Not trusting peaking all that much

Started Jul 21, 2014 | Discussions
SaltLakeGuy
SaltLakeGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 13,589
Not trusting peaking all that much

I was playing around yesterday with my new A77MkII and 16-50 f2.8 SSM lens. The lens is dead on with no microadjustments so here's the deal. I noted when in a dimly lit room trying to shoot say a picture, which has a frame of course, that the autofocus was rendering a superior sharp image than manual with peaking shot. So what I'm noting is the peaking (red) shows on the frame, but since their is some depth to the frame the actual picture isn't as sharp as when I autofocus with the center autofocus spot of course dead on the actual image. I don't suppose there is some way to get the peaking to respond to the CENTER of the subject you are shooting as opposed to it's tendency to light up on the fringes or edges of the subject? I was hoping for a better peaking result. However at least my eyesight is excellent as I can ignore the peaking and gently adjust focus so it looks sharpest to my eye, and THAT works perfectly in it's results. What are you folks doing out there for manual focus? Unless I completely missed something there is no special function as in other cameras I've used (Fuji and Panasonic to name a few) where when you go into manual focus it automatically zooms real close to magnify the vew for critical focus. I didn't note that on this camera, so if I missed it please tell me how to find it. Thanks.

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MediaArchivist
MediaArchivist Senior Member • Posts: 3,915
"It depends"...

If the peaking is showing up on the edge of the frame, and that edge is raised from the item in the frame, then focus peaking will (correctly) have identified the edge of the frame as in focus. Other parts of the image may, or may not be in focus as well due to:

  • not being in the same focal plane (closer or further away)
  • focal plane curvature with some lenses

Remember that all focus peaking does is find high contrast edges and "peak" them with color, on the assumption that such well defined edges indicate focus. It is a pretty good assumption, but not always correct. It can be fooled by bright reflections, flare, etc. If your subject is of low contrast, peaking may not help much. Have you tried magnifying first? Peaking still works in magnify focus mode, and this can help with lower contrast areas.

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SaltLakeGuy
OP SaltLakeGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 13,589
Re: "It depends"...

I asked in my question WHERE do you find this "focus magnify"? I found the digital zoom but I have NO idea where the "Focus Magnify" is

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K E Hoffman
K E Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 5,101
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

Need to understand Peaking.. Its reacts to edges.. Some situations will give you false readings.

I have used focus peaking shooting art and plants and it is pretty much dead on and will if I have time give me a bit better than the 70-300G AF (though I may just need to tune the lens more)

But if you look at it in some cases small details or non-organic edges can show as in-focus and not be there.

Its a great tool, but you will need to learn when it can be trusted and when it can't give false readings.

Also some very sharp details don't seem to trigger it.  Shooting macro with my 100mm F2.8 I often get no peaking hints.

Its not so much about trust as understanding..

I shoot DMF when I can.. and yesterday when shooting the flowers in the drizzle FP helped me get better narrow Focus

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K E Hoffman
K E Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 5,101
Re: "It depends"...

SaltLakeGuy wrote:

I asked in my question WHERE do you find this "focus magnify"? I found the digital zoom but I have NO idea where the "Focus Magnify" is

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Its a button mapping thing.. same button as digital zoom / smart teleconverter.. you choose if the camera crops to the magnified area (jpg only) or magnifies fro focus..  I would expect you can map it to some of the other buttons on the A77 II. also.

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<
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SaltLakeGuy
OP SaltLakeGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 13,589
Re: "It depends"...

As always K.E. You da BOMB! Just like you said went to the custom settings and the magnification icon and in the menu was "focus zoom". Nailed it

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nandbytes Senior Member • Posts: 5,950
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

The e-mounts magnifies automatically (only with native lenses) but a-mounts never did that (not sure why). I believe you have already received your answer as to how to magnify in A77m2.

As for focus peaking it takes a bit of getting used to and identifying what its trying to tell you. Its the feature that many manual sony shooters on e-mount swear by (along with that magnification thing). Its just an useful aid

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Chikoo
Chikoo Senior Member • Posts: 1,630
Re: "It depends"...

MediaArchivist wrote:

If the peaking is showing up on the edge of the frame, and that edge is raised from the item in the frame, then focus peaking will (correctly) have identified the edge of the frame as in focus. Other parts of the image may, or may not be in focus as well due to:

  • not being in the same focal plane (closer or further away)
  • focal plane curvature with some lenses

Remember that all focus peaking does is find high contrast edges and "peak" them with color, on the assumption that such well defined edges indicate focus. It is a pretty good assumption, but not always correct. It can be fooled by bright reflections, flare, etc. If your subject is of low contrast, peaking may not help much. Have you tried magnifying first? Peaking still works in magnify focus mode, and this can help with lower contrast areas.

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The assumption is that items in focus will have sharp edges, and hence items with sharp edges are considered to be in focus or at least they will show up clearly on the image.

