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View Full Version : Focus peaking - problems hopefully solved! (E-P5 too?)


Ian
13th September 2013, 10:13 AM
Last night at the e-group meet in London we had problems getting focus peaking to work with some Sigma Four Thirds lenses (from memory a 50-500 Bigma and a 150 Macro).

For some reason the standard focus peaking mode that works with Olympus lenses didn't seem to work with the Sigma lenses.

I don't have any Sigma lenses here but I do have a Four Thirds Panasonic Lumix L1 so I borrowed the Leica 14-50 f/3.8-5.6 kit lens off that. It worked normally with the focus-peaking mode that is selectable from the MF-Assist menu (which also includes the auto-magnify for critical focus option).

There is, however, a second way of using focus peaking and it's for manual focus legacy lenses of all types. Like many of the E-M1's additional modes you need to assign the mode to a function button. Last night I just couldn't find the focus peaking option in any of the button programming choices I tried. But near the end of the evening I think it was Simon Knee who pointed out that he had got it working.

This morning I had no problems at all finding the focus-peaking option to assign to any of the function buttons I tried so it's really weird that I couldn't last night!

Anyway, once assigned to function button that button becomes a toggle switch so press once for peaking on and again for it to be switched off. No matter what lens is fitted, as long as you can manually change focus with this version of peaking active, you can see where sharpest focus is highlighted in real time.

I haven't used the 50-500 and 150 Sigmas for a long time but I believe they have mechanically linked focusing rings so manual focus will work like a manual lens (please correct me if I am wrong) and so peaking should work.

Ian

David Morison
13th September 2013, 10:42 AM
Good news, looking forward to using it with my Canon 400 plus 1.4x.

David

Ian
13th September 2013, 10:46 AM
I must admit I simply hadn't got around to using focus peaking, even with the E-P5 I have have had for a couple of months now although I had a brief play on the Panasonic GX7 last month.

Been playing with it this morning and it's certainly going to be useful. Works nicely with my 50mm f/1.4 OM Zuiko :)

Ian

simonknee
13th September 2013, 03:12 PM
I can't claim credit. It was the the chap with an OM lens on a cheap wobbly adaptor... :)

David Morison
13th September 2013, 03:21 PM
I must admit I simply hadn't got around to using focus peaking, even with the E-P5 I have have had for a couple of months now although I had a brief play on the Panasonic GX7 last month.

Been playing with it this morning and it's certainly going to be useful. Works nicely with my 50mm f/1.4 OM Zuiko :)

Ian

I have the same lens - can't wait!

David

birdboy
13th September 2013, 06:27 PM
Thanks Ian I have done a bit of googling as well and have studied the manual in a bit more depth. It seems that activating the focus peaking from the customised menu is not the same as assigning a button to it :eek:

On my E5 I set the front preview button for MF. The typical situation where I would use this is when there is a bird in the bush I would be in one of the AF modes so would use that to snap to the nearest twigg and then flip into MF. It would make sense to me for the camera, if focus peaking has been enabled in the custom menu for that to be sufficient to enable whatever lens you have on. To have to press another button to enable peaking does not seem right. I would suspect that this is a software bug and that the programmer forgot to link the settings.

Some very seasoned reviewers have misreported this very useful feature.

Ian
13th September 2013, 06:35 PM
You can leave focus peaking on all the time if you wish but it reduces the display refresh and I think it looks a bit unpleasant for extended periods.

I am still surprised that focus peaking doesn't seem to work with your Sigmas like it does with all other Four Thirds lenses I have tried. But they are not fly-by-wire or SWD lenses, so that may be the explanation.

There are of course two front buttons on the E-M1 and you could assign one to MF and the other to peaking and press them almost simultaneously.

Ian

birdboy
13th September 2013, 08:37 PM
It still seems that there is some considerable uncertainty over how focus peaking works. The Sigma 50-500mm was a lens specifically built to work as an AF fully electronic lens with the FT body. On Thursday I believe that there were mFT pany lens that were unable to get peaking to work as they should. Oly needs to look at this.

birdboy
21st September 2013, 06:05 PM
My fears about focus peaking have been resolved.

