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06-13-2009, 04:55 PM   #1
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K20D/K2000 with SDM lens or K7 for low light autofocus?

I have a K10D with the kit lens, the Pentax 1.4f prime, and a Sigma 70-300 telephoto.

I'm really tired of the autofocus problems in low light with the K10D and want to upgrade. I've been researching tons and tons came down to the choices below.

I am thinking of upgrading to a K20D or a K2000 and getting a SDM lens or a K7 when it becomes available. My budget is $1000-1300. I have heard that the K2000 has the best autofocus out of the released Pentax dslrs, but I also know that the K20D's autofocus has improved from the K10D. So with an SDM lens (mainly the 16-50 f2.8), I think it might fix my low light autofocus issues.

Or I could just get a K7 and hope that it will fix my low light autofocus issues with my current lineup of lenses.

K20D ($650) + SDM f2.8 lens ($650)
or
K2000 ($420) + SDM f2.8 lens ($650)
or
K7 ($1300).

Which one do you guys think I should get?

Thanks!

06-13-2009, 05:04 PM   #2
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With your K10D, have you tried using the flash for focus-assist?
06-13-2009, 05:34 PM   #3
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Having a fast aperture SDM lens is nice but the AF issues are body related.
Having gone from K10D>K20D, and having tried the K-7, I have to say go for the K-7... the improvements in AF is significant, not just in low light.
06-13-2009, 05:58 PM   #4
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Go for the k-7. Especially in low light, the AF is so much faster than that form the k2000 with any lens.

06-13-2009, 07:55 PM   #5
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so gucci, you have a K2000 and are still disappointed with the autofocus speed in low light? have you tried a k7 and compared it?

thanks everyone for the replies! they're really helping. i was leaning towards getting a K20d/k2000 with an SDM lens, but now the K7 is in the lead.
06-13-2009, 09:37 PM   #6
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I have had no problems with the K2000 in low light situations. From what we've all heard and read, the K7 should be even better.

Again, though, have you tried using your K10D's flash as an AF-assist lamp?
06-13-2009, 09:49 PM   #7
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yeah, the k2000 autofocus seems to be highly regarded... that's why it's making this decision difficult.

thanks for the tip on using the flash as an AF assist, i didn't know that option existed. will try it later. but it would be nice to not use and be a nuisance to the people around me. i want to be able to take low light shots and remain as low key as possible.
06-14-2009, 01:37 AM   #8
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The K2000 (K-m) does autofocus better but it is no match for the K-7. Not even close. Moreover the K-7 has a very useful green AF assist light, absent in previous Pentax camera bodies.

06-14-2009, 05:33 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The K2000 (K-m) does autofocus better but it is no match for the K-7. Not even close. Moreover the K-7 has a very useful green AF assist light, absent in previous Pentax camera bodies.
Hi,

I just bought the K20D and am having the same problem. I'm doing Nightclub photography, so it's critical to be able to focus in low light situations.

I bought the AF-540FGZ flash to go along with the camera. I believe that I was using the AF assist of the flash because I could see a broad IR path on the subject that I was trying to shoot. Just to make sure, I went thru the doc and set the flash into SB mode to use it to exclusively focus. It focused fine on objects in near black conditions, but the flash didn't fire.

Am i missing something?

I've talked to a number of people shooting in low light conditions --- specifically Nightclub photography. Everyone has the same issue whether they use Canon or Nikon. I was using a Nikon D200 with an SB800 flash and had the same issues.

I'm beginning to wonder if the problem is with the af software not being able to recognize faces/bodies in near total dark conditions. With objects that are clearly defined, it seems to work okay. I went into my bathroom and shut the door and could focus perfectly on a tube of toothpaste.

What do you all think?

Thanks,

-Joe
06-14-2009, 06:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by japape Quote
Hi,

I just bought the K20D and am having the same problem. I'm doing Nightclub photography, so it's critical to be able to focus in low light situations.

I bought the AF-540FGZ flash to go along with the camera. I believe that I was using the AF assist of the flash because I could see a broad IR path on the subject that I was trying to shoot. Just to make sure, I went thru the doc and set the flash into SB mode to use it to exclusively focus. It focused fine on objects in near black conditions, but the flash didn't fire.

Am i missing something?

-Joe
Yes, Joe.
The SB mode is for AF assist ONLY - no flash will be fired to expose images in this mode.
If you want flash, just simply turn it on to the P-TTL mode (for auto-exposure settings) and the AF assist will engage in low light settings as needed).
06-14-2009, 08:17 AM   #11
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Today I went out taking some photos of my neighbors' kids w/ K10D. To be honest, after playing the K-7 for sometime, I'd say K-7 is way ahead of K10D in AF, and it's so much more responsive too, I mean w/ K-7, when you press the shutter button, the photo will be taken almost instantly. But w/ K10D, the shutter lag is so obvious comparing w/ K-7. I missed so many action shots when the kids were running around

Wish I had the K-7 w/ me when I had such wonderful subjects to shoot at ...
06-15-2009, 09:04 AM   #12
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Despite improvements in the K-7 AF, (I've tried it at the Toronto Photoshow), I think we are forgetting that in the end, AF is a probability/proximity analysis. It sees the world through the viewfinder in numbers and cannot relate to the scene you are trying to capture. Distinct objects present high probable subjects and the closer it is to your selected AF point, the higher chance of it working.

