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12-02-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
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Front-focusing issue a problem for a newbie?

Hello everyone! Besides having a couple of point-and-shoot cameras, I am completely new to DSLR's and photography. After having my son I realized that I will need a much better camera to take nice pictures of him (He is WAY too fast for my POS, and he can't even crawl yet). My POS is terrible and turns everything orange or blurry - and there is no true manual mode. Anyway, back on track... after many weeks of research, I am almost positive that the K-R is the camera for me - it is fast and has everything and more I am looking for in a camera... BUT, I will be taking a lot of indoor pictures and am concerned about the issue with front-focusing in artificial lighting. Will this be a problem for a complete novice like me? Will I even notice it? If so, it will be a deal-breaker and will be back to square one. I don't plan on becoming a professional photographer and have a TON to learn, so I don't know if this is something that I should even be worried about. Please tell me any information you have!!

Also, from lurking around on your site, I noticed that the K-R is (may be) discontinued. I don't think this is too big of an issue, but don't want to purchase the camera only to have it come down in price shortly after and miss out on a possibly "superior" entry-level camera that they come out with. Should I hold off on buying? Pull the trigger and just buy the darn thing? Or keep searching for that "perfect" camera?

I am not sure if I am leaving anything out, so please let me know if I am. Other cameras I have considered: Nikon D3100 (is a bit slower than I would like, and future lenses will be more expensive than Pentax from what I understand), and Canon (those in my price range seem a bit chintzy). I haven't really looked much into Sony, Panasonic, or Olympus.

Thanks in advance!

12-02-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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From what I understand, you want a camera that is good enough to catch moving kids
K-r has outlived its life span and there will be a new camera soon (may be with a RICOH label on it ), its only matter of time

Since you are looking at entry level DSLR, K-r scores better than D3100 and Canon T2i (even T3i scores less in Dxo Charts). Canon is good if you are doing a lot of videos but its totally up to you what are your sole need to buy DSLR (to me 1080p 24fps doesnt matter, I want to concerned about pictures).

when it comes to low light, no entry level camera can beat K-r

So you will need fast lens to snap fast moving kids. Although pentax has compatibility with older less, lets be realistic those lens cant be used to catch kids in action, those lens are cheap, good IQ, fast but no AF. The cheapest fast lens is DA 35mm F2.4 and it will cost you anywhere between 175-200$

On the other hand Nikon and Canon does have cheap, fast, AF 50mm f1.8 lenses starting from 135$

So here is the catch, All Nikon and Canon 50mm lenses are not image stabilized, whereas Pentax has in body stabilization, so all the lenses has Image stabilization (yay! )

K-r prices will drop once a new model comes out in the market. You can wait till then and miss all those precious moments or buy it now


P.S : touch wood, but i havent seen any FF issue with my camera, I now own Tamron 18-250 with Kit lenses (if you want I can sell you those lenses to you )
12-02-2011, 06:18 PM   #3
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I don't think the K-r will drop that much. because if you look at the k-x it only lost like 50 - 100 dollars worth since it was replaced. Let me ask you this, do you think paying for an awesome entry level camera(Not video cam.) which you can use right now and take pictures of your son worth the 50 - 100 dollars? (we're talking about a much better picture quality shots, and to me that is priceless)
12-03-2011, 08:57 AM   #4
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Thank you VERY much for the responses! I am really wanting to order one this weekend but am still somewhat concerned about the front focus issue and if it will affect me...

QuoteOriginally posted by Swapnil Quote
So you will need fast lens to snap fast moving kids. Although pentax has compatibility with older less, lets be realistic those lens cant be used to catch kids in action, those lens are cheap, good IQ, fast but no AF. The cheapest fast lens is DA 35mm F2.4 and it will cost you anywhere between 175-200$
Thank you for the lens suggestion, I looked it up and is definitely something I am interested in. I appreciate it.

QuoteOriginally posted by Swapnil Quote
K-r prices will drop once a new model comes out in the market. You can wait till then and miss all those precious moments or buy it now
Great point, I hadn't thought of that.

