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04-07-2013, 01:49 AM   #1
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Tried the K-01 and the 80-320 at a soccer game - not good

The results were mediocre at best because the AF kept back focusing. I had the little focus block centered on the players every time and the camera seemed to focus about 10-20 feet behind the players. This is very visible because I can see the band of in-focus area on the grass behind the players.

I tried both spot and multi-point as well as tracking but nothing seemed to help. I finally got some decent shots by pre-focusing on the grass about 10 feet in front of the players then taking some shots and that resulted in a higher percentage of possible keepers. It seemed to do better with the lens zoomed to 200mm or less so maybe it's just a problem with this lens at the long end of the zoom or with anything greater than 200mm.

Also, the focus doesn't seem to be continuous in that it will refocus if the spot become out-of-focus. Is there a setting I'm missing or is that not a feature of this camera?

Otherwise, I love my K-01. If I can't get the settings and technique down, I may go back to the ist DS for my kids soccer games. I'll see if I can post some samples later today.

Thanks RG

04-07-2013, 06:36 AM   #2
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The K-01 strength is using smaller lenses and is a challenge with longer, slower lenses. I had some success when I tried it with my 100 macro at a basketball game but find longer lenses awkward. The K5 is much better as would any DSLR due to the optical viewfinder and focus method.

I like my K-01, just not with bulkier lenses. I find that it is like holding binoculars a foot away from your eyes which makes framing a challenge at long focal lengths. You can use a tripod but that defeats the light and portable advantages.
04-07-2013, 06:40 AM   #3
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I tried the K-01 for junior indoor soccer with the manual Tak bayonet 135 mm (known for flare) , at iso 6400.
I also had every kind of problem, lens flare from the lights, framing errors, motion blur, focus error, short dof, etc. Many shots, the action was different by the time I pressed the shutter.
https://www.box.com/s/qb5t5cjylgiof2n0a1jg

I suppose it is a learning curve. I am sure I can do better with the K-01 on this, and next time I will try the -M f/2.8 100 mm to control the flare and help the framing.
And I wonder if video mode might be easier to learn with?

I have used the ist-ds with -M f/4 200mm on outdoor baseball with good results. Baseball with its predictable movements is much easier.
04-07-2013, 07:34 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Primes4ever Quote
The K-01 strength is using smaller lenses and is a challenge with longer, slower lenses. I had some success when I tried it with my 100 macro at a basketball game but find longer lenses awkward. The K5 is much better as would any DSLR due to the optical viewfinder and focus method.

I like my K-01, just not with bulkier lenses. I find that it is like holding binoculars a foot away from your eyes which makes framing a challenge at long focal lengths. You can use a tripod but that defeats the light and portable advantages.
dSLRs with phase detect autofocus are the best cameras for action photography. (This includes Sony SLT cameras with the EVF and the fixed mirror for phase detect autofocus.

There are two additional camera systems that are also good for action/sports photography:

1) The Nikon 1 series has superb accurate phase detect autofocus in good light. It will follow focus very well. It is the strength of the Nikon 1 system and the reason to use a Nikon V1 or V2. This is only true with Nikon 1 lenses, not with AFS Nikkors mounted with the FT1 adapter.

2) The Sony NEX series with the Alpha adapter with the fixed SLT mirror. Very fast and accurate autofocus including follow focus. This only works with Alpha lenses designed for Sony autofocus lenses for their SLTs and dSLRs. Even though the NEX 6 and NEX 5R (and probably the soon to be released NEX 7 update) have phase detect sensors in the image sensor and an increasing number of lenses that are compatible (or up-dateable to compatibility) with the phase detect sensors, there are no reports of fast AF with E mount lenses especially compared to Alpha mount lenses.

Different cameras have different strengths. The Nikon 1 and dSLRs (including the Pentax K5 and K30) are better tools for Sports/Action photography than the K-01.

For other types of photography, the K-01 is a superb camera.

04-07-2013, 09:22 AM   #5
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I hope you upgraded the firmware on your K-01, it improves the AF quite a bit (compared to how it was like originally), especially with tele zoom lenses.
I would also suggest you use mostly MF for quick moving subjects. Maybe add focus peaking and use an aperture with wide enough DoF so that even if you are slightly off, its not a problem. Keep in mind that photography of fast moving subjects is one of the hardest techniques. There are probably some general tutorials on this available online.
When I try taking photos of fast subjects on my K-01, I usually go to Tv mode, set the shutter speed to something that freezes the action (for 300mm you will want 1/300 or faster), enable focus peaking, and go MF. Also, take a look at how Ron (user RonHendriks1966) makes his photos - he takes amazing photos of soccer matches with his K-01
04-07-2013, 10:20 AM   #6
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Well you use a slow and long lens on the K-01 for moving targets and that won't happen. I did and do use the K-01 for soccer, but not for the real play-moments. I do most off the surroundings with the K-01 and only sometimes a real soccermoment:

