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04-05-2019, 06:14 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by amstel78 Quote
...I'll probably end up buying a Sony mirrorless in the next few years.

I've got a K1-II, grip, Pentax 24-70, 70-200 2.8, 50* 1.4, 35 f/2 HD, 100 2.8WR, and even an Irix 15mm. I've also got a K10D and a K30(technically my daughter's). The bodies are built to survive the harshest elements. The lenses are also built like tanks with great IQ and relatively fast focus motors... but...

...Pentax AF for anything other than easily trackable objects like a bird flying more than a few hundred meters away is severely lacking. The absence of an eye-AF equivalent for portraits as well leaves me guessing and often times bracketing.


I know Pentax could implement via firmware some sort of eye-tracking ability since the K-1 uses a phase-detect system for static shots, but they choose not to. Pentax's AI focus tracking also kinda works but really doesn't for subjects that aren't traveling in a linear motion (try shooting a soccer or hockey game one day)...

The hardware is there.. the software isn't. That's the best I could probably sum up a TLDR summary.

On the other hand, Sony hasn't been sitting on their laurels. They recently released v5.0 firmware for the Sony A9. It practically redefines that camera and adds new AF functionality on top of what was already a great system. I know the A9 is stupid expensive right now otherwise I would have bought one, but Sony is also going to release firmware for their A7 III which would give full time predictive AF akin to the A9.

Not to say Sony's perfect. I don't think I'd take an A9 which costs north of $4k into a rain forest. They don't build their bodies like Pentax does. The same goes for the A7 series.


But yet, I'm still on firmware 1.03 for the K1-II which only gives support for a DA lens I'd probably never buy. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Sorry for the rant. Hate all you want. I'm a loyal Pentax owner just like most of you, but goddamn... people wonder why Pentax lost its mojo and never got it back. I think the answer's obvious.
I don't blame you, but AF in general for single point is great, locks really well especially in dimmly lit environments. In general though I equate Pentax at primarily being a landscape camera.



04-05-2019, 06:20 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
@amstel78 What you are experiencing is the conflict between expectations and promises, and it feels like you understand that your expectations and K1-ll’s promises are not in alignment - but you wish they’re were.
Actually, I sold all of my Canon glass including a Canon 5D (OG version) when I decided to come back to the Pentax fold. I did so for the sole reason that it was the best landscape/architectural camera out there at the time as far as cost vs. performance goes. AF wasn't a huge factor for me since most of the stuff I enjoyed shooting was stationary. That opinion changed when my oldest decided to start ice skating in winter and playing soccer in the summer. I realized at that point that the K1-II and fast Pentax glass in my bag just weren't up to the task.

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
One thing where you’re I think just plain wrong - Pentax can’t release a magic FW update and massively improve the AF performance, especially adding features that just aren’t there. There’s a thread around here somewhere on which Bruce Banner claims in LiveView the K-1 will track an eye and maintain AF but I can’t find it and don’t recall the parameters. Part of the problem is in many cases features just aren’t well documented. I think K-1 can do things we aren’t aware of if properly set up and I know the KP does.
I could very well be wrong, but why? Is the hardware architecture that much different than what's inside a Nikon D810? or D850? The AF module in the Pentax, while lower spec'd should be able to do something similar, even if rudimentary compared to the Nikons and Canons. Same goes for the processor. The K1-II can handle large RAW files with ease; I don't see why it shouldn't be able to handle slightly more advanced AF functions if the software was there for it. If Sony can essentially revamp the A9 which is already several years older than the K1-II via software, I don't see a reason why Ricoh couldn't do the same for the K1 unless the hardware itself is already maxed out .

In my opinion though, there lies the crux of the biscuit... I don't think Ricoh wants to invest R&D time into proving camera functionality. Why spend money on a sinking ship?

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
For the time being I think your experience is commonly felt by many users here who want their camera to offer intuitive tracking AF. At the same time I have a small twig of a feeling that within the next several months the AF stars are going to realign.
I hope so. Like I said before, I honestly believe the hardware is there. Some bright engineer at Ricoh just needs to unlock its full potential.
04-05-2019, 06:29 PM - 3 Likes   #18
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Daily reminder that Pentax AF when shooting via LiveView has pretty good face detection and tracking. Plus good fast tracking needs lenses with good fast AF motors.

Note that even today few DSLR's out there from anyone support decent face detection via viewfinder focussing, let alone FD refinements like eye-AF. Nikon D800 introduced OK face detection in viewfinder shooting if you turned it on, and it has continued to evolve but even the latest Nikon D850 still doesn't support eye-AF via viewfinder AF, nor the latest Canon DSLR's. So face detection as a priority may in fact come down to a preference between EVF (ie mirrorless) and optical viewfinder.

