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07-20-2015, 08:21 PM - 1 Like   #16
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I shoot aircraft taking off and lading on occasion with a DA*300mm lens with a DX 1.4x converter, and continually fire of 19 frame burst at 8.3fps and get tack 19 sharp pictures. The focusing system in the K3 works just fine when set to continues high speed shooting.

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07-20-2015, 09:10 PM   #17
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K-3 AF is great in general.

People criticise the K-3's AF continous mode, but the K-3 AF-C can perform excellently if several conditions are met: you use a lens with a fast AF motor; you use the right AF-C settings for tracking (not just the one central AF spot!); and you take some time to customise the camera settings (shutter speed, aperture AND autofocus) to the event you are shooting. I've shot dynamic action sports (auto-rallys, motor-bike races, bull-riding, rodeo etc) with the K-3 and the results have been fine.

I've also shot alongside people using pro grade cameras and lenses (like the Canon 1Dx with 70-200 L) and sometimes they've gotten poor results with continuous AF whilst the K-3 did better. Set the camera up properly, and the K-3 can do the job.
07-20-2015, 09:54 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Set the camera up properly, and the K-3 can do the job.
I think this is more important than many realize. Tracking is complicated, far more so than setting the camera to center point and shooting. There are lots of settings on the k-3 for tracking and I'll admit I've barely looked at them. But when folks who actually have set things up get good results it indicates to me that the camera is capable but perhaps we need to learn to use it properly. Maybe it is time I dug the manual out and tried it.
07-20-2015, 10:47 PM   #19
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yes and no is the answer to how bad the k3 af is I mainly shoot birds in flight swallows r my flavour at the moment im getting very sharp photos but sadly its because im using my da*300 f4 on manual focus sorry its far to slow for swallows and king fishers but I went to the bull riding with my k3 and my da*50 -135mm zoom and on afc out of 900 shots only 10 were out of focus and the riders were not staying on for long the k3 is a beautiful camera sometimes we just have to improve the way we use our cameras a friend got the canon 7d mark 2 some say this has the best af tracking out there she has just as many out of focus shots as I do im hanging out for the pentax ff soon I hope

07-20-2015, 11:15 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by reytor Quote
60-250 is quite slow focusing lens. I've used it for BIF with some success, but when I got FA*300 f2.8 and tried that with K-3 things improved a LOT. What I'm trying to say is LENS matters.
You are right, but then the 60-250 is a more modern lens. What I'm saying is, it may not be the cameras fault that a lens focuses slow, but if that lens is one of the few options that are available that actually fit on the camera, it's still a consequence of choosing that camera.

And I really want a zoom. Plus the 60-250 is excellent in terms of IQ. There's not a lot of options out there that provide a similar level of IQ in a telephoto zoom with that kind of range. If its AF was faster, it would be like the perfect telezoom for Pentax, for me at least.

QuoteOriginally posted by reytor Quote
K-3 compred to K-5 are almost like night and day. K-3's autofocus is much more responsive.
I had a K-5 and now a K-3, but a night and day difference? Only if you used the K-5 at night and the K-3 during the day.

Last edited by starbase218; 07-20-2015 at 11:58 PM.
07-20-2015, 11:50 PM   #21
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The K-3 has nice and good AF, and extended tracking abilities when properly set in the camera - lots of options there to customise the tracking. To my memory those functions are off per factory default, so the focus priority and follow focus with different AF sensor points needs to be turned on in the settings menu. The K-3 can focus in darker surroundings that many of it's competitiors, so it has a nice low light autofocus with less need of AF assist light.

But as has been said in the thread, some lenses are slow others are more fast. So lens is an important issue here. DA Star 60-250 f/4 is on the slower side, but DA Star 200 f/2.8 and DA Star 300 f/4.5 are faster. All three are SDM but with different speed so I wouldn't say that SDM per se is slow, it's more complicated than that. Also note that the K-3 has a high torque screwdrive for lenses that supports it. Maybe you'll be able to find a FA 135 f/2.8 on the 2nd hand market and I'm sure it will be very fast on a K-3, it already is fast on Pentax AF bodies with less sophisticated AF...
07-21-2015, 02:57 AM   #22
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It is really good. In AF-S, it is as good as Nikon and Canon bodies. In AF -C, it is decent -- definitely a big step above earlier cameras, but not at the level of even the D7200. Certain lenses will be better focusing. By all accounts the new 150-450 is pretty sweet and the 16-85 and 18-135 seem to be pretty speedy as well.
07-21-2015, 04:46 AM - 1 Like   #23
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Let me start by saying that the K3 is the best all round APS-C body I have ever had the pleasure of owning. The image quality from it is just superb.

Before moving to Pentax (via m4/3) I used Canon, shooting on both their APS-C and 1 series bodies. I shot motorsports semi-professionally for local and national publications in the UK, so I have a lot of experience of using AF-C.

In my experience the K3 (using SDM, screw drive and HSM drive lenses) comes a poor second with respect to AF-C to other brands. It can do it, but not nearly as well as the Canon equipment I used to use. Any motorsport I shoot now, I tend to pre-focus the old fashioned way because I simply do not trust the AF system to get the shot. It also struggles to keep up with my (very active) 3 year old son, particularly if he is running straight towards the camera. My advice would be that if shooting moving things is a high priority for you, then you may be better looking at Canon or Nikon because their body and lens combinations will out perform the K3.

So far I've stuck with Pentax because in the main I can work around the AF-C limitations, and in all other aspects it performs significantly better than the current competition as an all round camera.

Simon.

