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09-06-2012, 05:10 PM   #1
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Please solve my Focus issues

I've been dealing with focus issues since I've been with Pentax. K-10, K-x and now the K5.....at first I was a complete newbie so I was chalking it up to pilot error. 5 years later I feel pretty confident in my abilities but I'm really disappointed with the % of keepers I get or even more frustrated with the amount of pictures I have to toss because of focus issues. Before I sell everything and jump ship can you give me some pointers on what steps I need to take to make sure the equipment is working properly.

Here is a shot I took last night SOOC. I had the camera set to AF select and had the dot right on my sons eye. f3.2 with the fa43. It missed it by a mile. Not just that shot, but 90% of them that I took. I shouldn't have to be shooting at f/11 to get this shot. This is pretty straight forward.


Should I upgrade the firmware?
Is there a "lens adjustment" setting that compensates for this? If so please explain what it does and how it works in detail. I am unfamiliar.

I want to believe there is a good camera in there somewhere, but after looking at my friends photos who are with Canikon and who know NOTHING about photography....for them to be getting so many keepers is an insult to me.

Thanks for the help

Kevin

09-06-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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Kevin,
Focus looks to be on the rim of the bowl, basket whatever. Which is what I would expect if the camera was in auto 11 point. It is the highest point of contrast and no surprise it would lock onto that.
However, if you are in select mode then I agree it looks like something is wrong. The first thing I would do is try some tests in center point mode and see if you can get that to work correctly. Even re-shoot that shot but do it in center point. Focus on the target, then without taking your finger off the button re-compose and shoot.

There is an AF adjust mechanism in the k-5. It is in the menu under C4-26. But please understand that in order to make this work you must be very meticulous about your testing. You need a good AF focus target, a tripod and everything must be perfectly aligned. Get anything off even a tiny bit and user error becomes larger than the hardware error and you end up making changes that are wrong and making things even worse.

I personally always use center point, I've never used any of the other modes and honestly still do not understand how the camera is supposed to read my mind and focus on what I want. Auto 11 might be OK with the kit lens at f/8 but it doesn't work for me. I have seen people that use the select mode and swear by it but I have no experience with that mode.

Download a focus target and instructions, set the camera on a tripod and do some real testing. If you can show the camera consistently focuses on the same point, but on the wrong point, then AF adjust is what you need. But don't go there until you have tested thoroughly, quite easy to make it worse.
09-06-2012, 05:29 PM   #3
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Technique. This would have been an easy shot to get. After many successful shoots using telephoto lenses chasing small birds through undergrowth using Pentax AF I have little sympathy for folks who have the easiest scenes in the world to shoot

Try just using centre-spot AF and focus-recompose for a while. There's no shame in using that technique - lots of pros use it. Indeed, for portraits, many pros won't use AF at all.
09-06-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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09-06-2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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Congratulations on the new son Kevin!
I have ancient istds and I take lots of shots of my 2 sons who are by now super active.
That thing rarely or never misses my focus spot in any reasonable light, either on just on focus confirmation with old M lenses or doing its thing on an old -DA ...
I see many posts about missed focus on the K5 & 7 etc and I just can't believe these are all equipment performance problems on the current Pentax cameras.
The other comment I can make is that when posting a query with a miniscule pixel image with no exif, you will just get idle speculative answers, even from the experts.
I saw a similar thread today when 2 members suggested to stop the lens down on the k5 so the thing would be able to focus better !! ??
09-06-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Excellent tutorial, thanks for posting.
09-06-2012, 06:24 PM   #7
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Do you have more than the one lens? Does this issue only happen with the one? I've got a small handful of lenses, but only one of them is badly off. If they are all off, then you may have to do a global adjustment vs adjustment for just one lens. As mentioned, you're going to have to do some tests to see if the issue is consistent or not. I'm also one that typically uses center spot and recompose. (90% of the time)
09-06-2012, 07:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave2k Quote
Excellent tutorial, thanks for posting.
No problems. I picked up a few tips from it too.

09-06-2012, 09:12 PM   #9
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Just center focus and recompose. I have a K-x (which doesn't even show focus points on the VF) and never had any issue with AF by simply not fiddling with AF points in the first place.
09-07-2012, 02:42 AM   #10
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I'm not arguing, I want this solved so don't take the responses as contentious.

1. It happens on every lens I own....and that's a lot of them
2. If I have the select point directly on the eye and it locks focus and this is the result......is that not a focus issue? Center point recompose doesn't address the issue, its a completely different approach.

QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
The other comment I can make is that when posting a query with a miniscule pixel image with no exif, you will just get idle speculative answers, even from the experts.
I don't think that we need the original. You can clearly see where it focused and I provided the aperture. Its a still image with no motion blur and I used 2 mono lights into 36" softboxes so if there was any motion at 1/100th it would be frozen.


QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I personally always use center point, I've never used any of the other modes and honestly still do not understand how the camera is supposed to read my mind and focus on what I want.
Perhaps I don't understand how it works then. I assumed that if I'm on SEL on the back of the camera and AF-S, I use my arrow keys to move the red dot over what I want to be in focus. I'm "selecting the point" for the camera so it doesn't have to read my mind.

Lets try the focus tests....can you provide a link to the chart and directions? I want to make sure its the same one that I have. When I do the test, will a successful result be 100% consistent?
09-07-2012, 03:11 AM   #11
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Thanks for the video. Unfortunately, if I need to watch a 101 on focusing, I shouldn't be using the a manufacturers flagship model. It was pretty basic stuff that I've been doing.....which is why its frustrating.
09-07-2012, 12:27 PM   #12
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You should do that same shot again, but this time do it in the garden on daylight. That would tell you pretty easily where the problem is.
I dislike Pentax's ambient autofocusing capabilities.
09-07-2012, 01:53 PM   #13
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Just had my K-5 do a AF adjust whammy on me. All my lenses shifted almost -15 from the original adjustment. Not sure what did it but I was hiking a lot of back country trails and may have whacked the body somewhere. I got back and was baffled at the complete loss of focus with my DA 15 then found my DFA 100 which always was a manual focus lens as it was a +12 was right on with AF. I am in the process of redoing my collection but I hope this is not a frequent occurrence. Many went from +5 to -10. Not sure if my experience helps but good luck anyway. Dave
09-07-2012, 02:30 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deiberson Quote
It was pretty basic stuff that I've been doing
So run some basic AF tests then - not just of uniformly contrasty resolution charts and brick walls, which usually only test out the centre AF point, but also of test targets that will help you evaluate all the 11 sensors spread across the K-5 AF matrix.
09-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #15
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Since my metering is also all over the place, I'm wondering if there is some correlation. What would be some tests to run to check the AF points?
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