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09-01-2016, 07:01 PM   #1
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Shooting speed slower in continuous focus mode?

I take a fair number of pictures at my 9 year old son's soccer games and have noticed my shooting speed is far slower in continuous focus mode. I have a K-3. Is there a setting to make the shooting speed faster? If there is should I use this mode or just let it shoot slower? Come to think of it I do remember some setting that chooses between shooting speed and subjects being in focus and giving a priority to one or the other. Is that what I'd want to change? I'd like photos to be sharp of course but I also don't want to miss a good action shot because the shutter is firing too slowly. Thanks!

09-01-2016, 07:13 PM   #2
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I set my K-3 to "release priority" (vs. "focus priority") and to use "back button" AF. I found that having AF on the shutter button caused it to refocus between shots, and slowing down the frame rate. With "back button" AF it only refocuses if I hold the AF button down while shooting.
09-01-2016, 08:19 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonardotmnt Quote
I take a fair number of pictures at my 9 year old son's soccer games and have noticed my shooting speed is far slower in continuous focus mode. I have a K-3. Is there a setting to make the shooting speed faster? If there is should I use this mode or just let it shoot slower? Come to think of it I do remember some setting that chooses between shooting speed and subjects being in focus and giving a priority to one or the other. Is that what I'd want to change? I'd like photos to be sharp of course but I also don't want to miss a good action shot because the shutter is firing too slowly. Thanks!
In focus priority mode, the FPS will inevitably be slower since the camera will ensure that your subject is in focus. But the advice above is good, IMO!

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09-01-2016, 10:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonardotmnt Quote
Shooting speed slower in continuous focus mode?
Hi Leonard. It might help us to know what lenses you are using. Fast primes or slow zooms. Are you shooting wide open, or are they stopped down. What sort of distances are your subjects from you etc.

09-02-2016, 03:49 AM   #5
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I'm using the 55-300 WR most of the time close to 300mm but depending on the action sometimes down to 55. Usually I'm shooting as wide open as I'm able to.

I do use back-button focus. Does that mean I shouldn't be holding it down even if the kids are moving? Or if I put it in release priority should i just continue to hold it down and shoot as play is happening?

I did find the settings for Action AF.C Continous and moved it to Auto or FPS-Priority. Is that what I'm looking for in this case? It was set to Focus-priority before.
09-02-2016, 06:26 AM   #6
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You have to activate the focus continuously when you are doing AF.C, whichever way you have it set. So you would need to hold the back button if you want it to keep focusing if you have it set to back button focusing, or half-press of the shutter button if you have it set that way.

I normally use back-button focusing, but when I needed to use AF.C recently for a two-hour show, I found it was easier to set the focus to the shutter button. It was less uncomfortable over time than holding the back button (basically) the whole time. Anyone else have any experience with this?
09-02-2016, 06:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonardotmnt Quote
I'm using the 55-300 WR most of the time close to 300mm but depending on the action sometimes down to 55. Usually I'm shooting as wide open as I'm able to.
The 55-300 WR has a maximum aperture of f5.8 at 300 which is an in between F stop. My calculator has f5.6 or f6.3, so I will use the f5.6. At 300mm zoom with the subject focused at 30 feet, your DOF is only 0.66 feet ( 8 inches ). At 20 feet it is 0.29 feet ( 4 inches ) At 10 feet it is 0.06 feet !!! It is no wonder that you are having trouble keeping running kids in focus. You did not say whether you are using the HI or LOW speed drive modes, but that is a sidebar issue. For me because the DOF is so small, I would rather get 3 shots in focus rather than 10 blurred photographs. I would personally keep the focus priority. How many AF points are you using? Are you positioned so the action is across the field, or are they running towards you. All these parameters change your cameras ability to track focus. The K-3 is a great camera ( I have 1 also ) but it is usually the lenses that hamper it. I hope this has helped you Leonard. Post more questions if you have them and we will try to answer them as best we can.
EDIT - The 24.3 megapixels allow for a sharp image to be cropped very successfully. Perhaps don't shoot at 300mm quite so often and crop the image to suit. The longer the lens, the less DOF from the same shooting distance. At 300mm zoom f5.6 at 30 feet, 8 inches DOF. At 200mm zoom f5.6 at 30 feet, 18 inches DOF and so on. Good luck.

