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09-12-2011, 09:16 AM   #1
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Manual focus on K-5

I'm considering getting a K-5. Currently I have a GX-10 (K10D).
Mostly I use a manual focus 400mm Sigma lens for bird photography.
With the GX-10 I was disappointed in the manual focussing and discovered that the focus screen sees more in focus than the sensor does. Apparently that helps the focus screen brightness. It certainly doesn't help with manual focus.

Solution (part solution anyway) was to get a new focus screen at great expense from Katz Eye. I say part solution as I may have a small back focus issue as well.

Now on to the K-5. Should I expect the same issue with the K5 and have to replace the focus screen. Would the one I bought for the GX-10 fit (same size as K10D)?

Does Live View make all this redundant? i.e. stop using the viewfinder and zoom in to focus? I guess not for birds in flight etc.

Another question is whether I can expect auto ISO to be any use on the K-5. It's hopeless on the GX-10, there seems to be no way to set the shutter speed at say 1/500th, set the aperture at f8 and let auto ISO do its thing. When I used to use a mirror lens I thought auto ISO would be perfect as the aperture was fixed, shutter speed always had to be high, so best control was by ISO adjustment. For some reason, the auto ISO thought it a good idea to reduce the shutter speed down to 1/90 before it would consider upping the ISO.

Of course any wisdom about K10D and GX-10 welcomed too.

09-12-2011, 09:19 AM   #2
gtl
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The K10d and K5 viewfinder sizes are different. And there is TAV mode for the K5, which lets you set the aperture and shutter speed, while the camera controls the ISO.
09-12-2011, 11:17 AM   #3
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I use Live View for manual focussing my K-5. There are some drawbacks. As far as I know, you can only zoom in on the center portion of the screen (someone correct me if I am wrong). Also, it is a much bigger drain on your battery.
However, the viewfinder on the K-5 obviously did not take into account manual focussing, and in my opinion really sucks for that purpose.
09-12-2011, 11:36 AM   #4
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Kev: Your post made me think your problem may have been with a poorly adjust diopter.
I have both cameras, and although I've only had the K5 for about a week, I can tell you the viewfinder is worse for MF than the K10D or K20D. Good viewfinders and smooth focus rings, I'm afraid, are a dying aspect of photography in this P&S DSLR world.
Before the K5, I used MF for at least 90 percent of my shooting. However, the K5 has the first AF of any camera I've used that I feel I can trust. It is really fast and accurate with all my lenses (primes). I probably should qualify this by saying I haven't tried it on wildlife yet, where AF can often center focus on leaves and limibs instead of the intended critter, but I've been so pleasantly surprised so far with the K5's AF, I think it might work for wildlife as well (just in time for my failing eyesight).
There are still times, and will be times, however, when I'll want more control over the exact focus point and the hyperfocal range, and I'm afraid the K5 makes that more difficult; not impossible, but it requires even more concentration. I tried a Katzeye on my K20D and didn't like it. I'm considering a magnifyer eye-piece for my K5 instead.

09-12-2011, 11:38 AM   #5
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the auto ISO mode on my K7 works similar to the K10D - the K10D also has TAV mode. The only difference in the K7 (and K5 I assume) is that you can choose slow, med or fast to determine the iso vs shutter weighting i.e fast prefers high iso and shutter and slow prefers a slower shutter and lower iso - the default med setting give a shutter speed suitable for the focus length (on my 300mm is uses a minimum of 1/350) - all of this can only work if the camera knows the focal length which is why you may have issues with a manual lens.
Darren
09-12-2011, 03:30 PM   #6
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Ron: thanks for your reply. The diopter adjustment is OK and correct for my long sight. I can see the circular mark on the Katz Eye screen pin sharp. The K5 being good at AF might not help me with my manual focus lens although it might mean that the focus confirmation light is more reliable.
The GX-10 doesn't automatically pick up that the lens is 400mm though strangely the EXIF data of photos does seem to know this and I usually manually choose 400mm as the focal length for the anti-shake - it asks for this at power on.
09-12-2011, 03:32 PM   #7
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Search for a Canon EE-S screen... It does wonders for manual focusing (and stop-down metering!)... Downside is that you'll have to cut it down to size (it's a FF screen), but it's real cheap anyway, so...
You'll have to remove the metallic shim from underneath the stock focus screen and replace it by a properly-sized shim, too... I just stacked two stripes of Post-it on the edge of my EE-S screen, and focus is spot-on...

Last edited by dlacouture; 09-13-2011 at 12:11 AM.
09-12-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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Darren: I don't think the TAv mode stops down the aperture on manual lenses, for no good reason that I can tell. so for my 400mm lens I would have to use it at f5.6 rather than my preferred f8. I really don't think that Pentax have taken account of long manual lenses, this really isn't their strong point.

09-12-2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
Search for a Canon EE-S screen... It does wonders for manual focusing (and stop-down metering!)... Downside is that you'll have to cut it down to size (it's a FF screen), but it's real cheap anyway, so...
You'll have to remove the metallic shim from underneath the stock focus screen and replace it by a properly-sized shim, too... I just stacked two stripes of Post-iton the edge of my EE-S screen, and focus is spot-on...
dlacouture: Sounds interesting. How do you cut it?
09-12-2011, 06:43 PM   #10
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I use the k5 on mf at the other extreme for macro where shallow dof makes af useless. some of the best macro lenses are mf lenses anyway

I find the vf ok. I'm not fussy in this regard. but i find LV excellent for static subjects. You CAN zoom in and move the magnified area around using the directional buttons.

