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03-03-2010, 01:41 PM   #1
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K-X AF Primer

Under which circumstances should the various AF modes be selected?
For example, what would cause us to pick 5 versus 11 points for AF, particularly in AF.C?
On which bases does the software determine which is the correct AF point?
On which bases does the software determine (in AF.A) mode whether AF.S or AF.C should be used?
The manual, of course, is oriented to "how" rather than "why". Like most manuals. Of anything.
I'm sure this is obvious to someone. In short, is there a primer somewhere or am I guilty of not searching hard/long enough?
And why do Americans drive on the pavement while my British friends walk on the pavement? Or is that a new thread?

03-03-2010, 08:50 PM   #2
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I am very much interested in this set of questions as well.
03-04-2010, 04:57 AM   #3
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The answer to all of the questions is to shoot a lot of pictures in the various modes and circumstances you describe and choose what works for you. There is no magic guide that substitutes for experience or personal preference.
03-04-2010, 06:14 AM   #4
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Funny that you use the words "no magic guide" as a Magic Lantern Guide for this camera is exactly what I have been searching for but to no avail. Every time Ive purchased a new dslr I have sought out and purchased these guides. Not only do they give you the whys of this or that setting, recommended ways to set up the camera for specific shooting scenarios, they offer a quick way to find the many adjustments, especially those not oft used, that get buried in menus and sub-menus. With cameras like the new K-x such a guide would be invaluable for someone like me and many others i can well imagine. I dont want to master this camera and feel my time with it will be much like how normal people would use a camera. Most only pull them out for holidays, vacations and the like and with such limited use will never remember the wheres or hows of how to best utilize what this camera can offer. As such, a handy guide that I can turn to to find this menu or that button and even default settings for various would be invaluable.
**in a month this camera will become my wifes first dslr as I will have my Nikon once again**

I NEED A MAGIC LANTERN GUIDE! LOL.

Yesterday was the first time i took the Kx out of its box. I was very impressed with the camera overall the lithium ion battery recommended use, that it uses AA batteries for main power not as a backup option period and doesnt appear able to use rechargeables and that my big hand kept hitting the iso button my only real complaints. On paper in this price range and with brand new technology I saw no other entry level dslr that beat this one. After a few hundred shots out in the snowy weather I will say that not just on paper but in actual use there is no other entry level dslr that offers so much and seems to do so much so well. Ive seen this model referred to as an advanced entry level camera and agree that is a much more appropriate label.

This is the first time ive even held a pentax much less owned one but after only limited shooting it has my brain considering a K-7. Being 6"3 with big hands ive found that the Nikons Ive owned always felt better in the size and weight category. Last year I even tried a Canon 50D as Id never shot with anything other than Nikons. Ive since sold the Canon and even though it meant stepping back to an older model I am back with Nikon. Having said that the next time I am asked by a normal person, normal vs those of us that are rarely more than arms length from our cameras, "what camera should I buy?" I feel comfortable answering the Pentax K-x knowing they will be able to use it right out of the box and if bitten by the shutterbug they will have plenty in this model to carry them much further as they learn and progress. That and it comes in many cute colors, lol.

This post was really just a short one asking for a Magic Lantern guide for this model...sorry I seem to have found a soapbox. I do apologize for running on

take care

gary

03-04-2010, 05:11 PM   #5
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I don't think that's the answer

QuoteOriginally posted by tarsus Quote
The answer to all of the questions is to shoot a lot of pictures in the various modes and circumstances you describe and choose what works for you. There is no magic guide that substitutes for experience or personal preference.
I'm not looking for a magic guide - just an explanation to get started, to limit my experimentation.

Most of us do not have the time to shoot a lot of photos, carefully noting with each one the possible focus points, position of various subjects, speed and direction of action, contrast, color, lighting conditions, etc.

Anyone else?
03-04-2010, 11:20 PM   #6
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Its not literally a "magic" guide. The book titles or company that does them is called Magic Lantern. eg. Magic Lantern Guide to the Pentax Kx. Ive found them to be everything the owners should have been plus some helpful suggestions. As I said ive had one for every camera ive owned but they do not seem to make one for this model, at least not as of today.

take care

gary
03-05-2010, 12:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
Under which circumstances should the various AF modes be selected?
For example, what would cause us to pick 5 versus 11 points for AF, particularly in AF.C?
If your subjects tend to are always going to be close to the middle of the frame, there is no point in giving the camera permission to focus on something at the edge.

QuoteQuote:
On which bases does the software determine which is the correct AF point?
Nothing you can depend on. If you care which point gets selected, don't let the camera pick.

QuoteQuote:
On which bases does the software determine (in AF.A) mode whether AF.S or AF.C should be used?
See above.
03-05-2010, 12:54 PM   #8
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Thanks, Marc. That is the answer I feared but I appreciate it nonetheless.

To restate: Allowing the camera to pick an AF point is OK only if I don't care which it picks.

For continuous tracking of subjects in sideways motion (as seen by the camera), I need to choose a specific focus point and keep the subjects in that AF point using AF.C. Otherwise, there's no way to tell if the camera is properly tracking the subject as s/he moves laterally. The handoff between points is unknown, unknowable, and too unpredictable to create a rule of thumb.

The area used for any specific AF point is large and may be too large relative to the focus point in the mind of the photographer. The viewfinder does not help us much here.

AF.A is useless - unless I don't care which AF point is used, as above.

I'd be best advised to use my K-7 for aerobatics. Or toddlers on the move. K-X is OK for slow-moving landscapes - those some distance from tectonic activity.

Did I get that all right?

03-05-2010, 11:43 PM   #9
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First post here. Started with a Pentax MX in 1978 and went to Canon for the next couple decades and now back to Pentax to play with the K-x (which happily shares lenses with the MX).

In response to the OP, if the K-x is anything like a Canon, the more AF points you select the more the focus gets averaged depending on the subject range, of course. With Canon (and I suspect Pentax, too) the greatest focus precision will be had by setting focus on the single/center position, but that requires that you recompose after setting focus, assuming of course that your focus point is not dead center.
03-06-2010, 05:32 AM   #10
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a simple rule is set nothing to automatic...ok dont kill me its 4am and ive not had coffee yet.

The camera whether its my nikon the 50D i recently sold or even this little kx, has NO idea what I as the photographer/artist am trying to capture, it cannot "see" my vision. It can only, based on my inputs to its controls, try and assist me in capturing "something."

Auto settings have their time and place i suppose and long ago they were convenient but you will see an improvement in your photography as you become more familiar with the technical aspects of producing a good image and as you become more familiar with your equipment. The camera is there to assist you in capturing an idea or a picture that before you press the shutter exists only in your mind. The more you know about the above the better capable the camera will be in assisting you with successfully bringing those mental images fruition.

That old saying "If you want something done right do it yourself" believe it or not applies to your photography and those tools you use, camera, flash guns, lights, etc.

tc

gary

*the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of management and are subject to change as my wife dictates*
03-07-2010, 10:53 AM   #11
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I agree as almost 100% of the time, almost, I find my camera set to a single point even if only to average exposure in an unevenly lit scene. That is the one time I do set some of the camera settings to auto but only in that it gives me a starting point. Its a lets see what the electronics think should be and go from there as rarely will those settings be perfect because once again those electronics have little idea of my final goal in any situation however from a technical view point they can give me a place to start. Is that not the longest run on sentence youve seen? lol. well im off to play outside. have a good day everyone

tc

gary
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