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04-18-2011, 08:11 AM   #1
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Please explain how to use the K5 AF improvements.

I shoot a lot of cycling events. Well, my wife shoots a lot of them when I'm racing. I've been reading a lot about the improvements of the AF system of the K5. What is the best way to capitalize on the improved tracking? I notice she takes a lot of back focused shots on my K10 or even KX.
Here's a scenario....
I'm coming at her from right to left

When she half presses the shutter, lets say AF-S.....and the red square locks on the right side of the viewfinder.....

will the tracking keep "ME" in focus as I move across the viewfinder to the left side without my wife having to pan.....or is it only locking the focus of that predetermined area? Will she still need to pan me from right to left keeping me on the right side of the viewfinder since that's where the focus lock is?

04-18-2011, 08:18 AM   #2
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AF-S doesn't do tracking, you need AF-C. Also, she will need to pan to keep you in the focus area (or use auto focus point selection, but cannot say how well that is going to work)
04-18-2011, 08:22 AM   #3
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Ok. AFC and she still needs to pan.

The AF lock won't track me in viewfinder.

Thanks
04-18-2011, 08:39 AM   #4
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Catch-in-Focus might be really helpful with this kind of shot, but I don't have any experience using it...

04-18-2011, 08:43 AM   #5
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With the K5, you can set the camera to only take a photo when you have focus confirmation in AF-C. The way I would do it, is turn off the AF on the shutter button so it only takes a photo (not focus). Then use the AF button and center point AF to do the focusing.

04-18-2011, 09:04 AM   #6
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I think that perhaps its best to speak candidly about what the K-5 is and isn't when it comes topic such as sports photography.

1. The K-5 does no contain any type of predictive tracking AF module.
2. Achieving great panning shots, will likely call on end-user technique over that of AF.

Having said that, there's no doubt whatsoever that the K-5 can pull off some amazing action photography. However, getting the shots could involve include various techniques such as catch-in focus, high FPS raffling and of course AF-C. Though what's interesting in all of this, is that the AF-C could likely be viewed as a minority in the list of techniques used in the field.

If anything, your wife could achieve what you're after by pre-focusing the panning region(range). Which could be accomplished by setting an aperture and DOF wide enough to encompass the usable range of the panning area. - After which the entire affair would come-down to the K-5's high FPS. capabilities in order to get the shot.

Interestingly enough, this method is very common in the wide world of sports photography and you may be surprised at how many people prefer this over all the other methods.

Having said that... the above mentioned method works best under well prepared conditions. And therefore, it isn't always feasible to accommodate this type of shooting. And this is where the alternatives come to the rescue. The first and most obvious being AF-C. Which is very good to say the least in contrast to AF-S. However, it wasn't until recently that we've had the option to priorities FPS over focus lock. And therefore, the K-5 gained some much needed points with respect to its action shooting.

The last thing on my list(believe it or not), is the catch-in focus option. Mainly because it can easily impede ones ability to take the shot if/when the AF system isn't quite satisfied. Which could really cause someone to completely miss-out at the worst possible moment(something to think about).

Other than that, I think that the K-5 brings with it, the greatest potential for good action shooting over all of the other Pentax camera's. Granted, its no Canon Mark IV, But it certainly is a big step in the right direction.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by JohnBee; 04-18-2011 at 09:10 AM.
04-18-2011, 09:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
With the K5, you can set the camera to only take a photo when you have focus confirmation in AF-C.
I believe the setting for AF-C only gives priority to focus over FPS but does not require focus confirmation like AF-S can, to complete the shot. I have yet to find a good description of exactly what the focus priority accomplishes.
04-18-2011, 10:07 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by imtheguy Quote
I believe the setting for AF-C only gives priority to focus over FPS but does not require focus confirmation like AF-S can, to complete the shot. I have yet to find a good description of exactly what the focus priority accomplishes.
I know that's how it's worded and honestly, I don't use it very much as I don't get much opportunity to try it out. For most things, I just use AF-S. The AF on the K5 is fast enough I don't miss many shots. Even with my 'slow focusing' DA*50-135. I don't know what focus priority accomplishes either. Never really tested it that far. It may just try to insure that there are more in focus shots than OOF.



