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05-31-2016, 02:51 AM   #1
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K5-IIs - Am I in the right place?

Hi


Long time browser and reader of this excellent community, albeit just registered.


I currently have a K5-IIs with various lenses (18-55, 55-300, 35, 50, 10-20, 150-500) and am struggling to hold my faith in Pentax. The camera was purchased not long after its release and has been a reliable and solid camera, what is giving me the "am I in the right place" thoughts is I have recently got into photographing a various re-enactor based events. To give you an idea the two so far this year have been 1 - overnight in London photographing two vintage London buses dating back to the late 1930's and 2 - at the Swindon Railway museum (private event at night)


Both of these were very much low light and in some cases very much low light and I have noticed that I am the only Pentax shooter in the crowd everyone else is Nikon or Canon. At both events I had more failures than winners on the images. I have been watching and listening to the other photographers and they are all pointing and clicking so to speak and the image is taken, whereas mine is more point, click and pause whilst it takes. They seem to be able to get pictures captured quicker and with better sharpness and light control.


One thing I have noticed is that they are using low aperture lenses (f2.8 area) which I am also with the 50mm but more of their images are in focus. Is this because they have more focus points and have them active at the same time hence more of the picture is in focus and sharp without dropping off. For example with the buses they are managing to get the entire bus in focus and yet I am only getting part of it. Hence I am raising the aperture and taking longer with the capture to get more in focus meaning that some shots are missed or spoilt due to other influences.


Outside of these events my camera is excellent, only letting itself down slightly at airshows and flying birds etc.


My concern is obviously now that Sigma are gradually reducing the number of lens they make and will eventually stop making for Pentax leaving just Pentax making lenses and given that I am having these "challenges" do I stay or would I be better off with another brand.


Thanks


Paul

05-31-2016, 03:11 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Hi Paul,

Based on what you've written, it sounds like it's not necessarily the equipment that's letting you down, but perhaps a combination of camera settings and your technique.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mash4077 Quote
One thing I have noticed is that they are using low aperture lenses (f2.8 area) which I am also with the 50mm but more of their images are in focus. Is this because they have more focus points and have them active at the same time hence more of the picture is in focus and sharp without dropping off. For example with the buses they are managing to get the entire bus in focus and yet I am only getting part of it. Hence I am raising the aperture and taking longer with the capture to get more in focus meaning that some shots are missed or spoilt due to other influences.
More focus points doesn't mean more is in focus. Also, in low light, you'll typically be sticking to your central point(s), since those are the most sensitive. Your K-5 IIs's AF is just as sensitive in low light as the best Canon and Nikon gear, with the exception of the newly-launched D5 and D500.

Try stopping down more, using a wider lens (for more depth of field), and bumping up the ISO. Also, make sure your SR is on, and stay still after the camera locks focus (it may take a second or two in low light).

If you could post some samples, I'd be happy to take a look and offer some suggestions, and I'm sure other members will too.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mash4077 Quote
My concern is obviously now that Sigma are gradually reducing the number of lens they make and will eventually stop making for Pentax leaving just Pentax making lenses and given that I am having these "challenges" do I stay or would I be better off with another brand.
This is an interesting issue, though personally I think Sigma will come around, assuming Pentax users will show an increased demand for Sigma lenses. Since you're not heavily invested in lenses, you certainly have the option of switching. However, you won't see much of an improvement with another system unless you also step it up to premium lenses, and perhaps full frame. And it just so happens that through the K-1, you basically get the best full frame value currently on the market: think of it as a Nikon D810 with a $1000 rebate on it.

Adam
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05-31-2016, 03:13 AM   #3
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Paul

You raise an important issue.

The AF functionality of Pentax cameras is not its strongest suit. In the Pentax 5IIs the AF has few 'low light' AF points. I cannot recall the exact parameters but they are not 'good' compared to the competition.

So, in low light you have a camera with capability, but, failings when it comes to AF points.

I would be looking at two factors to improve your success rate.

1) Check to see if you are back/ front focusing. This is possible and if so you are wise to 'tune' your lenses individually (the camera can recognise FA lenses and beyond and 'store' the AF adjustment)
2) Consider using MF in low light with upgraded focus screen (Katzeye or equivalent). This is particularly useful technique for lenses with f2.8 or less (eg your 50mm lens).

The K3 has better AF functionality and the K1 even better.

Ultimately, AF is something Pentax is working on. If you can work with the limitations you will be rewarded with the benefits that Pentax can offer. In the K5iis you have ISO80 and removed AA filter to enjoy!!!! I really like the K5iis camera and will probably never get rid of it - really really good for macro.

Regards
05-31-2016, 03:19 AM   #4
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Hi


Thanks for the replies so far, I will certainly upload a couple of the images from both events to let you have a look. Please by all means critique away as it is the only way of learning and breaking out of a loop of forever getting it wrong.


Can I ask what is this front/back focusing? Not sure if that is a problem as it daylight the lens are sharp as anything at the usual f8 / f11.


In terms of the K3-II I now my current lenses would fit and work fine, would they work with the K1?


The lenses are all Pentax with the exception of the 10-20 and 150-500 which are Sigma.