07-21-2015, 06:11 AM   #24
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Familiar with your concern

I have been using the K20 D for a while and feel the same as you about the focus ability of this camera. Sooo, with a seminal birthday coming up I was asked by my gang, what I would like. It just so happened that I then saw a documentary on Netflix "Monk with a camera" and was introduced to that photographer's world of photography. The world of Leica. Now seven or fourteen thousand dollars is really outside of any possibility, however, there is an amazing new point and shoot model (out Sept. 2014), on sale now for 1K, which by the way Pentax Forums has reviewed, called the D Lux (type 109). More features than you would ever care to use, (never saw anything like it) including 4 K video, animation, timed shutter release and everything else that you would expect, including incredible quality shots. All I can say is if you can swing it do your self a treat.
Good Luck
07-21-2015, 06:26 AM   #25
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone. Great info. It appears that if I were to move to Canon or Nikon, I might be better off, but with the proper lenses. So if I stay with Pentax upgrade from K5 to K3 but spend some money on faster focussing glass, I might end up in the same place? I've set up my auto focus with the back button and find this has helped. (maybe not on fast moving subjects) I'll maybe pull out the manual again to check my AF settings. I had stopped hoping for the FF because of the probable high cost and that all my lenses wouldn't work on a FF. Maybe I'm wrong?
07-21-2015, 06:30 AM - 1 Like   #26
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Don't know where the post is, I couldn't find it, but Norm wrote me an excellent reply some time ago when I was complaining about Pentax AF. It somewhat covered the mechanics of AF and how it relates to the lens used etc, which was very informative and it also addressed the cost factor of lightning fast AF.
We buy Pentax for many reasons, for me ...I just like the way they operate, the controls and the ease of operation, among many other factors including excellent image quality...not that I shoot much that is excellent, but I could with a Pentax if I was as skilled as others that continually post superb images here.
We also buy for value. I am currently shooting with a K5IIs and consider it a superior machine, the best Pentax I have ever owned.....and for about $500 brand new, it was more than a bargain, it was outright thievery on my part! Cost less than my little Fuji X20 Toy Camera!

As Norm pointed out, that lightning fast AF is expensive. If it was dirt cheap then every camera would be quick as a squirrel on a fresh roasted peanut! Bottom line is that you can have super fast AF anytime....anytime you want to pay for it!

I'm pretty happy with the AF of my K5IIs and I assume the K3 is at least as good, maybe better? It is the best AF I have ever used on a Pentax so far. For my $500 you won't hear me squealing!

Best Regards!
07-21-2015, 08:41 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
K-3 AF is great in general.

People criticise the K-3's AF continous mode, but the K-3 AF-C can perform excellently if several conditions are met: you use a lens with a fast AF motor; you use the right AF-C settings for tracking (not just the one central AF spot!); and you take some time to customise the camera settings (shutter speed, aperture AND autofocus) to the event you are shooting. I've shot dynamic action sports (auto-rallys, motor-bike races, bull-riding, rodeo etc) with the K-3 and the results have been fine.

I've also shot alongside people using pro grade cameras and lenses (like the Canon 1Dx with 70-200 L) and sometimes they've gotten poor results with continuous AF whilst the K-3 did better. Set the camera up properly, and the K-3 can do the job.
If you don't mind sharing your settings for the K-3 AF-C for "dynamic action sports" that would be great for a starting point for us less versed in the setting and techniques. For some reason I just can't get it quite right, way too many variables and adjustments on the K-3.

Larry
07-21-2015, 09:08 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
K-3 AF is great in general.

People criticise the K-3's AF continous mode, but the K-3 AF-C can perform excellently if several conditions are met: you use a lens with a fast AF motor; you use the right AF-C settings for tracking (not just the one central AF spot!); and you take some time to customise the camera settings (shutter speed, aperture AND autofocus) to the event you are shooting. I've shot dynamic action sports (auto-rallys, motor-bike races, bull-riding, rodeo etc) with the K-3 and the results have been fine.
What lenses do you use then?
07-21-2015, 09:08 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoldenRGuy Quote
Now that all you K3 users have had a while to shoot with this camera, are the auto focus issues as bad as I see in the forum? B&H has a great deal on the k3 body and my K5 still lets me down with action shots. I'd like to stay with Pentax ( after 40 years) but I've read a lot of good things about the Canon EOS 70D. But you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, right? Big deal to switch systems. I need a camera that helps me capture birds, dogs and grand kids.. Video would be nice, but my iPhone is pretty good at this. Please help me decide. Can the K3 help me get crisp action photos? My main go to lens is the Pentax DA 18-135 zoom. I've read that although the camera has great auto focus, the lenses can let it down.
Help!
Scott
I have a K5 and a K3. I've used other brands (Nikon). I recently photographed hummingbirds using continuous auto focus with 27 points. On a Pentax 55-300 HD WR zoom at 300mm (f5.8, 1/1600); admittedly not the worlds fastest lens. The camera tracked fast enough that the hummingbird was in focus. And they move quick and abruptly. 8 fps whether the bird was moving back, forward, left or right. Bang, bang - all in focus. I figure if the K3 and the 55-300 can do that it can get slower birds too. A faster lens motor wise may make the tracking even faster but empirically I find its already quite capable. I do not use SR when using the continuous af. I don't use SR at any time unless I feel I need it. Now that all said, I'm not a sports or bird photographer, and my better lenses are all under 100mm. But when I want to track something moving fairly quick the camera does perform. For me. As they say YMMV.
07-21-2015, 09:23 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
In AF -C, it is decent -- definitely a big step above earlier cameras, but not at the level of even the D7200.
There is not much that is on the level of the upper tier Nikon bodies. With a fast AF lens, Pentax is on par with the Canon product though.


Steve
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