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12-19-2010, 05:26 AM   #1
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K-R trouble focusing in low light with Live View using Pentax 18-55 kit lens

I have recently purchased a Pentax K-R to take photos at dusk from my house. I also had in mind using it to take photos in low light that my Canon IXUS point and shoot could not handle. I have been having some trouble however getting the camera to auto-focus in low light when using Live View image preview. The KR will focus when using the view-finder but the Live View refuses to focus. I have tried a few settings (changing the "Select AF Point" and "AE Metering"), and have tried in "Auto Pict" mode with the flash and flash assist light to no avail. It seems that in Live View it simply can't focus in low light. It tries focusing right in, then out and stops right out of focus. Any ideas on how I can get the K-R focusing in low light? How would one take a photo at night with the flash if it can't auto-focus? I have also noticed quite a few of my photos taken at dusk come out quite dark. Any tips for a newbie?

12-19-2010, 06:11 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by sportv Quote
I have recently purchased a Pentax K-R to take photos at dusk from my house. I also had in mind using it to take photos in low light that my Canon IXUS point and shoot could not handle. I have been having some trouble however getting the camera to auto-focus in low light when using Live View image preview. The KR will focus when using the view-finder but the Live View refuses to focus. I have tried a few settings (changing the "Select AF Point" and "AE Metering"), and have tried in "Auto Pict" mode with the flash and flash assist light to no avail. It seems that in Live View it simply can't focus in low light. It tries focusing right in, then out and stops right out of focus. Any ideas on how I can get the K-R focusing in low light? How would one take a photo at night with the flash if it can't auto-focus? I have also noticed quite a few of my photos taken at dusk come out quite dark. Any tips for a newbie?
What is your definition of "dusk"? All AF systems have their limits...

There have been some reports about frontfocus in tungsten light with contrast-detect AF method. Some of those can be solved with focus fine correction function. But phase-AF (which works during LV) works extremely well and accurate with all types of low light. Onboard AF assist light works good only about 3-4 meters.

Go to the capture menu/chapter 3. Scroll down for Live-View. Pick the first setting "AF-Method" and choose a circle symbol half dark. This should work if there is enough contrast in the scene. You can also move around the focus point while in LV by using the four way controller. Hope this helps.

cheers,
d
12-19-2010, 06:31 PM   #3
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I have tried the AF settings for Live View to no avail. My experience with Live View has been that in low light (not real low, TV running, some lights on, shaded darker areas in a room and at dusk where there is reasonable light but no direct Sun) that the focusing really struggles. When using the view finder it works fine, but using Live View and it simply can't focus no matter what setting I use in low light. This is not really acceptable as how would one take photos with a flash if the AF assist light does not do enough to let it focus? I could use Manual Focus, but I have seen better performance out of my point and shoot Canon IXUS. I purchased this camera to replace it. Anyone else with any ideas on settings that may make this work a bit better?
12-19-2010, 10:01 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sportv Quote
This is not really acceptable as how would one take photos with a flash if the AF assist light does not do enough to let it focus?
P-TTL flash does all that, by pre-flashes with full signalling~interaction~control with the camera, and Pentax obviously take the attitude that you should rush out and buy their expensive flash units instead (plus their fancy lenses where needed to gain the full function), for that type of use.
I think that's the promise anyway, and you know what mfgr promises are worth.

I find the K-r F-assist green light only seems to work when it wants to so far, probably don't understand its full behaviour yet so can't predict if it will serve for any given scene.
Why can't this be easy and follow a logical path?

.R.

12-19-2010, 11:26 PM   #5
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Can't help with live view as I really haven't used it much but why don't you just shoot with the viewfinder if the focusing with it works when the light is low?
12-20-2010, 01:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ovim Quote
Can't help with live view as I really haven't used it much but why don't you just shoot with the viewfinder if the focusing with it works when the light is low?
I guess that is not my point. I have resorted to shooting with the viewfinder. That said, I expected a bit more based on the reviews.

With the multi-dot metering with Live View I have had some success. That said with the multi-dot AF in Live View the Live View stutters when I half depress the shutter release, the screen goes black and then it focuses. It is a little frustrating having it shut off the live view and stall for a couple of seconds whilst it hunts for focus. Maybe I am expecting a bit much? I thought the Live View would have smooth focus without closing the View, taking a snapshot, doing some in-outing and then focus. I would like to believe that I can change a setting to fix the Live View shut off with this setting enabled?
12-20-2010, 02:15 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sportv Quote
I guess that is not my point. I have resorted to shooting with the viewfinder. That said, I expected a bit more based on the reviews.

With the multi-dot metering with Live View I have had some success. That said with the multi-dot AF in Live View the Live View stutters when I half depress the shutter release, the screen goes black and then it focuses. It is a little frustrating having it shut off the live view and stall for a couple of seconds whilst it hunts for focus. Maybe I am expecting a bit much? I thought the Live View would have smooth focus without closing the View, taking a snapshot, doing some in-outing and then focus. I would like to believe that I can change a setting to fix the Live View shut off with this setting enabled?

What you're describing is phase-detect AF in live view, which is the same AF method used when using the viewfinder. For this the mirror has to be down to reflect some light onto the AF system, that's why the sensor and hence your screen is blocking out. It has nothing to do with the amount of focus points you're using. I would recommend putting it on center-point AF only so the camera knows exactly what you're trying to focus on and in low-light phase-detect will likely work better than contrast-detect. But I don't see why you wouldn't be shooting with the viewfinder anyway unless you're using manual focus (which you're obviously not).
12-20-2010, 04:39 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sportv Quote
I guess that is not my point. I have resorted to shooting with the viewfinder. That said, I expected a bit more based on the reviews.

With the multi-dot metering with Live View I have had some success. That said with the multi-dot AF in Live View the Live View stutters when I half depress the shutter release, the screen goes black and then it focuses. It is a little frustrating having it shut off the live view and stall for a couple of seconds whilst it hunts for focus. Maybe I am expecting a bit much? I thought the Live View would have smooth focus without closing the View, taking a snapshot, doing some in-outing and then focus. I would like to believe that I can change a setting to fix the Live View shut off with this setting enabled?
You have two AF methods in Live View. What you describe is phase-AF. I recommend using contrast-detect AF since there is no mirror flap and no black out of the LCD. Contrast-detect AF is smooth as silk and one of the major improvements over the previous Pentax cameras.

Go to the capture menu/chapter 3. Scroll down for Live-View. Pick the first setting "AF-Method" and choose a circle symbol half dark. Now you switched to contrast-detect AF.

cheers,
d

01-02-2011, 06:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dragra Quote
You have two AF methods in Live View. What you describe is phase-AF. I recommend using contrast-detect AF since there is no mirror flap and no black out of the LCD. Contrast-detect AF is smooth as silk and one of the major improvements over the previous Pentax cameras.

Go to the capture menu/chapter 3. Scroll down for Live-View. Pick the first setting "AF-Method" and choose a circle symbol half dark. Now you switched to contrast-detect AF.

cheers,
d
I don't know about sporty but I appreciate your explanation. I am waiting on delivery of a K-r and hoping it is a wise buy.
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