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05-31-2007, 06:57 AM   #1
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Slow auto focus???

I am a recent (3 months) owner of the K110d with kit lens and am fairly happy with my purchase. The Pentax rebate put me over the edge as I just couldnt afford the "other" top brands at $600+

This past weekend we went to visit some friends and my buddy recently picked up a Canon Xti Dslr. After 2 minutes of playing with it I was amazed at how much better the Auto Focus feature of the Canon was compared to my Pentax. Wow! It was extremely fast, in all conditions. Even low light. The pentax in low light goes back and forth, and back and forth until it finally settles on something. The Canon did it in less than a second.

Whats the deal? Why does the pentax struggle so much with indoor low light photos? I took similar shots with both in these conditions and the Canon won every time.

Now, with that said I couldnt believe the poor and cheap build quality of the Canon. My pentax is solid, heavy (which I actually like) and feels like a real camera. The Canon felt cheap and plasticy. I was not at all impressed with the kit lens that came with the Canon. Pentax wins on that one too.

Anyway...still pleased with what I got for the money...just curious as to any thoughts as to why the Pentax AF isnt as quick.

05-31-2007, 07:05 AM   #2
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In-lens Focus Motor

QuoteOriginally posted by Seafood Quote

This past weekend we went to visit some friends and my buddy recently picked up a Canon Xti Dslr. After 2 minutes of playing with it I was amazed at how much better the Auto Focus feature of the Canon was compared to my Pentax. Wow! It was extremely fast, in all conditions. Even low light. The pentax in low light goes back and forth, and back and forth until it finally settles on something. The Canon did it in less than a second.

Whats the deal? Why does the pentax struggle so much with indoor low light photos? I took similar shots with both in these conditions and the Canon won every time.

Now, with that said I couldnt believe the poor and cheap build quality of the Canon. My pentax is solid, heavy (which I actually like) and feels like a real camera. The Canon felt cheap and plasticy. I was not at all impressed with the kit lens that came with the Canon. Pentax wins on that one too.

...just curious as to any thoughts as to why the Pentax AF isnt as quick.
The Canon system has the focus motor in the lens. This is the main difference (although the Pentax uses a different sensor and software system). It results in faster and quieter auto-focus. The K10D has a larger motor than the K100/110, and this improves focus speed. But it is still no match for an in-lens motor system. This is why Pentax is developing the "SDM" system with in-lens motor, which is supported by the K10D when used with the (soon to be available) SDM lenses. Nikon has also added an in-lens motor system.

And I agree that the Rebel XTi does not feel as nice to use as the Pentax DSLRs. But it sure does focus fast!
05-31-2007, 08:05 AM   #3
JMI
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I use to think autofocus speed was so important. After seeing what all the great photographers have done over the past 100 years without it. I don't think it's important at all.

Besides, the Canon might be fast, but it's not accurate. My friend bought a brand new 30d and 17-55 2.8 IS. The combo was $2200. It had awful autofocus accuracy. I let him use my K10d and 31mm Limited, and he was blown away by how accurate the autofocus was.
05-31-2007, 09:11 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JMI Quote
I use to think autofocus speed was so important. After seeing what all the great photographers have done over the past 100 years without it. I don't think it's important at all.

Besides, the Canon might be fast, but it's not accurate. My friend bought a brand new 30d and 17-55 2.8 IS. The combo was $2200. It had awful autofocus accuracy. I let him use my K10d and 31mm Limited, and he was blown away by how accurate the autofocus was.
I wouldn't say AF speed isn't important (depends on what you're shooting). But being able for the AF to lock-on accurately is very important. The AF on my K10 isn't VERY fast, but when it acquires it's pretty much "dead on"!

05-31-2007, 10:56 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JMI Quote
I use to think autofocus speed was so important. After seeing what all the great photographers have done over the past 100 years without it. I don't think it's important at all.

Besides, the Canon might be fast, but it's not accurate. My friend bought a brand new 30d and 17-55 2.8 IS. The combo was $2200. It had awful autofocus accuracy. I let him use my K10d and 31mm Limited, and he was blown away by how accurate the autofocus was.
Two things.

1) AF is rather important when you're shooting action. Just imagine all the great shots those photographers have missed over the last 100 years that we could be enjoying right now had fast and accurate AF been available. It's also important when the people you're competing against to put food on your table have it, and you don't!

2) I have barely used Canon but i know what I have used has been rather accurate. Pentax seriously lacks in accuracy when any object is coming toward or moving away from the user.

Now that I've said that, I am giong to repeat my disclaimer. I love my K10. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I want another one! I just can't wait until the star lenses come out!
05-31-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
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I have to agree that the K10 could be considerably better at auto focus than it is. It searches often and wanders off the mark at times when shooting multiple shots of the same thing.
As much as I like my K10 I believe that Pentax could do much better in this department.I am hopefull that the new line of lenses will make a marked improvement.
Kenn
05-31-2007, 01:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by KennJ Quote
I have to agree that the K10 could be considerably better at auto focus than it is. It searches often and wanders off the mark at times when shooting multiple shots of the same thing.
I agree

QuoteQuote:
As much as I like my K10 I believe that Pentax could do much better in this department.
I agree

QuoteQuote:
I am hopefull that the new line of lenses will make a marked improvement.
I will believe it when (starting to believe IF) those come out *sigh*
05-31-2007, 02:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcleoud151 Quote
Two things.

1) Just imagine all the great shots those photographers have missed over the last 100 years that we could be enjoying right now had fast and accurate AF been available. !

IMO, those great photographers missed very little, if anything, because they didn't have fast and accurate autofocus.

The old masters knew the tricks and in & outs for getting everyshot without the constant refocusing that is the norm today.

Missing from most of todays lenses are the f/stop scales. An important tool for many photograpers of days gone by. The old masters didn't even need those to produce great work.

Today, most want thier cameras to do all of the work for them.

AF is nice for P&S situations. Learning to use the capability of the lens works best for other situations.

My $ .02 and flame suit donned.

05-31-2007, 03:00 PM   #9
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Canon has always had the edge on AF speed. Even Nikon was loud and slow up until the last generation of 35mm cameras. Pentax actually invented the AF SLR and it's first system had the motor in the lens, but they dumped it favor of putting it in the camera. It probably made more sense at the time. I played with one once. Not only was it loud and slow, but it was also quite bulky since you had to put batteries in the lens. I am looking forward to the new series lenses, although it will be a while before I can afford to own one.
06-01-2007, 01:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcleoud151 Quote
Two things.

1) AF is rather important when you're shooting action. Just imagine all the great shots those photographers have missed over the last 100 years that we could be enjoying right now had fast and accurate AF been available.


http://www.sporting-heroes.net/files_athletics/BEAMON_Bob_19681018_EL_R.jpg

This shot was not done with autofocus. I will say that this shot would challenge even the mighty D2H's autofocus. The more you can do yourself, the less chance there is for error. Today's photographers have it easy. I watch my grandfather use his Leica M3 with no meter in it. He can almost guess an exposure dead on every time. With the extra latitude that print film has, he rarely misses an exposure.

Look at the old boxing matches. Those were shot with huge 4x5 camera's. They didn't even have autofocus or meters and since they were 4x5's they had less depth of field then you have shooting a 50 1.4 on your dslr.

I think autofocus is just like the new Lexus "auto parallel parking". Before the auto parallel parking everyone that wanted to parallel park had to learn to do it manually. But there will be a generation of people that won't even bother learning to do it manually because there car just does it automatically.

If pentax came out with a digital ME Super. With that huge beautiful viewfinder and wonderful metal body. I would trade my K10d in a heartbeat for it. I wish a camera company would have the balls to come out with a completely manual digital camera.
06-01-2007, 01:42 PM   #11
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AF speed also depends by lens- small lenses and lenses with an AF clutch (like the FA*'s) focus much faster than other lenses.

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06-01-2007, 06:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mo Quote
AF speed also depends by lens- small lenses and lenses with an AF clutch (like the FA*'s) focus much faster than other lenses.

It's mainly dependent on the "throw". For example the FA 50mm F1.4 has a pretty long throw, so it still is a little slow. The 31 Limited has a pretty short throw, so it's fast.

Most Leica M lenses have a pretty short throw. Focus on a M rangefinder is very fast. With my M6, I can usually beat my K10d. Even for action.

But the K10d does about a million other things the M6 can't!
06-04-2007, 04:18 PM   #13
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I recently traded my Canon 20D for the K10D (OK Samsung GX10). I love the colour I get, and love using it - and one of my reasons for buying was the "special modes" and the "green button" - allowing you to get creative but with more "computer assistance" - because I believe in moving with the times!

However, coming from a Canon Ultrasonic lens, I'm afraid the autofocus I've experienced so far is indeed slow and lacking in accuracy (or perhaps it just takes so long to focus the flippin' subject has moved!!!)

Anyway, still like my new Pentasung!
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