto focus on Fujifilm X-series cameras “is a joke, even when the focus box turns green, nearly half of the shots are out of focus.” Due to this “problem” some users sold their cameras and others shoot exclusively with the Electronic Viewfinder – as its autofocus is “more accurate than that of the Optical Viewfinder’s”
However, the camera has only one real focus box, so if the autofocus is inaccurate when using the OVF, then it should also be inaccurate when using the EVF.
If the focus box is the same in both the OVF and the EVF, then why does the OVF tend to miss the point we focus on?
When we look through the viewfinder in OVF mode – this is what we should see by default.
When we place the focus box on our subject and press the shutter halfway to confirm our focus, when the focus box turns green, notice that the frameline shifts down and to the right.
The reason for the frameline shift when we confirm focus is because the camera has calculated the distance of our subject that we are focusing on and then compensated for parallax.
The different position of the viewfinder window and the lens means that they see our subject from a slightly different points of view. The viewfinder window is positioned to the left and above the lens ; the lens is position at the centre of the camera (to the right and below the viewfinder window). So the frameline shifting compensates for parallax error and provide us with an accurate estimation of what the lens is actually seeing.
Because of their different positions, not only do the viewfinder and the lens see things slightly different, but where they naturally perceive focus to be also differs.
If we go ahead and press the shutter all the way after focus confirmation to capture our image, although the frameline shift to compensate for parallax, our focus box does not shift to compensate for parallax – the focus box remains stationary, so whilst our frameline is corrected for parallax between the viewfinder window and the lens, the autofocus point is not. As a result, our final image will have a different focus point than where we initially placed the focus box, so our image is likely to be out of focus, especially if our subject is at a close distance.
Does this equate to the autofocus in the OVF being inaccurate?
No, not at all it, it is just as accurate as the autofocus in the EVF – it is the same focus box.
But just as the frameline shifts to compensate for parallax, the focus box must also shift to compensate for parallax.
Turn on “Corrected AF Frame”
Our OVF should now look like this – with two boxes instead of one, a solid box and a broken box positioned slightly below it. When when we press the shutter halfway to focus, not only will our frameline shift, but the focus box will also shift to compensate for parallax. The parallax corrected focus box will appear between box 1 and box 2. With the autofocus box now corrected for parallax, our intended point of focus should be in focus.
The focus box in the OVF is just as accurate as that of the EVF, however we have to turn on corrected AF Frame to compensate for parallax.
For close subjects, because parallax is so great, we are better of using the EVF, for macro work the EVF is our only option!
But for shooting at midrange to far distances the OVF is my choice, especially now that fujifilm’s latest update has improve the frameline accuracy of the OVF.
The X-Pro 1 and X100s have the innovate hybrid viewfinder for a reason, each mode compliments each other to create a complete, fun and unique shooting experience.
For potential X-Pro 1 and X100s buyers, focusing with the OVF is just as accurate as the EVF – but there is a learning curve involved!
For the EVF exclusive shooters, switch over and see your subject sharp and clear and be “part of what is happening and not an electronic interpretation” as Jeff Seltzer puts it.
For the OVF exclusive shooters, let’s watch a little bit of television with our EVF exclusive buddies from time-to-time, remember if we need to shoot macro subjects, we don’t have a choice but to EVF it.
For an in depth explanation of what is going on, have a read at part one.
Happy New Year & Happy Shooting, have fun.