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07-05-2013, 03:28 AM   #1
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K5ii auto focus speed

Hey everyone,

Im still trying to decide on my next camera body and am currently deciding between a k5ii and 7d.... The 7d has really fast auto focus but the k5ii smashes it in every thing else. I dont really do birds in flight but do photograph small striated pardalotes and grey fantails etc.. Small birds. Is the k5ii's auto focus considered "fast" and capable of birds in flight if needed? Will it be a major upgrade from using my parents powershot s2is? Also some recommended lenses for birding $600 or under would be great.

Thanks in advance

07-05-2013, 04:00 AM   #2
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The K-5 II AF should be fine, as long as you remember that even the best AF is never simply a matter of point-and-shoot, especially with wildlife. It takes a bit of practice and camera work.

The K-5 can do small birds OK, even Grey Fantails, so the K-5 II, with it's more sensitive and sophisticated AF, should do even better:


Brown Thornbill again


Grey Fantail on garden bench


Front yard Red-Browed Firetail finch


Scarlet Honeyeater hovering under pink callistemon 1/2

etc

A good birding lens below $600 might be the Pentax 55-300, which I've used extensively, or something like the Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS.
07-05-2013, 02:47 PM   #3
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Wow thanks raw awesome shots! Thanks for the info I have been looking at the 55-300 and it looks like an awesome lens. How does the autofocus speed of the two lenses compare? I love every thing else about the camera im just curios about the auto focus ATM and would like to be confident before i make my final purchase.
Thanks
07-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #4
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Hi Reptilezz,

I'm in agreement with rawr on all counts. The 7D can give you faster AF, but this to a great degree depends on the lens. With a relatively inexpensive ultra tele lens, there probably is less difference than many might suggest, and that's important to realize. For BIF, the K-5II also has the expanded focus area feature which essentially seems to be something of an automatic AF focus limiter which prevents the AF system from trying to lock on a subject that is significantly closer or farther away if your subject momentarily falls outside of your designated AF area in teh VF. I haven't used it much so can't comment extensively on this, but it should be helpful for BIF shooting (which I don't really do a lot of) as it should prevent those frustrating full lock to lock AF hunts if you're not perfectly adept at panning while following a moving subject.(which really takes a lot of practice).

The DA 55-300 is a good choice for the price range, IMO. Even for BIF, many film era wildlife pros favored a 400mm f5.6 for BIF, and with the crop factor, the DA 55-300 is a 450mm f5.8 FOV EQ at the long end and much easier to handle than any 400/5.6. To a relatively inexperienced BiIF shooter (like me ), I have found that handling trumps just about anything when it comes to flying birds.

The lens is sharp wide open for a consumer zoom and very lightweight and compact for a lens in this class, and this adds to the advantage in weight between the Pentax and Canon bodies. Personally, I find the controls on Pentax bodies much easier to use, but I'm biased as I've been shooting Pentax DSLRs for over 8 years, and I assume that with enough use, I'd get accustomed to the Canon's physical interface. My main area of concern would be the rear e-dial on the Canon. I use this frequently while shooting, and find the Canon rotary dial very awkward.

The major problem with Super Zoom compacts for shooting wildlife (IMO) is the lack of a real time OVF. An EVF always introduces some lag time between what you see and what's actually happening -- add reaction time and shutter lag, and for me, this cannot be worked around. Sure, you can get lucky and get great shots, and even with a DSLR, there's reaction time and a very slight shutter lag, but it's considerably less intrusive with an OVF -- at least for my purposes. One of the reasons I moved to DSLRs was the advantage of the OVF, and the K-5II (or IIs), with it's fast burst capability, the mirror flip blacks out the VF less than any other Pentax body, so is noticeably better at tracking moving subjects than previous bodies.

Good luk in your choice. I think that you're thinking is sound in considering Pentax (but I'm biased)

Scott

07-05-2013, 04:24 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reptilezz Quote
How does the autofocus speed of the two lenses compare?
I don't have the Sigma, but since the lenses in discussion are both screw drive lenses, AF speed would be about the same.

Note that places like DCW have three versions of the Sigma 70-300 for sale at the moment:
- Sigma Lens 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro for $214
- Sigma Lens 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro for $289
- Sigma Lens 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS for $479

and the AU Pentax web store has the Pentax 55-300 for $349.

