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04-23-2017, 08:18 PM   #1
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Best autofocus mode to use with high-speed continuous shooting?

Friends!

I need some advice. I do a lot of action photography (specifically of horses), and I've been struggling finding the best autofocus mode with the K-3. I took several shots today at a 1/400 shutter speed (bright sunny day, so light was not an issue) and a lot of them are just slightly out of focus. I usually depend on the camera to tell me when things are in focus as I have eye issues and can't generally focus on things far away anyway (I'm horribly nearsighted and have a slight astigmatism, so my distance vision is crap in terms of sharp focus). I've been shooting in AF.C, but I don't know? I'm new to the K-3, I recently upgraded from the K-r, which didn't have quite so many options!

Advice is always welcome! Thanks!

04-23-2017, 08:44 PM   #2
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Take a look at this post
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/344772-case-sup...entax-af.html+
04-23-2017, 09:14 PM   #3
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Sel-9 is a good option in my opinion, as it balances point automation with speed.

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04-23-2017, 09:18 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I suggest 1/400 is not fast enough for horses etc. So it may be motion blur you are seeing rather than bad focus. Try 1/800 or 1/1000 to see if it makes a difference, and iterate from there.

I set up one of my user modes as "Birds in flight" with about 1/1000, TAv, AF.C, Expanded Area AF (9 or 25). Something along those line may suit you.

1/1250, f/4, ISO400



Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 04-23-2017 at 09:55 PM.
04-23-2017, 10:23 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aerlind Quote
Best autofocus mode to use with high-speed continuous shooting? Friends! I need some advice. I do a lot of action photography (specifically of horses), and I've been struggling finding the best autofocus mode with the K-3. I took several shots today at a 1/400 shutter speed (bright sunny day, so light was not an issue) and a lot of them are just slightly out of focus. I usually depend on the camera to tell me when things are in focus as I have eye issues and can't generally focus on things far away anyway (I'm horribly nearsighted and have a slight astigmatism, so my distance vision is crap in terms of sharp focus). I've been shooting in AF.C, but I don't know? I'm new to the K-3, I recently upgraded from the K-r, which didn't have quite so many options! Advice is always welcome! Thanks!
AF results depend a lot of the lens you mount on the K3, I've used the DA*300 on the K3, and when I used a DFA150450 it made a lot of difference.
9 AF points with focus lock on the center point is good (different from 9 points Auto) with AF hold set to Off.
That said, the most critical is to be able to keep the focus point(s) on the subject during tracking otherwise, the K3 will not necessarily focus when you want it to be focused.
04-23-2017, 11:27 PM   #6
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One more thing: You should check, if your lens focuses correctly and fine tune it, if necessary. The focus fine tuning option in your camera has it reasons.
04-24-2017, 07:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Supakatti Quote
One more thing: You should check, if your lens focuses correctly and fine tune it, if necessary. The focus fine tuning option in your camera has it reasons.
Tell me more about this? I haven't come across this feature yet. One of the lenses I use A LOT is a FA 28-200 that's probably pushing 25+ years old at this point. It's in great shape but it's a film lens (and I love it because of its versatility).

I'll try the other suggestions! I think I tend to be afraid of going too fast on my shutter speed, so I'll work on that.
04-24-2017, 07:48 AM   #8
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Is it just me or does the screwdrive tend to overcompensate a little? When at the park with the dogs and the pack is running like maniacs the 18-135's motor seems to have a better chance to follow than the other lenses I've used. I'm tempted to buy the new 55-300 to see how that fares.

04-24-2017, 08:15 AM   #9
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I agree with most everything said here, especially the suggestions about Expanded Area AF (S) nine point center for continuous AF. Also turn off "Hold AF Status" #18 in the C menu, my keeper rate went way up by doing that one thing. With "Hold AF Status" turned on even to Low my K3 always seemed to be behind. Brooke Myer is correct regarding the diopter adjustment, I'm very near sighted also, adjusting it definitely helps to get and keep good focus point concentration.
04-24-2017, 09:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I suggest 1/400 is not fast enough for horses etc. So it may be motion blur you are seeing rather than bad focus. Try 1/800 or 1/1000 to see if it makes a difference, and iterate from there.

I set up one of my user modes as "Birds in flight" with about 1/1000, TAv, AF.C, Expanded Area AF (9 or 25). Something along those line may suit you.

1/1250, f/4, ISO400
Yep !
04-24-2017, 11:37 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aerlind Quote
Tell me more about this? I haven't come across this feature yet. One of the lenses I use A LOT is a FA 28-200 that's probably pushing 25+ years old at this point. It's in great shape but it's a film lens (and I love it because of its versatility).

I'll try the other suggestions! I think I tend to be afraid of going too fast on my shutter speed, so I'll work on that.
This article talks more about it and how to find out, if it's your problem, or part of it. And it tells, how to solve it. This all is in your camera's manual too.

Fixing Front and Back Focus - Introduction - In-Depth Articles
04-28-2017, 03:08 AM   #12
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The diopter adjustment won't impact on AF points though?

Shutter speed of 1/400 doesn't seem fast enough at all. The blur is likely motion blur rather than missed AF.
04-29-2017, 09:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
The diopter adjustment won't impact on AF points though?
Does it affect AF points?
04-29-2017, 09:22 AM   #14
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if you want to be absolutely guaranteed some super crisp absolutely spot on shots, your best bet is to prefocus, and shoot a burst (8.3fps) of the subject as they are approaching and departing the prefocus point.

if you let the camera make focus adjustments between shots, it's quite possible to lose all of them.


i would rather guarantee that i'm going to get at least a couple of bitingly sharp action shots (which, let's be honest, is the goal here. almost perfect isn't what anyone is looking to produce), by prefocusing than leaving it up to the camera to do a VERY VERY difficult task.
04-29-2017, 02:03 PM   #15
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Prefocussing is great IF photgraphic action occurs where you have prefocussed.

I used to do this with my kids school running races, but have found Pentax surprisingly capable at tracking autofocus using AF.C and 11pt auto on the K-30.

Am now looking to the K-3 to get more AF points and far more control over how they are used.

Modern professors ARE up to the task of AF tracking. The future is what Sony is doing with mirrorless, with 600+ phase detect AF points spread right across the sensor.
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