All Tutorials

November 25, 2012

Sony Nex-6 – Manual Focus and Focus Peaking with Fotodiox Lens Adapter and Canon EF Lenses

Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

In this article I’m going to show you how to set-up and use the Sony Nex-6 Focus Peaking feature for Manual Focus purposes! I use the Fotodiox Lens Adapter for my my demonstrations, but any lens adapter will do the job depending on the lens you are using. The Focus Peaking feature is a incredible powerful tool that makes using manual focus easy!!

I’m also going to show you the necessary menu settings that need to be changed on the Sony Nex-6 for using Lens Adapters and other non chipped E-Mount lenses. For example, Enabling “release without lens” will allow the Nex-6 to take photos regardless of what lens or lens adapter is attached. In fact it will take a photo with nothing at all attached, but I don’t recommend that as dust could get in the camera to easy!!


The Focus Peaking feature on the Sony Nex Cameras really comes into play when you want to use non Sony lenses, because they require manual focus.  Manual Focus and Focus Peaking working together are awesome as you will see in the videos!! Basically what Focus Peaking does is overlay a color on your screen indicating the areas that appear sharp, or have high contrast. You can use red, yellow, or white for the color and you can also select the amount of shown. I prefer Low and Red for most stuff, but I often have to change the color depending on the scene.

 

Nex-6, Fotodiox Lens Adapter and Canon 135mm Lens

As it relates to me, I happen to have a bunch of Canon EF Lenses from my Pro Photography gear, so that is what I’m going to use in these demonstrations below! I also use a Fotodiox Lens Adapter which I am very happy with so far.

Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking

Sony Nex-6 w/ Fotodiox Lens Adapter and Canon EF 135mm f/2 L Lens

 

Manual Focus and Focus Peaking with the Sony Nex-6

I have two videos below, an in the first I will go over in detail what exactly a lens adapter is and how it works with the Sony Nex-6 camera. It’s really strait forward, but if this type of thing is new to you the explanation should be beneficial for sure! This should be of particular interest to photographers that want to use their Pro Nikon, Canon, and Ziess, lenses, or smaller Old School Monalta MD Lenses, Canon FD Lenses, Olympus OM Lenses, etc.. Lens Adapters are a very affordable requirement to using all these other lenses on the Sony Nex Camera System, but the power and creative photography options are absolutely amazing!! Again, why this is the future for my personally Photography!!

 

Nex-6 for  Menu Settings for Manual Focus and Focus Peaking!

Be sure to select the HD viewing options in the player window so you can view in Full Screen with a Crisp Video!!

 

Sony Nex-6 – Manual Focus using Focus Peaking – Live Demonstration

Be sure to select the HD viewing options in the player window so you can view in Full Screen with a Crisp Video!!

 

High Res Photos from Video!

Here are the images from the Live demonstration with the Sony Nex-6, Fotodiox Lens Adapter and Canon EF 135mm f/2 len using Manual Focus and Focus Peaking!!

Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Lights – Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Shed Roof – Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Mossy Rock – Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Fire Pit – Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

Chimney – Sony Nex-6 Manual Focus and Focus Peaking Sample Photo

 

More Sample Photos and Nex-6 Testing with Lens Adapters


 

Closing Remarks

Well, as you can see the focus peaking feature works quite well :) I really hope you got something out of these demonstration video tutorials , and if you have any questions please just ask away below in the comments area!! Also be sure to check out all the most common Sony Nex Lens Adapters sorted by Lens Manufacture!! That makes it very easy to find right lens adapter for your needs!! Sony Nex Lens Adapter Guide >>

See ya on the Sony Alpha Forum >>

Thanks,

Jay

 

Nex-6 (body only) ~$898 US @ BHPhotoVideo >> | Amazon >> | Adorama >> | Ebay Auctions >>
Nex-6 w/16-50mm lens ~$998 US @ BHPhotoVideo >> | Amazon >> | Adorama >> | Ebay Auctions >>


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Thanks,
Jay

 

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About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!