Thanks

05-31-2016, 03:24 AM   #5
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Paul

Have a look at this comparison just to get an idea of how things have changes since the K5iis

Pentax K-1 vs. Pentax K-3 II vs. Pentax K-5 IIs - Pentax Camera Comparison - PentaxForums.com

have a read of this re: back/ front focusing

Fixing Front and Back Focus - Introduction - In-Depth Articles
05-31-2016, 03:27 AM   #6
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With what lens did you shoot the night events? The K-5IIs is a wonderful camera (you can take images with it that make Canonikon FF DSLRs envy!) that gained me from Nikon. So maybe you will follow the opposite direction!

Good luck with your decision. What is obvious is that you need to invest in fast lenses (I assume that you are an experienced photographer who knows the theory behind photography and has developed his personal style). My experience from airshows (mostly with the Bigma) is that the K-5IIs excels! You can face "challenges" with BIF (especially on busy backgrounds where the AF tracking is lacking) but I haven't found any other 16,3Mpxl camera that offer the IQ of the K-5IIs!

Just my personal experience though!

PS1: Do you have some samples from your "disappointments"?
PS2: Do you PP your RAWs?
05-31-2016, 03:31 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
The AF functionality of Pentax cameras is not its strongest suit. In the Pentax 5IIs the AF has few 'low light' AF points. I cannot recall the exact parameters but they are not 'good' compared to the competition.
The K-5 II's AF points are all sensitive to -3 EV. That's still class-leading and no other Pentax is more sensitive (but alas the K-3 and K-1 are each a bit faster).

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05-31-2016, 03:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The K-5 II's AF points are all sensitive to -3 EV. That's still class-leading and no other Pentax is more sensitive (but alas the K-3 and K-1 are each a bit faster).
Yes agreed, but still not perfect

Pentax K-5 II / IIs Review - Autofocus | PentaxForums.com Reviews

05-31-2016, 03:42 AM   #9
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Well the K5 IIs while good when released it is lacking in fast shooting environments as are your current lenses.

The K3 will save files a lot faster, particularly against the K5 cameras that are essentially pedestrian.

Importantly, if the photos you are taking are not focussed on what you want, you have 27 AF points to select from on the K3. Selecting the specific AF point is particularly important if you are shooting at F2.8 or faster. The shallower the depth of field the more obvious it is if the camera hasn't focussed on what you want.

Also, I would suggest you invest in either a FA 77mm F1.8 or if you like zooms, a Sigma 17-50 F2.8 so you can choose faster shutter speeds . The Sigma is a stellar lens in fast moving environments and focusses fast as well. I have shot a few weddings with the Sigma 17-50 recently and I am more than happy with what it is capable of.

Good luck with whatever path you take.

Howie Be
05-31-2016, 03:43 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
True. I'd say the -3 is mostly for marketing, because reliable performance doesn't start until around -1 EV (which is still pretty darn dark). But this goes for the other bodies as well.

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05-31-2016, 03:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Also, in low light, you'll typically be sticking to your central point(s), since those are the most sensitive.
This is excellent advice from Adam. Go to the AF points and select the f2.8 AF points and no others. This will imropve AF speed and accuracy.
05-31-2016, 03:48 AM   #12
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I have a K-5II BECAUSE I wanted better low light performance. I hope I'm not misguided but I'd say 95% of the NON-point-and-shooters out there use centre-focus only. Frame your shot, point the centre reticle at the desired spot, lock the focus, repoint to the desired framing, done! This is fast and accurate, focusing where YOU want and it only takes a fraction of a second. And as mentioned, a fast wide lens will have more in focus.
05-31-2016, 04:02 AM   #13
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Wow, guy’s great responses which I know I will need to reada couple of times to absorb fully.
The general gist I am getting here is yes I am in the rightplace but not necessarily have the right items and certainly lacking a good amountof knowledge. Most of what has beenbrought has pretty much been on a budget so will happily take the hit that itmaybe is not the higher end that I obviously need.
In terms of being an experienced photographer, I wouldprobably disagree but have had a few competition winners in local and regionalcamera clubs. It was only 6 months aftergetting this, camera I got off Auto so not been there long (say 2/3 years) andappreciate I have more than a lot to learn.
When I get home from work tonight I will pick out some ofthe RAW files that I have failed on, “gbeaton” has hit the nail on the head forone problem that I have is that on most of them I was framing the picture andmoving the focus point. (slapped wrist taken – thanks) So this leads me onto the question of how doI lock the focus as not saying that is the answer to my problems but wouldcertainly help no end.
In terms of Prime or Zoom for these events, the Zoom wouldbe the answer as it would be by far the most versatile and give the option ofmore shots.
05-31-2016, 04:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mash4077 Quote
When I get home from work tonight I will pick out some ofthe RAW files that I have failed on, “gbeaton” has hit the nail on the head forone problem that I have is that on most of them I was framing the picture andmoving the focus point. (slapped wrist taken – thanks) So this leads me onto the question of how doI lock the focus as not saying that is the answer to my problems but wouldcertainly help no end.
In terms of Prime or Zoom for these events, the Zoom wouldbe the answer as it would be by far the most versatile and give the option ofmore shots.


It's easier than you think: just set the camera to AF-Single (set the switch to 12 o'clock). Then, when you Half press the shutter button to focus, don't release it. That way the focus will remain locked at that distance and you can move the camera around to your preferred framing. Then just press the other half of the way
If you're on a tripod and want to keep that focus, just turn it to Manual after setting it. Then you can try taking pictures in various settings without worrying about focusing.

Last edited by dafbp; 05-31-2016 at 04:53 AM. Reason: Added "extended" single focus tip
05-31-2016, 04:55 AM   #15
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I still regret selling my K-5IIs. It is an excellent camera.
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