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Gear & Apps

Cool Free Lightroom Plugin Shows The Focus Points Used For Each Shot

By Kishore Sawh on September 19th 2014

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Since mirrorless has crested the photography mountain dominated by DSLR and point & shoots, and closed the gap, one of the primary benefits of such a system is autofocus. It seems like all I hear about these days with the release of a new camera is the autofocus, and how it’s the world’s fastest, etc. Regardless, autofocus is a huge marketing point for camera manufacturers because it actually does matter in everyday performance, and thus helping nail results. Have you ever wanted to know what your camera’s autofocus points were doing when you took the pictures home and uploaded? There’s a free plug-in for Lightroom that will show you just that. (Ironically your mirrorless may not be supportedyet)

[REWIND: Render Impeccable Skin Tone Easily, Using Camera Raw & A Slider You Didn’t Know Existed]

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Show Focus Points is a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom that allows you to easily see where and what each focus point was doing at the moment the shutter release button was clicked, and the image created. Not only will it show you the layout of your focus points overlaying the image, it has a legend on the side that shows you what the coloration means: from Red + White showing you a locked AF point, to an inactive AF point, and more. The window will also display other EXIF data that you’re more commonly used to.

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While the interface isn’t entirely seamless, and can, at times, feel a little clumsy and dated, it does a good job at the one job it was meant to do, and there’s something to be said for focus and simplicity – not that we get much of that in photography these days with cameras that try to do it all.

At the moment, there isn’t support for a wide variety of brands, but it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that the list will be growing, and quickly. It’s also entirely free, only takes two minutes to install, and available for both Windows and MAC platforms.

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Thoughts

It really is a cinch to download and install, and the interface is very self explanatory. I did, however, have a few issues with it. Due to the array of cameras I shoot with, many of those images were from unsupported brands and bodies, so it was only the Nikon and Canon bodies that were supported for now. Then there are the JPEG files that don’t have the right, or enough data to show anything, and if you, like me, open a Lightroom library image in Photoshop for editing, and save it back into LR, it will likely save as a TIF and the plugin doesn’t seem to recognize any EXIF data from that.

It’s also good to note that if you do a focus recompose technique while shooting, your data will be a bit off. Get it here.

Source: PetaPixel

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Basit Zargar

    loving you article !

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  2. Peter-Jon Harding

    nice little plugin

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  3. Ipek Amdahl

    Great educational tool!

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  4. William Emmett

    I downloaded it, and used it on some of my “not so good” wildlife shots, and found some focus errors. I try for the eye, but on some animals you just can’t line up that good. (birds and small rodents ) I’ll run it on every one of my wildlife shots to be sure of the focus point, and any other questionable shots. I shoot Canon bodies, so I have no problems with compatibility.

    WE

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  5. Lawrence Smith

    Just downloaded and gave it a test. I think its pretty cool so,I imagine more fine tuning and updates are to come.

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  6. Mark Adrup

    Great plugin – Really useful, and shows why the picture doesn’t show as expected

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  7. Gareth Roughley

    i Just had some problems with focus on a newborn shoot. this was a great help to discover the route of the issues. thanks for posting

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  8. Edward Solly

    Great idea, its just too out the way to use it in my work flow, if there could be an overlay i could toggle on and off that would be amazing, but i just wouldn’t bother using it

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Edward, hi there. I think it has its place, and agreed it’s not in the typical production workflow. That said, I’m quite sure this version was testing the waters to see what the interest really is like, and it seems enough that they would consider it prudent to move forward.

      Also, the applications of this tool in my opinion, aren’t really meant to be part of the normal workflow, as I figure it’s something to use to check how your camera is thinking and acting, and perhaps as a teching/learning tool.

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    • Edward Solly

      true, you have twisted my arm, ill try it!

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  9. Leslie Troyer

    Doesn’t work on Nikon mirrorless yet. I think author is open to extending support, but has more than a few higher priority features to add before committing to it.

    LEs

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  10. Andrew Van Arb

    I just tried this out and it is pretty cool. Good plug-in to have!

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  11. Hannes Nitzsche

    Cool this can be useful! Thanks!!

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  12. Fabio Porta

    Cool! It can be used as a learning instrument to examine “wrong” shots and improve focus accuracy.

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  13. Ryan Orcullo

    Wow this is cool. Quite useful in analyzing pictures which are in focus and out of focus :D

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  14. Greg Silver

    I think this is a pretty cool feature. Yeah – I think for a lot of photos you can see where the focus points are but there are some photos that it would definitely come in handy.

    It may not always come in handy for post production – but I think it could contribute to one becoming a better photographer by studying how you shoot after the shot.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I think this is where a lot of value is going to be found with this plugin, Greg. If you were training a second shooter perhaps.

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  15. Brandon Dewey

    Ive been waiting for LR to add this feature but until they do awesome plug-in.

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    • Barry Cunningham

      This is the one thing I missed a little going from the native Canon software (DPP, etc.) to Lightroom

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  16. Chuck Eggen

    Ok, am I the only one that thinks it’s just as east to look at the photo to determine the focus point? And, is it really important to have that info. Now go, beat me up…

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    • Stan Rogers

      I can think of at least one really good reason to have it: when what’s in focus and the focus point used don’t match up, it helps to relieve the “I must be going crazy” feeling. Having *something* in focus doesn’t tell you much about how well the AF is (or isn’t) working, or whether or not there’s some focus shift you need to allow for.

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    • Ed Wilts

      It’s actually pretty enlightening for a relative beginner to look at where the focus point was. It tells me, in no uncertain terms, “you missed the shot”, and “use a tripod”.

      However, if it’s telling me I focused and recomposed, it’s pretty much useless.

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  17. Chris Bordeleau

    Looks cool… doesn’t support my Sony a77 or Fuji x100s… but it looks cool

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Chris, indeed it is limited right now. I’m assuming in the next few months that will change. I believe the interest in it is high enough that it’s only a short matter of time. Cheers

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