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07-14-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
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Multi Point AF Help

Dear people smarter than me,

I could use some help understanding how to choose a focus point on my K5ii when using an AF lens. I've read the manual, I read a post here, I even had it working for a while and decided that I understood it, but it now appears that I don't. I shoot MF lenses a lot, so it hasn't been a huge priority, but every now and again someone hands me a Canon or Nikon and it's just so obvious with them that you can chose the point you want your lens to lock focus on, even when it's not in the center of the frame that I want to be able to do that on my Pentax too.

So, I have AF set to "C" and the lever on the back set to "SEL". Under "AF Settings" in the menu system, I've tried both 5 point and 11 point and I've had the "Expanded Area AF" box both checked and unchecked.

Last night, unchecked it was working perfectly for a while. I could use the direction keys on the back to chose the focus point (I assume this is where 5 vs 11 come in). It doesn't seem to be working the same way today for some reason. I've never had it work with that box checked, though occasionally I've seen another point light up in AF mode, it seemed to be beyond my control and I wasn't sure what the camera was choosing to do. Right now, if I use the direction keys while trying to focus on my subject the back screen lights up and starts going through stuff.

Can someone explain to me how this works, please? I'd like to be able to compose a person or object along a Rule of 3rds intersection, for example and have the camera AF on them and I think that's what this feature set is supposed to be enabling. Like I said, I think I had it working last night. It would be a good skill to have. If it matters, the lens I'm doing this with is the DAL35/2.4.

A side bar:
I assume that this isn't possible when using a manual focus lens. In other words, I couldn't make the focus confirmation box or use CIF with a point other than in the center. I can live with that if it's the case and I assume that it is. If I have time with a MF lens, I just focus on the subject in the center, then leave the focus alone and recompose. Works great as long as the subject isn't moving and/or my DOF isn't too shallow.



Thanks in advance. I'm sorry if this has been covered, I searched and I did read the manual. I will say that this camera is probably the piece of gear that I have learned the most features of and read more of the manual of than any other in my lifetime. I still have TONS to learn about it, but I'm really diggin' it.


Last edited by troika; 07-14-2013 at 12:25 PM.
07-14-2013, 12:35 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
Right now, if I use the direction keys while trying to focus on my subject the back screen lights up and starts going through stuff.
I believe you have to press the 'OK' button to move into 'select AF point' mode. Otherwise the direction pad does other things. Press and hold the 'ok' button until it beeps and the select focus point area highlights on the LCD and in the viewfinder the red dot indicates the AF point as you move the selection.

QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
I couldn't make the focus confirmation box or use CIF with a point other than in the center.
I believe with manual lenses it is center point only.
07-14-2013, 01:03 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Hi troika,

I think you're asking how to use select point AF where you manually choose which of the 11 AF focus sensors that the camera will use.

AF S is generally used for static subjects and AF C is usually used for moving subjects. AF S will lock the focus plane until the shutter is released and AF C continuously tries to adjust focus, even after finding a momentary focus distance. Pentax bodies used to automatically choose focus priority for AF S and shutter priority for AF C, but we now can choose one or the other for either. Focus priority will not allow the shutter to trip unless the active AF area has found focus. Shutter priority will fire the shutter when it's pressed whether focus has been sensed or not.

Generally, select point focus is used with AF S for stationary subjects, but there is no set rule, 5 and 11 point multipoint is used when you want the camera to choose the focus sensor and 5 point just gives you a larger area than just the center ( ) marks (one additional zone directly above, below, and to each side of the center, but inside the central [ ] brackets in the VF. 11 point includes them all.

Expanded focus is used with AF C for moving subjects. It narrows the distances that the AF system will look at to find focus. Let's say that you're shooting birds in flight, and the one you want is at about 50 ft. At 200 ft, behind the bird, there is a row of trees, and there's a tree at 20 ft that the bird could conceivably fly behind. Once you've gotten an initial lock on the bird, with Expanded Focus "on", the AF system will essentially ignore the trees in the background and the tree branches in front and will only "look" at contrast borders that are somewhere near 50 ft. This prevents the lock to lock hunting that could otherwise occur if you couldn't hold the bird steadily in the active focus sensor area.

Set the camera up for AF S, Select Point AF, then look through the VF and press one of the four way buttons on the back of the camera. You'll see the red LED overlay move in the direction that you've chosen. If you press the OK button in the center of the 4 ways, the selected AF area will return to center, so with 3 button presses max, you can pick any of the 11 focus areas available. When using this mode, I like to return the active AF area to center after changing it, but each person should work out how exactly they use it.

