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07-15-2007, 06:10 PM   #1
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Annoyed at my 80-320

I have the Pentax 80-320, it's okay. It does hunt for focus a bit on my istDs as it has quite a large throw from nearest to farthest focus. It also hunts a bit and sometimes doesn't lock on if it goes the wrong way first.

I was visited my father a couple of weeks back, and put my 80-320 on his camera, a Pentax MZ-60. What a difference! The focus was much quicker! Every time. Put it back on mine - whirr whirr, put it back on his - zip!

This annoyed me. Why is my later model camera considerably slower and less positive to focus with this lens?

07-15-2007, 06:57 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
I have the Pentax 80-320, it's okay. It does hunt for focus a bit on my istDs as it has quite a large throw from nearest to farthest focus. It also hunts a bit and sometimes doesn't lock on if it goes the wrong way first.

I was visited my father a couple of weeks back, and put my 80-320 on his camera, a Pentax MZ-60. What a difference! The focus was much quicker! Every time. Put it back on mine - whirr whirr, put it back on his - zip!

This annoyed me. Why is my later model camera considerably slower and less positive to focus with this lens?
Go manual.
07-15-2007, 07:43 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
I have the Pentax 80-320, it's okay. It does hunt for focus a bit on my istDs as it has quite a large throw from nearest to farthest focus. It also hunts a bit and sometimes doesn't lock on if it goes the wrong way first.

I was visited my father a couple of weeks back, and put my 80-320 on his camera, a Pentax MZ-60. What a difference! The focus was much quicker! Every time. Put it back on mine - whirr whirr, put it back on his - zip!

This annoyed me. Why is my later model camera considerably slower and less positive to focus with this lens?
I currently have a ZX-L and a ist DL. I noticed the same thing. When I got the DL, I hadn't used the ZX-L in a year or two (was shooting digicams at that point) and I just thought my lenses are slowish. One day, I compared them because I was finding it a little weird that they were 'that' slow. The ZX-L does focus substantially faster, and quite differently actually. It's not as jerky as the DL - it feels like it has more authority over the lens and can control it better.

I also tried different batteries in the DL. Surprisingly, my rechargeable NiMH batteries are the worst, but actually, rechargeables offer the lowest voltages of any of the options. Lithiums were the best, but they aren't worth the cost for me. I actually got a split image viewfinder from hong kong, and when it frustrates me too much, I'll manual focus. You could try playing with the batteries, but none of the options were as good as the ZX-L.

I'm not sure why Pentax did this. It seems quite silly to me, but as a result, I've stopped using my long, big, slow lenses in favor of smaller ones that the AF motor can control more easily (or just use A lenses that are MF to begin with). Oh well, I knew that AF was one of the weakest points with the DL, and I'm not really too concerned about it for my needs at least.

FWIW, I got to play with the K10D the last couple of days. The AF motor in that body is far better than the ZX-L, and the AF system is quite good really. I don't have a recent body to compare it to in another brand, but I was impressed with how it handled some of my heavier lenses. I'm not sure what the K100D is like but I think pentax is heading in the right direction here. I am eager to try the SDM system once it's available.
07-16-2007, 05:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
Go manual.
Then it's even slower!

QuoteOriginally posted by ncallender Quote
I'm not sure why Pentax did this. It seems quite silly to me, but as a result, I've stopped using my long, big, slow lenses in favor of smaller ones that the AF motor can control more easily
Yes, I was thinking of ditching the 80-320, thinking it was the problem , and replacing with Sigma 70-300 or similar. But now I know it's the camera I may hang on to it and wait to see what the new crop of cameras does with it.

07-16-2007, 05:43 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
Then it's even slower!



Yes, I was thinking of ditching the 80-320, thinking it was the problem , and replacing with Sigma 70-300 or similar. But now I know it's the camera I may hang on to it and wait to see what the new crop of cameras does with it.
Haha not once you get the hang of it. Anticipate the shot, focus and wait. The moment the ball is about to be kicked, you slam the shutter. I'd rather have the shot be missed by my wrong doing then by the camera deciding the trees in the background would be more suitable to focus on. (Canon let me down that way and I decided from that point on, I was going manual.)
07-16-2007, 05:50 PM   #6
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Yeah but it's not always about anticipation, someone running needs to be followed, and sometimes the zoom adjusted at the same time. I have been doing a bit of manual zooming recently, my Sigma 70-200 with a 2x on it needs manual except in good sunlight. It's a bit hit and miss but obviously practice would help.
07-16-2007, 06:03 PM   #7
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I've shot many indoor and outdoor sports with both a canon EOS1 film camera and 70-200 and an assortment of pentax film bodies and less priced lenses. I've also done quite a bit of swapping gear with friends to get a feel for nikon/minolta. AF and MF present their own pros and cons just like most things in life, but I would gaurantee that shooting with the DL/DS in AF mode with a long, heavy lens is bound to cause some heartache. Sports is one of the few photo applications where a big glass and fast AF really are nice to have. You can do it with MF as I have done many, many times, but life may be easier with a body with better AF (not even great AF - just good AF would be and improvement). If you don't upgrade, I would suggest a MF split image screen for the DS. You can get cheap ones on ebay, more expensive ones from hoada/katz eye. (no affiliation, but I wish I had the foresight to have gotten in on that gig - those catz eyes are $$$). :-)
07-16-2007, 06:14 PM   #8
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The K series DSLRs focus *much* quicker for certain lenses (I had the DS, now I have the K100D).

