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10-28-2011, 11:56 PM   #1
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K-5 vs Nikon Autofocus lock in low light! NOT talking about speed.

Hello everybody,

I shoot with a k-x and do a lot of indoors and low light photography, mainly events. I find that my lenses often hunt a lot in low light, even the fast 35/2.4. And most of the time I end up missing the shot which is very frustrating.

I will be upgrading my camera soon, but should I go for the K-5 or is the Nikon's autofocusing system better? I need the camera to quickly grab focus in low light. If I go to Nikon I will either go for the Nikon D7000 or wait for the D400, only buy a couple prime lenses (35 and 50 maybe) and rent high end lenses as I need them.

So will the K-5 auto focus compete with Nikon's autofocus in low light conditions or should I switch to Nikon?

Thanks.

10-29-2011, 02:26 AM   #2
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Both the K-7 and K-5 have an AF assist light which is very useful in low light and enable to lock the AF. I have a K-7 and the AF assist light is very nice in low light conditions.

Simply, the K-5 will lock AF much better than the K-r and K-x.

I cannot comment on the Nikon systems whose professional bodies are well regarded.

Hope that the comments will help.
10-29-2011, 03:12 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I have a K-7 and the AF assist light is very nice in low light conditions.
The problem is when the camera decides it isn't dark enough to turn on the assist light, but it's still too dark to focus accurately. I have a K-7, and I really wish these cameras (I think the K-5 is the same way) would permit the user either to force the assist light on when needed, or to change the threshold for it via menu preferences.
10-29-2011, 05:57 AM   #4
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Go with the Nikon

I (still) have a Kx and tried both K5 and D7000. I kept the Nikon. I havent tried the D300s but reviews mention an even better AF system. If and when the D400 comes out (Thailand flood!) I may give it a try

10-29-2011, 06:20 AM   #5
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I have shot with a K20D, and a K5 on the pentax side. A D7000, D300s, and D700. I currently have a D700 and K20D. I found the D7000 low light AF is an improvement over the Pentax bodies, but not enough to make me switch, personally. The D300s/D700 low light AF has spoiled me for anything else.

So I guess I am not helping by saying the K-5/D7000 decision is a borderline one. You know that already.
10-29-2011, 06:36 AM   #6
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I have the K-5 and have also used my daughter-in-law's D7000. The D7000 is certainly good at focus in low light, especially with the Nikon 35 f1.8, which is a great lens at around $200! She also has a Nikon 50 f1.4 that wasn't too expensive.
I'm happy with my K-5, but I do appreciate that Nikon has a very full lens line, with reasonable primes that get overlooked.
10-29-2011, 06:46 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by apisto Quote
So I guess I am not helping by saying the K-5/D7000 decision is a borderline one. You know that already.
I could practically flip a coin at this point. Nikon put the ISO button on the left. That almost settles it for me!
10-29-2011, 09:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by haassaasin Quote
Hello everybody,

I shoot with a k-x and do a lot of indoors and low light photography, mainly events. I find that my lenses often hunt a lot in low light, even the fast 35/2.4. And most of the time I end up missing the shot which is very frustrating.

I will be upgrading my camera soon, but should I go for the K-5 or is the Nikon's autofocusing system better? I need the camera to quickly grab focus in low light. If I go to Nikon I will either go for the Nikon D7000 or wait for the D400, only buy a couple prime lenses (35 and 50 maybe) and rent high end lenses as I need them.

So will the K-5 auto focus compete with Nikon's autofocus in low light conditions or should I switch to Nikon?

Thanks.
Nikon does have an excellent AF system. But at the end of the day maybe you just need to select the center AF point on your K-x and get some faster glass? f2.4 isnt that fast. Why don't you try the FA50 1.4, its not expensive and would give you much higher shutter speeds than you are getting now. If you are currently using all the AF points maybe it will be better selecting center only and recomposing.

