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11-19-2013, 04:49 PM   #1
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K-5 AF Questions

I've heard some people say the K-5 has a slow auto focus. Today was my first real experience with the camera. I am sorry to say quite a few shots are indeed out of focus. Basically any shot where the subject was moving (my brother working on his truck). He really wasn't moving that fast! But my shutter speeds varied from 1/25 to 1/160 and my ISO varied from 200 to 1600. I also noticed a real issue with dynamic range. The background is all washed out in photos taken inside of his truck. I took shots with and without fill flash. He's well-exposed but the scenery behind him outside the truck is all washed out. Not sure why this is so. It was cloudy at the time. Not so bright, really.

Hoping it's just because I'm new to the camera.

Which focus mode is fastest? The center point only?

I admit I have not yet read the manual thoroughly. But I thought program mode would get the job done.

(NOTE: I added some samples from my first K-5 outing below. 8:30pm EDT)

Thanks


Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 11-19-2013 at 06:53 PM. Reason: additional info
11-19-2013, 04:53 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
I've heard some people say the K-5 has a slow auto focus. Today was my first real experience with the camera. I am sorry to say quite a few shots are indeed out of focus. Basically any shot where the subject was moving (my brother working on his truck). He really wasn't moving that fast! But my shutter speeds varied from 1/25 to 1/160 and my ISO varied from 200 to 1600. I also noticed a real issue with dynamic range. The background is all washed out in photos taken inside of his truck. I took shots with and without fill flash. He's well-exposed but the scenery behind him outside the truck is all washed out. Not sure why this is so. It was cloudy at the time. Not so bright, really.

Hoping it's just because I'm new to the camera.

Which focus mode is fastest? The center point only?

Thanks
Can you post some samples? And what lens are you using?

The K-5's AF system isn't slow, it's just not the best for tracking. You'll want to keep it in AF.C mode for moving subjects BTW.

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11-19-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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Can you post some pictures? Do you have a photobucket or flickr?

Center point is usually fastest, as long as you plan to recompose very quickly or keep the subject centered.
What lens were you using? 1/25s can be pretty slow for human movement.

With regards to the blown highlights - are you shooting jpeg or RAW?
11-19-2013, 05:01 PM   #4
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K-5 with 18-55 WR in program mode shooting auto focus selector in down position on green AUTO mark. Shooting jpegs.

Have Flickr but don't want to post poor photos on it.

11-19-2013, 05:04 PM   #5
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With regards to jpegs, you should try turning on highlight and shadow correction when dealing with high dynamic range situations. If I remember correctly, the k-5 has something like 11ev of DR in jpeg, and 14ev of DR in RAW - which is a rather huge difference.

With regards to AF - the 18-55 isn't that slow of a lens, so having pictures would help understand a bit more. Was your brother moving towards/away from you, or just generally moving around? Were you trying to catch him while moving? 1/160s and 1600ISO (if that's the worst case) isn't that dim, so I'd be surprised if the k-5 couldn't catch an average person moving around.
11-19-2013, 05:49 PM   #6
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Here are some samples (I hope)

The first examples show the blown highlights washed out behind the truck. Keep in mind it was dark and overcast outside, not bright and sunny.

The next few photos show focus problems.

The dog shot at the end seemed to come out okay.

Thank you.
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Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 11-19-2013 at 06:22 PM.
11-19-2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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Which shot is out of focus? The several shots where there is no motion blur look in focus. The shots with motion blur have motion blur.
11-19-2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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Well I gave a varied selection of pictures.

I did not know we differentiate focus from motion blur.

So I'm thinking maybe I would have been better off to shoot shutter priority with higher ISO and AF.C?

Program mode can't handle this sort of thing very well?I expected that P mode could lock focus and meter exposure really accurately and quickly. I know that's lazy but since I was new with the K-5 I just wanted to keep it simple.

And what about the third shot, the one of my brother looking down from the cab of his truck? How could this be motion blur? He wasn't moving!

Thanks!


Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 11-19-2013 at 09:32 PM.
11-19-2013, 08:18 PM   #9
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Which one of him sitting, the first, second, or fourth?

I'm not familiar with program mode or shooting only jpeg mode, so I can't really comment on that. I shoot RAW and I usually shoot Av or TAv with center weighted metering. Hopefully someone else can provide advice in shooting program mode.
11-19-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
Which one of him sitting, the first, second, or fourth?

I'm not familiar with program mode or shooting only jpeg mode, so I can't really comment on that. I shoot RAW and I usually shoot Av or TAv with center weighted metering. Hopefully someone else can provide advice in shooting program mode.
The third picture down.

