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02-22-2008, 02:17 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by benplaut Quote
(snip) Pentax has fairly crappy autofocus. That's a fact, corroborated by many people. Why the hell are you telling someone to use manual focus (snip)

Pentax having crappy auto-focus, as you put it, has not been corroborated by me, so I don't consider it a fact by any stretch of the imagination. As far as I'm concerned, the auto-focus system on my camera (K10D) works as well, if not better, than any camera I've owned before (a mixture of Minolta and Canon models). Of course, every camera has focusing issues occasionally, which is exactly why there are alternative focusing modes like manual focus on every camera. Hence the recommendation to try manual focus.


02-22-2008, 03:29 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matt Miller Quote
I, too, switched from Canon 5D to Pentax. I much prefer Pentax. The image quality & lens rendition is much better, imo, than anything I got from Canon. Bigger lens choice and cheaper too. I don't use auto focus much though, never have. If I counted on auto focus all the time, especially in low light, I might not have made the switch. You should ride it out until you can try the K20D. It might surprise you.
The soul reason that I picked Pentax is because of their lenses too. Pentax may not have the best cameras, but they sure do offer a lot for a relatively low price compared to competitors. There are features that Pentax cameras have that you can only find in high-end Canon and Nikon cameras. That's value there, and if you consider the current first-party lens library, the upcoming first-party lenses, and the first-party back library, no brand really beats the value that Pentax offers. I'm sure you've all heard the saying that "It's not the equipment, it's the photographer." While that may be true to a certain degree, good equipment really does enhance a photographer's vision, but I don't think Pentax equipment can hold back any photographer.

To get back to the original question, every system has its nuances. If the AF is the one thing about the Pentax K10D that you don't like, then build your kit so that you can work around this one issue. It seems you like the Pentax system enough to be able to do this. If you're shooting weddings, then why not grab a couple of fast primes instead of a zoom or two. You could possibly use a double a body system to get around switching lenses. After all, Pentax is famous for their primes.
02-22-2008, 03:38 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxkman Quote
So, I just jumped from Canon (5D and 20D) to Pentax. The lenses looked good, especially the SDM ones, and the temptation of in body SR was too much to pass up. And the IQ is great.


There are a couple issues I don't know if I can live with. The main one is the AF. I probably should have done a little more research before I jumped, but I thought it would be decent, especially after I played w/ a K10D at a local store before I bought one. However, I find that in anything approaching lower light, its very hit and miss, or constantly trying to refocus. This is very disheartening.

My 5D wasn't exactly amazing in this area, but it felt more sure footed for sure. I really like the Pentax system, and I want to stay, but I don't know if I want to deal with it or not.

I shoot weddings, so there is a lot of low light/ambient light shooting to be done. MF is fine sometimes, but sometimes you just need the quickness of AF.

The other issues I have are much eaisier dealt with. The exposure is a little hit and miss, and the WB definitely is erratic. Neither of those are deal breakers as I shoot in Raw anyhow.

So, convince me from going back! I hate some of the stuff that Canikon does, especially in regards to IS/VR/SR, but on the other hand.... They work very well. Just so d@%^ expensive!

BTW- I have 2 K10D's, both with updated firmware, and the 16-50 and 50-135 lenses...

Hi Chris,

Let me start by saying I did not read all of the posts.

I have shot with the K10D since last year and I like it for hobby work. To be truthful, I bought myself a Canon 30D for birding and for wedding shooting because of the AF and the high ISO performance which I prefer to Pentax's high ISO performance. It has been nice to get AF quick and to shoot indoors without a flash and not have to run NR on every shot. ISO up to 1000 has performed well. Some feel differently but these are my thoughts. In the end, I have to be satisfied with my own results if I am going to sell them to others and am loyal to what I feel works for me, not a brand per say.

In the end, you have to choose what you think will best suit you. I've not sold the Pentax and don't plan to at any time in the near future. For landscapes and portraiture (at low ISO) I like it a lot. The color rendition from RAW processing I find to be more saturated and more pleasing to the eye than Canon. Unfortunately, no matter what system you choose, there is a give and take.

I will agree with you on one thing, Canon sure does love their lenses as they don't offer 'em cheap. I've only got an 85mm f/1.8. I bought a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. I'm very satisfied with both.

Last edited by PaulAndAPentax; 02-22-2008 at 03:52 PM.
02-22-2008, 04:07 PM   #34
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No Chris, I won't try to talk you into staying. I'm not sure that any company's products are perfect and certainly not for every situation. You have to choose the camera equipment that suits your needs the best. I chose Pentax for a variety of reasons and I'm pretty happy overall. I'm not a Canon or Nikon basher, I just like Pentax cameras. I'd probably like the other brands as well, but I chose Pentax.

