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04-20-2013, 03:58 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Playing with Expanded Area AF

As the title says, I just got to wondering how effective it was at firmware 1.04 and decided to try it out. I tried EA AF when I first bought the K-30 at firmware 1.00 and don't remember it working as well but that might just be the way I did it then. Anyway I was surprised at my findings.

My method was holding my index finger up in front of the mostly white Pentax Forums page but with screen details behind my original finger position the camera could focus on if it felt like it, the K-30 being 2ft from the screen and my finger half-way between. I would centre point AF on my finger (using 35/2.4 lens) then move my finger to one side where the next sensor is but using different AF modes to see the effect. I also moved my finger forwards/backwards to make sure AF-C was functioning. Well, the only setup that works as intended, with lateral AF point handover and tracking on fore/aft movement both functioning is........

AF-C..................................ON
Expanded Area AF.............ON (obviously)
AF Active Area..................11 point selectable (i.e. the icon with 11 points), it doesn't have a name!

i.e. it doesn't work at all if you have centre point only (single dot icon) selected. There is no handover, and the AF locks onto the screen where my finger used to be before I moved it. I dare say some people realised this but I sure didn't as the menus still let you select EA AF even when using centre point only AF!

When setup right, it seemed very effective.

04-20-2013, 06:22 AM   #2
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Yup, you definitely need to have multiple points selected otherwise it would have nothing to expand to

I bet very few users have made use of this handy feature, though!

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04-22-2013, 11:54 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Yup, you definitely need to have multiple points selected otherwise it would have nothing to expand to

I bet very few users have made use of this handy feature, though!

No, actually it works even if you leave it with the centre only.

The selectable point is only the starting point for the focus, that is where the camera will initially focus when you half press the shutter. It will then dynamically shift between focus point regardless of whether you had set 11 point selectable or fixed at the centre.

Usually I always leave it fixed on the centre focus point when using the expanded area focus and then let it dynamically track among the 8 adjacent points. If you select any of the other points you will somewhat limit its effectiveness as it can only shift to points directly adjacent to the original one. Best is always to leve it on the centre point so it has 8 other points to choose from once it starts tracking.
04-22-2013, 02:17 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lister6520 Quote
No, actually it works even if you leave it with the centre only.

The selectable point is only the starting point for the focus, that is where the camera will initially focus when you half press the shutter. It will then dynamically shift between focus point regardless of whether you had set 11 point selectable or fixed at the centre.

Usually I always leave it fixed on the centre focus point when using the expanded area focus and then let it dynamically track among the 8 adjacent points. If you select any of the other points you will somewhat limit its effectiveness as it can only shift to points directly adjacent to the original one. Best is always to leve it on the centre point so it has 8 other points to choose from once it starts tracking.
That's what I thought for months until I put it to the test. Centre point only ever seems to focus on things in the centre when I try it with Expanded AF Area on and move the first locked on subject around. As the menu help says, "Available when the focus point selection mode is 'Select' and AF mode is AF-C or AF-A" . I take 'Select' mode as the 11 AF point icon option where you can select which one to use, not the centre point only (single AF point icon) mode as there's nothing selectable. You have to delve into the manual p.102 to see that the 11 point icon is named 'Select'. The single dot icon is named 'Spot' in the manual.


Last edited by SteveB; 04-22-2013 at 02:31 PM.
04-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveB Quote
That's what I thought for months until I put it to the test. Centre point only ever seems to focus on things in the centre when I try it with Expanded AF Area on and move the first locked on subject around. As the menu help says, "Available when the focus point selection mode is 'Select' and AF mode is AF-C or AF-A" . I take 'Select' mode as the 11 AF point icon option where you can select which one to use, not the centre point only (single AF point icon) mode as there's nothing selectable. You have to delve into the manual p.102 to see that the 11 point icon is named 'Select'. The single dot icon is named 'Spot' in the manual.
Indeed, this is a confusing feature which took me awhile to figure out, too. The 11 point Select is different than the 11 point Auto which is different than Spot. The tracking only works with the 11 point Select and Expanded Area AF.
04-22-2013, 03:56 PM   #6
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does is it work well?
04-23-2013, 10:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveB Quote
That's what I thought for months until I put it to the test. Centre point only ever seems to focus on things in the centre when I try it with Expanded AF Area on and move the first locked on subject around. As the menu help says, "Available when the focus point selection mode is 'Select' and AF mode is AF-C or AF-A" . I take 'Select' mode as the 11 AF point icon option where you can select which one to use, not the centre point only (single AF point icon) mode as there's nothing selectable. You have to delve into the manual p.102 to see that the 11 point icon is named 'Select'. The single dot icon is named 'Spot' in the manual.
You're right, I've just checked and found that my K-30 AF is indeed set to 'Select'. I think its always been like that -I just hadn't noticed. I rarely if ever select anything but the center point whereas I do use quite often the 'expanded area' mode for birds, airplanes and such.
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