24 Comments


  1. Hi Jay, looks like you´re enjoying using the Nex-6. I came across your site whilst looking for reviews about the lens adapters for the 16mm f/2.8 lens whch I both now have:) I´ve really enjoyed using my Nex-C3 having come from Canon DSLR´s and made my first trip using the Nex and leaving the DSLR´s behind. I´ve put a few entries on my Blog http://lightoflanzarote.wordpress.com/
    talking about travelling with the Sony Nex. I love the focus peaking on the Nex cameras and have been using some OM Zuiko lenses which are great. Very solid, compact and they produce pleasing results. Keep up the great site as it´s very interesting with the videos, samples and mix of info about cool Sony stuff. All the best, Evan


    • Jay

      Hello Evan,

      Thanks for the comments and sharing the link to your excellent Photography!! I added a post on The Sony Alpha Forum as well linking your Blog ;) Really great work and please consider sharing some of your work on the forum if you have the time. Building a pretty solid community over there and would love to have more great photographers like yourself sharing!!

      Jay


      • Hi Jay, I´ve joined the forum so hopefully I´ll be able to post some stuff and check it out a bit more. Lovin´ the little Nex camera for sure. I´ll be posting some more Sony Nex stuff on my Blog hopefully soon but it´s great there are sites like yours that people can refer to. All the best, Evan ( not Ivan :) )


      • Jay

        Evan,

        Thanks for joining the forum and I look forward to checking out more of your work. Your Sony Nex-C3 Photos are some of the best if not the best I’ve seen!! Sorry about the name, no idea how that happened ;)

        Best,
        Jay


  2. Julian

    Jay, thanks for the awesome reviews! Do you have to have a Canon body to set the aperture of the EF lens before mounting it with the adapter? I’m very tempted to get some EF lenses, but I have no Canon cameras.


    • Jay

      Julian,

      Thanks for the question and comments! Yes, you would need a canon camera body with power and a depth of field preview button ;) Canon FD lenses are high quality and fully manual so setting the aperture is not an issue!! You can find them on Ebay. I have a few FD Lens adapters up in my Sony Nex lens adapters guide as well >>

      Best,
      Jay


  3. Ulf Söderlund

    Thank you for an interesting and instruktive review. I have left my Canon EOS 350 D for the Nex 6 and i will now gett an adapter so that i can use some old lenses.


  4. Scott

    Hi Jay

    I came upon your site as I just recently got the NEX6. I have several full frame Nikon lenses as I shoot Nikon ad my “normal” camera. I want to be able to use the Nikon glass on the NEX6.

    As you know the Nikon G lenses such that I have do not have aperture rings. I realize with an adapter and this set up that I need to do everything manually, but it sounds like I’ll be stuck using the widest aperture do the lens. In other words, I see no way to control aperture using an NEX6, an adapter such as the Fotodiox, and Nikon G glass.

    This seems limiting to me, and thus I’m questioning the value of an adapter.

    Are my thoughts correct? I’d love to hear I’m wrong and there is something I can do to control depth of field.

    Anyway, you have a great site and I look forward to viewing it regularly!

    Best Regards
    Scott


    • Jay

      Hi Scott,

      Thanks for the nice comments and question! Your thoughts are correct that most adapters are “passive”. They are starting to come out with electronic adapters though now for Canon EF, but I have not seen any Nikon G lens to Nex cameras that are electronic yet. I could be wrong though as I only did a quick search.

      I have a lens adapter guide over here that I update regularly with the latest adapters, or adapters that users recommend ect. I will add the Nikon electronic lens adapter once I find one, or it comes out!!

      Your only other option is to use your Nikon Camera and the depth of preview trick to get the lens stuck in a given aperture. Hardly convenient for the road though ;) Full manual lenses are really the way to go I think for now!

      Later,
      Jay


      • Scott

        Jay,

        Thank YOU for the quick reply! You’re quickly rocketing to the top of my favorite photography websites!!

