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02-11-2014, 08:32 PM   #1
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Post your K3 AF settings here !

I originally wanted to post a new thread, back in November 2013 about what K3 users were using for their AF settings.
The thread was this one: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/3-site-suggestions-help/242972-suggestion...-settings.html

So, let's get this started !

Post your favorite K3 AF settings, in details, according to your type of photography, lens(es) used and tell us why you chose a specific setting.

Please ... no lengthy/useless discussion(s) not pertaining to the main idea.


JP

02-12-2014, 08:36 AM   #2
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I'll start.

In normal use and in the studio, I use

AF-S
Select 1 (usually in the center but I move it around as needed)

For action, sports, children running, I set "User 1" to

AF-C
Center 9 points (is that Sel 2?) for tracking. sometimes I use center 25.

Macro:

Live view, MF, focus peaking enabled, 2 seconds delay. I have yet to find out how to zoom on the display, but focus peaking gets the job done.
02-12-2014, 10:07 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I'll start.

In normal use and in the studio, I use

AF-S
Select 1 (usually in the center but I move it around as needed)

For action, sports, children running, I set "User 1" to

AF-C
Center 9 points (is that Sel 2?) for tracking. sometimes I use center 25.

Macro:

Live view, MF, focus peaking enabled, 2 seconds delay. I have yet to find out how to zoom on the display, but focus peaking gets the job done.
About AF-C Center 9 points for "tracking", I would assume that this would be the best way for birding?

Thanks for the input.

JP
02-12-2014, 10:16 AM   #4
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@bdery - K-3 Live View zoom function is actioned by hitting OK, not INFO as in previous models.

02-12-2014, 11:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
About AF-C Center 9 points for "tracking", I would assume that this would be the best way for birding?
I think it would be reasonable. for birds you do not want them too much nar the frame anyway. It's quite reliable if the subject fills a good part of the frame, not so for very small subjects.

QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
Live View zoom function is actioned by hitting OK, not INFO as in previous models.
Thanks. You press OK then use the wheels?
02-12-2014, 01:27 PM   #6
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Yes, OK to begin zoom, rear wheel to change magnification.
02-13-2014, 06:47 PM - 5 Likes   #7
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Indoor sports - Basketball

Thanks for starting the thread jpzk - I am most interested in learning how others are using the K3 AF settings.

I have used my trusty K5 over the past few years to shoot my kids playing junior basketball and while I have managed to get 100's of treasured shots but there have been many hundreds more that have been trashed due to focus not being right (or close to right). The K3 promised a significant upgrade in AF capability and, in summary, I am very pleased to find a big increase in "in-focus" shots. How much better? Subjectively, I guess that with my K5 (& DA*50-135mm) I would get about 25-50% acceptable focus whereas the K3 produces 75%+ acceptable and about half of these really sharp. The other noticeable improvement is that the "18. AF Hold status" also works a treat at basketball producing more potential "keepers".

With IQ, I initially thought the images were a lot grainier but I now think it is not so bad as I am cropping more heavily than previously and bringing out more grain. So probably there is a bit more noise than the K5. Overall though I am getting many more "keepers" and for my shooting the K3 is a definite step-up in technology over the K5.

I couldn't say if the DA*50-135 focusses more quickly on the K3 than the K5 - there are too many other AF variables that have also changed moving to the K3. The K3 tracking has no problem locking onto a player running towards the camera and holding the focus for the length of the court (and also having other players & the ref passing between the camera and the subject and keeping focus!). I read many comments on the forums that the DA*50-135 is the slowest focussing Pentax lens and not recommended for action/sports but I have found it performs quite well!!?? I purchased it specifically for basketball because it is F2.8 (basketball is fast action in usually poorly lit stadiums) and the zoom range ideal for sideline shooting (most shots I take would be around 70mm). I suspect that the long focus travel between 1m -infinity is slow but within the range it is very quick, ie if you are near to focus at the start it is very quick to lock on and can easily follow a player running full speed towards you. I think the inability of the K5 to track well has not helped the reputation of this lens. There are probably other lenses that are quicker but my view is that 50-135 can do a good job.

I photographed 7 matches at the Dandenong/Eltham junior basketball tournament over the Australia Day long weekend in January (this tournament is purportedly the worlds largest junior basketball tournament with over 1100 teams playing more than 7000 matches over the weekend!). I took about 1700 shots over the weekend and as my initial AF settings seemed to be working well, I did not change them much over the weekend.

