A Hands-On Demo of Fujifilm’s New Split Image Manual Focusing Feature

We were just able to get some hands-on time with the new Fujifilm X100s immediately after the company’s press conference. In addition to blazin’ fast autofocus speed, the company has also introduced a couple of new features that manual-focusing photographers will love.

One is something many photographers are already familiar with (and have been clamoring for): focus peaking. The second hasn’t been received with as much fanfare, but is actually quite fantastic. It’s split image focusing — something rangefinder users will appreciate very much.

As you can see from our short video above, it’s very similar to what you’ll find on a rangefinder camera. In the center of the frame is a box that contains two images of the scene. Simply align these two images in the location you’d like to focus on, and voila! It’s sharp.


Just to be clear, this isn’t the result of Fujifilm having added in a rangefinder to the camera. Instead, the company has added what it calls “phase detection pixels” to the camera’s sensor.

These special pixels are what allow the camera to offer rangefinder-esque focusing. Combined with focus peaking, the new features are sure to satisfy those who have been shouting for better MF options — and then some.

P.S. Here’s a second video that also shows the feature in action:

  • Jake

    Awesome! Split-image focusing is the best thing about my older cameras (Argus C3, Nikon FM) and the one thing I can’t believe got scrapped in the modern age! Best, clearest, and easiest way to focus, bar-none!

  • Duke Shin

    It’s more like the split prism in a manual SLR.

  • Chang

    Wouldn’t call it something similar to focusing a rangefinder more similar to focusing any old SLR with a split prism focusing screen on it. Also because from the looks of it this feature is something that only works with the EVF not the OVF. So again its really more like focusing an SLR with a split prism focusing screen. Focusing with a rangefinder is still a bit different from that but still neat feature.

    Also doesn’t seem like they changed the sensitivity of the focusing ring at all. The person in the video seems to be turning it quite a bit just to focus near the end when you can see his hand. So focusing my wire still seems pretty slow and useless.

  • Thiefsie

    This is great, as a child playing with my dad’s SLR, and then coming to DSLR photography years later – there was always a huge disconnect between tactile manual focus and autofocus, and I yearned for split prism focusing. A rangefinder was nice but they always need adjustment – this is likely the feature that will make me purchase one of these cameras – I hope it becomes standard in DSLRs again soon.

  • Ivan

    Great! And it doesn’t go dark at smaller apertures! Will X20 have this?

  • Kodachrome64

    This is what I’ve been waiting for since the X100 first came out. I knew they could do it! The real advantage here is when this comes to the XPro series, manual focus lenses will finally be a viable option for quick, accurate focus. At first everyone was thinking that Fuji was going to be competing with Leica with these types of camera but I think Fuji has gone above and beyond with the features they’re offering, and now Leica needs to catch up. If they could figure out a way to overlay this little patch on the optical viewfinder, the technology could completely replace mechanical rangefinder systems. No more shipping your camera off to Leica for calibration when you bump it on a door frame!

  • Kodachrome64

    The manual focus on the XPro1 works great since the last firmware update. It actually responds appropriately when you turn the ring. Maybe they reserve this “feature” for the Pro series.

  • ordinalmalaprop

    Did you post the wrong videos or something? Ancient Zenit SLRs without split screen or ground glass have quicker manual focussing than this.

  • foggy flute

    Fine and remind me of old SLR, but not as useful and easy as peaking level.

  • James Duggan

    I have been using a split focusing screen in my canon 7D for over a year.