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07-12-2007, 07:47 PM   #1
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autofocus vs manual (new to k10d)

got my new K10d 1 week ago and have used it on auto and manual focus, but this is my first dslr and I am taking alot of pictures but don't know if I should be using the autofocus or trying to learn to manual focus, not fully understanding the
aperture settings is there any books specifically designed to help for operating and learning the k10d, the camera sems so complex at this point o.k. should I be
using the auto focus fore thatn the manual?

07-12-2007, 08:02 PM   #2
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One of the many advantages of having a dSLR is its speed. Auto focus is a tool to help with that speed since it can "usually" focus faster than manual. Auto focus works very well in good lighting, and generally decent in low lighting. You should understand and know how to use manual focus when you feel it's necessary (Auto focus can get things wrong sometimes), but you're safe to rely on Auto Focusing most of the time.
07-12-2007, 10:29 PM   #3
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I have to get out my soap box here.

When I bought my first Pentax SLR (SF-1) that was auto focus - the most bothersome part was the coupling of AF to the shutter button. I try as much as possible to control what the camera is doing as I can (something that my K10D and *ist Ds let me do that the SF-1 just does not) and where, what and when the thing I want in focus - is up to me, not the shutter button.

So when I learned how to do it (at the advice of a National Geographic photographer at a workshop) I decoupled the AF from the shutter button on my *ist Ds (now the OK button). I have never looked back - I pick what is in focus - not the camera. When I bought my K10D - that is the first thing I did with it - even before I set the time and date, add into that it has a dedicated AF button --- sweet.

If I want to use manual focus - I take my thumb off of the OK/AF button and turn the focus ring - just like a manual camera. When I need/want to use AF point the center of the viewfinder at the thing I want in focus - press the OK/AF button and get back to work (this is the most common scenario).

From my point of view - this is the best of both worlds - I can use the AF as a tool and go back to the ways of the "old ones" when I decide to do it. The camera never leaves my eye.

PDL - Take control
07-12-2007, 11:04 PM   #4
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I actually do the opposite as you PDL. I leave my af coupled to my half shutter. I override the focus by holding down the AF button with my thumb.

My subject distance often changes a fair amount between shots for my style of photography, so I find myself relying on AF most of the time.

07-12-2007, 11:10 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by PDL Quote
... I pick what is in focus - not the camera. When I bought my K10D - that is the first thing I did with it - even before I set the time and date, add into that it has a dedicated AF button --- sweet.
Well, even if you have auto-focus linked to pressing the shutter button half way, you still control what's in focus. You've just decided that you want to focus on whatever point you've set as the focus point, and you want that to happen when you press the shutter. I do use spot focusing almost exclusively.

I like the idea of uncoupling shutter and focus. And for many types of shooting it might work great. But when I am shooting sports, I simply don't have time to separate the focusing task from the shooting task. Sometimes I scarcely have time to press the shutter.

There's nothing evil or lazy about using auto-focus. It's a part of the camera's feature set. And in my experience, given that the K10D doesn't have an old-fashioned split-screen focusing system, manual focus often is less accurate than auto-focus. One of the things I like most about the K10D is having all three of the focus mode buttons on the outside of the camera. I switch quite a bit from AF-S to AF-C to MF. Works for me.

Will
07-12-2007, 11:47 PM   #6
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I've found manual focusing quite a hard task using the k100d. I have a super takumar 50/1.4 and even if the camera confirms focus half of the times it's miss focus.

I have a split image screen on the way to solve the issue.

In your case, if you have an af lens use better use it. I use use it in my 2 af lenses (the kit lens and tamron 28-200). In well lit areas and during the day it's quite fast. In dark areas it does hunt quite a bit, some times can't even focus, and it fires fast strobes from the annoying flash to help af. The strobes are by far the most annoying thing to people you're photographing, I have found.
07-13-2007, 05:26 AM   #7
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The manual focus ring on auto-focus lenses tends to have a comparitively short "throw" (range of travel), making precise manual focus a bit difficult. On an auto-focus lens, one may as well go ahead and use the auto-focus feature that it was designed for.

Things are much easier on old manual focus lenses, with their much greater throw. Though, as Deni correctly indicates, a screen optimized for manual focus operation greatly aids in speed and accuracy.
07-13-2007, 07:51 AM   #8
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I LOVE having Auto Focus, but I find myself using manual focus more and more on my K100d - even with the AF Kits lenses I have. I use AF for the everyday Point-and-shoot type shots, most of what I shoot, but manual focus gives me more control over the effect I want. For example, shooting though the netting at our local ballpark (Winnipeg Goldeyes); AF wanted to focus on the net and not the action more than half the time (kit DA 50-200). Perhaps I was doing something wrong, but Manual focus worked much better getting the shots I wanted.

