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09-05-2014, 09:19 PM   #1
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LED focus points

I went from a Nikon D90 to a K-5 II, and I'm generally happy with the transition, but one thing I miss from the Nikon is the LCD focus points, compared to the red LEDs on my Pentax. I find the LED points distracting, and occasionally hard to use in a bright/sunny setting.

I don't see any threads about it here, so I'm wondering what the consensus on this feature is. Is there a benefit to the LED points that I'm not seeing? Should I get over it? Or does anybody else think this should be changed?

Thanks for your thoughts.

09-05-2014, 09:27 PM   #2
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Guess it is what you are used to. I've never shot Nikon so I guess the red LEDs are all I'm used to, better than the k-x where you had no indicator at all. As for getting it changed? Hmm, you could email Ricoh and ask.
09-05-2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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What's odd is the red LEDs feel really out of place on an otherwise superior camera. I think my Nikon D40 had red LEDs (three of them?).

I still have my D90 and even though it feels so plasticky compared to my Pentax, I do prefer what I see in the viewfinder. It's not enough for me to switch back to Nikon, but I think it would be nice if Pentax was at least that good (and I understand the K-3 is pretty much the same as the K-5 in this regard).
09-06-2014, 04:07 AM   #4
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I guess its what you are used to. I tried out a friends Nikon D80 a while ago (not sure how VF compares to D90) and found it hard to get used to - I think familiarity probably takes some time.

That said I would not miss AF points in the VF anyway because I don't work that way. The K-x did not have any and the only time I use them in my K-5 is when MF where I find they come on before focus confirm and make it a bit quicker to find focus. I was brought up on centre focus and recompose but everyone is different.

09-06-2014, 04:36 AM   #5
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I think it is a matter of getting used to the camera layout and it is a matter of personal preference. For me, I will never get used to looking at all the focus points etched into the focus screen when looking through the viewfinder for Nikon and Canon models, especially the ones with many focus points.
09-06-2014, 06:26 AM   #6
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I am not too clear on the difference between the Nikon and Pentax...

The Nikon does not show little red LED? I know the Pentax does, of course. I wonder how you know which point the Nikon is using.. Is there some indication other than red LED ?
I think the red LED can be turned off in custom function menu...
I dpn't have a manual to check but I am pretty sure there is an LED-related menu item..

---------- Post added 09-06-14 at 08:30 AM ----------

Perhaps the menu item is for the LED to show only during focusing versus all the time...
May not be possible to turn them off altogether but take a look

My little lights come only only when the camera is focusing. I use AF button to focus AF-S so majority of time I look through the finder, I see no red. But this is with not moving stuff.
09-06-2014, 11:02 AM   #7
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Tan68, I cribbed an image from dpreview showing the D90's viewfinder:



The 11 dots scattered around the center are focus points and if you look closely, you can see a bracket around the selected focus point in the center (which is hard to see because of the color of the wasp). Using the directional pad on the back of the camera, you can move that bracket around to any of the 11 focus points. There's also an option for that selector bracket to glow red, either always, or automatically based on the lighting conditions. In automatic/dynamic focus modes, multiple brackets will light to show the active focus points, which I dislike as it overloads my simple brain.

Here's another image that shows every focus point selected:



It could just be a matter of taste, or like kiwi_jono suggested, what you're used to, but it seems like a more advanced viewfinder to me, and I wonder if Pentax will go that way eventually. I'd like to know what the 645Z has, but nothing I can find online shows that. Anybody here used one?
09-06-2014, 11:06 AM   #8
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I believe the 645Z has the same focus point display as the K-3, albeit in a larger viewfinder.

09-07-2014, 06:05 AM   #9
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Thanks for the extra information. You don't really want the red LED to go away, I gather. I thought you wanted rid of them. You just wish there was a different way to identify the points..

I guess the red points don't bother me because a digital Pentax was the first AF SLR I have used..

The Nikon finder looks a little busier to me
So, looking the other direction, I would have to get used to it :^)
The 'BW' and battery info... okay, I guess
The little 'no clipboard' graphic to remind me to not talk with petition people at tourist hotspots is welcome! A photographer threat detection system would be a great thing.
09-07-2014, 08:04 AM   #10
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The other stuff in the viewfinder are warnings and can be switched off. The gridlines too. The default view is just the circle you see in the second picture, without the brackets around the focus points.

It's the LCD overlay in the D90's viewfinder that I miss in the K-5, mostly for the focus points, but I also occasionally like gridlines (when shooting architecture, for example). I know I can change a focus screen to get that, but then it's always there.
09-07-2014, 10:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobdobbs Quote
Is there a benefit to the LED points that I'm not seeing?
I guess LCD may work better in bright light but LED may work better in dim light or against a dark background. In the end, I suppose this pretty much even things out and not one design is basically better than the other. It's just a question of getting used to one or to other (or both!).
09-07-2014, 11:05 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobdobbs Quote
Tan68, I cribbed an image from dpreview showing the D90's viewfinder:



The 11 dots scattered around the center are focus points and if you look closely, you can see a bracket around the selected focus point in the center (which is hard to see because of the color of the wasp). Using the directional pad on the back of the camera, you can move that bracket around to any of the 11 focus points. There's also an option for that selector bracket to glow red, either always, or automatically based on the lighting conditions. In automatic/dynamic focus modes, multiple brackets will light to show the active focus points, which I dislike as it overloads my simple brain.

Here's another image that shows every focus point selected:



It could just be a matter of taste, or like kiwi_jono suggested, what you're used to, but it seems like a more advanced viewfinder to me, and I wonder if Pentax will go that way eventually. I'd like to know what the 645Z has, but nothing I can find online shows that. Anybody here used one?
That's what I don't like about the viewfinder view of the scene, cluttered with the dots (or little squares) of focus points. The D90 looks okay with fewer focus points, but for other models with higher focus points, it becomes too cluttered. Well, I guess it is a matter of getting used to if you choose to shoot Nikon or Canon.
09-07-2014, 12:36 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
I guess LCD may work better in bright light but LED may work better in dim light or against a dark background. In the end, I suppose this pretty much even things out and not one design is basically better than the other. It's just a question of getting used to one or to other (or both!).
Not really. The Nikon's brackets will also glow red momentarily, when the camera grabs focus, and that behavior is customizable (on, off, or auto, which is on or off based on the lighting conditions). Basically, the D90 has the best of both worlds, where the K-5 LEDs are less visible in bright light (like I mentioned in the OP).



---------- Post added 09-07-14 at 12:39 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
That's what I don't like about the viewfinder view of the scene, cluttered with the dots (or little squares) of focus points. The D90 looks okay with fewer focus points, but for other models with higher focus points, it becomes too cluttered. Well, I guess it is a matter of getting used to if you choose to shoot Nikon or Canon.
Yeah, I could see the overlay getting cluttered as you add more focus points, but I haven't used any of their later cameras to find out for myself how they handle this. Perhaps the grid of focus points can be turned off on newer cameras -- I don't think they can on the D90, but maybe I'm missing something in the menus.

Last edited by bobdobbs; 09-07-2014 at 01:02 PM.
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