Focus Peaking Epiphany! And tilt shift.

CanonFanBoy

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Hi guys. About two weeks ago I went against my better judgement and spent the money from my recent Canon Speedlite sell off and bought my wife an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I'd wanted one of the new Canon TSE lenses, but worried I would have a hard time tackling the technical side of things with TSE lenses. The up side for me would be that I could mount my M42 screw mount lenses to the small mirrorless and take advantage of IBIS and Focus Peaking.

I finally got the focus peaking feature figured out for using with my old legacy glass and took the grandson outside for some pics. That's when it hit me as I saw that band of yellow in-focus territory running across the lawn. "This would be perfect for TSE work!"

Let me explain. You all know better than I about how you can make those TSE lenses shift or tilt around the focus plane. With the focus peaking you can actually see where that focus is going or how it is going to be positioned in your photo. For guys with bad eyesight, it's a miracle! Since the TSE lenses are all manual focus it seems the two were made for each other.

So, for this reason alone, if Canon comes out with a FF body that takes EF glass (without hurting optical quality), and has focus peaking, then I would probably be all in and make that the next body I buy.
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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What you said, but for MF lenses in general. Canon's put the sword to manual focusing screens in 6D and 5D cameras, so a 5D3 owner like myself cannot use large aperture MF lenses unless they are on a tripod with Liveview. The hit and hope, shoot/chimp/try again format is a non-starter for me if I'm sinking $2k into some sexy Zeiss glass.

So using MF lenses handheld comfortably (i.e held up to my eye and not via Liveview 12" from my eye) is a very strong selling point for me. The potential size/weight upsides of mirrorless are lovely on paper, but I want a camera that can do more much more than save 1-2" of depth in my bag.

- A
 

CanonFanBoy

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ahsanford said:
What you said, but for MF lenses in general. Canon's put the sword to manual focusing screens in 6D and 5D cameras, so a 5D3 owner like myself cannot use large aperture MF lenses unless they are on a tripod with Liveview. The hit and hope, shoot/chimp/try again format is a non-starter for me if I'm sinking $2k into some sexy Zeiss glass.

So using MF lenses handheld comfortably (i.e held up to my eye and not via Liveview 12" from my eye) is a very strong selling point for me. The potential size/weight upsides of mirrorless are lovely on paper, but I want a camera that can do more much more than save 1-2" of depth in my bag.

- A

Focus Peaking is a huge eye opener for me. The size part doesn't matter to me. I've never thought the size / ergonomic trade off would be worth it or even real.

Yesterday it was just real easy to manual focus with seeing, via focus peaking, where my focus was on a moving subject even in bright daylight. Then realizing how the highlighted visibility of the focus plane could possibly help someone like me (extremely poor eyesight) if I were to get a TSE lens.

For sure, it would have to be a FF Canon and now we know that is on the horizon. I have no idea whether Canon's version of FP would be any good. IBIS would be nice, but only because I have so much legacy glass and none of it has IS. I would imagine that TSE use would require a tripod in my case so not a big deal for that. This all works on the Olympus, but the trade off is a small sensor and the Bokeh difference that brings. On the Olympus I can even input the focal length of the lens (legacy with no electrical contacts) so that IBIS behaves appropriately.

Anyway, I don't know what the more part is for you, but those two features on top of what Canon already offers are enough for me. I won't be sinking any money into Zeiss glass. ;) My MF glass focus is on old inexpensive Takumars. Tiny and cheap with very good IQ.

Excited to see what Canon does. Whatever Canon does, though, I won't be bashing. They offer so much great stuff already and there are other choices for my use out there. It would be nice to have everything rolled up into a single brand, but that probably isn't realistic.

Have a good day Sanford.
 

jolyonralph

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Focus peaking is *essential* for reliable focusing of manual focus lenses when you have wide apertures, eg for macro photography.

Fortunately you tend to use tilt-shift mostly for architectural photography where a small aperture is advisable, so it's not as much of an issue.

This is the biggest drawback of the 5DSR for me in macro photography.

I won't buy a 5DSR II unless it has focus peaking.
 

CanonFanBoy

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jolyonralph said:
Focus peaking is *essential* for reliable focusing of manual focus lenses when you have wide apertures, eg for macro photography.

Fortunately you tend to use tilt-shift mostly for architectural photography where a small aperture is advisable, so it's not as much of an issue.

This is the biggest drawback of the 5DSR for me in macro photography.

I won't buy a 5DSR II unless it has focus peaking.

Very true concerning architecture.

My use would be almost exclusively for portraits.
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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CanonFanBoy said:
Very true concerning architecture.