I have a K-5 (after the K-r, and a Nikon D60...) the K-5 is much better than even the K-r in low light, the focus assist lamp seems to come on more often. Most AF systems have some issues with very low light


Last edited by Deimos; 10-29-2011 at 09:17 AM.
10-29-2011, 09:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by haassaasin Quote
So will the K-5 auto focus compete with Nikon's autofocus in low light conditions or should I switch to Nikon?
I suggest you try both with similar OEM lenses at your local dealers. There is lots of hot air regarding "current Pentax DSLR is much better" claim for every single model. None really holds up for very long. If you need AF tracking or low light AF or reliable flash, Pentax is not it.
10-29-2011, 09:39 AM   #10
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I used to shoot a K5..but got too many OOF shots in low light..either through the FF in low issues or a failure to lock at all due to a inconsistent af assist light ...

Ive read that the D7000 while having a good AF system, still isn't great ..and many people who offloaded D300 to get a better dynamic range/resolution that the D7000 offered have since switched back to either a D300s or a D700..both of which have incredible AF.

.as for the proposed D400..if there is one..and its still not confirmed that there will be one..Id hazard a guess the AF will be on par with a D300s/D700..or better

so you either have better DR/resolution that the K5 has..or a D300s that had great AF....for me it was a no brainier as whats the point of great DR/res if the shots are OOF
10-29-2011, 09:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deimos Quote
But at the end of the day maybe you just need to select the center AF point on your K-x and get some faster glass? f2.4 isnt that fast. Why don't you try the FA50 1.4, its not expensive and would give you much higher shutter speeds than you are getting now.
I don't see how a wider aperture addresses the OP's concerns about AF; if anything, shooting wide open will compound the visible effect of errors. And what if he wants broader DOF for what he's shooting?
For a 35mm lens, 2.4 isn't that slow either, it seems to me. And shooting a 50 at 1.4 is going to narrow the DOF he has to work with considerably.
10-29-2011, 09:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentup Quote
I could practically flip a coin at this point. Nikon put the ISO button on the left. That almost settles it for me!
I thought I was the only one that hates the location of the ISO button with the Nikon..the K5 was so much better for Ergo in the button layouts
10-29-2011, 09:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentup Quote
I don't see how a wider aperture addresses the OP's concerns about AF; if anything, shooting wide open will compound the visible effect of errors. And what if he wants broader DOF for what he's shooting?
For a 35mm lens, 2.4 isn't that slow either, it seems to me. And shooting a 50 at 1.4 is going to narrow the DOF he has to work with considerably.
I mentioned he could try the center AF point to see if that helped.

And yes 2.4 isnt slow but it isnt fast, especially vs f1.4. Sometimes you just need more light to get the shot at all.
10-29-2011, 09:56 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deimos Quote
Some could be too slow shutter speeds.
You can use slower shutter speeds with a 35 than with a 50, if you're talking about still subjects. There's a substantial difference in angle of view between a 35 and a 50. And the OP wasn't talking about slow shutter speeds. He didn't say he was getting motion blur; he said the AF was hunting too much.

In any event, the amazing dynamic range of the K-5 would permit choosing much higher shutter speeds and/or narrower apertures in the same conditions as the Kx, I believe, since you can underexpose a lot with the K-5 and compensate in post.

But none of that is on-topic, really, and I still don't think the "just get faster glass" argument addresses the original question.

QuoteOriginally posted by Deimos Quote
I have a K-5 (after the K-r, and a Nikon D60...) the K-5 is much better than even the K-r in low light, the focus assist lamp seems to come on more often. Most AF systems have some issues with very low light
Your remark there seems much more to the point.
10-29-2011, 10:10 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentup Quote
Your remark there seems much more to the point.
If the topic is getting shots in low light scenarios I think fast glass is always relevant to the discussion. Especially if the OP considers 2.4 to be "fast" and isn't having luck.

I also gave the suggestion of selecting center point only AF on the K-x, if he is using 9 pt or whatnot that could be adding to the AF hunting issue.
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