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06-18-2013, 03:41 PM   #1
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K-01 Problem with Focus

Hey folks.

I bought a new K-01 (body only) a month ago and am using a D-series 18 - 35mm lens on it, but am having focus issues. I generally use autofocus, but when my subjects have been out of focus when I review them later, I have tried using manual, which frankly is an issue.

Is there a good tutorial somewhere that gives hints on how to use this camera to its fullest capability, and how to properly set options? I used to think I was a fair-to-middling photographer, but this thing is making me feel like I should take up another hobby.

Thanks for any help. I can certainly post examples if needed.

Jim

06-18-2013, 05:03 PM   #2
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Jim,

Is there any particular scenario that is giving you trouble? I usually use select-point focus with the point in the center. Because the K-01 uses contrast-detect auto focus (CDAF), it tends to go after the object with highest contrast, especially if you use the default AF mode. I remember one K-01 user who was frustrated that the K-01 refused to focus on the object in the foreground, but there was a picture with a black frame on a white wall about ten feet behind it, and the camera just couldn't resist it. There is an option called AF autozoom where it zooms in to show what it is locking on to. It gets irritating after awhile, but it can be useful to get used to how the camera behaves. Because it's CDAF only, it also needs a bit more light to focus accurately, especially with something like the kit lens.

Last thought: have you upgraded the firmware? FW1.01 was a huge improvement over 1.00.
06-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #3
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Probably need to clarify which lens is that? The only 18-35 is the plastic fantastic FA-J 18-35.
Do you mean DA 18-135?
06-18-2013, 08:40 PM   #4
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My cell phone and P&Ss auto focus better than my K-01. If the original firmware was really that much worse I'm surprised they weren't all returned as defective. If Pentax was concerned with increasing their customer base a landfill would have been a better dumping ground than the market.

06-18-2013, 10:30 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ducky62 Quote
My cell phone and P&Ss auto focus better than my K-01. If the original firmware was really that much worse I'm surprised they weren't all returned as defective. If Pentax was concerned with increasing their customer base a landfill would have been a better dumping ground than the market.
I do not know what cellphone an what P&S you have, but in general, if what you write above is true then your K-01 sounds to be defective (or, you're doing something fundamentally wrong in using it).

The ergonomics of the K-01 may be an "acquired taste" and source of division, but I've not heard anything negative about the IQ it produces. I've taken in the vicinity of 9K photos with my K-01 so far since February, and it's a camera fully capable of taking sharp, well exposed, well saturated pictures, with a good dynamic range and well in focus.

It's also only a camera, though, so it ain't magically compensating for /my/ lack of photographic skills, shaky hands, and indecisiveness, of course

If you are so displeased with your K-01 that you're considering sending it off a landfill, PM me and I'll send you an empty UPS box and take it off your hand - "for safe disposal", of course

That's in part in jest (although I do want another K-01 body) ... in serious, what makes you so displeased with the K-01? There're a lot of smart people on this forum, from whom I've learned a lot, perhaps there's a simple way of fixing whatever is so upsetting?
06-19-2013, 05:19 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tclausen Quote
in general, if what you write above is true then your K-01 sounds to be defective (or, you're doing something fundamentally wrong in using it).
That is almost word-for-word what I thought!

I've seen similar comparisons of focus between point-and-shoots and pretty much every DSLR, so it's not just the K-01. Because the sensor on a P&S or cellphone is so small, the depth of field is huge, meaning it can get acceptable focus with little or no effort (sometimes effort is required to get things NOT in focus). With a large sensor and shallow depth of field, focus has to be spot-on, and all the K-01 can see is areas of higher and lower contrast. It has to rack focus and see if it can maximize contrast, which is a relatively slow process.

Now if we're talking about action shots, contrast-detect AF makes the K-01 a poor tool for the job, and that was common knowledge a year ago. Otherwise, I've got several thousand in-focus shots (hundreds with FW 1.00) that say the K-01 does a pretty good job - maybe a little higher miss rate than my DSLRs with phase-detect AF, but still better than what I can do manually. It can get a lock in light levels where my point-and-shoot would just give up.
06-19-2013, 02:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
That is almost word-for-word what I thought!

I've seen similar comparisons of focus between point-and-shoots and pretty much every DSLR, so it's not just the K-01. Because the sensor on a P&S or cellphone is so small, the depth of field is huge, meaning it can get acceptable focus with little or no effort (sometimes effort is required to get things NOT in focus). With a large sensor and shallow depth of field, focus has to be spot-on, and all the K-01 can see is areas of higher and lower contrast. It has to rack focus and see if it can maximize contrast, which is a relatively slow process.

Now if we're talking about action shots, contrast-detect AF makes the K-01 a poor tool for the job, and that was common knowledge a year ago. Otherwise, I've got several thousand in-focus shots (hundreds with FW 1.00) that say the K-01 does a pretty good job - maybe a little higher miss rate than my DSLRs with phase-detect AF, but still better than what I can do manually. It can get a lock in light levels where my point-and-shoot would just give up.
Agree entirely with everything. Sure, CDAF is not good for action photo - then again, CDAF doesn't suffer back-focus I'm actually quite impressed with the low-light AF performance of the K-01, it is much better than I had expected with the AF assist light.