Also there is an important AF difference to note between subject tracking and face tracking. Subject tracking works off colour and scene recognition whereas face tracking relies that too plus smart face detection algorithms.

On the subject of AF, I always found it strange that Pentax viewfinder AF does indeed detect faces in K-3 onwards, according to the camera EXIF. Unfortunately, Pentax software engineers were never confident enough to do anything with that face data to help viewfinder focussing (except perhaps if you shot in AUTO mode, where they do hint it might work).
04-05-2019, 06:40 PM - 4 Likes   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Sorry to hear you've discovered that a $4000 camera has features not found in a $2000 camera.
The current A9 price is 4500, and the current K1-II price is 1800. So to your point, the difference is not 2000, but 2700, the difference of about a vacation flight for two if you shop around and don't go too far


Either way, since we're talking about value for money, about expectations and such, and there is that gif in the first post, cheers



04-05-2019, 06:53 PM - 4 Likes   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by amstel78 Quote
I'm a landscape/travel/architecture guy for the most part
Then keep the K-1ii - it's ideal for those applications.

Have a different system for action if you can't make the Pentax work for you. Personally, I have been very happy with the tracking AF of my K-1ii and KP with the DFA150-450.

But, whatever. Do what makes you happy. There's no need to try and drag the rest of us down with you.
04-05-2019, 06:56 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by amstel78 Quote
...I'll probably end up buying a Sony mirrorless in the next few years.

I've got a K1-II, grip, Pentax 24-70, 70-200 2.8, 50* 1.4, 35 f/2 HD, 100 2.8WR, and even an Irix 15mm. I've also got a K10D and a K30(technically my daughter's). The bodies are built to survive the harshest elements. The lenses are also built like tanks with great IQ and relatively fast focus motors... but...

...Pentax AF for anything other than easily trackable objects like a bird flying more than a few hundred meters away is severely lacking. The absence of an eye-AF equivalent for portraits as well leaves me guessing and often times bracketing.


I know Pentax could implement via firmware some sort of eye-tracking ability since the K-1 uses a phase-detect system for static shots, but they choose not to. Pentax's AI focus tracking also kinda works but really doesn't for subjects that aren't traveling in a linear motion (try shooting a soccer or hockey game one day)...

The hardware is there.. the software isn't. That's the best I could probably sum up a TLDR summary.

On the other hand, Sony hasn't been sitting on their laurels. They recently released v5.0 firmware for the Sony A9. It practically redefines that camera and adds new AF functionality on top of what was already a great system. I know the A9 is stupid expensive right now otherwise I would have bought one, but Sony is also going to release firmware for their A7 III which would give full time predictive AF akin to the A9.

Not to say Sony's perfect. I don't think I'd take an A9 which costs north of $4k into a rain forest. They don't build their bodies like Pentax does. The same goes for the A7 series.


But yet, I'm still on firmware 1.03 for the K1-II which only gives support for a DA lens I'd probably never buy. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Sorry for the rant. Hate all you want. I'm a loyal Pentax owner just like most of you, but goddamn... people wonder why Pentax lost its mojo and never got it back. I think the answer's obvious.
I don't see the DA 55-300 PLM in your list. AF is a joint effort between body hardware, body software, and lens. My experience is that the newest hardware provides the best AF.
However, I have to admit that I've always used fairly narrow apertures because I want to include context - having a 'comfortable' wide DOF makes the AF system's job much easier; if I wanted to work with paper-thin DOF, I'd probably be trying to figure out how to fit a Canikon system twice as much into our budget instead of taking photos with the system I do have.
04-05-2019, 07:02 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Then keep the K-1ii - it's ideal for those applications.

Have a different system for action if you can't make the Pentax work for you. Personally, I have been very happy with the tracking AF of my K-1ii and KP with the DFA150-450.

But, whatever. Do what makes you happy. There's no need to try and drag the rest of us down with you.
Amen!!
04-05-2019, 07:22 PM   #23
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This is a pure supposition on my part, but my MZ-S uses an early version of SAFOX so Iíve wondered for a long time whether the base code is a limiting factor. And whether the PDAF AF sensor, which is really an APSc-optimized sensor, is a limiting factor. I truly donít care about video. My display and TV canít handle 4K anyway.

I empathize with your experience. My sonís 7D can keep up with my grandchildren whereas I donít even try with my K-1. OTOH my 24-70 and 28-105 on KP are quite capable if I donít try to just hold down the AF button and pan. And of all lenses my FA*300/4.5 does a very good job tracking with the KP.
QuoteOriginally posted by amstel78 Quote
Actually, I sold all of my Canon glass including a Canon 5D (OG version) when I decided to come back to the Pentax fold. I did so for the sole reason that it was the best landscape/architectural camera out there at the time as far as cost vs. performance goes. AF wasn't a huge factor for me since most of the stuff I enjoyed shooting was stationary. That opinion changed when my oldest decided to start ice skating in winter and playing soccer in the summer. I realized at that point that the K1-II and fast Pentax glass in my bag just weren't up to the task.



