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11-12-2016, 01:21 AM   #1
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K-1: Looking for the Latest Rebuttal

Hello,

Is there any substance to DPReview's statement in its review of the K-1 which concludes that it suffers from, "Hesitant Single-AF acquisition"?

I do a bit of train and plane "action" photography. I can compromise as far as C-AF performance goes, but the suggestion of single-shot AF hesitation concerns me. Is it true?

If so, then maybe the K-3 is still the best Pentax DSLR for me!

And if not, which Pentax DSLR would you now say provides the fastest and most accurate AF performance?

Thanks.

11-12-2016, 01:48 AM   #2
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If DPR says the K-1 is hesitant, then the K-3 should be, too. Technically speaking, Pentax cameras are a bit slower to lock focus from start to finish if you were to time them compared to a Canon or a Nikon (AF motors are mainly to blame). But in practice it doesn't make much of a difference unless a tenth of a second means a lot to you.

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11-12-2016, 02:02 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

The K-5 would sometimes fail to focus on a moving train or plane in single-shot, center-point AF mode, in bright daylight, and I missed the shot. So the move to the K-3 was good for me, IMHO.

I say this humbly, as I am no expert, but I will say that the K-3 has not disappointed me like that.

Certainly could be poor technique on my part. Or maybe it's technical. Subject is going too fast. Or inadequate contrast, like the bright white airliner fuselage. Not sure.

So then maybe I'm not sure what DPReview means by 'hesitation'' too.

Thanks, again.

Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 11-12-2016 at 02:12 AM.
11-12-2016, 02:09 AM   #4
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My K-30 would frequently hesitate with AF. My K-1 does not.

11-12-2016, 02:45 AM   #5
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I'd say the K-1 is about the same as the K-3, imperceptibly different if anything.
My advice is to take all DPR says about the K-1 with a large spoonful of salt. They simply don't understand the camera.
11-12-2016, 04:15 AM   #6
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Do they understand any camera?
11-12-2016, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Well, what I would say is that if action/motion is an important part of your photography, and you need the best AF, then Nikon and Canon are the systems to be in. These 2 companies have put a great deal of their R&D in this area. Sony has gotten a lot better recently, and is probably on a par.

If it's video, then Panny and Sony are the way to go.

These things are not important to me, which is why I started (in the digital age) with Oly, moved to Sony for FF, and then to Pentax for medium format and now a K1 as backup. I think different companies have their strengths, and we should accept and even applaud that.
11-12-2016, 05:53 AM - 1 Like   #8
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The K1 is learning for experience. When a K1 is out of the factory, he has no experience of real life. After unboxing the K1, he hesitates, because everything is new to him (or her, depending if it is a male K1 or a female K1). I can confirm, I took mine out and now he is getting more and more confident when shooting. Having some notion of camera AF psychology helps a lot.

---------- Post added 12-11-16 at 14:02 ----------

Imagine you are a Pentax camera and someone hand you over to DPR for an exam... you'd know that they always prefer Canon and Nikon , so you be so scared of they examination methods that you'd hesitate. As simple as that.


Last edited by biz-engineer; 11-12-2016 at 06:02 AM.
11-12-2016, 06:16 AM   #9
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I don't have a atop watch or a mechanical timer, so I have no idea if they're right and I don't care. The slow part of my process is getting the subject where I want it in the frame and had pushing the shutter release to acquire focus. Most of the time it aquires focus before the camera is stable. I'm waitin for me, not the camera. Without testing to show how often such speed difference affect your photography, such comparisons are meaningless.

Most of the things these sites talk about are things used to convince you they know something, and to convince you they know something about the camera without doing what everyone else dos, take few weeks to get used to everything before passing judgement.

Everyone who has gone to one of these sites and learned something useful, raise you hands…. OK, keep holding them up, I'm doing a count.

