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08-12-2012, 10:18 AM   #136
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To be fair about this, there must be more complaints about PD AF in photographic forums than any other subject If you do a google search on the vaunted D4 and the D800, you will find some recent AF problems that required camera return for several new Nikon owners.

The Fuji X pro1 is criticized for its slow AF, but some of the information from the dpreview reviewer is quite interesting on the subject. Two quotes from the xpro1 review:

QuoteQuote:
The one area where the X-Pro1 genuinely falls behind a bit, though, is autofocus. For single-shot AF acquisition it's unable to match either similarly-priced SLRs or the best of its mirrorless peers for speed. As for tracking AF, the X-Pro1 doesn't offer it at all. Overall this means that it's not at all good at coping with subjects that are moving continuously or erratically. For static subjects, though, it's absolutely fine - and because the image sensor is used for focusing, it's inherently extremely accurate.
....
Focus speed is highly lens-dependent, of course, and the 18mm F2 and 35mm F1.4 are distinctly quicker than the 60mm F2.4 Macro. But it's also a function of lens design, and the fastest-focusing lenses we've seen for mirrorless cameras use lightweight internal-focus mechanisms that can be driven quickly and accurately without consuming excessive power. Fujifilm, in contrast, has used unit focus mechanisms for the 18mm and 35mm lenses, in which the entire optical unit moves back and forwards for focusing, and an extending barrel design for the 60mm. The result is that the X-Pro1 simply can't match other mirrorless cameras for focus speed with any of its lenses.
PDAF has got to be a "pain in the ass" for DSLR mfrs. Returns cost a lot of money. And with PDAF, its not just the camera bodies being returned and calibrated, its also the lenses that are being returned in droves for calibration or for exchange. "image sensor focusing" and "lightweight internal -focus mechanisms that can be driven quicker" may be powerful market trends.

08-12-2012, 11:11 AM - 1 Like   #137
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The world would surely be a better place if people hadn't forgotten how to turn the damn focus ring themselves. A good MF lens with a good focusing screen in experienced hands is just as fast as the current Pentax AF and usually more accurate. Truly a lost art.
I think the only time AF would be a help is picking up a small moving target like a flying bug in macro (which it frequently screws up), or shooting from the hip. Or I suppose all those with old eyes.

It doesn't help that fast auto focus and accurate auto focus are opposing directions. They would be better concentrating on accurate and working towards fast as technology improves.

And on another note, as far as the K30 goes why do people keep comparing it to the K5 when they are one generation apart and in different intended price brackets? Apples to oranges and all that.
08-12-2012, 11:24 AM   #138
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Modern lenses (at least the consumer ones) have very short focus throws which makes manual focusing harder than it was during the film era. At least in my current lens lineup, only the DA 55-300 has a focus throw close to my FA 28-105 PZ - about 230++ degrees turn
08-12-2012, 11:30 AM   #139
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
To be fair about this, there must be more complaints about PD AF in photographic forums than any other subject If you do a google search on the vaunted D4 and the D800, you will find some recent AF problems that required camera return for several new Nikon owners.
Even Thom Hogan, whom some people call a huge Nikon honk, gave the D800 a "not recommended" rating due to the AF issues it is having and Nikon's lack of customer service.

08-12-2012, 01:14 PM   #140
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QuoteOriginally posted by LamyTax Quote
Sure, SDM is a pressing issue, too. With AF, there are a few things that need to be worked on before you adress the lens issues, though. No point in keeping a bug-free >two year old AF that's okay for mid range but nowhere near what the top range of the competition can do -- just to release reliable lenses. Especially considering that a lot of lenses do work just fine.

Have you ever tested the 5DIII's AF? Or "just" the 7D? Nikon's D4 can focus reliably at f/8.
SAFOX IXi+ AF-C is nowhere near that. Not in terms of speed, nor in terms of features.

Canon and Nikon also have some very slow lenses, especially the more affordable ones. Just think of the 100-400L for Canon.
The fact that almost every screw drive lens I own (and I own quite a few including non-Pentax lenses and FA ltds) and non-screw drive non-Pentax lenses (like Sigma HSM) out-perform the top of the line DA* lenses says a lot about the problem. A new body isn't going to fix this issue.

