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11-13-2013, 11:23 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
I had the opportunity to shoot some birds in flight today. The light wasn't exceptional; cloudy and low. There were some gulls floating on the wind over an area they were interested in, so they stayed within range for the 300mm lens. I took 34 shots in three sequences, and 3 were soft due to not sharp focus. One was way out, the camera lost it and focused on the mountains in the background. The other two were just off. Most shot are not worth looking at twice due to motion blur; I was at 1/500 to keep the iso down, 1000-1250, f4 on the lens. In this light if you speed up the shutter noise gets nasty and detail is lost. Hold status medium, sel 27 for the af.c mode. Metering is center weighted. I found spot to be very precise to the point of causing problems; my white and black dog would throw the exposure off to either extreme depending on which was read by the spot. I was shooting a mallard, reasonably close in, and as it moved the dark or light parts of it's body set the metering. This is something that can be used, and I will use it, but it is a bit extreme for general shooting. I have the three focus settings to focus priority.

It will take practice to get good at this. The initial focus has to be right on with the center point. Spot af is very difficult for following a bird in flight because you have to keep it precisely in the small center point area, else it focuses on something else. The extended area helps considerably, but you need to acquire focus at the start. Once done, the body seems to keep focus reasonably well. It isn't omniscient, but it doesn't fight you either.

These shots are from the third sequence. The bird was hovering on the gusty wind, eventually landing on the water. Not an extreme example, but all were in focus. I didn't crop any of the shots, and this is the series. Noise reduction and shadows and highlight correction applied. Handheld, with SR on, Tv mode 1/500.
I have had few opportunities to shoot a bird coming towards me or away from me, so I can't comment on how that will turn out.










Those shots are encouraging and I appreciate your sharing early here. Are you still using the same settings as you did on page one of this thread? I realized that I'm following the same recipe except for 18. Hold AF status which I have set for medium. I'm trying to apply what I know from my Canon 7D system to something useful in the Pentax system. And the correspondence is far from 1:1, but it's better for me to learn from what I know and make adaptations. Please post examples and detais if you manage a configuration that stops the planet!

I've never linked AE with a focal point--feels like I'm passing too much control to the camera.


M

11-13-2013, 11:58 PM   #47
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A bit of an evolution. I am now using AF.C SEL 27 (expanded area m) with center point selected. Hold on medium. The 7 point sel is a bit small and I found that I lost things too easily. I sometimes switch to single point. The odd time, and I'm not sure what is happening, the expanded area with center point acts like the auto mode, where it blinks all around finding something to focus on rather than sticking with the center point.

If the logic gets confused, or I lose a subject, I just release the shutter or af button and start again. It seems to reset it.

I'll stick with hold on medium for a while to get a feel for what it does. Then when I change it either way it will be apparent what it does. It is quite subtle. I think I see what it is doing. The expanded area starts with the center point, then watches the subject move around the area, keeping it in focus. If it gets outside the area or is blocked by something between you and the subject, it remembers and keeps the focus at the same position for a time. That time seems to be a combination of how long the subject was followed and how long it is hidden or outside, biased by the configuration setting. I have seen, particularly with the F 100 2.8 lens, the focus indicator blinking it's "I'm confused" message when following and losing a subject. It requires release and refocus to get it going again. I haven't seen the DA*300 do it, so it may have something to do with the fast lens.

So far so good. There is a pleasant mix of skill required where the camera body assists without getting in the way. I know with the K-5 that out of focus shots were the largest cause by far of garbage shots. Now it is movement blur. I'm in a narrow valley, and in the winter we are light deprived, so I tend to be on the extreme limit of slow shutter speeds. Once we have some light in a few months, then it will be sheer ineptitude that will be the cause of garbage shots.
11-14-2013, 12:04 AM   #48
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Linking AE to focus point means that in spot exposure mode, if you select a point other than the center, the metering will happen at the focus point. I had it set on my K-5, and selected the focus point a handful of times. Some folks may find it useful.
11-16-2013, 03:34 PM - 1 Like   #49
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I found myself wishing for faster focus on the DA*300 today. Close in shots of small birds flitting about, where by the time focus arrived they had moved on. Managed to get a few shots, but nothing interesting.

