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08-05-2016, 03:59 PM   #46
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For the money, the K-1 is a very fine camera. It is well known at this point that the C-AF is not going to compete with other modern DSLR cameras, but it has many other features that exceed what you can buy from Canon, Nikon, or Sony. Ricoh still has a lot of work to do, but the K-1 will be a very successful camera. It is possible that some of the latency that seems to be the problem with the K-1 can be reduces with firmware. Maybe that is wishful thinking, but I have hope.

08-05-2016, 04:25 PM - 2 Likes   #47
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Maybe I have different standards than other people, but I switched from using both a Nikon dSLR and a Nikon 1 V2 (Nikon's 1" sensor mirrorless system that is renowned for autofocus performance) to Pentax when the K-1 was announced and I have not been let down by performance. I primarily shoot fast moving action and utilize continuous autofocus.
08-05-2016, 04:39 PM - 4 Likes   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
I was able to. Did you read the review closely? The problem was the keeper rate was very low; neither of the links you provided mentioned how many OOF shots were in those sequences. When I got in-focus shots, as mentioned, they were very good.
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Hi Alex,

thanks for chiming in!

Thanks also for the review. It is always nice if someone gets how well Pentax DSLRs are designed with respect to ergonomics. I like how you took the time to get to know the camera and were able to appreciate its strong points.

I have one question and a few comments:

First, you conclude "AF customization is lacking". Which customisation options are you missing? You will have noticed that there are a number of AF choices one can make including focus vs release priority (independently for AF-S vs AF-C), AF hold, etc. I'm genuinely wondering what else you are looking for. Is it just one more setting for "ignore closer subjects that suddenly pop into the frame"? If so, does this justify the summary "AF customization is lacking"? If there is more you would have liked to see, what is it?

Now my comments:

I think the vast majority of Pentaxians will readily agree that Pentax AF-C is lacking behind the competition. What I don't understand, however, how DPRreview or you essentially come to the conclusion that AF-C on a Pentax is pretty much useless. In your review you write that even lateral movement only provides a 2/11 (=18%) keeper rate. I don't understand that at all, unless you constantly have other objects interrupting the AF acquisition. The K-1's AF-C performance is not at the top of the game, but many examples from other users suggest it is better than 18% keeper rate for a non-challenging scenario.

It is one thing to say "If you are a sports shooter or want optimum AF-C performance for some other reason, stay away from the K-1" and a completely different one to essentially state "Don't even bother with AF-C.". I'll immediately add that to me AF-C performance is not important and I haven't subjected my K-1 to any respective tests. However, I've read other people's responses to findings like DPReview (who only seem to do the "weaving biker"-test when it is time to test a Pentax, rather than a 1D X Mk II) and yours and not all of those responses can be dismissed with the rebuttal "the DOF was huge in this scenario".

Perhaps you explored all options, but I think there might be the chance that some combination of AF configuration settings may have yielded better results for you. Some choices appear to be unintuitive, so for instance "release priority" appears to result in more keepers than "focus-priority" for some users.

BTW, your 8.3% keeper rate for the horse jumping competition sounds absolutely awful, but isn't it true that you could have gotten a lot more in focus shots by applying some simple technique? For instance, a shot with a horse clearing the fence should be dead easy to get by focusing on the fence and then just pressing the shutter release button without even focusing before. That seems like something entirely reasonable to do, AFAIC, as opposed to being a workaround for a non-working AF system. I believe -- I could be wrong though -- that in the right hands, the K-1 could easily be a great wedding camera. More help from the AF system is always welcome, but I just have trouble believing that the K-1, as is, is not fit for weddings.

Regarding the lack of a"dedicated AF point selector": With a simple menu setting, the four-way controller becomes a dedicated AF area selector (it then takes an extra step to use the original functions of the four-way controller). N.B., the four-way controller really is an eight-way controller because the buttons are shaped in a manner that allows one to press two simultaneously in order to achieve diagonal movement. I personally actually prefer buttons for controlling the selection of AF areas over a joystick. I'll admit that I'm not a sports shooter and I could see that for 51 AF areas one may want to use such an input device for very quick adjustments but for the amount of AF areas the K-1 offers, I prefer the discrete action of buttons. In a pinch, I can shift the selected AF-area without even having to check the visual feedback, because I can simply count the clicks or my muscle memory does it automatically.

