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10-06-2016, 11:14 AM   #16

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QuoteOriginally posted by FantasticMrFox Quote
But okay, make that a D7200. Or D7100, the direct competitor to the K3. Or a Sony A6000, also a direct competitor. And I have actually tried one out - guess what, that thing tracked football ('soccer') players quite well. My K3 didn't.
Did you use the DFA150-450 on the K3. Because, when I use the DFA150-450 on the K3, AF tracking is very good, no hunting at all, and the lens AF just follow the subject without fault, I'm able to get more then 90% shots in perfect focus. Of course , if you used a Sony A6000 with recent lens, a K3 with old SDM lens on it can't compete.

10-06-2016, 11:48 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Did you use the DFA150-450 on the K3. Because, when I use the DFA150-450 on the K3, AF tracking is very good, no hunting at all, and the lens AF just follow the subject without fault, I'm able to get more then 90% shots in perfect focus. Of course , if you used a Sony A6000 with recent lens, a K3 with old SDM lens on it can't compete.
This is an important point... It's the combination of camera AND lens that results in a particular level of AF performance.

My A99-based HV is very quick and very accurate when paired with the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 ZA SSM Vario-Sonnar T* lens. It's great - but not as great - with the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 USD and Tamron 150-600 USD and Minolta 50 f/1.7, leisurely with the Tamron 28-300 PZD and positively lethargic with the old Tamron 28-300 XR screw-drive.

Overall, though, using recent-design lenses on both my HV and K-3, I generally find the HV quicker, more consistently accurate, and better at subject hold and AF adjustment when tracking. I suspect I would find the K-3's AF adjustment when tracking to be more comparable if I didn't have such poor technique in keeping my subject locked, but then my HV is more forgiving of that technique for now...
10-06-2016, 12:06 PM - 2 Likes   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Originally posted by ffking
the lens has a tendency to set off in the wrong direction, and then go all the way before coming back,
Please mention the lens you are considering with this statement. With SDM lenses, the AF do a full cycle when the AF position is between the closest focus distance and the subject. That is no the case anymore with DFA lenses. Furthermore, as soon as the defocus is so much that the PDAF sensor can measure a phase shift beyong 180 degree, there is no way the camera can know where the subject is, and this is the case of ALL phase detect AF systems, Canon, Nikon, whatever.

I've seem the "bad Pentax AF" topic coming back on the table over and over again, although Pentax AF improved an order of magnitude over the last 5 years. I shooting BiF tracking all the time with Pentax AF , and I find it disgusting that folks barely using less than half of the capabilities of the Pentax AF , criticizing it.
Look - I'm a total Pentax loyalist - I've owned 4 film Pentaxes (2 AF), two 67s and 3 digitals, all at the top of the range when I bought them - and I've never bought a camera of any other make for myself - I'm not into knocking Pentax and I know how the cameras and lenses work - but I speak as I find - I'm not picking up on some zeitgeist that says Pentax AF is rubbish - I've had many personal annoyances with the AF over the years and watched it get better - my AF lenses go back to Pentax F and forward to D-FA - and yes, the D-FAs are much less prone to hunting, they're not at all bad - but my son's much cheaper Canon is still snappier - that's my experience - that's all I'm saying.
10-06-2016, 12:17 PM   #19
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Come on, its 2016! Who even uses AF anymore??

Anyway, some tests have shown that Pentax AF is good in terms of low light and single point, but the problem was with tracking or if the subject is moving towards the camera. This is basically AF prediction.
The other problem is newbies who don't know that the AF point is big, bigger than the little overlay in the viewfinder. It won't lock onto something if it only covers a little part of the AF point and has less contrast than the background. AF is a tool that you have to learn to use. I usually know when to use AF, when to use MF to get fast, accurate results. That said, I usually take photography slowly. Maybe if you are at a dog park taking photos of a dozen dogs you need snappier AF. I'm just saying that your personal skill and predictions are important. You cannot rely on camera to do everything for you. Even de-coupling the AF from shutter button will change how you use AF, how you shoot, how many keepers you get

10-06-2016, 05:11 PM   #20
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Glass plays an important role. Last football season myself and another coach shot games from the sidelines. He used a Nixon D7200 with 18-135 while I used my K-5II and HD DA 70 Ltd. We were both using burst modes and Continuous AF. Hands down, I got crisper shots and a lot more keepers. Disabling the shutter release AF half press and using the AF button on the back helped. The short quick focus of the HD DA 70 made a huge difference in AF speed.
10-06-2016, 05:46 PM   #21
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In post No. 2, the summary in the first video shows us that the Nikon is about twice as fast as the Pentax. But these differences are still only a fraction of a second in each case. The measurements were made from either extreme of the focusing range, so I'd expect that the gap, in absolute terms, would be smaller in normal shooting situations, since the lens is not likely to be at one end or the other most of the time.