It is so very nice to hear the "beep" and see the "in focus" circle when in Manual focus mode, just to backup my eye. The focus indicators seem to be pretty accurate. That beep is very useful for my manual lenses as well, but I am tempted by the split screen as well. :

07-13-2007, 07:56 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by theprisoner6 Quote
It is so very nice to hear the "beep" and see the "in focus" circle when in Manual focus mode, just to backup my eye.
But if you're listening to that beep closely, you'll hear it whispering "Now you've got the lens focused where I could have focused it for you in a split second." In other words, if you're paying attention to the beep on every shot, then you might as well use auto-focus all the time.

Will
07-13-2007, 01:21 PM   #10
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Manual v. Auto

I'm still waiting for my K-10D, so I'm not following 100% of this thread. However, in the olden days, when I had my Pentax ME film SLR, I used to use the wide depth of field range of the lens when at f/8 thru f/22, to keep things in focus from a few feet to infinity. Of course, this worked best outdoors and with wide angle through about 70mm telephoto but it was a great workaround to speed things up for sports, airshows, etc. Oh the things we had to do back then in the days before AF. When I get my K-10D, I'll try to use my old manual lenses from the ME to make up for the lack of versatility (and high f numbers) of the kit lens, so I won't have AF. I'm not worried, though. I hated the AF lag on the Canon (Pro-1) I'm currently using (you can tell I'm just an amateur, not a pro). I hear AF on the DSLR's is much faster, though. It'll be interesting to see if I can get used to AF and move away from my trusty old manual lenses.
07-20-2007, 01:25 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by REDEYE Quote
got my new K10d 1 week ago and have used it on auto and manual focus, but this is my first dslr and I am taking alot of pictures but don't know if I should be using the autofocus or trying to learn to manual focus, not fully understanding the
aperture settings is there any books specifically designed to help for operating and learning the k10d, the camera sems so complex at this point o.k. should I be
using the auto focus fore thatn the manual?
I think there is no point to use Manual Focus unless the AF is too slow to react or it fails on focusing on the object or it is inaccurate. Under all other circumstances, the AF should be a handy and must-have tool.
07-20-2007, 07:28 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Though, as Deni correctly indicates, a screen optimized for manual focus operation greatly aids in speed and accuracy.
Mike or Deni or any other. Could someone elaborate on this? Is this a ability within the camera (K10D in this case) now that can be used via a custom setting (which I haven't found), or one of those masks that go over the viewfinder?
Thanx,
Steve
07-20-2007, 10:26 AM   #13
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Having been "raised" on a K1000 and since I do mostly astrophotography, I'm not afraid of manual focus. I even considered not buying the kit lens with my K100D since I had manual lenses on hand.

I'm a convert. I found auto-focus was needed when I photographed birds, they don't wait for you to fiddle with focus and aperture. I now use the kit 18-55 and 50-200 almost exclusively in auto focus. I'll still switch for a difficult shot, but once I discovered the single spot focus (not the multi-spot default) I seldom go back to manual. Except, at night with a telescope.
07-20-2007, 12:29 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
Mike or Deni or any other. Could someone elaborate on this? Is this a ability within the camera (K10D in this case) now that can be used via a custom setting (which I haven't found), or one of those masks that go over the viewfinder?
Thanx,
Steve
Split image focusing screens were used on older cameras to help with manual focusing. It works by having a circle in the middle (might have also on the corners) which is split at least in half. When you're out of focus the 2 parts are misaligned. When you achieve focus the parts of the circle align.

Here is shown how to swap it on the K100D (I'm 99% sure it's the same on the K10D) and the bottom 2 pics show an out of focus and in focus picture through the new screen.

So in poor words, if you want a split image focusing screen, you need to remove the default screen and install a split image focusing screen.

There are several vendors that offer SIFS for the k10d. Search for them on ebay (I bought one from China for ~$25) or check in google for katz eye. Their screens are about $95.
07-20-2007, 12:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
But if you're listening to that beep closely, you'll hear it whispering "Now you've got the lens focused where I could have focused it for you in a split second." In other words, if you're paying attention to the beep on every shot, then you might as well use auto-focus all the time.

Will
I find the autofocus of the K10D quite unpredictable at times. It's quite funny when the AF system can't seem to autofocus on what I need it to focus, but when in Manual mode, it's more than happy to beep at me when I'm in focus. Even so, sometimes I just don't trust it and will go a bit further or under to what my eye tells me is in focus.

I can't wait to replace the stock focusing screen for a split focusing screen!
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