04-18-2011, 10:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
I know that's how it's worded and honestly, I don't use it very much as I don't get much opportunity to try it out. For most things, I just use AF-S. The AF on the K5 is fast enough I don't miss many shots. Even with my 'slow focusing' DA*50-135. I don't know what focus priority accomplishes either. Never really tested it that far. It may just try to insure that there are more in focus shots than OOF.

I am not working from the exact wording as much as results. I usually get in a few BIF shots every afternoon and found that if I just hold the shutter button down at AF-C, focus priority and 7fps then most of the birds, usually big stuff like Ospreys and Herons, will be OOF if heading towards me. If I shot at low speed fps, it seems to have time between shots to get a real focus and the keeper rate may go from 25% to 80% with a da*300/4, 1/1250, f8. Again, only for subjects flying almost directly at me or a sharp angle.

I would like to see other shooters results between hi/lo speed. Currently waiting for reply from Pentax on more specifics of the focus priority at hi speed. The two functions may be at odds with each other.
04-18-2011, 11:33 AM   #10
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Try auto focus-point selection, I'd be surprised if it didn't work.
04-18-2011, 01:09 PM   #11
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Predictive AF?

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
1. The K-5 does no contain any type of predictive tracking AF module.
Are you sure about this? I'm asking because the K-x puts an "AF Predictor" field in the EXIF. I've always taken this as evidence of some sort of predictive tracking. But ultimately I'm guessing.

Sincerely,
--Anders.
04-18-2011, 04:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by asp1880 Quote
Are you sure about this? I'm asking because the K-x puts an "AF Predictor" field in the EXIF. I've always taken this as evidence of some sort of predictive tracking. But ultimately I'm guessing.

Sincerely,
--Anders.
K-5 puts the "AF Predictor" field in the EXIF too.
04-18-2011, 04:32 PM   #13
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Probably showing my age... But switch to manual and hyperfocus for an area the rider will pass through. It is old school... But it works.

Buzz
04-18-2011, 04:48 PM   #14
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I don't think you should have any difficulty shooting cyclists with the K5.

I've done it with the k200d (with da*50-135) with continuous focus, last year with good results :
(ProTour Montreal - a set on Flickr)




Max.
04-18-2011, 05:13 PM   #15
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Really it all boils down to how fast the action is and the the position of the photographer in relation to the subject. AF-C will continually make small fine adjustments which works fine if the subject can be followed in the viewfinder frame. This might work if there is a clear distinct and unobscured subject but what happens if you have a bunch of riders in the peloton or a bunch of runners who could come in-between the photographer and intended subject, or if the subject is too fast to track in the viewfinder? AF-C might not hack it and given the rate of change of motion, even with an action stopping shutter speed, nailing focus can be a hit or miss affair especially if you got to keep the subject within the selected AF point.

Learn how to predict the action, pre-focus at an appropriate spot, pan the camera to follow the subject and release the shutter at the right moment is a formula a lot of sports shooters use. You can use AF-S to lock focus and set-up the AF button to disable AF when the shutter button is half pressed. Using TAv or Tv is almost a given if light conditions change rapidly. Setting to Manual mode can work if the ambient light doesn't change or if fill-in flash is needed but the trade-off is the risk of getting too few correct exposures and little time to fine-tune exposure because it is just too slow. Letting the camera determine exposure and fine-tuning the appropriate exposure by a judicious flick of the exposure compensation e-dial is in practice a lot quicker.

In AF-C, focus priority merely means the camera will strive to lock focus before allowing the shutter to be released while release priority means the camera will allow the shooter to trip the shutter even if focus has not yet been locked. Likewise in AF-C, in FPS priority, the camera will try to shoot at the maximum fps irrespective of whether the AF has time to lock focus or not.
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