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Thread: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    IT MAY GO BACK!

    I have read the messages scattered around the web about the stain, etc. I figured some of the members here have one and love it. It seems to meet all my hot buttons, small, professional, quiet, etc. Who cares if there is a possibility it may need to go back for a stain issue.

    Picture quality is great, the first two lenses I purchased (18-135) and 43Ltd are just fantastic. However there was a persistent rumor that autofocus was a problem under some lighting conditions. Incandescent indoor lighting was said by some to cause front focus issues. I figured the glass was half full and it probably wasn't a problem in most cases, others seem to have no problem etc. Well since the first picture I took of my girlfriend, indoors at night, was out of focus I decided to test it. I used the 43 at 1.9 and up to 2.8 indoors at night in a fairly well lit room and these are my results (large crops to key on one shelf of books). In each case the focus was on the "Gone" and I have just shown the 1.9 shoots as all were very similar.


    43 LTD 1.9 1600 1/50 Using Live View


    43 LTD 1.9 1600 1/50 Standard Auto focus Through the Viewfinder


    Canon 5D2 50MM 1.8 1600 1/50 Standard Auto focus Through the Viewfinder - using for comparison only

    I have other samples but they all basically look the same. In this lighting the K5 looks terrific if focusing is done via auto focus in Live View and completely out of focus if done via the normal auto focus with live view turned off.

    Any suggestions? I hate to send the camera back but this appears to be a significant problem especially as it's not unusual for me to take photos indoors and at night.

    Jim

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by JMaher View Post

    Any suggestions? I hate to send the camera back but this appears to be a significant problem especially as it's not unusual for me to take photos indoors and at night.

    Jim
    HI Jim
    Apparently various Pentax offices have acknowledged the problem, and said that there would be a firmware fix.

    I have to say that I haven't seen it with the 18-135, and that's what I use most. To be honest, I haven't seen it at all, and I've taken lots of pictures indoors in poor light, However, it's really well documented, and your pictures shows it clearly.

    It's a whole new autofocus system (the same as the one in the 645) - most new cameras seem to have some kind of an issue, If you like the camera, then surely the thing to do is to register your problem with them, and then wait and see if they fix it (one assumes that they can).

    I'm one of those fool 'early adopters' - I can't remember too many cameras which haven't needed something fixing, and even the big-boys have their problems (look at the issues Canon had with the 1d Mk x focus . . . can't remember which, but it was a much bigger deal than this).

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to sweep it under the carpet, or suggest it isn't important; just that it's probably not terminal.

    Incidentally, can you repeat it with the 18-135?

    . . . in case you think I'm complacent, I've sent back 6 lenses and two cameras in the last year (with problems), and my K5 does have some small stains on the sensor (I'm waiting until the dust settles, then I'll get it sorted). But this problem sounds like a firmware issue (something to do with colour temperature calculations someone has suggested) - in which case it's likely to be fixed with firmware.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Jono,

    I sent a message and a link, to my post, to Pentax USA. Let's see if they respond positively as that would make me more likely to keep the system. I probably won't have time to test the 18-135 tonight or tomorrow (but I may squeeze in time tonight). If not I will definitely test out the 18-135 on Saturday.

    I am reasonably patient with some things and I can see from your samples that you don't seem to have an issue in similar lighting. However my first indoor night shot was obviously OOF. Its really bizarre as under other lighting (or live view) the camera has fantastic focus. For reference these shots were from about 7 feet from the subject.

    Lets hope for a positive acknowledgment from Pentax. So far (with this major exception) I really like the camera and I love the Limited lens I purchased. I don't have a Leica to compare the lens with but it seems to fit the same niche of high craftsmanship and quality.

    Jim

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Hi Jim,

    I haven't done much shooting with the K5 under the lighting conditions that seem to create this front focusing problem, but I did go back and look through a series of New Years Eve images that I took in a dimly lit restaurant with the K5 and 70mm limited. Out of 15 shots there were two that seemed to exhibit this front focusing error. The others were mostly OK except for three where subject movement created OOF images. At the time I just shrugged off the two front focused shots as photographer error in placing the focus point, but perhaps they were a result of camera error. Here are the two front focused shots where I thought I had focused on the faces of the subjects.