My settings and comments are:
Exposure program - I use TAv - control the shutter and aperture to minimise the ISO - there is never too much light shooting basketball!
Aperture - F2.8 mostly to keep ISO as low as possible (increased to F3.5 if light was better but to be honest, with this lens I do not notice any difference in IQ)
Shutter - the boys are 15/16 years old and move pretty fast so 1/320 is a minimum, 1/250 works but you can expect some motion blur on hands & the ball
AFC
Use the AF back button
16. 1st Frame=3, in-focus priority (I think it is better to get the focus right at the start of the sequence and if it focuses on the wrong subject then you have the chance to repress the AF button/shutter)
17. Action in AFC = 1, Focus priority
18. Hold status = 3, Medium. This works really well - a major improvement in stopping the camera re-focussing on the wrong subject. I had a number of instances where the referee passes between the player and camera, obliterating 25% of the frame but the player remains in focus!
Expanded area Sel 3, with the initial focus point in the centre. This seemed to be working and I did not really try other settings. Maybe Sel 2 is worth a try??
Continuous shooting - High
All taken with firmware1.01 - v1.02 has reportedly further improved the AFC.

My general technique is to:
Target the player's chest (in portrait and showing feet, head, hands and usually the ring)
Hit the AF button and hold, the camera acknowledges focus point in the viewfinder (and ping).
Follow/track the player keeping the focus area centred in the viewfinder and take the shots when you think they will be best.
Repress AF is focus point is lost.
Crop image later to recompose.

Some examples from the tournament are posted below. All taken with K3 & DA*50-135F2.8 and have been PP'd in LR5 - cropping, exposure adjust, sharpening and NR.
I have included the first two to show the cropability of the images - the crop is about 100%
The last image shows a player running towards the camera - the focus is maintained through the sequence and this was the best composed shot of the 6 taken
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02-13-2014, 08:47 PM   #8
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Two focus user modes. One is spot focus, the other 27 point center. The number of points is the maximum; I found no advantage using less. I may come to a different conclusion by the end of the summer. Single point for far away subjects or low light low contrast which overtaxes the tracking logic.

I haven't used the multiple points for a while now. We are starting to get some light, so that will change.

02-24-2014, 03:24 PM   #9
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@ RedBoomer: Thanks (sorry I am late replying) for the very detailed account of your settings.
This will undoubtedly help a few K3 users here.

And hopefully, there will be some more feedback here ...

JP

---------- Post added 02-24-14 at 05:26 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Two focus user modes. One is spot focus, the other 27 point center. The number of points is the maximum; I found no advantage using less. I may come to a different conclusion by the end of the summer. Single point for far away subjects or low light low contrast which overtaxes the tracking logic.

I haven't used the multiple points for a while now. We are starting to get some light, so that will change.
Thanks for the reply!

Can you please tell me more about "Single point for far away subjects or low light low contrast which overtaxes the tracking logic."

JP
02-24-2014, 08:44 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
@ RedBoomer: Thanks (sorry I am late replying) for the very detailed account of your settings.
This will undoubtedly help a few K3 users here.

And hopefully, there will be some more feedback here ...

JP

---------- Post added 02-24-14 at 05:26 PM ----------



Thanks for the reply!

Can you please tell me more about "Single point for far away subjects or low light low contrast which overtaxes the tracking logic."

JP
There are situations where the center point selection and extended af can't seem to decide what to focus on. There are a few situations where this occurs. It seems reliably unreliable, if that makes sense, so it is predictable when it is going to be unpredictable. The K-5 was frustrating not simply for the limitations but for it's non consistency. I could never find how to get it to do what I wanted, even limited, because it did different things each time. The K-3 is far more consistent, and like any piece of hardware, it is just a matter of finding the limitations and working with them.

What situations? For example, a bird in a bush, in the open, in the shade, surrounded by brush. The brush is slightly in front and behind the subject. The extended area would jump in and out on the surrounding bushes. Center point works perfectly.

Morning bird on the water. The K-5 was almost useless here, and the broken water with lots of edges and contrast surrounding a water bird, in the morning with low light, confuses the extended af. Center point aimed at the subject just works.

