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06-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #16
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So, it's been two weeks now. I've put about 3k shots on the camera, mostly with the 18-135 but some with the 40mm XS that came with my K-01.

I love the way shooting this camera feels. It's super comfortable in the hand. I can carrying it around for hours and not have any discomfort afterwords. That was a major problem with my D3100 so I'm really happy with that improvement.

The K5ii can seriously focus in the dark. It's amazing. WAY better than my D3100 which would hunt and never lock in half the darkness the K5ii just grabs focus in.

I'm learning the UI and button layout and am getting comfortable with it more and more every day. I had to shoot the D3100 a few days ago and it felt alien in my hands. The last time I used it, it was second nature.

Now for my frustrations.

I love taking pictures of my dogs while we play fetch. My old D3100 could track them as they ran around and got probably 30-40% of it's shots in perfect focus. Over the last two years I've managed to get some really awesome shots of them wrestling, leaping and chasing each other using the 55-200mm kit lens that came with the D3100.

It was sunny here this weekend and in a few hours of shooting with the K5iis I got exactly no shots in focus. I tried using all of the various focusing modes, all to no avail. Not a single shot in focus. Now, I am sure that some of this is a result of me not being used to the camera but, wow, zero shots. My yard is about 30 feet wide and the dogs range in distance from about 5 feet to around 30 feet away.

I was able to get some decent shots later by manually focusing the camera at a spot in the route the dogs run but that severely limits the spontaneous shots I can get. I am sorely disappointed with the K5iis's lack of ability here. Really, really disappointed.

On a similar note, is it me or does the K5ii seem to focus slightly above whatever dot you have selected as the focus point? I've been getting shot after shot where the focus point in the picture is above and behind where I expected it to be and I did some testing last night and it seems like the camera is actually focusing not on the mid-point of the selected focusing point but on it's upper edge. Now that I know that I can adjust myself but I'm actually wondering if there's something wrong with the camera because the K-01 pretty much just focuses on whatever is in the center of the middle focusing point. And my D3100 certainly reliably focused on exactly what the selected focus point was pointed at.

So, after two weeks I have really mixed feelings. I love using the K5ii. It feels great in the hand, and the controls are located wonderfully, but I am powerfully disappointed with the photographs that I am able to take with it. I'm not a great photographer. I'm not even good. But, with my previous camera, almost all of my shots were at least in focus. It's extremely frustrating to have the ratio of shots that are in focus drop down to a point where it feels like blind luck is more in control than I am.

06-05-2013, 01:24 PM   #17
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The focus points are bigger with Pentax than the competition. I have dogs as well, and can track them - not 100% but well over 50. Here's what I do - center focus point and metering. Don't do multi point focus.

I set up a Fast Shot User Mode at the advice of others. It starts in TAV Mode, but with changes: Shake reduction off, lens correction off, any other correction off except auto white balance. I think I have the preset shutter speed 1/750sec and f8. In the sun those numbers both change to f13ish and 1/1500 or so - there's plenty of light. You'll get full burst speed with this setup and the camera will be much quicker.
06-05-2013, 01:38 PM   #18
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Have you forgotten to use the "hi" continuous shooting mode? I have used the k-5 with DA 18-135 and DA* 50-135 in both occasions outdoor parade and stage shows.. almost every shot I got are in focus.... check your technique. On the other hand, I used the D3100 from my friend, sure the Nikon shutter keeps up with it, but only a small percentage are in focus. To me, it seems that the D3100 don't really care if the focus is on or not, the shutter will trip.
06-05-2013, 02:47 PM   #19
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It's good to hear that it's possible to get better results using auto-focus than I was getting. Although you're approach is more or less the same as what I was doing.

I will continue experimenting.

06-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
Have you forgotten to use the "hi" continuous shooting mode? I have used the k-5 with DA 18-135 and DA* 50-135 in both occasions outdoor parade and stage shows.. almost every shot I got are in focus.... check your technique. On the other hand, I used the D3100 from my friend, sure the Nikon shutter keeps up with it, but only a small percentage are in focus. To me, it seems that the D3100 don't really care if the focus is on or not, the shutter will trip.
Yes, I was using Hi. All it really gave me was a very fast series of out of focus, and misfocused, shots when used with auto-focus.

I had the best results by manually focusing on an area that the dogs would have to run through to return the ball to me. I used the hi speed shooting mode and basically sprayed shots. It worked in that I got a few shots that are in focus enough to be nice to look at but it is both inefficient and inelegant.

Compared to the D3100 the K5ii is a machine gun when set to the Hi speed shooting setting. Unfortunately, in my experience so far, it's also about as accurate as a machine gun shooting in full auto. The D3100 shoots a lot slower but it locks and keeps focus on moving targets WAY better so even though it can only take 3 or 4 pictures in the time that the K5ii can take 20 or 30, more of the D3100s shots are actually in focus.

I'm hoping that this is all just a matter of the K5 being new and unfamiliar to me and being compared to a camera that I've shot every day for two years. This is literally the only circumstance I've found where the K5ii doesn't far exceed the D3100. I want to make this work and will keep experimenting until I figure out something.

