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04-12-2008, 06:02 PM   #1
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K10d manual focus?

Kinda simple and probably noob-like question. But I have been fiddling around with my K10d on the MF setting. I have used both AF lenses and my old MF 50mm/f2.0 lens from my K1000. I know that auto focus lenses are "looser" and have shorter distances between components ( I forget the actual terms) and are thus harder to handle manually, so for the sake of my question let's assume I am only using MF lenses, like my 50mm/f2.0.

There is, more or less, plenty of light and , since exposure is not at stake here, I am shooting at f/2.8 or above, shutter speed of 1/40 or faster, with shake reduction on and set to 50mm... everything else is DEFAULT.

OK, so...


1. I focus in on a STILL subject, one not to far away so that I can see it clearly. It looks quite crisp on the view finder but when take the shot it is not quite in focus. I assumed this isn't caused by motion blur because this happens sometimes even when I use a high shutter speed ( and remeber I have shake reduction on and a fairly steady hand)

2. So I figured instead of relying on my eye... I would follow the cameras suggestion ( waiting for the little red box and beep that occurs when the camera think it's in focus, much the same way it signals focus on AF mode). Also, there is a hexagonal light at the bottom of the viewfinder that lights up shortly after the beep/red box appears... but that most often than not flickers on/of if I so much as lean a little or take a breath... anyhow I figure that at that point am focused enough that with the DOF caused by my aperture I should at least be able to breathe while taking the photo without loosing too much sharpness

This however is iffy at best. It's not that I always get out of focus pictures, or that they are extremely out of focus, it's just that they look myopic or carelessly focused --almost there but not quite. And yet sometimes I manage to get oh so mazing focus and detail. I never had this problem when I shot with my k1000 ( of course the K1000 had a split prism focus screen.. which helped a lot, but most digital photogs I know steer clear of altering their equiptement and still get in-focus shots in way more challenging situations.. so i figure it's something basic am not doing)

While am on the subject... in lower light situation manual focusing does become more of a challenge since through the lens everything appears slightly darker ( which is normal, I know it happened with my k1000 as well). But I try to go by the beep/red box / and in focus indicator light to achieve "full" focus.. rather than what I see ( or rather cant see since its dark).. but again that produces hit and miss results.

I also considered that I may have needed to adjust the diopter.. but then realized that doing merely made the WHOLE VIEWFINDER fuzzy for me ( including the read outs, so I knew this wasn't going to solve the problem)


Anyway, I hope I have described the issue clearly... Any tricks/ tips you use when focusing manually with your digital camera? Why is the focus indicator flickering... don't tell me that i have less than a eighth of an inch "play" even at f/2.8 on a digital ( not shotting macro either)... I just cant figure this out


help , as always, is appreciated

04-12-2008, 06:14 PM   #2
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Is the cam new? Has the focusing screen ever been messed with? Any other lenses to test?

For me, the focus confirmation is spot-on. I spent a good 45 minutes when I first got it making sure what I saw was dead correct. Aside from the lowest light, I agree with it 99% of the time.

The image should "snap" into focus when you're focusing. If it doesn't, and the diopter doesn't help, and other lenses behave the same, it sounds like a cam issue.
04-12-2008, 06:47 PM   #3
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the camera is about 3 months old. I did play with the diometer but then set it back to it's default position. I have tried other , AF lenses with similar results.. it's just that this lense is easier for me to control ( this meaning move with my fingers... )

Keep in mind that AUTO FUCUS is spot-on. I am just having problem matching what I myself see in the viewfinder to what comes up as a picture
04-12-2008, 09:59 PM   #4
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With manual lens, the green hexagon flicking on and off indicates that the camera is on and off focus; with AF lens, when it blinking rapidly indicates that the subject is too close for the lens to focus.

The K10D has a feature that it will not take shot when set at AF-S, and subject is out of focus. We can take advantage of that feature when using it with a MF lens.

This is how I use with MF lens: I have my K10D on AF-S (not MF), Center Focus Point; compose and focus on the subject, when there is a beep and the focus indicator flicks, I stop focusing and by the same time press on the shutter release button as to take the shot, most of the times it won't do it because it is out of focus right away. So while my finger keeps pressing on the shutter button, I try to hold still and slowly turning the focus ring back a bit, when it gets back in focus then the camera snaps the shot right away (remember there is the finger still pressing on the shutter button).

BTW, I adjusted diopter of my K10D like this.- Mount the camera on a tripod, focus on something stand alone like a lens or a spray can with tiny words on it, get it perfectly in focus by tapping on the button few extra times. Then I adjust the diopter until I can see the words on the subject best. Recheck if the focus still right on.

Hope this helps.

Ken

PS. If you still experience out of focus images, there a chance that either the lens or camera has front or back focus.

04-12-2008, 10:06 PM   #5
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Hmmm...AF is right on...

Try focus trapping like Ken said, and see if that helps.

