Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: AF Speed Difference of K-m Vs K20D

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AF Speed Difference of K-m Vs K20D

A Korean site has done a head-to-head AF speed test for the two bodies. The test was carried out with the same lens, at the same indoor environment, at nearly the same time and by the same person, two video clips are contained in the following link for the test and the difference is clearly demonstrated:-

http://www.popco.net/zboard/view ... rl=PENTAX_K-m_5.htm

As we can see, the "flagship" K20D just hunts very seriously and the AF could only be achieved after a long time of struggling *all the time*. The K-m is much better there, at least it does not hunt much each time and the AF is done more quickly.

In fact, this problem is what I have been "bashing", as accused by those really silly brand fanboys, for years since the first Pentax DSLR, the *ist D, was created. After which, each Pentax DSLR model I have owned / used / tried is of no difference in such totally annoying AF behaviour, namely, *ist DS, *ist DL, K100D, K10D, K200D and K20D.

Nevertheless, for what I tried the K-m, it hunted less but the AF accuracy was not verified. Anyway, it would be better for the camera to stop those longish huntings and let the user to take the photo before the photo opportunities went away even if the photo comes out to be a bit out-of-focus (just in case), which is surely better than none and nothing delivered!

In fact, Pentax should have resolved this super annoying AF problem which have hurted their DSLR users much (as they would have already missed too many photo opportunities and in fact shooting in moderate low light conditions with Pentax DSLRs have just been a real pain). This in return hurted Pentax themselves, i.e., their sales, just look at their pathetic sales results in the last year and it says it all. Of course there are much more than one persistent and annoying problem which Pentax needed to solve. But, for just letting one simple but important issue like this to exist and be persistent for half a decade is simply a totally amazing thing but yet it is unforgivable. At the end of the days, I must repeatedly point out once again that this silly AF hunting problem did not and does not exist in my $180 Pentax MZ-30 as well as my true flagship MZ-S Pentax film SLR, which has the SAFOX VI and SAFOX VII respectively. What makes alone the SAFOX VIII for being so problematic and requires a such a mercyful lengthy five years to debug it??

As long as the Pentax infamous AF problems are concerned, the next problem which have to be addressed is the yellow light front focusing problem found in most Pentax DSLRs, I must say (including the K20D and don't know if the K-m would be the same). I would expect well that particular Pentax fanboys will come up yet again in defending and arguing endlessly for problems are non-existent, together with unreasonable personal attacks in the end anywhere at any Pentax places, like they have been doing for half a decade, as long as Pentax are unable to eliminate any problem, despite that most facts are clear with solid evidences shown and actually are nothing arguable (just like the above AF hunting problem).

I actually hate much about the silly behaviour of those stupid fanboys as they do no good to Pentax but just harm the brand when Pentax's products become lagging and lagging more and more behind in the competition. I just can't understand why they are so brand-blinded. Well, I bet they will not take more successful photos as others who could face the reality and learned/knew more about the facts, i.e., the gear shortcomings, too.


  1. Anonymous21/1/09 00:41

    So, you simply call those who have no problem with their AF stupid. Why does it make more sense than calling stupid those who cannot archive focus?

  2. Anonymous21/1/09 06:15

    I thought my K200D had decent AF as well until I compared to a Canon and Nikon. Pentax still makes pretty good cameras, but this is probably the biggest weakness atm.

  3. Anonymous21/1/09 17:41

    A very scientific test!


  4. Anonymous21/1/09 22:59

    I reluctantly switched to Nikon because of the autofocus problems. If Pentax doesn't seriously address this in their next K30 or whatever then they are in trouble as a company.

  5. Anonymous22/1/09 02:50

    Well sure I have compared to another cameras. From time to time I borrow a Canon 30d from my girlfriend.
    I never done any scientific test, but both k10d and 30d feel snappy.

  6. Anonymous22/1/09 02:55

    P.S.: Of course she has the edge when using ring USM lens, but the gap is not too big.
    There is much more difference when we take film cameras. Her EOS 300n is so much better on AF than my MZ-7!

  7. Anonymous22/1/09 15:22

    I have a K20D and several Pentax lenses. I don't seem to suffer from these AF problems.

  8. Anonymous8/2/09 01:46

    About the yellow light & front focusing problem. This is true. In every Pentax lens which I have, i got this problem. I don't understand this.

  9. RH, I really appreciate your blog!

    At last, someone who is willing to tell it as it is! I too find it disconcerting how some Pentax owners 'explode' whenever someone states anything negative about Pentax! Crazy!

    I was shocked when I compared focusing speed with my ten year old MZ-S to my brand new K20D. In low light, my MZ-S locked on to a scene nearly instantly, while my K20D sometimes could not even get a focus lock. At first, I thought it might be because the lens was made for the MZ-S but even with the lens that came with my K20D, it still did not focus as quickly as my old MZ-S.

    How can it be that a ten year camera can out focus the K20D?

    I know, I know.... saying something bad about a Pentax is nearly as bad as shouting out, "there is no God" at a Baptist church!

    RH, keep up the good work!!