02-22-2008, 04:44 PM   #35
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Quick trick about low light, Point your Pantax at the subject, then flick the onboard flash up.this will then strobe the flash against the subject. once the focus is hit, put flash down and take photo. I have literally (last 5 days) that they do this. Might need to switch to MF to hold the FP, but a useful feature nevertheless.
02-22-2008, 04:45 PM   #36
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I have a K110D and a K10D. I shot Canon for ten years before going digital (and a 300D Rebel for 1.5 years before going to Pentax)... and I shot Minolta for ten years before going AF. Both my Pentaxes have accurate AF in daylight... but they both have poor AF under 'normal-below normal' levels of artificial (in-house) lighting. At times it's been to the point of me feeling I made the wrong choice of brands.

The problem with switching to manual focus is that nobody builds cameras with focus-screens meant for manual focusing. Now that I have a Katz Eye in my K10D, the AF issues don't bother me as much. For me, the stock screen in the K10 makes manual focusing in lower light as much a crap-shoot as AF. Is my new focus-screen an expensive cure for my AF problem, yes. Do I wish Pentax (or ANY other maker) would use focus-screens like in the old days, yes. Will it happen, no. Will I leave Pentax over focusing that is less accurate than both my AF Canons, or my MF Minolta. No. Would I consider leaving Pentax if I didn't have a good focus-screen now... well... let's just say I'm not interested in anything Canon offers.
02-22-2008, 05:10 PM   #37
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It may or may not contribute to the wedding AF problem, but I found this quote from the above source worth to be shared here:

Lewis, who has worked most of his career as a photojournalist, most recently at a newspaper in Raleigh, NC, gave them sage advice. “These guys shoot twice as many pictures at a wedding as I do,” says Lewis, who takes between 1,400 to 1,800 images per wedding. “I told them, ‘You’re taking a machine gun approach when you should be taking a sniper approach.’”
02-22-2008, 09:45 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matt Miller Quote
I, too, switched from Canon 5D to Pentax. I much prefer Pentax. The image quality & lens rendition is much better, imo, than anything I got from Canon. Bigger lens choice and cheaper too. I don't use auto focus much though, never have. If I counted on auto focus all the time, especially in low light, I might not have made the switch. You should ride it out until you can try the K20D. It might surprise you.
I'm just very curious. How can Pentax DSLRs' IQs are much better and more lens choice? We all know that Pentax lenses are very difficult to find and order - no doubt here. The lens lineup is also much smaller in scale.

02-22-2008, 09:53 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxkman Quote
Well, I think that it is safe to say that wedding photography had changed some. I can't say for sure, as I wasn't shooting weddings on the 80's or even the 90's. But if you look at the images being produced, there are differences.

There is a lot more PJ style shooting going on, and its what a lot of clients expect. I am not a full time pro, but I am part time and enough that I feel I need equipment that will do some of the more demanding things. While I do feel that Canon and Nikon are a little expensive, I think that there are some things they do better, as has become more obvious to me.
Yes, totally agreed. Fair statements.

Btw, I shoot wedding and functions occasionally. I do not charge anyone, though. I do feel for you, in fact.

While I do feel that the image quality is a little better with Pentax, I don't think it is so significant that it far outweighs the competition. With post processing, I think most people would be hard put to tell the differences in lenses and sensors, given they are at least close in quality level.

And sometimes there is more to it than just the IQ. If I have split second chance to catch a moment, and the AF fails to lock, then it doesn't matter what the IQ is. An OOF shot is no good no matter what the IQ or color representation is.
Yep. That's the point!

Now, this isn't the same for everyone. For some people, using MF taking their time to do everything right to get that perfect image is just fine. for others, like sports shooters, I think that the highest priority is nailing the shot. While I am not saying that wedding photography is like sports, it is less static than it used to be, from my observations.

I would love to stay with Pentax. Its the brand I learned on, and I think some of their glass is wonderful. But I looking at it more from the perspective of a tool, and does it do what I think I need to do my job that way it needs to be done? The AF issue is a non-issue for a lot of the time. But there are enough situations where I think it could be harmful that I think that Pentax may not be the tool for me, regrettably. Time will tell...
Same here. Under a bright day outdoor, AND for a STATIC object, of course the AF of the Pentaxes could do the job well. But there are quite some time we need something better for the AF to cater for more demanding situations, of course under which MF is nearly impossible to trace the subject (would other please don't tell us to do "pre-focus" etc.)

Shooting running children and flying birds are two examples here. Shooting under low light indoor with faster lenses are another example - in fact even for a static object, all Pentax DSLRs I have used are just too sluggish to do the job, and with poor focus accuracy too.
02-22-2008, 11:05 PM   #40
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Nice theoretical arguments but sadly lacking in substance because there aren't any photographs to support what is stated.
02-22-2008, 11:29 PM   #41
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Is this going to end up as another Trash-Pentax post ?

I buy a camera which meets my needs and my budget. I do a lot of shots of running and other active shots of children - in bright sunlight and also in low-light . It was one of the original reasons I bought the camera.
I learnt how to use techniques like using continuous autofocus with full-press shutter trip, using the flash spot-beam mode in low light, focusing on high-contrast objects instead etc.

For me Pentax is a VERY acceptable camera once you have mastered its use.

It has got its limitations, which require a more deliberate approach to taking shots.
I can understand why a working photographer who simply cannot afford to miss shots at the right required moment may find Pentax doesn't meet his needs.

