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12-26-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
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k-5 ergonomics / button layout

It's my first post on this forum so hello everybody!

I am using K-5 for a year now and have some thoughts about button layout. Two things I think could be made better.
  1. AF button - I think it's useless. Shutter half-press does exactly the same. Of course user can reprogram it so that it prevents shutter half-press from focusing. Still I can't think of any useful scenario for such a setting (can anyone?). Additionally buttons are densely packed and I often unintentionally press the LV while switching AF point selection lever (I do have small hands/fingers - just sometimes I have to wear gloves in Poland ).
    I think AF button could be dropped without any harm and LV button could be placed instead of it. In this way we solve the problem of unintentional pressing of LV button.
  2. Another thing that I would change is the AF point selection lever. First of all its a bit hard to move. But more importantly after some time of using it I stopped feeling the click when switching to middle position which is manual AF point selection. I would often like to use this mode (when shooting portraits in vertical orientation to select point on the side) and unluckily this one is the hardest to select because I don't feel the click. Because of this I use center AF point and recompose. Before k-5 I had EOS 400d and I liked the Canon's AF point selection more.
    What would work for me is possibility in menu to swap top lever position (center AF) with middle one (manual AF point selection).
Has anyone on the forum ever had similar problems? Do you think my suggestions would be improvements. I really hope that someone from Pentax will read this thread

12-26-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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That's one of my complaints. Drop the AF button, put a DoF preview button there instead(Optical, the Digital "Sample" on the dial is nice, but sometimes moves the camera is all)

AF point selection isn't a big deal to me. (And having used a Canon 40D's selection system, I must say Pentax does better)
12-26-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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"Has anyone on the forum ever had similar problems?"

Nope. The AF button on the back is actually not just on Pentax cameras and I have no problems using the AF selector switch.
12-26-2012, 02:58 PM - 1 Like   #4
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1. clearly, you've never shot sports or high-action events by decoupling the AF function from the shutter button, you can choose when to focus and when to not focus (such as in the case with pre-set focus) and switch seamlessly in between the two in a pinch. It also helps that the camera doesn't annoyingly refocus every time you want to take a picture

2. this i could agree with. I much prefer the way this is handled on canikon bodies I've used before (5d, d700, d3, etc) where the selection of points is done by multi-controller-stick-thing. With this, I could just leave it on multipoint AF mode and simply press the stick down to go back to center focusing or use the stick to move around the focusing point. unfortunately, there's no menu option you can use to fix this

aside from the af point selection though, i find everything else about the k-5's ergonomics to be near-perfect

edit: @ eulogy - you can program the shutter's DoF preview to give you an optical preview. this is actually what i have it set to on my camera, the RAW button on my k-5 is used as the digital preview instead

12-26-2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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The AF button should stay. Although I am still in K10 territory, the AF button is in nearly constant use.
12-26-2012, 03:15 PM   #6
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The AF button has its uses. Not sure about 2. though. It could probably be improved in some way, sure, but only after Pentax adds more AF points
12-26-2012, 03:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bebeka Quote
AF button - I think it's useless. Shutter half-press does exactly the same.
No it does not do the 'same'. If you are shooting from tripod you focus once and then shoot as many times as you want without the annoying 'shutter half press' messing everything up. The shutter button should trip the shutter and the focus button should focus. These are separate functions and having them on the same button is annoying to say the least for any type of creative shooting. It also makes manually focusing with quick-shift effortless, as hitting the shutter button will not un-do your quick-shift. It takes a little retraining if you are used to P&S cameras but I would not be without it. it becomes automatic quite quickly.

As to the point select button, I definitely think it could be improved, but I use it rarely, if I have to move the focus select point I'd rather just manually focus.
12-27-2012, 07:30 AM   #8

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I wouldn't even consider a camera without the AF button. My old Pentax had the OK button for that use, but then again it had a Fn button to get to the settings such as ISO, flash settings, timer, etc. (which now are directly accessible). I do miss the Fn button because I prefer to be always able to select the focus point, not just after I have pressed OK for a second. But the AF button is a god send. First thing I deactivate when I get a camera is the half press to auto focus function. I want to be able to chose when I focus, and when not. For example when I know the focus is exactly right. With the half press button it'd be changed to something that may not be right anymore! So I have to set to MF, even though with my lenses it is not necessary otherwise (can manually focus when set to AF).

So I'd erase problem one, point 2 is a bit of a non-issue since I just leave it at SEL all the time. But a Fn button that works like with the old *istDs? That would be awesome.

Also I really, really miss a video recording button that works in every mode. Turning the mode dial is a huge hassle because of the button that needs to be pressed (is the button really necessary? I'm sure mine won't last long...), and it takes away a lot of time. Often I want to take a photo and immediately after that, before the subject moved away, take video. That is NOT possible (especially since I have to turn all the way from Av or TAv to video and back). At least Pentax should make it possible to reassign another button, like the RAW button to start taking a video.

12-28-2012, 04:39 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your replies. You got me thinking.
  1. AF button. I've played around with half-press AF turned off for few days and I must say it will probably work out for me. Every now and then I had the problem of unintentional refocusing. I was switching camera to MF to prevent this from happening but sometimes I would forget to do this. I'm just concerned if now I will have problem of forgetting to focus at all (viefinder is quite big but still can't discern if perfectly where I'm focused at).
  2. AF point selection lever. I think I wasn't enough specific about that. Firstly I often press LV unintentionally when switching lever. Additionally I have this recurring scenario:
    1. I'm shooting in 'Auto AF' point selection or 'center AF'. My eye focused in the viewfinder, main screen switched off.
    2. I try to switch to 'manual AF select' but I switch to the opposite mode instead.
    3. I think that I'm in 'manual AF select' I start pressing cursors to change AF point. Instead screen lights up and I start changing some other options (WB, flash or motor mode, or colors)
    4. I realize that 'manual AF select' didn't click in so I switch the camera to this mode.
    5. I'm still I'm in some random menu that I started changing. I have to exit it. by pressing menu button.
    At 4. of 5. I'm probably confused enough to remove eye from viewfinder and start fiddling with the menu on the screen (OK now I've spent some time figuring out how it EXACTLY works so I think I will do better but still I see room for improvement).

    I think few things could be done to remedy this scenario.
    • Make switching to 'manual AF select' force exiting from whatever menu the user might be in. This could be as an option in menu.
    • Make the AF lever longer to give more momentum (my right thumb hurts really! :P) and the click more prominent.
    • Move the LV button out of the way. Somewhere between WB and INFO buttons perhaps?
    What do you think?
12-28-2012, 04:51 AM   #10
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Welcome to the forum and nice thread.

I miss the SR switch that the K10d has. I still have to work if there is another button that can be programmed to do the switching.
12-28-2012, 05:18 AM   #11

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@bebeka: 1. You'll get used to it, then you'll automatically press AF unless you don't need it.
2. Unless you want to use auto select just put it to manual select, no need for center AF (just pick the center AF point :P ). Previously Pentax had a Fn button to get to the WB, flash, motor mode buttons, otherwise the cursors are automatically set to pick focus points. That seems more ideal to me, especially since the functions on these buttons are not so commonly used IMHO.
12-28-2012, 07:34 AM   #12
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I use the AF button to disable the CIF function when I use MF lenses, which I often do. For that this button is great.
12-28-2012, 07:58 AM   #13
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I'm focusing ONLY with AF button by my thumb!
May two fingers: thumb and forefinger plays as if playing the combo drums.

Ustawiam ostrość wyłącznie za pomocą przycisku AF!
Moje dwa palce: kciuk i wskazujący, grają tak, jakby grały na bębnach combo.

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