Friday, July 03, 2009

Measurebated: K-7 is NOT a Machine Gun! :-(

In the current issue of a Hong Kong local printed magazine, e-zone, a shootout on the continuous shooting and AF capabilities of the K-7, Canon 50D and Nikon D300 is made. The lens mounted on the K-7 is the DA* 16-50/2.8 SDM whereas the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is mounted for both the Canon and the Nikon.

Five tests were carried out and the results of each test are as follows:-

1. The first test is to focus two objects at different distances under EV1. The time required to achieve AF was measured. They repeated the test for three times and the best figures are published:-

50D: 0.58 sec., D300: 0.84 sec., K-7: 0.92 sec.

The focusing accuracy of the 50D is the best which produces the sharpest image, as judged by the cropped images. The D300 is not as good, one crop is sharp and the other is somehow out of focus a little bit. The K-7 images are both out of focus, one crop is the blurrest and ther other is similar to that of the D300 out focus shot.

So, the K-7 loses in both focusing speed but also accuracy! :-( Oh, no..

2. For the second test the cameras were put into Continuous Hi frame mode and Continuous AF with single Central AF point selected. A running Thomas toy Train was shot at close distance at about 0.5m and the cameras were fired for 3 seconds. The test for each model was repeated 3 times and the best results are published. The K-m was also tested for reference:-

50D: 11 Frames taken, Accuracy 90%, D300: 12 Frames taken, Accuracy 100%, K-7: 5 Frames taken, Accuracy 100% (All photos taken are published also), K-m: 4 Frames, Accuracy 100%.

So, the K-7 loses once again, the effective frame rate is only 5/3 = 1.67 fps! Oh, noooo!!

3. The third test was carried out outdoor with a girl model running towards the cameras at constant speed. The cameras were put into Continuous Hi mode and Continuous AF with single Central AF point selected. The cameras were fired for 3 seconds and repeated 3 times for the test and the best results are published:-

50D: 16 Frames, Accuracy 100%, D300: 19 Frames, Accuracy 95%, K-7: 8 Frames, Accuracy 95% (All photos taken are published), K-m: 4 Frames, Accuracy 100%.

Disappointing once again! The effective frame rate of the K-7 in this test is 8/3 = 2.67 fps (Only).

4. The fourth test is similar but the tester let the cameras to select the AF point by themselves. The test targets were trams on the road with similar (slow) speed and each test was repeated two times and the best results are published:-

50D: 16 Frames, Accuracy 95%, D300: 17 Frames, 100%, K-7: 7 Frames, Accuracy 95% (All photos taken are published), K-m: 3 Frames, Accuracy 100%

5. The fifth test is about the system time lag. An object was dropped from the hand of the model and the number of shots was counted before the object fell out of the frame. Each test was repeated several times as well and the best results are published:-

50D: 4 Frames, D300: 4 Frames, K-7: 3 Frames (The editor notes that the K-7 test was repeated more than those of 50D and D300!), K-m: 2 Frames.

Now, the Conclusion? K-7 is not a fast camera and it is NOT a machine gun! Despite on paper it has a frame rate of 5.2 fps - BUT it does NOT work well with the AF system, as it is obvious that the AF system does not work fast enough! :-( As the bottle neck *is* now the *AF system*, practically the camera cannot perform faster. If one compares to the K-m results, then this conclusion sounds very solid (as the K-7 is not much better than the K-m, despite that its specified frame rate is much higher!)

Well, if you are at Hong Kong, I highly recommend that you should buy the E-Zone to read and view this thoughtful test and professionally written article and report in full by yourself, before next Thursday when the next issue comes. Although the final results obtained are all that disappointing from a Pentaxian point of view, I must say again that it is just a good test performed and the magazine has done a good job, systematically and objectively.

Honestly speaking, I have been just so naive to think that the K-7 is a machine gun camera, but, SAFOX VIII+ is STILL a SAFOX VIII - the added "+" (Plus) suffix won't help! And, SDM is still SDM = Sloooow Driving (AF) Motor!! (For Evidences for how Slow the SDM could be, Search Here.)

59 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in hk too. it's surprised me that you said e-zone's test is professional made.
i just wonder why they don't use the Tamron 17-50/2.8 (it should has the k-mount too) to test.

