focus peaking fails me sometimes

Started Nov 21, 2011 | Discussions
kev777zero Senior Member • Posts: 1,680
focus peaking fails me sometimes

the online videos of focus peaking for NEX made it seem like it'll make MF as quick & easy as AF. However in practice it's far from perfect.

I've only shot MF using a 50mm 1.8 legacy lens wide open in difficult lighting situations thus far, so that might explain why. What usually happens w/ focus-peaking is that the red spots rarely appears on the subject's eyes, or even face. I think the red dots only appear when a part of the image is in focus AND when there is light shining on it to create contrast. Plus you can go back & forth w/ the focus ring a tiny bit & still have red dots on the same spot.

It's still an exciting feature but you'll definitely need MF assist at times. Hopefully future firmware updates would make it useable for 100% quick & easy accurate focus everytime for those who were born after AF cameras were invented

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tsammyc Contributing Member • Posts: 654
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

I've found that focus peaking works with manual focus assist, but you have to use an EVF to see the tiny dots. With the EVF, I've been able to focus very precisely especially for macros.

zygh Senior Member • Posts: 1,798
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

depends on what your expectations are. afaic, I never expected the peaking functionality to provide a complete solution to accurately focusing manual glass on-the-fly. however, what I find is that, doh!, practice makes perfect and it can get a bit confusing especially when shooting wide open on account of the facts you mention (dots not accurate enough, dof concerns).

however, had this function not been implemented with the Nex cameras, I would have probably never got one as I use manual glass exclusively with. focus assist just does not do it when shooting from the hip, fast paced, no time to accurately focus, barely enough time to focus type situations.

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random78 Regular Member • Posts: 284
Have you tried changing peaking level?

You can try using a higher peaking level and see if that helps.

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SoulNibbler Regular Member • Posts: 299
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

Reduce the sharpening in your jpeg settings. This will make peaking more precise. Also, the quip about AF is dumb, as there isn't a method other than active rangfinding that works in low contrast.
Though I admit having a projector like the Kinetic would be pretty great for AF.

John Bean (UK) Forum Pro • Posts: 18,035
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

It's worth remembering that peaking is looking only for contrast - and this is often exactly what is lacking in many legacy fast primes.

Peaking is a manual focus aid , not a panacea.

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costinius Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

Focus peaking works best with the magnification function (x4.8 or x9.5) - you can get really accurate results, in some instances much more accurate than the kit lens' AF.

Also, I've managed to get pretty accurate focus with the moving objects if you do it right - focus on the moving object, shift the focus a bit in the direction of the movement, and shoot 3-4 images continuously - the object will "come" into the right focus itself on one of the images. Requires some getting used to though...

davect01 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,682
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

You can make the feature stronger or heavier. I prefer it on the lightest setting, I seem to get the best results, but it can be hard to see sometimes.

Also you have three different color choices. I keep mine on yellow most of the time, sees the best for me. However experiment with the three choices.

Experiment a little. As you said it is not always perfect, so if you can use the magnification feature. A hint if your subject is a person, focus on their eyes.

Manually focusing is fun, and enjoyable. However if you miss the focus of a shot, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you know there is going to be a lot of action, a stock lens is still your best bet, until you feel more comfortable that is.
Novice photobug, proud NEX-3 owner

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 31,255
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

For me, peaking is for fast manual focus needs, not for accuracy when I have the time to concentrate on a shot. If you're shooting a portrait of someone, or have the time to sit patiently and work the focus ring, then magnification is going to be the better and more accurate tool to rely on - possibly in combination with peaking. However, for me peaking is what I use when I need to shoot manually on the fly, in short time, or of a moving subject - it allows me to quickly eye the focus in a second or two, and fire a shot knowing I've put the subject into the focus area, even if the subject is smaller or more distant - something I could not possibly do just looking at the LCD normally, and if using the magnification mode would lose the shot opportunity before I could even get the subject lined up and begin focusing.

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Jack A. Zucker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,539
Re: focus peaking fails me sometimes

Focus peaking only seems to work if there are enough high contrast highlights in the area you are focusing in. It's an aid but not a panacea.

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