The DFA 100mm macro could take 4-5 seconds to go from one end to the other on the DS, but does it in 1-2 seconds on a K100D. Most of the FA Limiteds focus way quicker too because of their tighter rings.

On the other hand, most small FA primes (28, 35, 50, etc) and cheap FA zooms are fine.

My MZ-10 is supposed to be a cheap film SLR but even it has a stronger motor than the K100D.

07-16-2007, 06:22 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jslifoaw Quote
My MZ-10 is supposed to be a cheap film SLR but even it has a stronger motor than the K100D.
My point exactly - and what batteries does it use?
07-16-2007, 06:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ncallender Quote
Sports is one of the few photo applications where a big glass and fast AF really are nice to have.
Which is why I hope I can afford the SDM 60-250 if it ever comes out, plus hopefully a SDM compatible Teleconverter.
07-16-2007, 06:30 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
My point exactly - and what batteries does it use?
To be fair, it does use funky CR2 lithium batteries for which I luckily got a rechargeable set.

It quite violently vibrates the camera when it focuses from one end to the other. I cannot imagine what the PZ-1 or MZ-S is like.

The "upgrade" from the DS to the K100D was almost worth it for the better AF alone, not to mention the SR and LCD. I still do not understand why the DS/DL could not have been configured similarly (perhaps to protect the D).
07-16-2007, 06:48 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jslifoaw Quote
To be fair, it does use funky CR2 lithium batteries for which I luckily got a rechargeable set.

It quite violently vibrates the camera when it focuses from one end to the other. I cannot imagine what the PZ-1 or MZ-S is like.

The "upgrade" from the DS to the K100D was almost worth it for the better AF alone, not to mention the SR and LCD. I still do not understand why the DS/DL could not have been configured similarly (perhaps to protect the D).
I used to think (before the k100d) that the reason was because the extra drain on the batteries by the digital circuitry made it impossible to have a better motor while using AA. But, the k100d proved that wrong. I just think pentax made a bad move wrt the motors they chose and thought AF wasn't a priority. It looks like they've changed their minds though. Not to bash them too badly on this - I still love my DL, and it does so many things so well, but AF isn't one of them.
07-17-2007, 05:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ncallender Quote
...I still love my DL, and it does so many things so well, but AF isn't one of them.
And I still love my Ds, but certainly a little less now!
07-25-2007, 05:44 PM   #14
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Now I'm thinking of the 80-320...

Dear Fellow Pentax-ians:

The PIPE here again...not long ago I was thinking of a Pentax FA-J 70-300mm lens to get a "tighter" shot when at an RC aeromodeling meet (or full scale airshow), but its apparently plastic bayonet mount had me wondering of Pentax had ever come out with something that MIGHT be better...

...and then reading about the FA 80-320 got my attention.

It's supposedly got a metal bayonet mount, it can be used on either my K100D OR my vintage K1000 "film burner", and with the 1.5x mag factor I could be looking at a lens that could get a REAL eye-popping 480mm top end focal length equivalent on the K100D.

So far, I've done aeromodeling photography on the K100D, with my DA 50-200mm zoom telephoto with the K100D set to the "standard" ISO 200 sensitivity, with a 1/250 sec (4 ms) shutter speed, and f/9.5 to f/11 aperture on a sunny day-like the photos of an RC modeler and his Fokker D VII World War I quarter scale model aircraft that I shot with the K100D, at a local meet, within the last month...at the end of this message.

A Google search revealed that "Cambridge World" in NYC has this lens for around US $190...their page for it is at Pentax 80-320mm f/4.5-5.6 SMCP-FA Zoom Lens (Silver) ...is Cambridge World a reputable dealer??? I'd like to get one of these later this autumn...that's the earliest I can get it...and they do SEEM to have them.

Would it be a good match for the K100D, as I've seemed to notice in this thread already?

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!!
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07-25-2007, 06:40 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by The PIPE Quote
A Google search revealed that "Cambridge World" in NYC has this lens for around US $190...their page for it is at Pentax 80-320mm f/4.5-5.6 SMCP-FA Zoom Lens (Silver) ...is Cambridge World a reputable dealer???

Cambridge World sells stuff on Ebay under the name of Cambridgephoto. They have a 98.1% positive feedback rating with 4102 feedbacks.

I'd still call them to make sure they have this lens. they seem to list things that most dealers are showing as out of stock.
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