My use would be almost exclusively for portraits.

Yeah, the enticing bit about focus peaking -- strictly from my perspective of someone who has never used it* -- is to use products you would not be able to use in confidence without it.

To me, that's largely the combination of [manual focus] + [large aperture] + [handheld]. If I was only shooting a large aperture lens solely at (say) f/11, I wouldn't really need focus peaking.

- A

*I'm thinking more and more about peaking as I want to try some MF glass, but Canon appears to think that interchangeable focusing screens are unnecessary in my chosen product line. So, mirrorless beckons.
 

CanonFanBoy

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ahsanford said:
CanonFanBoy said:
Very true concerning architecture.

My use would be almost exclusively for portraits.

Yeah, the enticing bit about focus peaking -- strictly from my perspective of someone who has never used it* -- is to use products you would not be able to use in confidence without it.

To me, that's largely the combination of [manual focus] + [large aperture] + [handheld]. If I was only shooting a large aperture lens solely at (say) f/11, I wouldn't really need focus peaking.

- A

*I'm thinking more and more about peaking as I want to try some MF glass, but Canon appears to think that interchangeable focusing screens are unnecessary in my chosen product line. So, mirrorless beckons.

Well, if you'd like to try some manual glass on a tiny budget, might I suggest trying an old M42 mount Takumar with a $10 adapter on that 5D Mark III? The whole shee-bang would be under $100. Guess you could just shut off AF on an EF lens though. Tiny little lenses, but full frame nonetheless.
 

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ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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CanonFanBoy said:
Well, if you'd like to try some manual glass on a tiny budget, might I suggest trying an old M42 mount Takumar with a $10 adapter on that 5D Mark III? The whole shee-bang would be under $100. Guess you could just shut off AF on an EF lens though. Tiny little lenses, but full frame nonetheless.

Nice shot!

Budget is not scaring me away -- the ability to focus at large apertures is. I'll gladly drop good money for a solid large aperture prime if I can focus it wide open handheld without chimping.

I rented the new 85L over Christmas, and the ability to shoot handheld @ f/1.4 without chimping and verifying focus was unbelievably liberating as a photographer -- I'm so used to chimping, missing and trying again with the 35 Art, 50 f/1.4 USM, 50 f/1.2L, etc. So actually having an f/1.4 prime that was take-it-to-the-bank on target when shooting wide open was phenomenal. I could just enjoy shooting and capture images.

I'd love the same experience with a fast 28 or 50 prime but Canon doesn't sell them (at least not with that stellar AF confidence). So I'm intrigued with the prospect of an EVF for MF assist -- either for adapted great German glass or to get better results with existing EF glass with flaky AF.

- A
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
CR Pro
CanonFanBoy said:
Hi guys. About two weeks ago I went against my better judgement and spent the money from my recent Canon Speedlite sell off and bought my wife an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I'd wanted one of the new Canon TSE lenses, but worried I would have a hard time tackling the technical side of things with TSE lenses. The up side for me would be that I could mount my M42 screw mount lenses to the small mirrorless and take advantage of IBIS and Focus Peaking.

I finally got the focus peaking feature figured out for using with my old legacy glass and took the grandson outside for some pics. That's when it hit me as I saw that band of yellow in-focus territory running across the lawn. "This would be perfect for TSE work!"

Let me explain. You all know better than I about how you can make those TSE lenses shift or tilt around the focus plane. With the focus peaking you can actually see where that focus is going or how it is going to be positioned in your photo. For guys with bad eyesight, it's a miracle! Since the TSE lenses are all manual focus it seems the two were made for each other.

So, for this reason alone, if Canon comes out with a FF body that takes EF glass (without hurting optical quality), and has focus peaking, then I would probably be all in and make that the next body I buy.

To quote Dirty Harry, "Are you feeling lucky...?"

Magic Lantern ( https://magiclantern.fm/ ) allows focus peaking. I have never tried ML for fear of bricking my camera body, but many people have had luck with it.

On a second thought, I doubt Canon would do ibis which would compete with its in lens IS.

Your observations make me give a second thought to a ts lens. I have avoided them for the same reasons you state.

Scott
 

Sporgon

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I don't want to rain on this focus peaking fun fest, but from my experience it is excellent when the tolerable dof is genuinely very shallow - such as macro or the eyelashes in a tight portrait at f/1.4. But other critical applications when the acceptable dof is deeper I found it pretty useless, lacking the critical accuracy.
 

pj1974

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Oct 18, 2011
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Adelaide, Australia
Sporgon said:
I don't want to rain on this focus peaking fun fest, but from my experience it is excellent when the tolerable dof is genuinely very shallow - such as macro or the eyelashes in a tight portrait at f/1.4. But other critical applications when the acceptable dof is deeper I found it pretty useless, lacking the critical accuracy.

