what is focus peaking

What Is Focus Peaking In DSLR?

Introduction To Focus Peaking:

Auto focusing system for cinematographers has not been friendly. It troubles them on many occasions. Auto focusing system keeps rotating the focus ring to read the accurate focus on subjects. The frequent rotation of the focusing ring gives a strange effect and distracts the viewer. That is why, cinematographers prefer to shoot the scenes on manual focus. Camera manufacturers have been working out on making manual focus more user friendly. To achieve this goal, They brought the technology of focus peaking in DSLR. Focus peaking is visible on live screen. The live view mode was not available in DSLRs till recent years. That is why, They took time to embed this technique in DSLR.

What Is Focus Peaking?

Under the option of focus peaking, camera read the sharp edges of the focused subject. Camera shows the highlight around the sharp edges of the manually focused subjects.  It shows the highlight in four different colors. There are Red, Blue, Yellow and White colors to choose in focus peaking. The chosen color around the subject in manual focus will tell you on screen that what is focused and what isn’t?

How To Use Focus Peaking Level?

Go to the menu and choose the peaking color. Choose it by considering the foreground and background color. If your subject is white and background is black, you can choose Yellow or Blue. It will help you to notice the highlights easily. Likewise, choose the peaking/highlight color wisely. You will have to choose the specific color through the menu system of the camera. Once, you choose the peaking color, turn on live view mode and turn off electronic VR (in Nikon D850). Turn off auto focus from the lens. Now, Manually focus the subject. Gradually, you will see the peaking color/highlight around the edges of your focused subject.

Why Focus Peaking Is Important?

You can make color correction or fix the frame in post processing. But, the out of focus can not be fixed. The incorrect focused footage goes into bin only. The focus peaking becomes an essential tool in such cases.  In weddings or wildlife photography the subject keeps moving. This tool gets very handy in such situations. The peaking level gives a live view of the focused area. You can easily re-adjust the range of your lens by reading the peaking highlights. It will save your tons of time and energy in post-processing. Moreover, you will always get the perfect focused shot while recording live scenes.

(Watch the below video with English subtitles for further information. Leave your feedback and queries! We would love to interact with you.)

Siddharth Malkania

Siddharth Malkania is a journalism graduate. He studied photography at India's premier institute. Having worked as a photojournalist for two years, he traveled to Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam to brush up his skills of photography. Currently, He is a professional photographer based in New Delhi, India.

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