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Why is Panasonic’s focus peaking so awful?


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Panasonic’s implementation of focus peaking on their lumix cameras is horrible. It is affected by a few things including contrast, which means having a flatter profile negates the effectivity of focus peaking. Also the sharpness setting seems to affect it which sucks because I like little to no internal sharpening. My current settings are natural with contrast at -5 and sharpness at -5. Focus peaking settings are set to low and blue color. Barely any peaking appears unless I’m in a pretty high contrast scene. How do you guys find the focus peaking?  Any ways to improve it?  An external monitor would be obvious but the g7 can’t do that while recording :(

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I always shoot with monochrome LCD settings on my Lumix, and focus peaking turned on as well. I rarely have an issue with focus. I recently bought an EOS-m and the peaking in Magic Lantern wasn't all that accurate for me, but switching to monochrome LV on there has helped too.

EDIT: I also shoot monochorme LCD with my LS300, but I think that's by default when you turn peaking on.

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2 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

Not sure if it improved the actual peaking at all, but it certainly makes it easier to see where the lines are. Even without peaking, though, monochrome makes it easier for your eyes to see what's in focus.

Cool. I’m going to try that. Thanks so much

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I actually think the peaking in my GH5 is very good. Maybe it is a personal thing. I find the peaking in the Sony cameras too pronounce. If you shot at a higher f-stop, more than likely the peaking is going to be all over the image. 

Using monochrome definitely helps. When I am using my SmallHD monitor, I always have a page where it is monochrome and has only peaking. So much easier to see the lines. 

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I find the peaking on the GH5 to be quite disappointing overall.  I've been in situations where the lens was focused on someones face but because I had soft lighting the peaking didn't show there, but the background had some high contrast (but blurred areas) and at the blurred transitions pixel X was quite different to pixel X+1 it did show peaking.  So basically wrong on both counts.

I have figured out some things though:

  • The peaking works on the resolution of the screen, so if you use the viewfinder it works better than the screen
  • Because it works on the resolution of the screen, the ETC punch-in mode makes a huge difference, so if you have time to set up shots then use that to set focus, then disable the mode to get back to normal framing
  • Softer lenses can make it not show peaking, so stopping down can help
  • If you have flare then that can reduce contrast and defeat peaking
  • I find that the less-picky setting (can't remember if it's high or low) shows peaking on far too much so you can't tell what is in focus, unless you have crazy shallow DOF, so I use the more picky setting
  • I map peaking to a button so that if the current setting isn't showing anything I can cycle it around to the other one

In terms of focusing, for the football season I'm filming my kid and doing manual focus with crazy long lenses most weekends (280-840mm equivalent), and it can be easier to turn peaking off, open up the aperture and just use the shallower DOF to make it obvious what is in focus.

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