Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-09-2015, 09:51 PM   #1
Veteran Member
dugrant153's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,059
DA*55 F1.4 - slow?

So I've been using the Pentax DA*55mm F1.4 lens for many years now and it never fails to impress me... well, scratch that. It almost always fails to impress me except for some very certain critical situations.

I shoot weddings and one of the toughest parts is being able to use this F1.4 lens to continually track a couple make their way towards me, away from me or just on their way to the table...or even to focus on them quickly as I see a shot come up. I use a K-7 (yes, I know, old technology) and also a K01 and with both cameras the AF on the DA*55 has been slow. Being in some low light and suddenly I'm missing very critical shots or have to revert to some various other focusing techniques.

I really love this lens but as my work is fast-paced, I'm beginning to wonder if it's time to part with it. I know there has been some AF improvements with the K5 and K3 and would like to know people's experience with the DA*55 F1.4 and perhaps the K3...has there been a speed improvement?
I'm awaiting the full frame and would love to pair this lens with that but if the AF is still troublesome...

11-09-2015, 09:57 PM - 1 Like   #2
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
clackers's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 11,435
The K-7 is very old, Jonathan, and the K-01 only has contrast detection autofocus - accurate but slow.


If you shoot weddings, for the sake of yourself and your clients you should upgrade your body. Save the K-01 for static poses like in your studio.
11-09-2015, 10:05 PM   #3
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jatrax's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Oregon Cascades
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,718
Not exactly the two cameras I would suggest for fast AF. I agree with above keep the k-01 for the studio and trade the k-7 for a k-3.
11-09-2015, 10:08 PM   #4
Veteran Member




Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 1,998
Agreed, the 55 is never going to be an AF speed demon, but at least give it a fighting chance with a more modern body. K7 is much slower than K-3.

11-10-2015, 12:32 AM   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,868
Are you kidding? My DA*55 is fast to focus, with the K-3.
11-10-2015, 12:46 AM   #6
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Sandy Hancock's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,146
The K-3 is in a different league for low light AF and tracking moving subjects. If you are making any money out of your wedding photography you owe it to your clients to upgrade your K-7.
As the others said, your K-01 will continue to be a useful second body.

The AF on the DA*55 is not a super-fast, but you're not shooting motor sport.
11-10-2015, 04:32 AM   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 18,590
The DA *55 is useless when it comes to tracking anything, even on a K3. Maybe very slow moving things. On a K-01 or using live view focus, it is really bad and racks the focus from end to end before finally settling on the appropriate focus point. I really like the lens for situations where I have time, but my wife gave up using it for wedding photography and now uses the FA 77 instead and is quite pleased with that (I think she is going to use the DFA 24-70 a lot as well).
11-10-2015, 04:44 AM   #8
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,868
QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The DA *55 is useless when it comes to tracking anything, even on a K3. Maybe very slow moving things. On a K-01 or using live view focus, it is really bad and racks the focus from end to end before finally settling on the appropriate focus point.
I guess you have a bad copy. My DA*55 SDM is fast to focus and it is spot on as far as AF is concerned, it does not hunt at all. However, my DA*300 SDM is not able to lock focus about 20% of the time, while the Tamron 70-200 + TC @ 200mm focuses quickly and reliably.

11-10-2015, 07:40 AM   #9
Forum Member




Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: King William, VA
Posts: 83
I have my K-3 set to continuous focus on the back button and then continuous shots on the shutter. I can shoot kids at a party and most are in focus. I just hold the AF button down while shooting.

Regards,
Dan
11-10-2015, 11:27 AM   #10
Veteran Member
dugrant153's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,059
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The DA *55 is useless when it comes to tracking anything, even on a K3. Maybe very slow moving things. On a K-01 or using live view focus, it is really bad and racks the focus from end to end before finally settling on the appropriate focus point. I really like the lens for situations where I have time, but my wife gave up using it for wedding photography and now uses the FA 77 instead and is quite pleased with that (I think she is going to use the DFA 24-70 a lot as well).
I find the DA40mm F2.8 to (strangely enough) be quite fast and have to turn to that if it's a critical low light situation. Funny, you would think an F1.4 lens would be able to track better but not my lens. Like I said, this lens is great for a majority of things and if the lighting is good then it's usually pretty OK. Tracking though is semi-reasonable in bright light but go indoors and suddenly it starts to show some weaknesses. I know it's not a sport lens but I definitely need that extra bit of speed when things happen quickly.

The K3 would definitely be in my arsenal if I didn't already invest in another brand. However, not sure if the K3 will increase the speed of an SDM lens (Although it will probably focus quicker)?
11-10-2015, 01:08 PM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,200
There are better af tracking systems than Pentax. I am happy with my 55 copy, but I would not try to make a living on it as a wedding photographer.
11-10-2015, 01:11 PM   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
clackers's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 11,435
QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
There are better af tracking systems than Pentax.
Well, neither the K-01 or K-7 have a tracking system using the exposure meter, but the K-3 does.
11-10-2015, 02:08 PM   #13
Pentaxian
ChatMechant's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 931
Also the k-7 was never very good in low light situations.
11-10-2015, 03:39 PM   #14
Pentaxian
Na Horuk's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Slovenia, probably
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,189
AF tracking on a subject that is coming toward you, in low light, where one person is dressed in bright white and other in dark - this is pretty much worst case scenario. And this mostly depends on the camera. Before selling a good (and relatively expensive) lens, think about upgrading the camera. AF technology seems to improve each generation, and the K-3Ii is quite a bit further from K-7. K-01 has CD AF (make sure you are using the latest firmware, btw, the first firmware had really slow AF), which is also generally not as fast, and not that great when it comes to tracking.

One other thing you might try is manual focus, especially if you are willing to buy a focusing screen. A focusing screen might not make sense if you use slow lenses, but if you mainly use lenses faster than f2.8; it might be the thing for you. Beware, though, as it might be a pain to install and calibrate it.
11-11-2015, 01:18 AM   #15
Pentaxian
robjmitchell's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Melbourne Aus
Posts: 1,446
What other lenses are you using on the 2nd body? Are you planing on getting the FF? I would be using F4 or smaller to get sufficient depth of field when tracking moving subject so why are you using the Da 55 instead of say a more flexible zoom?
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
af, da*55, da*55 f1.4, f1.4, k-mount, lens, love, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ebay: Used Da* 55 f1.4 for $463 Stavri Pentax Price Watch 5 05-04-2015 07:55 PM
For Sale - Sold: Pentax DA* 55 f1.4 with box Stavri Sold Items 3 05-02-2015 03:34 PM
DA 50mm F1.8 and DA 55 F1.4, which one is better? ghiaauto Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 18 09-30-2014 07:38 AM
Machinery DA* 55 F1.4 on Full Frame Body disco_owner Post Your Photos! 19 06-07-2014 07:19 PM
Pentax DA*55 F1.4 vs Sigma 50 F1.4 comparison (with pictures!) JinDesu Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10 01-08-2014 09:53 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:29 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top