There is a spot on the lake where grebes go back and forth just off shore diving for fish. I've found it a good testing ground for lenses and focus. Today the water was choppy, cloudy sky, so everything was grey. The K-3 managed to focus reliably in those challenging circumstances where the subject is slightly less defined than the sharp wave edges. Many times the body would hesitate, not take the shot until I refocused. I managed to get some nice shots. The K-5 had real trouble here, and I never managed to get the red eyes looking so good unless it was very bright sunshine. I was hoping to get a shot of the bird coming up with a fish, but no luck. Out of the 100 or so shots I took there were half a dozen out of focus. Movement blur was the issue.



There was a chance to test the tracking ability with fly by shots. A female mallard was flying parallel to the shore. By the time I got the lens pointed it was almost straight out. I managed to acquire focus and followed it across my field of view. Shutter speed wasn't high enough, but I managed to get this shot. I definitely could not have gotten this with my K-5.



I'm finding that at low iso's the K-3 is very nice. Colors are vibrant, and the added resolution is apparent. As iso's go up, the image quality deteriorates at about the same rate as the K-5. I have the upper limit for iso set at 3200, and try to keep it below 2000 if possible, as I did with the K-5. I have taken shots at 3200 that needed very little noise reduction, but they were in bright light with fast shutter speed.


Last edited by derekkite; 11-16-2013 at 03:45 PM.
11-16-2013, 03:39 PM   #50
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outstanding job of panning, on that flying mallard shot!!

I like that bit of wing blur there, but i'm not a wildlife shooter.
11-17-2013, 07:35 PM   #51
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The toughest test of the responsiveness of the autofocus system that I've run across is to shoot a dog running towards you. These are with the DA*300, 1/400 f4. The whole series. The camera was working to get focus, and managed to get some. With the K-5 the focus was on the dogs shoulder with the face out of focus, meaning that the acquire focus to expose time was long. The same thing is apparent but less so in these shots. Just to be clear, I never got any shots on my K-5 that were in focus when I did this.












Yes, my dog is nuts. I had to interrupt composing this message because she was tearing around the house. She is a 7 year old Portuguese water dog.

Is the K-3 perfect? No. Can it be better? Yes. I have no idea how these shots would turn out on other bodies, or even other lenses. I did this series of comments to describe the changes and improvements from the K-5. For me it is a remarkable upgrade, fixing and improving things substantially. Others may have different experiences. But most of the problems that I had getting focus have been fixed. Pentax will now need to work on improving their lenses.

The shots from this thread are at https://plus.google.com/u/3/photos/101688500536284805756/albums/5942599665693651185?sort=1
11-17-2013, 08:47 PM   #52
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Would you not need to repeat this test with each of the hold settings, Derek, to make it a true test of the K-3's AFC?
Jack
11-18-2013, 02:16 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
The toughest test of the responsiveness of the autofocus system that I've run across is to shoot a dog running towards you.
[... snip ...]
The shots from this thread are at https://plus.google.com/u/3/photos/101688500536284805756/albums/5942599665693651185?sort=1
I couldn't find the dog sequence there. Is it just me?
Nevertheless, this is very promising. What's the distance to the dog in that second-to-last shot (the last sharp one)?

Regards,
--Anders.

11-18-2013, 04:12 AM   #54
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Hi Derek
Have you ever tried this with a faster focusing lens? I really love my DA*300 but focus speed of the lens is not fast. I like to say the DA*300 glides into focus whereas other lenses almost snap into focus. It would be interesting to see how one of the Sigma zooms 70-200 or 150-500 did or the Sigma 300 2.8.
I am just guessing that these lenses are quicker to get there and would show better AF performance of the K3.
I plan to go shoot birds in flight using the DA*300 and the Sigma 150-500 set at 300 just to see what the difference is on a K-3 in AF continuous.
I hope Pentax improves the focus speed line of the Pentax lenses by next year when I hope to add another telephone prime. The Sigma 500 4.5 looks like the winner if I did it today but the rumor is that Sigma is announcing a new line of faster long lenses next year - I just hope that if they do that Sigma supports Pentax see List of new Sigma DSLR lenses rumored to be announced in 2014 | Photo Rumors
400 2.8 along with 500 and 600 f4
11-18-2013, 08:30 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by RockvilleBob Quote
Have you ever tried this with a faster focusing lens? I really love my DA*300 but focus speed of the lens is not fast. I like to say the DA*300 glides into focus whereas other lenses almost snap into focus. It would be interesting to see how one of the Sigma zooms 70-200 or 150-500 did or the Sigma 300 2.8.
I had a Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM. I now have a DA*300mm. IMO the DA* autofocus is faster than the Sigma zoom.
11-18-2013, 08:49 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by asp1880 Quote
I couldn't find the dog sequence there. Is it just me?
Nevertheless, this is very promising. What's the distance to the dog in that second-to-last shot (the last sharp one)?