These don't make great shots in any case, more record shots, but it is nice to have the subject in focus. There isn't much that stands out for the body to grab on to.

I found that I had it on center point single point most of the winter, and it was reliable and quick to focus. Now we are getting more light and the extended af is becoming useful again.
02-25-2014, 11:52 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Football Soccer Settings So Far, but I am still trying to improve and find the best combination of settings.

Pentax K-3 DA*60-250

AF C
Select center point - SEL L
First frame AF C - Focus Priority
Action AF C Cont - Focus Priority
Hold AF Status - 3 medium


Original Thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/252885-tracking-football-s...-60-250-a.html
02-25-2014, 12:35 PM   #12
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Here are my settings for shooting dance competitions in high school gyms which may be useful for other sports like basketball or volleyball.

AF-C , Expanded area SEL AF (s) 9 point, placed at center or shift to appropriate spot if you want it on the head.
Menu items
C16 - 3
C17 - 1
C18 - 1

For these gym shots I used TAv at 1/500, f3.2 with a DA*50-135 or Sigma 70-200 OS, ISO ranged up to 6400 and hit that regularly.



03-06-2014, 11:38 AM   #13
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The more I use my K-3 the more I feel that I'm neglecting so many features...


I've been stuck on the same AF settings since I got a camera with AF:


Single point (center)
AF.C
AF with shutter button disabled.
Release priority: shutter


I married these settings when I first started selling pictures to skateboard magazines. It might help to note that I use lenses with quick shift, and often take advantage of that feature. I've become master of thumb-induced auto-focus, and skate photography has trained me to pre-focus whenever possible. For anything moving slower than a skateboarder I use the focus-recompose technique.


I think I'll make it a point to try some of the other focus modes
03-13-2014, 03:32 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
There are situations where the center point selection and extended af can't seem to decide what to focus on. There are a few situations where this occurs. It seems reliably unreliable, if that makes sense, so it is predictable when it is going to be unpredictable. The K-5 was frustrating not simply for the limitations but for it's non consistency. I could never find how to get it to do what I wanted, even limited, because it did different things each time. The K-3 is far more consistent, and like any piece of hardware, it is just a matter of finding the limitations and working with them.

What situations? For example, a bird in a bush, in the open, in the shade, surrounded by brush. The brush is slightly in front and behind the subject. The extended area would jump in and out on the surrounding bushes. Center point works perfectly.

Morning bird on the water. The K-5 was almost useless here, and the broken water with lots of edges and contrast surrounding a water bird, in the morning with low light, confuses the extended af. Center point aimed at the subject just works.

These don't make great shots in any case, more record shots, but it is nice to have the subject in focus. There isn't much that stands out for the body to grab on to.

I found that I had it on center point single point most of the winter, and it was reliable and quick to focus. Now we are getting more light and the extended af is becoming useful again.
Thanks for the explanations, Derek!

Well, that's what I thought at first but I wasn't sure whether you meant "the" centre point itself or with the "extended AF" (which is, I believe, not available on the K5 ... right?).
I agree with you about "fuzzy busy" foregrounds and backgrounds when trying to nail a small target (such as a small bird) with the K5: it works or it doesn't or you have to use manual focusing; I very often rely on manual focusing in those cases, along with CIF once in a while.
Obviously, the K3 does a better job, albeit still limited as you mentioned.

JP
03-13-2014, 06:18 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rudy Quote
Football Soccer Settings So Far, but I am still trying to improve and find the best combination of settings.

Pentax K-3 DA*60-250

AF C
Select center point - SEL L
First frame AF C - Focus Priority
Action AF C Cont - Focus Priority
Hold AF Status - 3 medium


Original Thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/252885-tracking-football-s...-60-250-a.html
I have improved my own settigns to shot football soccer players running as follows:

TAV and Iso set for 1/1000 at least
Trying to fill all frame with player on target (get closer)
AFC
Center point spot AF only
First frame AF C - Focus Priority
Action AF C Cont - Focus Priority
Hold AF Status - 3 medium

And i get practically all frames in focus but lower fps.

I can shot higher fps with Action AF C Cont - Set to auto or release priority, but i will get some frames out of focus if the players are making erratic movements or if it is crowded and the overlap each other in the action movement.

So think it depends on the type of action movement and i also would think that it will be faster if my lens would faster like 2.8?
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