Last edited by pjv; 09-02-2016 at 06:51 AM.
09-02-2016, 06:51 AM - 1 Like   #8
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In a recent thread, there was some discussion that AF.C works better if you are using a lens that has SDM focusing rather than screw-drive. Also that it works better if you have a better lens than a "consumer lens". I'll see if I can find that thread.

---------- Post added 09-02-16 at 06:57 AM ----------

Turns out it was a thread about your lens!

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/328221-extr...55-300-hd.html


Last edited by leekil; 09-02-2016 at 07:14 AM.
09-02-2016, 07:25 AM   #9
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Thanks for the DOF explanation. I didn't think about that. So if they're close it may help to use an aperture around f8.0 or so? Will that separate them from the background at all or is that something I'll just have to live with?

I've been trying to keep it more open to separate them from the background and also keep the ISO low.

I do use the highest speed shooting. Sometimes I set up so the kids are running at me but other times I'm closer to midfield because my wife is there too.

I'll experiment this weekend a little to see what works best.
09-02-2016, 07:30 AM   #10
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You're welcome Leonard. @leekil 's link to that thread makes interesting reading too. Good luck at the weekend.


PS. Telephoto lenses compress the background, so you should still be able to isolate the subjects.
09-02-2016, 07:42 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pjv Quote
The 55-300 WR has a maximum aperture of f5.8 at 300 which is an in between F stop. My calculator has f5.6 or f6.3, so I will use the f5.6. At 300mm zoom with the subject focused at 30 feet, your DOF is only 0.66 feet ( 8 inches ). At 20 feet it is 0.29 feet ( 4 inches ) At 10 feet it is 0.06 feet !!! It is no wonder that you are having trouble keeping running kids in focus. You did not say whether you are using the HI or LOW speed drive modes, but that is a sidebar issue. For me because the DOF is so small, I would rather get 3 shots in focus rather than 10 blurred photographs. I would personally keep the focus priority. How many AF points are you using? Are you positioned so the action is across the field, or are they running towards you. All these parameters change your cameras ability to track focus. The K-3 is a great camera ( I have 1 also ) but it is usually the lenses that hamper it. I hope this has helped you Leonard. Post more questions if you have them and we will try to answer them as best we can.
EDIT - The 24.3 megapixels allow for a sharp image to be cropped very successfully. Perhaps don't shoot at 300mm quite so often and crop the image to suit. The longer the lens, the less DOF from the same shooting distance. At 300mm zoom f5.6 at 30 feet, 8 inches DOF. At 200mm zoom f5.6 at 30 feet, 18 inches DOF and so on. Good luck.
Actually, the OP didn't say that he was having trouble getting in focus shots, but was just asking about how to get more FPS. It is true that using AF-C limits your FPS. I have noticed the same thing with my K-5. From what I have read, in AF-S, the K-3 can get about 8 FPS, where AF-C brings that down to about 5 fps. Having experience with soccer, using AF-S is difficult, the focus plane shifts too quickly. For sports like baseball, I sometimes shift to AF-S in order to get the higher FPS that help out a great deal (especially for batters). With soccer though, I think you are going to have to stick with AF-C. Also, I would try to fill the frame as much as possible by zooming, this does help the AF keep focus on players and not shift to the background items.

Also, if getting in focus shots is difficult at 5.6, you could experiment with stopping down in bright sunlight, the bad part about that is that you lose subject isolation, and the subjects don't pop as much. When using my Sigma 100-300 for soccer, I usually stick to either f4 or 5.6. Good discussion here by all, I will be following along to see what I can learn, especially regarding peoples experience with focus points and other settings.
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