Will these small differences ever make a difference? Sure, but how often? That would depend on the type of shooting you do. What percentage of your shots would suffer as a result of this slower AF? And, do we know that the faster AF is always at least as accurate as the slower Pentax AF?
10-06-2016, 07:54 PM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by FantasticMrFox Quote
Yes, but provided they have a basic understanding of what they are doing, they'd get significantly less mis-focused shots than before.
I think one of the best things we can do for newbies on the forum is to get their heads around AF systems and how they work.

There are Canon 5D Mk III shooters who haven't understood their equivalent of the K3's 'Hold' tracking setting (there's actually several variables they can change, nice flexibility).

They are in danger of getting nice crisp shots of the crowd in the background instead of the athlete in a sports shot.
10-07-2016, 02:55 AM   #23
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I think there are a few things to consider.

I think a lot of people are considering lens motor speed more than they are considering true auto focus speed. Pentax still has a lot of first generation SDM lenses and screw driven lenses in their lens line up and these lenses are going to struggle more with tracking than newer lenses like the DFA zooms. Length of focus throw along with you lens motor are going to determine how long it takes for your lens to rack from end to end, but that isn't a particularly useful test of anything. Hopefully when you are tracking something or someone, your lens is making very small adjustments between shots that take very little time for any of these lenses to make.

It is really hard as well to quantify the skill of the user. The K3 II and the K-1 are the newest Pentax cameras and they seem pretty capable of tracking when used by someone with skill, but if you want the camera to just do everything for you, it may require less skill to use a camera like the D500.

Finally, all of this has turned into a discussion of AF-C, but honestly, 98 percent of the time (a made up statistic) I use AF-S and when you are using that, I doubt you could tell the difference between any of these cameras and lens combos.

10-07-2016, 07:08 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by mohb Quote
Do the mid range Canikons have blazing fast and perfectly accurate AF ....?
Absolutely! You'll never fail a shot again with a Canikon in your hand!

That said, the thread can be closed.....

(in my real life, I don't experience much of a difference between the Nikons I have - D800e, D5300 -, the Canons I had - all APS-C from 30D to 7D - and my Pentaxes)
10-07-2016, 04:12 PM   #25
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I shoot a lot of sports ranging from skiing, softball/baseball, and motorcycle racing. I've used a Pentax K10D originally and currently a K5. Both seemed to hold their own. While not quite as fast as others may be, I get a high amount of keepers as long as the light is good. In low light, Pentax AF sucks. I get a lot of missed shots if I'm using AS.S and a low keeper rate if I use AF.C. Since I don't do a whole lot of low light shooting where AF speed is a factor, it isn't an issue with me. For my outdoor sports shooting, I don't have many problems.

I've done a few weddings in the past 2 years. I've lost a lot of shots (candids) because the AF wouldn't lock on. It's been mostly in low light and/or indoors. I don't do weddings often and the ones I have done have been for friends or relatives but if I was doing them for a living, I would look to Canon or Nikon. Flash shooting with Pentax isn't all that reliable either. Sorry folks, but that's my honest opinion. Will I ditch Pentax? No way! If I end up doing more weddings and inside events, I'll likely just add a body and a couple of lenses to get the job done and still use one of my Pentax bodies as a second camera or backup.
10-07-2016, 05:22 PM   #26
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You were writing: "Once the same persons get a Canikon that's supposed to be the best, they still fail ..." I simply listed what with Nikon is currently 'the best'.

But okay, make that a D7200. Or D7100, the direct competitor to the K3. Or a Sony A6000, also a direct competitor. And I have actually tried one out - guess what, that thing tracked football ('soccer') players quite well. My K3 didn't.
Ya, you probably used an SDM lens on the K-3. We know what you're like.
10-07-2016, 05:25 PM - 1 Like   #27
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The long and the short's good. Very good in some circumstances, with some body/lens combinations, less so in other cases, but good compared to where we were 20 years ago.
Could it be better? Certainly. Other systems do better in some circumstances - particularly fast moving subjects - but to achieve that you would certainly have spent much more money and would suffer in other areas. Without spending a large sum, you would need to put it away when it rains for a start.

