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05-28-2015, 07:49 AM   #1
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K3 II AF vs K3 AF

Hello everyone. My interest is pretty narrow. Was not impressed with K3 AF when I had one.

Can anyone tell me if its gotten better? And, if so, will the K3 II be better at it?

I use a K5 IIs now but need better AF for Gymnastics. It works fine with motorsports & soccer & tennis. Thanks.

05-28-2015, 07:54 AM   #2
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Not impressed in what way?

Better in what way?
05-28-2015, 08:02 AM   #3
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that totally depends on the lens you are using, NOT the camera
05-28-2015, 08:08 AM   #4
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If your K5II works fine with respect to shooting soccer it should also be capable to shoot gymnastics since that sport is easier to track. I don't know which lens you use for soccer and which one for gymnastics but if you've got a lens with a fast AF facility it should be no problem.

05-28-2015, 08:09 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
Hello everyone. My interest is pretty narrow. Was not impressed with K3 AF when I had one.

Can anyone tell me if its gotten better? And, if so, will the K3 II be better at it?

I use a K5 IIs now but need better AF for Gymnastics. It works fine with motorsports & soccer & tennis. Thanks.
I can't tell you from first-hand experience, but I do know that according to Ricoh's own product information it does offer improved autofocus IF you own one of the new HD lenses:

Feature 3? PENTAX K-3 II | RICOH IMAGING

But if you can afford to spend that on lenses, maybe it would be better to wait for the Pentax full-frame to come out, whenever that might be, and buy that instead, or look for another brand.

Last edited by imno007; 05-28-2015 at 08:25 AM.
05-28-2015, 08:22 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone... didn't think of lenses since I'm using the new 55-300 HD DA ED WR exclusively for sports.

When I mean better, I mean faster.

Until I started shooting gymnastics I didn't really have an issue.

Two things specifically I noticed about gymnastics. One, I cannot shoot straight on, the lens cannot keep up with the subject running straight at me. Also, I got a lot of back focused area's from that type of shooting. Which actually made some of the shots more interesting due to what they captured in the background but frustrating since I'd like to have had SOME shots of the person running at me.

It is my hope that the FF will be more sports oriented since thats lacking in the Pentax line.

But until then I was hoping the K3 or II would fill the void but if not, meaning, its not much better at AF than my K5 IIs (and its not, because I've learned to compensate), then I'll stick with my camera and just buy another lens like the new 16-85 which might be better indoors.

Last edited by MyTZuS; 05-28-2015 at 08:30 AM.
05-28-2015, 08:26 AM   #7
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Dynamic AF is indeed an interesting matter. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not sure to be using the AF modes correctly. In the documentation, there is very little information about what the AF tracking algorithm is actually doing. I should be doing some testing on a moving target. I've yet to find a moving target such that the test can be repeated with different modes.
05-28-2015, 08:26 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
Thanks everyone... didn't think of lenses since I'm using the new 55-300 HD DA ED WR exclusively for sports.

When I mean better, I mean faster.

Until I started shooting gymnastics I didn't really have an issue.

Two things specifically I noticed about gymnastics. One, I cannot shoot straight on, the lens cannot keep up with the subject running straight at me. Also, I got a lot of back focused area's from that type of shooting. Which actually made some of the shots more interesting due to what they captured in the background but frustrating since I'd like to have had SOME shots of the person running at me.
I think the new firmware update is supposed to improve the K3's autofocus:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/296405-new-k3-1-21-firmware.html


http://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/support/digital/k3_s.html

05-28-2015, 08:32 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
Thanks everyone... didn't think of lenses since I'm using the new 55-300 HD DA ED WR exclusively for sports.

When I mean better, I mean faster.

Until I started shooting gymnastics I didn't really have an issue.

