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05-30-2015, 07:49 AM - 1 Like   #46
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Whether the AF was faster or not, I did notice that it at least tried harder to maintain focus in AF.C. We had two consecutive days this week with school groups coming to the farm and the same weather (bright and sunny). With the first group, I was disappointed with the AF.C on the 50-135 (which is known to be quite sluggish). When the students were obviously moving out of the plane of focus, the K-3 + 50-135 just sat there. I had to switch to AF.S and put the quick shift function to use (a very nice feature IMO).

The next day, I received the email from PF that 1.21 was released and updated before going into work. The camera seemed like it had been given a shot of caffeine. The red focus indicator light was constantly updating focus and you could hear the lens' SDM motor whirring. It was quite quick with the 20-40 limited as well.

Today I'll sit down to see how accurate the focus was, but this update from 1.11 sure does change the AF. Without a doubt, the camera simply tries harder.

Edit- Even in AF.S the camera, with both the 20-40 and 50-135, focuses noticeably quicker.

05-30-2015, 03:50 PM   #47
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Agree^^ it has improved the continues accuracy no doubt about. I shoot some leafs blowing around pretty good from wind and it nailed focus on all but one of about 5 of 6 shots. I shoot a sparrow in flight @ 1/4000 in todays very foggy morning and it tracked it good but do to bad lighting the noise killed it.

Last edited by DarkShadow; 05-30-2015 at 03:55 PM.
05-30-2015, 03:56 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
Of course the AF is faster, it always is. No matter what the fimware actually fixes the AF get a little bit faster, or more accurate. Placebo anyone?
Definitely placebo!

General stability improvements is a umbrella term referring to minor software fixes rather than things the typical user would notice.

As far as AF improvements go, Pentax claims the K3 II's AF.C algorithm has been improved. It's probably a minor change in the way the camera re-acquires focus, we'll have to wait and see.

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05-30-2015, 05:06 PM   #49
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I've upgraded, haven't really had a chance to test it out since beyond a tiny bit of shooting w/ a macro lens. I can't really comment about changes in behaviour, it seemed good before, still nice and fast focus now! I'm interested to see how it does doing action photography with the dogs!

05-30-2015, 08:52 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Definitely placebo!

General stability improvements is a umbrella term referring to minor software fixes rather than things the typical user would notice.

As far as AF improvements go, Pentax claims the K3 II's AF.C algorithm has been improved. It's probably a minor change in the way the camera re-acquires focus, we'll have to wait and see.
Nope. What do you call it when a firmware update makes it worse? One of the early ones did, making it more hesitant. 1.11 was stable otherwise but the AF was worse than the very early versions.

Sigma 500 f4.5. Static or slow subjects were fine, this is a fast acting lens, nice and sharp. The only way I could get reliable focus was on a tripod, single point select. I sent my K3 body in for a cleaning and service hoping there was an issue to be fixed, but it came back the same. Next the plan was to send both to sigma to see if there was an issue with the lens. Even on a tripod I would get a series of shots slightly out of focus, if I moved focus and reacquired it was sharp. Handheld was a waste of time. Tracking would seem to be doing something but the shots were soft out of focus. The slightest movement towards or away lost focus. I've had the K3 since it was released. I have lots of very nice shots with it, and with this lens but within limits.

With 1.20 single point select was worse. I think because it was more responsive and hunted when the point wandered over and off the subject. Set to 25 point select, center select, hold high. Much better, mostly right in keeping the right point in focus, and far less of the focus being slightly off. Not perfect, but better. Subjects moving towards or away get about 25 keeper rate compared to maybe a sharpish one or two previously. Pre 1.20 I had a variety of settings in user mode and always went back to single point select. The other settings with various hold or points just didn't work very well.

The big difference was shooting from a small boat. An unstable platform, contortionist positioning, fast and close birds against the sky or treed hillside. Among my best shots yet. Not perfect but a higher keeper rate compared to similar subjects from a tripod. I have done this and similar with this lens and body before and went into the day not expecting anything but a nice boat ride.

Something is different, it may not show up with a shorter lens. My DA300 surprised me a few times as well.

Pre 1.20 I would regularly go into live view to get accurate focus if the subject was static and the gear was on a tripod. I have done it once since to get focus on an eye looking at me from behind a bunch of branches.

They may have messed up with the 1.21, haven't had a chance to shoot with it yet.

Don't get me wrong, I have gotten lots of nice shots with the K3 and various lenses. There have been many times where I muttered ' just focus dammit'. The 1.20 still isn't fast enough to keep up with what this lens can do in some situations. I suspect processing speed because it tries but can't keep up. Simply that the circumstances where success can be expected has enlarged a bit. My challenge is to improve my technique to take advantage of the improvements.
05-30-2015, 09:54 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
1.11 was stable otherwise but the AF was worse than the very early versions.
?????

I missed something, I guess, when I updated from 1.0.3 to 1.11. Of course, I only use center point AF-S


Steve
05-31-2015, 07:22 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
?????

