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03-18-2013, 11:36 AM   #1
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K5 poor focusing accuracy in anything other than bright sunlight? K5II any better?

I bought a K5 a few months ago. I soon realised that it was front focusing a lot of the time. I did some tests and realised that the maximum manual adjustment was not enough to correct this. I did notice the effect was more noticeable in some lighting conditions, but never thought this was the "low light" problem reported by others. The shop tested the camera with a Pentax-DA 35mm f2.4 AL (result attached f2.4, 1/1250 and ISO 800... hardly low light!). The camera was sent to Pentax UK repair centre, and was returned saying camera was in specification. The shop tested it again and sent it back. Finally, after discussions with Pentax Europe, the camera has been returned to the shop again with no adjustments made. This time they tested with a different lens and claim it is focussing acceptably, and that maybe their 35mm lens was out all along. That also means that every one of my Pentax-A lenses are out too. (Oh, and Pentax Europe claimed that my Pentax-A lenses are too old to use with the camera and I should focus by eye instead. So despite the manual telling us that the focus assist light works with Pentax-A lenses, someone in Pentax Europe feels otherwise!)

I suspect the problem is, as others have reported, that the K5's focus system is extremely sensitive to different light sources. If I accept the K5 back again, I am therefore accepting that in anything other than bright daylight I will never be able to use large aperture prime lenses with the K5... something which is unacceptable to me.

Does this ring bells with other K5 users? What about the K5II? Does it focus more consistently? Or should I simply jump ship to Nikon?

F.

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03-18-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
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The K-5II has an additional f2.8 AF sensor that the Classic K-5 lacks. This should make it more accurate under low light and with larger apertures.
03-18-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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You could claim to exchange your camera. Have you tried with another one in the shop ?
03-18-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
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As far as accuracy goes they should be about the same. If there's enough light, both will lock on just fine (but the K-5 II can indeed do it in less light, see our review for details).

Canon and Nikon do have better AF, but the difference is only noticeable for continuous/action shooting or when using all the AF points.


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03-18-2013, 12:44 PM   #5
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I have had issues with my K-5 accurately focusing when using fast prime lenses. It seems the farther away my subject is the more off it is. Havent noticed any issues with varying light. I take lots of pictures of my pets, therefore I want the eye in focus and I also like to shoot wide open to get very shallow depth of field. When far away from my subject, the camera never gets the focus right, eyes are always out of focus even thought I am shooting center focus point. Its very frustrating, I assume it is due to the small number and size of focus points.
My K-01 seems to do a much better job, and it also has more focus points.
03-18-2013, 12:57 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by frstep Quote
I bought a K5 a few months ago. I soon realised that it was front focusing a lot of the time. I did some tests and realised that the maximum manual adjustment was not enough to correct this. I did notice the effect was more noticeable in some lighting conditions, but never thought this was the "low light" problem reported by others. The shop tested the camera with a Pentax-DA 35mm f2.4 AL (result attached f2.4, 1/1250 and ISO 800... hardly low light!). The camera was sent to Pentax UK repair centre, and was returned saying camera was in specification. The shop tested it again and sent it back. Finally, after discussions with Pentax Europe, the camera has been returned to the shop again with no adjustments made. This time they tested with a different lens and claim it is focussing acceptably, and that maybe their 35mm lens was out all along. That also means that every one of my Pentax-A lenses are out too. (Oh, and Pentax Europe claimed that my Pentax-A lenses are too old to use with the camera and I should focus by eye instead. So despite the manual telling us that the focus assist light works with Pentax-A lenses, someone in Pentax Europe feels otherwise!)

I suspect the problem is, as others have reported, that the K5's focus system is extremely sensitive to different light sources. If I accept the K5 back again, I am therefore accepting that in anything other than bright daylight I will never be able to use large aperture prime lenses with the K5... something which is unacceptable to me.

Does this ring bells with other K5 users? What about the K5II? Does it focus more consistently? Or should I simply jump ship to Nikon?

