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12-27-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
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K-X: Lack of Autometer Indicator an Issue?

I know that the Pentax K-X has an 11 point auto focusing system. However, when I played with the camera in my local store, I could not find any indicator which showed me which of the 11 points was being used as a focus a lot. I am confised, did Pentax leave out this feature from the K-X?

If indicator exists, then can the user turn it on or off? Also, can the user select a specific focus point?

If the feature does not exist on the camera, does the lack of a auto-focus indicator pose any significant issue with using the camera in autofocus mode? I am concerned that if I have a picture with a close subject. medium range objects, and busy background the camera could have an issue with determining on which object to focus.

Thanks

12-27-2009, 09:15 PM   #2
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Yes, it's left out.

No, it doesn't bother me in day to day use, but it does bother some others. Do a search, there've been several long discussions of the subject.
12-27-2009, 09:24 PM   #3
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*Many* such discussions, in fact. You're right to not want to let the camera choose a focus point in situations such as you describe - so do it yourself. The camera lets you do tht, using the LCD, or simply using the center point mode.
12-28-2009, 01:02 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
I know that the Pentax K-X has an 11 point auto focusing system. However, when I played with the camera in my local store, I could not find any indicator which showed me which of the 11 points was being used as a focus a lot. I am confised, did Pentax leave out this feature from the K-X?

If indicator exists, then can the user turn it on or off? Also, can the user select a specific focus point?

If the feature does not exist on the camera, does the lack of a auto-focus indicator pose any significant issue with using the camera in autofocus mode? I am concerned that if I have a picture with a close subject. medium range objects, and busy background the camera could have an issue with determining on which object to focus.

Thanks
I'm seriously considering a Kx, and would use the center-point selection as a workaround. Also i understand that if one switches on the live view that it shows the focus point that was used by the camera. considering the price and compact size of the camera, i have no qualms about that feature of the Kx. Getting rid of the focus indicators wasn't done on a whim, apparently it allowed a smaller optical viewfinder hump on the camera.

best wishes,

12-28-2009, 01:33 AM   #5
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For me, it is not a major issue. Frankly, using the adjustable focus points on the K10D often lead to confusion between my wife and I, firing away and not realizing the wrong focus points.
Yes, it is nice to have, but I have not missed it yet. And I used it extensively on the K10D.

What is always overlooked with this issue is that the K-x would have needed an entirely new body, instead of the K-m body. Most of the hardware is the same between the K-x and the K-m, which kept the price for the K-x very low - very competitive.

Adding the focus point indicators would have driven the price up significantly - and doomed the K-x.

Considering how well the camera sells, I think the lower cost far outweighs the lack of indicators. On top of it, the center one works best anyway.

The way to tell that Pentax made the right move is that the forums are not flooded with "when will the K-x be below this and that price point". Had the K-x cost USD 750 upon introduction, man-o-man, a flame retardant suit would not have been enough to survive, especially on DPR.
12-28-2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Diffusion Quote
For me, it is not a major issue. Frankly, using the adjustable focus points on the K10D often lead to confusion between my wife and I, firing away and not realizing the wrong focus points.
Yes, it is nice to have, but I have not missed it yet. And I used it extensively on the K10D.

What is always overlooked with this issue is that the K-x would have needed an entirely new body, instead of the K-m body. Most of the hardware is the same between the K-x and the K-m, which kept the price for the K-x very low - very competitive.

Adding the focus point indicators would have driven the price up significantly - and doomed the K-x.

Considering how well the camera sells, I think the lower cost far outweighs the lack of indicators. On top of it, the center one works best anyway.

The way to tell that Pentax made the right move is that the forums are not flooded with "when will the K-x be below this and that price point". Had the K-x cost USD 750 upon introduction, man-o-man, a flame retardant suit would not have been enough to survive, especially on DPR.
Good point about the reuse savings! I don't have any decent camera shops that carry Pentax where i live, or in reasonable driving distance, but did see the Xm camera the other day. What a really small camera. I think the Kx would appeal to those that want a little future upward mobility (in terms of future lens use and avail.) then what the micro 4/3's offer (for those coming from a P and S perspective)

Phil
12-29-2009, 07:56 PM   #7
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I just bought my Stromtrooper White K-x and I'm used to Nikon and the 11point system with indicators so i was taken back, but only time will tell if i go back to my roots, but I really didn't care for the D3000 and D5000. For this year Pentax takes the cake for me
12-29-2009, 09:35 PM   #8
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there are workaround, using center af, take your eye off to look at the screen, using the dpad and assigning the green button to center the af point.

i found it too much of an annoyance .. setting focus and seeing it highlighted in the viewfinder was essential for me.