I am following this threat with interest, as I have recently bought a Canon M5 (2nd hand, great deal with a few lenses). I appreciate (and enjoy) using the M5's focus peaking feature - (which is my only camera to have focus peaking). I also have a Canon 80D, and some older Canon DSLRs, but none of these have focus peaking. I particularly like to use focus peaking with my Samyang 12mm f/2 lens [during the daytime]. (Side note, the Samyang 12mm f/2 one of the major reasons I bought the camera - that lens is great for astro-photography).

Therefore I am curious to read the above post by Sporgon, (Hi!) who wrote that focus peaking is more useful in (his) experience when it is used with narrow depth of field applications... (e.g. macro and portraits whereas when wider applications it is not so useful). ;)

To ensure I understand this... do you mean that when the depth of field is wider, the 'in focus' displayed by the coloured focus peaking is too wide (i.e. extends from nearby to quite far "into" the composition), and therefore it is too easy to miss the critical focus point?

With a 12mm lens, even at f/2 - unless an object/subject is very close, much of the scene will be in (acceptably) sharp focus. However I still find focus peaking helps to arrange the 'middle' of the "in-focus spread" approximately 1/3 (one-third) into the scene (as far as 'depth' goes). This translates to a decent depth of field.

Or have I missed something?
I look forward to the response(s). Thanks in advance!

PJ 8)
 

CanonFanBoy

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pj1974 said:
Sporgon said:
I don't want to rain on this focus peaking fun fest, but from my experience it is excellent when the tolerable dof is genuinely very shallow - such as macro or the eyelashes in a tight portrait at f/1.4. But other critical applications when the acceptable dof is deeper I found it pretty useless, lacking the critical accuracy.

I am following this threat with interest, as I have recently bought a Canon M5 (2nd hand, great deal with a few lenses). To ensure I understand this... do you mean that when the depth of field is wider, the 'in focus' displayed by the coloured focus peaking is too wide (i.e. extends from nearby to quite far "into" the composition), and therefore it is too easy to miss the critical focus point?

However I still find focus peaking helps to arrange the 'middle' of the "in-focus spread" approximately 1/3 (one-third) into the scene (as far as 'depth' goes). This translates to a decent depth of field.

In my recent and limited use with a S-M-C Takumar 120mm f/2.8 (wide open) on the Olympus E-M5 Mark II I found it to be a huge help, and as PJ suggests, I kept my subject within the inner third of the band (?) of focus. It worked great. 2ft of focus peaking color on one side, 2ft in the middle, and 2 feet on the other side... so my subject was centered in the DOF. A big approximately 6' band of yellow running across the green lawn. For trying to capture a quickly moving toddler with a MF lens... great!

Now, not all focus peaking is created equal between brands, just as AF isn't. I only have experience with my camera. Mine works great. I don't have any idea which brand Sporgon used.

My excitement, though, has to do with the possible application in the tilt/shift portrait arena. Seeing the focus band would be a big help setting up the shot. Say I have a person in the foreground and then another diagonally behind at maybe f/2.8. That's a narrow DOF. I'd see when I had things about right. Tweaking the focus could then be accomplished by magnifying on the live view screen if needed. My use (tilt/shift) wouldn't be for architecture, though there might be instances where it could be useful there too. I don't know.

But, I've never used a tilt/shift lens so I might be totally off base. Might be helpful to a new user, might not. Sporgon is a really good photographer so what he probably makes look easy wouldn't be so easy for somebody like me. Just seems to me that it might be a help. I hope I can try it out one day.
 

CanonFanBoy

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scottkinfw said:
CanonFanBoy said:
Hi guys. About two weeks ago I went against my better judgement and spent the money from my recent Canon Speedlite sell off and bought my wife an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I'd wanted one of the new Canon TSE lenses, but worried I would have a hard time tackling the technical side of things with TSE lenses. The up side for me would be that I could mount my M42 screw mount lenses to the small mirrorless and take advantage of IBIS and Focus Peaking.

I finally got the focus peaking feature figured out for using with my old legacy glass and took the grandson outside for some pics. That's when it hit me as I saw that band of yellow in-focus territory running across the lawn. "This would be perfect for TSE work!"

