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04-11-2016, 04:32 PM   #1
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Improved autofocus

I hope this bodes well for Pentax users longing for improved continuous autofocus tracking

One of the comments says it is a game changer - I hope so



04-11-2016, 04:39 PM - 1 Like   #2
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FWIW that's an entirely hands-off video based on the press release

Here's an actual demo of the K-1's viewfinder:

According to our interview with Ricoh, the changes made to the AF are "minor", and the fact that multiple points can light up is attributable to the viewfinder rather than the AF system. In practice the new AF system worked very well when I tested it around the city, so it's possible that more was improved than they admitted. However, when I compared the K-1's multi-point mode to that of the D800, it seemed that the Nikon system was better able to detect patterns and consistently focus on the same thing, whereas the Pentax system went back and forth and didn't always do as good of a job of identifying a prominent subject. I'll add a disclaimer: this is all based on pre-production testing and actual performance may vary One thing is for sure, though: the K-1's AF is the most advanced we've seen to date in any Pentax body.

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04-11-2016, 04:48 PM   #3
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Hope spring eternal Adam. I am looking forward to the PF review.
04-11-2016, 04:53 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
One thing is for sure, though: the K-1's AF is the most advanced we've seen to date in any Pentax body.
Well ... the AF in every top-level model is always the best to date in any Pentax body

04-11-2016, 05:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
whereas the Pentax system went back and forth and didn't always do as good of a job of identifying a prominent subject.
Thank you for this sobering first impression. The input that came out from that other guy (the pro photographer guy I think from New York, I forget his name now, said it was on par with Canon 1D I think) was making me think we were going to see some major improvement, but it's better to be expecting minor improvement, and to then be pleasantly surprised by anything more than that...
04-11-2016, 06:29 PM   #6
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AF is something that should not remain undocumented. Auto-focus acquisition and auto-focus tracking are two different things. For auto-focus acquisition, no camera can guess what the user wants to focus on. There may be two or three or more subjects that the user could want to focus on in the frame, there is no way the camera can know it, not even a D810... What cameras do in auto mode (7DII included) is to focus on the object under AF sensor cells and closest to the user, that's a default behavior, Pentax also do this. If there are two objects covered by AF point, the AF focuses on the subject that is closest to the camera. For example, using AF multi-point auto, if you are in the woods, a bird takes off, and there are some branches in the foreground and a bird in the background, erratic behavior of the AF is to be expected because the subject is big but the branches are closer (same problem with the best of Canon's AF). For this reason, multi-point auto can be replaced by multi-point AF with primary AF point selected by the user (for example, select the center point for AF acquisition and other point are used for tracking after AF has been acquired). I understand that people keep saying that Pentax AF is not as good as Canikon AF (I used to say the same thing), because the manuals don't clearly state how to set and how to use the AF for the best results. The Pentax AF is slower, but no different than others in the way it works.
04-11-2016, 07:25 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
the changes made to the AF are "minor", and the fact that multiple points can light up is attributable to the viewfinder rather than the AF system.
Not very encouraging.
04-11-2016, 07:43 PM   #8
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Tracking a subject going sideways is not the most challenging demo either. When they can show the horse and rider coming at the camera and it keeps all of them in focus at a reasonable burst rate that will be impressive.

That said - I don't shoot much that requires this type of performance.

04-11-2016, 07:54 PM   #9
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Is this suppose to be a big improvement or is it just a minor improvement? I hope it's a big leap.
04-11-2016, 08:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by todd Quote
Thank you for this sobering first impression. The input that came out from that other guy (the pro photographer guy I think from New York, I forget his name now, said it was on par with Canon 1D I think) was making me think we were going to see some major improvement, but it's better to be expecting minor improvement, and to then be pleasantly surprised by anything more than that...
I think that's the best approach to take. Things are definitely moving in the right direction, we'll know just how much soon enough!

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04-11-2016, 11:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by totsmuyco Quote
Is this suppose to be a big improvement or is it just a minor improvement? I hope it's a big leap.
The interesting thing about the K-1 is that you now have three AF systems to play with:

(1) PDAF system in crop mode, with very broad 33 point AF sensor coverage extending almost to the very edge of the frame;

(2) PDAF system in full-frame mode, with 33 AF point coverage clustered around a more limited area around the frame centre;

(3) CDAF LiveView focus mode, with 100% frame coverage, AF point selectable by the pixel if desired, plus face detection, focus peaking etc.

The first mode is likely to deliver some interesting potential improvements to AF compared to the K-3, particularly for tracking performance.
04-12-2016, 04:09 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
PDAF system in crop mode, with very broad 33 point AF sensor coverage extending almost to the very edge of the frame;
I'm excited about this one, especially since those lenses which give us a peripheral view around the crop zone should allow anticipation of subject entry into the imaging zone. So tracking will be smoother to begin with, since we have a bit of warning of where the object is coming from and in what direction it's moving, and it will move into a zone that at least in Pentax terms is stuffed full of AF points. As a K-5 user I won't be losing enough resolution in crop mode to really worry about, and I will effectively be gaining a greater than 100% viewfinder (relative to the imaging zone). Exactly how much I get, of course, depends on how badly the particular lens vignettes - but for the ones which are just barely not good enough to qualify for full-frame usage, the advantages should be impressive.
04-12-2016, 05:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by totsmuyco Quote
Is this suppose to be a big improvement or is it just a minor improvement? I hope it's a big leap.
That's what we discussed in this thread, you just need to read the posts above
04-12-2016, 06:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FantasticMrFox Quote
That's what we discussed in this thread, you just need to read the posts above
Come on Mr Fox! You can't seriously expect people to actually read what is in the conversations here before jumping in....can you?

My K5IIs is pretty decent on AF.....before I broke it. If they K1 is even a little better it will be fine for me. Most of my subjects, birds and squirrels in the Woods of Otis will freeze on command, so I don't often need lightning fast AF. Accuracy is more important to me than speed.

Regarding accuracy...I have often wondered how much the lens being used plays a part in the accuracy of a given shot? Does it vary due to the lens? Are some lenses better than others? When I had my little studio I did seem to notice that certain lenses like the 43 Ltd and the DA* 50-135 were constantly very accurate, while some of my older lenses were hit and miss. This didn't prove it was the lens, there may be other variables involved, but it did make me wonder?

Regards!
04-12-2016, 07:49 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Not very encouraging.
I know. I'm relying on you Mr. Winder to tell be the craic regards AF performance. When is your K-1 and 70-200 arriving?
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