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Focus peaking - how fast can you focus?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by dhazeghi, May 31, 2014.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    So here's a question for the manual focus aficionados in these parts - using focus peaking, how quickly can you achieve accurate focus?

    In particular, I'm wondering about fast lenses and precision vs. using magnified view. Is focus peaking just a nice option for getting approximate focus, or is it good enough to (for example) focus a 50mm lens at f/1.2 in a few seconds? Thanks!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I think its good enough to focus a 50/1.2 in a few seconds. This could be dependent on subject of course. In some frames you can see the focus plane moving back and forth and this makes it easy to stop on your subject. In some setups, it is not quite so clear. For me, focus peaking has brought mf lenses back as a viable option. Using the magnified view was far more cumbersome IMO.
  3. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    it is helpful but there is a learning curve,So you still get FP effect even in non- focused areas especially sharp edged items. There is a little back and forth but sharp focus is where the features achieve maximum definition. It is better than auto focus for soft objects such as animals eyes.
  4. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    I use focus peaking with native and MF adapted lenses. Accurate focus can be achieved as quickly as with any film SLR or RF camera. Focus peaking works well in the majority of situations - I would guess 95% of the time or more. It is difficult to use in very low contrast situations. In these cases the in focus area highlights are a bit hard to see due to their small size. As nuclearboy stated, you can see the focus plane move as you adjust the lens. It works well with the 25/1.4. The fastest adapted lens I have used with FP was a Voigtländer 50/1.5 Nokton. I have not used FP with the EM1, but have found it to be well implemented in the GX7 and GH4. I don't believe I would using MF and adapted lenses if it were not for focus peaking.

  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Okay, that's what I was hoping to hear. The nice thing about the old split prism focusing screen was that there never was any doubt (with a fast lens) when focal plane was on the subject. With magnified live view by comparison, I find myself having to go back and forth several times to assure myself that I've found the exact point where the details in the magnified area are at their sharpest. A couple of seconds is pretty much perfect.

    Hmm... So what you're saying is that the areas of maximum contrast sometimes don't correspond to the areas in the focal plane? It seems like that could be a serious limitations.

    That's sort of what I'm wondering about. I've basically given up on adapted lenses, even though they can be inexpensive fun, because the aggravation of not being able to get accurate focus (or getting it long after the subject has disappeared). If focus peaking can change that, I'm thinking it'd be worth my while to get a newer body that supports it.
  6. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    I usually can tell if focus is OK without the peaking hack if I need to speedily focus some of my lenses. The peaking hack is the next stage of precision, followed by a 5x mag and then a 14x if I really, really need that shot more than I need the time spent to focus. Generally the progression is to jump to 5x before anything else. I find it effective enough to use on moderately predictable moving subjects (Birds, aircraft)

    Realistically it doesn't take more than 2-3 seconds to achieve focus to 5x for me, especially with high contrast stuff. That and I have more reliability which means more speed in my case than I have had on the D200 with the center AF point.
  7. zap

    zap Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2012
    just applied amin's focus peaking to my em5 and epl5... will need more practice as i want to use it on my samyang 7.5 as my manual focusing on that lens is not optimal yet...
  8. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Yes. And this is something no one is saying. You have to find the area of maximum focus peaking to get the best results and this can be influenced by the texture of the object.
  9. Reesebass

    Reesebass Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    2 secs sounds about right. It's really easy when the lens is wide open (below F3.5), stopped down from 2.8 and onwards it get's a bit confusing. Sometimes i prefer magnified view. Hopefully electronic viewfinders get crisp enough so focus peaking and magnified view won't be needed.
  10. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    Exactly. In good light you can do without focus peaking if your eyesight is OK, but in poor lighting conditions things become blurry also because of noise. With some practice (having used and focused film cameras with MF lenses before helps), you can definitely get below two seconds if you've "learnt" your lens. Sometimes however it's just not possible to rotate the ring quick enough without putting too much momentum on it and skipping past the focus zone, the closer you're focusing the worse it gets.

    I personally don't find the Olympus' implementation the best one out there, with an outline only and a choice of black and white only. You should be able to use a more unnatural colour that's not often found in your scene such as red/blue/green. The Lumix implementation looks a bit better to me.

    So, FP can be very effective in many situations, especially with middle to long distances, but less so with close-ups or macros where the peaking artifacts can overlap the fine details you want to focus on.

    ..but think of all the run and gun video camera operators out there, they have no focus pullers to do the dirty work and have had no focus peaking or focus assist for many years.
  11. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    I've not quite decided if I really think FP is useful. First because the screen is so laggy when FP is enabled, second because I have a tendency to back-focus when I use it. Most of the time I use magnified view, and high magnification for fairly static or slow moving subjects and low magnification for BIF. I sometimes use FP when I don't really need critical focus.
  12. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    You have an Olympus Rasmus? They have the worst FP implementation currently amongst the mirrorless crew.
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks for the comments. I would be using it on an Olympus camera, for lenses on a SpeedBooster (or more likely, one of the Chinese focal reducers), particularly a 35/1.4 and an 85/1.4 (which would become a 25/1.0 and 60/1.0, respectively). I need to be able to focus relatively quickly because most of the use would be for human subjects.
  14. tuxxdk

    tuxxdk Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2014
    Nevertheless I've found FP a godsend when using my old MF Micro-Nikkor at makro distances. Wouldn't miss it for the world.
  15. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    Patrick Kristiansen
    Judging by the em1, I personally don't really care for peaking. What I do find, though, is that the evf on the em1 is detailed enough for me to effectively nail focus on quite a high rate with fast manual glass like 50f1.4 and 90f2. I use magview when in doubt, but often find it is spot on. Practice is a keyword here I think, and I've had plenty with my one year old daughter:) 

    Patrick K
  16. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    With a good EVF, manual focus is pretty easy. I used the magnification with my GX1 prior to getting the LVF2, and it worked, but slowly. Manual focus that way, using the LCD, was never that fun. With the LVF2, however, I can usually focus pretty fast. Particularly I shoot sometimes in low light using an adapted Hexanon 50mm f1.4 in RAW+JPG set to B&W with sharpness at +2, and I can usually get focus inside of a couple seconds. And this is without focus peaking.
  17. jamesgehrt

    jamesgehrt Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2014
    Easthampton, Massachusetts
    James Gehrt
    My new gx7 has focus peeking and I love it. I didn't think I would. I use an 1990's 70 -210 AF Nikon zoom lens for my daughter's soccer games. Maybe 1 out of 5 shots I'll miss the focus, but the peeking really lets me know when I have it locked in. I am able to shoot 200mm at 5.6 @ 1/10000 of a second. I am actually shocked how well it works. I get enough good shots that I will not be investing in a long zoom MFT lens.
  18. Does anyone have a good side by side comparison of FP on the GX7 vs the M1 (am I right in assuming the M1 and PEN P-5 share the same FP implementation?)? How do they differ? Are there different modes to chose from in how it works on either camera?
  19. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    I have tried to like FP with my EM5, EP5 and the GX7 I had and sold. Basically, I cannot get reliably spot-on focus with that feature. The magnification works better for me but it's no panacea either. No way it's a good and easy to use as the RF system of my R-D1 or the old split prism systems of my old SLRs... Unfortunately, my vision is just not good enough to get perfect focus with the EVF or the screen. Like others have said, I think it's all about practice with whatever system one uses.
  20. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    Patrick Kristiansen
    I also found the lower resolution of the em5's evf made it diffucult to focus manually and accurately. The em1's evf works much better for me:)  check it out, or a vf4.

    Patrick K
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