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06-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #1
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Just used my sister's Nikon D90...

...and I have a question.... is Pentax's auto focus that bad or is the Nikon's auto focus that good? I was using the 18-105mm on it. Is it body dependent for Autofocus speed?

I know Pentax is a distant third with respect to autofocus compared to Canon and Nikon, but I was quite shocked at the fact I could get GOOD pictures of kids running around.

06-09-2013, 03:42 PM   #2
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You don't say which body you are comparing it to. I've never had problems focusing on kids, even with a slow lens like the FA 28-105/4-5.6.
06-09-2013, 04:10 PM   #3
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Nikon's auto-focus is very good.


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06-09-2013, 04:23 PM   #4
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I'm comparing it with my K-5 and K-01 (generally with a DA*55mm, FA31mm or DA18-250mm)

I found that the Nikon hunted far less, focused quickly (and accurately) and got the shutter off much quicker than the K-5/K-01. Though it's a very limited sample size with respect to the Nikon

06-09-2013, 04:57 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Nikon's auto-focus is very good.
After playing around with a Nikon D5100 in a store... Yeah, I will have to admit that Nikon's autofocus beats the snot out of Pentax's AF. Still love my Pentax stuff, tho.
06-09-2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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DA 55 is known to be slow to AF.
FA 31 is known to be slow to AF.

I don't know about the 18-250, but it is probably normal.

The Nikon 18-105 is relatively fast.

Compare to the K-5 with 18-135mm or 17-70mm for a fair fight. The Nikon might still win, but it won't be a landslide.
06-09-2013, 08:40 PM   #7
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I wouldn't compare to the k-01, that's a little unfair.

06-09-2013, 09:38 PM   #8
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Sorry for my ignorance (as I've never delved into AF workings that much), but I've gathered that AF is both body and lens dependent. It also seems I've been using possibly one of the slowest combinations imaginable with respect to AF (K-01 + FA31mm is common with me)

Granted, I never noticed a terrible lag on my DA18-250mm before today, but should I try out a DA18-135mm before I pass judgement?
06-10-2013, 03:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
Sorry for my ignorance (as I've never delved into AF workings that much), but I've gathered that AF is both body and lens dependent. It also seems I've been using possibly one of the slowest combinations imaginable with respect to AF (K-01 + FA31mm is common with me)

Granted, I never noticed a terrible lag on my DA18-250mm before today, but should I try out a DA18-135mm before I pass judgement?
Most of the DA limited and regular DA lenses will be faster focusing than the lenses you currently have. So much has to do, the length of the focus throw on a lens. The FA limiteds and DA *55 have really long focus throws, making for a better manual focus experience, but making them take longer when auto focusing. The 18-135 is pretty fast, as are lenses like the DA 40 and DA 70. The K-01 will never be super-speedy in auto focus, it doesn't matter what lens you mount.
06-10-2013, 08:11 AM   #10
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Auto focus speed on a Nikon can also be dependent on the lens being used too. But Nikon's FF cameras snaps pretty much instantly when it has fast focusing lens mounted. The reliability factor is high too. I've notice I don't chimp my shots nearly as much due to a much higher confidence level.
06-10-2013, 08:31 AM   #11
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Having test run the Nikon af with a F100, I'd agree -- speedy, plus positive. However I do get some missed focus shots, plus I can tell there will be some things annoying about the Nikon method. I'm doing this mainly for my daughter, who complains about near-misses with her K-x in photo shoots. She's been wanting to try out Nikon for that reason.

Now my problem is that I'd really like Nikon FF, but those things are expensive still. I'd love to be able to use my older manual focus Nikkors at their intended fov... And I don't like Nikon's telling me I have to go to one of their top cameras to get an in-body focus motor so I can use the older AF lenses.
06-10-2013, 08:35 AM   #12
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My "local" camera store (only 100 kms away) had a D600 on their shelves, it's in a small town, so, when I asked to see it, she had to open the box. It had been there at least 3 months and no one else had asked to see it. Knowing what I know now about the stain issue etc. even if I want a D600 I won't be buying that one, but I digress. She put an 85 mm lens on it and I have to say... the AF was snappy. And as a result, if at some point "snappy" becomes one of the features I'm interested in on my next camera body, I'm sure my brain will reference that experience while making it's decision. So I understand the way you're thinking. No matter what you say about a K-5, snappy is still snappy, and if that's what you're going for, you'll be happier if that's what you get.
06-10-2013, 10:46 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Having test run the Nikon af with a F100, I'd agree -- speedy, plus positive. However I do get some missed focus shots, plus I can tell there will be some things annoying about the Nikon method. I'm doing this mainly for my daughter, who complains about near-misses with her K-x in photo shoots. She's been wanting to try out Nikon for that reason.
I definitely understand her frustrations. The K-x is a nice camera, but the amount of "almost in focus" shots were just too many.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Now my problem is that I'd really like Nikon FF, but those things are expensive still. I'd love to be able to use my older manual focus Nikkors at their intended fov... And I don't like Nikon's telling me I have to go to one of their top cameras to get an in-body focus motor so I can use the older AF lenses.
Not sure what you think is top of the line, but many of the intermediate level cameras have the built in focus motor. The D600 has it.
06-10-2013, 01:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanWeso Quote
I definitely understand her frustrations. The K-x is a nice camera, but the amount of "almost in focus" shots were just too many.

Not sure what you think is top of the line, but many of the intermediate level cameras have the built in focus motor. The D600 has it.
The D90, D7000, D7100 and D300 bodies and of course all full frame bodies they make have the focus motor. The D5000/5100 is a nice camera, but doesn't have the motor.

And yes, Nikon's focus quickly, accurately and with minimal issues. Much like their flash system in terms of reliability and predictability.

I know my KR sometimes wasn't reliable even on static objects like buildings. My K20d seemed better actually.

Shoot Pentax for the glass or some other feature such as the weather sealing you can't get with Canon or Nikon until you spend considerably more.

Every brand has it's reasons to shoot. Some maybe just because they don't have any glaring shortcomings rather then they some really great feature.

I like Pentax for some of the great glass. I like Canon for the consistency I get.
06-11-2013, 12:09 AM   #15
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So if I was looking for a set up where the priority was a quick AF (and a decent zoom+IQ) what would you guys recommend?

1.) Get an 18-135 and put it on my K-5 (around $400 give or take).

2.) Get something like a used D90 w/18-105 for a couple hundred more (around $600-$700 give or take)? Maybe a similar route w/ Canon? Would the AF performance be considerably better than an 18-135?
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