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05-15-2016, 06:58 PM   #1
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Focus tracking

Hi fellows,

does K-1 get any close let's say to 7DMk2 in focus tracking on objects in motion?
I've looked through many pictures, but didn't see anything to answer this question.
Could anyone try to shot series on moving objects, etc then post a link here?

Thank you!

05-15-2016, 07:46 PM - 1 Like   #2
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It's better than the K-3 but still not at Canon level IMO. It could benefit from more points and faster processing. Though the new 70-200mm does focus rather quickly on it I wouldn't complain unless I were a pro sports/action shooter.

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05-15-2016, 08:19 PM   #3
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I don't normally use tracking, (I usually don't shoot anything that moves), so my experience is somewhat limited. However, I did some informal testing this week. One sequence with a seagull traveling left to right, first coming toward me, then passing, then going away consisting of 10 frames with the DFA 24-70 resulted in 10 frames acceptably sharp. With no misses. In other words I shot a 10 frame sequence and got 10 in focus frames.

Is that as good as Canon? I've no idea, never shot a Canon. But I thought it quite remarkable coming from the K-5 and K-3.

In some sequences with the DA*60-250 I found all frames to be in focus though somewhat soft. I suspect my 60-250 might need an AF fine adjustment. But again, no misses as I have seen with the k-5 / k-3. The tracking worked very well, but I suspect the 60-250 is either off focus a bit, or perhaps not fast enough to keep up with the K-1.

I also shot two sequences with the DFA 150-450. The first tracking a Coast Guard helicopter, resulted in 8 of 12 shots in good focus. Some of the others looked as if it locked onto the rotor rather than the body so something was in focus just not what I wanted. Admittedly a helicopter is not a fast moving subject.

The second was a model airplane or drone someone was flying. It was moving so fast I constantly lost contact with it in the viewfinder. The operator did a lot of aerobatics, loops and so on that were difficult to track. I got about 50% of the shots in focus. I think I would have done a lot better if it was moving in a predicable pattern.

Anyway, that is my experience. I'm not a pro sports shooter so no idea if that is good enough. I can say that compared to previous cameras I have used I was amazed. The tracking really works, you just need a lens fast enough to keep up.
05-15-2016, 08:42 PM   #4
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My K-3II using Continuous AF and a Spot (center point) AF setting is giving me nice detail with excellent shots of for instance seagulls, osprey, terns, herons and even a kingfisher in flight. The Pentax K-3II is an aps-c predecessor of the K-1, so I suppose the technology of the K-1 AF would at least equal or be improved upon in comparison to the K-3II.


Last edited by C_Jones; 05-16-2016 at 11:43 AM.
05-15-2016, 09:41 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I don't normally use tracking, (I usually don't shoot anything that moves), so my experience is somewhat limited. However, I did some informal testing this week. One sequence with a seagull traveling left to right, first coming toward me, then passing, then going away consisting of 10 frames with the DFA 24-70 resulted in 10 frames acceptably sharp. With no misses. In other words I shot a 10 frame sequence and got 10 in focus frames.
Side to side - specially at or near infinity, is the least indicator of focus tracking. Likely don't even need it. Focus tracking is most challenging when the target is coming at you or moving away from you. Now a seagull flying erratically coming at you or going away would be a great test specially when zooming in and out too!
05-15-2016, 10:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Side to side - specially at or near infinity, is the least indicator of focus tracking. Likely don't even need it. Focus tracking is most challenging when the target is coming at you or moving away from you. Now a seagull flying erratically coming at you or going away would be a great test specially when zooming in and out too!
Like I said, not my specialty. Just passing on what I see.
05-16-2016, 02:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by QCdude Quote
Hi fellows,

does K-1 get any close let's say to 7DMk2 in focus tracking on objects in motion?
I've looked through many pictures, but didn't see anything to answer this question.
Could anyone try to shot series on moving objects, etc then post a link here?
This is not what you asked for, but it may be useful:

I have published 27 photos of airplanes in flight

I've published "Observations and discussion" about this shoot.

The reasons this is not what you asked for include: I used centre-spot focusing, hence no tracking in the normal use of the word; and I haven't published the sequence, just individual frames from sequences.

I have also posted some photos of birds in flight

And some photos of racing motor bikes

(For the last of these, I used Expanded Area AF (small)).

In 49 years of using Pentax SLRs, I've never used an SLR of any other make. So I am unable to make the sort of comparison you asked for.
05-16-2016, 05:00 AM   #8
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Many thanks to everyone.
Your observations give me even more positive feelings in regard the K-1.

Barry Pearson , your input and the shared photos are absolutely useful. Thank you, Sir.

I've almost made up my mind on it. The only thing I wish someone could share is an unedited raw sequence (can be converted to JPG though with no adjustments) at least 10 shots in row 'as is' of something moving, i.e. auto/moto or any kind of sports.
Well, I do not expect the K-1 to perform as said 5dMk2 , I imagine that APS-C will always have faster FPS and it would be also difficult to have more focusing points at $1.8K price tag being FF. Yet, I just wish to see the maximum of the focusing ability the K-1 is capable of. I think many of pentaxians would appreciate such info.

