Hey, So I am a Barcelona Wedding Photographer and I use the Fujifilm X-Series for Weddings and my travels. My current kit consists of two X-Pro 1’s, an X100s and a few lenses. This set up works for me, however there was a learning curve involved, as the concept of these X-Series cameras were different from the D-SLR’s that I was used to.

The biggest challenge I faced was learning how these cameras acquired focus, I spent hours online seeking relevant information and even more time applying what I read and testing things out. YES, they actually do focus, they just do it differently to my old D700 and a friend’s 5D2 I had right next to it for comparison.

As a result of the information I gathered and my personal experience over the last 8 months, I decided to put this article together and I hope that fellow X-Series users out there and those considering buying one of these cameras might find it useful, especially in regards to focus accuracy.

Like Zack Arias, I believe that the Optical Viewfinder is a big deal on these cameras. The hybrid viewfinder is innovative and each mode serves a purpose, i.e for close ups where the Electronic Viewfinder is the better option. Nevertheless, I find myself using the Optical Viewfinder 90% of the time, I truly love it. The focus on this article will be focusing with these cameras (X-Pro 1 & X100s) with the Optical Viewfinder.


“The effect whereby the position of a object appears to differ when viewed from different positions. In this case, the different positions are the lens which is at the centre of the camera and the viewfinder window which is to the left and above the  centre of the camera.

fujifilm ovf


We have established that the viewfinder window is positioned to the left and above the centre of the camera, thus being positioned to the left and above the lens.

The viewfinder window (when in optical mode) is designed to have a larger Field Of View than whatever lens you attach to the camera body. Because the Field Of View of the viewfinder is larger than the Field Of View of the lens, you are able to see things that are outside your frame and not just what is inside it – the OVF is under inclusive.


The different positioning of the viewfinder window and the lens means that we have to overcome parallax when it comes to nailing our focus. To aid us in doing so, these Fuji X-Series cameras have a brilliant tool called “Corrected AF Frame” ; this is optional but I strongly suggest that you turn it ON and leave it ON.fujifilm ovf

BOX 1 : Represents the focus frame at infinity – This is where the OVF will naturally perceives focus to be.

BOX 2 : Represents the focus frame at the OVF’s minimum focus distance – the closest the OVF can focus before it hits the macro range. (This is about 2.6ft for the X-Pro 1 and about 1.6ft for the X100s)

This is how I have the Optical Viewfinder (OVF) set up in all three of my cameras:

fujifilm ovf

My custom OVF displays have quite a lot of information overlay which I have become used to, however for the rest of this article, I will “turn off” most of these information and only “leave on” those which I believe are relevant to acquiring focus with these X-Series  cameras.

fujifilm ovf

We are now left with a much cleaner looking OVF, with just the Focus Frame at infinity (BOX 1) and Corrected AF Frame (BOX 2) as well as  the Distance indicator on.

The distance indicator is pretty useful since the distance of our subject is used to calculate the amount of parallax compensation that is needed between the viewfinder window and the lens. So having an idea of how far or close our subject is can help us to acquire our desired point of focus with greater accuracy.



1. Due to the different positioning of the OVF and the lens, they naturally see focus at different points.

2. However, the camera has ONLY ONE REAL FOCUS BOX, which shows up at different locations within the OVF.

3. When we turn Corrected AF Frame on, the two boxes (BOX 1 & BOX 2) that shows up in the OVF represents the RANGE within which the REAL FOCUS BOX could be.

4. The RANGE  within which the REAL FOCUS BOX can be is BETWEEN infinity (BOX 1) and the focus frame  at the OVF’s minimum focus distance (BOX 2)

5. The RANGE for the X-pro 1 is infinity and 2.6ft

6. The RANGE for the X100s is infinity and 1.6ft

fujifilm ovf


7. When we press the shutter down halfway to auto focus, the camera calculates the distance of our subject and a GREEN BOX appears diagonally between the RANGE.


9. Exactly where the REAL FOCUS BOX appears within this RANGE depends on the DISTANCE of our subject – in other words, where the REAL FOCUS BOX appears between BOX 1 and BOX 2 depends on how far or near our subject is.

fujifilm ovf

The GREEN BOX is the REAL FOCUS BOX – this is the actual point where the camera focuses the lens, and it will be located slightly below and to the right of where the viewfinder window perceives focus to be.

Remember that the viewfinder window and the lens are positioned at different locations –  and even though we are seeing our subject through the viewfinder window, we want our final image to be how the lens sees our subject. 