12-29-2009, 09:48 PM   #9
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The AF points are not in the viewfinder but on the LCD.
The AF confirmation green light plus beep is still present like in any other DSLR. Just a matter of spending time with the camera to get used to it.
01-01-2010, 09:23 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The AF points are not in the viewfinder but on the LCD.
The AF confirmation green light plus beep is still present like in any other DSLR. Just a matter of spending time with the camera to get used to it.
actually, that is not really the case. you can select the point you want on the lcd. but, when in 5pt or 11 pt mode, the lcd does not display which point(s) are select like other with indicators built in the VF. I think it is more acceptable if they want to remove the AF in VF, they should at least reflect in lcd which of the 5 pt or 11 pt were chosen.

There are many arguments on whether AF indicator is useful or not and work around and get use to it and what not.

But, why include the auto modes but not tell you which just to add confusion or fuzzy shots from a _beginner_ level camera?

Also, playing with manual lenses sort of teaching me to do the focus recompose. But, that is just old school. Back when that is the only way to do things. We have the technology to do oober points, it is time that we start to embrace and use it.
01-01-2010, 12:26 PM   #11
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AF light disabled in my K10, center focus point always used.

I trust my eyes over the camera, always
01-01-2010, 08:54 PM   #12
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Let's be realistic. It is truly a beginner's DSLR - and was plainly designed as such. The idea of user selection of a focus point other than at center is foreign to a beginner. Much to the surprise of Pentax, experienced users really want this camera to provide them with the high-ISO utility they desire in a very small package. For instance, the body is nearly useless for any macro application. Other aspects of the body, including viewfinder, compromised SR, also are not intended for advanced or legacy lens users.

What is most interesting is that Pentax unwittingly has created a pent-up demand for its next body that might well contain only minor modifications yet slot at a much-higher - but still relatively reasonable price point (around $800-900) while not requiring the greater sophistication, customization and cost of high-end models (K7, K20D). This is contrary to conventional opinion on Pentax forums, but realistically a readily available, aging 12 mp Sony CCD is not the stuff of flagship status; a slight upgrade of the K-X pretty clearly would be the pinnacle for this level of technology. Time to move on to CMOS for the high end units (after all success of the K20D and K7 were far greater than any Sony-based Pentax CCD sensors preceding them).

In any event, a lot of opportunities for Pentax from a marketing perspective - if they understand the market properly.
01-02-2010, 12:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
I know that the Pentax K-X has an 11 point auto focusing system. However, when I played with the camera in my local store, I could not find any indicator which showed me which of the 11 points was being used as a focus a lot. I am confised, did Pentax leave out this feature from the K-X?

If indicator exists, then can the user turn it on or off? Also, can the user select a specific focus point?

If the feature does not exist on the camera, does the lack of a auto-focus indicator pose any significant issue with using the camera in autofocus mode? I am concerned that if I have a picture with a close subject. medium range objects, and busy background the camera could have an issue with determining on which object to focus.

Thanks
In the past, it has been hard for Pentax to get those little red lights to be in the correct spots anyway. In other words they are not always that accurate such that you can be 100% sure what you have focused on. There is always a little guess work and luck but most of the time if you inadvertently focused on the background instead of the subject you will be able to tell right away even without indicator lights.
01-02-2010, 10:34 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
For instance, the body is nearly useless for any macro application.
Huh? I can think of no respect in which this could possibly be considered true.

QuoteQuote:
compromised SR
Again, huh? If you're jsut referring to one review where their testing methods didn't happen to measure as much advantage as some cameras, OK, but that's just one testing method.
01-02-2010, 12:36 PM   #15
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Adjusting the camera away from center focus point to achieve proper framing is not practical for critical sharpness at close distances (let alone macro); but it would be true to say that macro can be achieved if the point of interest is in the center of the frame. Relying on the LCD live view is a poor optical substitute for viewfinder focusing - especially for those who need correction for close up viewing. The topic has been much discussed here - and it really depends on how precise you want to be about focus and framing.

It is possible that the recent K-X firmware update has mitigated or eliminated the widely reported jello effect and soft imaging issues (which might or might not be SR related).

As far as direct comparisons of SR comparing the K20D performance to the later bodies - I'm only aware of one extensive test. If you are aware of a full, controlled test that indicates that the K-X matches the more widely praised K20D SR performance then that would be great. It is a difficult test to replicate, so it is reasonable to raise questions about the DPreview findings. On the other hand, the extent of difference in test findings (not only with the K-X but with the K7) merits concern.

How does incorporating video on these bodies impact the SR system? Would be interested to hear from engineers who have a good understanding of that.

I am a huge fan of the K7 and K-X - and have recommended them to people who are looking to meet particular needs - and I certainly know the limitations of the Pentax DSLRs I own (*istD and K20D); but every model has some compromises.
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