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04-01-2016, 03:17 AM   #1
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Decouple AF-L and AE-L when using Back Button in DSLRs without dedicated AF-L buttons

From what I've read, when using a camera other than likes of K-3 which have dedicated buttons for AF-L and AE-L, (like the K-S2) we cannot decouple the function of AF-L and AE-L when using the Back button for focusing,

But when using the Back button for focusing, the Shutter Half press probably doesn't do anything (right?). Is it possible to assign a function like AE-L to the shutter Half press??

I had read this on the site:

Back Button Focus: What is it and why should you try it?

"Finally, one of the most overlooked benefits of using the back button to focus is that it frees up your shutter half-press to do other functions like lock the exposure. You will have to enable this option using your cameraís settings menu, and you might not use it on every shot, but itís yet another tool in your photographic arsenal that can help you get better photos."

so I'm wondering if such a thing is present on pentax cameras, or whether it's possible by a firmware upgrade.

I haven't found it on a Pentax K-S2 camera's manual.

04-01-2016, 06:57 AM   #2
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I am not sure if I understand your question...
on K-5ii (check menu C-1->5, 6).
C-1->6 "Link AE to AF point" when enabled/disabled decouples the AE locking from the focus point chosen.
C-1->5 "AE-L with AF Locked" when enabled/disabled decouples the AE locking from the focus lock (time when when focus is achieved).

Also there are 2 dedicated back buttons 1.for AF and 2. for AE-L to perform the operation independent of each other aside from the shutter button focus Lock/AE-L. This is everything you will need essentially and all Pentax pro bodies have it. The other bodies have this button usually multiplexed. as in the same button performs different function (AE-L/AF) depending upon how it is configured. But the bottom line is there is a decoupling in Pentax cameras all bodies for sure.
I am not sure about the other cameras but even other cameras should have this feature because it is considered critical to be able to decouple AF-L and AE-L. If not direct access buttons there may be menus that one may have to wade through but this decoupling should be there.
04-01-2016, 10:24 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by shardulm Quote
I am not sure if I understand your question...
on K-5ii (check menu C-1->5, 6).
C-1->6 "Link AE to AF point" when enabled/disabled decouples the AE locking from the focus point chosen.
C-1->5 "AE-L with AF Locked" when enabled/disabled decouples the AE locking from the focus lock (time when when focus is achieved).

Also there are 2 dedicated back buttons 1.for AF and 2. for AE-L to perform the operation independent of each other aside from the shutter button focus Lock/AE-L. This is everything you will need essentially and all Pentax pro bodies have it. The other bodies have this button usually multiplexed. as in the same button performs different function (AE-L/AF) depending upon how it is configured. But the bottom line is there is a decoupling in Pentax cameras all bodies for sure.
I am not sure about the other cameras but even other cameras should have this feature because it is considered critical to be able to decouple AF-L and AE-L. If not direct access buttons there may be menus that one may have to wade through but this decoupling should be there.
thanks for the reply,


but I think other than the flagship cameras (K-5 K-3), others dont have a dedicated button for AF-L & AE-L, i.e. they are multiplexed, which isn't very intuitive & changing both independently isnt possible.

my point was whether the half click could be assigned as AE-L when the back button is used for AF-L.
04-01-2016, 11:14 AM   #4
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On the K-50, assigning "Enable AF2" to the AF/AE-L button, and disabling "AE-L with AF Locked" and "Link AE to AF point" decouples AF from AE and sets up the back button for AF, leaving the shutter button for AE when half-pressed.

04-01-2016, 03:25 PM   #5
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Can't get this to work on my K-30, as I expect to be the same as the k-50, the info on the manuals looks the same on page 97.
If I set AF/AE-L to AE-L I get an * when locked, and can move the camera around and speed, aperture and iso doesn't change, with enable AF2 on, "AE-L with AF Locked" and "Link AE to AF point" off, half press or not, it's always metering. Any ideas?
Thank you.
04-01-2016, 03:54 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielblues Quote
... with enable AF2 on, "AE-L with AF Locked" and "Link AE to AF point" off, half press or not, it's always metering. Any ideas?
Well, you have made me test on my K-50, and it does the same. The shutter half-press still doesn't lock exposure, though, so AF and AE remain decoupled, just on different buttons, with AE on the back button and AF on the shutter button.
04-01-2016, 04:12 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by aremmes Quote
leaving the shutter button for AE when half-pressed
QuoteOriginally posted by danielblues Quote
half press or not, it's always metering
The manual isn't very clear in my opinion, but after playing around with different settings, the bullet points about locking exposure (regarding pressing the shutter button halfway and twice the operating time of the meter) only apply when the AE-L button is pressed and button customization is set to AE-Lock only (option 4). To test this, press the AF/AE-L button and wait to see how long it takes for the "*" to go out. If you keep pressing the shutter button halfway, it doesn't go out, if you don't press the shutter button or release the shutter button it goes out after the appropriate time has elapsed.

