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View Poll Results: When will the camera turn off the SR function in the VF?
Only when the camera Auto Powers Off. 58.20%
Only when the Exposure Meter Auto Powers Off 11.64%
Either when the camera or meter Auto Powers off 1626.23%
The SR function is not related to any Auto Power off. 2236.07%
I don't know. 1727.87%
Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

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12-28-2011, 12:22 AM   #1
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A poll on your understanding of the SR Function

I posted the poll above to show some of my fellow PF members that our knowledge of the SR system may not be as complete as it should be. At the end of this message, i'll give you what i think is the correct answer to this poll. Please take this poll without looking up or testing your camera first. Its for your own amusement - if anything.
==================
With that out of the way, Member tuco posted this link to a Thom website article on the VR system (in the Other Manufacturer forum), when to use it and when not to use it. The reason i repost the link on the K5 site is to demonstrate that these body SR and lens VR type systems are far more complicated and difficult to use than i ever originally imagined. Without further ado, the link:

Nikon VR explained

Again, I don't want to start a comparison between SR and VR - thats not the point, its just that i began to wonder after reading about the VR system, if Pentax's SR system had similar technical difficulties in certain situations that many of us were not aware of.

Could it be that some of the blurred picture problems that folks attribute to phase AF may instead be due to improper use of the SR system? (I don't know the answer to that question, or how to tell SR bluriness problems from lack of focus problems (other than BF or FF - i could recognize that)

So first thing i did was to go to my K5 manual and read this summary on page 139 and following,
1. advantageous in dimly lit situations
2. advantageous on telephoto lenses (this is different from what i read on some threads, but not others)
3. Not useful for subject motion blurring
4. may not fully reduce shaking in close up shots
5. will not fully work on with slow shutter speeds, e.g. panning or night shooting
6. the SR function will not fully work for about 2 seconds after power is turned on or when recovering from Auto Power off.

OK - NOT IN THE K5 MANUAL is something i discovered tonight, after 8 months of owning the K5. If you set the meter power off function to a short value like 5 seconds, you will notice the SR hand disappears when the the meter powers off and it takes about 2 seconds for the SR to recover itself. If you are snapshooting street scenes and have a shutter speed that relies on SR, you may be taking photos before the SR function has a chance to power up. POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Either don't use SR, set a long meter on time, or keep your finger on the shutter button if there is a chance you will be snapping a photo off quickly

In any case, I hope that either Pentax or someone on this forum could provide better guidance on when to avoid using the SR function on the later dslrs. I don't think the Pentax guidance is adequately complete.

I actually like Thom's guidance on Nikon VR usage, Rule number 1,
QuoteQuote:
The first and most important rule of VR is this: never turn VR on
QuoteQuote:
unless it's actually needed.
Perhaps we Pentax owners need to adopt a similar rule

I do know that I experienced a high rate of non-blurry pictures when i turn off SR (on my K20 and now the K5) for shooting play rehearsals and instead rely on shutters from 1/100s to 1/200s, whatever i can get away with consistent with exposure requirements and camera ISO abilities. This is totally annecdotal but over several plays worth of photos. I haven't set up any kind of objective comparison test - not exactly sure how one could do that.


Last edited by philbaum; 12-28-2011 at 12:43 AM.
12-28-2011, 12:38 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote

OK - NOT IN THE K5 MANUAL is something i discovered tonight, after 8 months of owning the K5. If you set the meter power off function to a short value like 5 seconds, you will notice the SR hand disappears when the the meter powers off and it takes about 2 seconds for the SR to recover itself. If you are snapshooting street scenes and have a shutter speed that relies on SR, you may be taking photos before the SR function has a chance to power up. POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Either don't use SR, set a long meter on time, or keep your finger on the shutter button if there is a chance you will be snapping a photo off quickly

Page 141 of the K-5 Manual:

The Shake Reduction function will not fully work (for about 2 seconds) right after turning on the camera or restoring from Auto Power Off. Wait for the Shake Reduction function to become stable, and then press the shutter button gently. If k appears in the viewfinder when you press the shutter release button halfway, the camera is ready to take a picture.

