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02-29-2008, 09:14 AM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by kent vinyard Quote
Pentax has an opportunity now to really get in the digital era if they will not drop the ball with serious upgrades.
Oh, I definitely agree with you on this. If Pentax wants to steal users away from Nikon and Canon, they have to fix their auto-focus issues first. And I'm not convinced that Pentax won't do that in the near future, btw. What I'm questioning is this, "What is Pentax's core user group?" I just don't think that the things being expected of Pentax at this time have ever really been a priority to them.

02-29-2008, 09:14 AM   #62
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Did Nobody Notice?

In business, change typically comes incrementally--small steps not giant leaps! I will argue that though the SafoxIII system may have remained the same, Pentax actually made a very significant change to autofocus just in the last what...18 months?--they instituted SDM. Prior to SDM, the big complaint wasn't focus tracking--it was autofocus noise and slow responsiveness--both of which are GREATLY IMPROVED with SDM.
Remember, auto focus doesn't only involve the processer/SafoxIII system. It also involves the motors and electrical connections to physically cause the autofocus to occur. Perhaps the addition of SDM does more than quiet the system and make it quicker to respond, perhaps SDM will now allow a better tracking system to actually work! And in lower light as well! I believe Pentax did a fine job of responding to public pressure for a lens based focus motor. Now give them time to incrementally improve how the SDM system works with bodies yet to come.
02-29-2008, 09:20 AM   #63
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Before SDM, people were not expecting much from Pentax AF technology as they were never that good since the AF era. But SDM have brought all the hopes high and people assumed it would be like ring type USM. Unfortunately, as we all know, existing SDM is the rough equivalence of micro USM which is known to be slower.
02-29-2008, 09:57 AM   #64
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wlachan,
You are so right! Nobody expected pro anything from Pentax 35mm bodies until recently. Now with a flagship like the K10D and successors, suddenly we want everythng Pentax to be at the ultimate pro level--of course we still want the price to be 20% of canikon pro gear.
Fact is, Wimbledon will still have lots of white lenses panning back and forth with the action. Neither Pentax nor Leica will have more than a lens or two in the pack of mondo teles shooting major international sports action. That doesn't mean Pentax or Leica are crap--arguably these two companies have focused on lens quality (yes, pun fully intended) more than whiz bang bodies and cinamatography-like shooting speeds. The next few years will be interesting as the distinctions between still cameras and video cameras starts to blurr a bit.

02-29-2008, 01:31 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
Neither Pentax nor Leica will have more than a lens or two in the pack of mondo teles shooting major international sports action.
That's because fast super long telezooms don't exist in the Pentax world (Nikon only recently started making them). You can get massive 1000mm or 1200mm primes in the Canon world. That's one reason why sports shooters stick to them...
02-29-2008, 03:08 PM   #66
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K20D's AF system

In using the K20D, I find that the focus comes in to place more accurately and quickly than did the K10D. There is not the BF and FF issues that existed before. Pentax improved the Auto Focus via the software. The biggest problem has been in the marketing of the AF. They should have called the improvements Safox lX. If they had done that there would NOT be the complaints we are now getting. I find the new AF has noticeable improvements over the K10D and I cannot understand where these complaints are coming from, as ninety percent of those complaining haven't even handled the camera yet. That is absurd.

Ben
02-29-2008, 03:36 PM   #67
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Am I reading it right? The AF system on the K20 & K200 are the same?
Therefore, one could expect the same performance in AF terms?
02-29-2008, 04:40 PM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Pentax improved the Auto Focus via the software. The biggest problem has been in the marketing of the AF. They should have called the improvements Safox lX.
"IX" warrants improvement in hardware... otherwise it will make it worse.

02-29-2008, 05:23 PM   #69
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If I understand correctly, SAFOX refers to the AF sensor only. Since it has been unchanged since the *istD, it is technological the same. While accurate, the major 2 weakness are 1) AF tracking which I believe can be greatly improved with better algorithm, and 2) low EV AF which is limited by the sensitivity of the AF module and no amount of software improvement can save it.
02-29-2008, 05:29 PM   #70
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Well, the K10D uses the "same" SAFOX VIII as the *istDS; but it's much faster and it works better in low light.
03-01-2008, 06:49 AM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by VHDEL Quote
Is the AF slower because of the K10D's AF module isn't as quick as the Canon,
or because Pentax's SDM is slower than Canon's USM?

I wonder if there is much speed difference between in lens motors from Pentax/Sony/Nikon/Canon.

Cheers

Del
I have no idea and no way to test.

