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03-10-2019, 01:33 PM - 2 Likes   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
@Fcsnt54, I think you have certainly added interesting insights into an important aspect of camera focus operation -- user interfaces and 'usability', which is frequently ignored in discussions or reviews. I'd say that ergonomics and ease of use are crucial factors, complementing focus speed, accuracy, and precision. You obviously have experience across a range of brands and models.

You've mentioned several specific camera models. For completeness, would you mind indicating the Pentax and Olympus models to which you refer?

Also, you mention that "setting up tracking can be too time-consuming" in the case of Pentax. If you could provide just a bit more comment on this aspect, that might help us to fully appreciate your perception. Personally, I haven't had the breadth of experience with various brands, but have not felt that my Pentax cameras were cumbersome (my word) with respect to the tracking settings. Is it that you find the menus are difficult to navigate, or moving the focus points or focus areas is awkward?

Thanks.

- Craig
Yeah Ive been blessed to be able to move to different systems over the past few years since moving from film. At this point I look back and think Im more of a camera reviewer then a photographer... haha


The one requirement I have for the cameras is too make my life easier, and use the right model for the job that I take on. If a camera was not being used, or I found it was inadequate for the job I was doing or going to do I budgeted in trading/selling/buying for the new items. Photography for me is a passion/hobby and not my main work. Ive transitioned genres doing less landscapes and more portraits/local bands. Im not one to use flash systems, so its all about natural/room lighting and higher ISO usage(3200-10000). I know video is not high on any ones list, but it is getting more and more important with certain jobs. Being able to minimize gear and do both comes in handy. So is the AF systems that go with that, and being able to do focus pulls or tracking in video really is a nice feature.

so with that being said Ive had the pleasure of using.

Pentax: K1, K3, and 645Z
Olympus: OM1(film), em5ii, and em1ii
Fuji: GFX50S, and XT3
Canon: TLb(film), EOS R
Sony:a5000

All various formats and manufacturers. Each have their strong points and weaknesses, Which if anyone is interested I can list everything I love and hate about each camera and files that go with them.

I find Pentax menus in general one of the easiest to navigate and setup to be honest. The issue I have is understanding the AF side of items, and to be honest it is 100% on me for not taking the extra time to decipher the owners manual and performing testing on how to maximize the AF efficiency. The dpad works for moving the points around, but for me I have come to appreciate the joystick and touch screen to move points used by other manufacturers. If changing between different modes, you have to setup the camera differently. I wouldn't use the same settings for tracking as I would for single focus. So if I had to switch between the two in the same event, I had to go through the camera menu system and have to remember what I needed to turn on and off. Which going back to me, I should have utilized the user interfaces a bit more in my operation but I didn't. That is also on me. I simply got tired of always needing to make those adjustments.

In general If we compare brands on the camera manuals themselves. the other brands explain how to setup their AF systems a little easier then Pentax which is very dry and confusing at times for a number of people. Lets say you don't have a manual and just use the camera out of the box, other cameras are a little bit easier in that regard where they have information on using it. such as for Olympus em1ii when you switch to tracking mode. in that mode when switched, it will direct you on how to use it. Nothing complicated but for simplicity it works.

With that all being said It takes time to get to know a system. there are no reviews, spec sheets, and pictures that will tell you what works for anyone's style of shooting. Gear matters in the aspect of what will be the least frustrating and the most comfortable for that style. MP, AF features, Dynamic range, IBIS, and pixel shift/hires modes are all buzz words used to sell cameras. Are they important? sure, but only if it works for your style of shooting. I wish Pentax simplifies/ explains how to setup and use their AF systems a little more. Outside of that from what I can tell, Pentax AF is right up there with the others, just it depends on what you are using it for.

*Disclaimer, this is all from my point of view and might not reflect others actual usage of various brands

03-14-2019, 04:51 PM - 2 Likes   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fcsnt54 Quote
All various formats and manufacturers. Each have their strong points and weaknesses, Which if anyone is interested I can list everything I love and hate about each camera and files that go with them.

I find Pentax menus in general one of the easiest to navigate and setup to be honest.
Yeah, I don't think there's any getting around a photographer taking control over their camera - whatever the brand - and configuring it to their action situation. It's why we bought them, to override auto modes. We know better than any camera. @Dan Rentea, a very skilled Canon user, has said he has six AF scenarios.