05-16-2016, 07:01 AM   #9
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You can look at this video were they test the focus tracking with somebody coming right at you between tree, pretty good
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/190-pentax-k-1/321104-thecamerastore-hand...ml#post3644112
05-16-2016, 02:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I don't normally use tracking, (I usually don't shoot anything that moves), so my experience is somewhat limited. However, I did some informal testing this week. One sequence with a seagull traveling left to right, first coming toward me, then passing, then going away consisting of 10 frames with the DFA 24-70 resulted in 10 frames acceptably sharp. With no misses. In other words I shot a 10 frame sequence and got 10 in focus frames.

Is that as good as Canon? I've no idea, never shot a Canon. But I thought it quite remarkable coming from the K-5 and K-3.

In some sequences with the DA*60-250 I found all frames to be in focus though somewhat soft. I suspect my 60-250 might need an AF fine adjustment. But again, no misses as I have seen with the k-5 / k-3. The tracking worked very well, but I suspect the 60-250 is either off focus a bit, or perhaps not fast enough to keep up with the K-1.

I also shot two sequences with the DFA 150-450. The first tracking a Coast Guard helicopter, resulted in 8 of 12 shots in good focus. Some of the others looked as if it locked onto the rotor rather than the body so something was in focus just not what I wanted. Admittedly a helicopter is not a fast moving subject.

The second was a model airplane or drone someone was flying. It was moving so fast I constantly lost contact with it in the viewfinder. The operator did a lot of aerobatics, loops and so on that were difficult to track. I got about 50% of the shots in focus. I think I would have done a lot better if it was moving in a predicable pattern
Anyway, that is my experience. I'm not a pro sports shooter so no idea if that is good enough. I can say that compared to previous cameras I have used I was amazed. The tracking really works, you just need a lens fast enough to keep up.
Thanks for posting your informal test. Based upon my experience with the K-3 your results seem significantly better than I would expect with the K-3. I am looking forward to the Forums review hopefully using the D FA 70-200 and D FA 150-450 which I am guessing may be Pentax's fastest focusing lenses to gauge AF.C tracking capability. This is an area where Pentax has lagged the competition for a long time and an area long due significant improvement. Certainly it will be critical for the K-3 follow cropped camera.
05-16-2016, 02:45 PM   #11
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FWIW, Z-axis responsiveness is not the same as tracking.


Steve
05-17-2016, 12:08 AM   #12
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I haven't done a lot of shooting that required focus tracking, but have shot some BIF using the K-3 II and 150-450, which I thought performed reasonably well.
Yesterday I was shooting a lot of BIF with K-1 and 150-450 + 1.4x TC, and I think the K-1 does do it better, although the high frame rate better approximates the K-3 II medium frame rate.
I expect the K-1 will be more than adequate for BIF once I get all the settings just right and I get used to it.

Cheers,
Terry
05-17-2016, 02:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by QCdude Quote
Many thanks to everyone.
Your observations give me even more positive feelings in regard the K-1.

Barry Pearson , your input and the shared photos are absolutely useful. Thank you, Sir.

I've almost made up my mind on it. The only thing I wish someone could share is an unedited raw sequence (can be converted to JPG though with no adjustments) at least 10 shots in row 'as is' of something moving, i.e. auto/moto or any kind of sports.
Well, I do not expect the K-1 to perform as said 5dMk2 , I imagine that APS-C will always have faster FPS and it would be also difficult to have more focusing points at $1.8K price tag being FF. Yet, I just wish to see the maximum of the focusing ability the K-1 is capable of. I think many of pentaxians would appreciate such info.
Again, I have some (new) photos and information that are not what you asked for, but may be useful.

More photos of birds in flight taken with a K-1

That page provides several links, and says:

"In each of the posts below, there is a sequence of photos from a burst revealing aspects of in and out of focus. For each photo, I've added a commentary attempting to understand why the results are what they are."

"These posts are not galleries of artistic bird photos. They are intended to be learning material."

Also:

"I've discussed some conclusions about various types of AF with various types of subject at the following post. It also attempts to clarify the various names used to choose AF options, and to identify what the options are."
05-17-2016, 04:17 AM   #14
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Thanks for posting your link Barry. I hope Pentax Forum can test the AF.C tracking with something like a car traveling towards the camera, say at 30 mph, using the lens at max aperture. Perhaps this, or another test, would be a good indication of tracking capability of the Pentax K-1 autofocus.
Looking at the comments in the forum it appears that focusing speed has improved but it is hard to determine from the posts if tracking has improved to the point of catching up to competitors. At 4 or 5 fps it should nail every exposure.
The number of Pentax k-1 focus points, 33, seems to be behind Nikon, which has boosted the number to 153 for its flagship D5/D500 cameras, and Canon, which uses 65 points. Pentax seems to lag significantly in this regard.
While I do not know how AF.C and tracking work I am guessing that it is a function of optics and microprocessor implementation. Both these technologies are well developed for many years and I find it inexcusable that Pentax is not on equal footing with its competitors, even with competitor cameras that are not their "pro" level flagship cameras. I sense it cannot be a significant effort engineering or large added cost to implement competitive AF.C and tracking but rather a refusal to to do so in the past. I hope the Pentax K-1 proves to offer competitive focusing and tracking.
05-17-2016, 05:32 AM - 2 Likes   #15
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I was tracking this fly successfully before it got Swallowed


Hard to swallow
by Noel Leahy, on Flickr

(yep... another useless post by me.... what did you expect?)
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