I missed something, I guess, when I updated from 1.0.3 to 1.11. Of course, I only use center point AF-S


Steve
It could have been 1.02 to 1.03. It was early. Those were noteworthy for fixing other problems and instabilities.
05-31-2015, 10:12 AM   #53
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I never updated from 1.0.3 to 1.11 because it was never on the US Ricoh site. I did have better AF after the upgrade to 1.20 and using the settings that Derek uses. I in Zone Select 9 most of the time now, focusing isn't faster but it is more accurate.

06-01-2015, 03:35 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Nope. What do you call it when a firmware update makes it worse? One of the early ones did, making it more hesitant. 1.11 was stable otherwise but the AF was worse than the very early versions.

Sigma 500 f4.5. Static or slow subjects were fine, this is a fast acting lens, nice and sharp. The only way I could get reliable focus was on a tripod, single point select. I sent my K3 body in for a cleaning and service hoping there was an issue to be fixed, but it came back the same. Next the plan was to send both to sigma to see if there was an issue with the lens. Even on a tripod I would get a series of shots slightly out of focus, if I moved focus and reacquired it was sharp. Handheld was a waste of time. Tracking would seem to be doing something but the shots were soft out of focus. The slightest movement towards or away lost focus. I've had the K3 since it was released. I have lots of very nice shots with it, and with this lens but within limits.

With 1.20 single point select was worse. I think because it was more responsive and hunted when the point wandered over and off the subject. Set to 25 point select, center select, hold high. Much better, mostly right in keeping the right point in focus, and far less of the focus being slightly off. Not perfect, but better. Subjects moving towards or away get about 25 keeper rate compared to maybe a sharpish one or two previously. Pre 1.20 I had a variety of settings in user mode and always went back to single point select. The other settings with various hold or points just didn't work very well.

The big difference was shooting from a small boat. An unstable platform, contortionist positioning, fast and close birds against the sky or treed hillside. Among my best shots yet. Not perfect but a higher keeper rate compared to similar subjects from a tripod. I have done this and similar with this lens and body before and went into the day not expecting anything but a nice boat ride.
.
Thank you for relaying your experience with the Sigma 500 f4.5. I need to experiment more using 25 point select, center select, hold high. I will try it out on my next outing.

I just bought an 10 foot folding boat, Porte-Bote but plan to use a tripod with the 500. Just had it a short time and have not been out with my camera yet.

Last edited by RockvilleBob; 06-01-2015 at 03:46 AM.
06-02-2015, 04:53 AM   #55
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I went from 1.11 to 1.21 yesterday. The screen warning about the 18-50 RE being collapsed works well. I did not do tests runs for AF, and I am wary of the placebo effect, but with both the 16-85 and 18-50, in dim light, I was surprised at how fast and positive the AF was. But then again, even after more than a year, I'm still regularly surprised by the K-3's AF.
06-02-2015, 05:59 AM   #56
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Thanks, I don't feel that the AF has noticeably improved or deteriorated over 1.11 It feels the same to me. I use only center focus ever since, and I just adjust the point (not recompose) when shooting with fast glasses.

Longshot, but how I wish that Pentax can introduce the snap focus (from GR) into the K3. Is snap focus purely a software-based feature or will it require hardware? A snap focus feature (direct press without half press) will greatly reduce hunting and lag especially under difficult lighting.
06-02-2015, 08:23 AM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by drypenn Quote
Thanks, I don't feel that the AF has noticeably improved or deteriorated over 1.11 It feels the same to me. I use only center focus ever since, and I just adjust the point (not recompose) when shooting with fast glasses.

Longshot, but how I wish that Pentax can introduce the snap focus (from GR) into the K3. Is snap focus purely a software-based feature or will it require hardware? A snap focus feature (direct press without half press) will greatly reduce hunting and lag especially under difficult lighting.
Although I often do the same out of old habit, it isn't a good idea to recompose from center - especially with fast lenses that tend to have more field curvature. With sensors yielding such high resolution, you're best off nailing the AF focus point at the right spot without recomposition. This is more easily accomplished if assigning the rear AF button to focus rather than shutter half press. Takes a bit of getting used to, but worth it.

I'm pretty amazed at the AF overall. Not only good in low light, but excellent tracking. I actually had a TC on a 70-210 to try to get some bird shots in good light, then decided to take photos of a dog running toward me. So, my effective open aperture was f/8 - and it tracked the dog just fine. I was stunned. Sure, it was bright, but I didn't think it would work in any light. I hesitate to upgrade from 1.11 unless the tendency to overexposure in TAv was addressed in 1.21 - which is doubtful.
06-02-2015, 08:28 AM   #58
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It is no placebo effect with my DA*300/4. Focus is snappier and more accurate with better keeper rate with v1.21 than before. I use CAF, center 9, hold medium generally.
06-02-2015, 08:34 AM   #59
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IMO, focus tracking works best with a f2.8 lens. I noticed that the camera (K-3 or K-5) AF has two handicaps:
- sensitivity to a change of subject position (sometimes, the camera waits too long before it reevaluate focus), by them the lens has to catch-up.
- in case of a subject moving away or coming towards the photographer, the AF is lost because of the size on the subject, and there are no enough AF points to cover a small subject
- no predictive AF (maybe in the K-3II ?), Pentax AF is only reactive, always trying to catch-up on the moving target
06-14-2015, 07:46 AM   #60
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thanks guys.,.
nice find,.,.


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