To Peak or not to peak.....that is the question...

idoblu

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Aug 16, 2011
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hi guys

how are you boys and girls doing in manual focus land? do you peak or do you use the focus assist magnification?
i have tried peaking and sometimes hitting the focus assist button. i find the focus peaking is not really working out for me.
its not accurate and all the shimmering is messing up my composition as well
 

Bugleone

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Aug 21, 2011
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Yes, I agree with this. Personally I find the 'manual focus assist' more than adequate, but then I am very used to manual focus cameras and actually prefer manual focus for most photo work. When using tele lenses against natural background for natural history subjects I have found teh peaking to be more or a hinderance than a help,...but that's probably just me!
 

macjim

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Yes, I agree with this. Personally I find the 'manual focus assist' more than adequate, but then I am very used to manual focus cameras and actually prefer manual focus for most photo work. When using tele lenses against natural background for natural history subjects I have found teh peaking to be more or a hinderance than a help,...but that's probably just me!
Excuse my ignorance but what is the manual focus assist? I'm still awaiting my NEX-5N coming into stock at Jacobs Glasgow to fulfil my pre-order.


Cheers, Macjim.
 

macjim

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And what does it show to allow you to focus, is it the peaking feature or does it work like a rangefinder?


Cheers, Macjim.
 

idoblu

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Nope not like rangefinder. It just zooms in for a bigger picture so you can see if it's sharp or blur.
 

Phoenix

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It really comes down to personal preference I guess. I used to use the manual focus assist a lot prior to firmware v.4 adding the peaking function. While very good, I found the manual focus assist a bit awkward to use at times as I cannot assign it to soft key A (button on the upper right of the LCD) where my thumb would usually rest, it also made focusing just a bit slower (though I dont mind) as I had to compose, focus, manual assist, (sometimes)focus again, take the shot. The peaking function on the other hand I use more of a "guide" to focusing rather than relying on it, I just focus as normal and anything that I want in focus is confirmed by the red outline from the peaking function.

I still use the manual focus assist nowadays even with peaking, I use it on high contrast subjects, low light, and on subjects that would produce moiré that would confuse the peaking function. We all have our own personal preference and just go with what works for you, I reckon this'll get better with the 5N's viewfinder accessory and the 7's built in viewfinder :)
 

heatherthevet

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Aug 13, 2011
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At the moment I have the peaking on moderate, I use it to get into the right ball park then go for the 7x magnification to fine tune. Generally seems to work okay for me, but I'm still pretty slow.
 

serhan

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I was also checking the photos that I took with peaking and didn't find it accurate with fast lenses. These were shots inside the home with a moving cat so it might be better with still photos. But then you can use the magnification with still photos. Magnification is better for focus but then you loose the whole photo and it is not the fastest. Panasonic m43 and Ricoh has the small focus area magnification while keeping the whole photo. I don't know that might make it easier for full time manual focusing.
 

davect01

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both

I use both systems. The peaking is a good quick check, but the manual focus magnification allows me to double check, if I have the time that is.

The biggest problem with the peaking is sometimes the color I selected does not show up so well against what I am shooting.
 

Travisennis

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Aug 7, 2011
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I use both depending on my aims. If I want to quickly focus something using zone focusing, then focus peaking works a charm, but if I need critical focusing I use the focus magnification. Also, I find that if you shoot RAW, then you can set your LCD to b&w and the focus peaking color to red and it is much easier to see the peaking highlights.
 

idoblu

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Aug 16, 2011
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Of course one always has to be careful not to peak too early...
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

bosker

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Sep 8, 2011
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Northern Virginia, USA
The focus peaking function is what really attracted me to the Sony NEX platform. I have a m43 pen camera but I was always reluctant to use manual focus lenses because I never used a EVF and the zoom magnification was always too shaky for me. So far with the 5N and shooting black and white with peaking set to high (red color) I can shoot from waist level without too much effort. This makes it great for street shooting IMO. I have noticed it can be more challenging to get super sharp focus when using shallow f-stops, stopping the lens down tends to have better results.

I am still playing with everything but I have never tried using the magnification method on the Sony, just assumed it would be too shaky and inefficient for shooting on the go like the Pen. However I will have to give it a go to really see how it does.
 

madmaxmedia

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Sep 30, 2011
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Los Angeles
The peaking is a great tool but not foolproof by any stretch. I still use the MF magnification even though I leave focus peaking on at all times with MF lenses.

There are times you don't have time to MF magnify, and the focus peaking at the very least greatly improves your chances of getting a good shot. The effectiveness will vary depending on what's in the frame, but overall it seems implemented very well.

Other times you have a bit more time, and MF magnification is great for make SURE you have nailed the focus.
 

robertro

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Aug 8, 2011
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I find that the peaking focus indicator is reasonably accurate, and extremely fast to use. For on-the-move photography and for video, I rely on it exclusively. This includes working with lenses in the f1.2-f2 range. When I shoot, a slight racking of the focus ring back and forth usually helps me converge on the ideal point for focus very quickly. When I first had the NEX-5, I did some rapid-focus testing with various lenses and close/medium/far subjects and found that my rate of in-focus shots was very high - this convinced me to keep it.

I'd say that it is as accurate and fast to focus as an old manual focus 35mm SLR body; that's to to say not perfect, but very good. YMMV.
 

adanac

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Sep 30, 2011
Messages
51
Is there a way to disable the peaking by assigning a menu item to one of the buttons such that it could be toggled off and on? Some subjects end up being a mass of shimmering light; it'd be nice to turn it off once focused then to aide composition.
 

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