Finally, you may be more hesitant to dismiss the green button as being dispensable, if you explored its functionality some more. In manual mode, for instance, it can be configured to adjust the aperture or shutter speed. This makes it really easy to make certain choices, get an initial standard exposure by pressing the button, and then continue manually. It supports a "semi-automatic" approach that combines the convenience of automatic modes with the predictability and consistency of manual shooting. A similar example how useful such semi-automatic modes are is the option to perform an "AE-lock" in manual mode. It allows one to fix an exposure setting by having the camera automatically adjust either shutter speed or aperture, depending on which other parameter the user changes. This is great for flash photography, as it will keep the ambient exposure constant while allowing to season the flash contribution to taste (as the flash is only influenced by the aperture setting for shutter speeds that do not exceed the sync-speed).
Hello! First, thank you for giving an objective, thought-out response free of sarcasm or patronization; I appreciate that.

Yes, I definitely explored the AF customizations. Some more features I might have preferred would be tracking sensitivity settings, accel/decel adjustments, AF point switching thresholds, etc. That being said, all the properties I'm naming are typical of high-level sports bodies, and I don't expect that in this camera, of course; my point was more that I felt I could have improved my keeper rate with some adjustments.

I definitely don't think the AF-C is pretty much useless far from it. As I mentioned at the end of that section, things improved quite a bit when the horses slowed to a walk, and that's promising for the wedding crowd. My point was more that I held this camera in about the same range as the 5D Mark III and the D810, and it was lagging behind those, but perhaps that got a little lost in my final writeup. DPReview was definitely very harsh on the autofocus; I don't think it's that bad. What concerned me (and perhaps I could have expressed more clearly) was that in the lateral test, there were no challenges to AF system: I had a clear line of view to the horse, there were no obstructions in between, etc.

In reading the comments on here in response to my review as well as the general user experience with these cameras, I think one thing is becoming clear: Pentax needs to improve their manual. It contains very little information on the AF system and speaks nothing of the scenarios in which certain settings are appropriate, etc. Furthermore, the descriptions of certain functions in the manual are not what many users have claimed them to be. As we all know, modern AF systems are both complex and proprietary, and getting the most of them requires an intimate understanding of them, so it's prudent that a camera company sufficiently detail their function, particularly if, as you mention, some choices might be unintuitive. And yes, normally, I would simply pre-focus on the jump in question; I was just using this as a further test of the AF system's ability to handle approaching subjects.

Yes, I mentioned that one can switch the behavior of the directional pad to be an AF controller first; nonetheless, I would prefer a dedicated controller so I don't lose immediate access to those functions, or even better, a joystick, as I tend to switch AF points very quickly. But that's just a difference in personal preference and shooting styles. Some people prefer the directional pad, and there's nothing wrong with that.

As for the green button, it's definitely possible I could appreciate it more, but it's just my personal preference to have an AF joystick there. I felt that the camera has such a plethora of controls that at that point, it would have been better served by having an AF joystick there (perhaps the green button function could be the default behavior of a custom function button). Again, though, that's personal preference, and I probably place an above-average demand and priority on AF performance and usability. The scenarios you mention are absolutely cases in which it's highly useful and convenient, so if that's what one prioritizes, then it's great to have there.

Anyway, as you noticed, I did love the camera. Frankly, if I had some income to spare, I would pick one up, ditch my landscape-oriented Canon equipment, and use this for that kind of work, keeping the Canon for other stuff. But for me, it makes sense to stick with one system, especially because I'm heavily invested in it. If I were just starting out or making my first upgrade to full frame, I would take a long look at the K-1. It's a fantastic camera that was a joy to use, and it was refreshing to use a camera of that capability at that price point; that alone is huge. And let me just reiterate: I don't think the AF-C is useless; if you gave me the Pentax and told me that was now my wedding camera, I could still do my job just fine. Perhaps what I was trying to express more so was my disappointment that it wasn't of a higher level, because it would be a great thing to be able to say: "Look at this camera that competes with the big companies on every level, adds these unique and awesome features, and completely undercuts their prices." The K-1 is on the cusp of being that camera that could shake up the industry and drive the whole of innovation forward, and I think that's something we would all love to see, no matter what we shoot.
08-05-2016, 05:30 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by roadrunnerdeluxe Quote
i seriously wished they would have culled video altogether. That would have been a nice middle-finger to the spoilt gadget-entitlement mentality that has taken hold of mankind. Just a slick, purpose-built, pragmatic stills camera with zero distractions.
"get off my damn lawn!"