        I did a bit more research and I noticed that the Novoflex Nikon to NEX adapter has an aperture band, but I’m not sure this will do the trick. I think the Fotodiox Pro might have one too, but as I said these don’t seem to me that they will actually work well. Perhaps they will…

        For the depth of field trick, are you suggesting I’d need to put the Nikon Lens on the NIkon, get it “stuck” at an aperture, and then put it on the NEX? That certainly is way more trouble than it is worth :-)

        I think I should just wait and see if any electronic Nikon G to NEX adapters come out as that seems to be worth the wait. Hopefully if Canon has some, Nikon won’t be far behind!

        Thanks again!
        Scott


      • Jay

        Right-on Scott ;)

        I did a bit more research and I noticed that the Novoflex Nikon to NEX adapter has an aperture band, but I’m not sure this will do the trick. I think the Fotodiox Pro might have one too, but as I said these don’t seem to me that they will actually work well. Perhaps they will…

        Yes it does, but the aperture band does not do enough to justify using it in my opinion. It does do a little, but at the cost of heavy vignetting and other optical anomalies. Check out the testing here on my Canon Version Here >>

        For the depth of field trick, are you suggesting I’d need to put the Nikon Lens on the NIkon, get it “stuck” at an aperture, and then put it on the NEX? That certainly is way more trouble than it is worth :-)

        Yes, it’s a pain in the butt for sure, but better than nothing.

        I think I should just wait and see if any electronic Nikon G to NEX adapters come out as that seems to be worth the wait. Hopefully if Canon has some, Nikon won’t be far behind!

        Thanks again!
        Scott

        It’s only a matter of time before they will become available I think. I’m honestly surprised more aftermarket companies are not working on it by now do to the incredible high demand for such adapters, and the amount of time the demand has been here. I wish I had the facility and means to fabricate them as I bet they would fly off the selves just for the aperture feature alone. Forget about the AF as it’s way to complicated and different algorithms for each manufacture/ lens combo ect.. To much re-search and development in my opinion. However, as you said the depth of field is very important so why not just make a very basic adapter with just the necessary power connection for the aperture blades? Seems like a no brainier considering the market demand for Nikon and Canon alone! Must be more to it I guess??

        Thanks again for the comments and questions Scott, I really appreciate it ;)
        Jay


  5. Marcus

    Hi Jay

    Great site & really enjoy you uTube videos !! One question though, I have recently purchased the Nex-5r but find a few ergonomic problems. Therefore I’m thinking of returning the 5 in favour of the 6.

    1: I find the control dial on the 5 hard to ‘feel’ and think the 6 would be better. Incidentally I wish all of the buttons were more defined as I constantly need to look at the camera in order to find the button I need.

    2: This brings me onto my second point. With the E-Mount lens in manual mode on focus the live-view image changes in order to zoom onto the focus point – Great ! But as you have shown us our old manual lenses can be used with adapters, and I have been experimenting with various ones I have. All this gives fantastic results but the zoom function is now called via the soft B button. As expressed before these buttons are hard to find without looking for them, therefore taking your eye off the subject – I wish they were raised in some way ! My question though is are you able to customise is zoom function to another button or ring on the 6 ?

    3: Whats your personal view on the Nex-5r kit lens verses the Nex-6 ?

    Thanx

    Marcus


  6. Just a curious question? How come you prefer using the low setting on the focus peaking?


    • Jay

      Randy,

      Great question!! Often the focus peaking will come up before the sharpness is actually at tack sharp. the larger you have the focus peaking overlay, the sooner it is visible, and hence shows up sooner. Depending on the depth field it may not matter, but when shooting wide open at f/1.8 for example, the focus is much easier to miss!! Even when it looks sharp on the screen, when you zoom in to preview you can see how it’s often not perfect. The finer focus peaking lines help with this especially when combined with the magnify feature ;)

      Jay


      • Ema

        Hi Jay,
        I’ve just bought a NEX-F3 and I’m waiting to receive an adaptor for Canon EF lenses. I’m wondering if it is possible to use the “magnify feature” also without the electrical contacts. How can you activate this feature since normally it’s automatically activated moving the focus ring (with kit lenses)?