I tried to do the "lens cap on" test (letting the lens cap on and timing back and forth lens movements) but it's no use.

The Canon appears to rotate at the same speed in these test than the Pentax but if you give it something to focus on, it will accelerate and lock on much faster.

In other test (dim light, low contrast objects), the Canon would start to AF rather slowly and, as soon as some contrast were found, accelerate and lock.

But there were also time where the Pentax would lock focus (albeit relatively slowly) and the 30D would not.... detectivity and precision of Pentax's AF is really good.

On the Pentax, I have the feeling that the lens focuses always at the same speed, no matter the subject/light level whereas the Canon modulates focusing speed according to contrast/light.

It's really difficult to guess what's coming from the hardware (AF system, lens motor) and from the firmware (computational algorithms, focusing strategies).

Overall, Pentax's AF is very good, Canon's AF is excellent but I would be very hard pressed to give any kind of analysis of where the differences lie.


I'll be using Canon's minimal setup for action shots until next year and see if a K1D can bridge the gap.

I only hope that Canon and Nikon's advantage in the AF department do not come from their longstanding experience of professional level AF systems because this kind of knowledge is not something one can acquire out of nowhere.
03-01-2008, 09:11 AM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
That's because fast super long telezooms don't exist in the Pentax world (Nikon only recently started making them). You can get massive 1000mm or 1200mm primes in the Canon world. That's one reason why sports shooters stick to them...
As far as I know, the only modern superlongtelezoom not from a third party maker was from Pentax, the F* and FA* 250-600/5,6. No Canon nor Nikon ever had a super long tele zoom.

Also, Pentax had a 1200mm with extra-low dispersion glass in the mid eighties...
03-01-2008, 09:51 AM   #73
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I don't think anybody buys Pentax for the AF performance; it has other qualities which make the brand appealing. Personally even low end Nikon like the D40x has faster AF though I haven't used them often enough to know if they're accurate (I think they ought to be).

Because the AF is body-driven, both the AF motor and logic affect performance. My istD is a bit faster and quieter than my K100D, which is way noisier and faster than the DS I used to have.
03-01-2008, 10:53 AM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
In using the K20D, I find that the focus comes in to place more accurately and quickly than did the K10D. There is not the BF and FF issues that existed before. Pentax improved the Auto Focus via the software. The biggest problem has been in the marketing of the AF. They should have called the improvements Safox lX. If they had done that there would NOT be the complaints we are now getting. I find the new AF has noticeable improvements over the K10D and I cannot understand where these complaints are coming from, as ninety percent of those complaining haven't even handled the camera yet. That is absurd.

Ben
I would go along with that. The K20D just feels slightly faster. I even got it to focus in very low light!!! the K10D would simply not focus at all. All with the Kit lens. I will try this again tonight. comparing the two cameras.
Simply. I will go around the house trying to focus on dark bits. If the K10D misses. I will then try the K20D. If that hits then great. What will be particularly interesting is if I find one of those spots where the K10D will focus. but extremely slowly. Then I will try it with the K20D.

I already reported on the other forum about the first time i went round the house trying this out. I found a spot where the K10D never focused once. The K20D focused every time. repeated around 10 times.
03-01-2008, 12:27 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steelski Quote
I will try this again tonight. comparing the two cameras.
Simply. I will go around the house trying to focus on dark bits. If the K10D misses. I will then try the K20D. If that hits then great. What will be particularly interesting is if I find one of those spots where the K10D will focus. but extremely slowly. Then I will try it with the K20D.

I already reported on the other forum about the first time i went round the house trying this out. I found a spot where the K10D never focused once. The K20D focused every time. repeated around 10 times.
I found another one of those points.
The K20D would just focus and then wouldent have the annoying pause between when you know when something is in focus and the shutter releasing. It was a lot quicker to lock and the accuracy was up aswell. I got the K10D to try and do the same in the same sittuation. No go. It focused on the brigher part of the bread bin (shiny metal box type bread storage unit). But would do it eraticaly and often be slightly OOF.
The darker less iluminated part, it only focused once. I could get the K20D in the same sittuation to focus around 70% of the time.

I beleive that the picture was at the very edge of what is possible with a modern DSLR. the picture was at Iso 6400 with f1.7 and 1/25. the picture itself is very underexposed. Roughly translated the value of the picture was at EV0 and it was underexposed by a stop or more. so EV-1 or around there. maybee slightly less even.
This shooting was darker than anything I would ever undertake in real life! and the fact that at this speed it was still underexposed I would need Iso6400 with F1.4 at 1/15th of a second. Doable but not desirable.
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