We want the focus point of the image we capture be where the lens focuses – the GREEN BOX is our parallax compensated FOCUS BOX, it sees our subject how the lens sees it, hence why it is the REAL FOCUS BOX.

The RED BOX (RANGE BOX) is solely for the purpose of this article and it will not show up in the camera.

Here is the same image as above but without the range box:

fujifilm ovfThe distance of our subject is what determines where the REAL FOCUS BOX appears within our RANGE ; the distance indicator tells us how far or near our subject is, therefore knowing our subject distance is useful.


Let’s assume with an X-Pro 1 + the 35mm lens, when we press the shutter halfway, the camera calculated that our subject was 5ft away, and where the REAL FOCUS BOX  has shown up in the illustrations of this article is a representation of that, so where the GREEN BOX has appeared between the RANGE so far is because our subject is 5ft away from us.

What if our subject was 3.6ft or 12ft away? Where between the RANGE will the GREEN BOX appear?

fujifilm ovf

With our subject at 5ft away, the GREEN BOX appears relatively central between BOX 1 and BOX 2.

With our subject at 3.6ft away, the GREEN BOX appears down to the right, away from BOX 1 much closer to BOX 2.

With our subject at 12ft away, the GREEN BOX appears further up and to the left, away from BOX 2 and much closer to BOX 1.

This demonstrates that the GREEN BOX moves diagonally between BOX 1 & BOX 2 ; and exactly where it appears between these two boxes depends on the distance of our subject.


What happens if our subject is further than 12ft away or closer to us than 3.6ft?

fujifilm ovf

With our subject at 30ft away, the REAL FOCUS BOX will show up within BOX 1.

At 2.6ft away, the REAL FOCUS BOX will show up within BOX 2.

Why does the REAL FOCUS BOX appear within BOX 1 & BOX 2 at these extreme distances? Beacause :

BOX 1 : Represents the focus frame at infinity.

BOX 2 : Represents the focus frame at the OVF’s minimum focus distance – which is is 2.6ft for the X-Pro 1.

Remember the RANGE BOX? let’s go back to it:

fujifilm ovf

The REAL FOCUS BOX can appear anywhere within the RANGE BOX – the GREEN BOX can appear anywhere between BOX 1 & BOX 2.

When our subject is further way, i.e 30ft from us, parallax is not an issue and the couple of inches between where the viewfinder window naturally perceives focus to be and where the lens naturally perceives focus to be is meaningless.

So with subjects further away, the REAL FOCUS BOX is more or less identical to BOX 1; the viewfinder window and the lens perceives the same REAL FOCUS POINT at far distances,  that is why the GREEN BOX  appears within BOX 1.


If our subject is much closer i.e 3.6ft, parallax becomes an issue and the couple of inches between where the viewfinder window naturally perceives focus to be and where the lens naturally perceives focus to be now matters; however at such a close distance, parallax is so great that you are better of switching to the Electronic Viewfinder.

If our subject was 2.6ft from us, the REAL FOCUS BOX is more or less identical to BOX 2, this is the closets the OVF can focus before it hits the macro range,  but parallax is great at this distance so use the EVF! The camera automatically switches to the EVF when one uses the macro function.

If our subject is at a midrange distance, i.e 5ft from us the REAL FOCUS BOX appears at the appropriate area between the RANGE BOX.



The camera’s viewfinder window and lens are positioned at different locations and as a result we have parallax.

The camera has only one real focus box, when you turn on Correct AF Frame, two boxes shows up in the OVF.

These two boxes represents focus at infinity and the OVF’s minimum focus distance – this gives us the range within which the real focus box can show up once the shutter is pressed halfway.

The distance of our subject determines  exactly where within the range that the real focus box appears.

When the shutter is pressed halfway, the camera calculates the distance of our subject, compensates for parallax and shows us where the REAL FOCUS is.


This same principle applies to any of the 25 different focus points that we can chose from in the middle 2/3rd of the OVF’s frame.

fujifilm ovf

I used the middle focus point throughout this article for simplicity, however, this is how things should look when we select other focus points:fujifilm ovf


When we press the shutter down halfway, the camera calculates the distance of our subject and compensates for parallax for both the focus frame and the frameline – this gives us an accurate representation of how the lens sees everything.

fujifilm ovf

How much the frameline moves  down and to the right depends on the distance of our subject.

For a subject far away, i.e 20ft, the frameline moves very little, in fact if our subject is beyond 20ft, i.e 30ft, the frameline doesn’t move at all. The closer our subject is, the greater the movement of the frame line.

