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07-15-2010, 10:33 AM   #1
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K20D, LiveView and manual focusing

Hi all,

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

I've seen that 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 deciding if I have to invest or not in a focusing screen :-)


07-15-2010, 11:02 AM   #2
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I don't know how LV could be inaccurate by focus: it's from the sensor, so inherently what you see would be what you get, even if it's lower-res.

I have to admit I always forget the LV is even there. I've only turned it on once or twice out of curiosity, since it occupies the same switch as mechanical DOF preview, which is much more useful to my mind. (Frankly, they should have another button for P&S-type-mode. I might use it more if I didn't have to dig for either it or what I'm familiar with)

In any kind of static setup, the LV should tell you true, though. If you're on a tripod, turn off the SR. If people report 'focus errors' it may well be inappropriate use of SR. Especially before the firmware upgrade. (Before that I would often foul shots just cause my hands were *too good.* It was perplexing, cause I'd get better shots on bad arthritis days. They fixed that. But SR needs a little bit of motion to correct for, inherently, or it will 'search.' Before the update, (And you can find out what firmware you have by turning the camera on while holding the MENU button: you want to see at least 1.03 for these purposes.) If you're doing macro or landscape on a tripod, just turn it off. Which'll automatically happen if you use the self-timer or, if I'm not mistaken, a remote.)

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 07-15-2010 at 11:14 AM.
07-15-2010, 11:19 AM   #3
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They used the word "inacurate" to say "not crisp/clear enough to check focusing" : you have a magnified image on the screen, but not enough magnified/clear to judge whether your focus is perfect or not. So, they considered it as unuseable ...

But I'd like to have other opinion, from year 2010 ! (or I'll end up buying a K-X :-) )
07-16-2010, 08:25 PM   #4
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I have found the live view very useful for manual focusing. It is especially useful for closeup work, but can be used farther away also. Last week I was shooting some young swallows lined up on a beam waiting to be fed by the moma and popa, and used live view to get the focus just right with a 200 mm lens.

I have found though, that I have to magnify the image on the screen to make it useful. I was able to get the small birds eyes in focus, whick I know that I couldn't have done without live view.

Very usable and useful option.

07-17-2010, 06:18 PM   #5
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Shooting macro or tele handheld with my K20D, I usually use Catch-In-Focus rather than LiveView. Shooting macro in the mini-studio, I'll tether the K20D, or 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, especially in dark situations like with a pinhole cap. I don't use LV for fine focusing because my eyes ain't good enough; and incident light on the screen blows away any detail.
07-17-2010, 08:50 PM   #6
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My camera doesn't support it, but I know Canon users that routinely use live view for manual focus with their cameras. A lot depends on the resolution of the magnified image on the LCD. I have heard of people using 2x on the screen with a 2x loupe.

07-18-2010, 07:13 AM   #7
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One can focus with live view, but if you are using a shallow depth of field it is not nearly as nice as using the viewfinder.

Optical preview + AF indication is a good combination for manual focus. It's like any sport, the more you do it the less you think about it. It becomes very fast.

Live view is not ideal in the k20d, but I would personally say that it's major purpose (composition) works great, and that I would use the optical preview on any camera with a nice viewfinder like the k20d.
07-18-2010, 09:15 AM   #8
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I found the liveview in the K20D not so good. That's a uge improvement on the K-7.

07-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #9
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Live View for Focus

I sometimes use the LV to focus Macro compositions on my K20d. While it is not perfect, it does have some utility. The resolution is not as good, but it is possible to discern when you have achieved the best focus for a given shot if you are patient and practice a lot. You need to magnify the shot, which generates blurriness, and concentrate on when you have the best sharpness for your subject. The shallower the DOF desired, of course, the more difficult your effort will be.

I prefer using my KPS eyepeice and split prism for Macro work though.
07-19-2010, 05:40 PM   #10
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Nowadays I'm using K20D Live View very often with my 50/55mm 1.2 lens, wide open. I found even though it's pixelized but it's almost always better than my right eye. But then again, I just got my medical check up result and my right eye has visual acuity of only 20/30 (0.7) while my left eye has 20/16 (1.2). I need glasses but I dont like wearing them.

Bottom line, yes it's pixelized but it doesn't make it useless. You can still tell when it's focus or not. For me at least, it's accurate enough even with F1.2 lens.

Here is a picture I just took last night at 8PM, just after sunset and with no artificial ligths, F1.2 1/6s hand holding strap-less K20D and focusing with live view and ignoring mosquitos biting my hand
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