I have been to LCE Colchester today with the said sigma and yes it does work. Claire Voyle from Olympus was there and had already mapped the focus peaking to one of the from functions buttons. Like the MF assist magnification feature the focus peaking only highlights while you turn the focus screw. It has occurred to me that a feature that might be useful would be if the highlighting was to be able to be switched on and off. A BIF could then be tracked and when the highlight comes up in the right place take the shot.

timd1230
21st September 2013, 06:26 PM
We're you the gent with the sigma. Who was before me- if so a pleasure to meet you

Tim

birdboy
21st September 2013, 06:30 PM
We're you the gent with the sigma. Who was before me- if so a pleasure to meet you

Tim

It was pleasure to meet with you also, did not know that there were that many Oly users round this neck of the woods.

Yes Tim sounds like me was there between 11am -12:30 ish.

You were the one with Zuiko 9-18mm ?

John

timd1230
21st September 2013, 06:40 PM
no had the 50-200 and 150 f2 - think you were the gent who had the pics of the seagull in flight

Tim

birdboy
21st September 2013, 06:57 PM
Yes I remember which one now. I was thrown because you said that I was before you when I think you came in before me but was not in a rush as you had an arsenal of lens to test.:) Thanks for that as found our conversations very useful.

John

timd1230
21st September 2013, 07:07 PM
No problem john - think I was there about 2 hours in total - seriously impressed with the shop and staff - popped a piece in the dealer forum.

I found the focus tracking worked great for my purposes - spent about 20 mins tracking people walking down the lane - was even allowed out to play on my own with the camera.

David M
21st September 2013, 07:30 PM
Someone want to explain what focus peaking is?

birdboy
21st September 2013, 09:13 PM
Someone want to explain what focus peaking is?

Its an aide for people who want to use MF David could be aimed at you. *chr What it does it to cast a white or black shadow (you choose from the menu)around the bit that comes into focus as you turn the focus ring. It seems to work with any lens as it uses the sensor not sure if it uses a phase difference or contrast but would guess its contrast. If you get to play with an EM1 make sure you ask about focus peaking and get them to show it in use. From the little play I have had this seems really useful as I have mapped the preview button on my E5 to switch to MF for those occasions when there is a bird in a bush or a wild cat near a fence etc. My eyes are not what they use to be for MF so this really helps. Hope this basic explanation helps.
John

StephenL
21st September 2013, 09:20 PM
I tried focus peaking but couldn't see the effect. Must be my eyes.

birdboy
21st September 2013, 09:43 PM
I tried focus peaking but couldn't see the effect. Must be my eyes.

Either it sound like it was not enabled or the edge enhancement was set to the same colour as what you were trying to focus. You have to assign a button to focus peaking for it to work (p100 od manual) selecting it from the menu option only seems to work with mFT lenses. If you are focusing on something that is whitish then you would need to select the black edge enhancement (p93 of manual)

David M
21st September 2013, 09:46 PM
Thanks, that actually sound like a useful feature for a change.

birdboy
21st September 2013, 09:52 PM
Thanks, that actually sound like a useful feature for a change.

Yes David it does sound useful. I can only liken it to the days pre AF and the OM1 split screen focusing.
John

David M
21st September 2013, 10:00 PM
Shooting everything from ultra-wide to supertelephoto I had plain screens in all my OM bodies.

birdboy
21st September 2013, 10:06 PM
Actually the OM1 was not mine but my girl friend who is now my wife and she used to take pictures of tennis stars. I just took a shine to the OM1 until we went APS then digital. Did you ever use the split screen on any of your OM bodies? If not I think you may have missed a treat.

David M
21st September 2013, 10:21 PM
I used split-image/microprism for a few years before I started shooting long lenses. The focusing aids blacked out with telephotos so you had to use the plain section of the screen.