Let me explain. You all know better than I about how you can make those TSE lenses shift or tilt around the focus plane. With the focus peaking you can actually see where that focus is going or how it is going to be positioned in your photo. For guys with bad eyesight, it's a miracle! Since the TSE lenses are all manual focus it seems the two were made for each other.

So, for this reason alone, if Canon comes out with a FF body that takes EF glass (without hurting optical quality), and has focus peaking, then I would probably be all in and make that the next body I buy.

To quote Dirty Harry, "Are you feeling lucky...?"

Magic Lantern ( https://magiclantern.fm/ ) allows focus peaking. I have never tried ML for fear of bricking my camera body, but many people have had luck with it.

On a second thought, I doubt Canon would do ibis which would compete with its in lens IS.

Your observations make me give a second thought to a ts lens. I have avoided them for the same reasons you state.

Scott

No ML for me Scott. Too scared. :)
 

jolyonralph

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scottkinfw said:
On a second thought, I doubt Canon would do ibis which would compete with its in lens IS.

Canon haven't bothered with IBIS for two reasons.

1) It doesn't reduce shake in the viewfinder, so it's less useful for mirrorslappers.

2) It's actually hard to do a sensor that's both mounted in a way that can move for IBIS but doesn't vibrate when you don't want it to.
 

ecqns

EOS M6 Mark II
Feb 4, 2015
98
0
So if you want to use focus peaking on a FF body with Canon lenses - why haven't you bought a Sony a7III or a7rIII yet? Add the metabones adapter and you're all set. As you move the focus plane around with the TS-E yes you can see the focus peaking indicating color move too. I think there's 3 different color choices and 3 different peaking strengths as well.

If you are shooting portraits - then with a native lens you have the eye control AF which I hear works really well.
 

cpreston

EOS 90D
Mar 22, 2014
123
64
If you want to have some fun with your focus peaking, m42 lenses, ef-m camera, and tilt shift, try this thing: https://www.adorama.com/katspxseosm.html
 

jolyonralph

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cpreston said:
If you want to have some fun with your focus peaking, m42 lenses, ef-m camera, and tilt shift, try this thing: https://www.adorama.com/katspxseosm.html

I have the Nikon mount version of this, it's really quite fun with old Nikkor manual-focus lenses such as the 50mm f/1.4 and the classic Nikkor Micro 55mm f/2.8
 

Sporgon

5% of gear used 95% of the time
CR Pro
pj1974 said:
Therefore I am curious to read the above post by Sporgon, (Hi!) who wrote that focus peaking is more useful in (his) experience when it is used with narrow depth of field applications... (e.g. macro and portraits whereas when wider applications it is not so useful). ;)

To ensure I understand this... do you mean that when the depth of field is wider, the 'in focus' displayed by the coloured focus peaking is too wide (i.e. extends from nearby to quite far "into" the composition), and therefore it is too easy to miss the critical focus point?

Yes basically. As I said, my experience with focus peaking on the Sony A7, Canon M3 and M5 is that the further away you are focusing, the wider the field of contrast and so peaking, and the "one third" in rule is a minefield as you get further away, as are different focal lengths. If we're going to get anal about it here's a link:

http://dofmaster.com

So......although using focus peaking on a tilt lens sounds like a good idea I'm not sure how it would work in practice as I've no experience ! But I suspect that it won't be as good as you think.
 

cpreston

EOS 90D
Mar 22, 2014
123
64
As a video guy, focus peaking can be a miss when you have a wide depth of field and very little foreground or background to help judge where the highest contrast might be. That is why Canon also includes a line overlay that displays contrast. When contrast peaks while focusing, you know you are in focus.

With tilt shift lenses, a foreground/background like grass really helps because you can see a line of high contrast peaking moving across the image as you focus forward and back. When you tilt, this line is no longer perpendicular to the camera lens so you can get a much better idea of how tilting is changing your focal plane. Peaking might not be magic, but I wouldn't want to use a tilt shift lens without it.
 

CanonFanBoy

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ecqns said:
So if you want to use focus peaking on a FF body with Canon lenses - why haven't you bought a Sony a7III or a7rIII yet? Add the metabones adapter and you're all set. As you move the focus plane around with the TS-E yes you can see the focus peaking indicating color move too. I think there's 3 different color choices and 3 different peaking strengths as well.

If you are shooting portraits - then with a native lens you have the eye control AF which I hear works really well.

Yuck. Why would I buy a Sony hand hurter to throw adapted L glass on?

Seriously, I'm not in the market for another FF camera at the moment. I can wait on Canon. I'd rather have my lenses native to the body (Exception: Legacy glass). That's how a fanboy rolls. ;)
 
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