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11-08-2012, 05:19 PM   #1
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Focus peaking

I now have focus peaking on my Q and my K-30. Trouble is I still don't really understand how to use it. With no beep or light I'm having trouble in knowing exactly what I am looking for. I can obviously see changes when it gets close but what am I exactly looking for when it nails it?

11-08-2012, 05:32 PM   #2
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Basically, stuff that's in focus gets outlined. So you're looking to make sure that what you want to be in focus is outlined

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11-09-2012, 02:32 AM   #3
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In theory yes - but I don't think it's that cut and dried as there are lots of highlighted areas in and around where you are looking for focus. It's not like it appears with a snap like the bleep!
11-09-2012, 07:52 AM   #4

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Hi dc1500,

The "in focus" area with Peaking is a vertical plane a given distance from the plane of the sensor, plus some distance in front of the focus plane, and some distance in back of the focus plane due to DOF for the lens at the given distance and aperture. The ratio of the distance in front of the plane to the distance in back of the plane is about 1:2 -- in other words, DOF generally includes 2 units in back of a "nailed focus" for every 1 unit in front. To really nail the focus, you need to see some of the outlining from Peaking in front of your intended focus plane, and some in back, if that's possible. Due to the deep DOF of Q system lenses with the small sensor, especially as the distance from the camera to the subject gets larger, this gets harder to see. Also, as the light levels decrease and/or contrast decreases, it also becomes harder to distinguish the Peaking advantage. Different lenses, with different contrast and sharpness characteristics also add variables into the mix.

This is a focusing aid, not a focus indicator, and for me at least, is more applicable when my priorities put speed over absolute accuracy.

For absolute accuracy, there's really no substitute for your eyes, IMO. Using the (2x or 4x) magnification focusing aid alone, and perhaps even an LCD loupe is better, but YMMV. With extremely shallow DOF however, like macro and extreme tele shooting with the Q, Peaking will pretty easily give you both speed and accuracy.

Try using it in bright light outdoors first, with relatively fast lenses at closer distances and max aperture to minimize DOF. Take small numbers of shots, noting where you think the focus plane should be using Peaking, and as soon as possible (so your memory is freshest) look at the shots on your computer to see how effective you actually were in gaining critical focus where you wanted it. You should get an idea of what you need to do relatively quickly. From there, you can start to extrapolate what you've learned to different scenes and scenarios.

It has taken me a while to get the hang of using Peaking effectively in my shooting -- probably at least 500 shots to really "get it", and I consider myself a rather quick study. . .


11-09-2012, 08:07 AM   #5
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Thanks Scott - very useful and interesting info. I will stick with it as I am right at the beginning and like most things - you have to put the time in to learn!

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