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10-19-2009, 11:48 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by prayforsnow Quote
I am total SLR beginner so excuse me if this question is silly, but if a camera like the K-X has 11 auto focus points but no way of telling which focus point it is using, what is the point (excuse the pun) in having all those extra focus points?
it seems a lot of people are getting this confused, so don't feel bad.
QuoteQuote:

When framing a picture either in LV on the screen or through the viewfinder, is it possible to see roughly which area is in focus? How do you chose a different focus point if the wrong one is selected?

Thanks
in LV, it will overlay the focus points for fast focus, or you can select the area for slower contrast focus / it will highlight faces.

In the VF, there are 2 sets brackets that tell you basically where the 11 focus points are. When you select the AF point on the back LCD screen , it will show the 2 sets of brackets and you can select exactly which AF point to use. You then look in the viewfinder and theoretically, you should remember which one you chose and remember its simple relation to the brackets.

It will look like this without the red dots:



But the dots are the focus point areas. Note that the actual focus area is significantly larger than the dot (as with all DSLRs)

10-19-2009, 11:54 AM   #17
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Pentax AF modes

QuoteOriginally posted by prayforsnow Quote
I am total SLR beginner so excuse me if this question is silly, but if a camera like the K-X has 11 auto focus points but no way of telling which focus point it is using, what is the point (excuse the pun) in having all those extra focus points?

When framing a picture either in LV on the screen or through the viewfinder, is it possible to see roughly which area is in focus? How do you chose a different focus point if the wrong one is selected?

Thanks
First, when you use LV on the LCD screen the camera will give feedback on which
area(s) it focused on and you might see that the other parts are blurry, depending on the lens you use. A wide angle lens makes it hard to see the parts that are in focus, but a telelens has a shallow DOF, so it is easy to see that other parts are blurry.

The K-X LV is identical to any other camera regarding focus feedback.

When you use the viewfinder, than there are three modes of using autofocus on the Pentax bodies.

1) You might just use the center AF focus sensor. Point the center on your subject, half press the button, you'll get the green hexagon, recompose, and press the shutter. The other Pentax models show both the green hexagon localted below in the viewfinder, and a red mark in the center of the viewfinder, the k-x only the hexagon. In this mode there is no real advantage of having the red dot on the other models.
Many people only use this mode, the k-x will do just fine.

2) You select by hand one of the 11 focus sensors. The advantage is that you don't need to recompose, which can be more accurate in some situations. The disadvantage on the K-X is that you'll have to remember which focus sensor you selected, or you'll have to look at the LCD screen to check. The k-x will have a small disadvantage here, if you use this mode often and want to switch while looking through the viewfinder.

3) Have the camera select one or more of the focus sensors automatically. It will normally select one or more of the 9 central sensors, when it chooses wrong you might decide to focus manually or select the AF sensor by hand. On the K-X you will not get this red-dot feedback in the viewfinder, but you can see when it focuses on the wrong subject with shallow DOF lenses because the wrong part of the image will be sharp.

In practice when you use mode 3 you'll be in an hurry and will not have time to adjust the focus point manually anyway, that's the reason I mainly use mode 1
or just rely on the camera's decision. I use mode 2 for macro, but I'm normally not in a hurry than, and might use lifeview anyway when working from a tripod.

So, I believe in most real life uses the K-X will do fine without the extra indicators, at least for me.
10-19-2009, 11:59 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by prayforsnow Quote
I am total SLR beginner so excuse me if this question is silly, but if a camera like the K-X has 11 auto focus points but no way of telling which focus point it is using, what is the point (excuse the pun) in having all those extra focus points?

When framing a picture either in LV on the screen or through the viewfinder, is it possible to see roughly which area is in focus? How do you chose a different focus point if the wrong one is selected?

Thanks
You can only know on which of the 11 points the camera is focusing IF you're using the live view on the rear lcd screen OR if you set the camera on center point AF only when using the viewfinder.

Personally, the only time I use live vue is for tri-pod shots, and then not all that often. It uses too much battery juice IMHO. I have the K2000, and I just kept it on cetner focus all the time.

