Focus peaking & bokeh quality

Started Dec 13, 2011 | Discussions thread
tesilab
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A (near) comprehensive set of peaking tips
In reply to twald, Dec 13, 2011

There are a few factors here. These are other people's tips that I have combined to get good results. It helps to shoot raw for most of these:

1. Focal length: longer lenses are easier to use with peaking, since lenses with a lot of depth of field will highlight too much. (Closer subjects are also more precise with peaking)

2. Focus wide open. If you have an issue with focus shift with your lense, then focus as wide open as you dare, then set your desired aperture prior to snapping the picture.

3. Set the peaking level to low. If the issue is that you see too much focus peaking, setting it to low will help.

4. Combine with magnification to precise focus. I use peaking to get quickly into the right ballpark. Then I magnify and adjust. This is particularly necessary when the critical plane of focus doesn't have the highest contrast features. Some subjects just won't light up. If you want to focus on a face, the eyelashes are easy to peak, but you might want to focus more on the eye itself, or some other feature that won't trigger the effect.

For the rest of these tips (hats off to the other people on the forum who first mentioned these) you want to be shooting raw

5. Set the creative mode to B&W and peaking color to yellow or red (I think yellow works best). Since it is raw anyway, you still produce a color image, but this makes it easier to find the peaking color, since it is the only color in the viewfinder. This is important when you are combining with techniques to only see the plane in focus.

6. Play with the sharpening and contrast controls. Once again, it only impacts jpegs and the viewfinder image. But peaking uses the jpeg engine. Reducing the sharpness also causes less of the peaking effect.Adjust till you are getting the right amount.

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