I’ve been working on how to focus the RX-1 when doing street photography using an optical finder, and I have some progress to report. Letting the camera decide what to focus on and hoping for the best does indeed work much of the time. However, unless you chimp and zoom in, you can walk away not knowing whether you got the shot or not. Then there’s the noise. AF on the RX-1 is fairly noisy, even though the shutter itself is not. When you let the camera pick what to focus on you guarantee that you’re going to hear the AF at its loudest.
Another focusing option I’ve been playing with is to use AF in its “focus here” mode to set he distance – to do this accurately you need to look at the LCD screen – then turn off autofocus and make a series of exposures. I’ve programmed the “down” button to turn AF on and off to facilitate making the change. For maximum surreptitiousness, you can focus on something at approximately the same distance as your subject, turn off AF, and make a set of exposures.
The above technique isn’t perfect. One problem is that you can’t tell whether the camera’s in AF or MF mode without looking at the LCD screen or remembering which mode it was it before you pressed the AF/MF toggle button. If your subject is moving around, you’re out of luck. Then you want to go back to letting the camera decide what to focus on. I’ve programmed the AE lock button to access the focus mode screen to make switching back and forth fairly fast, but you need to look at the LCD screen to make the transition.
Thank goodness for the button assignability on the RX-1. Without that, using the optical finder would be a lot more problematic than it is.