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10-14-2014, 10:07 AM   #1
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K5 Autofocus

High everyone. Fairly new to posting much prefer to read than post however I am having a little bit of trouble with AF in low light. Love the camera this is the first proper Digital camera I have owned and its fantastic. Problem is when I attach either my Sigma 24-70- f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8 in very low light i tend to get a lot of focus hunting which sometimes results in OOF pictures. Neither of these lens are SDM, down to price you know! Some 'experts' have suggested K% is poor in low light but when I bought the camera id was rated as probably the best low light camera in its price range. I take a few theatre pics and as such lighting can be a issue. Should I update the camera to K511 or K3 or change the lenses to HSM?

10-14-2014, 11:11 AM   #2
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The K5 is a great camera and great in low light, but the focus in low light sucks. Even some of the small P&S focus better in low light. The K5II owners and the K3 owners are much more happy with the the low light focussing. Upgrading your lenses to HSM lenses will probably not sort out the the low light focus problem. So if it is very important, a K3 upgrade should make a big difference
10-14-2014, 12:02 PM   #3
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You are hitting the limit of the K-5 AF that was already a bit dated when it came and is pretty old now compared to newer ones. K-5II or K-3 would surely be better. On the other hand I've shot both concerts and indoor sports with a K-5 so I've learned to live and use the tool.
10-14-2014, 02:06 PM   #4
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Based on my own experiences the K-3 is definitely faster and more accurate than the K-5 in low light. You can try to update the firmware. That might help.

10-15-2014, 05:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rasebe Quote
High everyone. Fairly new to posting much prefer to read than post however I am having a little bit of trouble with AF in low light. Love the camera this is the first proper Digital camera I have owned and its fantastic. Problem is when I attach either my Sigma 24-70- f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8 in very low light i tend to get a lot of focus hunting which sometimes results in OOF pictures. Neither of these lens are SDM, down to price you know! Some 'experts' have suggested K% is poor in low light but when I bought the camera id was rated as probably the best low light camera in its price range. I take a few theatre pics and as such lighting can be a issue. Should I update the camera to K511 or K3 or change the lenses to HSM?
I have used AF SLRs since the mid 1990s, and the K-5 does fine in low light. It does not suck. Try this little trick next time. (I am assuming you are using the shutter release to do your autofocusing as well.)

You are trying to lock focus and it won't, it is hunting some.
1) While still holding the camera like you are taking a shot, tilt the camera 45 to 90deg.
2) Lock focus AND HOLD IT (= keep the shutter release half pressed).
3) Recompose and finish taking the shot.

Sometimes that is all it takes, because AF sensors often times still are more sensative in one orientation than another. Note how the camera manuals often times illustrate how cameras don't like focusing on venetian blinds and the like? They get confused by the contrasts they are seeing in one orientation. Often times all you have to do is just change the orientation of the camera to the scene to get the AF to lock.

Try it, you will be surprised.
10-17-2014, 09:27 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the help guys. I was sort of expecting the worse. Camera is fantastic in all other aspects so I may hang on a while before I get a K3. Love the handling and quality of the K5 together with the option of both screw and HSM/SDM lenses. Bit of a Sigma man Im afraid with 12-24 24-70 70-200 50macro 2x converter (all dg maybe full frame one day) plus walk around 18-250 Plus 28 2.8 A SMC 100macro A Vivitar and the standard 18-55. Loath to move to Nikon as the 7000 was the other camera I considered but decided on the Pentax and have never regreted it.
10-19-2014, 12:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rasebe Quote
High everyone. Fairly new to posting much prefer to read than post however I am having a little bit of trouble with AF in low light. Love the camera this is the first proper Digital camera I have owned and its fantastic. Problem is when I attach either my Sigma 24-70- f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8 in very low light i tend to get a lot of focus hunting which sometimes results in OOF pictures. Neither of these lens are SDM, down to price you know! Some 'experts' have suggested K% is poor in low light but when I bought the camera id was rated as probably the best low light camera in its price range. I take a few theatre pics and as such lighting can be a issue. Should I update the camera to K511 or K3 or change the lenses to HSM?
You may already have knowledge of this, but I have had excellent results from having my AF area switch on a K-5 to the uppermost setting (one with the dot in the center of the rectangle) for using the center area as the focus area, and the AF mode switch set to C for continuous. If you are getting images in a theatre with shadows and bright light contrasts you might want to use a flash for a fill in light if you are within a reasonable distance (which may not be your case or method you want to use). These are just common knowledge factors that I wanted to mention. I have had two K-5s and they are remarkable, and now use a K-5IIs for mostly wildlife/birding, and without having the filter which the K5 had the images seem almost definitely to have more detail. I found when I used the K5 in lower light if I had the appropriate lens it performed quite well, but resorted to a flash (Pentax AF360FGZ) for fill to avoid image loss for obviously very low light situations. As is usually the case, each new model camera seems to outperform its predecessor. I still have a K-5 for landscape and indoor flash related shooting, and a K-5IIS for wildlife/birding. My K-5 experience has been excellent and it has been a reliably performing camera. If you ever get the IIS, it is amazing. I myself am sort of waiting for the appearance of a Pentax full-frame camera which there has been mention of coming soon, though the K-5IIs is the best performing camera I have ever had. For the most part, I prize Pentax and have been using one since the Pentax K-1000 35 mm film camera version. As I mentioned this is just common advice, and I just wanted to make some suggestions you could possibly use. Good luck.

---------- Post added 10-19-14 at 03:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by rasebe Quote
High everyone. Fairly new to posting much prefer to read than post however I am having a little bit of trouble with AF in low light. Love the camera this is the first proper Digital camera I have owned and its fantastic. Problem is when I attach either my Sigma 24-70- f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8 in very low light i tend to get a lot of focus hunting which sometimes results in OOF pictures. Neither of these lens are SDM, down to price you know! Some 'experts' have suggested K% is poor in low light but when I bought the camera id was rated as probably the best low light camera in its price range. I take a few theatre pics and as such lighting can be a issue. Should I update the camera to K511 or K3 or change the lenses to HSM?
I also wanted to mention, are the lenses you are using K mount (made for use on Pentax K Mount cameras)? They probably are since you mentioned your AF is performing some, but I just wanted to mention it. I have a Sigma 150-500 for Pentax K Mount that I used with my K-5 before I started using it with my K-5IIS, and it did well.
09-22-2015, 03:15 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your help guys. I have upgraded to the K3, great camera. The focussing in low light is now no problem. Only issue is having to start again with my lens collection. bye bye 18-250 - 100mm macro - 28mm - 50mm macro. Hello 35mm and 50mm DA and just 21mm DA limited.

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