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10-20-2013, 09:33 AM   #1
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Focusing settings

I posted an earlier question about my K5 focusing problems. Still trying to determine is its me, the camera, or the lens. That being said...I'd love to hear from those who do alot of photography, what settings do you put your camera on for Auto Focus Point as well as Focus Mode? I do primarily Portrait, landscape, or close up photography. Not so much Sports etc...
And while we're at it...what Metering mode do you use most?

10-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #2
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On the k-5:
Center point AF
Focus using the AF button not the shutter button
AF.S never AF.C
Metering mode is usually in center weighted but it depends on the shot, you have to change metering to suit the environment you are in.
10-20-2013, 12:14 PM   #3
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I do both sports (equine) and portrait.
I have the original K5, and it's focus "abilities" are quite bad.
Using a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 it will happily back focus and or front focus depending on it's mood. However when it gets it right, it's a thing of beauty.
Usually AF-S, back button to focus, single point (center), with portraiture i will deliberately manually defocus before asking it to refocus - it seems to think close enough is good enough, I find that increases the keeper rate a bit.
Metering mode would be center weighted 90% of the time, Generally shoot in M mode (lots of strobist work... so that's easiest), or if it's sports also M but using the meter as a guide....
10-20-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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I've found that, in my case, poor focussing is almost always operator error! (With other words, me!)

Some of my usual errors:
1. Moving the camera when I take the shot.
2. Having the aperture wide open resulting in very shallow depth of field.
3. Having too slow a shutter speed when using a zoom lens at between 200 and 300mm.
4. One, two and three above - at the same time!

I have spent a whole evening looking at the different focussing calibration methods (both electronic and with paper based charts) and with every lens I own the results showed the lenses were all fine. The K-5 seems perfectly capable of focussing well - It's me who's the problem.
This weekend I fitted my Pentax 50mm F1.7 (manual) lens and had a bit of a play. Nice and bright outside, so I set the smallest aperture I could and the focus on a grapevine leaf was so good, you could see every little "hair" on the leaf. (I know they're not hairs - but I have forgotten the proper name from school biology!)

My advice would be: If you eliminate all the "problems" I have listed above, and you're still not getting good focus, then by all means, start to investigate the equipment for faults.
Regards,
Mark

10-21-2013, 08:02 AM   #5
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The "hairs" are called trichomes. And it's interesting to see what gets stuck to leaves when you have a perfect shot in perfect focus...in our yard it's a lot of dog hairs and what appears to be spiderweb fragments.

DOF is a constant struggle, I probably don't stop down enough most of the time.
10-21-2013, 08:57 AM   #6
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If you're doing portrait, landscapes and close-ups I think most situations should be fine and not so challenging, light permitting.

For sports and birding, I've used slow lenses like my Pentax 100-300/4.7-5.8 or Sigma 170-500.
The centre point always works best for faster moving subjects and I can switch to another point if the subject is moving slower.
I think that's down to me and my technique or lack of it. I lost a few shots on some of the outer focus points.
My tracking technique still isn't the best and have also tried switching to manual mode.


In lower light it's necessary to pump the ISO up as much as possible to affors a faster shutter speed with the lenses above.
I'd say the K-5 can give good results at ISO 6400.

Have you considered using a tripod and manually focusing for you photos?
I recommend it for the landscapes.

This thread might be worth checking out:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5/177437-auto-focus-s-vs-auto-fo...servation.html
10-21-2013, 12:11 PM   #7
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I'm a huge fan of AF Fine adjustment. I've just acquired a k-5 and both my 50-135 and 16-50 were sharp, but not 100% sharp, until I took the time to perform the AF fine adjustment. I say give it a try. I just use the focus chart test. On a tripod and then blow it up in Lightroom and compare.
10-21-2013, 05:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
The "hairs" are called trichomes..
Thank you!

10-31-2013, 07:22 PM   #9
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Focusing Settings

Thank you so much for your helpful advice. I appreciate all of you taking time to help me figure this out. I've still been experimenting with the suggestions, but still have not been happy with the results. I have not calibrated my lenses yet. I guess I should. I have a couple of older Pentax fixed lenses and am much happier with the results I get from those. Of course I usually manually focus those so that makes a difference. I have yet to get good sharp images from my Pentax WR18-135... until today. Today, I decided to reset things back to the original factory settings and then update the firmware. I was still at 1.13. I took a deep breath and updated to 1.15.
I went out and experimented this evening. Time was limited, so I only shot about 15 images. My first impression was that they looked markedly sharper. Even the color seemed better. Before I always felt that the images looked washed out. Could the Firmware have corrected these issues? Is that possible? The verdict is still out. I need to try it in various lighting situations. It seems like with the zoom I have to really watch my shutter speed carefully and either open up the lens or adjust the ISO. It seems to cut out alot of light. Sometimes more than I would expect. When I was experimenting with the advice I received last week I turned off Shake Reduction as was suggested. Yikes! It looked as though I was taking photos during an earthquake. My shutter speed was not particularly slow. I was in a stable position for shooting, but not on a tripod. I was careful on how I pressed the shutter. I wasn't even drinking! Any thoughts on that issue? The Shake Reduction not the drinking.

Thanks again!
11-01-2013, 05:22 AM   #10
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Shake reduction shouldn't be necessary with shutter speeds above 1/125 or so. Certainly when you're up around 1/350 it's of less value. It doesn't hurt to keep it on in almost all cases, though. Of course everything is compromise and balancing your settings.
11-01-2013, 09:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcook Quote
Before I always felt that the images looked washed out. Could the Firmware have corrected these issues? Is that possible?
Possible. Also possible you had something set in the camera that the reset put back to the default.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcook Quote
It seems like with the zoom I have to really watch my shutter speed carefully and either open up the lens or adjust the ISO.
Your shutter speed needs to be a minimum of the reciprocal of the focal length. That's if you have good technique and breath control. I usually recommend double that if you have the light. On the zoom it is easy to think your shutter speed is fine when you are at, say 35mm. But then you zoom out to 135mm and suddenly your shutter speed is no longer adequate for the focal length. And at the same time you are losing light because the aperture is getting smaller. Check some of the images in question and see if the shutter speed is high enough.

Another thing to keep in mind with Pentax, if you are using SR, there is a short but noticeable pause before the SR locks on. It's less on the k-5 but on the k-x it was significant. If you take the shot before the SR locks in you will get SR induced blur which softens the image. Just make sure the SR indicator (green hand) is on before shooting.
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