Another point to add on SR: the screen that allows you to select focal length is for the SR. The body only auto detects lens and focal length for newer lenses.
09-13-2011, 12:19 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevbirder Quote
dlacouture: Sounds interesting. How do you cut it?
Quite easy... I used a small saw (those for models), with a fine-toothed blade.

Use some low-tack scotch, then overlay/center your stock screen on the EE-S and draw its outline. Then saw away!
This screen is simply outstanding! I've seen my share of split screens, but they are cumbersome compared to the EE-S... Having an accurate DoF is truly amazing.

And using stop-down lenses is a breeze, with a perfectly linear stop-down response.
Only drawback is when using kit lenses with varying apertures, you'll see the viewfinder darken when zooming (quite logical as their aperture shrinks when zoomed).
09-13-2011, 08:33 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevbirder Quote
I'm considering getting a K-5. Currently I have a GX-10 (K10D).
Mostly I use a manual focus 400mm Sigma lens for bird photography.

Solution (part solution anyway) was to get a new focus screen at great expense from Katz Eye.
I use a focus screen from these people. Firstly in my K7 and have now moved it into the K5. Excellent service, great price and tools (though price has risen since I bought mine) and a great choice of screens :
Focusing Screen

QuoteOriginally posted by kevbirder Quote
Does Live View make all this redundant? i.e. stop using the viewfinder and zoom in to focus? I guess not for birds in flight etc.
I never use Live View for birding, far too slow and the shutter lag just makes it worse.

QuoteOriginally posted by kevbirder Quote
Another question is whether I can expect auto ISO to be any use on the K-5. It's hopeless on the GX-10, there seems to be no way to set the shutter speed at say 1/500th, set the aperture at f8 and let auto ISO do its thing.
I use the TAv setting about 70% of the time (MF the other 30%) and it is brilliant. Set your shutter speed and aperture and set the maximum ISO speed you want. Note though that with MF lenses the camera defaults to AV mode.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Before the K5, I used MF for at least 90 percent of my shooting. However, the K5 has the first AF of any camera I've used that I feel I can trust. It is really fast and accurate with all my lenses (primes). I probably should qualify this by saying I haven't tried it on wildlife yet, where AF can often center focus on leaves and limbs instead of the intended critter, but I've been so pleasantly surprised so far with the K5's AF, I think it might work for wildlife as well (just in time for my failing eyesight).
I think the answer is to use a quick-shift. I use the DA*300 for my birding and quickly AF on the general area of the bird and then use the quick-shift to manually focus on the bird rather than the branches.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
There are still times, and will be times, however, when I'll want more control over the exact focus point and the hyperfocal range, and I'm afraid the K5 makes that more difficult; not impossible, but it requires even more concentration. I tried a Katzeye on my K20D and didn't like it. I'm considering a magnifyer eye-piece for my K5 instead.
As my eyes are poor I have the magnifier (helps a little) but IMHO MF isn't that difficult at all on the K5 - so long as you are not trying to MF at f1.4 ! Though naturally there are fewer keepers than with AF it does allow me to use some beautiful lenses. Have you tried using the CIF for your MF lenses ? It enables me to get shots I could never get otherwise (shooting street - cyclists for example). You need to enter the 'zone' relatively slowly (compared to AF) and know with each particular lens whether sharp focus is best attained focusing from near to infinity or from infinity to near.

Sample CIF shot. Contax Zeiss 85/1.4. Probably at around f2 and 1/500.



QuoteOriginally posted by Darren Quote
all of this can only work if the camera knows the focal length which is why you may have issues with a manual lens.
Darren
When you put a MF lens on the K7 or K5 (and I assume other Pentax cameras) the first thing you see on the screen is a menu to choose the FL of the lens - so that should never be an issue unless you forget to set it (and then it defaults to the last length you set) !

Last edited by Frogfish; 09-13-2011 at 08:38 PM.
09-13-2011, 11:45 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
When you put a MF lens on the K7 or K5 (and I assume other Pentax cameras) the first thing you see on the screen is a menu to choose the FL of the lens - so that should never be an issue unless you forget to set it (and then it defaults to the last length you set) !
Well, the camera actually use this value for SR, but not for auto-iso! In Auto-iso, it will default to 1/60 for whatever FL you use (which is kind of dumb as they already have the information).
I think it was made this way as FL is not necessarily asked (if you have SR disabled on start-up). Or maybe they just didn't thought about it...

It would be great if Ricoh made a (much needed!) firmware upgrade on some past models...
09-14-2011, 08:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
I use a focus screen from these people. Firstly in my K7 and have now moved it into the K5. Excellent service, great price and tools (though price has risen since I bought mine) and a great choice of screens :
Focusing Screen
I've long debated whether or not to get one of these screens...how is your spot metering after putting one on?
09-14-2011, 09:11 AM   #15
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Hi,

I got a couple focus screens from these people for my K7 and K5. Works ok. I am using manual K- and M-lenses as well as new automatic lenses and sure am happier than with the original focus screens.
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