What is Focus Peaking?

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Focus peaking is when you squint really hard and “peak” through your viewfinder…. Just kidding.  Focus peaking is a tool to assist you while manual focusing.  It highlights the areas that are in focus so you are able to quickly focus the camera and not miss crucial shots.  It’s also great for those of us with poor eye sight who need a little assistance to determine if something is “perfectly” in focus.  The video below showcases the Fuji X100S focus peaking and is a perfect example of focus peaking.

Video Source: Petapixel

Notice how as the camera’s focus spans from the front to the back of the frame there are highlights sweeping through the frame showing what is in focus as you turn the focus ring (much like the highlighted pixels in Lightroom or Photoshop that show blown out or underexposed areas).  Impressive.

Focus peaking is becoming more and more common in higher end cameras and will eventually find it’s way into the vast majority of cameras.  It’s perfect for moments when you want to get the focus exactly where you want it as opposed to depending on auto focus.

What do you think?  Would or do you use focus peaking?

Feel free to leave your two cents in the comments.  What are your thoughts on focus peaking?

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6 Comments

  • I use the olympus stylus 1 with focus peaking and manual fucus assist and the images come out cristal clear in any light

  • I’d hate to be without it! I prefer manual focus in many situations and being able to fine tune the focus to the exact point of the frame that I want is amazing.

    • Hello,

      Those are two different things, the only relationship is that they are methods of focusing your camera. Hyperfocal distance focusing (what I think you mean) is where you figure out the optimal spot to focus your lens so that the camera is in focus from a predetermined distance in front of you to infinity. There is another term called zone focusing where you would focus your lens from, for example, 2 meters to 4 meters… Everything in that two meter space would be in focus and everything outside 2 and 4 meters would not. Focus Peaking is simply an assist for manual focusing as seen in the article. For example… You’d use focus peaking when you have time to manual dial in the focus to a specific area in the viewfinder (or using the LCD). Hyperfocal distance focusing is typically used by landscape photographers when they want as much in the frame to be in focus as possible. Zone focusing is used by street photographers (travel photographers and anyone else can and should use it) when they want to be able to capture a scene (or the decisive moment) as quickly as possible (faster than autofocus or manual focus).

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