Anonymous said...

Same I'am thinking, when you test it e-zone way lens should be the same also.Otherwise you can forget the hole test.

Anonymous said...

It is also noted by beta testers that SDM lenses do not focus as fast as screw drive lenses test ( which sucks especially since you pay for the higher end glass you should get the performance boost to go with that cost) I guess my point is I would like to see this test done with a screw drive lens to see if the results are different.

Anonymous said...

The test should have been carried out with the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 on the K-7 as well.

At least, the results would've been comparable. The DA* 16-50mm F2.8 is quite a bit slower than the screw-driven Tamron lens.

Compares apples with apples, and oranges with oranges...

Still, it shows that there's room for improvement on the K-7.

jaad75 said...

I'm wondering why you didn't mention about previous AF-C tests done by German testers... Isn't that because you're talking only about tests that prove your point? And as others said - why didn't they use the Tamron on all bodies? BTW, how is your 5D doing compared to those cameras? Is it focusing at all?:)

RiceHigh said...

I don't think using a K-mount Tamron lens instead of an original Pentax as you boys've suggested would change/improve the test results of Pentax much. Whilst you have to suggest a Tamron would be better, I bet there will only be some minor difference (for which the screw mount AF lens would help somehow), but it will not be significant enough to change the reality - i.e., the K-7/Pentax AF system is still not fast enough and is way slower than the C and N offerings.

But anyway, I do agree that the SDM does add salts to the wound!

RiceHigh said...

Using the same super defensive "logic" as you boys use, I'm totally afraid that if original Canon and Nikon lenses are used, the 50D and D300 could do even better! Period.

Are that even more *fair* to use original lenses on original bodies if it is meant to compare a *system*?

The editor gave advantage to Pentax already!! Still complain what?? (You boys are just so SILLY!)

jaad75 said...

That only proves that you haven't had much experience with SDM vs. screw-driven AF...

Anonymous said...

I don't see original of this test.
I trust Falk and my own experience with K-7.
Who knows this local site??? Nobody.
Why shoud I trust e-zone?
I shoudn't.

Anonymous said...

K7 and its precision autofocus

http://falklumo.blogspot.com/2009/06/k-7-and-its-precision-autofocus.html

Anonymous said...

professionally written article?
ha-ha...
Rice, if you have no money to buy K-7, please, use 5D and forget Pentax forever. You are mentally incompetent, you will keep searching dirt like a pig in every hole. Shame!!!

jukka said...

I think you are ignoring a very valid point here. It is not "super defensive logic" or desperation, i dont like you pulling same kind of maneuvers that you critize others doing (for example pentax users with IQ conspiracy theories about different ISOs).

As a nikon user i have seen that in-lens focus motors can indeed be slower than body driven lenses. They should have done these tests with the same lens as in-lens focusing motors are only guaranteed to be silent but not quick. Especially when to my understanding pentax is relatively new with in-lens focus motors i wouldnt be suriprised to find out some of that technology might come from example tamron who also has lately started to put focus motor in lenses.

If you were to use nikon kit lenses, depending what level of kit you choose you could get awfully slow autofocus.

jukka said...

Also this is not a fair review of a camera's performance as its the in-lens motor the limiting factor not the camera. Camera can be as accurate as they come but if the in-lens motor is not up to it then its not up to it.

A slow AF-S/SDM/SWM lens is slow on a fast or slow body. On the positive side a good in-lens motor pretty much guarantees the speed on any camera body.

clover said...

Pentax 16-50mm SDM rotation of the focusing ring is more important than Tamron 17-50mm ( I have both lenses under my eyes )
Also, the Pentax 16-50mm focusing ring moves a heavier part of the lens. The Pentax lens is more "progressive".

The gap between PEntax K7, Canon 50D and the D300 really needs to be precised by testing the Tamron for all brands.

Anonymous said...

Pop Photo AF speed tests of pre-K-7 Pentax:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Cameras/Camera-Test-Pentax-K20D/Camera-Test-Pent\
ax-K20D

"In our Lab tests, the AF was very fast in bright light and sensitive in low light down to EV -1 (though slow by EV 0). In field tests, it tracked rapidly moving objects across a wide area of the frame. But it slows to more than 1 second at EV 1, and is sluggish at EV -1-not as fast nor as sensitive as the AF systems in several Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLRs."