The nightclub scene is quite chaotic and regardless of brand, I don't think any camera can focus like that. Especially if you shoot top down and there's people at all distances.

You can swing the odds of AF to your favour if like you said you establish distinctness (over chaos) or some uniformity. Say you wanna just shoot one row of people, you can get down to their level. Thus the only people in the viewfinder are all approximately X distance away. Now you've removed alot possible 'distractions' and the AF system can see 'better' what you might be shooting it. It senses stuff at "X" and something else at "Y" (might be the ceiling or disco ball). But the size/motion/proximity of "X" dominates over "Y" and so your chances of nailing that one is much higher. I would also try Flash Strobe Assist over SpotBeam. Spotbeam may pick up too much whereas the flash strobe only illuminates whats in front of you and fades quickly elsewhere. That also can help limit the AF area for you.

...and above all else, the picture is yours to create. Eyeball the distance, manual focus to the mark, set f5.6 or f8 to maximize the DOF and fire away (w/ flash) haha.

hope it helps.
06-15-2009, 10:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by japape Quote
Hi,

I just bought the K20D and am having the same problem. I'm doing Nightclub photography, so it's critical to be able to focus in low light situations.

I bought the AF-540FGZ flash to go along with the camera. I believe that I was using the AF assist of the flash because I could see a broad IR path on the subject that I was trying to shoot. Just to make sure, I went thru the doc and set the flash into SB mode to use it to exclusively focus. It focused fine on objects in near black conditions, but the flash didn't fire.

Am i missing something?

I've talked to a number of people shooting in low light conditions --- specifically Nightclub photography. Everyone has the same issue whether they use Canon or Nikon. I was using a Nikon D200 with an SB800 flash and had the same issues.

I'm beginning to wonder if the problem is with the af software not being able to recognize faces/bodies in near total dark conditions. With objects that are clearly defined, it seems to work okay. I went into my bathroom and shut the door and could focus perfectly on a tube of toothpaste.

What do you all think?

Thanks,

-Joe
Joe,
Regards the SB mode. I have the Metz 48 with an SB mode, and it is solely to provide a distance measurement, mine does not fire a photo either.

But I've pointed my Metz 48 into a totally black room in my home in a test one time, in PTTL mode, clicked the shutter and was amazed at how good the image was. Autofocus, auto exposure, everything worked fine.

I haven't had any chance to try the K7, i'm just glad for Pentax and its fans, that its such a winner. but i really doubt that the the green focus light has much range such that it would work in all nightclub situations. On my K10/K20 when i do long exposures at night and can't find anything to focus on at the distance i want(it happens), i just dial in a distance from the hyperfocal markings if its a limited or older lens. or just manually focus till the lights seem sharper.
06-16-2009, 08:26 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by swhang Quote
I have a K10D with the kit lens, the Pentax 1.4f prime, and a Sigma 70-300 telephoto.

I'm really tired of the autofocus problems in low light with the K10D and want to upgrade. I've been researching tons and tons came down to the choices below.

I am thinking of upgrading to a K20D or a K2000 and getting a SDM lens or a K7 when it becomes available. My budget is $1000-1300. I have heard that the K2000 has the best autofocus out of the released Pentax dslrs, but I also know that the K20D's autofocus has improved from the K10D. So with an SDM lens (mainly the 16-50 f2.8), I think it might fix my low light autofocus issues.

Or I could just get a K7 and hope that it will fix my low light autofocus issues with my current lineup of lenses.

K20D ($650) + SDM f2.8 lens ($650)
or
K2000 ($420) + SDM f2.8 lens ($650)
or
K7 ($1300).

Which one do you guys think I should get?

Thanks!
I would say go get yourself the K20d and a F2.8 lens and then sell you K10d away. I think this is the best option for you
06-16-2009, 08:29 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by japape Quote
Hi,

I just bought the K20D and am having the same problem. I'm doing Nightclub photography, so it's critical to be able to focus in low light situations.

I bought the AF-540FGZ flash to go along with the camera. I believe that I was using the AF assist of the flash because I could see a broad IR path on the subject that I was trying to shoot. Just to make sure, I went thru the doc and set the flash into SB mode to use it to exclusively focus. It focused fine on objects in near black conditions, but the flash didn't fire.

Am i missing something?

I've talked to a number of people shooting in low light conditions --- specifically Nightclub photography. Everyone has the same issue whether they use Canon or Nikon. I was using a Nikon D200 with an SB800 flash and had the same issues.

I'm beginning to wonder if the problem is with the af software not being able to recognize faces/bodies in near total dark conditions. With objects that are clearly defined, it seems to work okay. I went into my bathroom and shut the door and could focus perfectly on a tube of toothpaste.

What do you all think?

Thanks,

-Joe
Do not worry too much since nightclub photography allows you to use very wide lens and deapth of field are very sllow so you MF at about 3 feel and set at F8 everything should be sharpe, set shutter speed at about 1/4 and use the flash you will have cool effect
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