123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

Focus peaking is a bit an art form. In order to use it best, you have to hunt the focus back and forth, and kind of "feel" where the edges are, and then peg that focus right in the middle of those edges... I can get fairly reliable results doing that.

Ron Poelman
Ron Poelman Veteran Member • Posts: 5,897
Spot on. A quick roll in and roll out....

123Mike wrote:

Focus peaking is a bit an art form. In order to use it best, you have to hunt the focus back and forth, and kind of "feel" where the edges are, and then peg that focus right in the middle of those edges... I can get fairly reliable results doing that.

and you are there;
be it in between, or favouring your choice of front/back.

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Nordstjernen
Nordstjernen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,876
Peaking for quick work, magnification for perfect focus
1

SaltLakeGuy wrote:

I was hoping for a better peaking result.

Focus peaking is great when working fast - you will get good results on the fly when you learn to read the peaking pattern as described by others.

For ultra precise focus there is no other method than just activating the magnification, taking the time needed to get perfect sharpness, and ulitmately use a support for the camera, like a tripod.

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 32,263
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

When you say E Mount cameras magnify automatically with MF I would hope that it's a feature that can be turned off.
--
Tom

Look at the picture, not the pixels
------------
Misuse of the ability to do 100% pixel peeping is the bane of digital photography because it causes people to fret over inconsequential issues.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/63683676@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25301400@N00/

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Nordstjernen
Nordstjernen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,876
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

tbcass wrote:

When you say E Mount cameras magnify automatically with MF I would hope that it's a feature that can be turned off.

Yes, this annoying feature can be turned off!

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AlphaTikal
AlphaTikal Senior Member • Posts: 2,140
Re: "It depends"...

I generally have good experience with focus peaking. But one time, when I was testing my new Sony 35mm f/1.8, the focus was behind the subject. I remember to focused by the help of focus peaking and the result was wrong. I was tach sting my lens wide open aperture f/1.8 for landscape (just to see if it works and to find problem with lens). Still not sure if the lens is ok, but now you talk about, I believe in wrong focus peaking assumption from camera.

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AlphaTikal
AlphaTikal Senior Member • Posts: 2,140
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

My experience is, that focus peaking is working good in most situations, if you need quick manual focusing. But you have to be careful, as it CAN under some circumstances give you false result. Also fine tuning the focus is not easy.
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AlphaTikal
AlphaTikal Senior Member • Posts: 2,140
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

I think, this is called DMF? The Sony A77 or A78 2 can do it with supported lenses, I think. Not sure if you mean this. My Sony A65 can't DMF, but the RX100 can.
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K E Hoffman
K E Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 5,101
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

AlphaTikal wrote:

I think, this is called DMF? The Sony A77 or A78 2 can do it with supported lenses, I think. Not sure if you mean this. My Sony A65 can't DMF, but the RX100 can.
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But you could still get Focus Peaking in Manual Focus..

DMF just allows FP with auto focus when the lens can be shifted to manual focus atomically after reaching focus.

SSM and Screw Drive lenses do this.

I don't think any SAM or SAMII do this could be wrong.

Then Sigma some HSM work like SAM (Sig 17-70 "c" is one of them) and some work like SSM

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<
Don't Panic!.. these are just opinions... go take some pictures..

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AlphaTikal
AlphaTikal Senior Member • Posts: 2,140
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much

I know, I use focus peaking in manual mode quiet a lot. DMF just cuts some steps and I do not need to change to manual focus after each AF and back.
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SaltLakeGuy
OP SaltLakeGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 13,589
Re: Peaking for quick work, magnification for perfect focus
2

I am quickly learning that with the features on this camera it is ALL about practice. Last night I practiced using the peaking in near darkness, and NOW i'm coming up with all winners as I'm now more familiar how to manipulated the focusing so the peaking is right where I want it. It's all good, and indeed the low light performance of the A77MkII is astounding once you've become familiar with it. I was even playing at ISO12800 last night and was shooting subjects in a dim livingroom where I literally could not see any detail regarding the subject, yet the subject exposes so well I can see all the detail as if there was a lot more light on it. What a fun tool. The SSS sure does do a fine job as well as I'm easily shooting at 1/5th sec and nailing good detail with no motion in the shot. This is good stuff

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 32,263
Re: Not trusting peaking all that much
1

tbcass wrote:

When you say E Mount cameras magnify automatically with MF I would hope that it's a feature that can be turned off.

Yes, this annoying feature can be turned off!

It always amazes me when a must have feature for some is something that is disliked by others it's the source of endless arguments on the forums. All features are good as long as they can be ignored or disabled. A great thing about my A77ii is the ability to substitute a useful feature for the, for me, useless creative styles in the Fn menu.
--
Tom

Look at the picture, not the pixels
------------
Misuse of the ability to do 100% pixel peeping is the bane of digital photography because it causes people to fret over inconsequential issues.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/63683676@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25301400@N00/

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