If you flip the AF lens to MF, can you get the same results back to back with AF (while mounted on a tripod in a controlled environment)? Is this the only MF lens you're having issues with? Is there any way (aka...intentionally back or front focusing the lens) to make a good picture?
04-12-2008, 10:08 PM   #6
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Very good information!
04-13-2008, 01:43 PM   #7
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That tip was amazing! Everything works super!! ( even in low light since, again I am going by the "focus indicator"

Thank you so much!

This question may be accademic now. But are digigital cameras just less fogiving than fil when it comes to focus?
04-13-2008, 01:47 PM   #8
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Long winded reply.

QuoteOriginally posted by dresden_phoenix Quote
Kinda simple and probably noob-like question. But I have been fiddling around with my K10d on the MF setting. I have used both AF lenses and my old MF 50mm/f2.0 lens from my K1000. I know that auto focus lenses are "looser" and have shorter distances between components ( I forget the actual terms) and are thus harder to handle manually, so for the sake of my question let's assume I am only using MF lenses, like my 50mm/f2.0.

There is, more or less, plenty of light and , since exposure is not at stake here, I am shooting at f/2.8 or above, shutter speed of 1/40 or faster, with shake reduction on and set to 50mm... everything else is DEFAULT.

OK, so...


1. I focus in on a STILL subject, one not to far away so that I can see it clearly. It looks quite crisp on the view finder but when take the shot it is not quite in focus. I assumed this isn't caused by motion blur because this happens sometimes even when I use a high shutter speed ( and remeber I have shake reduction on and a fairly steady hand)

2. So I figured instead of relying on my eye... I would follow the cameras suggestion ( waiting for the little red box
The little red box or dot only indicates the focus point that will be used - what you need to watch for is the green hexagon at the bottom of the screen
QuoteQuote:
and beep that occurs when the camera think it's in focus, much the same way it signals focus on AF mode). Also, there is a hexagonal light at the bottom of the viewfinder that lights up shortly after the beep/red box appears... but that most often than not flickers on/of if I so much as lean a little or take a breath... anyhow I figure that at that point am focused enough that with the DOF caused by my aperture I should at least be able to breathe while taking the photo without loosing too much sharpness
The flickering of the green hexagon focus indicator shows either that you are working with a hair thin depth of field or that the camera cannot find a contrasty edge to focus on. My solution to this, suggested in my SF-1 instruction book when I bought it, is to use snap-in-focus. Set the camera to AF.S. Focus as nearly as you can. Make sure your custom menu has [AF on Half Press] [Enabled] (this is the default). Hold down the shutter release and either try to focus or move the camera back and forth. The camera will take the image at the point of perfect focus. It will also do this for a moving subject when you pre focus on a particular point and follow the subject with the center focus point. The center point is the only one that can be used with manual focus lenses.
QuoteQuote:
This however is iffy at best. It's not that I always get out of focus pictures, or that they are extremely out of focus, it's just that they look myopic or carelessly focused --almost there but not quite. And yet sometimes I manage to get oh so mazing focus and detail. I never had this problem when I shot with my k1000 ( of course the K1000 had a split prism focus screen.. which helped a lot, but most digital photogs I know steer clear of altering their equiptement and still get in-focus shots in way more challenging situations.. so i figure it's something basic am not doing)

While am on the subject... in lower light situation manual focusing does become more of a challenge since through the lens everything appears slightly darker ( which is normal, I know it happened with my k1000 as well). But I try to go by the beep/red box / and in focus indicator light to achieve "full" focus.. rather than what I see ( or rather cant see since its dark).. but again that produces hit and miss results.

I also considered that I may have needed to adjust the diopter.. but then realized that doing merely made the WHOLE VIEWFINDER fuzzy for me ( including the read outs, so I knew this wasn't going to solve the problem)
To adjust the diopter, take off the eye piece cover (the rubber thing) by sliding it up with both thumbs. Point your camera at a blank wall or the sky. You don't need to turn the camera on - it actually works better off for me. Slide the diopter adjustment until the viewfinder lines are as clear as you can get them. Having changed my screen with my shaky hands, I also have a few dust particles and a scratch to use. Now it will be easier to use the screen for manual focus. Some complain that manual focus is difficult with the standard screen, but I don't much trouble with it.
QuoteQuote:
Anyway, I hope I have described the issue clearly... Any tricks/ tips you use when focusing manually with your digital camera? Why is the focus indicator flickering... don't tell me that i have less than a eighth of an inch "play" even at f/2.8 on a digital ( not shotting macro either)... I just cant figure this out
help , as always, is appreciated
The flickering can be caused by a shallow depth of field and slight motion, or it can also indicate that the focus detector cannot see a contrast line clearly enough to use it to focus. I have focused my M 400/5.6 quite easily with the K10D and the LL80 grid screen.

