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Thread: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

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    Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    I was wondering how accurate the focus peaking is in the NEX cameras, specifically the NEX 7. I am sure it will yield sharp focus but I guess what I am more curious about is its sensitivity. For example, if you had a razor thin DOF (say with the Noct) and you're shooting a portrait, would you be able to visually see the difference in highlighted areas (on the back of the screen with focus peaking) between focussing on the person's eyes/nose/eyelashes/iris?

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    No.

    If there are jewelry involved, for example, they light up and "peak" than the eyes whether they are in focus or well outside of it.

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    I see. So it doesn't necessarily highlight all areas that are in focus, only some of them?

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by cmace127 View Post
    I was wondering how accurate the focus peaking is in the NEX cameras, specifically the NEX 7. I am sure it will yield sharp focus but I guess what I am more curious about is its sensitivity. For example, if you had a razor thin DOF (say with the Noct) and you're shooting a portrait, would you be able to visually see the difference in highlighted areas (on the back of the screen with focus peaking) between focussing on the person's eyes/nose/eyelashes/iris?
    I find it works very well for focusing on the iris.

    There a few tricks to focus peaking. The first is dialing it in. Not only does the peaking level influence the amount of peaking, but so do your jpeg contrast and sharpness settings. I prefer Neutral creative style with -3 contrast, + 3 sharpness, and peaking level set to "low," but YMMV.

    The second trick is what to look for. You basically have to look at a single point when focusing, rather than viewing how the peaking influences the whole scene. Imagine that you just have one AF focus point, like on a DSLR. When you narrow in on looking at just the iris, and ignore the peaking in the rest of the frame, you can watch the peaking swell up and down in the iris and shoot when it is at its highest.

    With the above recommendations, I rarely need to use focus magnification. I think a lot of users get confused by peaking, because there can often be peaking all over the scene at various levels. Ignore all of that, and, just like using single point AF in a DSLR, focus on one little point in the frame and how peaking affects that little point, and you'll be fine.

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by cmace127 View Post
    I see. So it doesn't necessarily highlight all areas that are in focus, only some of them?

    Anything and everything has a high contrast will be "peaked".

    If the eyes are the only ones then they will be "peaked".

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    I forgot to mention, you also have to pay keen attention to how much the iris (or whatever you're focusing on) is "peaked." I always leave my lenses focused at infinity, pick the small detail that I'm focusing on, rack focus until the peaking swells up in that area and then goes away, and then quickly pull back focus to where the peaking swelled up the most. This lets me see just how much "peaking" swells up in the object that I'm focusing on. Just because you see peaking in an object doesn't mean that it is in focus. You have to pick the moment where that object is the "most peaked."

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Thats a good description of the process.

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Thanks douglasf13 and Vivek for clearing that up for me. I guess the next step is for me to try it out myself! Any reason why you keep your lesnes focused at infinity douglasf13?

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Always starting at infinity is just good manual focus technique. It allows you to develop consistency, and most of your lenses focus range is compressed on that end of the scale, so going, say, from infinity down to 8ft. requires a lot less movement than going from your minimum focus distance to 8ft. After every shot, I reset by setting the lens to infinity (unless I'm doing a bunch of close up stuff and I'm not in a hurry.)

    Keep in mind that it took me several weeks to start feeling really comfortable with peaking, so stick with it. Plus, you've always got focus magnification to save you if you have more time.

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Always starting at infinity is just good manual focus technique. It allows you to develop consistency, and most of your lenses focus range is compressed on that end of the scale, so going, say, from infinity down to 8ft. requires a lot less movement than going from your minimum focus distance to 8ft. After every shot, I reset by setting the lens to infinity (unless I'm doing a bunch of close up stuff and I'm not in a hurry.)
    Yes, I have developed the same habit from my Leica rangefinder days. I depend on having an optimal hard stop infinity setting for knowing it will give me the best focused infinity sharpness.

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by JimBuchanan View Post
    Yes, I have developed the same habit from my Leica rangefinder days. I depend on having an optimal hard stop infinity setting for knowing it will give me the best focused infinity sharpness.
    There can be problems with that on NEX and M adapters. Say, with my Nokton 35/1.4 lens, focusing a little past infinity sharpens up the corners, at the expense of center resolution, and it's nice to have the option. Plus, my M lenses are calibrated slightly different for infinity, so I'd need several M adapters. No matter, I'm actually selling nearly all of my M lenses on ebay right now, in favor of Contax G lenses, and there isn't an infinity hard stop with G lenses on NEX, unless I get them converted to M. Still, it's pretty easy to quickly get a feel of where infinity is with the G lenses.

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    There can be problems with that on NEX and M adapters. Say, with my Nokton 35/1.4 lens, focusing a little past infinity sharpens up the corners, at the expense of center resolution, and it's nice to have the option.
    So, does that mean that the field curvature of the 35/1.4 curves out at the edges?

    The Heliar 15 had apparent field curvature inward at the edges. So, I had that lens adjusted to just barely get to infinity center frame, so as to help the edges. Stopped down to the requisite f/5.6 or f/8 gave a better overall IQ.

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    Re: Question about Focus Peaking on the NEX cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by JimBuchanan View Post
    So, does that mean that the field curvature of the 35/1.4 curves out at the edges?

    The Heliar 15 had apparent field curvature inward at the edges. So, I had that lens adjusted to just barely get to infinity center frame, so as to help the edges. Stopped down to the requisite f/5.6 or f/8 gave a better overall IQ.
    Yeah, you actually have to focus the center PAST infinity to sharpen up the corners. LOL Plus, my ZM 35/2 nails infinity focus with a couple of my adapter, but my other lenses don't quite reach infinity to various degrees. Outside of using a different M adapter for each lens, I just deal with most of them going slightly past infinity. With the Contax G lenses, there isn't much choice, as they all focus well past infinity (unless you convert them to M mount.)

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