Ross the fiddler
21st September 2013, 11:18 PM
I am still surprised that focus peaking doesn't seem to work with your Sigmas like it does with all other Four Thirds lenses I have tried. But they are not fly-by-wire or SWD lenses, so that may be the explanation.
Ian

It may also have something to do with the AF-MF switch on the lens not reporting to the camera in the same way as selecting it in body & that goes for the ZD70-300 lens too (which also is suspected to be Sigma & this lens will not trigger MF Assist on the E-M5 if MF is selected from the switch instead of from within the body). The Sigma 150 macro lens is a HSM drive which appears to be similar to SWD lenses with the mechanically linked (clutch) focus ring. Could it be that Olympus didn't allow for a lens AF/MF switch in their pin assignments with the 4/3's mount? Either way, it would be good if these lenses were recognised when using MF for Focus Peaking etc. (even if the focus assignment has to be from the body selection rather than the lens switch).

StephenL
22nd September 2013, 07:42 AM
Either it sound like it was not enabled or the edge enhancement was set to the same colour as what you were trying to focus. You have to assign a button to focus peaking for it to work (p100 od manual) selecting it from the menu option only seems to work with mFT lenses. If you are focusing on something that is whitish then you would need to select the black edge enhancement (p93 of manual)
Oh, it was enabled and others were using it with success on the same camera.

StephenL
22nd September 2013, 07:44 AM
I used split-image/microprism for a few years before I started shooting long lenses. The focusing aids blacked out with telephotos so you had to use the plain section of the screen.
I love the split image/microprism on my Bronica. Now that's what I call a viewfinder!

ian p
22nd September 2013, 08:48 AM
I presume you have the prism finder. Otherwise I imagine it would be fun taking portrait orientation shots with the waist level finder.

StephenL
22nd September 2013, 09:05 AM
I presume you have the prism finder. Otherwise I imagine it would be fun taking portrait orientation shots with the waist level finder.

Indeed! There would be some contortions!

birdboy
22nd September 2013, 09:12 AM
Oh, it was enabled and others were using it with success on the same camera.

I am puzzled why it did not work for you. Which lens were you trying? I take it that you were in MF and turned the focus ring. I think the enabling of this feature is a bit strange. Having it enabled from the menu is not enough it has to be assigned to a button and if you change camera settings it needs re-toggling. So my question to you was it assigned to a button and did you toggled the button.
John

StephenL
22nd September 2013, 09:25 AM
I am puzzled why it did not work for you. Which lens were you trying? I take it that you were in MF and turned the focus ring. I think the enabling of this feature is a bit strange. Having it enabled from the menu is not enough it has to be assigned to a button and if you change camera settings it needs re-toggling. So my question to you was it assigned to a button and did you toggled the button.
John
Don't lose any sleep over it. It was a quick trial in a shop, and as I say others were using the camera also, so I don't know what the settings were. I will wait till I get my own camera then I can play with it at leisure. But thanks anyway. :)

David M
22nd September 2013, 01:06 PM
The Bronny ETRS was my favourite medium format camera but you did need a prism finder. I liked WLF on 'Blads and Mamiya C's as they were 6x6 but didn't like the cameras as much.

deckitout
22nd September 2013, 01:29 PM
My fave Medium format Camera was the Mamiya RB67, it had a revolving back, totally manual, things were so simple back then.

Phil

deckitout
22nd September 2013, 01:33 PM
So on this focus peaking mode, as you stop down do you see the in focus areas increase as in the focus lines spreading across the image, or would that only show if you had a DOF preview button???

Ian
22nd September 2013, 01:36 PM
So on this focus peaking mode, as you stop down do you see the in focus areas increase as in the focus lines spreading across the image, or would that only show if you had a DOF preview button???

Good question - the effect is part of the live view function so you would have to stop the lens down but I don't know if you can stop the lens down and have focus peaking on at the same time - my camera is not here with me at the moment but I will try this later and get back to you :)

Ian