Two things specifically I noticed about gymnastics. One, I cannot shoot straight on, the lens cannot keep up with the subject running straight at me. Also, I got a lot of back focused area's from that type of shooting. Which actually made some of the shots more interesting due to what they captured in the background but frustrating since I'd like to have had SOME shots of the person running at me.
Manual focus on a point and shoot a burst as the person approaches the point... works with any lens. Even an MF lens. My guess is, a Tamron or Sigma 70-200 is what you want among current lenses. The new Pentax one should be the best, as it is optimized for the new AF system...but it's also 3k... and that's a serious consideration. If it were me, I'd take my old F 70-210. It's a very fast focusing lens, but slow like a 55-300.
05-28-2015, 08:34 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
Thanks everyone... didn't think of lenses since I'm using the new 55-300 HD DA ED WR exclusively for sports.

When I mean better, I mean faster.

Until I started shooting gymnastics I didn't really have an issue.

Two things specifically I noticed about gymnastics. One, I cannot shoot straight on, the lens cannot keep up with the subject running straight at me. Also, I got a lot of back focused area's from that type of shooting. Which actually made some of the shots more interesting due to what they captured in the background but frustrating since I'd like to have had SOME shots of the person running at me.
I am not meaning to side track your discussion but this might be an issue of your technique rather than mere technology.

I did an interview with Sean Davey for the forum a while back. He's shot something like 140 magazine covers of high action sports (surfing) which in reality demands a whole lot more of any gear and back in the day he was doing all those shots bobbing around in 18 foot high surf with a manual focus camera.

Sean Davey Exclusive Interview - Photography | PentaxForums.com

It's only mentioned in there some but not a lot but in some other discussions we've had he talked a lot about anticipating the action. Knowing what kind of shot you want, knowing how long the lag will be, staking out a point, focusing on that point, then wait until the subject enters. It takes practice but it's not impossible by any means.

---------- Post added 05-28-15 at 10:36 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Manual focus on a point and shoot a burst as the person approaches the point... works with any lens. Even an MF lens.
YEP!!!

Beat me to the punch by one post!
05-28-2015, 09:01 AM   #11
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K-3 should show significant improvement over the k-5IIs. I have both and there is a clear difference. Whether the k-3II improves even more is not going to be known until the camera gets into the hands of users.

As others have noted you can shoot sports with a manual focus lens if your technique is good enough, perhaps changing sports to gymnastics you had not enough practice yet. And the lens can help or hurt, the 55-300 would not be my choice for this. It is a nice lens but not the best for fast sports in dim light.
05-28-2015, 09:28 AM   #12
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The Pentax 55-300 is fine for outdoor sports but is way to slow for indoor sports like gymnastics. The poorly lit indoor arena's require a fast lens like the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 so you can use a fast shutter speed. The high ISO preformance of the K5 will also be a big help. If you want to track a gymnast coming at you with the K5 AF-C you may be disappointed with the results. Compared to Canikon AF the Pentax AF lacks predictive AF possibilities. In the K3II this seems to have been upgraded, but sofar I've not seen real test results from the knowledgable sport shooters overhere.
When it comes to shooting sports knowledge of the sport is about 75% to get a good shot. If you know the sport you can anticipate where and when the action will take place and that's why you can even use those old manual lenses as suggested here..
Good luck and hopefully you will succeed in getting some nice gymnastics shots in the near future.
05-28-2015, 09:39 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Manual focus on a point and shoot a burst as the person approaches the point... works with any lens.
Yes! And you have the added pleasure of knowing that your are doing it like a PRO!


Steve
05-28-2015, 09:46 AM   #14
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A friend shoots gymnastics and dance professionally and says the Tamron 70-200 2.8 works on about any camera. She's not tried a pentax body specifically but if it works on a Nikon 3000 series, it should certainly work well on the pentax bodies you mentioned (for gymnastics specifically). As was mentioned, the 55-300 is not an indoor lens. I found I could use it for indoor archery but only using manual focus. I can't imagine trying to use it for focusing on or tracking fast moving subjects. Since you can't use flash for these events, you have to rely on a fast lens. I tried my 100mm 2.8 Pentax macro lens and it's just not long enough, so something longer than 100 (f2.8) is probably what you need.
05-28-2015, 10:18 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Manual focus on a point and shoot a burst as the person approaches the point... works with any lens
Good point. There also catch in focus for manual lenses.
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