    Two more from the same series that did not exhibit front focusing problems.



    Carl
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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Carl.

    There may be a crucial lighting point where the problem occurs. Just looking at the data on your photos the two that were in focus were taken in slightly brighter lighting conditions as they are both at 1/100th and the other two were at 1/60 & 1/80 of a second. All other factors were the same. There may be something else causing this but maybe there is a threshold at which the problem shows up

    Jim

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Jono,

    I tested the 18-135. I ran the test at 18MM to open up the aperture as much as possible and used the on board flash since the light was insufficient if I stayed at the same 1600 ISO used in the previous examples. As you can see the results are basically the same.

    Jim


    3.5 1/100 18MM ISO 1600 Flash - Live View Focusing


    3.5 1/100 18MM ISO 1600 Flash Standard Focusing

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    [QUOTE=JMaher;288529]Jono,

    I tested the 18-135. I ran the test at 18MM to open up the aperture as much as possible and used the on board flash since the light was insufficient if I stayed at the same 1600 ISO used in the previous examples. As you can see the results are basically the same.

    Jim

    I just tried to replicate your test, but could not induce an OOF result with the 18-135 at your settings, with and without flash and at both ISO 1600 and 6400. All shots were in focus. My bookshelf was indirectly lit from a single incandescent table lamp in the room and very dimly lit. Are you using a single center focus point?
    Carl
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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Carl,

    I am using single point and the results are great in good light. I just tried reducing the light level even further and trying ISO 6400. In really poor light the results at 18 from 7 feet were noisy enough I couldn't tell if they were in focus. In better light 6400 works fine but I still have the same issue.

    How far away were you - if you could maybe try it from the 7 feet of my original test?

    I am not sure why you are getting different results than me.

    It looks like I have a recent serial number 3970XXX. I am running 1.01 firmware.

    Jim

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: Front Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by scho View Post
    Here are the two front focused shots where I thought I had focused on the faces of the subjects.



    Two more from the same series that did not exhibit front focusing problems.
    The difference being that the first pair had something in the foreground for the camera's "brain" to lock on to and the second pair didn't. This is most common in point and shoot cameras that "think" for the user and ruin many a good shot because we humans have a different idea at the time. I had a Nikon D5000 for a while that did this almost constantly no matter what autofocus mode I tried. Nice camera, I bought it for the fact you could fold the screen into the body so it didn't get in the way (I check my shots at home) and for its wonderfully quiet shutter mode but the autofocus was too intrusive for me to bear. I have a D700 for my old manual focus lenses.
    I'm thinking about going for the K5 this spring sometime and sincerely hope its "brain" isn't one of those. I use one centre focus point and lock/recompose which I gather many others do too who have come up the ranks ...

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by JMaher View Post
    Carl,

    I am using single point and the results are great in good light. I just tried reducing the light level even further and trying ISO 6400. In really poor light the results at 18 from 7 feet were noisy enough I couldn't tell if they were in focus. In better light 6400 works fine but I still have the same issue.

    How far away were you - if you could maybe try it from the 7 feet of my original test?

    I am not sure why you are getting different results than me.

    It looks like I have a recent serial number 3970XXX. I am running 1.01 firmware.

    Jim
    Jim,

    I'll try another series tonight at set distances, but I have a feeling that it will be difficult to isolate the cause(s) of this phenomenon.

    Quote Originally Posted by m3photo View Post
    The difference being that the first pair had something in the foreground for the camera's "brain" to lock on to and the second pair didn't. This is most common in point and shoot cameras that "think" for the user and ruin many a good shot because we humans have a different idea at the time. I had a Nikon D5000 for a while that did this almost constantly no matter what autofocus mode I tried. Nice camera, I bought it for the fact you could fold the screen into the body so it didn't get in the way (I check my shots at home) and for its wonderfully quiet shutter mode but the autofocus was too intrusive for me to bear. I have a D700 for my old manual focus lenses.
    I'm thinking about going for the K5 this spring sometime and sincerely hope its "brain" isn't one of those. I use one centre focus point and lock/recompose which I gather many others do too who have come up the ranks ...
    Michael,

    I shoot the same way, with a single center focus point and lock/recompose. If the camera really was "distracted" by other targets in the field of view this might imply that the focus "point" is quite a bit larger than we think based on the little red square that we see in the viewfinder. I also hope that Pentax can come up with a firmware fix for the front focusing problem, but I'm otherwise quite satisfied with the camera for the 99 % of my shooting where auto focus is just fine.
    Carl
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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    jolepp at Pentaxforums has also done some interesting testing regarding this issue:

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/p...t-results.html

    There's obviously a problem in low light and especially with tungsten light. I don't know if it is just something to fix in firmware or something more profound. Hopefully the previous. Since I already have some half-decent Pentax glass, I'm waiting to buy a K-5...