I could very well be wrong, but why? Is the hardware architecture that much different than what's inside a Nikon D810? or D850? The AF module in the Pentax, while lower spec'd should be able to do something similar, even if rudimentary compared to the Nikons and Canons. Same goes for the processor. The K1-II can handle large RAW files with ease; I don't see why it shouldn't be able to handle slightly more advanced AF functions if the software was there for it. If Sony can essentially revamp the A9 which is already several years older than the K1-II via software, I don't see a reason why Ricoh couldn't do the same for the K1 unless the hardware itself is already maxed out .

In my opinion though, there lies the crux of the biscuit... I don't think Ricoh wants to invest R&D time into proving camera functionality. Why spend money on a sinking ship?



I hope so. Like I said before, I honestly believe the hardware is there. Some bright engineer at Ricoh just needs to unlock its full potential.


04-05-2019, 07:34 PM - 2 Likes   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
But, whatever. Do what makes you happy. There's no need to try and drag the rest of us down with you.
It's just my own personal observation. I didn't realize sharing it was tantamount to sinking the ship.
04-05-2019, 08:02 PM - 3 Likes   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by amstel78 Quote
It's just my own personal observation. I didn't realize sharing it was tantamount to sinking the ship.
I don’t think the people replying are dismissive or critical of your observation. It’s just that the AF isn’t as bad as the reputation, and this seems to be a weekly recurring theme. Your post is honest and from real experience, but most of the AF complaint posts are drive-by shootings by people we never hear from again. I think Forum regulars are at the point where they just skip right to the ‘you should just buy the right tool’ suggestion instead of going through all the intermediate discussion.

Most of us think the tracking AF is usable on K-1 (see links above) and good on KP if the camera is correctly configured and the right lenses are used. Frankly I’m surprised you aren’t successful with the DFA*70-210. I sold mine, but while I had it I didn’t have any complaints. Many people are pleased with the performance of the 55-300 PLM. I just don’t think K-1 was designed at all to perform competitive tracking AF, and since 2016 competitor performance has improved further. Three years is a long time. Maybe the next new platform will be better. Competitive contemporary AF has been mentioned as a goal.

Developing the hardware and software might be the reason an APSc flagship replacement has been delayed.
04-05-2019, 10:34 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
It’s just that the AF isn’t as bad as the reputation
The biggest problem with effective AF performance (Pentax and otherwise) is that it is rarely 'point-and-shoot' all the time. There is a reason Canon DSLR's, for example the 7D2 or 5D4, have about 15 options for AF settings, and come packaged with about 6 'presets' of AF settings for different usage scenarios. Even small sensor mobile phones, with their vast depth of field, will often fail tracking and face detection if the conditions - eg light levels - aren't ideal.
04-05-2019, 11:51 PM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by amstel78 Quote
...I'll probably end up buying a Sony mirrorless in the next few years.

I've got a K1-II, grip, Pentax 24-70, 70-200 2.8, 50* 1.4, 35 f/2 HD, 100 2.8WR, and even an Irix 15mm. I've also got a K10D and a K30(technically my daughter's). The bodies are built to survive the harshest elements. The lenses are also built like tanks with great IQ and relatively fast focus motors... but...

...Pentax AF for anything other than easily trackable objects like a bird flying more than a few hundred meters away is severely lacking. The absence of an eye-AF equivalent for portraits as well leaves me guessing and often times bracketing.


I know Pentax could implement via firmware some sort of eye-tracking ability since the K-1 uses a phase-detect system for static shots, but they choose not to. Pentax's AI focus tracking also kinda works but really doesn't for subjects that aren't traveling in a linear motion (try shooting a soccer or hockey game one day)...

The hardware is there.. the software isn't. That's the best I could probably sum up a TLDR summary.

On the other hand, Sony hasn't been sitting on their laurels. They recently released v5.0 firmware for the Sony A9. It practically redefines that camera and adds new AF functionality on top of what was already a great system. I know the A9 is stupid expensive right now otherwise I would have bought one, but Sony is also going to release firmware for their A7 III which would give full time predictive AF akin to the A9.

Not to say Sony's perfect. I don't think I'd take an A9 which costs north of $4k into a rain forest. They don't build their bodies like Pentax does. The same goes for the A7 series.