Hey, I just realized that I was still running with 1.02 FW, and there was an 1.03 available. I've thrown it on the camera, but not seeing any difference as of yet - what should I look for?
06-19-2013, 03:59 PM   #8
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I think FW 1.03 just fixed some stability problems that were accidentally introduced in FW 1.02, which really only added support for the DA 560. Since I won't be buying a $7000 lens until it comes in K-01 yellow, I've only updated one of my bricks past FW 1.01. I don't really see a difference.

06-19-2013, 04:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
I think FW 1.03 just fixed some stability problems that were accidentally introduced in FW 1.02, which really only added support for the DA 560. Since I won't be buying a $7000 lens until it comes in K-01 yellow, I've only updated one of my bricks past FW 1.01. I don't really see a difference.
Well, I have seen no adverse effects from 1.03, so I'm just hoping no harm done.

As for the DA 560, I am entirely with you there, it's K-01 yellow, or no deal!
06-19-2013, 04:25 PM   #10
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First, lots of you are replying to someone else's reply to my original post, so do me a favor. Start a DIFFERENT post. I, the original "creator" of this thread, was only asking for help in figuring out why I am having focus issues. Since I had lens replacement surgery in the last two years, my color perception is dramatically improved although to look at close-up objects (including the viewscreen on the K-01) still required spectacles. As such the K-01 is a bit more difficult to use "point-and-shoot" for me than the DSLR it replaced (K100D). I really want to be able to take good photos with my pretty yellow camera, and am pursuing some instruction from you folks, so where do I start/look? And another question. How do I update the camera operating system and where do I get it?

Thanks again. See two shots below that demonstrate my focus problems.
Oregon Jim
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06-19-2013, 04:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jdarrough Quote
First, lots of you are replying to someone else's reply to my original post, so do me a favor. Start a DIFFERENT post. I, the original "creator" of this thread, was only asking for help in figuring out why I am having focus issues. Since I had lens replacement surgery in the last two years, my color perception is dramatically improved although to look at close-up objects (including the viewscreen on the K-01) still required spectacles. As such the K-01 is a bit more difficult to use "point-and-shoot" for me than the DSLR it replaced (K100D). I really want to be able to take good photos with my pretty yellow camera, and am pursuing some instruction from you folks, so where do I start/look? And another question. How do I update the camera operating system and where do I get it?

Thanks again. See two shots below that demonstrate my focus problems.
Oregon Jim
Jim, threads evolve from the initial posting as an exchange between whoever joins the discussion. That is the nature of a forum like thisone - which is not "Pentax Paid Tech Support", after all If you want "tutoring" over which you have "ownership" and to the exclusion of other related discussions, then I'm sure that there're places for that also, on the Internet or in the "real world".

But, we're usually glad to help, so for information on how to update the firmware on your K-01, you can try to look here: http://bit.ly/120ITjh
06-19-2013, 04:37 PM   #12
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Looks like you may be too close to your subject for the lenses being used.
06-19-2013, 07:17 PM   #13
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Actually, I was trying to keep the conversation on the subject of autofocus, even if it wasn't the OP's immediate problem, before the conversation turned into yet another "what Pentax should have done with the K-01" thread. They all do, eventually.

It looks to me like in both cases, the camera focused behind the desired subject because there was something with much stronger contrast behind it. The white-edged leaves have stronger contrast against the background foliage than the fuzzy purple flowers do against the leaves. In the case of the hydrangea, the individual blue flowers have very little contrast against each other, while the edge of the cluster has strong contrast against the background foliage.

I have similar problems with Daffodils - you want to focus on the front of the cup, but that is usually yellow on yellow, while the petals at the back are yellow against background, and the stems are all sharp-edged light green/dark green stripes. It's a tougher scenario than one would think.

Are you using the default autofocus mode of Face Detection? (Press the Info button - the AF method is in the upper right - the smiley face icon is face detection) I would try center-point (white rectangle) or select-point (white rectangle with four arrows), and if that doesn't work, go with manual focus using focus peaking. I would also try to get as much depth of field as possible by using Av mode and setting the aperture to f/8 or so.
06-21-2013, 12:52 PM   #14
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On your first photo of the "flowers", it would seem that "it" is in focus...albeit only the leaves, which the AF probably locked your focus point on.
If you wanted the flowers to be included in the focus too then you should have used a deeper DOF, meaning using a smaller aperture opening (bigger aperture number) like f:8-16.
A good trick is to set your settings (AF/MF Settings) to center focus.
Point the center of your focus to what you actually want to be in focus, then half press to lock focus then recompose if you don't want that subject you pre-focused on to be in the center of the photo. Do the recomposition without releasing the shutter to half-press. After you recomposed, then press the shutter fully to take the photo.
As for your 2nd photo, the camera might have focused to the right flower cluster as you can see that it is the one in focus.
The K-01 as you half-press the shutter might not tend to focus on what you want since you might not have selected center focus on your setting.
Look at the green square on the LCD screen where it locks focus after a half press of the shutter button.
If it locks focus on a different location (to the left or right or top or bottom) of what you really wanted to focus on, then release the half-press and re-focus again by doing another half-press of the shutter.
Hope this helps
06-23-2013, 08:57 PM   #15
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Both photos just look to be taken more close to the subject than minimum focus distance of the lens. Just need to back off a further 10cm or so, or use a macro lens.
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