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05-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #1
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Rule of thirds and AF Point

I've had my K-x for a couple weeks now and I think its time to stop playing around.
Since this was my first camera, I spent the first couple of weeks practicing manual focus and figuring the effects of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. I've always used center point autofocus and centered everything.

Now, I want to change that and try using the rule of thirds. However, whenever I take pictures, I automatically put the subject right in the center of the frame. I will focus and recompose when the object is still, but when the object moves, I will center it.

Are there any practices (like the one for manual focusing) that I can do to improve my framing skills? Any tips for following the rule of thirds? Also, concerning the AF points, when should I use 11-point, 5-point, or center? I looked around the forum and everybody seemed to used center point AF. Why would you use 11 or 5-point AF?

Thanks,
jellyfish26

05-16-2011, 07:33 PM   #2
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For moving objects, I dont worry about rule of thirds. It is more important to get something focused. Once you get a shot that is well focused, use the crop tool in the computer to frame the shot the way you want.

I use the center point/recompose mostly. Someone else will answer re: multiple AF points.
05-16-2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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It's pretty hard to get the rule of thirds on a moving object, especially fast ones so like the previous poster said it's more important to get a focused object and you can always crop afterwards. If you do want to practice I would suggest starting with slow moving objects, AF.C and try to follow the object, and slowly move up the speed scale.

I use center focus 99% of the time. I don't find the 11 or 5 point to be that useful. A lot of the time what I wanted to be in focus was not. This could have been my fault but either way I stopped using the 11 or 5 point and went strictly to center.
05-16-2011, 08:21 PM   #4
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Tracking a moving object with AF in continuous mode is easiest done with all 11 points engaged. If the object should escape the center point another point will pick up. Other than that specific situation I don't see much need for anything but the center point.

For framing still objects I do as you suggest - use the center focus point and then re-compose the image.

05-16-2011, 08:28 PM   #5
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The 'Rule of Thirds' is neither.

What it is, is a useful referent, so bear that in mind. You use it, not 'follow' it. Think of those points where the lines meet as good places for your subject or eye to rest, but they're also places to move around.... See the frame in that way, and things move around those junctures.

(Also, those thirds lines are *always* a decent place to park a horizon, you may find it edifying to beat that in mind while choosing a composition of something scenic: one thing I don't profess to teach is landscape photo, but if you do that and pay attention to your own reactions you might learn something. )

As for various AF points, these are really a separate matter: the short answer is, it'll be a little more precise if you can put one on the subject. The center point of focus is a range, which if you move the camera makes an arc: the lens' field will be flatter than that arc, so at times using one of the other sensors will be more accurate than focus-and-recompose. But don't arrange your life around it, let's say.
05-16-2011, 09:06 PM   #6
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If you are using a tripod, you might need an AF point on the side if you can't move the camera for an off-center subject.
05-16-2011, 10:24 PM   #7
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If you're consistently composing a reasonably static subject (e.g. a posing model) using the rule of thirds, then there is another use for selecting a non-central AF point. It all depends on your convenience - the end result is what matters.

For very close focusing, it is better to lock focus without recomposing (due to slight focus distance variation that occurs with recomposition), but otherwise, central AF point locking and recomposing is quite reliable.
05-16-2011, 11:00 PM   #8
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5-pt and 11-pt AF

QuoteOriginally posted by jellyfish26 Quote
Also, concerning the AF points, when should I use 11-point, 5-point, or center? I looked around the forum and everybody seemed to used center point AF. Why would you use 11 or 5-point AF
Theoretically, 5-point and 11-point AF should work well when you have one large subject alone in the foreground. You should then be able to freely frame it left or right, and it would be in focus because it's the nearest subject. Multipoint AF is supposed to pick the nearest AF point.

However, it doesn't work that well in practice, because the Pentax multipoint AF selection algorithm puts too much emphasis on good contrast over proximity for this to work. It picks the background too often, so to say.

