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09-04-2008, 08:06 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
I was refering to indoor AF ability. My point is even Olympus could achieve better AF in low light (and they used to lag behind) than Pentax. With sufficent light, Pentax could be fast.
I agree, Alan. I think a $.50 LED focus assist lamp would save Pentax a lot of heartache from their customers. It's one of those no-brainers to put in, I don't know why they don't do it.

There was another user here that posted example shots of his kid outside running towards and away from him (also just walking) and he couldn't lock focus. There was definitely something wrong there, and luckily I haven't experienced it.

09-04-2008, 08:09 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=wlachan;334000Each of the 9 cross sensors overlap each other a little. The pro with this approach is that to non-educated users, they can just point and shoot, and something will be in focus. The con is that if you try to pin-point the focus, especially when the target is smaller than each sensor, the camera might pick up the higher contrast subject instead of what you have in mind. [/QUOTE]

Interesting. I think that's what might have happened this weekend when I was trying to shoot a wedding (not the primary/secondary photogs thankfully). Some of the photos seemed to have focus on the background and I swear I placed the focus points on people's faces...

As for the OP: I wonder if he's using a Pentax flash? The flashes have a built-in AF assist beam (the body does as well if you pop up the popup flash but that's white and bright instead of IR).
At the wedding I went to, the paid photog was running a Canon 5D but the videographer also lit people up w/ his light so that the 5D could focus faster but he never turned the video light off when the 5D shot. Interesting technique I haven't seen before...
09-04-2008, 08:18 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
think a $.50 LED focus assist lamp would save Pentax a lot of heartache from their customers. It's one of those no-brainers to put in, I don't know why they don't do it.
The K10D/K20D uses the popup flash as the AF assist (like the Canon XTi and 40D). If you don't pop it up, it can't lock on anything in really dim light. If you do pop it up, it makes 2-3 bzzzt noises and it locks.

I thought the D200/D300's white LED was horribly annoying as well...it really needs to be an IR assist lamp if Pentax adds it to the body...
09-04-2008, 08:37 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
The K10D/K20D uses the popup flash as the AF assist (like the Canon XTi and 40D). If you don't pop it up, it can't lock on anything in really dim light. If you do pop it up, it makes 2-3 bzzzt noises and it locks.
The problem is that in many borderline situations Pentax (camera) metering thinks that there is enough light and does not strobe AF assist light from popup flash (the same is true for the red AF assist spotbeam from AF360/540 flashes if mounted), but Pentax (camera) AF struggles... I really wish that we get an option in setup that will tell camera to force AF assist light from flash regardless of what their metering thinks. Period... There are many cases where I do not want Pentax metering to decide on my behalf whether there is enough light or not to assist AF - I want an option to force AF assist.

09-04-2008, 11:12 AM   #20
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QuoteQuote:
deejjjaaaa: I really wish that we get an option in setup that will tell camera to force AF assist light from flash regardless of what their metering thinks. Period... There are many cases where I do not want Pentax metering to decide on my behalf whether there is enough light or not to assist AF - I want an option to force AF assist.
I like your thinking here and can't imagine it would be that difficult for Pentax to implement.
09-04-2008, 12:14 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
The problem is that in many borderline situations Pentax (camera) metering thinks that there is enough light and does not strobe AF assist light from popup flash (the same is true for the red AF assist spotbeam from AF360/540 flashes if mounted), but Pentax (camera) AF struggles... I really wish that we get an option in setup that will tell camera to force AF assist light from flash regardless of what their metering thinks. Period... There are many cases where I do not want Pentax metering to decide on my behalf whether there is enough light or not to assist AF - I want an option to force AF assist.
i know what you mean. there were some times when i had the flash up and the camera was struggling with AF and i was like "why the hell won't it use the flash??"

some tweaking, pentax, and i'd be happy and quiet about it
09-04-2008, 01:24 PM   #22
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To be quite honest I cannot believe that manual focusing should ever have to be used on 21st century DSLR'S, with regards the technology we have today.

I do have an old Minolta si (autofocus eyestart) which is significantly faster than my K10D to focus (and never failed to get it spot on) and I reckon my Oly prosumer 5060 is faster and is deadly accurate.

I traded off this slower focusing for the other favourable attributes of the Pentax.
09-04-2008, 06:03 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by dylansalt Quote
To be quite honest I cannot believe that manual focusing should ever have to be used on 21st century DSLR'S, with regards the technology we have today.
Until mind-reading technology is perfected, there will always be situations where the camera will have no way of guessing where I want to focus, and even trying to use the multiple points to show the camera the general area of the viewfidner where the focus should be wouldn't help (eg, shooting through branches and choosing which branch gets the focus).

Also, I will continue to use MF until counterfeiting technology reaches the point where I can afford to replace all my MF primes with AF ones.

09-04-2008, 06:34 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by marc sabatella Quote
also, i will continue to use mf until counterfeiting technology reaches the point where i can afford to replace all my mf primes with af ones.


Excellent!
09-04-2008, 06:36 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by medbooks321 Quote
The autofocusing.

