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02-10-2012, 11:06 PM   #1
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Last question before I take the hammer to the piggy bank

I am so ready to pull the trigger after months of geeking out on various cameras.

The K-5 is currently the top contender by far, but here is the last question: I want to mostly shoot with legacy manual lenses, and the focus indicator will be my only cue.
My eyes are useless when it comes to focus (had some recent surgeries, large astigmatism prescription, glasses is a must but doesn't help with the viewfinder, sometimes I would like to shoot with contacts - which are never sharp in my eyes anyways).

I have been reading in the forums and people seem to drop a hint or two that the focus indicator is not that accurate. I played with one at the store, and the indicator light was indeed a hit and miss (would not light up through the focus range), but I will not judge anything based on a 5 minute test with a unit who knows what happened to it, or what the settings were. But makes me wonder.

My other alternative is a NEX7 with the focus peaking, but can't get over the fact that I would be paying a lot for the glamour and glitz. (and that K-5 fits my hands just so...)

Is the focus indicator light accurate enough to rely on at least 90% of the time? Would a focusing screen be absolutely necessary? Was the failure to light when testing because I wasn't feathering the focus enough?

TIA for the help.

Argun

02-10-2012, 11:44 PM   #2
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The only issue with that AF system is that it's got a little slack. I.e. it might stay that you're in lock a little earlier or a little later than it actually should, whereas if the lens had an AF motor it would automatically select the point in the middle of this range. it's not going to be flat out inaccurate, though. And if you stop the lens down a little bit while you're at it, you'll likely make up for the slack.

My rule of thumb is you should use the AF system for AF confirmation, not determination.

If you use the screen on the back, you can have it blow up the image for you so you can accurately determine whether or not it is in focus, just like on the NEX.

If you're going to be shooting with manual lenses a lot (and I'm assuming you mean manual Pentax lenses, don't get a NEX). Instead, get a split-screen focusing screen as it will let you determine whether or not your image is in focus with next to no effort

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02-10-2012, 11:50 PM   #3
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Have about the same problem with focus as you have and rely on the indicator most of the time.Most of the time the indicator is close enough for me.In lower light the focus doesn't like low contrast objects too well.If time allows will get indicator light on,take the shot,go short then ease back until the light is on then go long and come back to get the light.
You would also have zoom in live view that helps with focus.It also helps to open the lens wide open to focus then stopping down.
Jake
02-11-2012, 02:32 AM   #4
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i hear the k-01 has focus peaking, so you might want to check that out too.

02-11-2012, 02:45 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by atekant Quote
I am so ready to pull the trigger after months of geeking out on various cameras.

The K-5 is currently the top contender by far, but here is the last question: I want to mostly shoot with legacy manual lenses, and the focus indicator will be my only cue.
My eyes are useless when it comes to focus (had some recent surgeries, large astigmatism prescription, glasses is a must but doesn't help with the viewfinder, sometimes I would like to shoot with contacts - which are never sharp in my eyes anyways).

I have been reading in the forums and people seem to drop a hint or two that the focus indicator is not that accurate. I played with one at the store, and the indicator light was indeed a hit and miss (would not light up through the focus range), but I will not judge anything based on a 5 minute test with a unit who knows what happened to it, or what the settings were. But makes me wonder.

My other alternative is a NEX7 with the focus peaking, but can't get over the fact that I would be paying a lot for the glamour and glitz. (and that K-5 fits my hands just so...)

Is the focus indicator light accurate enough to rely on at least 90% of the time? Would a focusing screen be absolutely necessary? Was the failure to light when testing because I wasn't feathering the focus enough?

TIA for the help.

Argun
Well, I am more and less in the same situation like you: I mostly shoot with legacy lenses and I have to wear glasses after surgery for cataract on both eyes.

First of all, don't forget that focus confirmation and auto focus will only work in adequate" light. With the K-5 I find that "adequate" is fairly low.

Secondly and very important: The focus indicator is not your only assistant. You also have CATCH-IN-FOCUS that you may use with your legacy lenses. Meaning that you can shoot with Auto Focus activated and the shutter release will block until you subject (center point) is in focus. Now that is a very valuable Pentax-specific DSLR feature!!!
02-11-2012, 03:04 AM - 1 Like   #6
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+Stone G., thanks for telling me about the catch-in-focus. So it is like AF with manual lenses, I just get to turn the focus ring myself instead of eating battery. Best of both worlds, eh?

And I would like to thank everyone who responded. I have made up my mind. And the existence of this forum is much more valuable than any gimmick Sony or anyone else can throw at me.

So long as the store has serial number 42xxxxxx copies as they promised, I am coming home with a new baby this weekend.

And now, the adventure of picking lenses start...
02-11-2012, 04:17 AM   #7
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CIF = Catch in Focus. When you switch to manual focus you can use this function (check the K5 manual) by switching it on from the menu (it's C4 -25). Point at your subject, hold down the shutter button and start focusing, when it hits focus the shutter will fire (and not before) !

Focus Confirmation = you can see this in your VF - it is the little green hexagon. When lit it shows you that the subject is in focus. Note however that there is a 'range' (also with AF) so it depends on whether you are focusing from Infinity DOWN to your subject or from minimum focus distance UP to your subject. For each lens one direction will always give sharper shots (and it does vary from lens to lens though for most of mine it is Infinity DOWN to the subject). This is easy to check on the K7/K5 by taking one shot from each direction and then using the side-by-side review mode and zooming in to see which is sharper, do this a few times and you will now be certain which direction it is for each lens (write it down so you can remember) - it makes a big difference.
02-11-2012, 05:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
CIF = Catch in Focus. When you switch to manual focus you can use this function (check the K5 manual) by switching it on from the menu (it's C4 -25). Point at your subject, hold down the shutter button and start focusing, when it hits focus the shutter will fire (and not before) !
Just a small clarification (since atekant is new to this):

When you "switch" to Manual Focus Lenses you can use CIF. The camera body is set to AF.S in that situation.

And as Frogfish says (and as always): Read the manual!

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