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09-07-2018, 05:02 PM   #1
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Good AF Setup in Options...

Guys... I have a FA77 now, and have forgotten how to use AF properly, it's been months lol.

I thought now might be a good time to get a refresh on some settings in the camera to assist with getting great AF shots in those more harder candid 'kids moving' kinda way (as to be honest all other scenarios I can do pretty fine in MF). I thought this might be a good thread for a beginner to see as well as well as a rusty bruce

So, feel free to list what settings you use for a good AF time. Be sure to mention such things as;

1) AF Mode
2) Af Active Area
3) AF.S Setting (if using AF.S over AF.C)
4) 1st Frame Action in AF.C
5) Action in AF.C Cont.
6) Hold AF Status
7) Are you backbutton focusing?

Stuff like that. Feel free to unzip and use the provided Excel Spread Sheet (K-1 mainly, but settings may apply to other models), save it and upload it back for others to see the settings (if you like).

Most importantly though, justify your settings! For example, I'm imagining you want Hold AF Status to being 'Off' for shooting something like a child running. In this scenario we're not doing wildlife and tracking a bird through a trees and foliage etc.

I'll also have a play with my FA 77 today and report back on what I felt was working best for me as well, sharing is caring!


Cheers,

Bruce

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09-07-2018, 08:49 PM - 1 Like   #2
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To answer your points, the following are for my k3ii:

1) af-c for action (sports, concerts, birds), af-s for anything else, or manual focus/ zone focus

2) af active area is single-9 usually, sometimes just single-1 because there's clutter (especially concerts); make sure you can track the subject well if it's strictly one point

3) auto-9 works well enough with less need to fiddling when not shooting action

4 and 5) focus priority for everything, I find that shutter priority sometimes fires when the focus is too soft for my taste

6) medium. I changed it from off to medium a long time ago to avoid the focus jumping on passing foreground players (for basketball hokey etc), and never felt the need to change it again for other applications

7) always, no question about it. it helps with manual focus too because you don't need to change anything for mf, just not press the af button
09-22-2018, 04:00 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
To answer your points, the following are for my k3ii:

1) af-c for action (sports, concerts, birds), af-s for anything else, or manual focus/ zone focus

2) af active area is single-9 usually, sometimes just single-1 because there's clutter (especially concerts); make sure you can track the subject well if it's strictly one point

3) auto-9 works well enough with less need to fiddling when not shooting action

4 and 5) focus priority for everything, I find that shutter priority sometimes fires when the focus is too soft for my taste

6) medium. I changed it from off to medium a long time ago to avoid the focus jumping on passing foreground players (for basketball hokey etc), and never felt the need to change it again for other applications

7) always, no question about it. it helps with manual focus too because you don't need to change anything for mf, just not press the af button



Here's what I'm finding (or found thus far).

4&5) Last concert I did I had focus priority, however due to the low lighting nature of that event, in combination with guitarists and singers moving energetically on stage, meant that a shot was never fired! It took too long to hunt for a focus lock to take the shot, so I set that one back to shutter priority.

6) I typically have mine set to Off, as what I read that this was more for if say you track a bird in a tree and it moves behind a branch, then the focus point will still be on the bird for a short while before the AF.C moves and grabs the branch in front of it. In situations like that I quick shift or just manual focus as I found that worked better.

My gripe however is that when i have Hold AF Status to off, it seems like even when the subject is static and you're also static, it still likes to 'hunt' for focus, jumping in and out of focus a lot! Perhaps Low is the sweet spot... I dunno.

7) I have back button focus on for every mode other than AF.C, as I feel the lag between the getting the focus (back button) and pressing the shutter down is too long in certain situations with missed shots occurring.

Ah yes, the holy bible of settings! Hehe.

I guess what I'm trying to discover are the best shooting modes for snapping 'children playing', candid moments etc. The sort of shots where a child is running towards the camera etc, what might the best AF.C combination of settings for that be etc.

I read the article comparing the K-1 AF vs the K-1ii AF, and I noted that the greatest improvement in AF with the mark ii was when grabbing shots of a subject 'running away' from the camera. I can say that on my K-1 (non mark ii) that this also feels to be the strongest AF.C best capture rate of all the shooting scenarios. However it's the worst 'scene' to really capture! I can get my kids to cycle out on my street at a reasonably slow pace, and as they come towards me I have a low success capture rate, as they cycle away from me I can get great 'back and bum' shots lol.

09-22-2018, 06:19 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
a shot was never fired
When the band is moving a lot it's a mix of luck and anticipation, and if the light allows it, stopping down for greater dof helps. Not sure how fast the af for the 77 is, but in very low light the camera's also a bit slower to focus so the two may add up. Hope you figure out some setting that works for you.