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Cameras/Camera-Test-Pentax-K20D/Camera-Test-Pent\
ax-K20D2

On this link, the AF speed is graphed vs EV value.

Here's the 2007 D300:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Cameras/Camera-Test-Nikon-D300

"In our tests, the D300 focused extremely fast in bright and moderate light from EV 12 to EV 6, slightly faster than the EOS 40D, but not as quick as the Sony A700 or Olympus E-3. In low light from EV 4 to EV 1, it was just behind the Canon but much faster than the Olympus. And in very low light from EV 0 to -2, it was faster than any other DSLR we've tested, maintaining an AF speed of under
1 second even at its limit of EV -2 (the Olympus stopped at EV -1)."

Compare their graphic on the AF speeds vs a range of EV's:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Cameras/Camera-Test-Nikon-D300/Camera-Test-Nikon\
-D3002

Pentax K20D 1.67 sec at EV 0, and D300 is .93 sec

I have not seen a quantitative test of a similar-range NON-SDM lens against the comparable SDM lens on the same body (K20D or K10D). Pentax claims SMOOTHER and QUIETER - but not faster for SDM.

Anonymous said...

This has really nothig to do with Photography. Ricehigh = all time low. This man is so negative. Why doesn't he forget Pentax and stop moaning. Or commit suicide?

Last weekend my parents were celebrating their 40th years of marriage, I shot a lot of photo's with my *Ist DS. An friend of my parents was shooting with a Canon 400D (which has been praised by reviewers contrary to the *Ist DS), But if you look at the photo's Pentax clearly wins on sharpness and colours. Ricehigh should concentrate on making photographs in stead of discussing metrics.

Johnny said...

RiceHigh,

It has been said a million time, it's not the camera it's the photographer. Have you ever taken any artistic pictures? Can you take pictures or can you only masturbate with Canon?
Show us some real pictures Mr. Photographer!

Anonymous said...

RE: Last weekend ... I shot a lot of photo's with my *Ist DS. An friend of my parents was shooting with a Canon 400D (which has been praised by reviewers contrary to the *Ist DS).

-------------

The 1st DS came out in 2004. So in 5 years, you haven't bought a PK DSLR?

I have Spotmatics; so on the basis of age alone, I have you beat.

What you seem not to understand is that supporting Pentax means buying a camera to replace that 1st DS. If you think that the quality beats what they have today, you're making Ricehigh's case for him.

Matching those 2 cameras in total capability is like drag-racing a modern car with some old 4-cylinder tired compact. It totally neglects the factors that make modern cameras so popular, and may go to explain why Pentax cannot sell 10 percent of Canon+Nikon combined share in DSLR's.

I think that Pentax is relying on a user base still mentally stuck around 2004, and that's an error in marketing judgment.

What would be more relevant to Pentax' staying alive is what it would take to get the K10D or K20D owner to buy the K-7; and those with earlier 6 MP models are essentially unresponsive to anyone's new cameras today. It's as though they own "old" Pentax rather than the Hoya division of today.

Just as a 12MP sensor will outperform more MP in quality in part because of photocell size as a factor, the 6 MP's will image very well. But that's not the only factor that the buyer considers today. Today's JPEG should be better, since the firmware is better.

I can see the Pentax gravestone now ... "But our optics were great"

Anonymous said...

SSRI can heal obsessive behaviour.
Psychotherapy helps too.
Together, they can do miracles.

Alessandro

Peter Fang said...

I have yet to receive my K-7 and I'm likely to get mine on Wednesday but a week ago I participated a Pentax K-7 event while on a business trip to Shanghai during which I observed the AF-C behavior.

Previous Pentax DSLRs are very clear in stating that AF-C is shutter release priority which means the shutter can be fired no matter the camera thinks the image is in focus or not. However it seems different with the K-7 now. I set the K-7 to Cont. High drive mode and AF-C, with the FA* 80-200/2.8 mounted and having a person walking towards me. When I took the sequence of images, I noticed that the camera is constantly trying to focus on the subject but the shutter did not fire at a constant frame rate. When the AF system was working the shutter simply wouldn't fire and would wait a bit and then fired. I was very surprised by this change and asked the Pentax product manager (actually our beloved Mr. Blurrycam himself!) and he didn't have much idea about it. I asked him if the K-7 has an option to choose focus priority or shutter priority in AF-C mode like the Sony A700 does, the answer was a clear no.

