Robin Wong Jumps the Shark!

Started Mar 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
SteB Veteran Member • Posts: 4,496
Re: Peter Sills Jumps the Shark!

Bilgy_no1 wrote:

Peter Sills wrote:

I've been following Robin's very well written review of the OMD EM5 on his blog. While I thought they were very informative, I was also a bit concerned that they were a bit too ebullient towards the camera. A bit over the top - well he is an admitted "fan-boy" of micro 4/3rds. So, no problem.

That is until Part 3 of his review where he basically calls Sony's Focus Peaking feature worthless for macro work. Now this is also with onlyusing the feature briefly, his own admission, so let me see if I can correct him.

You really simplify Robin's comment on focus peaking. Here's what he says:

"I have tried the focus peaking, and to be honest I was not too impressed by it so far (perhaps it could be improved further). For general manual focusing, it works, but for macro photography where high magnification is prioritized, the focus peaking does not really deliver."

According to your own words, you don't shoot a lot of macro work, so your experience with focus peaking fits with Robin's comment that it works for general manual focusing.

Well I do quite a lot of macro photography and have for a long time. I have taken shots handheld at 10:1. I'm pretty certain peaking could be very useful for handheld macro photography, and magnified view is next to useless for handheld higher magnification macro photography, because you need to see the entire frame. At higher magnifications the viewfinder on even an SLR with a bright viewfinder becomes dark. It gets very difficult to see where the plane of focus is and you have to guessimate it. The diffiulct trick to pull off, is composing and framing a shot, whilst placing critical focus to a fraction of a millimetere, whilst simultaneously trying to get the magic angle with the plane of focus. You can't dwell too much on any one factor. If you concentrate to much on framing, you miss focus, concentrate too much on the precise focus point and your framing is out.

I admit I have not tried focus peaking outside of a shop, but others have tried it out for me and said it worked okay. It is ridiculous that I would have to either buy or loan a Nex to try it out. I can get an external LCD monitor for less than £200 with peaking on it, so it's not exactly rocket science or difficult to implement.

I've looked at some video's showing the feature at work, and what I noticed is that it sometimes shows a very large area to be in focus, e.g. an entire car from back to front. That may work street photography and stopped down, but it may not work well for macro where focus does need to be extremely precise. The coloured overlay of the peaking mode may even be too distractive to see properly.

Actually this is less of a problem in macro photography. What I do when I can't judge precise focus is to look for where something goes completely out of focus either side of the plane of focus, and to guessimate where the plane of focus is between these two points. The DOF is so shallow at 3:1 or more that anything more than a few mm either side of the subject is completely oof.

This gives an impression of how shallow the DOF is. I only use this because it is one of the few full resolution files I have hosted. It is I think about 3.5:1 and the fly is probably less than 10mm long. The nominal aperture is f11, but the effective aperture is closer to f50. Note how radiply the DOF drops off.

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