    ... after I manage to sell the Panasonic GH2...

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    Re: K5

    Quote Originally Posted by scho View Post

    Michael,
    ../.. but I'm otherwise quite satisfied with the camera for the 99 % of my shooting where auto focus is just fine.
    Good to know. Thanks for putting my mind at ease.

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    emr,

    What's 'wrong' with the GH2?

    Lee

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphie View Post
    emr,

    What's 'wrong' with the GH2?
    Nothing really, just wasn't for me. I bought one mainly for video and then realized I'm more a stills guy really. And having already about a dozen different lenses for K mount, getting a m4/3 camera might not have been the best move after all.

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by scho View Post
    Jim,
    I'll try another series tonight at set distances, but I have a feeling that it will be difficult to isolate the cause(s) of this phenomenon.
    OK. I think that I was finally able to demonstrate the low tungsten light FF phenomenon with the K5 and my 70mm f/2.4 limited lens. Not as dramatic as Jim's bookshelf shots, but visible. Camera on tripod for all shots.

    First two shots of a row of little wooden elephants, focus was on the 3rd elephant, wide open at f/2.4, ISO 6400.

    Viewfinder


    Live view mode


    Looks like the viewfinder shot was front focused and the live view shot was on target to slightly backfocused.

    Classic library shelf shots, again f/2.4 ISO 6400. Focus on the green gardening book spine.

    Viewfinder


    Live view mode


    Viewfinder shot is soft and live view shot sharp.
    Carl
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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by scho View Post
    Jim,

    I'll try another series tonight at set distances, but I have a feeling that it will be difficult to isolate the cause(s) of this phenomenon.



    Michael,

    I shoot the same way, with a single center focus point and lock/recompose. If the camera really was "distracted" by other targets in the field of view this might imply that the focus "point" is quite a bit larger than we think based on the little red square that we see in the viewfinder. I also hope that Pentax can come up with a firmware fix for the front focusing problem, but I'm otherwise quite satisfied with the camera for the 99 % of my shooting where auto focus is just fine.
    HI There
    Carl - the focus points are unquestionably MUCH larger than the little square marks - they are with other cameras as well (I found the D700 had a tendency to focus on something else as well). They are apparently almost touching - I agree with Michael about the New Year's eve shots - I suspect that the in focus foreground was picked up rather than what you had the red spot on. This is unfortunate . . . . but I think it's a learning issue.

    The bookcase frontfocus is quite a different thing (I think)- I'm going to give it a serious go with mine this afternoon to see if I can replicate the issue.

    I still think that it's firmware-fixable - I remember reading somewhere that they use the colour temperature as an integral part of the focusing algorithms, that might easily be an explanation, and should mean that it's quite possible to fix. Remember that it's a completely new AF system (shared with the 645) - this isn't something Pentax can either afford to ignore or to sweep under the carpet, but don't expect them to own up to it (they are Japanese, and that's not the way they work).

    As you say, the camera works so well under normal circumstances, and this seems to me to be something most of us can afford to be patient about (patient and noisy that is!).

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI There
    Carl - the focus points are unquestionably MUCH larger than the little square marks - they are with other cameras as well (I found the D700 had a tendency to focus on something else as well). They are apparently almost touching - I agree with Michael about the New Year's eve shots - I suspect that the in focus foreground was picked up rather than what you had the red spot on. This is unfortunate . . . . but I think it's a learning issue.

    The bookcase frontfocus is quite a different thing (I think)- I'm going to give it a serious go with mine this afternoon to see if I can replicate the issue.

