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06-22-2015, 05:54 PM   #1
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has anyone mastered continuous autofocus of the K3?

I heard it takes a while to use continuous autofocus.. what do you think of it? Tracking modes work well?

Thanks

Randy

06-22-2015, 06:34 PM   #2
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What's your goal?

Continuous focus on a Formula 1 car moving towards you is much different then your child slowly moving.
A hockey game in an artificial light environment is different then a dog catching a frisbee on a sunny day.....
A 300mm prime is different then the 18-55 kit lens......

I think you will get better answers if you narrow down your question.
06-22-2015, 07:15 PM   #3
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Thanks Mistlefoot
I wanted an overall opinion on how it works for your shooting needs
Is the tracking focus effective or not?
That is what I am trying to ask

Randy
06-22-2015, 07:18 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mistlefoot Quote
I think you will get better answers if you narrow down your question.
Agreed. Auto-focus performance - AF-C or otherwise - is a big subject with a lot of variables and possibilities - lens, light, subject, settings, experience etc.

My short take on the subject: learning any of the advanced features of the K-3 (and it has a ton of them) takes time and practice.

06-22-2015, 10:12 PM   #5
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I think Slip is asking the right question. I think he is referring to the hot thread on DPReview about Big Flaw with Pentax AF-C and Burst: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
and I think he might be on to something. We would need more significant research on this though.
06-23-2015, 07:32 AM   #6
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In the past 18 months, I have tried to understand the K-3's AF-C parameters, through specific testing, and in the field, with birds in flight, and some sports shooting. I don't feel I have mastered the various AF-C functions, it is still a work in progress. I have decided on a few things though; always use Expandable Area, burst mode and AF Hold for tracking.

QuoteOriginally posted by Deedee Quote
I think Slip is asking the right question. I think he is referring to the hot thread on DPReview about Big Flaw with Pentax AF-C and Burst: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
and I think he might be on to something. We would need more significant research on this though.
There does seem to be something weird going on with AF-C. I will often see a dozen in focus shots, followed by two misses, then several more in-focus shots in a single burst. Really though, how many shots of a passing bird will I keep? Probably one or two.

My experience with shooting a hockey game was a shocker. I used AF Hold high, with 9-point expansion. Focus locked on my grandkid's jersey like a bulldog. I had almost 100% hit rate, on what is, IMO, the toughest sport of all to shoot (dim, coloured lighting, speeds faster than running, shooting through thick, scratched Plexiglas panels held in place by 3" vertical aluminum supports). Brutal!
06-23-2015, 11:32 AM   #7
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I just recently did this, I am not well versed in this at all, and was trying it out. I had no issue with a plane doing crazy acrobatic moves, and they were spins, dives, etc, nearly every one in focus. I had issues with dancers on a stage recently, they were all dressed alike moving in the same pattern and it would jump from my daughter to another dancer then jump around the costume. They were wearing black on a dark stage, I had some in focus, some not in focus some in focus again. So it could be very user error on my part, I am new to using the feature, maybe I can work out the kinks, but something didn't work like I expected.
06-23-2015, 11:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murfy Quote
They were wearing black on a dark stage, I had some in focus, some not in focus some in focus again. So it could be very user error on my part, I am new to using the feature, maybe I can work out the kinks, but something didn't work like I expected.
Wow, black costumes on a dark stage, that might be too tough. I would have tried to stay on a face with expandable AF and AF Hold on HIGH. What settings were you using?

06-23-2015, 01:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Wow, black costumes on a dark stage, that might be too tough. I would have tried to stay on a face with expandable AF and AF Hold on HIGH. What settings were you using?
I focused on the face, I may have been too far away and faces too small, it was the first time I tried it with dancing, it was a dress rehearsal and I could see it jump around while tracking. it was black costumes with a red sash across it and even with a brighter background it was hard. I may not have had af hold on high and dont recall my settings but I had it at 9 points because it was all over with more. the plane was against the sky and I was impressed how good it was, everyone in focus and it was a 'daredevil' show, he would go up, stall the engine and spin down, and gain control at the last minute and zoom back up with some loops.
06-23-2015, 01:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
In the past 18 months, I have tried to understand the K-3's AF-C parameters, through specific testing, and in the field, with birds in flight, and some sports shooting. I don't feel I have mastered the various AF-C functions, it is still a work in progress. I have decided on a few things though; always use Expandable Area, burst mode and AF Hold for tracking.