Sincerely,
--Anders.

05-17-2011, 02:07 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
I use center focus 99% of the time. I don't find the 11 or 5 point to be that useful
I think most K-x users would agree and my view is that this is due mainly to its lack of visable focus points... This omission by Pentax in the K-x is pretty much my only major 'gripe' with the camera... What were the designers thinking?!
05-19-2011, 03:25 AM   #10
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I agree with Dave above, it's harder to know if your focal point is hitting target or not without it. I once held a canon and they had the red dot and it was really weird lol.

I use the single focus point, but I don't use the central position. Since I do a lot of portraits I usually have it at one of the end points, because I find that's usually closest to where I focus for eyes. Then I also don't have to move the camera much to re-compose which also means less chance (hopefully!) of missing focus.
05-19-2011, 05:54 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jellyfish26 Quote
I've had my K-x for a couple weeks now and I think its time to stop playing around.
Since this was my first camera, I spent the first couple of weeks practicing manual focus and figuring the effects of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. I've always used center point autofocus and centered everything.

Now, I want to change that and try using the rule of thirds. However, whenever I take pictures, I automatically put the subject right in the center of the frame. I will focus and recompose when the object is still, but when the object moves, I will center it.

Are there any practices (like the one for manual focusing) that I can do to improve my framing skills? Any tips for following the rule of thirds? Also, concerning the AF points, when should I use 11-point, 5-point, or center? I looked around the forum and everybody seemed to used center point AF. Why would you use 11 or 5-point AF?

Thanks,
jellyfish26
I think if you look back just a few years, a 7 or 8 megapixel camera could easily have an image printed to 20 x 30" and possibly larger and could handle 8x10's like clockwork.

My only advice is to get the focus right, which is the most important thing, then crop to your "Rule of Thirds" liking, you will have more than enough to make the biggest prints. You may need to leave an little extra room when compising for how you want to have the end image to look... plan ahead...

I sometimes use the 11 or 5 point AF for certain lenses and conditions but will be on center focus for the vast majority of time.
05-19-2011, 04:41 PM   #12
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As we say of electronics, "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them". Same with artistic rules. Golden ratio; rules of 1's, 2's, 3's, 4's, ad infinitum; rules of circles, ellipses, diagonals; rules of perspective; whatever. In other words, DON'T SWEAT IT! Shoot to get the shot, then crop. It's a long tradition.

Personally, I find rule-of-thirds stuff to be predictable and boring. And I'm not the only one. Try this: Grab some illustrated magazines, comic books, collections of art, anything filled with images. Analyze them. See how many images are in thirds. Rather, see how many *editors* select images in thirds. Now get a book on design typography, page layout. See whether dividing pages into thirds is recommended. Report back on your findings. Thanks.

PS: I'[m not saying to avoid thirds. They can be part of the mix. But I think it's best to avoid set patterns -- unless such constitute your style, and your work wouldn't be recognizable without the patterns.

Last edited by RioRico; 05-19-2011 at 04:53 PM.
05-24-2011, 12:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
I think most K-x users would agree and my view is that this is due mainly to its lack of visable focus points... This omission by Pentax in the K-x is pretty much my only major 'gripe' with the camera... What were the designers thinking?!
Do most other Pentax cameras have a visable focus point indicator?
05-24-2011, 02:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mhaws Quote
Do most other Pentax cameras have a visable focus point indicator?
For digital, I think only the K-x and K-m don't have visible points.
05-24-2011, 02:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mhaws Quote
Do most other Pentax cameras have a visable focus point indicator?
K-r does... K7 does... K10 does... K20 does... K5 does...

I think the Km and *ist cameras do too (this is based on never reading of the lack being an issue within reviews) sure someone will confirm...

For some reason they were simply left out of the K-x design... It's not a deal breaker for me (although I have friends who've bought canikons because of it) but it does sometimes make it more difficult than it could be...
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