        Thanks


      • Jay

        Hi Ema,

        The Magnify zoom does work with fully manual lenses. I thought it was the bottom soft key when in manual mode? If not, you can go into the menu settings and then look for custom buttons. You can then assign the soft key buttons to several options, Magnify zoom should be one of those options!!

        Let me know how you make out ;)

        Jay


  7. Alyson M

    Thank you so much for this post! My husband bought me a Rokinon fisheye lens for my birthday in March and I hadn’t been able to figure out how to get it to work. Awesome!


    • Jay

      Thanks Alyson for the kind words and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

      Tell your husband he picked a fisheye killer lens to get you!

      Jay


  8. Fernando Ulrich

    Hi Jay,
    Can the Nex-6 body hold a Canon 135mm or a Canon 85mm 1.2 (almost 1kg) easily? I mean,with these lenses mounted on a Nex-6 body, can one hold the body only (for ex.: when we shoot using just one hand) without the risk of damaging the ring where we mount the lens?


    • Jay

      Great question Fernando, and yes it can. You really need to be careful though! I would not use a tri-pod mount on the camera with a heavy lens ever!! Use a lens mount only if you need to use a tr-pod. Hand holding the Nex-6 is stronger than you would think, but I would always recommend two hands when holding horizontal in shooting position. Hanging with one hand at your sid is not as stressful on the mount and I think that is ok, but again be careful not to pump anything hard etc.. The Nex-6 is not a Full Frame Beast like the slt-A99, so although versatile, some precautions should be taken with heavy non e-mount native optics regardless of manufacture.

      I hope that helps,
      Jay


  9. Jay –

    I have the Nex-6, and I understand focus peaking (I see the colors) But what I can nit seem to figure out is how to get FP’ing to work as a focus.

    For example, on my Canon I can use a focusing point to aim at someones eye, and if I am focused, or if I focus and recompose my focus stays locked at that precise point.

    But in the Nex – when I see a scene and I see focus peaking colors everywhere – then when I zoom up on the eye and see the color on the person, I have moved the camera and the composition is wrong.

    How does one use the FP’ing to isolate a certain area – like in portrait photography ?

    FP’ing seem to fine all the high contrast areas instead on the 1 small part I may be interested on focusing on.

    I do notice the square box while zoomed in and I can seem to move that around if I keep my shutter button half pressed then toggle around with the wheel…. but that is awkward.

    Whats for any help. -

    PS – I have tried this on MF and DMF.


    • Jay

      Hi Robb and thanks for the questions.

      All focus peaking does is show you where the high contrast areas in the scene are and when they are sharp, not necessarily where the sharpest spot is. It’s designed to help you find focus faster. I use the focus peaking on low so it only shows a little bit on the camera. This makes it a little more accurate in some situations, but ultimately you need to magnify zoom and check the focus. Otherwise you need to practice and take test shots at various focus peaking settings until you find out what works for you. It doesn’t work only in certain areas of the scene like a selectable af point. It’s all or nothing.

      For portrait work using a tri-pod and having a model that is very still helps. Trying to focus manually with a moving model or camera is pretty hard using shallow depth of fields. It takes a lot of practice, but you do get better at it over time.

      I hope that helps,
      Jay


  10. David northall

    Hi,I have been using a 5n for about a year now and really like the focus peaking function,I have a few om lenses from an old om1 that I still use but really do want a viewfinder.having considered the option of the ev1s I feel it is still a little pricey so am looking at a nex6.my dilemma is that I recently tried out an a65 which I really liked (was not expecting to as I do like the size of the nex series).i also own a couple of minolta af lenses which should fit but my question is will the a65 focus peaking work the same way with a suitable adapter as it does on the 5n.for info both cameras are around the £500 mark in the uk at the moment. Thanks. Dave.



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