The decision to go with the 55-300 seems a no-brainer to me. It works well with small birds: pic related - the cheaper DAL version of the 55-300 on my K-x:


Scarlet Honeyeater w 'Orange Marmalade' grevillea

The thing with long lenses and small birds is that you will end up needing to shoot stopped down more often than not, which is where lenses like the 55-300 shine. With small birds, by the time you get them into the frame, if you shoot wide-open your DOF is going to be so thin on a telephoto that you run the risk of not getting any element of the bird in focus. So it's no real disadvantage of a lens like the 55-300 that it isn't a 'fast' lens like some of the expensive pro grade lenses.

Another thing I might add in favour of Pentax is that when you are shooting small birds they spend a lot of time in the shade or dark places, so you may need to crank the ISO high sometimes simply in order to keep the shutter speed and aperture you need. The K-5 has better high-ISO performance than the 7D, and you can pull a LOT of good detail out of even a VERY under-exposed K-5 shot. Sometimes when shooting birds you don't have the opportunity to use flash (I never use flash, BTW), so this capability of the K-5 can help a lot. It has helped me pull a useful image out of a totally under-exposed bird pic several times.

Another tip is to get Adobe Lightroom once you get your new camera, because LightRoom can help you get the most out of the camera in many ways, from correcting exposure, to noise reduction, to helping you efficiently process machine-gun sprays of dozens of shots of an elusive bird doing something interesting.
07-05-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help guys. Im definitely leaning towards pentax k5ii because every time i look at a new camera a couple of weeks later im back to the k5 also the guy i go out shooting with (photos) has an ist* d and he would murder me if i didnt get a pentax ill look at getting light room 4 because ive watched videos and the noise reduction is amazing. Aslo os photoshot cs5 and 6 really $1000 or am i looking at something completely different...
Thanks
07-05-2013, 04:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reptilezz Quote
... ill look at getting light room 4 because ive watched videos and the noise reduction is amazing. Aslo os photoshot cs5 and 6 really $1000 or am i looking at something completely different...
Thanks
I have Lightroom, but I've never used any version of PhotoShop CS. They are two different products entirely.

The nearest equivalent I have to Photoshop CS is an older PhotoShop Elements 8, but I can't remember when I used it last. Photoshop (or equivalent image editors) are useful to have about, for sure, but Lightroom itself can do a whole lot, and will probably handle 90% of what you need to do. It's also pretty cheap, unlike Photoshop CS.
07-05-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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We have photoshop at school but i like the layout of lightroom better so ill buy that when the time comes.
Thanks for everyones help

07-05-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
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One last thing, what do you think of the sigma 150-500 for birding? Would it be suitable for low light rainforest?
Thanks again
07-06-2013, 12:13 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reptilezz Quote
what do you think of the sigma 150-500 for birding? Would it be suitable for low light rainforest?
I've never used it, but sites like Lenstip.com suggest that it isn't the best performer of the Sigma 500mm zooms. However there are several users of this lens on these forums who have produced great birding results with this lens - have a search. You can also get it for about $850 locally, so it may be an OK option pricewise.

Probably no lens would be ideal for low-light rainforest, and certainly no consumer-priced telephoto zoom. In the depths of rainforests (like the ones that surround me) it can get very, very dim indeed. And wet. All of which can cause all sorts of problems - from forcing you to use high ISO to drenching your gear. To get good results chasing small birds you may need to resort to flash, or be very crafty - eg set up the camera close to your target and use catch-in-focus, setup a blind somewhere. Etc etc. There are whole books on the subject.
07-06-2013, 12:56 PM   #11
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Ok, i found a couple of APO 400mm f5.6 manual focus lenses on ebay for about $370. Im not sure weather i want a prime though, i know they produce better image quality but for a few months it would be my only lens. I gues i need to do reaserch on yet another thing...
07-06-2013, 05:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reptilezz Quote
APO 400mm f5.6 manual focus lenses
I guess these are the Sigma 400mm? There were about 3 or 4 versions of that lens over the years, many of which are reviewed on this forum. I wouldn't rush into buying one, especially one of the oldest models, plus if it means you are likely to be stuck with only one tele for a while, and a manual focus one at that.

Are you sure you really need a 400mm at this stage though? A well shot photo from a good 300mm lens only slightly cropped could easily still give you a decent 400mm equivalent result. Maybe it might be worth starting out with the Pentax 55-300 or the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro and see how you go. Try it out in the field, evaluate your requirements, see what works for you.

QuoteOriginally posted by Reptilezz Quote
but for a few months it would be my only lens
Why? Aren't you also at least getting the kit lens on your K-5II body? You should.
07-06-2013, 11:31 PM   #13
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I guess i dont really need 400mm at this stage a 300 will be great. I will have a look at the kit with the WR 18-55 as well because today i went to the D'Aguliar national park and my friend showd me how useful the pentax 18-55 is.
Thanks for you help
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