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04-26-2010, 08:57 PM   #1
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Flaky focus confirmation on my K-x

This is as much a rant as a query, as I doubt there's much that can be done.

My focus confirmation indicator is absolutely spot-on on my K-x. No adjustment in the debug menu was needed. I rely on it almost as a crutch despite having a magnifier and a JinFinance split focus screen. When it beeps and the green octagon appears, I'm guaranteed a sharp-as-tack image. Always.

The only problem is that it's been flaky as hell lately. I'd estimate a good 15% of the time the indicator just craps out on me. I'm in a well-lit environment, the camera's steady, I'm rotating the focus barrel slowly and I KNOW for a fact that it's in focus, yet no indication light. It takes a few turns back and forth over the focus area for the indicator to light up. It's frustrating because it seems to come and go in rashes. It'll work great for a while, then crap out for a good 10-15 seconds, then fixes itself.

And yes, I've updated the firmware.

Has anyone else encountered this on their K-x? Should I send it in for service? (I doubt they'd diagnose the problem or do anything) Is there some way to fix it? I know 15% of the time is rather rare but I hate taking portraits of a group of people and having the indicator flake out on me, it's nerve racking when you have a group of people holding a smile waiting for you to take the photo.

04-26-2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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Does it do the same thing in autofocus? ie, the lens seems to find proper focus but you still get no focus confirmation?
04-26-2010, 09:39 PM   #3
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No issues in AF. Only in MF with old M series lenses.
04-26-2010, 09:47 PM   #4
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on the K20, the indicator light sometimes does not lite

with MF mode / MF lens on myK20, sometimes the focus confirmation light comes on, and sometimes it does not.

It may takes a few back and forth turns to get the focus confirmation indicator. It's pretty much the same with my K-x.

04-26-2010, 10:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kelvybear Quote
with MF mode / MF lens on myK20, sometimes the focus confirmation light comes on, and sometimes it does not.

It may takes a few back and forth turns to get the focus confirmation indicator. It's pretty much the same with my K-x.
Right and I find that extremely annoying. There's no reason for that to happen. It's highly inconsistent. I could be turning it slowly and it'd just refuse to come on. Sometimes, I'd be turning it fast and it'd work very well. At first I thought it was the subject matter and that it didn't have enough contrast for the camera to detect focus confirmation, but that's not the case. It's just random.

I hope they fix this in a firmware update. After owning the K-x for several months my only peeves have been this:
*inconsistent focus confirmation
*small viewfinder
*lack of face-sensor (the LCD does not shut off when I put my face up next to it like the Canon Rebels do, which is the only thing I miss from my Xsi)
*lack of focal point confirmation on viewfinder
*my WB keeps getting accidentally changed because it's so easy to hit the WB button when looking through photos during playback
*I keep switching over to other modes besides Manual, the settings wheel is way too easy to accidentally turn, I wish there were a safety lock like on the K-7.
04-26-2010, 10:36 PM   #6
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I also have similar problem, posted some time back

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/97384-k-x-focus-trap-very-slow.html

Hope they fix it soon.
04-26-2010, 11:05 PM   #7
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Works pretty well for me although you have to be a bit patient.

There is a short delay before focus indication comes on once correct focus has been reached. This often means that I often overshoot the correct focus position. If you go through the focus zone too quickly then, because of the delay, the focus indicator may not come on as it goes through it. From what I have seen the delay may be longer with slower lenses (or M42 lenses with aperture closed down a bit).

What helps me is:
1. Turn focus quickly to approximate point I think should be in focus.
2. Turn focus slowly until see focus confirmation come on (sometimes just a flicker)
3. If focus indicator did not stay on then back up a tiny bit until it does.
04-27-2010, 12:04 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
No issues in AF. Only in MF with old M series lenses.
Since the Focus confirmation works the same in AF and in Manual, I think that it is unlikely a camera problem.
If it would happen with AF as well, I would have suspected a dirty AF sensor. Possibly there is a fluff in front of it. To make sure, you could check that: The AF system is under the mirror. Lift it up carefully and blow in carefully once ot twice. You could also use a soft brush.

Keep in mind that with many lenses the DoF is quite shallow and one must focus extremely carefully to get it perfect (= get the hexagon).

Also check that your batteries are in good condition. There were reports that the AF gets worse with low batteries.

04-27-2010, 04:32 AM   #9
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i noticed the same thing, 90% of the time i dare to say i shoot before the indicator bip/lights up and when i'm using catch in focus the camera behaves the same and thake pictures before the focus indicator comes up also.
This is indipendent on the lens used, i tried it with a f 70-200 moving the focus barell while still in AF mode (this lens has no quick shift mode and i felt the motor resistance) and the focusing indicator bheaves the same as if i was using an old manual lens.
04-28-2010, 11:02 AM   #10
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flaky focus

Have you tried 5 point focus instead of single center point focus?

I've found that in some conditions, 5 point focus works faster than single center point.

Other than that, I've tried manual focus with an old F2 Ricoh lens and agree that it is slow to indicate. I've had the same experience as other users so we can conclude that we are dealing with one of the less pleasing features of Pentax cameras, the focusing system.

I'm wondering if one of the causes is that when we manual focus, we shift the lens ever so slightly off the exact area we want to focus on as we rotate the lens barrel. This means that the area the camera is attempting to focus on changes slightly and hence the features that enable focusing confuse the focusing system?
04-28-2010, 12:39 PM   #11
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Thanks for everyone's replies.

I've just blasted some air into the focus sensor under the mirror. There was actually a piece of fiber there but it hasn't improved much.

I don't think 5 point focusing is available for old MF lenses, which is where I'm having all my problems.

It's just incredibly frustrating because it's inconsistent. If it always sucks, then fine, we know it sucks. Yet, it works great most of the time... then mysteriously craps out for a few seconds here and there.

I never use catch-in-focus because that would mean I can't take any photos when the focusing craps out on me. Also it forces me to center all my subjects, which hurts the composition.
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