I really appreciate everyone taking the time to chat with me about this and to share their thoughts and experiences.
06-05-2013, 03:17 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Homo_erectus Quote
Yes, I was using Hi. All it really gave me was a very fast series of out of focus, and misfocused, shots when used with auto-focus.

I had the best results by manually focusing on an area that the dogs would have to run through to return the ball to me. I used the hi speed shooting mode and basically sprayed shots. It worked in that I got a few shots that are in focus enough to be nice to look at but it is both inefficient and inelegant.

Compared to the D3100 the K5ii is a machine gun when set to the Hi speed shooting setting. Unfortunately, in my experience so far, it's also about as accurate as a machine gun shooting in full auto. The D3100 shoots a lot slower but it locks and keeps focus on moving targets WAY better so even though it can only take 3 or 4 pictures in the time that the K5ii can take 20 or 30, more of the D3100s shots are actually in focus.

I'm hoping that this is all just a matter of the K5 being new and unfamiliar to me and being compared to a camera that I've shot every day for two years. This is literally the only circumstance I've found where the K5ii doesn't far exceed the D3100. I want to make this work and will keep experimenting until I figure out something.

I really appreciate everyone taking the time to chat with me about this and to share their thoughts and experiences.
Use "focus select" option and pick the "center-focus point", use your thumb to press the AF button on the back, (the green hexagon will light up if in-focus) while using your index finger to trip the shutter, no need to half press to lock focus.

Another point is that whether you have a back-focus or front-focus situation where even though the indication is that the focus is locked where in fact it is out-of-focus. Did you have the latest firmware update? Check for BF and FF situation, if it is, then you have to use micro-adjustment (go thru the MENU) to correct it.

Forgot to mention that you also have to enable AF on the "AF" button via customization menu.

Last edited by aleonx3; 06-05-2013 at 03:34 PM. Reason: forgot to mention "enable AF" button
06-05-2013, 03:39 PM   #22
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Another point... don't forget that since the image stabilization is sensor based you have to wait for the "little hand in parenthesis" indicator lights up at the bottom in the viewfinder. Depending on camera shake, this can be instant or can happen a fraction of a second after the in focus hexagon (and bip bip) confirmation appears.

Shooting before the IS hand lights up on wide lenses in good light and high shutter speed is no big deal. At 200mm under 1/250s this does become a little more important and can make quite a difference in the number of good shots.

Pat
06-05-2013, 07:11 PM   #23
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I used exiftool to check and even in some of the badly out of focus images IS was on and active. I will continue to experiment using the suggestions people have made and will report back later. Thanks!

06-06-2013, 02:37 AM   #24
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AF.C problem

Hi my firends.
I have a problem with K5IIs as using af.c mode. Using this mode with focus priority submode, camera takes shot even it didnt focused. Focused or not, both it takes foto. And focus beeping only works first focused lock, for other consequent focuses only focus indicator let me know it focuses or not. But i think beeping may works, i used to use it.
Be sure that all setting proper. I mean suhc as beep mode all on, af.c and focus priority are on. Thank you.
06-06-2013, 07:30 AM   #25
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CF will allow non-focused exposures - this is normal, you're telling the camera to do as it's told, not as it thinks it should. The beep does not indicate focus, IIRC, just that a focus point has been established. I turned the beep off, I found it annoying. With AF.C it's up to you to snap that image when you're in focus - the green hexagon lights up when there's focus.
06-06-2013, 09:56 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
CF will allow non-focused exposures - this is normal, you're telling the camera to do as it's told, not as it thinks it should. The beep does not indicate focus, IIRC, just that a focus point has been established. I turned the beep off, I found it annoying. With AF.C it's up to you to snap that image when you're in focus - the green hexagon lights up when there's focus.
Thank you very much.
I know beep does not indicate, i meant establish. On af.c mode k5iis let me to choose priority. Focus or fps. If focus priority selection can not work at that mode why pentax set up this software in camera. Additionally i used to use beeping. If my memory serves me correctly, k5 beeps all focused moment with af.c mode. May be i am wrong.
06-06-2013, 07:29 PM   #27
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Took a bunch of shots tonight and got a fair number of solid keepers, at least in terms of focus and sharpness. Many thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on how to make this work.
06-07-2013, 05:57 AM   #28
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Set up a fast-shot user mode - you won't regret it. Just make sure it's in center-point focus when you use it.
06-07-2013, 06:24 AM   #29
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If I have time this weekend I'll read through the manual and try to figure out how to make and save custom user modes. I fiddled with the camera a bit and couldn't figure it out. I'm still at the point where I occasionally change something, forget what I changed, hate it and have to reset the camera back to defaults to fix it :-)
06-07-2013, 07:49 AM   #30
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I can't tell you how many times I've quickly brought the camera up, focused and triggered to get a shot of some unusual bird or something to hear absolutely nothing. Then I realize I left it in 2-second delay since the last time I used the camera was on a tripod for a set shot.... I guess I need to make a user mode for that, too.
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