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03-07-2012, 04:55 AM   #1
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Pentax K-r considering!

I would like to purchase my first DSLR camera. At this point, my first choice is Pentax K-r. So, due to the price, performances, picture quality, camera quality workmanship, IS in the body, I believe it is the best choice in entry level category, at least here in Croatia. However, I've been reading plenty at the internet regarding the problem of front focus. My question is, how serious is this problem? Does it mean that the camera can not focus by tungsten light at all, or that only certain part that we wish to focus will not be in the focus? Does that happen when we snap something close-up, or every time when we snap in conditions of tungsten light, regardless of focal distance of the lens or distance of the object being photographed? How apparent is it on taken photo on smaller print; does the photo need to be enlarged 100% in order to be apparent? Is AF fine tune of any help in such situation? Should this be the reason not to purchase this camera? Also, I have contacted representative for Pentax in Croatia, and he said that they are not familiar with this issue, but if it appears, it can be solved. I don’t know, is it possible that they are not telling the truth?
I still think that Pentax is better choice then Canon 550D or Nikon D3100 or D5100, and this is why I'm asking for your advice. I don't know if competition has the same problems.
I can see that Pentax K-5 has AF fine tune possibility for 20 lenses. Does he have issue with the front focus? If itīs wort, I will save some money for it.

I really want to buy K-r, but I donīt know is this a small problem. It will be a purchase for long time.

Thanks in advance for your answers and advices.

03-07-2012, 07:32 AM   #2
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The K-r is a great choice for a first DSLR. For its price point, you can't find a more full featured camera. So, you're spot on with that assessment, imho.

Tungsten ff in a nutshell: With fast lenses under low tungsten light, some (most?) copies of the K-r will focus a bit in front of where you intend. So, if you encounter the issue, the best ways around it are to either manually focus for those shots, or to use Live View, which is immune to it. Another way around it is to stop down your aperture a bit, which increases the depth of field (the distance range that's acceptably in focus), and masks the effect of front focusing.

No matter how much noise a few people have made about this issue, it only affects a small subset of conditions. Apertures larger than about f./2 are more prone to it, and of course you need to be shooting in low tungsten light. I was aware of this before buying mine back in June, and absolutely no regrets (well, I regret that I couldn't afford a K-5 right off... ). I haven't been able to reliably replicate the issue at all, but I don't find myself shooting in those conditions often either.

Unless your main area of interest involves shooting in under-lit tungsten, I wouldn't worry about it.

Quick edit: There have been a few good deals on K-rs in the marketplace forum lately, might be worth a look!
03-07-2012, 07:36 AM   #3
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Don't buy ANY camera that you can not return if there is a problem right out of the box.
03-07-2012, 10:01 AM   #4
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I know that this is not a perfect camera, but this is not cheap for me. The bigest problem is that I live in shity country, so if I buy camera and there is some ff problem I canīt turn it back and get my money. Only thing I can do is send to service. Obviously lot of people donīt have a problem, but a lot of people have. I donīt know anymore.

03-07-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
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It's not a big issue. Do you think you'll be shooting under conditions that could bring out the problem a lot? What kind of thing do you shoot?

Also, your location was part of the reason I mentioned the marketplace forum. If you can find one from a respected forum member, you'll not only save some money, but many will accept a return if something goes wrong. You'd just be out shipping costs. Look for one that has some posts and some marketplace feedback. Most of the regular sellers here are very helpful people.
03-07-2012, 11:15 AM   #6
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If youīre unsure about k-r you could consider k-x instead. Itīs still available new at some online shops or buy used. Sure k-r has a few bells and whistles more but image quality is the same!

Itīs still a great camera and reliable I might add.. Iīve had mine for 2 years and never any issues. That said I just upgrated to k-5 because I wanted more.. . But Iīm never selling my lovely k-x!
03-07-2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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I have seen plenty of "I wish the K-r had or did...". I've posted some of them. However I have only seen two actual common problems with the K-r, focus and e-dial. I experienced both but neither require a return to fix. I am a happy owner. See below-

QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
The problem with this review is it recommends purchasing a relatively expensive tool, while it appears to be excellent, amounts to a surcharge on the purchase price of the K-r. I shouldn't have to spend this much money to get more accurate focus with a K-r using the kit DA L18-55mm lens.

So, I started digging further and found this excellent - and currently free (other than the cost of printing a sheet of paper) option:
PENTAX DSLRs: Front or Back Focusing Problems? Free test (Lens Alignment) charts for Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus.