But yet, I'm still on firmware 1.03 for the K1-II which only gives support for a DA lens I'd probably never buy. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Sorry for the rant. Hate all you want. I'm a loyal Pentax owner just like most of you, but goddamn... people wonder why Pentax lost its mojo and never got it back. I think the answer's obvious.
Never had a problem shooting football (soccer), bicycle races or basketball tournaments. Or softball / baseball for that matter. I hope you have fun with your $$$ony. No doubt, it's a fantastic camera. No doubt, it will make you a fantastic photographer.

Shot a wedding this past weekend. Almost ever shot was in perfect focus. That's the K-1 for you.

Good luck with your new camera!
04-06-2019, 12:12 AM - 1 Like   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
No doubt, it will make you a fantastic photographer.
There must be some direct proportion between price of the gear and photographer's fantasticism. No doubts .
04-06-2019, 02:50 AM - 1 Like   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I donít think the people replying are dismissive or critical of your observation. Itís just that the AF isnít as bad as the reputation, and this seems to be a weekly recurring theme. Your post is honest and from real experience, but most of the AF complaint posts are drive-by shootings by people we never hear from again. I think Forum regulars are at the point where they just skip right to the Ďyou should just buy the right toolí suggestion instead of going through all the intermediate discussion.

Most of us think the tracking AF is usable on K-1 (see links above) and good on KP if the camera is correctly configured and the right lenses are used. Frankly Iím surprised you arenít successful with the DFA*70-210. I sold mine, but while I had it I didnít have any complaints. Many people are pleased with the performance of the 55-300 PLM. I just donít think K-1 was designed at all to perform competitive tracking AF, and since 2016 competitor performance has improved further. Three years is a long time. Maybe the next new platform will be better. Competitive contemporary AF has been mentioned as a goal.

Developing the hardware and software might be the reason an APSc flagship replacement has been delayed.
I don't know. I've tried fiddling with all the various AF settings in the body and it seems keepers with the 70-200 is hovering somewhere between 20 and 30 percent.

Could it be the lens? Possibly. It works fine for most other situations though.

Could it be the environment? Potentially. I'm sure I'd have better luck if I was perhaps further away using a larger depth of field. The last use case scenario was at my local skating rink where I was standing right next to the wall. Skaters are coming towards you from the opposite end rapidly. It's in that situation I noticed AF having the most difficulty tracking an object moving towards me at oblique angles. Combine that with a shallow DOF for background separation, and the percentage of of keepers goes down quickly.

Could it be my technique? Yes, I've considered that as well and have tried different methods, mostly with limited success. But, I have an open mind and if I'm doing something wrong, then I'll admit it, learn from the mistake and move on.

Regarding the comment about buying the right tool for the job; I wouldn't disagree. But I'm not made of money and already have a considerable investment in Pentax glass. The whole point of my thread was simply wishing out loud for Ricoh/Pentax to improve their AF software and algorithms. By doing so, I believe they'd attract more than just the diehard Pentax fan or landscape photographer. In the end, it would only serve to ensure Pentax's existence in the marketplace. Wouldn't that make all of us happy?

And you're right, the AF isn't as bad as most people make out. It's just that under certain conditions, it cannot compete. Oh, it'll get the job done in the end I'm sure, but the photographer has to work much harder for it then say someone using an A9 or D850.

Viva la Pentax!

04-06-2019, 02:54 AM - 2 Likes   #30
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I think each person needs to shoot with gear they like and feel comfortable shooting. For me that's Pentax. It may not be true for anyone else. I would make a few comments.

Pentax made the K-1 and K-1 II cheaper than many of the competitor's cameras by using an older (but still really good) sensor. This does limit frame rate and prevents Pentax from installing certain features like 4K video on them. The sensor just isn't capable of that. As far as eye tracking, I think it works best with relatively static situations. I don't think that it keeps up (even with recent vintage MILCs) with difficult tracking situations. I have used face detection numerous times in live view and that seems to be pretty effective in most of the same situations.

As far as tracking auto focus in general goes, this has always been an area of weakness for Pentax. I don't think anyone has purchased a K-1 thinking that they were going to get a D5 or A9 level auto focus capability, I sure hope not, because it never was sold as such. All I can say is that with each successive model, I do see improvement and the K-1 II is decent enough for me to keep up with my kids games without missing shots. Obviously there are people on the forum here who shoot college and even pro sports with Pentax cameras and so it is possible, even if it is harder than with a camera like the A9. I expect whatever the K-1 II sequel to be to have better AF-C and more features than the K-1 II. Will it be at the A9 level? Probably not. But it won't cost as much as an A9 either.

My final comment is that when people switch brands, their photos change much less than what they think they will. Maybe they have a higher percentage of keepers in certain situations, but with regard to images they post, they look the same. That's not necessarily bad and if they are happy with the change then that's probably the important thing, but clearly the weakest link in the chain often lies somewhere just behind the OVF or EVF.
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