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11-13-2015, 05:52 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
- the D700 being a $3000/2500 euro body
- the 24-70 also being much more expensive than the Pentax 16-50
- Nikon having a head start in AF, and a pro user base pushing for continuous development

And by the way, I'm not claiming that improvements were "so big". I'm merely disagreeing with your claim that they're "barely noticeable".
I'm specifically asking you to try an old Pentax camera - and not a much higher end Nikon - because that's how you notice it.
And I told you what older Pentax cameras I have tried. I had 4 different models.

Btw, the D700 WAS a 2500 euro body. It's a 7-year old model and its autofocus is certainly not cutting edge by any means. If I had shot the D7200 I could tell you about that, but I haven't. From the spec, however, at least it appears the AF systems between those cameras are comparable: the D700 has the Multi-CAM3500FX sensor and the D7200 has the Multi-CAM3500DX II sensor. Also, the D7200 is viewed as the new high-end APS-C body by Nikon.

As far as the money argument is concerned, this article has some interesting thoughts on that too: Pentax vs Canon AF Performance robertsdonovan.com. The guy describes being at PMA and trying an expensive Canon combo, being blown away by the speed but thinking it must be because that combo is so much more expensive. But it turns out cheaper Canon stuff is also faster than his Pentax gear.

I think that, generally, Pentax is just not the best in autofocus. I remember a video a few years ago in which Pentax officials said they were planning to become the best in AF, but really that has not happened.

---------- Post added 11-14-2015 at 02:02 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
You must be aware that people can be very selective about the images they post online ... No matter the brand, for every 5 star BIF image shot using AF-C and telephoto, there will usually be hundreds of images in the lesser 1-4 star range, showing all manner of focus and other defects, that you will never see shown in the shooters online gallery.
True. Nevertheless I don't see the kind of shots on Pentax forums I sometimes see on Nikon forums . So.. yeah, I don't know, but my impression from all this is that Pentax AF is not as good, despite the fact that it went through so many iterations.


Last edited by starbase218; 11-13-2015 at 06:07 PM.
11-13-2015, 06:49 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
I think that, generally, Pentax is just not the best in autofocus. I remember a video a few years ago in which Pentax officials said they were planning to become the best in AF, but really that has not happened.
I've made this comment multiple times before, but i should probably make it again. Twenty years ago, I switched from Pentax to Canon because I liked the Canon AF the best of what was available. Since then, both Nikon and Pentax have switched to in-lens motor systems similar to what Canon was using back then. Recently, I switched back to Pentax because I experienced issues with Canon bodies, but Canon got a head-start in the lens part of AF systems, and it may take some time for Pentax to catch up.
11-13-2015, 08:55 PM   #18
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The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I just jumped from the K10d to the K3. The K3 is doing things I did not even think possible when I ordered it. I don't tend to use 1:1 pixel peeping except to check where the detail is, but getting 9000 ISO photos that look quite good on my Dell U2412M monitor is a real mind blower.

Perhaps Canon's AF is better, but I don't ever want to be using their equipment. Any company the orphans the previous mount as they have done does not deserve any of my money. YMMV
11-14-2015, 02:46 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
And I told you what older Pentax cameras I have tried. I had 4 different models.

Btw, the D700 WAS a 2500 euro body. It's a 7-year old model and its autofocus is certainly not cutting edge by any means. If I had shot the D7200 I could tell you about that, but I haven't. From the spec, however, at least it appears the AF systems between those cameras are comparable: the D700 has the Multi-CAM3500FX sensor and the D7200 has the Multi-CAM3500DX II sensor. Also, the D7200 is viewed as the new high-end APS-C body by Nikon.

As far as the money argument is concerned, this article has some interesting thoughts on that too: Pentax vs Canon AF Performance robertsdonovan.com. The guy describes being at PMA and trying an expensive Canon combo, being blown away by the speed but thinking it must be because that combo is so much more expensive. But it turns out cheaper Canon stuff is also faster than his Pentax gear.

I think that, generally, Pentax is just not the best in autofocus. I remember a video a few years ago in which Pentax officials said they were planning to become the best in AF, but really that has not happened.
And I also had the *istDS, K10D, K20D, K-5 and now a K-5IIs. That *istDS - a nice camera, at times I miss its simplicity - was really slow in less than ideal light. Nowadays Pentax DSLRs can focus quite well in low light, while other cameras might want to light their assist lamps.

You are continuing to compare Pentax to other brands which is besides the point - that in your opinion, only "barely noticeable" improvements were made. Properly negating that gives you "noticeable" improvements were made. Not "Pentax is the best", "they beat D7200" or anything like that.