I do agree that with no indication as to WHAT the camera is focusing on when looking through the viewfinder, having 11 autofucus points isn't much of a useful feature.

I've shot with the K20D, and own the K-7, and never really use live view. Heck, I've never used the video. Those were features the camera had, but nothing I really cared about.
10-19-2009, 12:06 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by prayforsnow Quote
I am total SLR beginner so excuse me if this question is silly, but if a camera like the K-X has 11 auto focus points but no way of telling which focus point it is using, what is the point (excuse the pun) in having all those extra focus points?

When framing a picture either in LV on the screen or through the viewfinder, is it possible to see roughly which area is in focus? How do you chose a different focus point if the wrong one is selected?

Thanks
QuoteOriginally posted by Sew-Classic Quote
I do agree that with no indication as to WHAT the camera is focusing on when looking through the viewfinder, having 11 autofucus points isn't much of a useful feature.
I disagree - its only useless if you use auto-11-point focus, which is pretty worthless anyway - why let the camera choose what is focusing?

I do sports shooting and I always select which AF point to use.. I could care less if it blinks, I know which spot in relation to the brackets it is, and I keep that on the athlete's face.

I sure as hell wouldn't use auto-11-point on any camera, because if some other athlete pops up next to the main one I am focusing on, the camera might focus on him. In addition, as with any DSLR, the more focus points you use, the slower it will be because the CPU has to decide which one to pick.

10-19-2009, 01:04 PM   #20
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Thanks all for your quick replies. I understand now. Not having a DSLR (saving for the K-x) I didn't realise the LV screen, when used showed which point the camera had chosen and was focusing on. Will this 11 point auto focus system be usable when shooting video? Or is that all manual focus?
10-19-2009, 09:55 PM   #21
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NO AF indicators in VF is a big mistake. IMO.
Only some old SLR cameras had no AF indicators. But, it's 2009.
10-19-2009, 10:38 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
NO AF indicators in VF is a big mistake. IMO.
Only some old SLR cameras had no AF indicators. But, it's 2009.
You still have the ability to specify what regions the AF should work with - centre, spot etc. That's the main thing.

In reality the AF indicators only map to regions, not to a specific point. So having specific AF points flash up is not that informative. The main utility comes from being able to control the AF mode(s), and that is retained in the K-x.

And the VF indicates the metering boundaries/frame so you always know roughly where the AF will be taking it's information from, at least.

It's not perfect, but it will do I think for the target users (and old MF hands too like me)
10-20-2009, 12:40 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
I disagree - its only useless if you use auto-11-point focus, which is pretty worthless anyway - why let the camera choose what is focusing?
For a lot of beginners, that's their comfort zone, and if the camera is reasonably clever in making the choice, it would hopefully guess right often enough (and be quick enough about it) to be useful. So for people hoping to basically point and shoot, having the camera select form lots of focus points is ideal.

Now, as to how essential it is to havr the camera give feedback on which point it chose, I'd make a couple of observations. One, the red light that appears on other models just says "somewhere near here"; it doesn't tell you *exactly* where the focus was because the actual AF sensors are larger than the red lights. So it's not like you can rely on those lights exclusively. You've got to *use you eyes* and decide for yourself if what you want is in focus. And if you're going to use your eyes anyhow, do you *really* need the red light? Besides, what happens if you decide focus is *not* where you wanted - what do you do then? I'll tell you my answer: switch to MF and correct it myself, *using my eyes*. Red lights don't come into play. On the K-x, you have the option of switching to liveview and focusing that way, and then you can have all the red lights you want. Or you can switch to the mode where you select the focus point, I guess, and try normal AF again, but that seems way slower than the other two methods even if you've got red lights.

So anyhow, I'm not saying the extra information couldn't be useful in some cases, (although i turned off those annoying red lights on my cameras years ago), but lackof them doesn't really make auto-select AF useless.