I am not sure if this would be changed in future firmware releases but as of now if you use AF-C you wouldn't be able to get a constant 5.2fps frame rate and the actual speed would be much slower, perhaps not more than 3fps in daylight, and even slower indoors.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Rice, do you think that your Canon 5D is better than K-7 in AF-C?
NO.

Anonymous said...

And Ken Rockwell says he loves his 6mp Nikon D40.He owns heaps of bigger pixel dslrs but prefers the D40 for family and vactions. He says 6mp is all anyone needs.
I agree, being in a similar position regarding dslrs.
I love my K100d for outdoors and potraits, and the D40 for Flash sync speed.
The bigger stuff now gets left in their bags. I should, if I'm honest sell it. Maybe I will.
Anyway, why is this blog so fatalistically unfun?
Either Pentax take great shots of family, friends and general scenery or they don't. As for speed, not everyone wants to photograph 10 frames of a freight train coming towards them in 3 seconds. We never did with film.

Anonymous said...

MicroUSM motors of any brand (Nikon, Canon and Pentax) = smooth and quite AF. NOT SPEED.
Rice, lets begin to learn hardware at the beginning!!!

Maybe D300 and 50D has better AF-C than K-7. Is it important?
K-7 is 2 times better than K20D in AF-C.

Nobody can't be sure that DA*16-50 was OK. And they compared
different lenses!!!! Not only AF system.

RiceHigh said...

So, where is the faaast SDM in-lens motor from Pentax? Especially when a 3rd party Tamron just does a better job (for what you and some others insist)!

jaad75 said...

O yeah, another reason for moaning...:P DA17-70 is supposedly the one of the fastest. All lenses with a hybrid SDM systems (like the one in DA*16-50) are slower than they could be with a regular SDM.

Anonymous said...

RH, let's summarize the K-7 faults:

- Sub-par noise, making ISO 800 barely usable.
- Strange brighter vertical lines
- Slow AF in low light
- Slow frame-rate when using AF (between 1.6 to 2.6 fps)
- Bad color rendition / moody colors
- Soft JPEGs

I think that judging from this, it's obvious that the K-7 is a poorly executed DSLR, possibly the worst camera release of the year by any manufacturer. I assume you've canceled your pre-order?

Anonymous said...

lol, you really like putting the K-7 down! why don't you move to canikon already!

From all reports of people receiving their K-7 Preorders they are seeing a huge improvement and are super happy with it.

Anonymous said...

Rice has been using Canon 5D for a long time. But old history come back.
He began old song about bad Pentax.
It's boring.

Anonymous said...

This test was flawed, if you are going to do a test like this all cameras have to use the same model of lens.

Anonymous said...

Wow Rice, you are working hard for someone eh!! Lots of FUD so your employer will pay up. What a slimy existence that must be.

Anonymous said...

Is this a place to post Pentax photos?
Or a place to air the biased views of someone who is promoting another brand?
Since Ricehigh is a Canon 5D owner, a substantial investment for most of us budget-strapped K100D owners, I wonder if he is really a Canon lover first and foremost?
How do we know he has ever owned a Pentax product?
As Shakespeare said " methinks thou dost protest too much."
Same words, different meaning: in this context: Ricehigh is Canonman disguised as Pentaxman.

Anonymous said...

Ricehigh's credibility = none

lol

Anonymous said...

RE: Either Pentax take great shots of family, friends and general scenery or they don't. As for speed, not everyone wants to photograph 10 frames of a freight train coming towards them in 3 seconds. We never did with film.
=============================

This kind of stuff can be done perfectly well with an FZ-28. The K-7 is supposed to provide a performance level for people who want more than posed shots.

A model moving is challenge enough. Either the camera keeps up, or it does not. The faster the FPS and the better the AF system (lens included) in terms of both speed and the percentage of usable shots, the better the camera. Pentax S/S at low speeds reviews at anywhere from 25-50 percent usable, since it comes from a standing start. OIS is already working, even after the shot, and your viewing is stabilized for long lenses with high magnification.