04-13-2008, 04:58 PM   #9
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Actually I have been having the same problem at the OP ever since I've had my K100D Super. It's driving me crazy now I'm trying to focus manually. Part of the problem is my eyes, no doubt. I've got the diopter all the way to the right and take my glasses off for use. But I feel like I need to slide it over even more.

In addition to this, that darned hexagon flickers off and on so quickly I'd never know Iwas in focus. Trap focus still results in OOF images. I've been thinking either I'm no good or something is broken.
04-13-2008, 05:04 PM   #10
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I think Canada Rockies is right.. I probably am dealing with a hair thin DOF.. I tend to do things the CHALLENGING way.. but with my K1000 never had any problems with it... and keep in mind back then I havd to wait till an elargement to figure out if I didn't focus enough.

Still that tip abut using AF with manual lenses works nicely. One related question.. Setting the camera to AF S while using a manual lens wont harm the camera ( AF drive or what not), will it?
04-13-2008, 11:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dresden_phoenix Quote
Ken T

That tip was amazing! Everything works super!! ( even in low light since, again I am going by the "focus indicator"

Thank you so much!

This question may be accademic now. But are digigital cameras just less fogiving than fil when it comes to focus?
You are welcomed. I am glad that works for you.

QuoteOriginally posted by dresden_phoenix Quote

Still that tip abut using AF with manual lenses works nicely. One related question.. Setting the camera to AF S while using a manual lens wont harm the camera ( AF drive or what not), will it?
After using that couple times, I thought about it too, so I checked to see if there was something may cause a concern. As the mount of the MF lens has no electical contact at all, just a flat piece of metal. So without the lens mounted on the body, I used a small metal ruler pressed flatly on all the contacts, against the mount of the body. I turned the camera on, it also asked for the focal length same as there was a MF mounted on, I lightly pressed on the shutter button same as focusing and looked at the AF drive shaft, it did not turn at all.

So with a MF lens mounted on, the camera knows and will not activate the focus motor.

To me it is perfectly safe to the camera with focus trapping. But may be there is somthing I don't know about, if someone still in doubt please don't use it, and don't blame me if something goes wrong.

Thank you,

Ken
04-14-2008, 04:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dresden_phoenix Quote
Ken T


This question may be accademic now. But are digigital cameras just less fogiving than fil when it comes to focus?
It is more the point that digital images can be examined in greater detail at larger magnification than film prints usually were.

If you had had all your film prints developed at 10" x 8" instead of the normal postcard size you would have been complaining more about your focusing ability in the film era too !!

From reading this thread it is clear that the auto-focus (including focus-trap)works fine. Remember the auto focus has nothing to do with the focus screen. I would try removing and replacing the focus screen. It may be just not sitting properly in its frame, and this is causing your manual focus errors.
04-14-2008, 11:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dresden_phoenix Quote
I think Canada Rockies is right.. I probably am dealing with a hair thin DOF.. I tend to do things the CHALLENGING way.. but with my K1000 never had any problems with it... and keep in mind back then I havd to wait till an elargement to figure out if I didn't focus enough.

Still that tip abut using AF with manual lenses works nicely. One related question.. Setting the camera to AF S while using a manual lens wont harm the camera ( AF drive or what not), will it?
Snap-in-focus is in the Pentax manual for the SF-1, and is hidden away in the manual for the K10D. There can be no damage to the camera doing this, because there is no drive connection. The camera knows this, either from the lens contacts, or lack thereof, or that the drive screw won't go all the way out.
04-14-2008, 12:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
The flickering of the green hexagon focus indicator shows either that you are working with a hair thin depth of field or that the camera cannot find a contrasty edge to focus on. My solution to this, suggested in my SF-1 instruction book when I bought it, is to use snap-in-focus. Set the camera to AF.S. Focus as nearly as you can. Make sure your custom menu has [AF on Half Press] [Enabled] (this is the default). Hold down the shutter release and either try to focus or move the camera back and forth. The camera will take the image at the point of perfect focus. It will also do this for a moving subject when you pre focus on a particular point and follow the subject with the center focus point. The center point is the only one that can be used with manual focus lenses.

To adjust the diopter, take off the eye piece cover (the rubber thing) by sliding it up with both thumbs. Point your camera at a blank wall or the sky. You don't need to turn the camera on - it actually works better off for me. Slide the diopter adjustment until the viewfinder lines are as clear as you can get them. Having changed my screen with my shaky hands, I also have a few dust particles and a scratch to use. Now it will be easier to use the screen for manual focus. Some complain that manual focus is difficult with the standard screen, but I don't much trouble with it.The flickering can be caused by a shallow depth of field and slight motion, or it can also indicate that the focus detector cannot see a contrast line clearly enough to use it to focus. I have focused my M 400/5.6 quite easily with the K10D and the LL80 grid screen.
Thanks for these tips, extremely helpful

Last edited by Jonson PL; 04-14-2008 at 12:32 PM.
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