11-14-2015, 04:21 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
And I also had the *istDS, K10D, K20D, K-5 and now a K-5IIs. That *istDS - a nice camera, at times I miss its simplicity - was really slow in less than ideal light. Nowadays Pentax DSLRs can focus quite well in low light, while other cameras might want to light their assist lamps.

You are continuing to compare Pentax to other brands which is besides the point - that in your opinion, only "barely noticeable" improvements were made. Properly negating that gives you "noticeable" improvements were made. Not "Pentax is the best", "they beat D7200" or anything like that.
I said that, among the improvements, some were barely noticeable to me. Others were more noticeable. I also told you my thoughts on which new camera gave me which kind of improvement.

Yes I do compare Pentax to other brands, but I do that mostly to make a point: if there were so many noticeable improvements, how come Pentax is still not as good as a 7 year old camera from another brand, and why should I get my hopes up for this one? (if it's even going to be implemented - right now it's just a patent)

On that point, there have been other patents too, like SR for the AF sensor, which have not materialized.

Generally, I think I'm just adjusting what to expect based on the actual result of earlier technological improvements. Don't get me wrong, I'd love for Pentax to surprise me, but I don't expect it to happen.

Last edited by starbase218; 11-14-2015 at 04:29 AM.
11-14-2015, 04:53 AM   #21
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We're not understanding each other. You offered your opinion, I offered mine; I'm not saying your opinion is false, just that IMHO there were noticeable improvements on the Pentax AF. I strongly believe that progress should be acknowledged, a small reward for the people working hard to make our cameras and a way of knowing they're going in the right direction.

And yes, I'm also thinking it's not enough, the K-3's AF - Pentax' first tracking-oriented - was late (thank Hoya for that), and that Pentax is still playing catch up. So I hope some good progress on that, camera- and lens-side. I would continue to support their efforts (by buying stuff), offer constructive feedback if I can, and acknowledge their progress even if small.

So the entire argument about older but higher end Canikon models is wasted, as it's something I agree with. Except that I think it's a bit unfair.

By the way, is the D5500's AF as good as the D700? Just curious.
11-14-2015, 10:02 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I just jumped from the K10d to the K3. The K3 is doing things I did not even think possible when I ordered it. I don't tend to use 1:1 pixel peeping except to check where the detail is, but getting 9000 ISO photos that look quite good on my Dell U2412M monitor is a real mind blower.

Perhaps Canon's AF is better, but I don't ever want to be using their equipment. Any company the orphans the previous mount as they have done does not deserve any of my money. YMMV
You didn't quote the message you're responding to, but since it immediately followed mine, I'm guessing that perhaps it was in response to mine.

I made three points

(1) I liked Canon's lens-motor system better than the body-motor systems

(2) Pentax may need more time to reach Canon's AF, because Canon has been using this system longer

(3) I did come back to Pentax

When I bought the K-30 last summer, it was "kitted" by KEH with an 18-55 lens. I added two Sigma lenses, a 70-300 and a 10-20. All three were screw-drive AF, so after a period of using them, I bought an 18-135 DC lens to see how Pentax's current lens-motor system is working.

My evaluation of AF is kind of basic - the best system is one that I'm not really aware of; when I'm ready to press the shutter button, I want the camera to be ready to take the picture without my being aware of its doing anything in particular. Today is a nice sunny (albeit cool) day, so I ended up going out for awhile to take a few pictures. I guess this was an easy test for my K-30 + DC system because of the sunlight, but it passed with flying colors. Every time I pressed the shutter button, the camera took a picture, and I wasn't aware of what it did to assure that the picture was in focus, and when I loaded the pictures into my computer, they look just fine. Some day I will probably put it to a much harder task - taking a picture of an empty crude oil train heading home on a cloudy day while going 50mph - but right now I'm satisfied.
11-14-2015, 10:55 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
And I told you what older Pentax cameras I have tried. I had 4 different models.

As far as the money argument is concerned, this article has some interesting thoughts on that too: Pentax vs Canon AF Performance robertsdonovan.com. The guy describes being at PMA and trying an expensive Canon combo, being blown away by the speed but thinking it must be because that combo is so much more expensive. But it turns out cheaper Canon stuff is also faster than his Pentax gear.
Really, the K-3 is not an "older" model. In fact, it is current.

You cited a commentary from 2009 comparing the higher-end Canon 5D with the Pentax 20D. That hardly constitutes a current argument. You've offered a lot of impressions. I had the Canon 5D, and it certainly was adequate regarding AF - but at only shot 3fps. The build and image quality above 400 ISO was better on the Pentax 20D, but the AF was so marginal shooting sports that I had at least as good an outcome shooting manual focus. That changed significantly with the K30, and further improvements are evident in the K-3. The K-3 is in every way superior to the 5D (as well it should be 6 years down the road), and that most certainly includes its ability to shoot sports - even indoors with a slow lens.