Linking the AF and AE points or locking AE when AF is locked are somewhat different issues.

You could apply mental AE lock (by setting exposure manually after metering the light for one spot and then focusing on a different spot) as a workaround for not having separate AE lock and AF lock buttons. Bracketing would be another way to accomplish the same thing (how many times do you need to take pictures where the exposure changes by 5 stops across the frame?) Either way, taking pictures becomes more complicated and only the photographer can determine when the (in)convenience of automation is more of a problem than manual compensation based on experience.

Last edited by RGlasel; 04-01-2016 at 04:51 PM.
04-02-2016, 02:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aremmes Quote
Well, you have made me test on my K-50, and it does the same. The shutter half-press still doesn't lock exposure, though, so AF and AE remain decoupled, just on different buttons, with AE on the back button and AF on the shutter button.
So you mean to say, that when I'll assign AF-L to back button, I am loosing the AE-L functionality totally (exposure keeps changing as the image in frame changes) & that the half press action is really left redundant. So you just have to click when you think the exposure is right.

It would have been logical if the half press was made into an AE-L button.... it's not like you need an extra button for it.

Doesnt look like it would be any different on the K-S2 which I'll be buying later.

04-02-2016, 09:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by anu l Quote
So you mean to say, that when I'll assign AF-L to back button, I am loosing the AE-L functionality totally (exposure keeps changing as the image in frame changes) ...
Unless you enable "AE-L with AF Locked" in the custom menu, which defaults to off. This, of course, is the opposite of decoupling AE-L and AF-L. That seems the only way to get AE-L from the shutter button.
04-02-2016, 11:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aremmes Quote
Unless you enable "AE-L with AF Locked" in the custom menu, which defaults to off. This, of course, is the opposite of decoupling AE-L and AF-L. That seems the only way to get AE-L from the shutter button.
The guys at pentax wasted a whole button on "wifi", they could have easily assigned it as AE-L or made it customizable. & even then wifi can be switched using in menu settings.

This & the video mode switch integrated into on-off switch (as if Pentax ever made a good video camera) are waste of & bad implementations of button layout from Pentax for the K-S2.

They should have made the video switch as the live view, would have been more logical & the current LV switch could have been assigned as another customizable function button.
04-03-2016, 08:01 AM   #11
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In your humble opinion . . .
QuoteOriginally posted by anu l Quote
The guys at pentax wasted a whole button on "wifi", they could have easily assigned it as AE-L or made it customizable. & even then wifi can be switched using in menu settings.

This & the video mode switch integrated into on-off switch (as if Pentax ever made a good video camera) are waste of & bad implementations of button layout from Pentax for the K-S2.

They should have made the video switch as the live view, would have been more logical & the current LV switch could have been assigned as another customizable function button.
This entire thread seems to be about finding a way to trick a mid-range camera to perform the same function as the top-of-the-line camera. That's fine and worthy if you can make it work - I'm not being critical. - but - Disabling a few somewhat esoteric functions (in the use case of a mid-range consumer) to distinguish the flagship camera from its less expensive siblings is the entire business strategy of price points.

Further, the K-S2 wasn't likely designed nor marketed to emulate a flagship camera, nor did it replace the K-50. It was designed, built and sold to test market acceptance of Wi-Fi and the articulated screen near an entry-level price.

