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10-12-2012, 12:08 PM   #1
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ist DL autofocus problem

My wife and I use our ist DL with Pentax 80-200 lense primarily to take pictures of our daughters soccer games. In April, the LCD started to become intermittent; the camera was taken to a shop and sent to Pentax repair facility in Arizona. It was repaired and upgraded to the latest firmware.

Since then we've had two issues; first, it would intermittently take dark pictures, which required post processing on a PC to make useful. Second, the autofocus seems to focus on the background, leaving the objects of interest out of focus. Both of these are new issues, as my wife has taken literally thousands of pictures on the same fields before without problems. Almost all photos are taken in moving object mode, with auto focus set. The focus area is set to the default, same as before.

Before I return it to the camera shop ( or Pentax ) I'd like to know if anyone else has seen this issue or has any suggestions that might resolve the problems.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

10-12-2012, 12:21 PM   #2
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The *ist DL only has 3 AF points, which means that the AF area is significantly smaller than on other DSLRs. Consequently, if your subject is ever outside this area, the camera will focus on something else. Given its age, it could be that your camera has reached the end of its life, but it's more likely that you're just suffering from the limitations of its poor AF module- you have to be very careful when shooting!

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10-12-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
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I would try setting the AF on your camera to center point only - focus on your subject using the center point in the viewfinder. Then, holding the shutter button halfway to keep focus locked, recompose your shot, then take the picture. Hopefully you can get a few more years of service from your DL, but it is getting long in the tooth.
10-12-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
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I would try some AF tests to figure out whether the system is always focusing beyond the target, or just inconsistent. Give the camera a target that it can't possibly miss, like a big black mark on a white piece of paper. Set the camera up so you can clearly tell whether the camera focused on the line or missed it. Make sure that if it missed it, the camera didn't just focus on another perfectly valid point of contrast. There are a lot of AF testing threads on here with more complex testing procedures, correct angles, etc. I would want results to show the service facility if I sent it back, not a description that they might ignore.

There might be dust or something on the AF sensors, so they are obstructed. The dark pictures might be a lens issue - maybe your lens didn't like the down time. You could check the EXIF data to see if the exposure data was substantially different between two shots that should be in the same light. Different points to a metering issue in the camera, but if the data is the same, the lens might be faulty.

10-12-2012, 07:12 PM   #5
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I developed some AF issues with mine earlier this year. It was suggested to move AF off the shutter release button . I did and it now is on the ok button. The issues have gone away. I only wish I had done this sooner. This can be done in the custom menu if I remember correctly. I would try that also.

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