K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions

Started May 31, 2012 | Discussions
lpammann
Senior MemberPosts: 2,080Gear list
Like?
K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
May 31, 2012

Periodically people on this and other forums have questions about Pentax AF performance. Rather than add to the billions of unsubstantiated opinions out there in the verse, I thought I would present images of its performance in the field and let you decide.

Last week while at Seney NWR I took lots of shots of a pair of Black Terns. Unlike their saltwater cousins, Black Terns feed on insects in addition to fish, so they fly more like swallows than other terns. The images and links below represent all of the shots I took of these terns. I deleted one shot in the camera because the subject was out of frame. The images shown below are the ones I decided to keep and process using my usual workflow. The links are to 100% crops (1080x864) that were converted from raw to 16-bit tiffs by Silkypix using its out-of-the-box defaults, then these were converted to 8-bit sRGB images and saved as jpegs by PS5. No other PP was performed on the crops. These were taken with my K5+DA*300 hand-held using TAv, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec, SR on, spot AF and meter. EXIF is attached. You can be the judge of my hit rate.

Here is the full frame of the first shot, downsized to 1080x715 with no PP to give an idea of the size of my targets. The 100% crop of this image follows so you can judge the relative target sizes of the other shots.

The full scene:

The 100% crop for this image (no PP):

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533443.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533444.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533445.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533446.jpg

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533448.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533449.jpg

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533451.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533452.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533453.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533454.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533455.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533456.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533457.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533458.jpg

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533461.jpg

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533463.jpg

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533465.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533466.jpg
K533467 deleted in camera -- subject out of frame
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533468.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533469.jpg

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533472.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533473.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533474.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533475.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533476.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533477.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533478.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533479.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533480.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533481.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533482.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533483.jpg

http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533485.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533486.jpg
http://remotesensingart.com/PentaxUP/PentaxAFC/BlackTernCrop_K533487.jpg

My recommendation to anyone looking for opinions about photo gear is to ignore those of people who never post images to back up what they say. Review sites rarely, if ever, actually take a camera out into the field to test AF tracking. My opinion is that the K5+DA*300 is an excellent combo for shooting BIFs.

LPA

 lpammann's gear list:lpammann's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA* 300mm F4.0 ED (IF) SDM Pentax smc FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited +1 more
Pentax K-5
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
JohnBee
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,864
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to lpammann, May 31, 2012

Good job on you for posting substance instead of the usual baseless opinions and second hand propaganda.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
viking79
Forum ProPosts: 12,558Gear list
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to lpammann, May 31, 2012

Nice shots, but they don't really test AF tracking or performance. Black bird against a blue sky isn't exactly an AF challenge.

I think what Pentax really needs are some lenses that focus faster. I acquired an old F* 300mm f/4.5, and it focuses much faster than my DA* 60-250mm did. Sometimes my old K100d goes the wrong direction with the F*, making it take longer than it needs to, but with a newer body I bet it would be fast. However, if they could use a ring type USM and make it fast and accurate, it would be better.

Having used a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 HSM (which I believe is a ring type USM lens) on another mount, there is a lot of room for improvement in focus speed with the K mount system.

Eric
--
I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object
be what it may - light, shade, and perspective will always make it
beautiful. - John Constable (quote)

See my Blog at: http://www.erphotoreview.com/ (bi-weekly)
Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28177041@N03/ (updated daily)

 viking79's gear list:viking79's gear list
Sony SLT-A99 Sony Alpha 7R Sony Alpha 7 Samsung NX30 Samsung NX 30mm F2 Pancake +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
lpammann
Senior MemberPosts: 2,080Gear list
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to viking79, May 31, 2012

viking79 wrote:

Nice shots, but they don't really test AF tracking or performance. Black bird against a blue sky isn't exactly an AF challenge.

It's true that a white bird against a blue-green ocean is a greater challenge

I think what Pentax really needs are some lenses that focus faster. I acquired an old F* 300mm f/4.5, and it focuses much faster than my DA* 60-250mm did. Sometimes my old K100d goes the wrong direction with the F*, making it take longer than it needs to, but with a newer body I bet it would be fast. However, if they could use a ring type USM and make it fast and accurate, it would be better.

Having used a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 HSM (which I believe is a ring type USM lens) on another mount, there is a lot of room for improvement in focus speed with the K mount system.