QuoteQuote:
I sure as hell wouldn't use auto-11-point on any camera, because if some other athlete pops up next to the main one I am focusing on, the camera might focus on him.
Same with me in concert shooting, but I don't think it can be denied that a lot of people aren't accustomed to having to think about such matters, so how the camera works in auto select mode *is* important. Luckily, I do think people will figure this out.

10-20-2009, 03:54 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Same with me in concert shooting, but I don't think it can be denied that a lot of people aren't accustomed to having to think about such matters, so how the camera works in auto select mode *is* important. Luckily, I do think people will figure this out.
..and that is exactly why I only use "center" or "spot" metering and focus.
The old..focus, lock, and recompose trick..then shoot.
10-20-2009, 05:55 PM   #25
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The first slr that I learned on was a fairly basic film camera, and as a result, I'm 'in the habit' of using the center focus point and recomposing 90% of the time. So, for me personally, 1, 5 or 155 AF points are pretty much the same deal. But I do appreciate that not everyone has the same shooting style.

However, when I am shooting a randomingly moving object, like a dog in the yard, I've found the AF continuous and automatic AF point select to be helpful. The red dot indicator does tell me approx. where the camera is focusing, and I appreciate that feedback. I used this feature on the K20d I played with for a while and on the K-7. With the K2000, I never knew what it was focusing on or where, but it was usually good enough.

I guess the auto-focus point indicator is like any other feature- some have to have it, others can leave it. I used to think that I would really miss the top LCD until I shot with the k2000 for a little bit. I quickly adjusted to looking at the rear lcd for info. If the k-7 didn't have a top lcd, I wouldn't miss it. Others would SHRIEK in horror at the thought, or claim that only a stupid beginner would fail to understand the importance of the top panel..... They're probalby right.
10-20-2009, 07:03 PM   #26
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I have used the pentax IstDL for a year.... It doesn't have focus points. I would say that a camera without focus points is no issue at all... trust me guys.

Before getting the Istdl I sold my K10D. I really love the k10d's focus points... It took me 2 weeks to understand why istdl has no focus points...

I think illuminated focusing points are not so important in photography. If its your problem, I think its more of a personal thing. The entry level camera is very important. Pentax IstDL taught me to focus more on my composition and master the art of re-composition. I think K-x is a beast camera.... I find IstDL very powerful regardless of its old age and old technology. The IstDL is very slow, with really bad high ISO (1600-3200). Super sensitive to IR light and etc.... but nonetheless I find it very powerful... what more with the K-X...

As I pointed out previously, illuminated focusing points is a personal thing. Some people like seeing that red dots and some just ignore it (including me)... Its no big deal at all.... Ask the RF fans if focus points are important to them.. and they will tell you that its not.... what matters is your composition and the output of your image....

K-x is bang for the bucks. And I will get one because I really like the video mode.... hehe.. I just hope that its not that sensitive to IR light like the IstDL... By the way I love using the KatzEye with cameras without focusing points.
10-22-2009, 11:36 AM   #27
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Impressions from a non Pentax owner:

QuoteQuote:
I'm not a K-x owner but I handled the camera today in Yodobashi (in Tokyo). Here are some initial impressions:

*

The camera feels great in the hand (and I do have large hands). Its build quality and ergonomics are better than most, if not all, entry level DSLR's. Way better than those from Sony.
*

Shutter is quite noisy, similar to older Pentax cameras and much noisier than the K-7 (which btw was the camera with the quietest mirror/shutter in the store. Some Canon models are also rather quiet, but only in LV)
*

The level of customization is impressive. Similar to Olympus DSLR's. It may be a bit daunting for newbies.
*

Unlike the K-7, the mirror flips before taking a picture in LV. I wish it didn't.
*

AF feels responsive enough, but the store was well lit so not much of a challenge.

And the big one:

*

AF point selection is easy to perform, and the selected point can be seen by glancing at the LCD without taking the camera away from the face. It's blurry, but enough to gather what the selected point is. Many people consider the lack of AF point display in the viewfinder to be a deal-breaker, but having now tried the camera I don't think it should be.

Prog.
Re: how do K-X owners like their new cameras?: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
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