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05-15-2018, 07:14 AM   #1
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AutoFocus should be Top Priority

Improving autofocus is the top priority in high end digital cameras currently. Sony and Nikon have poured resources into this aspect of their flagship cameras over the last several years and are still working on improvements. Nikon added a dedicated processor to bring the 850 autofocus up to the D5 level. The market is so enthusiastic about the results that Nikon cannot keep up with the 850 demand. Sony has very attractive "eye autofocus".

I am quite happy with my Pentax K-1 and K-3 cameras and various Pentax lenses.

My hopes for Pentax are 1) that it survives as an ongoing business; and, 2) that it develops and offers state-of-the-art autofocus capabilities. I believe that the second will be essential for the first.

This is a technically and economically difficult challenge, but is feasible. I hope Pentax will take it on. All other improvements are of marginal and non-essential importance.

05-15-2018, 07:43 AM   #2
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Traditional autofocus is a failure. Canon still has the real one - eye following focus but shame they dropped it ages ago.

Real AF focuses where you look, not where AI or fixed point points to. I had EOS3 film body which had this and it worked nicely. Also, it was faster in 90s than K-1 in 2018.
05-15-2018, 07:53 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quark Quote
All other improvements are of marginal and non-essential importance.
You are saying that anyone, who has different requirements and wishes for certain products is marginal and non-essential.

Quite an aggressive and rude thing to throw at other people. What shall they think of you?
05-15-2018, 08:26 AM   #4
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How come it is rude? About every review not done with P-glasses on throws a line how the AF lacks/sucks/fails on Pentax <insert model name here>.

Truth is, after AF fix only thing separating for example K-1 from D810 would be different lens selection which probably would fail keeping up with a speed demon excluding 70-200. Tamron lenses are not very fast focusing on Nikon bodies so with proper AF the lens selection becomes the bottleneck.

Solution like Sony Eye-AF requires fast pattern recognition which requires moar processing power and mirrorless design to get it working with EVF.

So all in all, Pentax would be stuck on outdated lens design and lack of proper MILC solution.

05-15-2018, 09:25 AM - 7 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quark Quote
Improving autofocus is the top priority in high end digital cameras currently. Sony and Nikon have poured resources into this aspect of their flagship cameras over the last several years and are still working on improvements. Nikon added a dedicated processor to bring the 850 autofocus up to the D5 level. The market is so enthusiastic about the results that Nikon cannot keep up with the 850 demand. Sony has very attractive "eye autofocus".

I am quite happy with my Pentax K-1 and K-3 cameras and various Pentax lenses.

My hopes for Pentax are 1) that it survives as an ongoing business; and, 2) that it develops and offers state-of-the-art autofocus capabilities. I believe that the second will be essential for the first.

This is a technically and economically difficult challenge, but is feasible. I hope Pentax will take it on. All other improvements are of marginal and non-essential importance.
While I would certainly welcome continued improvement in this area, Ricoh's core customers aren't ones who crave cutting-edge AF. All those folks are shooting with another brand by now.

Ricoh should continue investment in still image quality while keeping prices lower than the competition, which is where it has a big edge. Once it's feasible to do so, they should acquire some existing AF tech that's better than SAFOX and start using that.

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05-15-2018, 12:33 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quark Quote
Improving autofocus is the top priority in high end digital cameras currently...
No it isn't ... and evidently it isn't for Ricoh, thankfully
05-15-2018, 12:44 PM   #7
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I appreciate Adam's comments which help to clarify Ricoh's Pentax strategy. The K-1 is an outstanding example, i.e. superb image quality at a competitive price.
05-15-2018, 12:47 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quark Quote
Improving autofocus is the top priority in high end digital cameras currently. Sony and Nikon have poured resources into this aspect of their flagship cameras over the last several years and are still working on improvements. Nikon added a dedicated processor to bring the 850 autofocus up to the D5 level. The market is so enthusiastic about the results that Nikon cannot keep up with the 850 demand. Sony has very attractive "eye autofocus".