Of course, every system out there has room for improvement, but claims that pop up periodically saying the K5 AF is only capable of 50-60% hit rates are absurd. There may be situations in which its AF will only get that low of a hit rate, but I've never encountered them yet.

LPA

Eric
--
I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object
be what it may - light, shade, and perspective will always make it
beautiful. - John Constable (quote)

See my Blog at: http://www.erphotoreview.com/ (bi-weekly)
Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28177041@N03/ (updated daily)

 lpammann's gear list:lpammann's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA* 300mm F4.0 ED (IF) SDM Pentax smc FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
LensBeginner
Regular MemberPosts: 194Gear list
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to lpammann, May 31, 2012

These are really good!
And, clearly, the focus isn't at the infinity stop...
I like the colors too btw.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Barry Fitzgerald
Forum ProPosts: 29,888
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to LensBeginner, May 31, 2012

I wouldn't be concerned about AF tracking in broad daylight both the K-x and K-r I had seemed decent enough in that respect.

When I ventured inside that was an entirely different story though for AF performance and that is what would concern me.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
viking79
Forum ProPosts: 12,558Gear list
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to lpammann, May 31, 2012

lpammann wrote:

viking79 wrote:

Nice shots, but they don't really test AF tracking or performance. Black bird against a blue sky isn't exactly an AF challenge.

It's true that a white bird against a blue-green ocean is a greater challenge

Great shots!

I think what Pentax really needs are some lenses that focus faster. I acquired an old F* 300mm f/4.5, and it focuses much faster than my DA* 60-250mm did. Sometimes my old K100d goes the wrong direction with the F*, making it take longer than it needs to, but with a newer body I bet it would be fast. However, if they could use a ring type USM and make it fast and accurate, it would be better.

Having used a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 HSM (which I believe is a ring type USM lens) on another mount, there is a lot of room for improvement in focus speed with the K mount system.

Of course, every system out there has room for improvement, but claims that pop up periodically saying the K5 AF is only capable of 50-60% hit rates are absurd. There may be situations in which its AF will only get that low of a hit rate, but I've never encountered them yet.

I would say outdoors in good light my hit rate was very good with the K-5 (or any Pentax), however, in some lighting conditions with a low contrast edge 50-60% could be optimistic for my in-focus rate. Tracking is another matter, and I don't think the current focus point arrangement is great for tracking, but it can work fine as long as the subject isn't too close or moving too quickly.

Again, I think some of this is the lens, but seeing they updated the design of SAFOX system, I imagine the hardware might not be ideal for certain lighting situations. The K-r seemed to suffer from this more than the K-5, maybe the K-5 + was helping a little. Granted, everyone shoots in different conditions, and I think the Pentax is great at what it does.

Eric
--
I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object
be what it may - light, shade, and perspective will always make it
beautiful. - John Constable (quote)

See my Blog at: http://www.erphotoreview.com/ (bi-weekly)
Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28177041@N03/ (updated daily)

 viking79's gear list:viking79's gear list
Sony SLT-A99 Sony Alpha 7R Sony Alpha 7 Samsung NX30 Samsung NX 30mm F2 Pancake +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Gary Martin
Senior MemberPosts: 2,918Gear list
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, May 31, 2012

I wouldn't be concerned about AF tracking in broad daylight both the K-x and K-r I had seemed decent enough in that respect.

When I ventured inside that was an entirely different story though for AF performance and that is what would concern me.

I don't know about the K-x, but with the K-r it has been pretty well established that its AF problems occur specifically in tungsten lighting conditions. The K-r I've used has been spot on in low light under cooler color temperatures, including fluorescent lighting. The K-5 doesn't seem to have this problem, so hopefully the K-30 doesn't suffer from this problem.

-- hide signature --
 Gary Martin's gear list:Gary Martin's gear list
Pentax K-01 Pentax K-30 Pentax smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Pentax smc FA 50mm F1.4 Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
pcarfan
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,807
Like?
Re: K5 AFC: images from the field, not opinions
In reply to lpammann, Jun 2, 2012

These two are superb shots, well done!
--

[url= http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/home#section=ARTIST&subSection=2323984&subSubSection=0&language=EN]MY PPG[ url]
K10D, K-7

Pentax: DA15/4, DA21/3.2, FA31/1.8, FA43/1.9, FA77/1.8, F135/2.8, FA*28-70/2.8, FA*80-200/2.8
Sigma Zooms: Sigma 100-300 F4

'Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... 'Wow! What a ride!'

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads