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06-30-2015, 06:05 AM   #1
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K-3 macro disappointment

I got out the macro rig a few days ago, to shake some rust off my technique. I shot about a hundred images (K-3, D FA 100mm, HD 1.4X TC, Sigma 530 flash with bracket, TAv, manual focus, handheld). When I viewed them on the computer, I had about a 5% keeper rate due to misfocus.

I shoot macro like a shoot a scoped rifle. It is impossible to maintain focus on the target at 1.4:1 magnification, so I squeeze off the shot as focus is swinging through the target. The K-3 has a known problem with flash latency, there is a delay between shutter release and the shot. The delay caused most of my macro shots to miss critical focus. I swapped out the K-3 for my trusty old K20D, and went for another run. This time I saw what I expected to see, focus was acceptable for almost half of the shots. The images I thought were sharp in the field were sharp, the ones I thought I had missed were soft.

I've used the K-3 with the D FA 100 and TC, no flash, previously and never had a focus issue. Flash latency is the clear culprit. I had the same problem with delayed shutter release when I used a K-01 for macro. For macros, I need the camera to fire exactly when I trip the shutter, not 1/3s later.

Some K20D images from my shoot:










Last edited by audiobomber; 06-30-2015 at 07:02 AM.
06-30-2015, 07:00 AM   #2
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Yep, and you see exactly if you where in focus... so yep keeper rate went down with K-3 vs. K-5. I have not yet had to many shoot outs with a macro flash and K-3 but i'd say it is for me not so much of a difference when using a flash it's more of a general thing that you see every flaw.... i need to take more pictures to have a keeper... but once you have a keeper its stunning
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06-30-2015, 10:16 AM   #3
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I agree that the K-3 is more demanding of critical focus, but that is not my issue. Higher resolution would make some difference in the amount of keepers, but would not result in me trashing 95% of my shots. If the misses were simply a matter of increased resolution, I would have a higher keeper rate with flash than without. I missed focus because using the flash ruined my timing.
06-30-2015, 10:29 AM   #4
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Going full manual (manual focusing AND manual flash ) will most likely solve all your problems. I was never successful in macro with any kind of automation - either K10D or K-01 both were doing much better with full manual control.

06-30-2015, 10:33 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
Going full manual (manual focusing AND manual flash ) will most likely solve all your problems. I was never successful in macro with any kind of automation - either K10D or K-01 both were doing much better with full manual control.
I always use manual focus. If manual flash eliminates the latency, that would do it.
06-30-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I always use manual focus. If manual flash eliminates the latency, that would do it.
Yes from my experience the flash in manual is instantaneous.
06-30-2015, 10:44 AM   #7
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Latest firmware? I think the firmware 1.21 addressed the P-TTL latency somewhat...
06-30-2015, 10:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
Going full manual (manual focusing AND manual flash ) will most likely solve all your problems. I was never successful in macro with any kind of automation - either K10D or K-01 both were doing much better with full manual control.
+1, besides, when you get a ballpark figure for exposure (say, 1/16 power @105mm zoom for the flash, 1/180s, f/16, ISO such-and-such), it's not going to change for most of your shoot, and even if it does, it's not by much.
You get a feel for it easily.
K-01 macros are

06-30-2015, 10:56 AM   #9
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Yes, manual flash definitely gets rid of the lag.
06-30-2015, 12:48 PM   #10
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You still have some added lag due to preflash (about .08 based on the IR tests - and my own not terribly scientific efforts). Still, pTTL is the preferred mode for macro shooting - one of the few situations where it can make a significant favorable difference.

I completely agree that manual focus is superior - and it really shows up in shooting in live view. My best guess is that the most of what is wrong here is that the press of the shutter button triggers AF but further movement is made through the continuation of the shutter release in one motion. Much easier to get the process right using the back button; and easier still if you go with manual focus. I suspect the latency problem with the K-01 is nearly all CDAF focus related. Flash is quick on the K-01, even OK when shooting pTTL. K-3 CDAF is more precise and much quicker; but manual focus is your best option.
06-30-2015, 01:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
You still have some added lag due to preflash (about .08 based on the IR tests - and my own not terribly scientific efforts). Still, pTTL is the preferred mode for macro shooting - one of the few situations where it can make a significant favorable difference.

I completely agree that manual focus is superior - and it really shows up in shooting in live view. My best guess is that the most of what is wrong here is that the press of the shutter button triggers AF but further movement is made through the continuation of the shutter release in one motion. Much easier to get the process right using the back button; and easier still if you go with manual focus. I suspect the latency problem with the K-01 is nearly all CDAF focus related. Flash is quick on the K-01, even OK when shooting pTTL. K-3 CDAF is more precise and much quicker; but manual focus is your best option.
As stated above, I only use manual focus for macro shooting.
06-30-2015, 05:02 PM   #12
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Yeah , macro is tough , the less F-? you run , the less DOF you have to play with ..
Often all it takes is 1mm to have a great shot or a very average shot ,
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