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07-18-2012, 02:57 PM   #1
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Is pentax AF that bad

Ive invested alot into pentax over the last year and i hear alot about the slow and unreliable auto focus. Pentax and olympus are the only dslr ive ever used, so my question is is the AF on the K-5 that bad for wildlife compared to canikon?? cheers Travis

07-18-2012, 02:59 PM   #2
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The AF is not comparable to Canikon, though the K-30 shows that Pentax IS getting there. It is NOT bad for wildlife. Looking at your PPG you should already know it is not bad for wildlife =P

Last edited by LeDave; 07-18-2012 at 03:06 PM.
07-18-2012, 03:16 PM   #3
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To be honest, for the price range, Pentax is about where it should be. People just compare the K-5 to a D4 or a 5D Mk III and wonder why it lacks relative to them. Truth be told, the K-5's screw drive blows most of the AF systems in it's price range off the charts.
07-18-2012, 03:21 PM   #4
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I don't think it's "bad" at all.
Granted, Canon's may be better, but it doesn't mean that Pentax AF is terrible.
I got some pleasing photos with my K10 and more photos with my K-5, so there has been definite improvement over the years.
I also have to accept that I don't have the fastest lenses (Pentax smc-fa 100-300 f4.7-5.8 for birding), so I can't point the finger at the bodies only.
And to add, my technique might not be the best out there.

07-18-2012, 03:28 PM   #5
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If the AF is bad, then I'd like to see how amazing everyone else's autofocus is. I'm not saying Pentax's autofocus is amazing, sure I've missed some shots, but not often. I've never really had any complaints with my Kr. I've shot with some T2i's and T3i's and didn't notice a difference. I've never used a 5d Mk II or III but that's comparing something in another world of price. I'd be surprised if for that much of a price difference the Canon wasn't significantly better.
07-18-2012, 04:17 PM   #6
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Take photo and enjoy your success
07-18-2012, 04:29 PM   #7
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It can be pretty bad, actually it can be horrible. My 50-135 for example is completely unusable (I'm not exaggerating here) in AF-S mode for sports. Strangely enough though, switch it to AF-C and it's pretty much OK. Problem is K-5 fidgets and fusses as to whether it has AF lock, something it doesn't do in AF-C mode, or at least it does but it will fire anyway and most of the time focus is good even if my K-5 had its doubts.
07-18-2012, 04:49 PM   #8
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Pentax body based AF is noisy, I have in many situations where the animals were scared as soon as the lens AF. For wildlife, Canon ring USM is superior on both speed and quietness w/o question. For regular photography, I like the noisy AF because it tells me when it's in focus while the quiet USM let me double guess sometimes.

07-18-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dane.dawg Quote
Ive invested alot into pentax over the last year and i hear alot about the slow and unreliable auto focus. Pentax and olympus are the only dslr ive ever used, so my question is is the AF on the K-5 that bad for wildlife compared to canikon?? cheers Travis
Check out the 300mm plus club I think you'll find we don't have issues focusing
07-18-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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Personally, I have no real problems with the AF of my Pentax camera's. I have a friend who has shot with Nikon for years and he has only just updated to a newer Nikon last year, but was amazed how quickly my K-5 locked focus and in such low light, we were out at dusk and my K-5 locked focus every time exactly what I pointed it at, his Nikon was hunting around... I too wonder to an extent what is really world and what is "quoted AF testing results". A friend has a Canon, his locks OK, but seems to be hit and miss with Front or back focus, from the same lens??? My *istD is still great at focus, my K-7 maybe not as good as the K-5 in AF-C but still always focused quickly and acurately in most cases, with the occassional bit of hunting, depending on contrast or just how much movement was going on in AF-S mode. My K-5 is great at sports in AF-C, and finds focus quickly and acurately in AF-S when most other things. I find depending on whats happenning, a switch between AF-S and AF-C a fair bit, but, I have also set the k-5 for "frame rate" and not "focus lock" priority, so once it has locked the first time it will keep firing and not balk whilst trying to lock again during AF-C tracking.

But Hey, thats my experience, I understand not everybodies experience will be the same.

With wildlife and Birding, I find the AF fine, but still, depending on whats going on "in frame" I still switch to manual focus to get exactly what I want, which, is what the Nikon and Canon folks do as well.
07-18-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Check out the 300mm plus club I think you'll find we don't have issues focusing
I've posted many photos in this club, I was just wondering if any one has used both systems and could tell a big difference. Thank for posting and giving no info at all..CMOHR thank you for this information..
07-18-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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I haven't used the top of the line canon stuff, but I have tried out a couple of d700 nikons that my friends have. I do feel that their AF systems are better, but I also think that has a lot to do with the number of focus points. I believe that the 5d mkii had a similar number of AF points compared to the k5, but the Nikon system has many more. I have heard that this was one of the big improvements in the 5d mkiii; I think that there are 70 some which would put it close to the d800's focus points. I don't curse my AF system for not being "as good" as these systems because my k5 cost a lot less than those cameras too.

I also think that any AF system is dependent on the user too. The Nikon system may be better, but one of my friends who owns a d700 can't take her camera off p mode let alone figure out how to get her camera to focus on exactly what she wants to focus on. she needs to learn her system. A photographer who really knows how to get the most out of their camera could certainly take fantastic wildlife shots with the Pentax AF.
07-18-2012, 07:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eulogy Quote
To be honest, for the price range, Pentax is about where it should be. People just compare the K-5 to a D4 or a 5D Mk III and wonder why it lacks relative to them. Truth be told, the K-5's screw drive blows most of the AF systems in it's price range off the charts.
I respectfully disagree. My D90 was faster and more accurate than my newer, more expensive K-5.
07-18-2012, 08:00 PM   #14
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The AF is Slow to lock on and because there are only 11 points it makes it even harder if your subject is small like a bird., they need at least 19 points. Even so you can still get awesome photos you just have to try a bit harder though especially with birds and you cant reliably track a bird if the background is not clear at least I cant.

I took that last night.

07-18-2012, 08:26 PM   #15
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I have taken those this week : https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/192995-nature-return-per...on-2012-a.html
... and you can check both links at the bottom of each of my posts where the signature is: you will find lots of pics in action using AF with the K20D, K7, and K5.

JP
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