QuoteOriginally posted by Swapnil Quote
P.S : touch wood, but i havent seen any FF issue with my camera
Good to hear.

QuoteOriginally posted by kaiserz Quote
I don't think the K-r will drop that much. because if you look at the k-x it only lost like 50 - 100 dollars worth since it was replaced. Let me ask you this, do you think paying for an awesome entry level camera(Not video cam.) which you can use right now and take pictures of your son worth the 50 - 100 dollars? (we're talking about a much better picture quality shots, and to me that is priceless)
Very good points as well. Definitely worth the extra $$.


Last edited by fancyshmancy; 12-03-2011 at 09:19 AM.
12-03-2011, 02:50 PM   #5
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When I bought my K-r (my first dSLR), it had all kinds of disappointing problems: front-focus, sloppy composition, poor choice of subject.....I could go on and on. But, the more I used it the better it got. And it continues to get better, almost one year later!

I find that when my camera has trouble focusing in dim light, it means I should use flash. Once you buy your K-r, get a "Prof Kobre Light Scoop" for your built-in flash and you'll be astonished at how much better your indoor pictures turn out.
12-03-2011, 04:21 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rlw1138 Quote
I find that when my camera has trouble focusing in dim light, it means I should use flash. Once you buy your K-r, get a "Prof Kobre Light Scoop" for your built-in flash and you'll be astonished at how much better your indoor pictures turn out.
Thanks! I will definitely look into that.
12-06-2011, 12:12 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rlw1138 Quote
Once you buy your K-r, get a "Prof Kobre Light Scoop" for your built-in flash and you'll be astonished at how much better your indoor pictures turn out.
Is this what you are talking about:

Lightscoop.com
12-06-2011, 01:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LSUDAN Quote
Is this what you are talking about:

Lightscoop.com
Looks cool flash bouncer for built in flash. Must be some DIY or cheap alternative at ebay to achieve the same, looks like a mirror to me at 45 degrees

12-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by fancyshmancy Quote
but am still somewhat concerned about the front focus issue and if it will affect me....
The front focus issue has not affected me as far as I know. It could be because I have almost all CFL bulbs in my home and FF is only affected with tungsten lighting. Even when visiting others I have not seen it.

Hans
12-06-2011, 07:26 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I've been at this for just under a year, having purchased the K-r for essentially the same reason as the OP.

In my humble experience I offer some tips for chasing kids:

1) dont worry about front focus - you really shouldn't be shooting at razor thin DoF for moving kids.
2) Use the IMPRESSIVE ISO to its full capability - indoors you can use 3200 ISO and 6400 ISO for great results
3) Eliminate BLURR (your most likely enemy in taking photos of kids indoors)
4) buy a 35mm prime for amazing image quality - even an old manual one on the cheap. I shot a "single in" with SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5 - a great exercise to learn manual focus and appreciate the 35mm focal on APS-C.

Some examples of a fast kid indoors using "high iso" to keep shutter speed fast enough. The last one you will see I had it stopped down a notch, and consequently got some motion blurr.

Last edited by mattt; 01-07-2016 at 05:34 PM.
12-11-2011, 12:07 PM   #11
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The sensor is excellent in low light not far off the 16mp CMOS one..very good results in jpeg too out of camera.
Autofocus is a huge problem in low kelvin lighting ie tungsten or energy saving bulbs. The problem does not seem to happen with fluorescent. I would say the AF issue is around the 3000 kelvin mark and below that also covers some halogen bulbs.

Indoors the K-r is a complete nightmare for AF in these conditions. I did however find the older K-x worked just fine in these situations.
I would not buy a K-r at the moment for indoors work you will tear your hair out trying to get the camera to focus
12-11-2011, 04:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
Indoors the K-r is a complete nightmare for AF in these conditions.
I'm growing so tired of these posts. Set a manual white balance, don't use AWB under those conditions! It's such an easy workaround, and if you're shooting raw, you can very easily adjust the white balance again in post.