04-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I hope you upgraded the firmware on your K-01, it improves the AF quite a bit (compared to how it was like originally), especially with tele zoom lenses.
I would also suggest you use mostly MF for quick moving subjects. Maybe add focus peaking and use an aperture with wide enough DoF so that even if you are slightly off, its not a problem. Keep in mind that photography of fast moving subjects is one of the hardest techniques. There are probably some general tutorials on this available online.
When I try taking photos of fast subjects on my K-01, I usually go to Tv mode, set the shutter speed to something that freezes the action (for 300mm you will want 1/300 or faster), enable focus peaking, and go MF. Also, take a look at how Ron (user RonHendriks1966) makes his photos - he takes amazing photos of soccer matches with his K-01
Yes, I've got the latest firmware. I also found the note in the manual that says the focus locks at the first shot during continuous shooting. I had better luck with Tv as well. I'll try my M-200 next game, maybe manual is the way to go. Thanks to everyone else with the thoughts and suggestions.

Based on previous postings about the K-01 and sports, I didn't expect much but I was really caught by surprise by the consistent back focus with the long lens given that this is CDAF.
04-07-2013, 11:40 AM   #8
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I was actually about to post with a similar problem but saw your post and thought I would share my observations. I was at a naval park yesterday (shooting inside and outside battleships, subs etc). I was using my da 18-55mm (older version that came with my ist-ds) and a tamron 28-200mm xr (if). I was trying to get shots of fast moving kids. The camera was really impressing me and really starting to grow on me (I have had a few issues with liking the camera). Most of these circumstances were in decent enough light. I was under the understanding that cdaf can not have issues with front or back focus. The camera was really showing this as focus was almost always dead on (and when it wasn't there was an obvious reason for it like the child moved a substantial distance between focusing and shooting).

So when we were getting ready to leave, I threw the 40mm xs on just to give it a try (I haven't used it much). I only did limited shooting but it performed terrible. It was blowing the focus more often that not. IT wasn't bad but many shots were out of focus enough to make things look really soft (if properly focused this lens seems capable of nice sharp images every time). I suspect, that it is not back or front focusing, but rather it is not focusing on what you want it to. Just now I tried taking a picture of a lens sitting on a shelf, and what do you know, the focus is out a little. I manual focus and it looks better. I change to single spot focus, now the camera af much sharper. When I first got it and was playing with it in low light, one issue I found was when trying to take a picture of a person with a white face and dark hair (should have good contrast to detect there), it would skip the face, go way off center of the frame and focus on the smooth white curtain (that has little contrast) behind the person.

There is defiantly something weird with the auto focus on this camera. I was pretty unhappy when I first got it. Af was bad in low light and I first tried it out in low light. Since then I have found several instance it just blows away my ist-ds but in others, the ds works better. I'm hoping as I learn the camera it gets better which so far, it is. The think with the 40mm was really annoying though (bright outdoor light, not bad shooting conditions at all and the da 18-5mm/tamron 28-200mm were performing perfectly). I don't know what to make of it.