Why would you set your meter to power off after 5 seconds? The meter's power usage is very minimal, and it seems that if you are doing street photography you would want the camera ready instantaneously. I have my 'auto power off' set to 3 minutes.

If you are concerned about battery life, turn off the rear LCD and the top LCD backlight, and carry an extra battery.
12-28-2011, 12:49 AM   #3
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Auto power off and meter operating time are not the same thing. The longest value for meter operating time is 30 seconds.
12-28-2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimby Quote
Page 141 of the K-5 Manual:

The Shake Reduction function will not fully work (for about 2 seconds) right after turning on the camera or restoring from Auto Power Off. Wait for the Shake Reduction function to become stable, and then press the shutter button gently. If k appears in the viewfinder when you press the shutter release button halfway, the camera is ready to take a picture.

Why would you set your meter to power off after 5 seconds? The meter's power usage is very minimal, and it seems that if you are doing street photography you would want the camera ready instantaneously. I have my 'auto power off' set to 3 minutes.

If you are concerned about battery life, turn off the rear LCD and the top LCD backlight, and carry an extra battery.
Good point. I originally had mine set to 30 sec., just used 5 sec so that folks could see it power off in their VF for demonstration sake.


Last edited by philbaum; 12-28-2011 at 01:29 AM.
12-28-2011, 01:37 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I've noticed some inconsistent/weird/wrong behavior of the SR icon in the viewfinder.

I enable the SR with a short tap on the shutter button and then wait for the SR icon to light up, that means the SR is ready. If I then make a sudden movement of the camera, say turn right 20 degrees (or something) then the SR icon turns off and after a while lights up again in the new position. This is the "right" behavior and how I expect it to work.

But if I do the same sudden movement with the shutter button half pressed, the SR icon will stay lit no matter how I twist/turn the camera. This must be wrong, there is no way the SR can be ready under these circumstances, yet the SR icon stays lit fooling the user that everything is OK.
12-28-2011, 01:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
I've noticed some inconsistent/weird/wrong behavior of the SR icon in the viewfinder.

I enable the SR with a short tap on the shutter button and then wait for the SR icon to light up, that means the SR is ready. If I then make a sudden movement of the camera, say turn right 20 degrees (or something) then the SR icon turns off and after a while lights up again in the new position. This is the "right" behavior and how I expect it to work.

But if I do the same sudden movement with the shutter button half pressed, the SR icon will stay lit no matter how I twist/turn the camera. This must be wrong, there is no way the SR can be ready under these circumstances, yet the SR icon stays lit fooling the user that everything is OK.
Thanks for that, i wasn't even aware that it doesn't take much movement for the hand icon to go out. Mine does exactly what you describe. Thats even more jeopardy to relying on SR when shooting events. we need an answer to your question.

Last edited by philbaum; 12-28-2011 at 02:07 AM.
12-28-2011, 02:15 AM   #7
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I have no in-depth idea about how SR works. A thought hit me few weeks ago, that I don't come home with that bad shake related photos anymore and then, while testing SR, I discovered something. If the camera is moved too suddenly (for example from hip to aim position) then even though SR engages and there's a split second from aiming to shooting, the SR itself will cause blur on the photo. I tried it again and again and it did the same thing each and every time.

I was never aware of this. It makes sense I can't shake the camera violently, snap a picture and expect it to be good thanks to SR, but I wasn't doing it like that dramatically. the movement was too fast than what I previously thought was OK.

Dunno if this is common knowledge, but it's new to me.

Edit: oh, I see Gimbal mention the exact same thing.
12-28-2011, 04:35 AM   #8
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Confronted with the poll question I could recall that I can disable SR (explicitly or implicitly with self-timer) and that it takes a bit of time to activate (hand icon in the OVF), not much else so checked "I don't know". It would seem to make sense that it stays active for the metering interval.

12-28-2011, 04:43 AM   #9
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"I don't know".
12-28-2011, 09:26 AM   #10
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If the hand icon is lit, then you're good to go. That's the rule to go by!

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12-28-2011, 09:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
I've noticed some inconsistent/weird/wrong behavior of the SR icon in the viewfinder.

