Editor's note: This month only – Use the code july5 at checkout to buy the 5 Steps to Better Black & White Photography and 5 Steps to Better Exposure ebooks for just $5! Click the links to learn more. Thanks for reading, Andrew.
Have you ever wondered if there’s a way in Lightroom to see which of your camera’s autofocus (AF) points were active when you took a photo? Then the Show Focus Points plugin is exactly what you need.
Canon EOS users have had this feature in Digital Photo Professional (DPP) for years. Considering that Lightroom is a much more advanced Raw converter, you’d think that it would have the same feature (yes, that’s a hint, Adobe). But it doesn’t! Until now…
What is the Show Focus Points plugin?
Show Focus Points is a free Lightroom plugin that shows you which autofocus points were used with photos taken from most Canon or Nikon digital SLR cameras. You need to have Lightroom 5 or later installed. It also works with the Sony A77ii, but this is in beta, so it’s not guaranteed to work properly.
All you have to do is download and install the plugin (instructions are on the download page) and you’re set.
Does the Show Focus Points plugin work?
I’ve tested the plugin with photos taken on EOS 350D, 40D, 60D and 5D Mark II cameras. It works with Raw files but not JPEGs, and Raw files that have been converted to DNG as well as Canon’s CR2 format.
The plugin was last updated in early 2017 and works with the latest version of Lightroom Classic CC (7.4 at the time of writing). The plugin is free, which is always nice, but as the author isn’t making any money from it don’t expect much in the way of support.
Show Focus Points plugin in action
Here’s a screen shot showing the plugin with a photo taken on an EOS Digital Rebel XT. It shows that five of the seven autofocus points achieved focus.
One of the things I like about this plugin is that it generates a lot more information than which autofocus points were used. Let’s take a look at the panel on the right of the window.
It tells you the camera and lens, the focal length, exposure and autofocus settings, the hyperfocal distance and some information about the number of autofocus points used. If your camera/lens combination records the focusing distance that appears here as well.
Here’a an example using a photo taken with an EOS 40D.
A close look at the Focus information reveals the following:
You can see that in this case the plugin shows the subject distance, the hyperfocal distance, plus the closest and furthest points that are in focus at this aperture setting (under Depth of field).
Finally, an example taken with an EOS 5D Mark II.
Here’s the Focus information.
You can see that camera was in manual focus mode, and was focused on a point 83cm from the camera, and that there is less than 2cm of depth of field at this setting.
Learn more: How to Focus at Wide Apertures
When the Show Focus Points plugin lies
Is the information from the plugin accurate all the time? Not at all. For instance, in the last example, the photo of the glass bottle, I had a 500D close-up lens fitted to the lens. So the lens wasn’t focused at 83cm, the camera was in fact much closer to the subject. That also means the depth of field information is inaccurate.
The other time when the information may not be accurate is when you focus, lock focus, then recompose. The plugin can only tell you which autofocus point achieved focus. It can’t give you any information about recomposed photos because cameras don’t record this information in the Raw file.
Download the Show Focus Points plugin
You can download the Show Focus Points plugin from the dedicated website (click the link). It’s currently a free download for Windows and Mac, and the plugin works with Nikon and Canon cameras (plus the Sony A77ii in beta).
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