From what I read on movie mode, the K-7 test was done standing still and waving the camera. For real video, the PHOTOGRAPHER moves as well as the subject. That's where an always-on OIS lens will do the job, and sensor shift will not.

For the EP-1 shooting video, Olympus abandoned sensor-shift and went to electronic stabilization.

The biggest problem that K-7 has, aside from its price and higher prices for lenses, is that expectations are higher than the camera's performance. The Samsung GX-30 and NX coming out next week are no help either.

Anonymous said...

Where does it say in any Pentax release that the K7 is designed specifically for capturing fast-moving subjects?

If that's what you're after, all sports shooters moved to Canon EOS way back in the film era. And they still shoot Canon for sports today. Not even Nikon can compete with Canon's autofocus.

Pentax is, and always has been, the great all-rounder for people who don't have bucketloads of money for exotic accessories.

RiceHigh said...

> Pentax is, and always has been, the great all-rounder for people who don't have bucketloads of money for exotic accessories.

Really? Look at the price of the K-7. Look at the latest prices of Pentax lenses! Most Pentax lenses are now more and far more expensive than those Canon and Nikon offerings. And, many of the Pentax lenses are not even Full Frame and they are of inferior technology, e.g., the SDM is just the low-end micro-USM used in cheaper Canon lens models.

For the price of the K-7 alone, many should expect better IQ and/or camera performance. But both of which let many of we Pentaxians down yet once again!

Anonymous said...

Ricehigh, please dump your Pentax gear, switch immediately to Canikon, go wank yourself and stop complaining.

jaad75 said...

"...the SDM is just the low-end micro-USM used in cheaper Canon lens models..."
Another example of your usual half-truths. Will you ever learn anything? Just do some research before you say something...
"...For the price of the K-7 alone, many should expect better IQ and/or camera performance..."
Why? It's better than K20D in many aspects and the price is the same as K20D when it hit the market. Didn't you notice that everything went up since then? So actually K-7 is cheaper than it should be...:) I don't have any problems with with prices, but there is a simple rule - if you can't afford it, don't buy it.
"...But both of which let many of we Pentaxians down yet once again!..."
You're not a "Pentaxian" Chinese, it sounds ridiculous when you call yourself that name, you're just a Pen-moaner - put that in your sig...:P

schmuki said...

Dear ricehigh,

It's sad to see your blog so negative. You seem to pick all the bad news about the K-7 and tread them out. Not enough, you always add some speculation that in reality the K-7 and Pentax in general will screw up anyway.

I liked your blog at the time of the K-7 leaks. You were enthusiastic and fun to read. Now you're just pessimistic and not very informative, not even objective. That's sad, because I thought your blog was something to keep visiting.

Anonymous said...

Rice, did you cancel your K-7 pre-order ?

Anonymous said...

The test is interesting but obviously flawed as many people here noticed. I'd very curious to see if mounting the Tamron 17-50 on the K-7 would yield different results.

But honestly even if the result holds true, it wouldn't bother me much because I compare it to the K20D not the Canon & Nikon because these systems don't interest me for other reasons. And the K-7 is obviously a huge step up to the K20D so kudos to Hoya. That said I wouldn't advise to go with Pentax if you're a machine gunner (I'm not, it doesn't work and I know a lot of Canon shooters who just put their camera in low-speed burst mode because it's no fun to sort 100 similar pictures...). If you want more fps, use the video mode...

Anonymous said...

I have a K7 now and find that none of this is true. I used the same lens as they did and find it to be fast and snappy. It smashes the K10d and people thought i had great pics with that. little did they now that i would have captured even better moments with the speed of the K7. I also just read an in depth review judgigng it against the D300 and said they are practically on par.
If you dont like it, then you dont have to buy it. simple as that. stop whinging because whilst you are whinging, you are missing good photo oppertunities!

Anonymous said...

Nikon D300 is 2 years old and has been in Amazon top 100 DSLR for over 650 days. Great PROVEN camera, with very few negatives:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond300/page32.asp

The D300S is on the way to release.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/06/nikon-d300s-next-gen-camera-specs-and-screen-shot-leaked/

Anonymous said...

