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11-13-2015, 09:41 AM   #1
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Ricoh Patent: IR sensors to improve AF accuracy

A new Ricoh patent has surfaced today. This one is for using an IR sensor in the prism area to allow greater accuracy in the AF sensor. I think it is saying that this helps eliminate aberrations in the invisible light spectrum that of course do not show up in the image, but can confuse the AF system.

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://egami.blog.so-ne...09&prev=search

The writer speculates that this could be included in the new FF camera.

11-13-2015, 09:50 AM   #2
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Interesting...
11-13-2015, 10:29 AM   #3
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Nice

Wouldn't it be possible to use also the IR sensor for an hybrid AF with Time of Flight measurement through infrared laser emission ? LG has a product like this (with an hybrid AF designed by STMicroelectronics) and the laser is used to make a coarse measure of the object position before making a finer regular focusing.
11-13-2015, 10:30 AM   #4
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Huh interesting. Not sure how much this will help (since IR is shifted?), but its good that Ricoh is trying to innovate in the AF field, which was often pointed to as a Pentax weakness. Even though many of us never had problems to begin with, and some tests showed that Pentax flagships have comparable AF speeds as other cameras in the same price range

11-13-2015, 10:30 AM   #5
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Looking back 10 years at all the advances in technology, it's going to be exciting to see what's ahead for the next 10 years! Will we even recognize today's cameras in 10 years?
Regards!
11-13-2015, 11:05 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Not sure how much this will help (since IR is shifted?)
That's likely the key. If the IR shift is predictable (and it typically is), then it becomes another source of information. They'd need to have each lens supply its IR shift, assuming that it doesn't already do that with the MTF data.
11-13-2015, 11:09 AM   #7
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I'm all for improvement of anything. But having said that I still recall using my first auto focus lens. It was December 2007 and it was my new Pentax 16-45 lens with my new K10D. All I could say back then was WOW !!

I have been a shutterbug (how's that for an old phrase) since 1968 and throughout all those years from '68 to 2007 had only ever used a manual focus system. On medium format, rangefinder, SLR, etc.

I still love AF, even those systems that hunt a bit too much, get confused looking for focus points and of course some super telephoto zoom lenses, that have difficulty making the adjustment from close up at the low end of their range....to focusing at the far end of their range.....right now.

So to me, any improvement in AF is good of course....but having had so much experience without AF....just using my hand and eye to get good focus....even basic, electronically 'primitive' AF is wonderful, to me.

However by what I've read over the years, Pentax seems to be behind Canonikon in terms of AF....so this Ricoh patent if it works well may raise the standards of Pentax AF.

But having said that, I'm more that happy with my AF on my K10D, Km and K-5 bodies. No complaints here.

Les

---------- Post added 11-13-15 at 12:17 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
Looking back 10 years at all the advances in technology, it's going to be exciting to see what's ahead for the next 10 years! Will we even recognize today's cameras in 10 years?
Regards!
Quite right Rupert.

I share your excitement for the future. I think since digital has come into it's own over the past decade or so, Photography has been in a golden age. I can hardly wait to see what's next.

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; 11-13-2015 at 11:14 AM.
11-13-2015, 11:48 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Not sure how much this will help (since IR is shifted?)
IR focus shifts differently with different lenses (check out old lenses for the IR focus point and it's different on different lenses, even two 135mm lenses will have different points. I'd speculate this is related to how many elements there are and how light behaves when it passes through surfaces.) At any rate, it seems reasonable to think that if the camera knew what lens was on the front, then it would know exactly where the IR focus point shift is. This would be harder or perhaps not possible with old M42 and Pre-FA lenses that don't communicate which lens, specifically, is attached to the body.

Polaroid used to use SONAR for AF. Their system was one of the best AFs I've ever used, too, in terms of accuracy.

It also occurs to me that this would be optimal for low-light AF. If the low-light AF LED produced IR light instead of visible light, it would be less distracting to subjects and the in-camera IR-sensitive receptors would be prepped to receive low-light IR assist that could also be much 'brighter' than standard systems since human eyes can't see IR so there's no reason not to flood a scene with IR light to assist in low-light AF.

