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07-15-2010, 10:25 AM   #1
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K20, liveview and manual focussing

Hi all,

I'm interrested in the K20D, but I have a question : is LiveView useful (and usable) for manual focus on this camera ?

I've seen this on a 5DmkII (landscape and macro work), and found it wonderful (old manual lenses freak !).

But I also read several posts claiming the LV on the K20D was not accurate, pixelized, ... Most of them are about two years ago, so LV-focusing was something new, and it's hard to compare. I've also seen the new firmware update, maybe there was some improvements ?

I don't intend to use my SLR as a camcorder or P&S. Just check out my focusing, before I have to invest (or not) in a focusing screen :-)

Regards

07-15-2010, 10:58 AM   #2
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Opinions will differ, but for me live view is invaluable for most macro shots. And it works very well.

It IS somewhat pixellized if you zoom, but that's not an issue. You do not need to evaluate the final output of your image, just to evaluate the accuracy of your focusing. And THAT works like a charm.

It can certainly be improved with newer bodies, but it works pretty well as it is.

If you're an old manual lenses freak, then Pentax is the brand of choice
07-15-2010, 11:16 AM   #3
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I Fully agree with BDéry in regards to the performance of the LV function on the K20D.

I use it for Macro only but it is very useful even if the quality of the screen is'nt that great. The K7D seems to be much better with the new screen. Good luck.
07-15-2010, 11:20 AM   #4
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This belongs in DSLR, not news and rumors. Moved.

07-15-2010, 01:28 PM   #5
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Thanks for the moving boss !

And thank you BDERY for your answer, that's what I needed to know : you are not suppose to check you final image on this screen (we have computers with wonderful screens for that) but you can check if your focus is ok or not, even if the image is not that neat. Thats what I need !

In fact, I currently own a K200D with a TENPA magnifier and a K3 focusing screen. It's a nice piece of gear, but I'd like to get higher ISO, better viewfinder and bigger resolution.

Forget the K-m, the K-x is not my solution (nice sensor but awful viewfinder and focusing screen, no more wired remote, cheap looking and strange handling) and the K-7 is too expensive for me now. But I could have a barely used K20D for about 400€ (I'm in France), which looks like a bargain to me !

By the way, are all ISO usable with a K20D and without having the magical 12800 setting ? I'll shoot only in RAW as always, and process with software.
07-15-2010, 10:28 PM   #6
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i wanted to like it but was very disappointed when i got my K20. I only find this feature useful when zoomed and it is pixellated so not veryeasy to verify accurate focus. I generally will use it for shallow DOF tripod shots when the light conditions are good enough for me to see the LCD data clearly, but most other times, i stick to the viewfinder. YMMV.
Then i looked at my friend's K-x live view which does it beautifully zoomed in, as i suspect the K-7 does. I wish Pentax could create a firmware update to improve this feature in the K20.
07-16-2010, 05:01 AM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
By the way, are all ISO usable with a K20D and without having the magical 12800 setting ? I'll shoot only in RAW as always, and process with software.
I never use ISO 3200, though the output is quite ok. It's not just that great, and I don't need it. Bu I can use ISO 1600 without thinking much about it. You see the difference (with ISO 100 , but it's still quite good.

I'd say 3200 is "good", 1600 "pretty good", below 1000 is "great" (it's hard to see the difference between 100 and 800 unless you zoom in a LOT).

RAW should also help with this.
07-16-2010, 05:27 AM   #8
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I use the LV on the K20 for long tele shots with the old K 500/4.5 and it saves the day sometimes. Yes, if you zoom in, the LV is pixelated, but what you do is to look for the highest edge contrast for focusing and that is pretty recognizable.

For high ISO performance. I have learned to routinely use the K20 between ISO100 and ISO400. From ISO 400 to ISO800 I start thinking about the necessity, but up to ISO 1000 I still feel comfortable and the images are very good. ISO 1600 is my personal upper limit for anything I want to really use. ISO3200 is useable for simple documentary shots, say personal moments I want to preserve, but won't ever publish in any form.

Ben

07-16-2010, 07:13 AM   #9
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Shooting macro or tele handheld, I usually use Catch-In-Focus rather than LiveView. Shooting macro in the mini-studio, I'll run the video output to a monitor. I find LV most useful for composing awkward handheld shots with a wide lens, or just for previewing a dicey setup.

As for ISO, I generally stay below 1000, but remember: any shot you get is better than any shot you miss. If that means shooting at 6400 on my K20D, then pushed a few stops in PP, so be it. With my 5mpx Sony DSC-V1 P&S I've grabbed rather noisy NightShot (sniperscope-like IR) images that I've massaged and sold. Often, subject trumps resolution.

Also, the human visual system generally wants to see landscapes and objects and such THINGS as sharply as possible, while we have much more leeway with anthropomorphic features and anatomy. And almost any shot of human(-like) animals will grab more eyeballs than almost any shot of THINGS. Guess what we human animals are interested in?
07-16-2010, 08:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
I use the LV on the K20 for long tele shots with the old K 500/4.5 and it saves the day sometimes. Yes, if you zoom in, the LV is pixelated, but what you do is to look for the highest edge contrast for focusing and that is pretty recognizable.
Same here, LV works quite nicely for contrast detection etc(fine focusing). In most cases much better than using the viewfinder with catzeye or AF confirm. Though I really do wish it was more like the K-7 in terms of resolution(so nice).
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