Over the years, I've found myself bringing my camera primarily to lots of low-light, birthday party/restaurant/awards ceremony/wedding kinds of situations. I know this has been discussed before, but my K100D hunts all the time, still spot-focuses on the plant and not the person, and rarely gives you the razor sharp "nose-and-eyes" kind of focusing you'd like to see. I bought an FA35/2 (great lens!) and pump up the ISO, but it's not the noise -- I still miss most of my shots from poor focusing. I've resorted to manual focusing at times, but it's too slow for candid work.

How can I make my K100D focus faster and better in low light?

I've tried out the K20D + DA16-50 combo, and ths HSM is better, but the autofocusing still feels the same, with results to match. I was blown away today by the D700 + 24-70/VR system. Granted, price points are totally different. But what do you guys think? Instead of upgrading to the great IQ of the K20 once I start making a real salary (woohoo!) in 6 months, I'm now considering the D90 or D300. It's very sad.

For those of you who are sticking with Pentax, how have you made it focus better in low light? Or is it a matter of skill? Perhaps I need to practice more ...
You did not mention what type of photography you are aiming. For me , I would say other than the extreme fast sport or bird in flight images. Pentax prevail particulary in the bang for buck ratio.


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09-04-2008, 07:48 PM   #26
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Thanks for the great discussion. Just a quick clarification: I'm not expecting my humble K100D to stand up to the D700, but the AF systemic differences just seemed night and day.

Regken -- I guess the dual-camera system is indeed a viable option. I've never tried a Sony camera, but perhaps it will give me the AF edge I need.

Wlachan -- the way I see it, going with the D300/D700 is the easy route (maybe not so easy on the pocketbook). But it's all relative. My other (expensive) hobby is the violin, and I've always gotten a kick out of playing my inexpensive violin in the company of $100K+ instruments and holding my own. I want to make sure I max out my skills at the appropriate level before I move up. And it sounds like many of you have indeed gotten to the point where, even with the K20D's limitations, most of your shots are are sharp. Not the case with me.

As we often say, it's a poor musician who blames his instrument.
09-04-2008, 09:30 PM   #27
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I had frustrations focusing my 50mm f/1.4 (known focusing difficulty with this lens). What I ended up doing is switching to MF with it, and practicing. It was tough, but I got better at it. Now, when I switch back to AF, I have a better idea of whether the focus is actually on or not. If it's not, I press the AF button again and usually my K10D refocuses.

Thanks for the explanation of the overlapping AF points. Now I know why I have trouble focusing on a tiny spot sometimes.
09-04-2008, 09:36 PM   #28
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Are you a pro photographer, advanced ametuer, or a snapshooter novice? Remember, in photography equipment, you generally get what you pay for. If you want pro resulsts, and have the money, get the professional equipment. However, Pentax cameras, in my opinoin, give far better value for your dollar. These cameras give pro performance in the hands of a well trained photographer who knows the limitations of his or her photographic tools. My K10D is well sealed against the elements and has a lot of Pro features. I am very satisfied. Yes it does have trouble autofocusing in low light, but I knew that when I bought it! The manual even says: " The autofocus mechanism is not perfect." It even gives you examples of certain conditions in which you may have to focus manually. Do your research. Photography magazines such as Popular Photography and PC Photo will give you the lowdown and will compare to other cameras! I trained on a K1000. This camera trained a lot of us old time film SLR shooters the basics of using 35mm SLR photography eqiupment. There is no auto focus with that camera so I learned to manual focus. The beuty of Pentax is that my very old 50mm f2.0 manual focus lens works great with my NEW D-SLR! AND with shake reduction! Sure it is more steps to use this lens, but I am already use to that. Don't get so spoiled with the modern technology to where you have to buy equipment that is overkill for your particular needs. Yes it is great, but it ain't perfect. That goes for the Nikon D300, D700, D3, Canon EOS 1D and 1Ds Mark III cameras. Try to utilize what your K100D has to offer and try different lenses and MANUAL FOCUS. If you still ain't satified, then go buy what you want.

Last edited by res3567; 09-04-2008 at 09:57 PM. Reason: Misspelling
09-04-2008, 10:48 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
Some of the photos seemed to have focus on the background and I swear I placed the focus points on people's faces...
happens all the time to me....

All I want is the thing to reliably focus on the object I put the AF point (usually the central one) on. I don't care how slow it manages it. Is that too much to ask?

Here's a typical situation...

Group people
Aim centre AF point at people bodies (centre of one)
Half press shutter release
recompose
review photo... trees in background are sharp, people fuzzy!

It should be able to manage that!

regards, Nige.
09-04-2008, 11:16 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Until mind-reading technology is perfected, there will always be situations where the camera will have no way of guessing where I want to focus, and even trying to use the multiple points to show the camera the general area of the viewfidner where the focus should be wouldn't help (eg, shooting through branches and choosing which branch gets the focus).

Also, I will continue to use MF until counterfeiting technology reaches the point where I can afford to replace all my MF primes with AF ones.
i agree that MF will probably never go away, but i still would like to have fast and accurate AF and that's where pentax needs to catch up.

there were a few times where i saw a fleeting moment and using MF wouldn't be fast enough and the AF just didn't focus fast enough, where a P&S or my old nikon would've been fine.

trade-offs. but i'm happy with my pentax.
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