08-05-2016, 06:21 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I tend to disagree. The viewfinder is large enough and bright enough that (aside from the FA Limiteds) I can use my K lenses for critical work, reserving the 28-105 for casual shooting. I've just sold my K-3 w/ split-image screen and APSc lenses are next. They weren't being used, so why keep them? Granted, that's just me, but IMHO K-1 is expressly suited to legacy manual focus lenses - and intentionally so.
Maybe you have much better eyes than mine? I've tried that with my K-S2 and I've tried it with my ZX-5n, and I wasn't happy with it. I'm happy with the focus peaking and magnification on the A7, though. (And what's wrong with the FA Limiteds, I wonder?)
08-05-2016, 06:59 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
Maybe you have much better eyes than mine? I've tried that with my K-S2 and I've tried it with my ZX-5n, and I wasn't happy with it. I'm happy with the focus peaking and magnification on the A7, though. (And what's wrong with the FA Limiteds, I wonder?)
The FA Limiteds are AF. The K-1 viewfinder is twice as big as the K-S2.
08-05-2016, 07:02 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by SBeck Quote
Maybe I have different standards than other people, but I switched from using both a Nikon dSLR and a Nikon 1 V2 (Nikon's 1" sensor mirrorless system that is renowned for autofocus performance) to Pentax when the K-1 was announced and I have not been let down by performance. I primarily shoot fast moving action and utilize continuous autofocus.
Yeah... but your following the guide lines.....
08-05-2016, 07:25 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by SBeck Quote
Maybe I have different standards than other people, but I switched from using both a Nikon dSLR and a Nikon 1 V2 (Nikon's 1" sensor mirrorless system that is renowned for autofocus performance) to Pentax when the K-1 was announced and I have not been let down by performance. I primarily shoot fast moving action and utilize continuous autofocus.
You are one of the users that are an example of sincere use of the K-1 AF.C. Thank you for that post and image. It is nice to see that someone can really utilize a developed tool in a great way.

That dog looks like a dedicated runner. Beautiful shot.

08-05-2016, 11:50 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by CypherOz Quote
K-1 -- Australian Football... (Fast moving, just same examples, AF.C, back button controlled, "Hold AF Status" OFF, very dull light)

Attachment 320768

Attachment 320769

Attachment 320770
None of these shots appear to be in focus, either by the AF system or by the shutter speed used. Were you posting them as examples of success, I hope not.

---------- Post added 08-06-16 at 05:32 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ruggiex Quote
There's definitely a certain rhythm to Pentax's AF that doesn't seem to jive with the general crowd that are used of Cannikon systems. Thus, keeper rate is higher for those familiar with it while everyone shooting K-1 just for reviews isn't going to get the same results, imo.
I don't rate that statement at all. Any system should be intuitive and logical so if your statement has merit then Pentax has failed even more than already stated.
08-06-2016, 03:49 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
Ok, so by your definition the AF apparently was useless in that situation.
Or do you mean he is a liar.
Oh, do try to keep up, @Gimbal.

I said *skills* in my first post.

And also bother to read post 27 by a fellow forum member ... skills can be improved.

Last edited by clackers; 08-06-2016 at 07:50 AM.
08-06-2016, 05:21 AM - 1 Like   #56
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Hi Alex,

thanks a lot for your detailed response!

QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
Some more features I might have preferred would be tracking sensitivity settings, accel/decel adjustments, AF point switching thresholds, etc.
I see, interesting.

I think it would have been good to mention these features explicitly so that readers get an idea of what level of customisation you are talking about.

QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
I don't expect that in this camera, of course;
You do mention it as a con, though, without a qualification along the lines of "Advanced AF customization is lacking , though not to be expected at this level".

I think it is fine to mention what one does not like about a camera, but if the criticism is just a tad too terse, it may create the wrong impression for readers.

QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
I definitely don't think the AF-C is pretty much useless far from it.
Good to hear!

Again, I think your review sends a different message. The description of how AF-C failed and the depressing statistics create the impression that the AF-C is rather bad. Note the message by 6BQ5. His perception of your review was that it represented further discouragement for considering the K-1. I have a feeling that you did not want to warn people like him about the K-1's AF, but were talking about a different level of performance.

QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
What concerned me (and perhaps I could have expressed more clearly) was that in the lateral test, there were no challenges to AF system: I had a clear line of view to the horse, there were no obstructions in between, etc.
That part is indeed disconcerting.

I'll look forward to making my own experiences with the K-1 to see whether I can replicate anything like this.

QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
I think one thing is becoming clear: Pentax needs to improve their manual.
I fully agree.

Pentax manuals have always been pretty concise but at some point Ricoh made them even more concise. I feel there should be a section about the limitations of the AF system and how to use the various settings to one's advantage.

Perhaps they could just publish a respective white paper or create an online resource instead.

QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
if you gave me the Pentax and told me that was now my wedding camera, I could still do my job just fine.
I would think so too and in the review you once say "So, for the wedding crowd, not all hope is lost.". However, towards the conclusion you state "If Pentax can improve AF quality via a firmware upgrade, they'll have a camera that can not only hang with the best of landscape shooters, but can also compete handily in the wedding market. " which makes it sound as if it wasn't quite ready for shooting weddings yet (due to the lacking AF).

