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03-01-2008, 01:28 PM   #1
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In defense of Pentax AF...

I have read many threads about Pentax's AF short comings. In particular, it's accuracy, speed in low lighting, etc... (you all know what i'm speaking of). I am writing this in Pentax's defense. I use my K100d, and when i am taking pictures (i.e. focussing) at weddings, casual shootings, portraitures, kids & pets, and even sports i have never felt (subjective) that i missed a shot due to the camera's lack of focussing speed. When in these situations - which ever it may be - it requires anticipation and actual photographer skill. You cannot simply rely on your camera to do all of the work. The camera is not a thinking object, you have to anticipate in which direction the play (in sports/children/pets) is going.

I have also used the 'newspaper's' D200, and the focussing speed on that is not substantially/significantly/a-world-of-difference faster than the K100d or the K10d. For those of you who object to this observation, i propose a scenario: think of how a well anticipated photographer (i.e. skilled) who gets his shot by getting into position is far better off than one who thinks photography is just pushing a button while her camera does all of the work.

On the K100d, it is possible to customize how you want to focus. What i mean is, i set my camera on Continuous mode and assign my focussing to the 'OK' button. This does make focussing more speedy because you are able to hold the focussing/OK button down and there is slightly less shutter lag when you do want to take the picture.

The serious photographer ought to concentrate on developing his skill sets rather than contributing the lack of 'good' shots on the camera and, in our case, the focussing speed. I am not objecting to the fact that a fast focussing speed is not helpful/wanted/desired. I just dont think that Pentax's focussing speed falls into the category of "slow" - and definitely not "slow" as to count it out when used to photograph kids, Pets and/or sports. Lastly, i highly recommend changing the way you shoot, including my suggestion in the paragraph above.

Tingster.


Last edited by Tingchaleun; 03-01-2008 at 03:38 PM.
03-01-2008, 04:06 PM   #2
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Well said Tingster, I am also one of those who think that skill, practice and knowledge will give an edge over pure automation. In both my *ist Ds and K10D I have de-coupled AF from the shutter button - which I belive was one of the most stupid things any camera company did.

As an example - there is a thread on this site where someone - shooting weddings - was complaining (he would not like the word complaining) about how his Pentax "searched" for focus while shooting group shots. Were the people in the "group" at a dead run? If you focus on the people once - using the OK or AF button - why do you have to re-focus for each group shot? The simply does not make sense.

Knowing how to use the camera and knowing how to exploit your knowledge of the subject will go a long way to expand the numbers of "keepers". I think that using the protein based computer behind the viewfinder is much more important that how fast the camera's computer will make a bad decision for you.

The Elitist - formerly known as PDL
03-01-2008, 08:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PDL Quote
Well said Tingster, I am also one of those who think that skill, practice and knowledge will give an edge over pure automation.
then came Kalashnikov...
03-01-2008, 09:57 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
then came Kalashnikov...
Kalashnikov knew that the average red army soldier was so poorly trained he could not hit a barn door at ten feet with a rifle. Are you suggesting Canon and Nikon feel the same way about their buyers?

03-01-2008, 10:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
Are you suggesting Canon and Nikon feel the same way about their buyers?
absolutely... M1903...M1...М14...M16 if you prefer something more dear to your heart
03-01-2008, 10:12 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
Kalashnikov knew that the average red army soldier was so poorly trained he could not hit a barn door at ten feet with a rifle. Are you suggesting Canon and Nikon feel the same way about their buyers?

New ad:


Introducing the Nikon D300: Shooting while malnourished and drunk has never been easier.




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03-01-2008, 10:14 PM   #7
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You guys are hilarious. Really. But are you guys raising a point for or against what i'm saying. I got kinda lost with the introduction of the AK.
03-01-2008, 10:15 PM   #8
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age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill

I got my K10d two weeks ago and let my 11 year old son start shooting with my old D70. First dslr he's used (he has only done p&s to date). After messing around for about 10 minutes, he announced, "I'm turning off auto-focus. I'm hardcore...I only do manual focus."

From the mouths of babes...

03-01-2008, 10:22 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tingchaleun Quote
You guys are hilarious. Really. But are you guys raising a point for or against what i'm saying. I got kinda lost with the introduction of the AK.
u know what is the holy grail of AF ? it is when an average Joe, shooting his kids running around
in a poorly lit (w/ tungsten) room with P-FA 50/1.4 @ 1.4 in spare 2 sec between couple of bee... oops.. colas while talking w/ dozen of his friends simultaneusly can hit 9 out of 10.
03-01-2008, 10:24 PM   #10
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Vegas has a line on how long until RH weighs in w/unabashed negativity and narry a positive thing to say...

Enjoyable read Tingchaleun. I had another learning experience today shooting w/a manual lens and 1.7x AF TC to give it AF function ... I realize I was missing focus because I was delaying in pressing the shutter. Habitually pressing the shutter 1/2-way instead of immediately down as the dogs were running the ball back to me. ... my bad.
03-01-2008, 10:31 PM   #11
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I had a quick question related to my technique above. On the K10/k20, does the battery grip allow you to focus via the same way that i use the 'OK' button? In other words, on the D-BG2, can i dedicate the focussing to another button on the grip?
03-01-2008, 10:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
absolutely... M1903...M1...М14...M16 if you prefer something more dear to your heart
If I remember a Discovery Channel documentary, the M14 was a great weapon with good stopping power but the average soldier couldn't hit a man sized target with any amount of accuracy when shooting in full auto due to the recoil...

Tingchaleun, agree with your observations.
03-02-2008, 12:53 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tingchaleun Quote
I had a quick question related to my technique above. On the K10/k20, does the battery grip allow you to focus via the same way that i use the 'OK' button? In other words, on the D-BG2, can i dedicate the focussing to another button on the grip?
The K10d/K20d actually has a AF button, instead of using OK. Unfortunately, the grip doesn't have a AF button
03-02-2008, 04:10 AM   #14
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Tingchaleun, this is a good thread. I'll throw a couple pennies into the discussion.

My K10D is my second AF camera in nearly 40 years of photography for pleasure and a few years as a working pro. (None of my pro cameras, from 35mm to 4x5, were AF.) Using full autofocus, the K10D gives me a better percentage of keepers than did my 2004-vintage Nikon. In fact, I kept that camera in manual focus point selection mode most of the time as a result of its so-so keeper percentage. It might have locked focus marginally faster than my Pentax, but it didn't seem to choose the right sensor point as often.

I'm happier with autofocus now than I was, and am trying to learn the SAFOX VIII quirks so as to get the best out of the system. MF is still just a switch and/or a focus clutch twist of the ring away, anyway!
03-02-2008, 04:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tingchaleun Quote
I had a quick question related to my technique above. On the K10/k20, does the battery grip allow you to focus via the same way that i use the 'OK' button? In other words, on the D-BG2, can i dedicate the focussing to another button on the grip?
No. You can still use the AFbutton, but it's very awkward. By the way, I'm shooting quite a bit of sports and almost never missed a shot because of AF. One of my friend using Nikon said he always gets them, but they sometime are out of focus. So, sometime, I miss, sometime, his are out of focus. Same thing to me.
Whatever you do, nothing replaces experience. It's something you can't buy!
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