    I still think that it's firmware-fixable - I remember reading somewhere that they use the colour temperature as an integral part of the focusing algorithms, that might easily be an explanation, and should mean that it's quite possible to fix. Remember that it's a completely new AF system (shared with the 645) - this isn't something Pentax can either afford to ignore or to sweep under the carpet, but don't expect them to own up to it (they are Japanese, and that's not the way they work).

    As you say, the camera works so well under normal circumstances, and this seems to me to be something most of us can afford to be patient about (patient and noisy that is!).

    all the best
    Jono,

    You are right about the focus point size being larger than what is indicated in the VF. The magnified green square that pops up in live view mode is perhaps a better indication of the focal area. I am also quite comfortable enjoying and using the K5, while waiting patiently for Pentax to work this AF issue out.
    Carl
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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Thanks again for all you responses and testing. It seems clear to me that Pentax has an issue here and that it may be much more problematic on some cameras then others.

    I think Pentax came out with a great design and has some great lenses to match it up with. It is exactly what I was looking for, but the email response from them didn't really address my issue and in my present situation I have done as much followup as I am willing to do.

    Either they don't want to admit to another problem, and guarantee a fix at some point, or they didn't read the link to this thread that I forwarded to them. In either case I am sending the camera and lenses back as defective. It's such a shame that instead of being the enthusiastic supporter i would like to be I will end up back with the one of the more dominant brands who may not make my ideal camera but who will make one I am more confident in.

    What's even more of a shame is that a light kit would have proved invaluable over the next few months. The morning after my last post to this forum I went in to the hospital for a routine heart catheterization test and was unexpectedly rushed into priority open heart surgery and a triple bypass. Thanks to modern medicine I am already recovering at home but will have limitations on my ability to carry anything heavy for a number of months. On the very positive side I will probably have the ability to carry gear for a good number of years to come.


    Jim

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by JMaher View Post
    Thanks again for all you responses and testing. It seems clear to me that Pentax has an issue here and that it may be much more problematic on some cameras then others.

    I think Pentax came out with a great design and has some great lenses to match it up with. It is exactly what I was looking for, but the email response from them didn't really address my issue and in my present situation I have done as much followup as I am willing to do.

    Either they don't want to admit to another problem, and guarantee a fix at some point, or they didn't read the link to this thread that I forwarded to them. In either case I am sending the camera and lenses back as defective. It's such a shame that instead of being the enthusiastic supporter i would like to be I will end up back with the one of the more dominant brands who may not make my ideal camera but who will make one I am more confident in.

    What's even more of a shame is that a light kit would have proved invaluable over the next few months. The morning after my last post to this forum I went in to the hospital for a routine heart catheterization test and was unexpectedly rushed into priority open heart surgery and a triple bypass. Thanks to modern medicine I am already recovering at home but will have limitations on my ability to carry anything heavy for a number of months. On the very positive side I will probably have the ability to carry gear for a good number of years to come.


    Jim
    Hi Jim
    here's the very best wishes for your rapid recovery - the camera you use is of no significance in comparison.

    all the very best.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Jim,

    I would also like to extend my best wishes for your recovery and I hope that you will soon be out and about again with whichever camera you are most comfortable using.

    Best regards,
    Carl
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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Wow. Man. That's... scary, wish you the best on your recovery.

    - Raist

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Dear Jim

    I am new to this forum but already feel a sense of belonging here and I do wish you a speedy recovery too.

    Lee

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by JMaher View Post
    What's even more of a shame is that a light kit would have proved invaluable over the next few months. The morning after my last post to this forum I went in to the hospital for a routine heart catheterization test and was unexpectedly rushed into priority open heart surgery and a triple bypass. Thanks to modern medicine I am already recovering at home but will have limitations on my ability to carry anything heavy for a number of months. On the very positive side I will probably have the ability to carry gear for a good number of years to come.
    Jim, I've not been around much recently, but I also hope that you are making a speedy recovery. That was quite scary to read, but it's an amazing example of what is possible with modern medicine. All the best, and I hope you will let us know how you are doing when you're able to.

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Thanks - I am doing great but still restricted to picking up more than 5 pounds for another month or two. No large lenses for me .

    Jim

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    Re: K5 - I love my New Camera...BUT

    Glad to hear that Jim! Take it easy

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