Focus tracking K7 and K5ii


davidrobinson

Link Posted 22/02/2014 - 21:12
Having tried both settings with mixed results and not finding the answer in the camera manual can anyone answer this.
When using continuous focusing for focus tracking of birds. Which is best, to have the camera set to "Centre Focusing" or "Auto Focusing"?
Obviously for centre focus you have the difficult job of keeping the subject in the centre of the viewfinder and you would expect the "Auto focus" mode to be much better as its using all the available focus points. The problem is I am still getting inconsistent results. I know that birds don't fly in a predictable flight path but any suggestions to help nail spot on focus would be gratefully received. Regards David

Mike-P

Link Posted 22/02/2014 - 21:35
On my K-5II I tend to use AF.C centre point for birds as they are usually flying around other things which would confuse all points focusing. I normally use 5 point focus (AF.C) when photographing aircraft ... I never use all focus points tracking. It also depends a lot on what lens you are using.

To be honest though, if I go out with the sole intention of photographing birds I take the 7D and 400mm EF 5.6
No equipment list here but thanks for taking an interest. My Flickr
Last Edited by Mike-P on 22/02/2014 - 21:36

Helpful

Smeggypants

Link Posted 22/02/2014 - 22:38
Mike-P wrote:
On my K-5II I tend to use AF.C centre point for birds as they are usually flying around other things which would confuse all points focusing. I normally use 5 point focus (AF.C) when photographing aircraft ... I never use all focus points tracking. It also depends a lot on what lens you are using.

To be honest though, if I go out with the sole intention of photographing birds I take the 7D and 400mm EF 5.6

Mike, how would you compare the AF between K-5I and K-5II ?
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283

dcweather

Link Posted 23/02/2014 - 16:43
davidrobinson wrote:
Having tried both settings with mixed results and not finding the answer in the camera manual can anyone answer this.
When using continuous focusing for focus tracking of birds. Which is best, to have the camera set to "Centre Focusing" or "Auto Focusing"?
Obviously for centre focus you have the difficult job of keeping the subject in the centre of the viewfinder and you would expect the "Auto focus" mode to be much better as its using all the available focus points. The problem is I am still getting inconsistent results. I know that birds don't fly in a predictable flight path but any suggestions to help nail spot on focus would be gratefully received. Regards David

---------------------------------------------
I've tried most settings and it's still not brilliant even with a clear sky and that includes the K3. In fact I get a higher success rate by just following the bird and trying to get in normal spot focus.

michaelblue

Link Posted 23/02/2014 - 17:55
Advice given to me by a professional wildlife photographer:

"If they are flying against a clear sky use all focus points but if they're flying against a background (trees, bushes etc.) it's better to use the centre point and keep it on the bird....if possible"
Regards,
Michael
My new website:link

Helpful

gwing

Link Posted 23/02/2014 - 18:03
On my K30 my current preferred mode for BIF is to select continuous focus, single centre point focus and focus point expansion so the surrounding focus points can be used for tracking as well.

I then take initial focus further away than the distance I want to shoot the bird at, follow it and hit the AF button when it is where I want to start shooting. Once it locks on focus I take a burst of shots at slow frame rate while attempting to keep the bird on the central focus spot.

I find the focus lock is quite good and tends to hold focus quite well even when the bird flies past other potential focusing distractions. However it generally only seems to hold the focus lock for three or four seconds and then loses it. That may be me of course, and there may be better techniques, I'm no expert at this flying bird stuff - just having fun. Compared to my old k7 the K30 is loads better for this, I assume the K3 should be better again.

Helpful

davidrobinson

Link Posted 23/02/2014 - 18:30
dcweather wrote:
davidrobinson wrote:
Having tried both settings with mixed results and not finding the answer in the camera manual can anyone answer this.
When using continuous focusing for focus tracking of birds. Which is best, to have the camera set to "Centre Focusing" or "Auto Focusing"?
Obviously for centre focus you have the difficult job of keeping the subject in the centre of the viewfinder and you would expect the "Auto focus" mode to be much better as its using all the available focus points. The problem is I am still getting inconsistent results. I know that birds don't fly in a predictable flight path but any suggestions to help nail spot on focus would be gratefully received. Regards David

---------------------------------------------
I've tried most settings and it's still not brilliant even with a clear sky and that includes the K3. In fact I get a higher success rate by just following the bird and trying to get in normal spot focus.

This evening I tried following a fast moving Marsh Harrier. It was overcast and the light was pretty poor as you would expect at 5pm. However with the K5ii set to (Constant Auto Focus) (Five focus points Auto) the camera locked onto the bird quicker than I've seen before. Thanks Mike for reminding me of 5 focus point option.
I tried Constant Auto Focus single point but I had difficulty keeping the bird in the centre of the viewfinder however when it did lock on I think the final image was crisper then the 5 point Auto.
Please advise if you have any more suggestions.

davidrobinson

Link Posted 23/02/2014 - 18:36
gwing wrote:
On my K30 my current preferred mode for BIF is to select continuous focus, single centre point focus and focus point expansion so the surrounding focus points can be used for tracking as well.