Like all things, cars to houses to airlines...different products have different strengths and weaknesses in different areas for different costs. There is no perfect product for everyone at a price everyone can afford. But I think it's fair to say that if outright speed and tracking of AF is absolutely crucial to your shooting, you probably would be better with something other than Pentax.
10-07-2016, 05:58 PM - 1 Like   #28
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When I am shooting sports I frequently switch to manual focus, even with digital cameras. Someone a few posts back mention focus prediction and anticipation, which to me are absolutely key in getting good action photographs. I have still to own an auto focus camera that consistently anticipates and predicts what I want to focus on so I typically get far more misses with auto focus than I do with manual focus. I know that sounds counter intuitive but it is true.

Now, if what I am trying to do is shoot a series of focused action shots of a soccer player running down the field, or a race car going through a curve, then I need fast and consistent auto focus. If I know I am going to a race, I rent a Nikon professional body and the 70-200/2.8G Mk II. Speed and keeper rate go way up.

But, the difference between Pentax and Canikon really has to do with the focus tracking abilities of each brand, not just with raw focus speed. The real take away from the little video for me is that the Nikon lens is far quicker when responding to action events than the Pentax lens could ever be, simply because of the increase in actual speed.
10-08-2016, 06:34 AM - 3 Likes   #29
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I once shot a baseball tournament with my *ist. I had lots of baseballs hanging in the air right before being hit by the bat or being caught by a fielder, with all the related expressions etc. I'm just scratching my head here.

On my wall is a picture of me breaking out for a 66 yard touchdown run, taken in 1966 by a guy with a 4x5 film camera. A sports reporter with the Toronto Globe and Mail set up the camera for where he thought the play might go (based on his clearly superior experience) , waited for me to get to the spot he'd focussed on and took the picture. He also got a great shot of my fellow running back stiff arming a line backer.

And here we have folks whining that they can't get what they want with a modern DSLR.

I'm going to hold back here and just say that's messed up. OK, no I'm not.

You suppose any of these guys would want to sign up for classes in how to do sports photography? I mean how serious are they? Sounds like there might be enough market to formulate a business plan. At least every whiner on this forum can't shoot sports without a D500 or something.

Lesson one, sports for single frame shooters. Because honestly folks, if you can't shoot single frame you can't shoot sports. You always have to get the first frame in focus and the camera locked on your subject, no matter what you shoot. Those of you are thinking you can pick up that first frame lock just willy nilly, pointing your camera all over the place are mistaken, which ever camera you use. After that, I could say, like Pioneer, I know I would get more keepers renting Nikon or Canon gear..

But that begs the question.. why do you need more shots? One of my friends works with a company in Ottawa that makes a lot of money selling prints of kid at hockey and soccer tournaments. So, that makes him a pro... he shoots with a 6D because that's what he can afford right now. Honestly, what is the matter with people. He can work professionally with a 6D, and you can't get it done with your Pentax. Oh, ya, he went to a year of Photography at Carleton. Photography is a trade. Sports photography requires learning technique. Buying equipment is the easy, and least necessary part.

What do you folks think people did before there was any AF? Do you really think people just took flowers.

If you can't get 10-20 good images with a Pentax and a long lens, your problem isn't you camera's focussing speed. If you did get 10-20 images at your last event, do you really need more and why.

The first thing most people do wrong is, the spend way to much time watching the game and not enough time pre-focussing where the play might go. The mindset has to be, this is a job. If you're going to a sports event and you're thinking "I'll just go take in the game and snap a few photos when I get a chance", well, that isn't a professional attitude, and you aren't going to get professional results, and you don't need a professional camera, whatever the heck that is,

That's why you don't get keepers, not this camera AF stuff.

Now if you master the art of capturing the moment a sports events , like my friend does with his 6D, and someone comes along and says "You're really good at this", and offers you more money for doing bigger events, then maybe you think about a better camera. I get tired of all these self proclaimed photography sports shooters, claiming their gear isn't good enough. It is really, really old. Dude, you very likely suck at shooting sports and a better camera will just produce more bad pictures. My apologies to the guys who really do have good technique and do fine with their Pentax gear, but really would benefit from something a little faster focussing. Just 9 out of 10 of these types of complaints aren't you guys. Most of these "the AF isn't fast enough for me" type complaints are posers.

The question that should be asked before asking about Pentax AF, is "how good/bad is my sports shooting technique." With the corollary question, "Are my techniques, level of need and pocketbook developed enough to justify spending a lot more money on a faster AF camera and lenses?"

No one ever asks that. They just want to know who has the fastest AF.


Last edited by normhead; 10-08-2016 at 11:12 AM.
10-08-2016, 09:53 AM   #30
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Good post, Norm. Exactly how I feel about these discussions. Today it all seems to be a question of measurement of technological features, not of technique or photographic skills.

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