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03-08-2011, 11:02 AM   #1
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Reconsidering

This is the week I finally make my forst dSLR purchase, and for several weeks my mind was set on the K-r.
I have to admit though, that there has been a lot of negative talk about this camera lately, especially the FF issue and this is making me really re-evaluate my choice.
Being a relative newbie, I honestly don't know how much this perceived issue will affect me. To be even more honest, I'm not sure I even know what "tungsten lighting" is.
The main reason for me upgrading to the dSLR is to take pictures of my kids and their outdoor sporting events, wildlife, and landscape. I'm sure that there will be several occassions where I will want to take impromptu pics in the house as well. I chose the K-r for it's features, IQ, ergonomics, and the fairly good reviews of the 300mm kit lens - all of this at a very good price point for me.
That said, I am asking for some impartial advise from the more seasoned users to see if the FF issue is really something that will disappoint me given my intended use. Should I really be looking elsewhere? This post is not intended re-hash all of the negativity. I am merely asking someone to explain to me the consequences (if any) in terms that a newbie can understand.

Thank you!

03-08-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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Tungsten lighting is the everyday filament light bulbs that were commonly used until very recently.
They have/are being phased out for more energy efficient CFL and LED lighting.
The FF issue does exist and is most pronounced with fast (i.e. lens with a f-stop of 1.8 or lower) lenses.
I had to struggle to find a tungsten bulb as I replaced all of them in my house some time ago.
My personal experience involves only the kit lens (18-55mm) and I had to drop down to a 7.5 watt appliance bulb as the only lighting to ever see the FF issue.
In other forms of light, such as outdoors there was no issue.
Also you can work around it in tungsten lighting by using live view to focus instead of the viewfinder.
The reason is that the viewfinder uses phase-detect autofoucs and the live view uses contrast-detect (which does not have the problem).
My advise is to shoot lots of photos of your wonderful kids, use live view in very low indoor light and don't stress about it.
Photography is all about the artist (you) and subject (kids), not the gear.
03-08-2011, 12:05 PM   #3
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Hi Cas,

Tungsten lighting is basically the classic incandescent light bulb. The little filament that glows red-hot inside the bulb is made of a metal called tungsten. Basically, this is only an issue if you are shooting inside a house as the Sun is, well the Sun, office buildings and such use fluorescent bulbs, and stadiums and gymnasiums usually use mercury vapor lights. All different types of lighting.

My K-r performs wonderfully in all situations except for when I'm in a room with only a few standard light bulbs. I primarily shoot with faster lenses (f1.7 to f2.8) in the evenings and indoors. My K-r sees better in the dark than I do! It is truly amazing. Now if we can only get it to focus properly... In the meantime, I'm building up my strobist kit and skills (flash photography) and am enjoying this very much!

The only, only time I have had a problem is when I shoot indoors, in dim-ish light, with a fast lens. I am thoroughly pleased with the camera in all other ways. I hope this helps.
03-08-2011, 12:14 PM   #4
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Not sure how impartial your answer will be remember you're on a Pentax Forum.

I have the Kr bought it about 5 or 6 weeks ago. I admit that FF was one of my considerations. I researched several several brands of cameras in the Kr's price range and found each had their own set of problems. Whether it was the Nikon D7000 focus problems, or the Sony's inferior low light capabilities. There were others that had their initial problems but through firmware updates were corrected.

However these cameras didn't have the ergonomic qualities that the Kr, they weren't as flexible with older lenses, and they didn't have the solid feel that i get with the Pentax.

I bit the dust and bought it figuring that if I had the FF problem I had the warranty and could send it back to Pentax for adjustment or that they would develop a firmware update that would cure the problem. In either case the problem would be taken care of at no cost to me.

The Kr that I received had no FF problem. What I believe not all cameras have the problem. I also think that the problem is a limited one. What I mean, on a forum such as this you're going to see a high number of posts with camera's that have the problem, where else would they post/ask questions? However you won't see the many of us that don't have the problem create a post that our cameras are working perfectly and as expected they'll normally do that in already established posts. Hence they aren't visible less you look for them.

Buy the Kr you won't be disappointed don't be scared away almost all cameras have growing problems even those made by Nikon and Canon. In the end all will be made well as it always is.

Here is one I took a week or so ago of my son...




03-08-2011, 02:54 PM   #5
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I kinda figured "Tungsten light" meant the standard incadescent bulb, but I wasn't positive. Kinda feel like a dumba$$

Oddly enough, I wrote this post - went to lunch - came back and the bonus check I was waiting for to purchase my camera was sitting on my desk!

Thank you very much for the input. I was hoping for a few responses like this as I knew that not everyone was bitter about the FF problem and/or there were ways around it.

Guess I better figure out which retailer to buy from!
03-14-2011, 02:24 AM   #6
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I honestly think the nature of a forum, whereby everyone with a given problem gathers in one place, blows that problem out of proportion.