I then take initial focus further away than the distance I want to shoot the bird at, follow it and hit the AF button when it is where I want to start shooting. Once it locks on focus I take a burst of shots at slow frame rate while attempting to keep the bird on the central focus spot.

I find the focus lock is quite good and tends to hold focus quite well even when the bird flies past other potential focusing distractions. However it generally only seems to hold the focus lock for three or four seconds and then loses it. That may be me of course, and there may be better techniques, I'm no expert at this flying bird stuff - just having fun. Compared to my old k7 the K30 is loads better for this, I assume the K3 should be better again.

I haven't seen the option for (single point focus point expansion) in the menu of my K5ii I will have to look into that.

davidrobinson

Link Posted 23/02/2014 - 20:50
gwing wrote:
On my K30 my current preferred mode for BIF is to select continuous focus, single centre point focus and focus point expansion so the surrounding focus points can be used for tracking as well.

I've found (Expanded Area AF) on page 115 of the K5ii manual and have set camera up to try it out tomorrow, a brief test indoors seems to confirm it uses chosen or in my case centre point focus to initially lock on to subject then if it strays into surrounding focus points it tracks and refocuses as required. Looks as if it will help me, now I need some good light and a cooperative bird or two. Where have I heard that before? NOTE I don't think the K7 has this option unless anyone knows different.
Thanks for the advice.

gwing

Link Posted 23/02/2014 - 21:45
davidrobinson wrote:
gwing wrote:
On my K30 my current preferred mode for BIF is to select continuous focus, single centre point focus and focus point expansion so the surrounding focus points can be used for tracking as well.

I've found (Expanded Area AF) on page 115 of the K5ii manual and have set camera up to try it out tomorrow, a brief test indoors seems to confirm it uses chosen or in my case centre point focus to initially lock on to subject then if it strays into surrounding focus points it tracks and refocuses as required. Looks as if it will help me, now I need some good light and a cooperative bird or two. Where have I heard that before? NOTE I don't think the K7 has this option unless anyone knows different.
Thanks for the advice.

You are very welcome David, I hope it works for you.

Do note my comment about setting initial focus further away than the point at which you intend to start focusing on the bird, this is quite important as AF works from infinity to close on its initial seek and so it is a lot faster if you start from the further away position. For BIF I also find it really helps to disable focusing from the shutter button and use the dedicated AF button instead - for pretty much everything else I prefer them linked.
Last Edited by gwing on 23/02/2014 - 21:46

Helpful

davidrobinson

Link Posted 24/02/2014 - 22:56
Focus point expansion works, I have been able to lock onto and keep focused on several birds but unfortunately the light was getting poor so not much to show for it today.
I will post two of a Short Eared Owl which is as I say disappointing because of the speed it moved and the very poor light. The one where it launched itself off a distant telegraph pole shows how the camera kept it in focus pretty well.
Regards David

dcweather

Link Posted 25/02/2014 - 00:12
Thanks for all this advice. Ties in quite well with what is being said in current (concurrent?) discussion on the other forum. I haven't tried the expanded AF points yet but will. There is some conflicting info though, e.g someone said never use back button AF in C (I do) but use half pressed shutter only! I think for BIF we are going to have to try the different variables and find what works best for our own needs but I doubt it is ever going to be a Nikon in this aspect!

davidrobinson

Link Posted 25/02/2014 - 14:20
I have never used the dedicated AF button until today, now I can see the advantages. The most noticeable advantage is you don't accidently take pictures you didn't want. Plus you can hit the shutter button as soon as you want. I will keep trying it and let you know how I get on.
Not sure about Nikon/Canon being the be all and end all, my friends Nikon D600/800 kit cost much more than mine and doesn't always produce images better than mine in similar situations. Some is just down to patience, luck and getting your gear to work for you. I have to say value for money Pentax takes a lot of beating.
Anyway enjoying your photography, your hobby and seeing what you can squeeze out of it is the main enjoyment.
Regards David
Last Edited by davidrobinson on 25/02/2014 - 14:20

michaelblue

Link Posted 25/02/2014 - 15:15
A friend of mine has a nikon d5100 with a 55-200mm lens and I tried it to compare to my Kx and pentax 50-200mm ......slow and sluggish! To be honest I was disappointed with the camera and lens. I was glad to hand it back!
The grass is not always greener it seems.......
Regards,
Michael
My new website:link

davidrobinson

Link Posted 25/02/2014 - 15:22
I nearly bought one a while ago, from what you say its a good job I didn't.
Regards David
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.