Another option is to move so that their movement is less to/from you. (I know it's not always possible) This is a photo in which the singer was really jumping front back in between singing so I was to the side of the stage. In a way I think it also made for a better shot (miserable lighting btw)




QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
7) I have back button focus on for every mode other than AF.C, as I feel the lag between the getting the focus (back button) and pressing the shutter down is too long in certain situations with missed shots occurring.
What I do in af-c is start tracking the subject, then fire shots when something interesting happens. But that assumes that the camera+lens are able to track in the first place, and the subject moves such that you can keep the focus point/area on it. I don't mean a super fast af lens either, the da 70 is perfectly fine for concerts. For both af-s and af-c, I sometimes just press both the af and the shutter button at the same time to get the same effect as having af on the shutter. The reason I want back button focus particularly in af-c is that, if the subject's stationary (for example skaters spinning, as I found out recently), I can access higher fps by letting go of the af button, and then resume tracking as needed.

Last edited by aaacb; 09-22-2018 at 06:31 PM.
09-23-2018, 12:56 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
When the band is moving a lot it's a mix of luck and anticipation, and if the light allows it, stopping down for greater dof helps. Not sure how fast the af for the 77 is, but in very low light the camera's also a bit slower to focus so the two may add up. Hope you figure out some setting that works for you.

Another option is to move so that their movement is less to/from you. (I know it's not always possible) This is a photo in which the singer was really jumping front back in between singing so I was to the side of the stage. In a way I think it also made for a better shot (miserable lighting btw)





What I do in af-c is start tracking the subject, then fire shots when something interesting happens. But that assumes that the camera+lens are able to track in the first place, and the subject moves such that you can keep the focus point/area on it. I don't mean a super fast af lens either, the da 70 is perfectly fine for concerts. For both af-s and af-c, I sometimes just press both the af and the shutter button at the same time to get the same effect as having af on the shutter. The reason I want back button focus particularly in af-c is that, if the subject's stationary (for example skaters spinning, as I found out recently), I can access higher fps by letting go of the af button, and then resume tracking as needed.
Nice shot!

Yeah I've snapped my fill of concerts/gigs, I feel I have that 'mode' taken care of. Some examples;













As i said earlier, in this scenario I feel moving to Shutter Priority is better then Release Priority as the lighting is so poor that by the time the camera finds and locks on well enough for the shot to fire, it's too late, the moment is gone.
I could go into more depth as to the settings I use but really I couldn't agree more about it largely being down to 'luck and anticipation', concert shooting is one of those few instances whereby I encounter the buffer (I take two cameras to work around it), during those spamming shots usually a few land well enough to be usable.

You might think "well Bruce, your shots are great! Why are you asking about AF?!". The point of this thread is that I guess there is no correct AF setting for all scenarios, and I think perhaps the default out of the box Pentax AF settings might not be as good as they could be (for normal kinda daylight/plenty of light testing). I'm pondering the very best 'action' settings for daytime use for scenarios when a child or dog is coming towards the user (at a speed that should be fairly reasonable to capture) basically.

Nice shot by the way.

QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
"7) I have back button focus on for every mode other than AF.C, as I feel the lag between the getting the focus (back button) and pressing the shutter down is too long in certain situations with missed shots occurring."

Not my experience. Haven't used anything but rear AF in probably 10 years. I follow and track and when I mash the shutter, I want it to fire. Anything above 1/320, SR is off . Everything that can be turned off is off- NR, all the correction stuff.







Great example shots. I must relook at using back button focus for AF.C mode. Like I said, I actually use back button focusing for all my other shooting modes, I don't need to be persuaded of the benefits of back buttons focusing. It's just I felt recently perhaps with the example of a child or dog running towards the user, it was better to have the shutter doing the focusing and firing and just hold it down and ensure the SEL or Spot single focus point was on the subject. Your shots persuade me to re-evaluate my decision.

And I see you're a subscriber to the idea that SR may slow down or hamper the AF accuracy/speed. I recall making a post about this point many moons ago and the thread got very mixed results with some saying that that idea was nonsense and others not so convinced and that indeed their could be some truth to it. For sure I shoot RAW and have every other processing set off as you suggest. I'm going to do some further testing, see if I can get a feel for whether SR is hampering my AF accuracy. Time to make my kids do some running
02-04-2019, 07:22 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Here's my setup

1) AF Mode - SEL
2) Af Active Area - 25
3) AF.S Setting (if using AF.S over AF.C) - SEL
4) 1st Frame Action in AF.C - Release Priority
5) Action in AF.C Cont. - Focus Priority
6) Hold AF Status - Low
7) Are you backbutton focusing? Always and with shutter focus disabled






Last edited by Kobie; 02-05-2019 at 12:22 AM.
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