RE "...the SDM is just the low-end micro-USM used in cheaper Canon lens models..."
Another example of your usual half-truths. Will you ever learn anything?

================

There's ring-USM; and there's everything else. Pentax is micro motor. Canon puts micro-motor in cheaper lenses, and ring-USM in better lenses.

Every maker calls the motors by some other name - Pentax chose SDM, and others USM. The ring-USM is the key to speed and quietness.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-86302.html

jaad75 said...

It's not slow just because it's not a ring motor. It's slow because it's hybrid to allow AF with legacy bodies.

RiceHigh said...

DA*55 is a KAF3 SDM Only lens, but it is very slow:-

http://ricehigh.blogspot.com/2009/02/da-5514-vs-fa-5014-measurebating.html

jaad75 said...

It's about the same as FA50 on K20D, noticeably faster on K-m and even more so on K-7. Who cares anyway? It's fast enough, it doesn't have to be "the fastest".

Anonymous said...

Rice - please don't upset the fanboys! They think the K7 is the camera of the year...

They are quite content to have a camera that is half as good as the 2 year old D300.

Don't you know that every test that shows Pentax as not being up to the quality of other cameras is flawed and/or written to please a competitor?

Anonymous said...

re D300: sad though that the Nikon D90 has better image quality than the more expensive D300!
Why buy a D300 when a D90 is better for less.
See Ken Rockwell's comparison: with pictures of course!

Anonymous said...

and please don't contradict the camera bashers.. Don't you know they HAVE to be right..... they read it here ;)
Fools......

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone here; to accurately compare bodies you need to use the same lenses as much as possible.


Although I like Canon, this review is very poor and does not verifiably prove Canon's supremacy. Try again.

Taltabooka said...

The K7 doesn't seem expensive to me, I can get here in Australia for A$1539 body only which is a bit over US$1200.

Anonymous said...

OK. We've tested K-7 in AF-C with DA17-70 SDM:
JPEG (static object) - first five frames at 4.54 fps, average speed with 12 frames - 4.13 fps.
PEF (static object) - first five frames at 5 fps, average speed with 13 frames - 4.33 fps.
PEF (moving away object) -
first five frames at 3 fps, average speed with 14 frames - 3.11 fps. Not bad.

Falk Lumo said...

RH,

thanks for summarizing the print article.

From my own testing I would say that the K-7 will fire anything in between 1.5 and 4 fps in active AF.C mode (got 3.8 fps with the 100 km/h car test). It will depend on the difficulty of situation and lens used. It is consistently faster than K-m (2x) or K20D (1.5x), too.

Counting on 3 fps in AF.C may be a safe bet (with the proper lens).

If this is not enough, than indeed you may have to purchase a machine gun. The K-7 is still meant for photographers, I guess ;)

Anonymous said...

"Honestly speaking, I have been just so naive to think that the K-7 is a machine gun camera,".

Ha, ha, ha, honestly speaking you are naive if you believe anyone with their right mind buys your BS.

Anonymous said...

And what type of SD card was used?

You need fast - best class 6 SD card
to try record 5 fps on Pentax K7!

Anonymous said...

RH,

Thanks for the info. I am a K100D user, I know it's not capable shooting my very active son when he's running around. The problem is not the lens, but the AF.

I am currently trying to decide whether to get a K7 or a Canon 50D. I have bought 3 lenses for Pentax and a 360 flash.

I'd like to hear your suggestions.

Thanks.

RiceHigh said...

In view of the minimal investment in Pentax you have and your application, I would suggest you should go Canon. The 50D is surely faster than the K-7. Canon's continuous AF tracking ability is also better.

Anonymous said...

RH,
Thanks for the above suggestion. It's always interesting to read your posts.

As a Pentax user, I have been waiting so long for them to fix the AF. The K7 seems to be a good start. I haven't used Km or K7, the old AF was OK in bright light, and when shooting things that DON'T move.

I will take your advice to get a 50D, and I will probably get another Pentax body when I am confident enough with their AF. Maybe a K8 or a K3000.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

hey, michael, you just have nothing else better to do, don't you?

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