F.
Dial in some AF adjustment for your DA, the function is there for that. AF accuracy goes out the window wider than f/2.8 in variable lighting (i.e. light show at a music gig), its been like that in the K-5 since day dot. I gave up and fitted a Katzeye , as far as I can see, a lot of people are happier with the K-5II(s) in this regard.
03-18-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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Your lens is front focusing and there is an AF adjustment for that. The "A" lens is not auto focus so of course you need to manually focus that one. FWIW, Nikon and Canon also have auto focus adjustments in some of their cameras for the same reason, not every lens is going to be perfect with every camera. Question, when you sent the body in for service did you also send in YOUR 35 f2.4? If they used a shop copy and it tested okay, then perhaps it is your lens that is the problem.
03-18-2013, 02:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
Dial in some AF adjustment for your DA, the function is there for that
robbiec, I can dial in -10 and it's still off... in anything other than bright daylight. Trouble is, much of the time I want to be using large apertures, it's in mixed or artificial light.

Franky2step: AF confirmation light works with a-series lenses. See page 337 of the manual. It's the same sensor, and the same issue. AF or manual, the camera has FF (and by more than fine adjust) in anything apart from bright daylight.

What I want to know is is this normal as acceptable (as clearly Pentax Europe think it is) or are just some K5 bodies worse than others. (I find it hard to believe that my K5 is representative, since for 80% of my shots the focus is out enough to be noticeable.

If the K5II was the solution I'd be tempted to pay more and get one, since I really like the ergonomics of the K5.

03-18-2013, 02:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Franky2step Quote
Question, when you sent the body in for service did you also send in YOUR 35 f2.4? If they used a shop copy and it tested okay, then perhaps it is your lens that is the problem.
It was the shop's 35mm f2.4. I don't have a large aperture AF lens (but lots of Pentax-A lenses). Given the fact I can tell the kit 18-55 isn't focusing correctly, and the shop's 35mm did the same, I can only assume that the tests at the repair place (Johnsons Photopia) and the latest test in the shop (with a different lens) were done in lighting that didn't challenge the AF in the way the earlier tests were.

(And is Pentax QC so bad that brand new lenses out of the box can be off by so much? To me it looks so much more like a body than a lens issue).
03-18-2013, 02:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
As far as accuracy goes they should be about the same. If there's enough light, both will lock on just fine (but the K-5 II can indeed do it in less light, see our review for details).

Canon and Nikon do have better AF, but the difference is only noticeable for continuous/action shooting or when using all the AF points.
Really? I've used various (much older) Canon and Nikon and Sony dSLRs without finding that in some (frequently experienced) lighting conditions (i.e. anything indoors) they can't focus accurately. Maybe I've been lucky or wasn't looking so hard, but if dSLRs were as all as temperamental as my K5 on focus, I can't believe people would put up with them!
03-18-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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I have a K-5 and a IIs. The poor autofocus in low tungsten light levels is gone in the IIs. PRI seems to have fixed this one.
03-18-2013, 03:23 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I have been using a legacy K-5 for the past 18 months and maybe I've been lucky but focus has been rather hassle-free for me. Gotten used to not using wide open aperture under artificial lighting, assuming the slight increase in DOF will make up for any accuracy variances and I think it does. I might have thought different if my requirements were f1.4 under tungsten or stage lighting but so far I haven't seen the need for that in real life shoots.

Examples from yesterday under crazy stagelighting:








03-18-2013, 05:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
I have been using a legacy K-5 for the past 18 months and maybe I've been lucky but focus has been rather hassle-free for me. Gotten used to not using wide open aperture under artificial lighting, assuming the slight increase in DOF will make up for any accuracy variances and I think it does. I might have thought different if my requirements were f1.4 under tungsten or stage lighting but so far I haven't seen the need for that in real life shoots.

Examples from yesterday under crazy stagelighting:








What lens were you using for those photos? The Exif at Flickr only says 70mm but not the lens name.
03-18-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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Great shots newmikey..
03-18-2013, 10:41 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
I have been using a legacy K-5 for the past 18 months and maybe I've been lucky but focus has been rather hassle-free for me.
Ditto. I am always puzzled when people claim otherwise. The K-5 AF seems reliable and predictable enough, indoors and out.
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