QuoteOriginally posted by empyrean Quote
Perhaps what I was trying to express more so was my disappointment that it wasn't of a higher level, because it would be a great thing to be able to say: "Look at this camera that competes with the big companies on every level, adds these unique and awesome features, and completely undercuts their prices."
I concur with this sentiment and I'm sure Ricoh is trying to get to this level.

Until they have made more progress with continuous AF, I hope the business side of Pentax is making sense for them which is why I am always hoping for fair reviews. I don't want anyone to portray the K-1 in an unduly positive manner that overlooks real weaknesses, but I don't want the wrong impression to be created about some weaknesses either.

Given what you have written here, I think the message your review sends is a bit more negative than you actually intend it to be. AFAIC, it would already be sufficient to put the criticism in context and explicitly state the "in an ideal world" or "compared to the best sports cameras" assumption. I think it would also help tremendously if you stated that -- had you tried to get in-focus shots, rather than investigating the limits of the AF-C performance -- you would have been able to get away with a lot more keepers from the event. As it is now, I think many readers will come away from reading the review, thinking that the K-1 is a rather unfortunate choice for shooting events like this. It certainly isn't the best choice, but I think in reality it can be put to better use than your statistics indicate.

I'm writing all this just in the spirit of offering help to make your review communicate what you want it to communicate. I don't mean to criticise for the sake of criticism.
08-06-2016, 09:09 AM - 1 Like   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
I don't rate that statement at all. Any system should be intuitive and logical so if your statement has merit then Pentax has failed even more than already stated.
That's like saying Google has failed in Android because a person coming from iOS doesn't understand that Android works differently. Pentax AF-C isn't up to par, we get it; but it's more than adequate as oppose to completely useless like some people want to portrait it as. One has to learn the tool in hand. Even jumping between Canon and Nikon requires some adjustments why is it a requirement for Pentax to match everything to either one?

Last edited by ruggiex; 08-06-2016 at 09:14 AM.
08-06-2016, 12:22 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by ruggiex Quote
That's like saying Google has failed in Android because a person coming from iOS doesn't understand that Android works differently. Pentax AF-C isn't up to par, we get it; but it's more than adequate as oppose to completely useless like some people want to portrait it as. One has to learn the tool in hand. Even jumping between Canon and Nikon requires some adjustments why is it a requirement for Pentax to match everything to either one?
That is a behavioral trait or condition called centering. One evaluates change only from tne perspective of one's experience or current position or belief*. It is commonly observed in Behavioral Finance.



*It was once accepted wisdom that the sun orbited the earth. In 1514 the theologian, philosopher and astronomer Ferdinand de Copernicus** postulated the sun was the center of the solar system. Some years after his death the Roman Catholic Church banned his second book on the subject, 'De revolutionibus orbium coelestium'.

** He might have like Astrotracer

Last edited by monochrome; 08-06-2016 at 12:32 PM.
08-06-2016, 06:33 PM   #59
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I photographed my kids at a local skate park where they scooted around. My kit consisted of my K-3, my D-FA 24-70mm f/2.8, and my Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8. I set the K-3 into AF-C mode and used SEL-9 for focus point selection. Half the shots were AF back button focused and the other half were shutter button focused. Focus priority was set.

Quick-n-dirty, unscientific, and informal conclusion: Focus priority with shutter button focusing resulted in a huge percentage of keepers at the expense of collecting a high number of shots. The camera would refocus in between each shot or reconfirm focus. Much action was lost in between frames. My boys would track a lot of distance in the time the mirror would go up and the shutter would fire. Images were a little soft but perfectly OK for a 4"x6" to 8"x10" without looking too closely. When pixel peeping these would all be failures. AF back button focusing was awful. Every action image was a loss. I was responsible for verifying focus and firing the shutter and I failed. This is an example of bad technique on my part.

My Tamron 70-200mm worked better in the best conditions than my D-FA 24-70mm in the best conditions. Maybe the focus throw is shorter in the Tamron. (??)

This concerns motion of the subject approaching the camera. Lateral is just fine - always has been - and is of no interest to me to test.

I also noticed that the K-3 would track the focus point in the SEL-9 group that was associated with the closest distance to the camera. For example, I could have the central point on the face but if the scooter flew up in front of my boys and came in the SEL-9 points then the K-3 would focus on the scooter. So, the scooter would be sharp and the face a little soft.
08-06-2016, 07:41 PM   #60
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Boris, what setting did you use for Tracking Hold.
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