Focus peaking sucks, rangefinders rule, and progress doesn’t always move forward

Leica M-series rangefinders are an anachronism. They have clung to direct vision viewfinders for decades after the rest of the world switched to through-the-lens viewing, they are strictly manual focus only – no AF – and they use a coupled rangefinder focusing system based on mirrors, triangulation and a ‘ghost’ image in the viewfinder.

But this particular Leica M offers a choice of old-school optical focusing and a modern digital focusing aid, and a perfect opportunity to make a direct comparison between the two. Focus peaking seems to hold all the cards – it uses the taking lens itself, it uses the image falling directly on the sensor and it has modern digital contrast detection tools to show sharp focus.

If you like manual focus, you’ll be happier with cameras and lenses (especially lenses) that are actually designed for it. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Autofocus isn’t everything

Steve Liem

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