This doesn't need to be the "huge" issue that people make it out to be. There are several ways to work around it and get good results, but it's like people are too stubborn to use any of them.
  1. Manual focus doesn't suffer from this.
  2. Live View doesn't suffer from this.
  3. Slower lenses, like the kit lens, don't generally show this issue. It's mainly an issue with apertures larger than f/2, which a lot of people never use due to only having the kit lenses.
  4. Stopping down slightly works around this, where appropriate.
  5. Using the tungsten WB setting corrects this.
  6. Using a manual WB corrects this.
  7. Using any other WB preset WB (e.g. daylight, shade, etc) has been reported to correct this.

Obviously some of these points are more applicable than others, depending what and how you're shooting, but between the choices there's surely something that appeals to everyone.
12-11-2011, 05:16 PM   #13
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Ok tear down time..somebody is trying to make excuses for a product fault
  1. Manual focus doesn't suffer from this.
And we buy an AF camera for manual focus?
  1. Live View doesn't suffer from this.
True, but the mirror has to drop and go up again to fire the shutter you could miss important time critical shots
  1. Slower lenses, like the kit lens, don't generally show this issue. It's mainly an issue with apertures larger than f/2, which a lot of people never use due to only having the kit lenses.
DOF is relative to distance to subject so even a kit lens will shot it for closer shots (and not even macro either) so only slow lenses eh? Cmon let's be serious for one moment
  1. Stopping down slightly works around this, where appropriate.
It might mask the problem if the DOF is big..this isn't a work around.
  1. Using the tungsten WB setting corrects this.
It does not work even Pentax confirm this
  1. Using a manual WB corrects this.
It does not work
  1. Using any other WB preset WB (e.g. daylight, shade, etc) has been reported to correct this.
Nope it does not make any difference

I'm actually getting tired of people making excuses for Pentax. They admit the product has a fault, no argument at all from them. They say at this moment a "fix" is not available either software or firmware or hardware based. There is some talk of new firmware not sure if that is true of not.
Last time I spoke to Pentax they don't even try to argue with me..they completely agree the K-r has some serious AF problems. Question is if Pentax admit it's got a problem, why can't forum users?

Please folks we know the K-r is (leaving the AF problems aside) a great camera most folks know that. But stop making excuses for a problem we know is all there. Yes we like Pentax, but we're not glossing over some serious problems just for that.
12-11-2011, 05:21 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
It does not work even Pentax confirm this

Using a manual WB corrects this.

It does not work

Using any other WB preset WB (e.g. daylight, shade, etc) has been reported to correct this.

Nope it does not make any difference
Care to cite that?

First, I'm not making excuses for anyone. I'm saying some people love to complain, and some would rather complain than shoot. I'm the first to admit that there is probably a software flaw causing this issue, but if you have one, or if shooting under tungsten isn't your raison d'Ítre, then you do what normal people do and work around it.

Multiple forum users here have posted that they have tried a manual WB and had it correct the issue. Pentax has been advising people to not use AWB under tungsten for this very reason, that's where the bug is, and not using AWB is the way around it. For those who aren't comfortable playing with WB yet, I listed several even easier ways to help mitigate it.

That isn't making excuses for the company, that is trying to help people deal with the problem. Watch your mouth.
12-11-2011, 05:42 PM   #15
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In this case I feel the complaints are justified. Yes some do complain about minor issues many of which are present on all cameras. That's a fair point to make.
As for clarification I've tried the WB adjustments and they did not solve the front focus.

The fact I've been talking to Pentax about this and their responses should clarify the situation for everyone. They say they know there is an issue, they don't dispute it at all. I mentioned that the WB adjustment did not work, they agreed on that too. They've said they have had a lot of complaints about this from users. Question now is not does the K-r have a FF problem in a specific shooting condition, but what are Pentax going to do about it?

If you never shoot in lower kelvin light then you simply won't see the problem. But if you do a lot of shooting in these conditions you will see it very quickly and it will make life a lot harder.
I don't need to watch my mouth because I'm just being honest about this. The more this is brought up the more likely they might actually do something about it.
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