Thanks
11-19-2013, 09:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
The third picture down.

Thanks
The third is of him reaching under the truck? I'll assume you mean 4th then - that does look like motion blur in the face, and camera shake on the rest. I think it's somewhat in focus because I can see detail in the jacket around the neck.

Motion blur is very different than focus blur.
11-19-2013, 09:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
The third is of him reaching under the truck? I'll assume you mean 4th then - that does look like motion blur in the face, and camera shake on the rest. I think it's somewhat in focus because I can see detail in the jacket around the neck.

Motion blur is very different than focus blur.
I mean the third picture of him actually in the truck, in this case the one of his face looking down at the camera, forgive my inaccuracy. Thanks for your feedback.

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11-19-2013, 10:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
Here are some samples (I hope)

The first examples show the blown highlights washed out behind the truck. Keep in mind it was dark and overcast outside, not bright and sunny.
The dog shot at the end seemed to come out okay.
Look at the first shot next to the last shot. The first shot has a lot of gray or dark gray in it. The meter tries to expose for everything. Here it chose the exposure to get all that gray brighter, which caused the outside to overexpose. With hardly any dark stuff in the last shot, the meter nailed it and you got a good shot.

Your eyes are really great at adjusting to light but cameras are still behind. Experience helps recognize the situations where the camera will not do well. You could have adjusted your framing to be similar to the dog shot, or used exposure compensation. Exposure compensation is basically knowing that the meter is going to see something that will throw it off, and telling it to give you a brighter or darker scene. Actually your brother's face is close to a good exposure in the first shot, he's just sandwiched between extremes of light and dark. If you could have moved right, you would eliminate some of the backlighting.

That 4th picture from the top, brother sitting in the truck looking down, I can't really explain. It's overexposed, with focus problems combined with motion blur. The stuff in the background is in focus, though. Maybe the face was closer than the lens's minimum focusing distance, and it just gave up and focused on the background? Again there's a lot of gray, but it seems like the meter wanted it to be really light. It looks like just as you took the shot, your brother turned his head.

The main camera problem is that it can't tell what your main subject is. So it can't make great decisions about where to make the exposure perfect, or where to focus. It just guesses. Program mode is OK when the camera has a chance to make a good guess, but there is still plenty of opportunity to use your brain to take a better shot.
11-20-2013, 05:11 AM   #14
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Thanks for taking a look at my first K-5 photos and offering some advice and insight. Do you think the same issues would have arisen with any DSLR in Program mode? Like, for example, some reviewers say Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode is the best in the business. Maybe automatic shooting is not the K-5's strong suit? Well, I will just have to learn how to configure the K-5 myself! I've looked at other people's K-5 photos on this site, and it's clearly a very capable camera in experienced hands.

Would you happen to know if the K-5's knobs and switches are supposed to be rather stiff to move? I don't want to force anything. I know the mode dial has that release button. It has to be pressed before the mode dial will turn. I guess it's a precautionary thing. But all the rest of the levers and knobs also seem kind of stiff to me. That is, except the exposure adjustment wheels.

And, on a side note, I don't know if using my brain is such a good idea. They have always told me they don't want me to think, again and again. They say thinking will only lead to problems. They say it's best if I just keep to myself and be quiet and do as I'm told. Don't worry about the air, they say. Don't worry about the government. LOL!

But I get the feeling you can't be a sheep and a Pentaxian too!

Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 11-20-2013 at 06:31 AM.
11-20-2013, 06:37 AM   #15
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The controls are supposed to be stiff to avoid accidental movement.

Your images to me show classic motion blur. I prefer to use TAv mode so I can keep the shutter speed quick enough to avoid that blur. 1/125 is minimum for quickish action, and if you keep your aperture setting fairly open on a gray day like that - f5.6 or lower, you'll have plenty of light so your ISO doesn't creep too high. Don't be afraid of ISO 3200 or 6400 with the K5, the sensor can handle that easily.

Shooting automatic means you have to understand what the camera is going to do given the settings it's using. That's not really how I want to operate, I'd rather tell the camera what to do and keep an eye on the settings myself. You should have an idea of what settings are required based on the conditions. Outside in the full sun you'll need to stop down to f8 or above and shutter speed 1/500 or above just to keep the ISO over 100 and not blinking at you. In your overcast conditions, prioritizing the shutter 1/125 or higher means you have to open up the other conditions at the start and see what the meter tells you.

Really - give TAv a try, I think it's the most useful setting for general use.
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