For me on Pentax, if it's a sports field where other players will get between you and the subject you're tracking, I find a combination of AF-C, back button focus, Expanded Area Focus (M) and AF Hold Status (M) is a good place to start.

Of course we must understand equipment before trying to use it, and not just by analogy to what we already own, that's missing the point.

Most YouTube vloggers or Internet reviewers don't have the patience to do this, and they'd be fired in the past by an editor of a respectable publicatio. But in the modern age they're not accountable, they have no boss, the more controversial things they say the more clicks they can get.

Last edited by clackers; 03-14-2019 at 05:48 PM.
03-15-2019, 03:09 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Most YouTube vloggers or Internet reviewers don't have the patience to do this
Basically they are all interns hired to do advertisements in a rush.
03-15-2019, 03:28 AM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Yeah, I don't think there's any getting around a photographer taking control over their camera - whatever the brand - and configuring it to their action situation. It's why we bought them, to override auto modes. We know better than any camera. @Dan Rentea, a very skilled Canon user, has said he has six AF scenarios.

For me on Pentax, if it's a sports field where other players will get between you and the subject you're tracking, I find a combination of AF-C, back button focus, Expanded Area Focus (M) and AF Hold Status (M) is a good place to start.

Of course we must understand equipment before trying to use it, and not just by analogy to what we already own, that's missing the point.

Most YouTube vloggers or Internet reviewers don't have the patience to do this, and they'd be fired in the past by an editor of a respectable publicatio. But in the modern age they're not accountable, they have no boss, the more controversial things they say the more clicks they can get.
I think the hardest thing with Pentax is that they have never released a white paper telling you how the different settings work and giving at the least, some general recommendations for what to use in different situations. Maybe they're afraid people would screw them up somehow and blame them, but we end up doing a lot of trial and error to figure out works best and when.

03-15-2019, 04:15 AM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think the hardest thing with Pentax is that they have never released a white paper telling you how the different settings work and giving at the least, some general recommendations for what to use in different situations. Maybe they're afraid people would screw them up somehow and blame them, but we end up doing a lot of trial and error to figure out works best and when.
Nearly all photographers blunder their way through this, perhaps shooting all their lives incorrectly.

No matter how documented, it ends up the same - not being read.

Ask all your Canon friends if they know how the Tracking Sensitivity in their menus works.

They might try to bluff an explanation, but it is about whether to switch to another subject currently under the focus point - similar to the Pentax 'Hold'.

None of my Canon buddies would know this. But every Canon pro at an event does.

It's all about skills, knowledge and technique.
03-15-2019, 05:14 AM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think the hardest thing with Pentax is that they have never released a white paper telling you how the different settings work and giving at the least, some general recommendations for what to use in different situations. Maybe they're afraid people would screw them up somehow and blame them, but we end up doing a lot of trial and error to figure out works best and when.
Their support guys are one bunch with the marketing: low end.

They actually reject giving usable information. I did once ask them to explain the difference between cryptic program lines "normal" and "auto", since there is zero documentation about it. The same for lacking info about the "auto" setting in focus priority.


Answer:
"The challenge we face with documentation is to be able to maximise the information in the least amount of pages. We wish to be able to convey to the customer the key features and operation of our new products and hope also that the customer will actually read or consult the manual.
However, the level and specificity of the information which you mention is not something we would consider to include in the user manual. We believe this level of information is more than the average user would expect. As well the predictive algorithms of programs and how certain functions work is treated as confidential and cannot be shared."


I do have to say this ignorant answer alone was bringing me to the brink of selling all my Pentax stuff. That thought comes up every time I reread that sad reply.


"We put all sorts of freaky switches on the product and you have to find out what they do. We wont tell you."
03-15-2019, 05:30 AM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think the hardest thing with Pentax is that they have never released a white paper telling you how the different settings work and giving at the least, some general recommendations for what to use in different situations. Maybe they're afraid people would screw them up somehow and blame them, but we end up doing a lot of trial and error to figure out works best and when.
They've made a start at informative articles (with one on AF), hopefully we'll see more: Make the most of your PENTAX camera! Your guide to helpful picture-taking techniques / Beautiful Photo-life | RICOH IMAGING
03-15-2019, 06:31 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
They've made a start at informative articles (with one on AF), hopefully we'll see more: Make the most of your PENTAX camera! Your guide to helpful picture-taking techniques / Beautiful Photo-life | RICOH IMAGING
Sure, but if you own a K-1, should you have the first frame AF-C set to auto, focus priority, or release priority? How about the oddly name action in AF-C setting? And what you should you set the hold AF status to, off/low/medium/high? And how much of a difference will all of this make to your frame rate and number of in focus photos you get in a burst?