There does seem to be something weird going on with AF-C. I will often see a dozen in focus shots, followed by two misses, then several more in-focus shots in a single burst. Really though, how many shots of a passing bird will I keep? Probably one or two.

My experience with shooting a hockey game was a shocker. I used AF Hold high, with 9-point expansion. Focus locked on my grandkid's jersey like a bulldog. I had almost 100% hit rate, on what is, IMO, the toughest sport of all to shoot (dim, coloured lighting, speeds faster than running, shooting through thick, scratched Plexiglas panels held in place by 3" vertical aluminum supports). Brutal!
Hockey's tough, but on a well-lit rink (with super-fast skaters who change direction on a dime), that situation isn't my idea of the toughest. Light reflecting off the ice surface (on better rinks) disperses softly making for relatively even exposures, at least. Soccer is a real challenge because the focal lengths necessarily vary tremendously (unless shooting the goalie exclusively), and the players are even less predictable.

Of course, the thread is about the challenges of AF-C; on that I agree with you 100%.
06-23-2015, 07:25 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murfy Quote
I focused on the face, I may have been too far away and faces too small, it was the first time I tried it with dancing, it was a dress rehearsal and I could see it jump around while tracking. it was black costumes with a red sash across it and even with a brighter background it was hard. I may not have had af hold on high and dont recall my settings but I had it at 9 points because it was all over with more.
There's a large difference between Auto AF Select 9-point and Expandable Area AF(S) 9-point.
06-23-2015, 07:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
There's a large difference between Auto AF Select 9-point and Expandable Area AF(S) 9-point.
It was expandable area
06-23-2015, 07:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murfy Quote
It was expandable area
What about aperture and shutter speeds? Maybe post some shots?
06-23-2015, 08:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
What about aperture and shutter speeds? Maybe post some shots?
aperture was low, 5.6 and I had it at 135mm, shutter was probably 1/1000. iso was high, I am not in front of lightroom to check, I made a custom user mode for it from a recommendation in the forum on another post. I think I set it to tav and worked from there. I dont know if I saved the out of focus shots, or any not nvolving my daughter. I would focus, then I recall seeing the focus jump around down the dnacer body and then across and then bounce back to the original dancer I focused on. I took pictures of the whole rehearsal mainly just to practice with the settings. it was this one dance that had the most issue, maybe because they all looked a like and were moving the same. it was a row of 6 dancers then another row behind them. it would only go from one dancer to the one next to her. I know it didnt set af hold on high because I didn't remember that setting. I dont know what it was set at. Last year I used a nikond200 to shoot. the difference was incredible, so I am quite pleased with what I did get.
06-24-2015, 04:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murfy Quote
I recall seeing the focus jump around down the dnacer body and then across and then bounce back to the original dancer I focused on. I took pictures of the whole rehearsal mainly just to practice with the settings. it was this one dance that had the most issue, maybe because they all looked a like and were moving the same. it was a row of 6 dancers then another row behind them. it would only go from one dancer to the one next to her. I know it didnt set af hold on high because I didn't remember that setting. I dont know what it was set at. Last year I used a nikond200 to shoot. the difference was incredible, so I am quite pleased with what I did get.
Definitely a tough shoot, dark venue, dark costume, dark lens. Sounds like you used the 18-135mm? An f2.8 lens would have helped a great deal. It's hard to get sharp images at elevated ISO, especially if you need to crop.

The AF point jumping around means the camera wasn't finding sufficient contrast. I agree, the Expandable 9-point array would be best in this scenario. I believe AF Hold on HIGH would help, and make your subject is acquired before you release the shutter. It will be interesting to know how you fare next time.
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