If you need a machine-gun type camera, go buy a machine gun....that Pentax is not.
02-22-2008, 11:39 PM   #42
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I am not trying to bash... I was hoping Pentax would meet my needs, as I like the equipment very much. Just isn't the case, though.
02-22-2008, 11:43 PM   #43
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To the original poster, you don't need anyone to convince you anything. If you have your mind set on leaving for faster AF and some such, go right ahead. No statement from any forum member here would convince you, otherwise you yourself are not sure what you want from your photography, and I'm pretty sure you know what you want.

Others here manage multiple systems, though I'm not too sure if you'd want to justify the cost of doing so.

Me, I find it amusing how people carry on the same whining about the AF system of Pentax.

Could it be better? Sure, but for my own personal needs, it's not much of a deal-breaker for me, compared to the cost of maintaining a Canon/Nikon/Olympus/Sony system. I'm not a professional, so I imagine that others would be better served by moving on since they do depend on that for a living.

I'm honest with myself that I don't have money to throw at the problem. That said, I'm also open enough to learn workarounds to the problem, and so I don't feel as disappointed as some others are here, to the point that they devote endless minutes of their lives complaining instead of moving on to a better brand for them and taking pictures, which is really the point of all this. I've rarely used all AF points in my camera, I have no qualms about looking for a high-contrast point in a low-light scene, and I haven't also any problems resorting to manual focus.

I fully respect people who need or want faster AF (and FPS, to include another sore point here), and I hope Pentax and Samsung address the problem in their next cameras. That said, Photokina would be the next show where we could take a peek at what Pentax/Samsung has been doing, and it would even be a longer wait for the next camera with improved features to be available. If the need and itch to switch is there, by all means go ahead, especially if paid work requires it. Any DSLR today is capable of getting good pictures, and cameras today differ more in other aspects like AF, FPS, ergonomics, etc.

Me? Being the amateur photographer that I am, I'm happily gonna chug along with my K100D Super and kit lens, while saving money to buy a Sigma 18-50 2.8 lens.

Best of luck with your decision.
02-22-2008, 11:58 PM   #44

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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxkman Quote
I am not trying to bash... I was hoping Pentax would meet my needs, as I like the equipment very much. Just isn't the case, though.
So have you de-coupled AF from the shutter button - or do you just follow the defaults and force AF to search for each shot. My reading of your complaint (and it is a complaint) is that you do not appear to have a complete understanding of how to exploit the features of the camera.

You state that you really like the in camera image stabilization, so you use fast lenses and low shutter speeds - or is it impossible to hand hold your camera. Do you have a flash? Do you use it? You need SR with a 1/1000 second effective shutter speed? - do you shake that bad?

Do you not know how to anticipate peoples reactions? Just how well do you know your subject(s) and your purpose.

Back when I had hair - I shot a few friends/family weddings, with a manual SLR/rangefinder (1/30 second x sync too) and I had to determine the distance - look it up on the top of the flash to set the f/stop. I finally just decided on a good distance that I was comfortable with (the flash would burn retinas at 20 feet), set the focus and move in until the subject was in focus - blast the image and wait six seconds for the flash to recharge. Spontainious images - you bet - it was so long between each image I was able to take that people just ignored me. I did get the standard images too.

I have a friend (canon 5D) who shot his first wedding and said he got about a 50% keeper ratio. If I was hitting that ratio shooting film - that is the definition of failure in my book.

Please go back to Canon - find what works and buy it. If you are a real professional, then you get the tools that work - or you do not eat.

The Elitist - formerly known as PDL
02-23-2008, 12:46 AM   #45
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Well Said!

That's the point! Even worse, I am not like you, I can never get my camera works in low light or randomly moving objects within one month or so! :-) Ditto for the wonky metering system.

FWIW to know, the MZ film PENTAX SLRs all have far better AF performance, decisive and sensitive at low light and all more accurate too. The continuous track ability of the MZ AF yet sucks, though.

QuoteOriginally posted by benplaut Quote
I'm ashamed at the replies in this thread... someone pointed it out on "the other forum" last night, and I'll point it out again!

Pentax has fairly crappy autofocus. That's a fact, corroborated by many people. Why the hell are you telling someone to use manual focus, or that "manual focus was fine in the past, autofocus is a gift from above!?" It doesn't make a lick of sense--the market for photography equiptment is highly competitive, and this is an area where Pentax clearly falls behind. It's a rather important area, and some people are willing to live with the consequences (IE, you folks using MF or just living with so-so SAVOX). If fast AF is a first priority, Pentax may not be the brand for you. Then again, if you're willing to learn the workarounds--focusing on the contrasty spots, etc, it does a decent job. Not as good as Canon, Nikon, or even Sony, but it's certainly sufficient for people shots. I regularly shoot at below 5EV, and in the beginning it really pissed me off. Still, it was unwise at that point for me to switch systems, so I decided to live with it. Now, after nearly a month of missed and misfocused shots, I'm finally figuring out how it all works.

So, is it worth screwing up a month's worth of pictures to figure it out? That's for you to decide.

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