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11-04-2012, 05:44 PM   #1
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Question about the need for...

After reading that the new K 5II/IIs can focus almost in the dark...
Well the question is, if it is that dark in the area, would you not need a tripod to get a clear shot anyway?
Thus the need for auto focus is reduced?
How often are you going to need auto focus under these circumstances?
For example, if you are doing a wedding, would you not either need more light for a shake free image or need to use a flash?

Hope I am getting my point across... Trying to determine how much additional advantage the better auto focus would be in real life conditions

Thanks

Randy

11-04-2012, 05:52 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
Hope I am getting my point across... Trying to determine how much additional advantage the better auto focus would be in real life conditions
Little to none IMHO.

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11-04-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Little to none IMHO.
I'm not so sure -- could it also possibly help with slower lenses? For instance, my 18-250 which has a max aperture of 6.3 when zoomed all the way in, will start to hunt at twilight -- it is not all that dark out and it will take fine pictures with the ISO pumped up a bit. But it does have trouble focusing -- won't the new AF help in that scenario (slow lens/not that dark rather than fast lens/actually dark)?
11-04-2012, 06:14 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
it is not all that dark out and it will take fine pictures with the ISO pumped up a bit. But it does have trouble focusing -- won't the new AF help in that scenario (slow lens/not that dark rather than fast lens/actually dark)?
Truth be told I never tested the K-5 IIs with an F6.3 lens (I can get it done, though), but at F5.6 and in low light, while both cameras could focus down to about EV0, the IIs was certainly faster. During the day, though, you're not going to see much of a difference. And it's only going to seem faster if the AF speed is > 1s to begin with.


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11-04-2012, 06:25 PM   #5
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I've done a lot of shots when it is too dark to focus my K-5 manually, even using a K 50 f1.2 lens. (As an OLD film guy, we lived with 1.2 to 1.4 lenses for available light.) As many have noted, the K-5 viewfinder is bad enough for manual focus, but with my eyes in dim light - forget it. So to make use of the K-5 low light capabilities better autofocus would make it more useful.
As it is, most of my dim light work is manual focus on my Leica M9, with 1.4 lenses. (Yes, they do make a beautiful f0.95 - but I don't have $10K to spare...) I can accurately manual focus the M9 rangefinder in dim light where the K-5 won't even autofocus well. The M9 doesn't have great high ISO, but with fast lenses and it's easy-to-hold-steady form I get a lot of good results at 1/8 to 1/15, and some keepers down to 1/2 second.
The K-5 stabilization makes 1/4 sec exposures quite reliable. So - yeah - with it's good high ISO and image stabilization, better low-light autofocus, along with some nice old-fashioned FAST glass, would make the K-5 more usable. If Pentax would add a 35 f1.4 lens - or a FF camera to go with the 50 1.4 - I'd give the K-5IIs (or a future full-frame version) a try.
(The LX is my all-time favorite long exposure camera, but even with its great finder manual SLR focusing is still harder than an M rangefinder.)
11-04-2012, 06:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Truth be told I never tested the K-5 IIs with an F6.3 lens (I can get it done, though), but at F5.6 and in low light, while both cameras could focus down to about EV0, the IIs was certainly faster. During the day, though, you're not going to see much of a difference. And it's only going to seem faster if the AF speed is > 1s to begin with.
It often just fails outright. The current AF system can't really handle anything over 5.8 in poor light. And the CDAF in live-view can *never* handle a lens slower than that -- on the 18-250 zoomed in enough to get above 5.8, it will false lock everytime even in bright light, but back it out a bit so the aperture opens up slightly and it is ok.
11-04-2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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Walking around NYC this past weekend with the storm having taken out power to the Lower East Side made me appreciate the need for the k-5II's AF. For every shot I took with my k-x, using headlights for sources of light, using brighter things (reflective) nearby for points of contrast, I missed 3 other shots that I couldn't get my k-x to focus on.


For example, I'd love to have focused on the woman in this shot. Couldn't even see her face in my viewfinder. Had to settle for the brighter area behind her. Light level of that center area? 1/20s, F2, ISO 6400, and this was bumped up in post.


My k-x took almost 4 tries to even focus on the police car. Part of the problem was that the lights on the cars were so bright, they confused the heck out of the AF system.


Took a bunch of shots from a different angle that weren't focused at all. This was the only shot I had that was in focus, where there was more like overall.

In addition, I was recently in a few bars where I missed a few shots because my k-x decided it wouldn't focus unless I was lucky. So yes - I think this -3EV AF system is kinda useful, and I don't think any of my shots above are worthless shots.

The key to the system is not only the -3EV, but the center F2.8 AF point. So not only can we shoot in less light, but fast lenses like my Sigma 50 F1.4 is going to be more accurate.
11-04-2012, 09:16 PM   #8
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In some cases, too dark is just going to be too dark. If you can't see a subject in the viewfinder, you can't tell if the AF is choosing that subject to focus on. In the dark, you won't be using f8 to make sure you have enough DOF to cover your subject. It'll work sometimes.

I usually forget that the meter gives up too when it's dark. I believe the K-5II does better there too.

11-05-2012, 03:24 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
For example, if you are doing a wedding, would you not either need more light for a shake free image or need to use a flash?
Unless the flash sends out an AF assist light or the subject is close enough for the camera's AF assist light to be adequate, the camera will have to be able to focus in the dark as it will get the benefit of flash illumination only during exposure time.

In general, I believe the K-5 II's AF is a big step forward. Many users had issues with the K-5 (front-focus, failure to lock), some to the extent that they've sent it back or did not even consider buying one. The K-5 II lays that problem to rest, so in terms of a real world difference, yes, I think it is there for Pentax in terms of buyers and for the users in terms of usability.
11-05-2012, 04:49 AM   #10
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Where I've found the K-5 lacking is in night subject focusing. It just struggled to lock focus at times and just severely front focus, which I wager the K-5 II would have adequately addressed.
11-05-2012, 01:50 PM   #11
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I don't know about the K5 vs K5II but low light focusing is something I find very useful.

A tripod does not reduce the need for focusing so I don't see how the need for a tripod in low light could make low light focusing irrelevant. It is still possible to shoot low light photos without a sensitive autofocus but the only way is by shooting lots of photos to focus by successive approximation. Typically I have to shoot between 10 and 20 photos, examining each under max magnification until I get it right - very time consuming.

I have recently upgraded from a K-r to a K-30 and the increased low light capability of its AF has made a big difference for me as there are now many more instances where I can get a good shot with AF. I still check the magnified image thoroughly and occasionally readjust the focus ever so slightly but it is still much less laborious.

The other instance where it is useful to have a sensitive AF is for flash photography when you are shooting subjects at quite a distance. Even with the external flash focus assist light the range with the K-r is quite limited which meant that unless you are shooting something stationary or very near it will be gone by the time you get the focus right. Here again I have noticed a big improvement in the K30 compared to the K-r.

I would suppose that the same applies equally well when comparing the K-5II to the K-5.
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