K5 vs. K5II Autofocus


amama

Link Posted 11/01/2013 - 22:30
Hello,

I'm thinking of investing in a new K5II in the SRS PX scheme, but am a bit torn between the options of buying a used K5 for around 450 and a new K5II for 639 (inc. 100 px).

I've done a lot of researching and, if reviews are to be believed, the only major difference between the two cameras is the improved autofocussing in low light.

I wanted to know, to what extent does the K5II actually improve upon the K5, and how terrible was the lowlight autofocus in the K5 to begin with?

I do a lot of street photography at night, especially when travelling and, as someone upgrading from a K-r, it is of particular irritation the tendency for the camera to miss focus, but is it worth the 200 price gap between the two?

Many thanks,

Alex
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mdc

Link Posted 11/01/2013 - 22:39
ALL Pentax phase-detect autofocus systems at night - assuming you've still got sodium streetlamps where you live - is unusable. Completely and utterly unusable. Even dialling in a massive amount of AF adjustment and having a dedicated "night time" camera doesn't work, because the focus error varies wildly depending on distance from the subject; it might be fine at 3m, but at 8m it'll be completely out of focus, and vice-versa.

The only way to make it work is by using contrast detection autofocus, and then it doesn't really matter which camera you're using. In fact, I've found that my K-01 (which arrived earlier today) is WAY better than the K-5 once you load firmware 1.01. The only problem with contrast detection autofocus is that it's not brilliant in VERY low light conditions; not without the AF assist beam, which kinda ruins the whole "stealth" aspect.

Don't get me wrong, the K5 is a fantastic camera, but it might be better overall either a) getting used to scale focussing using your DOF scale, or b) looking at a different camera, like the K-01, or even a film camera.

Personally, if I was looking for a new camera specifically for night time street photography, I'd be hunting around for a reasonably priced Hexar AF, or just using an Olympus XA2/XA4, both of which can be had WAY cheaper than a K5 You also get a hell of a lot more flexibility with regards to film emulsions, processing methods, etc; all of which can be used to give a variety of wildly different looks.

I'd say it also depends on whether or not you're doing it "just for fun" or looking to make a profit out of it, as profit from shooting film is typically much higher. A silver print, by its very nature, generally commands a much higher pricetag than a digital print.

amama

Link Posted 11/01/2013 - 22:50
I'm doing it as a hobby really; I bought my K-r last year and have sort of outgrown it. I don't really like the idea of carrying separate cameras and the reason I like Pentax is not only because of the huge back catalog of good, cheap lenses, but also because of its size.

I like to play around with settings a lot and have dabbled in film, but still feel it's a bit out of my reach in terms of know-how.

I've read a lot of how the K5II has much improved AF and just wanted to know whether it really is that much better that it justifies one over the other.
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mdc

Link Posted 11/01/2013 - 22:52
I think for generally INDOOR use it's supposed to be a bit better, but for street stuff it's really not worth it; just use Live View on the K-r or get the K-5 and do the same

And it's definitely worth getting an XA2 just for the fun of it, they're about 15 on eBay

cabstar

Link Posted 11/01/2013 - 22:56
My own experience of the mkii is that the focus just works in most conditions ive tried it, be it day lighg, dark clothing, night time street scene etc... You know that time your pentax body starts hunting and you go oh bloody hell etc? Well i dont do that any more, it just works!
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released
Last Edited by cabstar on 11/01/2013 - 22:56

amama

Link Posted 11/01/2013 - 22:58
cabstar wrote:
You know that time your pentax body starts hunting and you go oh bloody hell etc? Well i dont do that any more, it just works!

Yeah I do know, a bit too well, hence the upgrade
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cabstar

Link Posted 11/01/2013 - 23:44
Then you will like it lol
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released

amama

Link Posted 12/01/2013 - 00:17
Let's hope so.. I think this will hurt quite a bit for a student budget.. gonna sell some lenses etc to fund it.
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DaveHolmes

Link Posted 12/01/2013 - 00:53
K5 AF is significantly better than my old K-x's... Hunts a little in lowlight but nothing close to as much as the K-x...

I know the student money woes too (I graduated in July last year) a part time job is a must!!
........................................................................
Digital:
Pentax K5- Vivitar 19mm 3.8; FA35mm f2; D-Xenon 100mm macro f2.8; DA50-200mm WR...
Flash:
Yongnuo YN-560; Vivitar 285HV; Cactus V4 triggers...
Film:
Pentax-MX & M50mm f1.4; Spottie & 55mm f1.8; MG & M40mm 2.8...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveholmesphotos/

cabstar

Link Posted 12/01/2013 - 01:25
I like my student budget
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Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released

Pentaxonian

Link Posted 12/01/2013 - 10:29
I only had my K5iis 2 weeks or so and so far AF has been spot on. I have used it mostly indoors and in street low light.

It's way better than the K5 in those conditions.
K5iis and a couple of lenses.

amama

Link Posted 12/01/2013 - 19:40
Just to throw a curve ball in there.. what's the focussing on the K30 like? :O
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andrewk

Link Posted 13/01/2013 - 00:26
amama wrote:
Just to throw a curve ball in there.. what's the focussing on the K30 like? :O

Autofocus is a LOT better in poor light than the focussing on my K200D - but I've no idea how it compares with the K5ii. Live view/focus peaking is fabulously good under very poor street lighting.

I took this shot at ISO6400 with a K30 and M50 f/1.7 with focus peaking. Exposure was, I think, f/5.6 at 1/15sec (hand held) which gives you an idea how dark it was. The highlight on the back of the car is not flash - but the reflection of a street light, about 30 yards behind me. Getting accurate focus with Live View/Focus Peaking is a doddle even in almost pitch black conditions.




I have just been outside with the K30 and 18-55mm MK2 kit lens - and can get focus confirmation using autofocus (NOT Live view/focus peaking). I can also get focus confirmation on the same car through a double glazed bedroom window from a distance of around 40m. The street lighting here is so poor that I can barely see the car unless I turn the room light off.

Good enough? It is for me.

Andrew
Flickr photostream
Last Edited by andrewk on 13/01/2013 - 00:31

amama

Link Posted 13/01/2013 - 00:42
andrewk wrote:

I have just been outside with the K30 and 18-55mm MK2 kit lens - and can get focus confirmation using autofocus (NOT Live view/focus peaking). I can also get focus confirmation on the same car through a double glazed bedroom window from a distance of around 40m. The street lighting here is so poor that I can barely see the car unless I turn the room light off.

Good enough? It is for me.

Andrew

Hmm.. Intesting.. Sure sounds good, thanks a lot Andrew!
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andrewk

Link Posted 13/01/2013 - 01:06
One thing I forgot to mention is that, like the K5, the K30 does have a green AF assist light, so it will autofocus readily with a kit lens in total darkness indoors but I have no idea of the distance over which it is effective - definitely OK across a room, though.

Andrew
Flickr photostream
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