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Old December 12th, 2012, 11:27 AM   #1
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GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Just did a documentary shoot with a 550D/Tamron 18-270. I was using the new version of Magic Lantern hack. Focus peeking does not seem to work as well as it did not the previous version of Magic Lantern.

The reason I mention this is it has reminded me how essential Focus Peeking is to me, I would not of been able to do the shoot without it. Is it true that there is no Focus Peeking on the GH3? Is there a hack for GH3 that gives it. Does the hack replace the original firmware or bolt on to to like Magic Lantern? Would it invalidate the guarantee.

I was just about to get a GH3 (with a view to ditching my 550D) but without Focus Peeking I am not sure. Was speaking to a friend of mine who does a lot of TV sound work, he told me that most of the camera ops he knows use peeking as the viewfinders on even pro camcorders are not ideal for focusing.

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Old December 12th, 2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Thread title edited... corrected the spelling of "peaking" as it makes a difference to the search engines.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:10 PM   #3
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

That's right, Ben. No focus peaking. A serious omission for a modern camera ostensibly intended for video. And the camera hasn't been out long enough for there to be a hack or a factory firmware upgrade.

Panasonic knows this is something we want*, but after adding waterproofing, a headphone jack, 1080/60p, a battery grip, time code and all those codecs, they still skipped a couple of important features. I still bought mine expecting that this will be fixed with a firmware upgrade or hack sometime in the future (and I still want an XLR adapter (edit: and dual card slots) :)) .

You may also be surprised by the effectiveness of focus magnification. I use this often on the GH2. With both the GH2 and the GH3, you can expand the image by pressing a button, which gives you "punch-in" focus magnification and makes manual focus a lot easier.

Cheers,

Bill

Last edited by Bill Bruner; December 12th, 2012 at 10:27 PM.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:24 PM   #4
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Bill,

Thanks for your reply. Looking at the type of hacks people are doing all they seem to be doing is tweaking settings so cant see how Peeking could arrive as a hack;(.

Focus magnification is fine but I shoot documentary and focus magnification during shooting only works if the thing you are trying to focus on is in the centre of the frame (using Canon/Magic Lantern you can not magnify during recording, can you with GH3). I think the solution is to get a monitor or electronic viewfinder which has peaking. I have one that you can zoom in 2x and turn on peaking.

Is peaking on the firmware horizon? I gather is was something Panasonic were promising so maybe but shelling out this type of money on a promise, I am not sure I want to.

Is there a push focus mode during recording that does not hunt too much (the ability to press a button to temporarily engage autofocus)? If autofocus works well that may be a solution some of the time.

Thanks for the link,
Ben
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

"(using Canon/Magic Lantern you can not magnify during recording, can you with GH3)"
Yes you can, I do it all the time.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:58 PM   #6
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Just read the article Bill posted above, very interesting. Maybe Focus Peaking is going to turn up in a firmware realise, it camera had a 4 core CPU so should be easily within its grasps. It also looks like 'push focus' may be a goer (used it all the time on my Sony VX-1000), especially as focus does not seem to hunt too much.

The bottom line is with peaking it would be a sweet documentary run-and-gun shooter and without it it may well still be the best DSLR for this purpose.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 07:13 PM   #7
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

With primes stepped down to F2 or 1.8 and a critical DOF I use expanded and manual focus on either a monitor or eyepiece not the LCD, which is not sharp enough. I have peaking on other cameras and it is a great asset, however expanded focus has never been a problem. I would never use push button focus unless it's on wider or higher f stop scenes as sometimes you only have a few centimeteres to play with at low aperture.
One for the Lumix Gh4 perhaps.
I doubt whether you will ever get XLR's Bill - they'd be half as big as the camera :), but the Beachtek Pro is unbeatable I reckon.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 08:19 PM   #8
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Thanks, Chris - I have XLRs on my DR-40 - but I want them integrated with the camera - not something I have search for and attach every time I go out to shoot :)
Cheers,
Bill
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Old December 12th, 2012, 11:33 PM   #9
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Watch the price shoot up once XLR's are added - no more Lumix at $1K.
Yes, it's a bit of a hassle attaching a Beachtek but no more than follow focus, rails and a matte box.
Some of the rigs make me laugh - we've taken a simple easy to use flexible high res camera and made it so cumbersome that changing locations is a logistic exercise.
I can do without follow focus, rails, matte boxes and cages, but audio for me is equal to pics. Bad sound equals a bad product, no matter how good it looks.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 07:20 AM   #10
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Edwards View Post
Thanks for your reply. Looking at the type of hacks people are doing all they seem to be doing is tweaking settings so cant see how Peeking could arrive as a hack;(.
The GH2 hack bears no comparison with Magic Lantern as it merely allows access to various parameters to do with recording (GOP, bit rate etc) that Panasonic provided in the camera but are normally not accessible. This is all with the aim of improving image quality. Magic Lantern on the other hand is a complete reverse engineered firmware add-on that adds numerous facilities (peaking being just one of them) but has little or no effect on image quality. Personally I think that the GH2 hack is vastly overrated as the stock GH2 footage is fine & only marginally improved by the hacks.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #11
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

I was using push focus for run and gun documentary work so am not using fast primes. In this situation f8 is enough to give me a nice depth of field. There is a lot of DOF abuse going on, it can be a nice aesthetic but I have seen to many situations when it is just distracting (but this is another thread). With drama/interviews a field monitor would be the answer (I have a 5" LCD with peaking).

In terms of XLR, if you want this get a AF101 or Canon C100. Phantom power drains batteries, connecters are big and you would have to add high quality preamps. Its like saying it would be good to HAVE A DSLR optimised for video, this is called a camcorder;).

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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:26 PM   #12
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

The Magic Lantern hack for the Canon has what is called a magic zoom. Puts a little box on the screen that has been zoomed.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #13
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

Ben, for me run and gun is not what a DSLR is designed for.
I like that it's all about interchangeable lenses, shallow DOF and a cine look. You can make TVC's virtually by yourself.
With a poor LCD, poor ergonomics, a DSLR is for me a camera I use only for certain projects.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 12:12 AM   #14
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Re: GH3 - What no Focus Peaking

For me a DSLR are made for making pictures. I would love to have some kind of focus assist on my new GH-3 and G5. Then the small but very nice "monitor"would be better for focusing - when making videos
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