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09-23-2011, 11:57 PM   #1
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bummed by lack of focus indicators with Kx

Have owned a Kx for more then a year now. My first dslr. Thought I would be Ok about the lack of focus indicators, but have to say that at this point I am really disappointed with it. I use it basically as a fast point and shoot for family shots. And have finally gotten fed up with all the great shots except that the back ground is sharp and the subject is not. Any suggestions? Am not in the position to change cameras. I have been going with the center point focusing and then composing the shot, but it doesnt seem to really help. Also when someone else takes a shot I have to explain all that. Thank you for any input.

09-24-2011, 12:14 AM   #2
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SLRs make poor point & shot cameras partly because they have much less depth of field than a real point & shot, and people can run into exactly the problem you have. If you want a camera you can give to someone else and get a good result even if they are a camera numpty, you need a point & shot. What your exact problem is is hard to diagnose without some evidence - a picture complete with the EXIF.
09-24-2011, 12:37 AM   #3
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agreed with above, if youre using a camera as a point and shoot, might as well have gotten a nice point and shoot. they're smaller, lighter, more maneuverable and simply just better for snapshots than a bulky and complicated dslr. If you're doing party/family shots, you can afford to stop down your aperture and rely a bit on the flash, that way you'd get enough depth of field to get a bit of extra insurance against focusing errors. how exactly is center focus and recompose not helping?
09-24-2011, 01:08 AM   #4
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You could also manually focus your shots.
If I'm not mistaken, most of us use center point for focus, then move away from center to compose shots.

09-24-2011, 01:30 AM   #5
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Hi Genshu,

I assume that you've bought a DSLR because you are looking for the IQ that it can give you over a P&S, so I'll disagree with the previous posters.

This is really not a problem that focus indicators will solve -- you need to understand some things about the focusing system and how it works.

First of all, I'd suggest that you set the camera up so you are only using the center focus point -- set the AF point selection to "Spot" in the menu (pg 117 in the manual). This will work around the lack of focus point indicators by only allowing the center point for use by the AF system. I've had 6 different Pentax DSLR bodies and for the great majority of shots only use the center point, so it really should pose a problem.

Now read my post in this thread -- https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/138605-back-foc...ml#post1456527

Your problem sounds like one that's common to those who upgrade from a P&S to a DSLR. The shallower DOF as noted by the previous posters creates the problem, but some understanding of the how the AF system works can get you on the way to getting better results.

Posting example pics with exif attached is always a good idea when experiencing a problem as has been stated.

Hope this helps

Scott
09-24-2011, 01:39 AM   #6
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Use a smaller aperture (higher f-number) and you'll get more in focus. You might need to increase the iso to maintain a fast shutter speed though.
09-24-2011, 10:20 AM   #7
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Change your program line to depth, as long as there is plenty of light, that should solve your problems.

Adam
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09-24-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Change your program line to depth, as long as there is plenty of light, that should solve your problems.
You can't change the program line on a K-x.

09-24-2011, 11:34 AM   #9
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I have a problem with the size of points on K-x, they seem to be pretty big, and if the subject is distant you can miss focus. Mostly i use center and recompose. i also believe AF accuracy suck on k-x, but i may have a ff/bf problem, never tested with a chart. I'll try. Other than kit 18-55 and 50-200 i use only manual focus lenses (A50 f2, Jupiter37A 135 f3.5, Industar 50 f3.5, Helios 44M-4 50 f2, Vivitar 100 f3.5 macro, Industar 61l/z 50 f2.8 macro, Tele-Takumar 300 f6.3, Accura 12 f8 - this is one weird lens ). For mf i'm glad i have a clear viewfinder, without points (no idea, maybe cameras that have them can switch them off for mf) but a better AF would be nice. I was 1 click from a D300s (i want consistent AF, tracking, all the package +better flash sync speed) but some family problems made me reconsider, somebody close may need those money. I'll keep the K-x no matter what camera i'll buy after, but for sure i won't buy anything below D7000, NEX-5N, 7D, K-5 as i don't consider entry level from others can offer me much than K-x. In fact, newer entry level Canikons offer less (no motors in body, pixel mapping, catch-in focus, compatibility with older lenses, etc.).
09-24-2011, 12:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Genshu Quote
.... I have been going with the center point focusing and then composing the shot, but it doesnt seem to really help. ......
If your camera is set to AF.C (camera menu p.2 AF mode) it will refocus when you move the camera. AF.S or AF.A will hold the focus first achieved as you reformat.
09-24-2011, 10:47 PM   #11
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Here is a classic example. Great moment gone to waste. Generally I love going dslr and dont want to go back. Guess saying that I shoot point and shoot is a bit of an exaduration, but when shooting kids they just are very quick! I have been doing center spot only and recompose for a while now, so that I get a little miffed when it still happens.

I tried manual focus for a while, but found it quite difficult. If it was possible to get the focus helpers like split screen from the old days, then I would be happy to stick with manual focus.
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09-24-2011, 10:54 PM   #12
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I am surprised how hard it can be to get the shot that I want. Catching that special fleeting moment is special when it happens. In a funny kind of way I think I was more successful back with 35mm, and was much more selective about taking a pic, but maybe that is somewhat in my mind.
09-24-2011, 11:59 PM   #13
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Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any EXIF on that picture. Where do you think you got the camera to focus? Might you be accidentally releasing the shutter button enough between focus & shoot that it refocuses? And yes, getting pictures of things that move around quickly (children, animals) is hard.
09-25-2011, 07:56 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Genshu Quote
Here is a classic example. Great moment gone to waste. Generally I love going dslr and dont want to go back. Guess saying that I shoot point and shoot is a bit of an exaduration, but when shooting kids they just are very quick! I have been doing center spot only and recompose for a while now, so that I get a little miffed when it still happens.

I tried manual focus for a while, but found it quite difficult. If it was possible to get the focus helpers like split screen from the old days, then I would be happy to stick with manual focus.
The branch to the right of the left child's head is in focus. Perhaps you mis-aimed?

In any event, the variety of subject depths within that scene would make it difficult for anything but manual or face recognition auto-focus to get it right.

However there is another important aspect - that of depth of field - it is much shallower than the apparent lighting conditions might permit. If depth of field were increased (f-stop increased) the children would be in better focus.

You might consider increasing the default f-stop and ISO you use for walkabout; then a greater depth of your shots will be in focus. Fill flash as a default would also help insure a greater keep ratio. If your fill-flash is smart it can't hurt in most circumstances.

The degree to which you can push f-stop & ISO up and get great photos depends on how you'll display those photos. For electronic display you can push them up a LOT.
09-25-2011, 09:28 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Genshu Quote
If it was possible to get the focus helpers like split screen from the old days, then I would be happy to stick with manual focus.
It's totally possible. You can either pick up a Katz Eye split screen for the K-x for about $160, or look for a cheap Chinese split screen for about $20 on eBay. I have both, and both work equally well. The main difference between the Katz Eye and the Chinese screen is that the Katz Eye doesn't suffer from prism blackout until you use a lens slower than f:8. (and there aren't many of those.) The Chinese screen starts exhibiting prism blackout around f:5.6 or slower. Otherwise, both will do the job.

Just be careful installing the screen & follow the instructions. There may be some shimming involved to accurately calibrate the screen to your camera, too. It's kind of a pain, but once you use it, you'll wonder how you lived without it.

Good luck,
Bobbo :-)
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