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06-23-2011, 07:10 AM   #1
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What to do with my low light FF problem

I bought a K-5 in December and has the notorious low light FF problem.

First I waited for the firmware update 1.03 with did not remedy the problem. Then I sent it to CRISCAM for evaluation along with a lengthy explanation of my problem. CRISCAM adjusted the focus to match the lens I supplied it with to "factory specs". A month later I received the camera and the low light FF has not been addressed at all!

So I called Pentax Support again, and emailed sample photos comparing the focus performance to my old K10D. he said I should send it in for evaluation again! I don't want to be without the camera another month, with the concern that it doesn't get fixed.

I don't hear much about this low light FF problem anymore so did it somehow get addressed? Does anyone have any suggestions what I could do at this point?

Thanks,

Eric

06-23-2011, 08:21 AM   #2
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Common problem. This is just my opinion. But I think Pentax has pretty much done all it will do for the K-5. It is ramping up for the next cameras. They do not have the R&D to really make a first rate system yet. Hopefully in a few years they will. But not now for sure.
06-23-2011, 10:03 AM   #3
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Gary, if that is really the case, and all K-5 cameras have this problem, then I guess I will have to give up on Pentax. The specs on this camera are impressive but the basic functions need to work properly for the price of the camera.

I have ordered another one, to see if this problem is occurring with all K-5 cameras, or just the earlier production batches (like I have heard about). In some sense it is good to have a backup camera anyway, so I may keep the new one I ordered if it doesn't have the FF problem.

I will also try out the new firmware that just came out, though I do not have high expectations since it sounds like the focus on this update has mostly got to do with GPS capability.
06-23-2011, 10:37 AM   #4
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Let us know how the 2nd K5 does. I'm curious as well. The low light FF issue seemed like a real issue that was mostly worked around w/ the firmware update...maybe your first K5 body was just too far out of range of the firmware workaround.
The D7000 (same sensor) seems to have had some of it as well, but nowhere near as severe in magnitude...

06-23-2011, 11:19 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eric Seavey Quote
I bought a K-5 in December and has the notorious low light FF problem.

First I waited for the firmware update 1.03 with did not remedy the problem. Then I sent it to CRISCAM for evaluation along with a lengthy explanation of my problem. CRISCAM adjusted the focus to match the lens I supplied it with to "factory specs". A month later I received the camera and the low light FF has not been addressed at all!

So I called Pentax Support again, and emailed sample photos comparing the focus performance to my old K10D. he said I should send it in for evaluation again! I don't want to be without the camera another month, with the concern that it doesn't get fixed.

I don't hear much about this low light FF problem anymore so did it somehow get addressed? Does anyone have any suggestions what I could do at this point?

Thanks,

Eric
HiEric.

My first K-5 had the same Low low FF problem which wasn't fixed by 1.03. My dealer replaced the Camera. The replacement did have the problem fixed with 1.03 -

You seem to have one of the rogue K-5s, like I did, so my advice is to simply get the camera replaced.
06-23-2011, 05:52 PM   #6
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Thanks Smeggypants,
Once I have my second K-5 I will be able to clearly show the Pentax customer service that there is a problem, and hopefully they will see the need to provide me with service and have my camera replaced.

Thanks
06-23-2011, 06:41 PM   #7
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Please be sure to let us know what happens, good luck!
06-23-2011, 09:04 PM   #8
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Smeggypants, I was not aware of your copy being fixed. That is great. I have two K-5's and the first went back a couple months and still not fixed. Now the second is going back with focus and shutter issues.
I am very interested in what you did to get the cameras fixed. I have been having a hard time with mine. They say fixed but when i get them back. Same thing. Ahhhh
Thanks, Gary

06-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #9
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Hey Eric,

Sorry to hear your camera problem there. I've been doing Low Light reception photography and it hasnt been apparent to me (I dont open wide at 2.8, usually around 5.6 or so), been getting sharp pictures. I also quickly got used to overriding the focus to fine tune if I think its off. It becomes second nature, I dont even realize I was doing it anymore.

Not suggesting that your camera isnt problematic, but maybe here is a work-around that you can adopt? The only reason I suggest a work around is because I have suspicion that most other brands also have focusing issues. I just did a google on 5DMk2 focusing issues. Here is a flagship camera that apparently have the same kind of issues we are having. I dont think Pentax is alone.

Last edited by D4rknezz; 06-24-2011 at 09:15 AM.
06-24-2011, 12:05 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by garyk Quote
Smeggypants, I was not aware of your copy being fixed. That is great. I have two K-5's and the first went back a couple months and still not fixed. Now the second is going back with focus and shutter issues.
I am very interested in what you did to get the cameras fixed. I have been having a hard time with mine. They say fixed but when i get them back. Same thing. Ahhhh
Thanks, Gary
I didn't get it fixed I got it replaced.
06-24-2011, 12:40 PM   #11
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Ok, well maybe I will be lucky and get it replaced. IF not I am going to send it right back and complain. I will keep my fingers crossed.
06-26-2011, 06:51 AM   #12
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Well folks, I have some good news and not so good news.
I received a new K-5 yesterday (serial # 4033…) and have compared the performance to my K-5 camera (serial # 390…).

The good news is that the performance is of both cameras behaved about the same in dim lit conditions. Perhaps I can conclude my camera is performing within factory specs. Also, I noticed that the image in my viewfinder seems sharper when the image is in focus. But that is unrelated to the ff issue

The bad news is that they both are exhibiting the front focus problem. It doesn’t even have to seem to be that dim for this problem to occur. Also, it occurs when there is still too much light to trigger the focus assist light. It seems that the AF (without AF assist light) starts getting unreliable under 2 EV.

I will try and do a controlled test tonight that might give a little bit more information what is going on.

I also finally found this product:
Photography Lights: Digital Photography and Camcorder Lighting Accessories
It was mentioned in this forum a while back and it could help in some situations (though it might be annoying to some people). Or stop down and make use of the low ISO capabilities of the camera. I hate to sell off all my Pentax gear and switch brands, but these issues with basic features are really getting annoying. I got the impression that Nikon addressed the focus problem on their D7000 and the Canon 5MII was more of a quality control problem. In any case I will keep an eye out on future replacements of the Canon 7D and Nikon D300s.

For those who want to compute the EV of a certain exposure setting, here is the Excel formula:
=LOG(A2^2/B2,2)+LOG(100/C2,2)
A2 = Aperture
B2 = Shutter time
C2 = ISO

This is different from LV (light value) that is nicely explained in:
What are EV and LV 2005 KenRockwell.com

Although the nice thing about using EV is that to get a proper exposure, the light loss of the lens itself is compensated for.
06-26-2011, 07:10 AM   #13
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When i have auto focus issue with any system...i use the MF feature
06-26-2011, 07:42 AM   #14
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I have a Split Image focusing Screen for this problem
06-26-2011, 07:54 PM   #15
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Mine seems alright

I dimmed the lights until the focus assist light came on and then covered it with my hand, forced a refocus and took some shots. I assume this was dark enough to show any FF problem. There was none. I had previously calibrated the lens focus in sunlight. There was no discernable change with incandescant.

Build: 02/17/2011
Version: 1.03

Last edited by _phil_; 06-26-2011 at 07:56 PM. Reason: clarity
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