The closer our subject is to us, the greater the parallax, hence the greater movement of the frameline ; the further our subject is away from us, there minor the parallax, hence the little movement of the frameline.



Each lens has a different Field Of View, however, the Field Of View of the Optical Viewfinder will always be larger than that of the lens attached to the camera. This is the same for the X100 and X100s albeit with a fixed 23mm lens.

fujifilm ovf


The Framelines, are an approximation and just like the Corrected AF Frame and the Distance indicator, it is a tool to aid us. It might take some time getting used to it, but it is totally worth it and will become second nature in due time. The OVF is pure joy to use!


For the most comprehensive Fujifilm X-related articles and up-to-date news, check out Fujirumors and Thomas Menk’s scoop.it : these sites provided me with a wealth of information in regards to getting to know these fujifilm cameras.

I aim to update and refine this article as time goes on ; Kaizen! // Update : PT2 Here

Here is a small selection of images taken under various conditions using the Fujifilm OVF:


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  • Brad Horn said:

    Very good article.

    On my 35mm lens, I use OVF and set the camera on manual focus but use the AE/AF button on the back to autofocus the lens. Then I can manually finetune focus from there. If I am using OVF and want to check focus, I just press in the dial on the back, which switches OVF to EVF focus peaking. Unfortunately, you can't do this with the 14mm because you have to commit to either manual focus or autofocus on the lens exclusively. But, the depth of field on the 14mm is so deep that it rarely is an issue.

  • Heather Paterson Alousis said:

    Vincent, that cleared it up for me! I was frustrated by not knowing what was going on with the 0vf and the boxes. Thank you!

  • Philip Rice said:

    A fantastic article, I've never understood it so well! Thanks so much!


  • Christian Vietsch said:

    Great read - thanks for the work done here! One suggestion for the illustrations: the red range box should be a parallelogram, the two focus boxes should be connected via red diagonal lines, as the focusbox is never beside the boxes but in between. And the two drawings with the 2ft and 30ft focus: the frameline in the 2ft shifts to the down right a lot to compensate for the paralax, maybe it should be shown in the figure?

    I will definitly switch on the distance indicator now as I still miss a couple of shots with the OVF and practise with the OVF this holidays!

  • Christian Vietsch said:

    Love your photos btw!

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  • Thanapon Suwannathat said:

    I have a problem with X-PRO1 OVF (already enabled 'correct AF frame'), my process is :
    AF on OVF --> switch to EVF to check the different of focus point --> I found that actual focus point in EVF alway under foucs point in OVF

    I mean OVF focus point always above an actual one in EVE, from this issue it's made actual frame line is lower than real.

    I'm not sure whether my camera has a problem or not, Is there any one face problem same me?

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  • Valerio Peretti said:

    Great shots! I like very much the look of B&W ones? Can you tell what pp you use to obtain them?

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  • Shanker Kaura said:

    This is fantastic! Thanks for putting this together.

  • Steve Sniteman said:

    Really appreciate you taking the time to explain this. I have the 100s and I couldn't get my mind wrapped around the manual -- but then again, it's a manual. Thanks

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  • Marta Schilling said:

    Thank you for this excellent article. I have the x100s and finally understand this now!

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  • Chip Witherspoon said:

    Thanks for your detailed explanation. Do you know why the white rectangle/guide disappeared in my OVF? It was there...I must have turned it off some how. Thanks :)

  • Robert Gonzalez said:

    Great write-up! I can finally learn to use the optical viewfinder more effectively. Countless hours of reading forum posts didn't give me the clarity that this post did. Thank you.

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  • Gordon Downie said:

    Gordon Downie
    Thank you for this very clear explanation of how to use the optical viewfinder. I have the X100T and a wonderful little gem of a camera it is, but I just couldn't work out the optical find.

  • Bart Kuijpers said:

    Is there a way to manually focuss in the OVF?

  • Macca said:

    Thanks so much for the article and details... really helped me understand why every shot using the OVF was focussing incorrectly. For a camera in the uk that retails for £900 i am not happy that i cannot use an ovf without having to use the extra focus box to make sure its in focus... just seems ridiculous. i wanted the x100t for the ovf and evf combo but right now i am tempted to send this back and get the x-t1 again that i rented before.

    This may have been my lack of understanding but all the pros and users who reviewed this must have just used to evf which is for sure but why have something like an ovf that does not do as its supposed to.

    yes my lack of technical understanding is probably at fault here but still, its a ridiculous amount of money for something with such a "feature"
    also, why is all my text in uppercase. i am not shouting.. i hope this reformats when i post the comment


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