The K-r is a wonderful camera. I bought it for similar reasons to you and am very pleased with it. I invite you to look at some of the shots I have taken over the last few months in various situations to put your mind at rest: davidbrewster.smugmug.com
03-14-2011, 05:26 AM   #7
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I would wait till (if!) there is a firmware update before getting a K-r

"Tungsten" is a common light bulb. Yet, also the new energy-saving gas-filled light bulbs replacing classical "tungsten", seems to produce a very similar light. My K-r, although it was adjusted at the Hamburg-based Pentax service partner (the sensor wasn't just frontfocussing alone, but was also misaligned), shows frontfocus under most artificial light sources (be it neon light in the subway station, candle light on a X-Mas tree, an ordinary light buld or a modern energy-saver lamp). Generally speaking, the K-r is not useable after sunset (all my X-Mas pics taken with a high-end lens the camera mounted on a tripod this year are out of focus because of the malfunctioning K-r). The only reason I am not yet returning my K-r (I've already arranged everything for the cash-back return with my dealer), is that a firmware update for the K5 was published 3 days ago which gives me hope that the identical malfunction of the K-r will also be solved in a couple of days. If not, I will return my K-r by the end of March. My K-r is currently just lieing around waiting for the fix. But if you are planning to take pictures only on sunny days, you might get happy with the K-r in its current state (firmware 1.01).
03-14-2011, 05:31 AM   #8
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Look s OOF to me

7/
QuoteOriginally posted by geru2000 Quote
Not sure how impartial your answer will be remember you're on a Pentax Forum.

I have the Kr bought it about 5 or 6 weeks ago. I admit that FF was one of my considerations. I researched several several brands of cameras in the Kr's price range and found each had their own set of problems. Whether it was the Nikon D7000 focus problems, or the Sony's inferior low light capabilities. There were others that had their initial problems but through firmware updates were corrected.

However these cameras didn't have the ergonomic qualities that the Kr, they weren't as flexible with older lenses, and they didn't have the solid feel that i get with the Pentax.

I bit the dust and bought it figuring that if I had the FF problem I had the warranty and could send it back to Pentax for adjustment or that they would develop a firmware update that would cure the problem. In either case the problem would be taken care of at no cost to me.

The Kr that I received had no FF problem. What I believe not all cameras have the problem. I also think that the problem is a limited one. What I mean, on a forum such as this you're going to see a high number of posts with camera's that have the problem, where else would they post/ask questions? However you won't see the many of us that don't have the problem create a post that our cameras are working perfectly and as expected they'll normally do that in already established posts. Hence they aren't visible less you look for them.

Buy the Kr you won't be disappointed don't be scared away almost all cameras have growing problems even those made by Nikon and Canon. In the end all will be made well as it always is.

Here is one I took a week or so ago of my son...


I notice that the eye (probably where you focussed) is out of focus, moving towards the front, the eyelashes and esp. eyebrows are more in focus as also the nose and skin below the eye also being more to the front etc. To me the picture you posted seems to prove the front focus issue.

03-14-2011, 06:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stern Quote
7/

I notice that the eye (probably where you focussed) is out of focus, moving towards the front, the eyelashes and esp. eyebrows are more in focus as also the nose and skin below the eye also being more to the front etc. To me the picture you posted seems to prove the front focus issue.
The photo doesn't prove anything except that the sensor area is much larger than people presume and that it is sometimes impossible to get the camera to focus on the exact detail you want. The subject's eyebrow is a very prominent feature and probably well within the focusing area, even though the eye may have been chosen.
03-14-2011, 07:40 AM   #10
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I don't know...

Stern, I'm a little concerned about your FF diagnosis. I don't want people getting the wrong idea. Technically you are correct, it seems to be a tad front focused. However, the front focus in the photo is not an example of the problem people are having with the K-r. If the photographer's K-r had the FF problem, the camera would have indicated that the focus was properly locked, but viewing the photo after the fact would have resulted in an image which would have appeared as the attached image. Some people don't believe in the "FF Fairy" as it is, so there is no point in feeding the trolls by suggesting the original photo (which is very sharp) was experiencing any sort of uncorrectable problem.
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03-14-2011, 04:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by abcdave Quote
Stern, I'm a little concerned about your FF diagnosis. I don't want people getting the wrong idea. Technically you are correct, it seems to be a tad front focused. However, the front focus in the photo is not an example of the problem people are having with the K-r. If the photographer's K-r had the FF problem, the camera would have indicated that the focus was properly locked, but viewing the photo after the fact would have resulted in an image which would have appeared as the attached image. Some people don't believe in the "FF Fairy" as it is, so there is no point in feeding the trolls by suggesting the original photo (which is very sharp) was experiencing any sort of uncorrectable problem.
Whatever the reason for the FF in this picture was (a very similar picture was posted on Dpreview recently in a similar context - trying in vain to defend SAFOX IX), it is another one in a series of OOF examples of the K-r. For my part, I have decided today to return my K-r and have it replaced with a similarily priced demonstration K7 my dealer happens to have in stock. At least, I can be sure to get a camera that focusses correctly although not having the same ISO qualities...
03-14-2011, 09:19 PM   #12
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Perhaps you could check out this thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-r-forum/132275-best-pictures-newbbies-k-r.html for examples of photos taken with the K-r by newbie photographers to determine if it might meet your needs in a more "real life" situation. I can just about "force" my K-r to FF under very low light conditions that I never have any intention of photographing it without a flash (not FF issues there). If I do need to, Live View or manual focus works perfectly. I routinely should wildlife, landscapes, and the odd indoor photo of my various pets and have never had any problems with focus. Based on the description of what you want to photograph, I doubt you will be anything but thrilled with the K-r.
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