11-13-2015, 12:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
Looking back 10 years at all the advances in technology, it's going to be exciting to see what's ahead for the next 10 years! Will we even recognize today's cameras in 10 years?
Regards!
I think today's cameras will have an even more worst feature than those hunk of metals (film cameras) that are sitting on the shelf gathering dust. At least those old film cameras are becoming work of arts. These new cameras are just basically another entertainment unit that you are going to change in 3-4 years when the new model comes out...
11-13-2015, 12:52 PM   #10
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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.

---------- Post added 11-13-2015 at 08:53 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Even though many of us never had problems to begin with, and some tests showed that Pentax flagships have comparable AF speeds as other cameras in the same price range
Until you put a ring-type ultrasonic lens on that other brand camera, whereas there probably won't be a similar ring-type ultrasonic lens for Pentax.
11-13-2015, 12:57 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Use an improved camera for a while, then go back to a 10-years old model; then please tell me if you still think it's "barely noticeable"
11-13-2015, 03:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Use an improved camera for a while, then go back to a 10-years old model; then please tell me if you still think it's "barely noticeable"
I went from K100D Super to K-7 to K-5 to K-3. K100D Super to K-7 was a big improvement in speed because I mostly used screw-driven lenses at the time, and the motor in the K-7 was a lot faster. K-7 to K-5 was a little faster because of the same reason. K-5 to K-3? Some people say it's night and day, but I disagree. Sure, the FF is gone and it may be a bit more confident in low light. But I would characterize it as a small difference.

There have been other announcements, like the K-30 which was said to have improved AF. So somewhere in between the K-5 and K-3, i.e. probably a VERY small improvement to me. I think user reviews and even some "proper" reviews are guilty of wishful thinking too.

I shot with a Nikon D700 once with the 24-70. That was about 4 years ago. The K-3 with the 16-50 is not nearly as fast. So if these improvements are so big, then how come Pentax's latest cameras are still slower than an ancient 12MP Nikon body and lens?

Is it fair of me to expect this? I think it is. True, the 24-70 is a more expensive lens. But really the same kind of tech is in Canon's 17-55. That's a crop-sensor lens that goes for about the same price as a 16-50. So yeah, I think it is very fair for me to expect something like this.

Some time ago I was browsing a Nikon forum, reading a topic about a guy who just bought a D7100 or D7200, something like that. He posted what apparently was one of his first attempts at a BIF with that camera. I was blown away by that shot. It has happened more often: I see some shots on other brand's forums of the kind that I just don't see on a Pentax forum.
11-13-2015, 04:15 PM   #13
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I'd have to disagree with you, starbase. My upgrade path was *istD (followed by two midgrade Canons), K20D, K-01/K-30, K-3. Along the Pentax side of it, each body improved upon the latter significantly. Largest gap probably was from the K20D to the K-30. I could shoot college indoor sports with a f/5.6 (screwdrive) zoom with the K-30 and have a 30% keeper rate; it went up to about 70% with the K-3. Prior to that, keeper rate was so low I was far better off shooting MF.

Some of the SDM lenses are remarkably slow focusing, and that would include the 16-50. Not that the lens would be used much for action, but my understanding is that even kids playing move too fast for its focusing.

It seems that lens technology is the biggest obstacle, but the better body AF capabilities have somewhat closed the gap with the leaders. Someone with engineering expertise might want to chime in regarding the limitations of the Pentax mechanical mount design.
11-13-2015, 05:32 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
I shot with a Nikon D700 once with the 24-70. That was about 4 years ago. The K-3 with the 16-50 is not nearly as fast. So if these improvements are so big, then how come Pentax's latest cameras are still slower than an ancient 12MP Nikon body and lens?
- 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.
11-13-2015, 05:41 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by K David Quote
It also occurs to me that this would be optimal for low-light AF. If the low-light AF LED produced IR light instead of visible light, it would be less distracting to subjects and the in-camera IR-sensitive receptors would be prepped to receive low-light IR assist that could also be much 'brighter' than standard systems since human eyes can't see IR so there's no reason not to flood a scene with IR light to assist in low-light AF.
I can see where you are coming from. That sort of AF boost via active IR would indeed be great, if possible. Good for indoor people shooting, and outdoor wildlife telephoto.

But with low-light sensitive -3EV or even -4EV AF sensors now becoming common, requiring no AF assist illumination in any spectrum, there may not be much of a market for such a system.

---------- Post added 2015-11-14 at 11:49 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
I see some shots on other brand's forums of the kind that I just don't see on a Pentax forum.
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.

Last edited by rawr; 11-13-2015 at 05:50 PM.
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