Yvon Bourque has an excellent step by step instruction. It actually took me longer to read his instructions than it took me to tweak my camera's auto-focus. His instructions specifically reference the K-5, but other than the menu position and reduced function set of the K-r, the instructions will be the same.

I used the kit 18-55 lens at roughly 28mm, Av with the maximum possible aperture (f/4.0), turned off Shake Reduction, set center spot focusing and placed the camera about a foot (30cm) from and level with the scale. I had adequate ambient light and didn't even bother with a tripod - I am sure I could get even better results if I had used a tripod, but I was at this point just experimenting to see if I understood the instructions. The target told me I was auto-focusing about 4mm to the front of my ideal focus point.

After a little playing, I figured out that the scale in the AF Fine Adjustment menu roughly corresponds to millimeters. and that you move the AF Fine Adjustment in the menu to the minus side for front focus elimination and to the plus side for back focus elimination. I currently have my camera's AF Fine Adjustment set to -4. Indeed, my test shots show better focus where I expected it to be.
QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
ok fixed mine I did what a cannon repair centre man told me, go buy a spray tin of electrical contact cleaner and spray a quick burst in the slot the wheel sits in spin it a few times,instant cure, it s just a spot of lube that pentax used when assembling that gets on the contacts.
it can't hurt the camera; it evaporates and if it don't fix it no one will know but you and therefore won't affect warranty if you still need to send it in.
03-11-2012, 02:44 AM   #8
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Iv had one now for 2 weeks and am impressed with it, had no problem with low light etc seems a fine “entry level” camera.
I switch the White Balance to tungsten light setting and seems fine indoors under this type of light.

Cheers Steve

03-26-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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It's a big problem is you shoot under artificial light a lot. There is no fix, Pentax admit the problem least their support did to me (no argument from them hands up)
If you don't shoot a lot in this light you might consider it, if you do run a country mile because the AF is hopeless in this light keeper rate is very low
03-27-2012, 05:14 AM   #10
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Mmh, pretty sure there is a law that they have to take back a defective product. Over here most people don't know about it and the stores will pretend its not there, but if you know your laws regarding this, you can do well.
The issue you are referring to only occurs in specific conditions and even then you might not notice it in most shots. I think a lot of people just started using it as an excuse for poor shooting. Besides, Pentax doesn't even make a lot of lenses faster than f2..
Also, there are firmware updates that might affect the AF (some claim they noticed a difference after updating, but obviously Pentax wouldn't say either way).
The k-x is an option, but it costs almost as much as the K-r in stores (though, you might get a discount if you ask, the stores will probably be eager to sell it) and doesn't have the focus lock overlays (little lights that light up in the viewfinder when a focus point achieves focus). It is slightly smaller, though, and I think it has the exact same sensor.
03-27-2012, 06:58 AM   #11
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I'm not sure where the idea of "only faster lenses" show the problem that is not my experience at all
It is correct specific type of light and temperature but can show it's head in mixed light, and it's not about "really low light either"
I would urge some caution K-x has better AF in my view better accuracy in this light
03-27-2012, 07:32 AM   #12
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Hi Chorbakis,

You are wise to consider carefully your investment. I believe it to be true that you will never find a perfect entry level DSLR that has all the features you could ever want, works perfectly, and costs similar price to the Kr. Each brand and/or DSLR model will have strengths and weaknesses. As mentioned, one weakness of the Kr is that when shooting in low light and looking through the viewfinder, auto-focus will not perform as well as you will like. If you know this, and are comfortable with live-view or manual focus or even stopping down the aperture and using a flash, then that weakness won't be a big deal to you. If that will bother you and you are willing to sacrifice some of the benefits of the Kr, perhaps another brand will suit you. Whatever you choose, there will be trade-offs.

This discussion comes up from time to time and you can read more of my opinion and personal experiences with my Kr in this thread.

Good luck and happy hunting! My Kr was my first DSLR and I've never regretted it for a minute.
03-27-2012, 09:34 AM   #13
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Find a way to afford the K5 while it's $999. It's a much better camera, and I've had just about every Pentax cam since the K10D.
03-29-2012, 07:12 AM   #14
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well i bought my K-r few months ago and i adore it =D
03-29-2012, 09:34 AM - 2 Likes   #15
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It's a great camera, you can buy it worry free, and I can say that after having it for almost a year. Rather the worring about FF issues, focus more on improving your photographic skills which this camera will demand you to do so. This camera can be so much more as you fine tune the manual controls. The right aperture/shutter speed/ISO can produce great images and effects. It's a lot of fun as you're starting in the DSLR world.

My biggest problem with it was not FF but the LBA it lead me to (this forum is also a bad influence!)...
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