Lately I’ve been shooting quite a bit with the Helios 44-2 and other old vintage m42 manual focus lenses from the 80’s. While shooting with manual lenses takes more time and isn’t always as precise, it’s much more rewarding and you feel like you have complete control of every shot you take.
Anyone that shoots with manual lenses knows that it can be tricky to get use to, but I’ve found a few tricks that help make it easier on the X-T2.
Manual Focusing Tricks | X-T2 Helios 44-2
With the Fujifilm X-T2 or even the X-Pro 2 I use to always push the rear wheel to zoom in to the crop frame to get the focus with peaking, then press again to reset to full frame to take the picture.
While this is effective, it’s not fast enough when dealing with moving subject or even your own body sway, especially on a fast lens.
Then, just the other day I discovered a setting that’s been helping me a lot.
It works with the Dual Display where the left window is your full frame and you get a tiny little box on the right that is your 100% crop with focus peaking.
The setting I discovered allows you to switch this display, so the big window is your 100% crop with focus peaking and the right little window is your actual frame. While you’re limited to not being able to see all the details in the small frame, you still get a great idea of your overall composition, something I always thought was difficult with the massive EVF display of the XT2.
Having the full frame in the small window really helps you quickly get the feel of the weight of your image for composition purposes, and the large window gives you a very clear view of your focus – I love it.
I’m not sure if it’s new with firmware but it’s under Screen Settings -> Dual Display
I set to R: FRAME L:FOCUS
Of all the focus options the camera has to offer, this so far is my favorite. Now I just wish Fujifilm would give us better focus peaking like we have on Sony cameras. I was using red, but I recently switched to blue.
I also picked up the Fujifilm X-T2 battery grip and while it makes the camera lot heavier, it does provide extra grip that does help hold the camera when manually focusing, especially when shooting portrait. This is one of those accessories I wish I would have picked up when I first bought the camera since it’s made shooting so much more fun with the X-T2.
Even though my manual focus ability continues to get better and Fujifilm keeps offering more features to make it easier, I still miss focus here and there. This also doesn’t solve the problem of soft images from motion blur – the true challenge when shooting children. Maybe the rumored X-T2s with its in-body image stabilizer will give just enough vibration control to fix some of this, it seems to help with my Sony A7rII.