Personally, I shoot tele lenses more often than wide, and usually only use the center point for AF. If need be, I'll focus and recompose while holding the focus lock, but with relatively slow teles at significant distance, the DOF is usually deep enough to cover any focus and recompose focus errors.

Sorry for the long post, but from your post, I got the idea that all of this was confusing to you, and covering a little of everything might help.

Scott
07-14-2013, 01:16 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I believe you have to press the 'OK' button to move into 'select AF point' mode. Otherwise the direction pad does other things. Press and hold the 'ok' button until it beeps and the select focus point area highlights on the LCD and in the viewfinder the red dot indicates the AF point as you move the selection.


I believe with manual lenses it is center point only.
Hi jatrax,

Actually, it's the other way around. If Select Point is chosen, the 4 way buttons select the focus point by default, and when you press and hold the OK button, they switch to the icon functions on each of the buttons. When the K-7 came out, it was set up the way you suggested, and there were a storm of complaints from select point users, so they changed to the present configuration with a FW update.

BTW, I should have explained that the red LED overlays that light up do not correspond to the actual AF sensor areas. These are only indicators which area is active. The actual AF sensor areas are much bigger than the red squares. Also the red LED indicators actually light up just before the AF system locks. All they do is indicate which of the 11 areas is being used by the system to sense focus. The focus confirmation is the green hexagon at the bottom of the VF. If you watch carefully, you'll see that the red square lights up a fraction of a second before the focus confirmation hex comes on.

Scott

07-14-2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Actually, it's the other way around. If Select Point is chosen, the 4 way buttons select the focus point by default, and when you press and hold the OK button, they switch to the icon functions on each of the buttons.
Yeah, I knew that, I meant that the OK button toggled back and forth between those functions. I should have made that clear, but I was thinking the OP had it working and then it didn't work so maybe he hit the OK by accident and toggled out of select mode. But you are quite correct, and a very nice summary of AF modes by the way
07-14-2013, 06:33 PM   #6
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This thread brings some wanted information as to what this "expanded area AF" is actually doing.
I wanted to know a bit more and I've just found the answer(s).
Thanks to the posters!

One question: for birders and BIF shots: does the expanded area AF with the K5II and K5IIs really make a difference?

Cheers!

JP
07-14-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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Original Poster
Wow, yeah. I learned a lot from these responses. At least I think I did. I'll grab my camera and try some of those things out and see if I really do understand. I had a basic understanding of the difference in focus modes, but this opened up a lot of ideas for me.

Thanks as always everyone. I really learn a lot from this forum.

EDIT: Got it. All of it. You guys rock. Especially Scott for answering questions that I hadn't even asked, but I would have if I had known to. I've got the point select thing working now and checked the "expanded focus" box. I looked at that setting, but didn't understand it in practice, so I had left it unchecked.

I've also been confused about the 3 way switch on the back and was going to ask about it on another day, but I think I'm clear there now too.

Thanks again to everyone.

Last edited by troika; 07-14-2013 at 08:46 PM.
05-09-2019, 05:30 PM   #8
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In SEL, can you select more than one point? How do you know which point/s were selected?

05-09-2019, 06:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote

Expanded focus is used with AF C for moving subjects. It narrows the distances that the AF system will look at to find focus.
No, you're thinking of the 'Hold' setting, Scott

'Expanded focus' is tracking … if whatever is under the selected point moves to a neighbouring point, the autofocus switches to that point.
05-09-2019, 07:48 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
No, you're thinking of the 'Hold' setting, Scott

'Expanded focus' is tracking … if whatever is under the selected point moves to a neighbouring point, the autofocus switches to that point.
You are correct, Ian, but doesn't Sel 9 have a smaller "box" to track focus in versus Sel 24 or 27 thus giving Sel 9 more tracking accuracy? That seems to me to be what Scott is saying. I'm not sure that theory works though as I've never had much luck with using any setting with AF-C other than Spot.
05-09-2019, 10:26 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Larrymc Quote
You are correct, Ian, but doesn't Sel 9 have a smaller "box" to track focus in versus Sel 24 or 27 thus giving Sel 9 more tracking accuracy? That seems to me to be what Scott is saying. I'm not sure that theory works though as I've never had much luck with using any setting with AF-C other than Spot.
None of the SEL modes track, Larry, only Expanded, that's why!
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