04-07-2013, 12:23 PM   #9
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Hm, I don't think the CD Af has front/back focusing issues, I think it just sometimes chooses a stronger contrast which is behind or in front of the subject. I remember once trying to take a photo in front of a dramatic stone wall and the AF simply wouldnt lock on the person. Because the wall had a lot of contrasts all over it. (it was designed to look like rough scales of a reptile) Apparently the person I was trying to photograph looked bland by comparison.
04-07-2013, 02:48 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Hm, I don't think the CD Af has front/back focusing issues, I think it just sometimes chooses a stronger contrast which is behind or in front of the subject. I remember once trying to take a photo in front of a dramatic stone wall and the AF simply wouldnt lock on the person. Because the wall had a lot of contrasts all over it. (it was designed to look like rough scales of a reptile) Apparently the person I was trying to photograph looked bland by comparison.
I'm not sure if you are referring to me or the op but I was under the same impression, that contrast auto focus will not have front/back focus. Due to the way the technology works, it never has that issue like phase detect does. I suspect you are right that the camera is focusing on something other that what we want and that is causing the issue. While I have only had the ist-ds as a dslr, I have had other cameras including some expensive ones, and the focus on the k-01 just seems weird compared to every camera I have ever used. Its not always a bad thing (sometimes it works great). When I was experimenting with low light, it seemed like it would ignore something with stronger contrast for something with little contrast that was lit a little better. It would often go to the edge of the frame to find something in focus. I was kind of having luck with multi point auto focus but the area shrank way down. I'm thinking some kind of center weighted auto focus might help. Perhaps its just a matter of learning the cameras quirks to make better use of it. Its performance does seem to very from lens to lens though (I haven't had or used it long enough to know much definitively but plenty of others have said such things). It would suck if it didn't play well with the kit lens that came with it.
04-20-2013, 12:43 PM   #11
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I may have found the culprit - and it's not the K-01, it's the lens, mostly, and partly technique. I took my *istDS and K-01 to soccer this morning intending to shoot mostly with the *istDS and the 80-320mm zoom. I noticed the shots taken across the field at the long end were no where near being in focus. With a little playing, I realized the lens wasn't focusing to infinity at 320mm. After a little twiddling, I found that the barrel of the lens could turn while holding the focusing ring (not the zoom ring) still. The barrel's distance would change as I turned obviously changing the relationship of the optics inside the lens. If I gently screwed the barrel all the way to the left, the lens focused correctly all the way to infinity across the entire zoom range. If I twisted it to the right, it stopped focusing to infinity at the long end. Naturally, I left it in the 'in-focus' position and proceeded to shoot decent pictures with both cameras for the rest of the game.

I don't know if the moving barrel/focus ring is a feature or a weakness of this lens or if I need to send the lens to a shop for a little TLC but it appears my previous shots (which motivated my original post) front-focused on the long shots because the lens was all the way at the end of it's travel and was unable to achieve that last notch of focus. This might explain front focus issues (there were some) but doesn't explain the back focus issues. My guess here is that focus locked but the action continued to move towards me so that by the time the shutter moved, the center of the action was no longer in focus.

In the end, i shot more with the K-01 than with the *istDS, here's why - borrowing from my military training, I began using 3-4 shot bursts then doing a quick release of the shutter so the camera could refocus. Just like firing a M-16 on semi-automatic - 3 round bursts. The rapid succession of shots gave me some leeway for capturing the action while the limited burst gave the camera time to refocus as the action moved towards or away from me. The K-01's shutter in small bursts and with JPEG is quite fast. I think with a little more practice, this might be workable - for a hobbyist.

The *istDS is just too dated all around - IQ, shutter speed. I found myself hating the view finder too - I may start a separate thread on that. If I can work out an AV cable and a cheap field monitor, I say view finders need to die a quick and quiet death.

Last edited by Rob22315; 04-20-2013 at 02:33 PM.
04-20-2013, 12:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripit Quote
I'm thinking some kind of center weighted auto focus might help. Perhaps its just a matter of learning the cameras quirks to make better use of it.
You can limit the size of the autofocus area if you want. Turning the e-dial while in the focus-adjust screen changes the size and shape of the AF area.
04-20-2013, 12:53 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteQuote:
Tried the K-01 and the 80-320 at a soccer game - not good
If you would a just asked me, I would have told you not to do that.

( I said to my doctor " It hurts when I do this." He said, "Don't do that.")
04-21-2013, 09:27 AM   #14
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I don't think the K-01 is the problem. CDAF is the problem. I simply can't trust CDAF to lock on what in my mind it should (whether with my EX1 of K-01), and it's because it focuses on highest contrast edges, and if it happens to be behind the subject, even if the subject occupies 90% of the focus area in front of it, this is where it will focus. I find it frustrating most of the times. Using spot focus is difficult at close range since re-framing the camera always changes the distance to subject. Hence, Select focus is the only practical method, which is slow (i.e. it takes time to select the focus point), and still sometimes inaccurate as the smallest focus box is still too big at times.
04-21-2013, 01:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by regor Quote
I don't think the K-01 is the problem. CDAF is the problem. I simply can't trust CDAF to lock on what in my mind it should (whether with my EX1 of K-01), and it's because it focuses on highest contrast edges, and if it happens to be behind the subject, even if the subject occupies 90% of the focus area in front of it, this is where it will focus. I find it frustrating most of the times. Using spot focus is difficult at close range since re-framing the camera always changes the distance to subject. Hence, Select focus is the only practical method, which is slow (i.e. it takes time to select the focus point), and still sometimes inaccurate as the smallest focus box is still too big at times.
As near as I can tell, the focus tracking feature was designed for this situation. Put the focus box over an object on the screen, press the shutter 1/2 way, recompose, and the camera will focus track the object until you push the button the whole way. The focus tracking feature definitely isn't for sports shooting - the camera won't attempt to maintain focus while you're shooting continuously.
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