The point is clear that for the rest of us - with lenses designed to track quick action - we have seen a huge improvement and have gathered some fine action photos. For most of us, action shooting isn't our main need. If it was, we (still) would be shooting Canon, putting up with the lousy sensors, marginal build, bulk, poor ergos - but loving the many great long optics available and AF capability.

11-14-2015, 11:02 AM   #24
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Starbase, test your 16-50 on your older cam if you still have one.
Then convert the lens to screwdrive and test on the K3.
I bet you'll notice difference already. The 16-50 af speed is too dependant on the slow sdm drive. No camera is going to change that.
11-14-2015, 11:25 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
Really, the K-3 is not an "older" model. In fact, it is current.
Sigh..... where did I claim that?

QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
You cited a commentary from 2009 comparing the higher-end Canon 5D with the Pentax 20D. That hardly constitutes a current argument.
I suggest you read through the entire article before replying, as I think you haven't. There is no comparison between the K20D and 5D in the article.

QuoteQuote:
You've offered a lot of impressions. I had the Canon 5D, and it certainly was adequate regarding AF - but at only shot 3fps.
You know, that's actually interesting - the fps I mean. I went to a racetrack once for a motor race. I took my 8.3 fps K-3 with the high-end 60-250. 8.3 fps may sound like a lot, but in reality, I only got maybe 4 or 5 effective fps because the AF couldn't keep up. Now, that's still more than 3 fps, and yes, 3 fps is slow. But I'd much rather have a 6 fps camera where the 6 fps can be utilized because the AF (body and lens) are able to keep up, than an 8.3 fps body where the AF can't.

But, you know, let's turn it around. I gave a link to an article stating that Pentax AF is worse than Canon. You can make some arguments against the article, and you have (not that I agree with every one of them, but ok). But, if Pentax's AF really is as good as Canon's, I would think there are OPPOSITE stories as well, of e.g. a person having had both platforms and saying the Pentax focuses faster. Maybe I could shoot holes in that hypothetical article too. But I really wonder if that article exists in the first place. Because I don't think many people have that experience.

QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
The build and image quality above 400 ISO was better on the Pentax 20D, but the AF was so marginal shooting sports that I had at least as good an outcome shooting manual focus. That changed significantly with the K30, and further improvements are evident in the K-3. The K-3 is in every way superior to the 5D (as well it should be 6 years down the road), and that most certainly includes its ability to shoot sports - even indoors with a slow lens.
That could very well be. I've heard the 5D is not known for the fastest AF. But if you say the K-3 should be faster than the 5D, based on how old it is, wouldn't you also say the K-3 should be faster than the D700? (which in my experience it isn't, at least not with that 24-70 lens on it)

QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
The point is clear that for the rest of us - with lenses designed to track quick action - we have seen a huge improvement and have gathered some fine action photos. For most of us, action shooting isn't our main need. If it was, we (still) would be shooting Canon, putting up with the lousy sensors, marginal build, bulk, poor ergos - but loving the many great long optics available and AF capability.
That's another thing - the AF speed of lenses. I have touched on this earlier. I don't like the new fullframe lenses for me because of their size and weight. So for me it's APS-C all the way, but rather good-quality APS-C. So I have DA* glass. With SDM. Slow SDM. My 55-300 focuses faster than my 60-250. That does not make any sense at all.

Meanwhile, Canon and Nikon have good-quality (from what I read and saw) not-so-fast lenses (in terms of f-stop, which makes them smaller and lighter) that focus faster, like the 70-300 4-5.6 L IS USM or even the 70-300 4.5-5.6 VR. I'd love to have such a lens for Pentax, but it doesn't exist. That's why I have the 60-250, and the AF annoyances that come with it. I love my copy of the 60-250 though, because it's razor sharp. In fact, that's why I'm probably going to hold on to it. Because an excellent copy of a lens is worth something too. But the AF.... yeah not so great at all.

---------- Post added 11-14-2015 at 07:30 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
Starbase, test your 16-50 on your older cam if you still have one.
Then convert the lens to screwdrive and test on the K3.
I bet you'll notice difference already. The 16-50 af speed is too dependant on the slow sdm drive. No camera is going to change that.
I don't have my K100D Super anymore, but I can imagine that the rotational speed won't be much different from using it with my K-3, since the motor is in the lens. However, I remember that the K100D Super used to micro-adjust more, even stopping a few times "along the way" to finding correct focus. That takes time too.