My guess is that the K5 replacement will no doubt have incremental improvements over the older bodies, but in my opinion, the DA* lenses (all SDM lenses, actually) are already further behind much of the competition than the body in terms of AF performance and they are keeping us from realizing the maximum potential of any body Pentax releases.

The DA* 16-50 and 50-135 lenses were released in 2007, soon to be 6 years ago, and it is a very hard sell to keep trying to convince buyers to pony up $1500 for a competitive top of the line semi-pro body (like the K5,of which I own 2) when the best semi-pro level zoom lenses Pentax offers are as slow as budget lenses from the competition or 20 year old screw-driven designs.

Let's see, since 2007 (top of the Pentax line only):

K10, K20, K7, K5, K-whatever is next

Same old slow and unreliable SDM technology.

A re-tool to replace SDM with something faster and more reliable is WAY overdue and had better follow hard upon the heels of a new body or anyone looking to upgrade is likely going to go somewhere else. Noobs looking at Pentax are going to be reading the same old complaints about not being able to track the toddlers and how Nikon is so much better.

I cannot count the number of threads, questions and complaints about Pentax AF(check the other forums), and there have been many defections related to AF as well (and yes, I know that the D7000 and other brands have problems too) but until the entire SYSTEM is re-tooled to be competitive in AF performance, Pentax/Ricoh will struggle to keep users and gain market share.

The bottom line is that after shooting Pentax since 1978 and owning all of the top of the line Pentax DSLRs and lenses, there is no doubt in my mind that the number one complaint about the brand is AF performance and the body is only one part of the problem. No other complaint even comes close.

If I were in charge at Ricoh, Pentax would have a all-hands effort to introduce a new body with improved AF at the same time as announcing a replacement for SDM, at least in the top of the line DA* products. Nothing else would matter until that issue was put to bed once and for all.

Ray
08-12-2012, 01:41 PM   #141
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QuoteOriginally posted by builttospill Quote
Nah, Pentax needs to release a new body. Maybe they can keep it the same size so it continues to work with the existing grip, but you really don't want to walk around with a K-3 missing the lens release button for another two years do you?
Sure, they need to change the whole body because of the (your) lens release problem?
08-12-2012, 03:56 PM   #142
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
Sure, they need to change the whole body because of the (your) lens release problem?
No, it was a joke. I don't have a lens release problem and I've never owned a K-5.
08-12-2012, 05:32 PM   #143
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
The world would surely be a better place if people hadn't forgotten how to turn the damn focus ring themselves. A good MF lens with a good focusing screen in experienced hands is just as fast as the current Pentax AF and usually more accurate. Truly a lost art.
.
Actually manual focus is faster than any AF on the planet except for moving subjects. Manual focus is instinctive. AF is an complex process: First you have to decide what you want in focus. Then you have to choose between AF-S or AF-C. Then you have to select AF mode (manual AF point selection or auto). Then AF point if you do not choose auto point selection (where you risk that the camera select the wrong point). Or, alternatively use the central point and recompose. Then you have to press the AF button or the shutter release to activate AF and see if the camera indeed focus where you want it. The fact that some use this extremely roundabout method of focusing, that also waste batterypower, is incomprehensible (except for moving subjects). It is also inherently unprecise.
I also think that manual focus immediately make you a better photographer....

08-12-2012, 05:39 PM   #144
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
Even Thom Hogan, whom some people call a huge Nikon honk, gave the D800 a "not recommended" rating due to the AF issues it is having and Nikon's lack of customer service.