I am quite happy with my Pentax K-1 and K-3 cameras and various Pentax lenses.

My hopes for Pentax are 1) that it survives as an ongoing business; and, 2) that it develops and offers state-of-the-art autofocus capabilities. I believe that the second will be essential for the first.

This is a technically and economically difficult challenge, but is feasible. I hope Pentax will take it on. All other improvements are of marginal and non-essential importance.
AF is a specialty of/to itself. Large producer Nikon has several lines of camera, only one of which features fast AF, and/but most of those cameras don't have particularly high Image Quality. Pentax doesn't have the resources to provide multiple lines, so they must me more focused on what they provide; from their words and actions, they have made clear that they are seeking high Image Quality. They are also making marginal AF strides, but they simply cannot focus on everything at once.


Last edited by reh321; 05-15-2018 at 12:54 PM.
05-15-2018, 01:13 PM   #9
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Uhm no. Almost all current Nikon DSLR bodies have fast enough AF. One can pick used D4 here for about 1500 euros and it is a superb bargain at that price.

D8x0 have comparable AF with D4. D5 made it a bit more responsive still.
05-15-2018, 01:33 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJKoski Quote
Uhm no. Almost all current Nikon DSLR bodies have fast enough AF. One can pick used D4 here for about 1500 euros and it is a superb bargain at that price.

D8x0 have comparable AF with D4. D5 made it a bit more responsive still.
Um, yes ... AF on my K-30 is "fast enough" to focus on a dead rabbit and/or other still life objects.
05-15-2018, 01:46 PM   #11
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I doubt it hits it before sun sets.
05-15-2018, 01:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJKoski Quote
I doubt it hits it before sun sets.
I have absolutely no idea what this means.
05-15-2018, 02:04 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I don't find the autofocus to be a limitation. For me, image processing is still not good enough to render the full capability of large image sensors. When I take a HDR with the K1, I realize how much information of tone gradation is available from the sensor data, but in normal shooting mode images are rather flat styled compared to film. The K1 has a large sensor, but the default image processing styles are from more than 10 years ago when CCD sensors did not have so much dynamic range.
05-15-2018, 05:09 PM - 7 Likes   #14
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I guess it comes back to your starting point. I started my sport photography many many (too many) moons ago with manual focus lens and manual film winder....so appreciated an in focus shot when I snagged one in the early days and then learnt how to pan, pick a focus point etc.

So...when i used my K5, K3 with Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for motox and other motor sports I had no problems, a very high rate of keepers. Did the same job with a Nikon D800 & Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and found that equally as good, but could not honestly say I was seeing any dramatic improvement in Auto focus.

However, when younger photographers used my Pentax set up they all struggled to get the same rate of keepers as I did. Watching their technique and they watching mine led us all to the conclusion that I used a more defined panning technique than they were used to.....which I guess is a legacy of the manual lens days.

Not saying its right or wrong, simply passing on real time, in the field observations and experiences.
05-15-2018, 05:54 PM   #15
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As I stated in another thread. I a 67 and finding that it won't be that long before I am going to need a camera with better autofocus for any action photography. Right now I can still work around their limitations, but at some point I will need a camera that will have pick up some slack for me. If Pentax doesn't do it then hard decisions will have to be made. I simply cannot wait 10 years for Pentax to catch up in that area. I used my daughter in laws Canon 5Ti over the weekend. I have to admit that it's autofocus runs circles around anything I have.

The lack of a full frame 1.4x teleconverter is another concern of mine. My Tamron one is starting to get a bit cloudy. Still okay, but it isn't going to get any better. It would be very hard to wait another 5 years for something so basic. These are not ultimatums. just simple facts as they apply to me. For now, I am using and enjoying what I have, but if Ricoh/Pentax won't make what I need, then hard decisions will have to be made. I am not looking for forward to that time. Then I may need to make the Nikon or Canon decision. Brand loyalty needs to work in both directions. .
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