I have had my 16-50 converted to screwdrive when the SDM failed (got a fully functional 16-50 afterwards so I sold the converted one). It didn't notice any speed difference on my K-3.

---------- Post added 11-14-2015 at 07:52 PM ----------

Well, anyway, we'll see what this new technology brings (if it brings anything; at this point it's only a patent). I'm just done getting my hopes up and then finding out it's not as good as I thought it would be.
11-14-2015, 11:56 AM   #26
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Possibly the 16-50 is a long throw. It wasn't designed for top AF performance. Obviously, a converted lens intended for SDM is not going to be optimized for screwdrive. What has been observed is that the K-3 seems to have a bit stronger and quicker screwdrive mechanism.
11-14-2015, 12:56 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
Possibly the 16-50 is a long throw. It wasn't designed for top AF performance. Obviously, a converted lens intended for SDM is not going to be optimized for screwdrive. What has been observed is that the K-3 seems to have a bit stronger and quicker screwdrive mechanism.
I didn't notice too much of a difference with my screwdrive lenses between the K-5 and K-3. The jump from K100D Super to K-7 was when I did notice a big difference.


Actually the 16-50 has a short focus throw. But that's only part of the story, the other being the rotational speed, e.g. number of degrees per second (sometimes I'm amazed that people tend to forget that). And that is not so high for the 16-50. But all in all, it's not terribly slow either. It's just not as fast as e.g. the Canon 17-55, at least from what I've seen in in videos (thanks to that ring-type ultrasonic drive). Still, shooting with that 24-70 on the D700, I was like "wtf? I don't have to wait at all???" That's how it felt to me, and I haven't gotten that same feeling with any of my Pentax gear.

The speed of the 60-250 is more of an annoyance to me. The fact that the cheaper, slower (in terms of aperture) 55-300 is faster makes it all the more painful.
11-14-2015, 03:28 PM   #28
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Basically K3 is able to focus accurately any still object even in dim light, even if the subject is small. It is able to do that VERY fast if the lens follow. Try it with the new 150-450 or new 24-70.

The only thing that remain an issue is action shooting because the algorithm is still crude for AF tracking and that there no predictive AF. We could expect improvement in that area bu if we are say objective, even if the new FF improve that quite a bit this should take 1-2 years more. Only time will tell through.

Anyway, I don't see any issue here. If one think he need a D700 or D7200, let's go for it. Life too short to complain and wait.

I know that I had K5 before and now I have K3. The focussing is much faster, more accurate. It work well in low light and the small focus point allow to do precise focus AF work with very shalllow deph of field. Say for portraiture. I can focus on the eye and then the eye is in focus. So to me the improvement was real, very visible and significant. That was the main factor to upgrade because I always had issue with the of center AF point being to big and of AF innacuracy in low light.

One may have been satisfied for years already because he didn't need low light focussing or maybe because he doesn't work with small dof. So he doesn't see any change. In that case I would say he should not buy the new gear for the focus improvement because he doesn't care. That would be different factors maybe more resolution maybe pixel shift... maybe he got enough with what he has now. That's perfect.

One may still not be satisfied because the Pentax AF implementation miss a great predictive AF implementation and that for moving subject in particular subject going toward you, the AF lag behind. Sure. That because it is not yet there. If it is your main issue, there no reason to think it should improve here because basically this is not that part that was improved.

One may complain his lens is still slow even on the latest body. Well if your lens has its own motor and is slow, no camera body will ever make it fast. You need a new lens that is faster to focus. Pentax is building that line up of lenses now. We have 150-450 and 24-70, soon we will have 70-200 and in the meantime the 17-50 from sigma is a good contender.

We all know that. so I we have all the information available and we can choose the camera or even the brand/camera system that match our needs. No need to complain, to argue or whatever.

Last edited by Nicolas06; 11-14-2015 at 03:33 PM.
11-16-2015, 05:31 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
This may come across as very negative, but we've been hearing about AF improvements for ages, with virtually every new camera release. Until I see it for myself, this could be just another barely noticeable change. Besides, it's not AF accuracy where Pentax needs to improve. It's mostly tracking autofocus speed, which depends a whole lot more on the actual AF motor than on the stuff that's in the body.
Ricoh can't register patents unless they are about improving focus tracking. This proves they are not doing what you want them to do so they are a bad bad company......
11-16-2015, 05:33 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
Basically K3 is able to focus accurately any still object even in dim light, even if the subject is small. It is able to do that VERY fast if the lens follow. Try it with the new 150-450 or new 24-70.
Problem is, I don't want any of those lenses. I explained this earlier on.

But I don't want to hijack this thread any further. It's just that I have a seeing-before-believing view on all of this.
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