Regards,
--Anders.
Not certain, but on the top left there is a Highlights/ All Photos toggle.

2.5 -3 meters approximately.
11-18-2013, 09:02 AM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by RockvilleBob Quote
Hi Derek
Have you ever tried this with a faster focusing lens? I really love my DA*300 but focus speed of the lens is not fast. I like to say the DA*300 glides into focus whereas other lenses almost snap into focus. It would be interesting to see how one of the Sigma zooms 70-200 or 150-500 did or the Sigma 300 2.8.
I am just guessing that these lenses are quicker to get there and would show better AF performance of the K3.
I plan to go shoot birds in flight using the DA*300 and the Sigma 150-500 set at 300 just to see what the difference is on a K-3 in AF continuous.
I hope Pentax improves the focus speed line of the Pentax lenses by next year when I hope to add another telephone prime. The Sigma 500 4.5 looks like the winner if I did it today but the rumor is that Sigma is announcing a new line of faster long lenses next year - I just hope that if they do that Sigma supports Pentax see List of new Sigma DSLR lenses rumored to be announced in 2014 | Photo Rumors
400 2.8 along with 500 and 600 f4
No. I have a 150-500 sigma, but didn't use it. A faster focusing lens may help closer in, but I suspect that this is the limits of the body. The second to last shot was back focused meaning that the dog was running faster than the focus logic could adjust. The K-5 with her running didn't get anything at all, a trot got shots of her with the focus about a foot behind the muzzle, the focus logic responding too slowly.
11-18-2013, 10:40 AM   #58
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Thanks for sharing your experiences here derekkite. I find your tests and results very straight forward and objective. While I don't have a need to upgrade to the K-3 from my K-5IIs, I still like to read about the new Pentax flagship camera.

It seems you guys have your work cut out for you with finding the right AF tracking settings. From what I have read so far there is little documentation on the different settings and you guys just have to experiment to find what works best for your situations. It almost makes me feel happy that the K-5IIs only has one setting for the AF expanded area tracking - just on and off.

Coming from the K-5, you have to be just loving what the K-3 is doing for you. I can see there would possibly be some incremental upgrade for me coming from my K-5IIs, but mine is doing everything that I need it to do. I knew from the beginning that the K-3 would be a huge upgrade for you K-5 guys.

Edit to add - your Portuguese Water Dog is awesome, but it must be like having an over active toddler around all the time!
11-18-2013, 12:01 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by RockvilleBob Quote
Hi Derek
Have you ever tried this with a faster focusing lens? I really love my DA*300 but focus speed of the lens is not fast. I like to say the DA*300 glides into focus whereas other lenses almost snap into focus. It would be interesting to see how one of the Sigma zooms 70-200 or 150-500 did or the Sigma 300 2.8.
I am just guessing that these lenses are quicker to get there and would show better AF performance of the K3.
I plan to go shoot birds in flight using the DA*300 and the Sigma 150-500 set at 300 just to see what the difference is on a K-3 in AF continuous.
I hope Pentax improves the focus speed line of the Pentax lenses by next year when I hope to add another telephone prime. The Sigma 500 4.5 looks like the winner if I did it today but the rumor is that Sigma is announcing a new line of faster long lenses next year - I just hope that if they do that Sigma supports Pentax see List of new Sigma DSLR lenses rumored to be announced in 2014 | Photo Rumors
400 2.8 along with 500 and 600 f4
No. I have a 150-500 sigma, but didn't use it. A faster focusing lens may help closer in, but I suspect that this is the limits of the body. The second to last shot was back focused meaning that the dog was running faster than the focus logic could adjust. The K-5 with her running didn't get anything at all, a trot got shots of her with the focus about a foot behind the muzzle, the focus logic responding too slowly.
11-18-2013, 01:47 PM   #60
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Derek, thanks for sharing your experiences sofar...and for driving me mad!
Most issues you mentioned about the K5 are familiar and for some I even have a sort of workaround for but this is so very promising!
The dog-sequence is the hardest thing for any AFsystem and it is very encouraging to see some of the shots are actually in focus.

Only 1 month more of this agonizing waiting game... Funny, usually I`m very down to earth but the K3 is allmost like a feverish LBA.
Damn, I`m doomed!!
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