Last edited by normhead; 11-13-2016 at 04:59 PM.
11-12-2016, 07:48 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by texandrews Quote
Well, what I would say is that if action/motion is an important part of your photography, and you need the best AF, then Nikon and Canon are the systems to be in. These 2 companies have put a great deal of their R&D in this area. Sony has gotten a lot better recently, and is probably on a par.

If it's video, then Panny and Sony are the way to go.

These things are not important to me, which is why I started (in the digital age) with Oly, moved to Sony for FF, and then to Pentax for medium format and now a K1 as backup. I think different companies have their strengths, and we should accept and even applaud that.
Thank you for your thoughts!

Of course I could be wrong, but I do not think trains and planes demand as much from AF as, say, professional basketball, etc., and other such events where you mostly see these big Canon & Nikon rigs as a rule.

I often shoot at ISO 400 and 800 and I wonder if the K-1's FF sensor will provide visibly better IQ straight out of the camera than the K-3 at those sensitivities. But I would be disappointed if even in single AF mode the K-1 balked at those tasks.

Incidentally, it seems like the Canon FF crowd dominates the plane and train photo sites. The FF images do seem "smoother" somehow - in particular the night shots taken presumably at high ISOs. It's hard to describe. I often wonder if I could match the IQ if I was more proficient at PP.

But I enjoy my Pentax DSLRs much more than the Canons I tried.

Maybe I just wannna spend some money on new Pentax gear!

Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 11-12-2016 at 08:09 AM.
11-12-2016, 08:08 AM   #11
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You can extend the K-1s ISO range right to 3200 ISO, I prefer about 640 as the max on my K-3. Just on the fact that there are more people shooting with them, Canon and Nikon are going to dominate every site. I used to keep track of the numbers on Luminous Landscape, and Pentax seemed to hold their own, consistent with their market share.

The K-1 is very smooth…. the biggest issue for me… the FA 20-35 is discontinued and the 15-30 is incredibly expensive. Us landscape shooters don't like heavy 2.8 lenses for the most part, yet, that's what Pentax feels it needs to provide right now.
11-12-2016, 09:11 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by DavidSKAF3 Quote
Thank you for your thoughts!
You're certainly welcome, but take them with a grain of salt: it was not for nothing that I told you what was important to me; it colors my opinions, however informed otherwise

QuoteQuote:
Of course I could be wrong, but I do not think trains and planes demand as much from AF as, say, professional basketball, etc., and other such events where you mostly see these big Canon & Nikon rigs as a rule.
correct, although for planes you have a distance/atmospheric factor working both for and against AF

QuoteQuote:
I often shoot at ISO 400 and 800 and I wonder if the K-1's FF sensor will provide visibly better IQ straight out of the camera than the K-3 at those sensitivities. But I would be disappointed if even in single AF mode the K-1 balked at those tasks.
in lower light, the K1's performance should exceed the K3's easily IQ wise----but by "easily" I mean to the discriminating. Case in point: I had an A7R before my Z. I have shot the same scene in the same way and conditions, and it is clear to me that the Z is so much better, really no contest---and that's saying something, because the A7R was brilliant (I just sold it plus a lot more to finance my upcoming K1 purchase). But as a former professor of studio art, and one who now works in a major museum, I know that things that are plainly obvious to me will be "Huh?" situations to most other people. Here is where "YMMV" really, truly applies.

QuoteQuote:
Incidentally, it seems like the Canon FF crowd dominates the plane and train photo sites.
As stated above, naturally so these days. That wouldn't have been true back when I started photography
QuoteQuote:
The FF images do seem "smoother" somehow - in particular the night shots taken presumably at high ISOs. It's hard to describe.
OK, so now we're talking, and this is important. If you are already seeing this particular thing, let me say that you're not imagining things. That was the key difference between my A7R and my Z. I called it a certain "suave" quality to the tonalities and transitions. Many of the comparisons of images you'll see, and I saw one today comparing FF and m43, compare images that play to certain qualities, and these qualities are often things that the current technology of smaller sensors has been able to master close enough. But not so much this other thing you have seen. There is a kind of brittle quality to the images from smaller sensors, and that shows sharpness well, but not as well smoothness, subtlety, and quiet. It isn't just at high ISO's, either, although the differences may be more easily seen there---they are there throughout
QuoteQuote:
I often wonder if I could match the IQ if I was more proficient at PP.
To some extent yes. More work, more skill---and that is just to get it to the level of the FF. But it is really tough to fake DR in a single image, not multi-image capture....if you don't got it, well, you don't got it, basically. So, you're left with multi-image capture---which the K1 will do with a superior method, pixel-shift; or with multi image capture involving differing exposures (and with the K1 you could do both...); or cross developing a single capture and merging it to get a single image in PP. All of these are productive solutions, but it doesn't take a genius to see that it's more work and sometimes impractical. But now imagine if that more work and more skill were turned to the FF image!