I've been shooting for awhile and as Clackers says, you sort of figure things out, but in the back of my mind, it feels as though I could use my camera a bit more effectively if I understood what effect each of these settings had.

03-15-2019, 07:08 AM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Sure, but if you own a K-1, should you have the first frame AF-C set to auto, focus priority, or release priority? How about the oddly name action in AF-C setting? And what you should you set the hold AF status to, off/low/medium/high? And how much of a difference will all of this make to your frame rate and number of in focus photos you get in a burst?
Would 'it depends' be a sufficient response? There are so many variables to consider:
- subject
- environment
- movement
- camera settings
- lighting
- camera equipment
- technique
that factor into the effectiveness of a camera's AF.

All Camera manufacturers have similar settings for shooting priority (focus/release), AF Hold, etc, but the unique environments/subjects a user shoots within makes it difficult for any manufacturer to recommend 'cookie-cutter' settings that would work well for the individual's shooting technique and preferences.

I always enable Back Button Focus, AFC, with Release Priority. For me, it doesn't matter if it is stills, landscape, portraits, or action. That setting enables me to have full control over when the camera shoots.
03-15-2019, 07:39 AM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by sutherland Quote
Would 'it depends' be a sufficient response? There are so many variables to consider:
You are certainly right, but this is no excuse for a complete lack of recommendations.

Here is what I consider best practise:https://cpn.canon-europe.com/files/product/cameras/eos_5d_mark_iii/AF_guide_...anuary2013.pdf

While I do not expect Pentax to offer something on the same level, 6 pages in black and white should be easy and cheap to do for the engineers who built it all.
03-15-2019, 08:44 AM - 3 Likes   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
We've seen when people move on that most of the times their photos don't particularly change with their new brand. That can be good and that can be bad, depending on the level of vision and skill they showed before their transition. But what clearly shows up is that, even in 2019, the gear is a small part of capturing great images.

That isn't to say that it is wrong to change brands -- clearly it is fine to do so -- just that people shouldn't expect the quality of their images to improve without putting some effort as well into improving their skills.
People don't change from Canon to Pentax, from Pentax to Sony, from Nikon to Canon and so on for image quality. At least none of the pro photographers that I know or I follow don't jump ships for this reason. It's the enthusiastic crowd that look all day long at DPreview, Tony Northrup and all the Youtube influencers and think that by changing the system they will get better quality images.

People who know more than the basics when comes to photography will change systems for different reasons:
1. I left Pentax because at the time I had K-3 II there wasn't options when comes to:
- shooting with flashes (Cactus wasn't released back then for triggers, Godox wasn't back then supporting Pentax, etc.)
- wildlife lenses (300mm f4 was basicaly the only decent lens with superb optical quality but with very slow focus; with 1.4x TC is even slower)
- lack of renting options for lenses
- lack of third party lenses

I still shoot with Pentax gear from time to time and is better now with Godox support for strobists and with new full frame lenses.

2. Photographers like Kenspo who also got into video and who also benefit from some lenses like 85mm f1.4L which in Pentax didn't came yet, or the exotic lenses like 400mm f2.8, 500mm f4, etc.

3. Photographers who want to go to mirrorless route due to EVF, eye af (even on birds with new Sony cameras), etc.

If you ask me, I can go back any time to Canon 6D from my 5D Mark IV and be happy with the image quality. 5D Mark IV does the same thing as 6D, but much faster. The same I can say if someone will stole my gear and someone else will give me a K1 or a KP. I would be very happy with image quality, but I will have to adapt my shooting style based on my needs. In the end, I will get the same images with K1 as I will get with 5D Mark IV, but for what I do, 5D will do the job faster. If you ask a landscape photographer he will tell you the opposite (you can do with Canon what you can do with K1, but with a little more effort).
03-15-2019, 09:12 AM   #72
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Just so everyone knows what I found out and I never learned if from someone else,... use the red autofocus boxes with the K-3. I've used the white autofocus boxes and I've had much less success rate with my telephoto lens.
03-15-2019, 09:40 AM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Rentea Quote
People who know more than the basics
The "basics" is an important word here. We have way more than the basics. The benefit / price ratio drops very quickly beyond camera kits. With a camera and standard zoom kit, anyone paying attention to externals (the vision beyond the lens hood), can take award winning photographs. I use my 24-70 and 28-105 80% of the time, the other lenses get used much less, I almost never use a flash I much prefer natural lighting through a windows. With Kit lenses (general photography), Pentax AF is a non issue. For me, researching the subject with good light pays off much more than effort in camera equipment. When AF becomes a problem is in low light sport situations, but that's less then 5% of what I photographs, for all other shooting situations (95%) I never found Pentax AF being a problem.