I enable the SR with a short tap on the shutter button and then wait for the SR icon to light up, that means the SR is ready. If I then make a sudden movement of the camera, say turn right 20 degrees (or something) then the SR icon turns off and after a while lights up again in the new position. This is the "right" behavior and how I expect it to work.

But if I do the same sudden movement with the shutter button half pressed, the SR icon will stay lit no matter how I twist/turn the camera. This must be wrong, there is no way the SR can be ready under these circumstances, yet the SR icon stays lit fooling the user that everything is OK.
I consider that to be normal behaviour, it's how I'd intuitively expect it to work, as with the autofocus. If I point at a different subject after half-pressing the shutter release button and keep it half pressed, it will probably be out of focus, but the VF focus indicator stays lit (in its default mode).

But I hadn't realised how little you need to move the camera without the half-press, to disable SR for 2 seconds. I now see that stopping a long steady pan will also temporarily disable it; this stuff is all good to learn about, excellent thread!

Last edited by Dave L; 12-28-2011 at 09:56 AM.
12-28-2011, 10:20 AM   #12
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I do a lot of tripod shooting even in the studio, I think it's a habit from my film days, I never had particularly steady hands, and if I'm going to ruin a picture, I want it to be from gross incompetence, not inability to hold the camera steady. :P

To address the original poll question if memory serves me, on the K20d the SR icon only comes on when the shutter is half way pressed, and it usually takes a split second at that. I have my meter set to run for 30 seconds, and if I've been away from the camera for a bit, I've gotten into the habit of tapping the shutter as I return, before I even put it up to my eye, so I don't think I've ever noticed any delay.

I think enabling SR allows the sensor to float, and disabling it locks it down. Now I've heard that if you have the camera on a tripod that you should disable SR, that the SR system can compensate for camera shake caused by hand-holding, but not the vibrations caused by mirror slap. Or maybe it's just because you're draining the battery by using a feature that isn't necessary. I can see where having a floating, yet steady mirror might be a disadvantage when dealing with small vibrations. Anyone with more-than-anecdotal insight SR and tripods? How about monopods?

What I do know is I don't think about SR very much, and I often forget to turn it back on after I've had the camera on a tripod and switch back to hand-holding. It is at these times, much to my chagrin, that I am reminded exactly how effective SR is, particularly for longer exposures i.e. 1/2~1/30th.
12-28-2011, 10:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
What I do know is I don't think about SR very much, and I often forget to turn it back on after I've had the camera on a tripod and switch back to hand-holding. It is at these times, much to my chagrin, that I am reminded exactly how effective SR is, particularly for longer exposures i.e. 1/2~1/30th.
I normally use the 2s (& sometimes 12s) delay when tripod shooting; it disables SR automatically. Saves having to remember to turn it back on and avoids the need to use a remote shutter release. Works for me, anyway.
12-28-2011, 12:19 PM   #14
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What's the "takeaway"?

Very much appreciate Gimbal's post about how little movement is required to disturb the SR function, at least with the finger off the shutter.

But what have i learned from this discussion that i will apply to my shooting?

1. I'm thinking of creating a User mode to use SR for discrete applications: I would turn SR ON for for landscape or cityscape shots that i want to get the lowest possible ISO for.

2. I will no longer use SR for any event shooting, for street snapshooting, for wildlife shooting, where people are involved, except for "portrait" stuff.

3. In low light shooting without a tripod, I would consider using SR to allow usage of slower shutter speeds. (Keep monitoring SR readiness in VF without finger on shutter)

4. If using shutter speeds over 1/500, i won't use it (read the Nikon link in the original post - different system i know) But its my camera - my rules until i see better guidance out there.

This is sort of what i'm thinking of now, if i'm out to lunch on these ideas - let us know. i'm here to learn

Last edited by philbaum; 12-28-2011 at 02:09 PM.
12-28-2011, 12:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dave L Quote
I consider that to be normal behaviour, it's how I'd intuitively expect it to work, as with the autofocus. If I point at a different subject after half-pressing the shutter release button and keep it half pressed, it will probably be out of focus, but the VF focus indicator stays lit (in its default mode).
That might be intuitive, but it's not how any SR systems (I've heard of) works. They all need to be stable (or in a steady movement) a short time before being ready.
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