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

Leica M11 focus peaking vs rangefinder
So those nearby branches and the houses across the street are both in focus? Yeah, right. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

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.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at