You can be sure that 95% of AF "errors" are due to "erroneous" users.
A high resolution sensor; an AF system that isn't even close to sensor resolution; people shooting wide open with fast lenses without a clue of DOF or typical optical characteristics of very fast lenses (not very sharp wide open and rarely sharp in the corners); a user base where many have problems operating a P&S is a sure recipe for disasters. I'll bet most cameras Nikon get back is nothing wrong with.
08-12-2012, 05:49 PM   #145
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
Even Thom Hogan, whom some people call a huge Nikon honk, gave the D800 a "not recommended" rating due to the AF issues it is having and Nikon's lack of customer service.
My D800E went back to the main Nikon service center here in Australia and came back with the AF system working very nicely. It's a hell of a camera...
08-13-2012, 01:34 AM   #146
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Depending on the market. 7D = 1349 euro and K-5 739 euro. So the 7D is 82,5 % more expensive then the K-5. I guess that having more advanced electronics (dual PRIME M and stuff) would cost 300 euro. Investing 100 euro in a new AF-module would be great, but the camera is going to be more expensive then we are used to with Pentax K-5. The question is wheater the market want Pentax to be in that pricerange?
Yeah, sure. But that's now.
Look back at the release price and the following months. Same (very small) ballpark.
I'd also say that Canon has an interest in keeping the price up. The 60D wants to be sold, too.
08-13-2012, 02:56 AM   #147
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I share your thoughts on slow sdm. You will be surprised many in Singapore think the sdm is good enough but heavy! It is an interesting world.
QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
The fact that almost every screw drive lens I own (and I own quite a few including non-Pentax lenses and FA ltds) and non-screw drive non-Pentax lenses (like Sigma HSM) out-perform the top of the line DA* lenses says a lot about the problem. A new body isn't going to fix this issue.

My guess is that the K5 replacement will no doubt have incremental improvements over the older bodies, but in my opinion, the DA* lenses (all SDM lenses, actually) are already further behind much of the competition than the body in terms of AF performance and they are keeping us from realizing the maximum potential of any body Pentax releases.

The DA* 16-50 and 50-135 lenses were released in 2007, soon to be 6 years ago, and it is a very hard sell to keep trying to convince buyers to pony up $1500 for a competitive top of the line semi-pro body (like the K5,of which I own 2) when the best semi-pro level zoom lenses Pentax offers are as slow as budget lenses from the competition or 20 year old screw-driven designs.

Let's see, since 2007 (top of the Pentax line only):

K10, K20, K7, K5, K-whatever is next

Same old slow and unreliable SDM technology.

A re-tool to replace SDM with something faster and more reliable is WAY overdue and had better follow hard upon the heels of a new body or anyone looking to upgrade is likely going to go somewhere else. Noobs looking at Pentax are going to be reading the same old complaints about not being able to track the toddlers and how Nikon is so much better.

I cannot count the number of threads, questions and complaints about Pentax AF(check the other forums), and there have been many defections related to AF as well (and yes, I know that the D7000 and other brands have problems too) but until the entire SYSTEM is re-tooled to be competitive in AF performance, Pentax/Ricoh will struggle to keep users and gain market share.

The bottom line is that after shooting Pentax since 1978 and owning all of the top of the line Pentax DSLRs and lenses, there is no doubt in my mind that the number one complaint about the brand is AF performance and the body is only one part of the problem. No other complaint even comes close.

If I were in charge at Ricoh, Pentax would have a all-hands effort to introduce a new body with improved AF at the same time as announcing a replacement for SDM, at least in the top of the line DA* products. Nothing else would matter until that issue was put to bed once and for all.

Ray
08-13-2012, 03:55 AM   #148
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QuoteOriginally posted by lightbulb Quote
I share your thoughts on slow sdm. You will be surprised many in Singapore think the sdm is good enough but heavy! It is an interesting world.
Heavy compared to what?
Sure, a Canon 70-200/4L is very light... but other than that?
08-13-2012, 04:18 AM   #149
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Can't wait for a 60-250mm with a reliable ring motor. It looks like a perfect landscape lens actually, judging from the stunning pictures marklj takes. The question is, is Ricoh actually working on updated sdm? People are clamouring for better AF, flash system, ring motors... What has Ricoh actually decided to devote its resources to?
08-13-2012, 04:23 AM   #150
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QuoteOriginally posted by gtl Quote
Can't wait for a 60-250mm with a reliable ring motor. It looks like a perfect landscape lens actually, judging from the stunning pictures marklj takes. The question is, is Ricoh actually working on updated sdm? People are clamouring for better AF, flash system, ring motors... What has Ricoh actually decided to devote its resources to?
You can be sure that Ricoh is well aware of the most pressing issues. The sentiment of the original announcement was to attack Nikon and Canon, and from what I hear, they're getting at it.
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