QuoteQuote:
But I enjoy my Pentax DSLRs much more than the Canons I tried.

Maybe I just wannna spend some money on new Pentax gear!
How tools work for you is crucial. If you don't like working with a tool, there will always be this "hitch in your step", and it will take away from your work in some real way. I worked with an amazing carpenter guy for some years, and his favorite hammer was not the expensive ones with special handles and heads, but a pretty run of the mill one from Sears. It just fit him. The same is true for cameras. Some fit, some don't. I have always been pretty suspicious of experts' pronouncements about ergonomics. It's not that the science of ergonomics is invalid, but that in the end it's deeply personal. You aren't deluded in your liking of Pentax gear for yourself---it's a true thing for you.

But none of that truly addresses your AF concern.
11-12-2016, 11:41 AM   #13
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in general, K-1 single AF is better than K-3 in my experience (have now thousands of photos with both). On moving targets and action in general, K-1 has fewer misses. SR is also a little better on K-1 with a longer tele. AF performance will depend a lot on which lens used. My experience with 150-450 has been excellent. 24-70 and 15-30 also no problem, although I am shooting mainly landscape with those so AF is not very challenging in that case. Even in quite low light K-1 rarely has a problem acquiring focus.
11-12-2016, 01:30 PM   #14
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The autofocus on my K-1 (used with FA Limiteds and the new D FA28~105 most of the time) is quite fast and accurate. I have no discernable lag or hesitation. I'm actually developing timing memory with it (the elapsed time between AF Button press and beep actually 'sounds' right) something like muscle memory.

The only time I have an issue is attempting to AF in dim light below f/2.8 - especially off center - but I rarely need fast AF for that kind of shot and I can trim up the 28~105 or wait with the Limiteds. I most often start at f/5.6, so it isn't an issue.
11-12-2016, 03:23 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DavidSKAF3 Quote
Hello,

Is there any substance to DPReview's statement in its review of the K-1 which concludes that it suffers from, "Hesitant Single-AF acquisition"?

And if not, which Pentax DSLR would you now say provides the fastest and most accurate AF performance?
One of the reasons I frequently manually focus is because all AF has some delay. I can live with my own slowness; I donʻt want the technology to slow me down. "Hesitant" is very subjective and implies the delay was unacceptably noticeable and long.

Is the K-1 with 33 AF phase detection points and 25 cross types going to "hesitate" less than a K-70 with 11 points and 9 cross types? Certainly. But if youʻre using something that is action/sports/wildlife intended like the Nikon D500 with 153 phase detection points and 99 cross type, everything else will feel slower.

Sometimes I think reviews, tests, and reports on Pentax gear is flawed because Canon and Nikon will often offer gear earlier than Pentax; by the time they get around to getting access to a K-1 and reviewing it, it is being compared with slightly newer technology. For example, the K-1 and the Canon 80D were released in the same month, but dpreview did their review of the 80D in April this year and the K-1 in July.

The problem with scientific testing, like DXOmark, is that they are comparing measurable specs. 25 cross types vs 9? 25 should be faster. But what if you donʻt like the point the AF picked and you need to thumb it to a different point? Then 9 will be faster than 25. For me a big bright viewfinder and a quick shift lens is more essential.
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