Selectable auto focus points


Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 09:40
How do people use the selectable auto focus points?

I've pretty much always ignored them and focus recomposed with my K3, simply because the focus points don't cover the full frame and quite a lot of time I'd want to focus on something that isn't covered by a point. I notice that some newer cameras are coming out with much greater coverage (the d500).

I've been using a d7200 for a while and have been using the focus points because of the greater coverage makes it more logical to me.

With a camera with smaller coverage do others make use of them and in what way? I'm not sure if I'm missing a trick.


Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 10:25
I use them all the time. No trick to it. Simply select what I want to focus on pre-shot. Only thing is to remember to always reset it to the central position - for those quick snaps; If you don't and forget about it, you might end up with an unpleasant surprise. I rarely seem to have the need to focus out of the default coverage area and if I do, that's when focus/recompose comes in. Got to admit, Pentax lack of dedicated joystick provides for a rather clumsy experience - the only issue I have with it;s rather perfect, otherwise, ergonomics. Again though, it's a minor annoyance to which I've become so accustomed I barely notice. Would a larger coverage zone be nice? Sure. Is it necessary? Nope.

I do wonder what is stopping Ricoh from bringing it on par with the competition.
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Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 13:44
I have found very few practical scenarios when making a focus point selection would be the intuitive or quickest choice ...

However, following on from Maj07 above, I accept that it's one of those things that with more use and practice become intuitive and quicker.

Now, what would be a good subject and situation to use this focus approach with .... ?
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Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 16:49
Isn't it easiest just to focus from the centre point and recompose? No faffing about pressing buttons required! That was the only option on all my film SLRs (centre prism.) And on cameras before those one had to guess or measure the distance! So thank goodness Pentax haven't put a joystick on the camera as from experience that's invariably the first thing to fail. Those that want joysticks can purchase inferior cameras that do have such things. I vowed never purchase such a thing again so should Pentax do that they'd loose my future custom. If a joystick's essential then perhaps an external one could be made available to plug in thus convert the camera to double up as a Playstation!
Sorry to sound harsh but I'd simply hate that to happen and the opposite viewpoint needs to be made.
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 09/06/2016 - 17:07


Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 18:14
Centre point focus is fast and the position can be held on that half press as we recompose. No need to select anything.

If needed, QuickShift can be used to alter the focus point slightly. In practice I hardly ever do.
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Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 19:31
See the reason I brought it up was because I was reading and watching a K1 review and that showed the new viewfinder led overlay. The viewfinder is much better but the auto focus points still don't cover much of the frame (unless your in crop mode) and the selector is still the same 4 way buttons that are on the k3. That got me thinking about the different ways of shooting and what ways people choose to do it.

I've been using a d7200 and the auto focus points cover much more of the frame and the selector is more of a dpad which enables quick selection of any of the 51 focus points.

So with that camera I've been shooting using the focus points and not half press recompose then fire. I've been just doing a single press to focus and shoot. It's different but I like it. Then there is back button focus which I was using but I like the single press of the shutter button, let the camera focus as fast as it can and then release the shutter when it is ready.


Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 20:12
If you have a certain composition in mind for repeated shots, and know the action/subject is always going to be off to the side, then moving the focus points makes sense.

By all accounts a touchscreen selection whilst looking through the viewfinder works really well.


Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 20:24
richandfleur wrote:
If you have a certain composition in mind for repeated shots, and know the action/subject is always going to be off to the side, then moving the focus points makes sense.

By all accounts a touchscreen selection whilst looking through the viewfinder works really well.

Such as following the moving train. Focus should be on the smokebox / front of loco or possibly front bufferbeam, which will rarely be in the centre of the photo. I often select a point in roughly 2/3 way across and down the frame.
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Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 21:56
"With a camera with smaller coverage do others make use of them and in what way?"

I use it very often when shooting wildlife to get the eye(s) as focus point especially when the subject is close up and nearly filling the frame. Works very well and quick with the K5IIs as it has the dedicated switch which can be operated without taking your eye of the subject through the viewfinder. I never use it with the K30 for wildlife as you have to get into the menu.


Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 22:21
Centre Point only for me, which works very well on the K-3. It's quick and effective, I don't think I would gain any speed or accuracy by using the other focus points.

As an aside, since I've had the DA*300 and 1.4TC, I have noticed that the K-3 focusses much more reliably than the K-5iis using the centre point. I'm not talking about focus accuracy here as the K-5iis is very accurate, I'm talking about a tendency to hunt on small subjects like wild birds for example. The K-3 locks on where the K-5iis hunts in and out. Has anyone else noticed this?


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Link Posted 09/06/2016 - 22:41
Can't say about the K5lls/K3. But I think it's true of K5IIs/K1 noticed the difference with a K1/150-450+Pentax1.7x combination.
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Link Posted 10/06/2016 - 01:14
Honestly, I don't get it; On my K3 II's and now the K1 I do pay due respect to the automation but increasingly I am finding it is getting more impractical; partiularly the current topic.

I just spent a couple of days on Skomer and had modest success with BIF ie. Some nicely crisp well focussed BIF shots.

However anyone trying to keep the bead on a returning puffin passing across your field of view at 5 metres will not be wondering about selectable points ; A Puffin at 5 metres, flat out is like a black and white tracer bullet.

I tried the K1 on all seven focus field modes and by far the best was with all points iniated in auto with anti shake off and AF Hold off.

This changed my "keeper rate" from about 1:30 to 1:15 but as for a well focuused and
composed shot of a " flat out" puffin it is not better than 1:50.

One thing that is pleasing is that the extra field of view of the full frame makes this type of shot more do-able, as it gives a bigger "window" to track the bird.

With the K1 the "Passing "Puffin Missile shot"has gone from being almost impossible to slightly possible.unless of course you are Tomkeet.

So focus points for me is not a feature that I thank the gods of photography for every night - tracking the bird is my omly concern and i still have to master this competence..

Maybe a simplified FF with just Aperture and Shutter priority, a good burst mode, basic multi segment focus and exposure modes and a flashsoe would cover my needs .

GPS, Astro tracing , selectable focus points, The Phase detection menu are wastec on me, frankly but I recognize I am defficient and so I must applaude Pentax for providing these technologies.
Last Edited by Daronl on 10/06/2016 - 01:20


Link Posted 10/06/2016 - 01:55
I must say, I really do wish Pentax would release a camera for those owners who just don't want all the 'fluff'.
At the same time I realise that everyone has different wants, so this just wouldn't work.

I personally will never ever use the inbuilt HDR options. I won't use any of the JPEG in camera processing and effects.

I would use the intervalometer if it worked, but it died on me several times and now I don't trust it and won't ever use it again. (Just stopped with no error message given, just stopped).

I can't see how you'd use AF selection points either on wildlife, unless photographing the stuffed variety.

I've simply never ever had any issues with Pentax metering. I don't need any new developments in that area and find the metering options and tools provided fine as they are. Metering is simply making a call on where you want to centre the exposure, and my K-30 and K-S1 cameras do this fine.

I'd like some centre point focussing and tracking ability. Ironically Pentax sort of does this in live view. With the tracking mode on, it will follow a subject slowly around the room quite well, but I don't think it refocuses as it moves closer or further away, which makes it fun to watch, but completely useless in practise. I've never had any success with the K-30 focussing on someone running towards me, and maintaining this focus until I take the shot.

I'd also like the S/R to work in video mode, like it used to well.


Link Posted 10/06/2016 - 09:32
I completely agree about BIF. I found it a challenge enough to get birds in trees hopping from branch to branch with the K3 let alone flying. Maybe the expanded selected point may work for BIF if you know your going right to left say and you select an expanded point on the left.


Link Posted 10/06/2016 - 10:21
Not sure on a K3, but I have good success on ether BIF or fast Jets with a K5iis using back button focussing with a central point.

IMO, a technique worth practising and since I've started using it, the keeper rate has gone up 300%

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