Friday, October 26, 2012


Before we even start on the subject of FOCUS PEAKING and not wanting to repeat what hundreds of write up on this very useful feature, please go and check this page out and watch the video below!

DONE?  By now you should know exactly what Focus Peaking is all about ;)

In short, Focus Peaking is a fast and accurate way to focus a manual lens on a mirrorless camera!

If Focus Peaking is so effective, WHY-WHY-WHY, that the most popular M4/3 Olympus OM-D E-M5 DO NOT HAVE IT??

After all, Sony; Pentax, Panasonic etc have this feature built in!

All this while, OM-D user like me suffered in silence; avoiding using our manual focus lenses because you really have to strain your eye to get an accurate focus!

Yes, yes; yes, I know there is the magnified  manual focus aid you can activate, have you try it out?  The blow-up image shake like hell and after a while you gave up ;)

Then a few hours ago this heading Olympus OM-D E-M5′s Art Filter Works Nicely as a Focus Peaking Feature! in Peta Pixel scream out for my attention and got me really excited!

According to Peta Pixel a French photographer named Nicolas recently found that the camera’s “Key Line” Art Filter actually works quite well as a focus peaking feature!!!

You simply set your OM-D to Art Filter mode and also making sure you are shooting BOTH RAW and JPEG, now focus and shoot...

The JPEG file will have the Art Filter effect while the RAW is an untouched RAW file that is sharply focused! You can throw away the artsy-filtered JPEG files if you want ;)

Nicolas posted a demo in YouTube.

I can't wait to try it out!!

My questions about this hidden capability are:

1 - Is it easy to activate?
2 - Is it easy to get the peaking effect on the LCD rear screen?
3 - Can  use the EVF for the same peaking feature?
4 - Is focus accurate enough for a really sharp result?

I did a quick test soon as I get home!

This is my simple but effective test target:

The crystal is hanging in front of a living room window, I will use TWO manual prime lenses for this test.

Both the Leica Summicron 90/2 and Micro Nikkor 105/2.8 have a equivalent field of view of 180 / 210 mm, when combine with their large aperture; these lenses need to be SPOT ON when you focus. It is a hit or miss action, tolerance? NIL!

I make sure my OM-D is shooting BOTH RAW and JPEG, I set the mode dial to "ART".

 Select ART 11 which is the Key Line effect, press OK.

Start focusing, you will notice the area you want to render sharpest will start to exhibit more and more high contrasty detail; until...

Notice how the crystal is now "peaking"? In theory at least, it is suppose to be sharply in focus... take your shot!

You will have TWO files, the Art Filtered JPEG, left and an unadulterated RAW!

But is the Focus Peaking working? Is the focusing sharp?

Lets take a look :)

This was taken with the Leica Summicron 90/2, look sharp but lets zoom in...

That is a whopping 200%! Look pretty damn sharp to me! What about the Nikkor shot? Lets take a peep too!

This was shot with my 25 year old Micro Nikkor 105/2.8!  Lets zoom again :)

The veteran Nikkor is just as sharp, if not better than the even older 90 mm Leica prime!

After the test, here are my answer to those question...

1 - Is it easy to activate?                                                                YES
2 - Is it easy to get the peaking effect on the LCD rear screen?    YES
3 - Can  use the EVF for the same peaking feature?                      YES  
4 - Is focus accurate enough for a really sharp result?                 OH YES!

Now my OM-D becomes an ultimate manual focus camera with just a few click!!

Love it!!

Go on, all you OM-D lovers, give the "HACK" a try; you will love it too!!


Simon Gotlieb said...

Ah trust you to find a way to do it CY! Now if you could find a way to get it working on my 60D I'd be a very happy man.

Achimogata said...

Have a look here

Best regards

Filipe Figueiredo said...

This adapted peeking feature is great, but you also get an excellent and very accurate focus by using the magnified manual focus aid simultaneously with the image stabilization while pressing the shutter button half way (by default is OFF, but go to Menu, C-release, Half Way Rls With IS and put it ON). Even with a 150 mm lens you can get your focus nice and precisely. It makes the buzz noise when you press the shutter, though, but nothing too serious.