In my last post, I described setting up your Sony E-Mount camera for "ButtonBump Focusing" - a powerful technique to control when your camera focuses.
In this post we'll discover a way to refine the focus with more precision - manually.
Here are the three things we need to accomplish to set this up:
- Assign a button to set focus (described in the previous post)
- Enable Focus Peaking
- Set the Focus Mode to 'DMF' (Direct Manual Focusing)
Assuming step 1 is completed, let's enable Focus Peaking.
1. Press the MENU button
2. Go to GEAR screen 2
3. Select Peaking Level
4. Make sure the Peaking Level is turned on (I use the 'Mid' setting)
While you're at this menu page - you can also select a Peaking Color.
Set the Focus mode to 'DFM'
More than likely - your Focus Mode can be accessed by pushing the Fn button on the back of your camera. The location of the Focus Modes can vary - depending upon how your Functions are configured. You'll recognize the Focus Modes when you find the screen identified by AF-S, AF-A, AF-C, DMF, or MF. Here you can choose whether you want to use Single-Shot AutoFocus (AF-S), Automatic AutoFocus (AF-A), Continuous AutoFocus (AF-C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF) or Manual Focus (MF).
Choose DMF - Direct Manual Focus.
Once these settings are made - here's how you can achieve precision manual focusing:
1. Frame a shot in your viewfinder
2. Press C1 (or whatever button you assigned to auto-focus)
3. While holding down C1 - use your left hand to adjust the focusing ring on your camera lens.
4. When you turn the focusing ring on your lens - the object under the focusing brackets in your viewfinder will be magnified so you can clearly see what is in focus. With Focus Peaking turned on - the edges of the objects that are in focus will be highlighted with a colored border.
Using this technique - you can be sure that your subject will be in focus if it doesn't move!
View with C1 pressed - notice the red Peaking Level highlights
View with C1 pressed and the focus ring adjusted
Notice the image is magnified almost 6 times so you can precision focus. Details are in focus when the Focus Peaking color appears along the detail's borders
This is DMF - Direct Manual Focus - in action. You put it to work when you hold down the ButtonBump Focus button and adjust the focus ring on your lens.
Since focusing is no longer triggered by pressing the shutter-release button - there is no need to focus again unless the distance to your subject changes. Re-frame and shoot. Re-Frame again and shoot. Your focus will be perfect.
In my next post, we'll talk about setting the exposure without relying on the shutter release button - another great 'take control' option that you have.
Thanks for reading!