---------- Post added 15-03-19 at 17:46 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
While I do not expect Pentax to offer something on the same level, 6 pages in black and white should be easy and cheap to do for the engineers who built it all.
I'm still learning slowly about photo technique. I discover things and I wonder why Pentax didn't educate anyone on it. A lot of the times, the complains come from people who didn't get it how to photographs things. You can shoot against the mid day sun and complain about why dynamic range is so poor, or take the rules from grandpa to shoot with the sun in the back or at an angle behind you and all of a sudden realize that photographs are much better and dynamic range of the sensor isn't a limit anymore. For autofocus, same problem. The best photographs of rugby players I've even seen were taken in the basement of the stadium with strobes (and dark background)! So, if I understand correctly, technology problems are raised by people who are only half way through their potential, or eventually advanced amateurs but not pros: they aren't beginners anymore, they think they know it all while they are in fact only half way through their photography journey.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-15-2019 at 09:51 AM.
03-15-2019, 11:18 AM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The "basics" is an important word here. We have way more than the basics. The benefit / price ratio drops very quickly beyond camera kits. With a camera and standard zoom kit, anyone paying attention to externals (the vision beyond the lens hood), can take award winning photographs. I use my 24-70 and 28-105 80% of the time, the other lenses get used much less, I almost never use a flash I much prefer natural lighting through a windows. With Kit lenses (general photography), Pentax AF is a non issue. For me, researching the subject with good light pays off much more than effort in camera equipment. When AF becomes a problem is in low light sport situations, but that's less then 5% of what I photographs, for all other shooting situations (95%) I never found Pentax AF being a problem.
When I said basic I didn't refered to equipment (cameras, lenses and accesories). I was talking about learning/knowing the proper technique. Youtube influencers (Northrup, DPreview, etc.) will not help enthusiastic photographers in this regard. There is a photographer in Romania who took a shot a few years ago with a D7100 and a 70-200mm f4 lens (I may be mistaken about the lens) and recieved an international award for that image and after that his photo career changed. Now he is a Nikon ambasador in Romania and because he has as target to sell Nikon gear, he posted on Facebook a picture taken with Z7 saying "Z7 making the difference!". The funny thing is that despite the fact that he participated at a lot of similar photographing contests in the last 3-4 years, he never managed to get close to the awarded image that changed his career. So, my question to him was "Where does the Z7 makes the difference in your case? I'm asking because you've shot in the last 3-4 years with D750, D810, D850, Z7 and yet, an image taken with D7100 made the difference in your case." He never answered...

In photography there are 3 elements that can break or make the difference:
1. The subject
2. The background
3. The light

If all 3 elements are combined well, the name of the camera is not important. As I said, I can take quality images with Canon 6D, Nikon D610, Pentax K1, Sony A7 III. With some cameras you have to work a little harder, but in the end you will do your job as long as you know how to control your gear, you know your subjects and you anticipate the next move.

Sure, there will be times when you can miss a shot that you know that you could have taken it with other camera and for those shots pros are willing to pay the money.

Last edited by Dan Rentea; 03-15-2019 at 11:28 AM.
03-15-2019, 03:26 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Sure, but if you own a K-1, should you have the first frame AF-C set to auto, focus priority, or release priority? How about the oddly name action in AF-C setting? And what you should you set the hold AF status to, off/low/medium/high? And how much of a difference will all of this make to your frame rate and number of in focus photos you get in a burst?
Oh, I definitely agree with you that there needs to be more documentation, especially as the AF in newer models add more and more customization and complexity. I think those new(ish) articles are at least a sign that they're heading in that direction. I sincerely hope more are coming.

There are some outright confusing things that could use explaining and the manuals are in general wanting. For example, I've always wanted to know why my k100d had a pet mode with two "submodes", one showing a dog and one showing a cat. Thing is, I also had pet fish?
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