I've only had K-10D, K-01 and K-3, but I discovered the limitations of a mid-range camera on my K-01, which operationally is very similar to a K-30/K-50. It lacks a mirror and viewfinder but is nearly identical functionally to a K-30.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-03-2016 at 08:10 AM.
04-03-2016, 10:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
In your humble opinion . . . This entire thread seems to be about finding a way to trick a mid-range camera to perform the same function as the top-of-the-line camera. That's fine and worthy if you can make it work - I'm not being critical. - but - Disabling a few somewhat esoteric functions (in the use case of a mid-range consumer) to distinguish the flagship camera from its less expensive siblings is the entire business strategy of price points.

Further, the K-S2 wasn't likely designed nor marketed to emulate a flagship camera, nor did it replace the K-50. It was designed, built and sold to test market acceptance of Wi-Fi and the articulated screen near an entry-level price.

I've only had K-10D, K-01 and K-3, but I discovered the limitations of a mid-range camera on my K-01, which operationally is very similar to a K-30/K-50. It lacks a mirror and viewfinder but is nearly identical functionally to a K-30.
Your point is correct about differentiating between a Mid range and an entry level & keeping both attractive at their respective price point,

but my impression of Pentax was that they try to differentiate between a cost effective model and a mid-range by excluding the functionality which are hardware dependent - which mainly contribute to the cost of a camera.....

one generally sees options being disabled or being limited/muted deliberately on entry level cameras made by Canon and Nikon which sell these entry level cameras only to make the buyers want a mid range (Which is what made me look at Pentax & I respect them for that).

With a Pentax even an entry level one you can really grow (Which is the case with K-S2 in most aspects), & then off-course if you want something more advanced you'd go with a Mid range or flagship.
04-03-2016, 01:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by anu l Quote
my impression of Pentax was that they try to differentiate between a cost effective model and a mid-range by excluding the functionality which are hardware dependent - which mainly contribute to the cost of a camera.....
I can understand not wanting to pay the difference between a K-50 and a K-3 just to get an extra function button on the back, but two buttons versus one button is a hardware dependent feature. It could be argued that separate AE and AF lock buttons on a K-3 is a gimmicky feature that didn't add significantly to manufacturing costs, but is used to justify a relatively large price differential. Or it could be based on having more room on the K-3's larger body to implement extra features that aren't essential, but might convince a few potential customers to buy it instead of a cheaper mid-range or entry level camera. Those are the kind of considerations that go into the design of a product that can't be modified to suit individual customers.

Recomposing after locking AF with a half-press of the shutter button makes more ergonomic sense to me, I gave the famous back button focus technique a good try for three weeks and went back to the traditional point, press and recompose technique. Enabling the shutter button half-press to get AE lock would force me to change my routine and probably result in fewer, not more pictures that I would be happy with. Based on my own experience, I'm beginning to think that the less I rely on the camera's automation, the better a photographer I'll be. Your experience is different, which is fine, but I wouldn't anthropomorphize your disappointment with one specific functionality of a product line to Pentax not respecting you as a person.
04-04-2016, 05:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
I can understand not wanting to pay the difference between a K-50 and a K-3 just to get an extra function button on the back, but two buttons versus one button is a hardware dependent feature. It could be argued that separate AE and AF lock buttons on a K-3 is a gimmicky feature that didn't add significantly to manufacturing costs, but is used to justify a relatively large price differential. Or it could be based on having more room on the K-3's larger body to implement extra features that aren't essential, but might convince a few potential customers to buy it instead of a cheaper mid-range or entry level camera. Those are the kind of considerations that go into the design of a product that can't be modified to suit individual customers.

Recomposing after locking AF with a half-press of the shutter button makes more ergonomic sense to me, I gave the famous back button focus technique a good try for three weeks and went back to the traditional point, press and recompose technique. Enabling the shutter button half-press to get AE lock would force me to change my routine and probably result in fewer, not more pictures that I would be happy with. Based on my own experience, I'm beginning to think that the less I rely on the camera's automation, the better a photographer I'll be. Your experience is different, which is fine, but I wouldn't anthropomorphize your disappointment with one specific functionality of a product line to Pentax not respecting you as a person.
I am not saying add more buttons as it would be unfair towards Pentax, rather just make the existing one assigned to wi-fi customazable, since either way the wi-fi could be enabled in menu. I suppose assigning a single button to multiple functions is a firmware dependent feature.

Also they could have moved the video mode to somewhere else (or in menu) & made the video switch as Live view, freeing up the LV button. This would have been better from user's perspective.
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