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05-17-2022, 09:32 AM - 1 Like   #1
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K-70 Manual Focus for Astrophotography

Hello all,

this is my first post on this forum. I recently bought a Pentax K-70 for astrophotography. My lens is the HD Pentax-DA 1:4.5-6.3 55-300mm ED PLM WR RE. I would like to go into manual focus mode and there is a button for that but when I switch the AF/MF button to MF focus is still automatic. I would to manually focus it and I can'y find how to do that. I have read the instruction book and tried many things to no avail. Is there something I don't understand or my Pentax is broken?

05-17-2022, 10:58 AM - 1 Like   #2
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That should be all you need to do. To confirm that the camera is in MF mode, look through the optical view finder. You should see the MF indicator on the left side of the information bar at the bottom of the view (the lighted green markings). If you don't see that then it is possible that there is an issue with the camera.
05-17-2022, 11:09 AM - 1 Like   #3
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The lens in question is a focus by wire lens - previous reviews have never suggested problems using manual focus but precision can be more difficult given the lack of tactile feedback and dampening. I wish I had a k-70 to test this with. I did test on my k-3 and KP: both units worked as expected when I switched the body to MF, no autofocus. One is setup for back button, the other standard.

HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE Review - Focusing | PentaxForums.com Reviews
05-17-2022, 11:10 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I don't own a K-70 but assume it would be similar to the other Pentax bodies like the K-3, K-3ii, K-3iii, K-500, and k2000 which I own. On them there is a switch by the mount that controls AF/MF mode and has always worked just fine for me. The one thing that may be different and that I don't know much about is the use of a PLM lens as my few AF lenses are all screw drive so something may be going wrong with that. Of the bodies I own the K-500 is MF only as the AF has failed and it also has the failed aperture block so it is just an astro camera where those aren't needed features and I saved it from going to the garbage so it now has a second useful life.

05-17-2022, 01:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by cdw2000 Quote
That should be all you need to do. To confirm that the camera is in MF mode, look through the optical view finder. You should see the MF indicator on the left side of the information bar at the bottom of the view (the lighted green markings). If you don't see that then it is possible that there is an issue with the camera.
Thank you I will look thouroughly and contact the seller if it is defect.
05-17-2022, 01:26 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by alauzon Quote
Thank you I will look thouroughly and contact the seller if it is defect.
Which one is new and which is existing? Can you test the lens or body independently of the other? Do you have another lens or body to test with?
05-17-2022, 01:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The lens in question is a focus by wire lens - previous reviews have never suggested problems using manual focus but precision can be more difficult given the lack of tactile feedback and dampening. I wish I had a k-70 to test this with. I did test on my k-3 and KP: both units worked as expected when I switched the body to MF, no autofocus. One is setup for back button, the other standard.
I do have a K-70 and the 55-300mm PLM and can attest that it works the same way. Agreed on the fly-by-wire non-precision part. I end up using Live View with Focus Zoom and Focus Peaking.

05-18-2022, 07:47 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by cdw2000 Quote
I do have a K-70 and the 55-300mm PLM and can attest that it works the same way. Agreed on the fly-by-wire non-precision part. I end up using Live View with Focus Zoom and Focus Peaking.
Thank you cdw2000, so I am not crazy. I found a solution. By using the Wifi controller from my phone I can take pictures without AF.
05-18-2022, 08:32 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by alauzon Quote
Thank you cdw2000, so I am not crazy. I found a solution. By using the Wifi controller from my phone I can take pictures without AF.
I'm reading @cdw2000 as saying he agrees with @UncleVanya , which is to say he finds that his 55-300PLM and K70, when switched to MF, does not autofocus.

Of course that's not to say you're crazy... but if you have the AF/MF switch (it's a physical switch on the left side of the camera, it's not a button) set to MF, and the lens is still changing its focus when you press the shutter, then something is wrong or being overlooked.


Regardless of all that, you can set your camera to "back button focus," which will only change the focus when you press the "AF/AE-L" button by your thumb, and won't affect focus at all when you press the shutter. Then you shouldn't have to use your phone and wifi just to avoid autofocus.

If you want to try setting up back button focus, it's in "menu," tab 5 (of the camera icon), "button customization," "AF/AE-L Button," and choose "AF2."
05-18-2022, 12:31 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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After reading the whole thread Iíd be inclined to think the af/mf switch isnít working on the body.

Do you have another lens to test with?
05-19-2022, 05:38 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by wadge22 Quote
I'm reading @cdw2000 as saying he agrees with @UncleVanya , which is to say he finds that his 55-300PLM and K70, when switched to MF, does not autofocus.

Of course that's not to say you're crazy... but if you have the AF/MF switch (it's a physical switch on the left side of the camera, it's not a button) set to MF, and the lens is still changing its focus when you press the shutter, then something is wrong or being overlooked.


Regardless of all that, you can set your camera to "back button focus," which will only change the focus when you press the "AF/AE-L" button by your thumb, and won't affect focus at all when you press the shutter. Then you shouldn't have to use your phone and wifi just to avoid autofocus.

If you want to try setting up back button focus, it's in "menu," tab 5 (of the camera icon), "button customization," "AF/AE-L Button," and choose "AF2."
Thanks a lot wadge22! It's working!
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