  10. sdc, I'm glad that you do like my blog. :-)

    As for the AF slowness and hunting, actually my bottom-of-the-line MZ-30 Knock Out clearly almost all Pentax DSLRs except the K-m (I would say the MZ-30 is still a bit faster). I do have the MZ-S also, though, which has a stronger AF motor and a more accurate and sensitive central AF sensor.

    More importantly, my MZ-S and MZ-30 yellow light FF symptom are minimal, unlike what all the Pentax DSLRs do have.

  11. WOW, that Korean website is absolutely STUNNING. So beautiful and detailed. I wish I could read Korean language.

  12. Anonymous21/2/09 07:45

    This website should really be called 'Bash Pentax Blogspot'. Yes Pentax AF does tend to hunt more than that of the competition but overall it is more accurate.

    To get real life views on Pentax cameras visit http://www.pentaxforums.com/ home of thousands of happy Pentax owners.

  13. Dear Anonymous,

    >Yes Pentax AF does tend to hunt more than that
    >of the competition but overall it is more

    With a nonsensical comment like that, you do a huge disservice to the Pentax community. "more accurate"? Really? Because you say so or based on your experience?

    Just because Pentax's AF is a weak point, you shouldn't get all defensive. Really, so what? It is still pretty good (at least in good lighting). The Pentax cameras are weak overall in subdued lighting anyway. Hopefully, Pentax will get things right in the next go....

    BTW, as much as I enjoy http://www.pentaxforums.com it is a bit of a Pentax love-in where some vocal members live in a delusion that everything Pentax is superior. Anyone who dares speak out against Pentax is either banned or ostracized by that community.

    Sad really... because comparatively, the Nikon and Canon communities are so much more professional.

    BTW, for the most part, I truly enjoy my Pentax K20D but I'm not at all delusional about its failings.

  14. Well put here, sdc. My hat off! :-)

  15. Anonymous15/3/09 10:11

    It's a straw man argumentation. Pentax users are not the fanboys described by RiceHigh. Most of them know some of the shortcomings of their gear, they just don't accept unbalanced bashing.

    And the way Ricehigh present its arguments is almost in a biased and very negative way against Pentax as if he was personnally offended by this company.

    That's a pity because RiceHigh has actually a lot of good points. He is just a poor communicator IMHO.

  16. apentaxist8/9/10 11:48

    As of today, I'm not longer a Pentax shooter. I sold all of my gear, and will go to either Canon or Nikon. The AF issues with Pentax have annoyed me for the last time. And the cult-like culture of some Pentaxians feels like shooting Pentax is like belonging to some religious organization. I will miss many many things about my stuff, namely solid build. BUT, but, but, when it comes to shooting indoors, with plenty of light, and to have an FA 50mm at roughly ƒ/2.2 with AF set to center and it still can't lock, forget it! A friend of mine shot a party with an older Canon Rebel with their base 50mm ƒ/1.8 lens in a very dimly lighted room, and got shot after shot. A number of Pentaxians will have a number of self-righteous comments to make that will absolve them of having to be honest about the fact that Pentax AF flatly sucks, the end!

  17. Anonymous8/9/10 13:54

    To: apentaxist

    I completely understand your comments about many Pentax owners; especially those who frequent pentaxforums.com and defend Pentax with religious fervor. But like religious folks, they get tired of defending the indefensible. To believe Pentax is superior to all, is to have faith in your delusion.

    Don't misunderstand me, Pentax certainly deserves a better reputation than below the top three... but Pentax is doing it to themselves by not solving the main issues that keep them below the bottom three.

    The last camera (the K7) was a disaster. For some reason, they inexplicably decided to call its successor the K5. The model name alone appears to demonstrate a lack of imagination.

    So... for me, the K5 (despite the stupid model #), is Pentax's last chance with me. For the same price as a Canon 5d, I expect the K5 to meet or beat what the Canon offers; such as: low light with no DFS, much improved AF, bring back all the controls that the K20D had (stop with the SMALL footprint that sacrifices physical buttons!) - pros and semi-pros don't want to fiddle through menus to turn on/off the SR! etc...

  18. "K7 was a disaster"
    OK. What ever.

    "Pro's and semi-pro's don't want to fiddle through menu's to turn on/off the SR."

    Why not have a dedicated button for everything?
    You'll have a layout of buttons on the camera that look like a computer keyboard. Thats the future, camera-keyboards where a camera is physically as big as a briefcase.

    I like the fact that the SR was on the menu. Its one button away and a twist of a dial. Not everything can be made for YOU personally. Which is why they have it so you can make what YOU want the priority. But I bet you missed that part.

    YOU can make all the functions available on the info display work this way because it remembers the last setting used and just goes back to it. Very handy, very consistent, very flexible and easy to remember. Not everyone wants one button for the SR. I don't. It was my biggest complaint with the K10D. I wanted a button to easily access my choice of function instead. Now I have it. I can also activate the SR faster with this system than with the fiddly lever.
    1) Push info
    2) Twist dial.
    Done in about 1/2sec. Wow, I'm so upset about how fiddly it is...

    If a pro or a semi pro can't work out such an easy and flexible system then maybe they need to reclassify themselves as beginners.

    Seriously, this is the level of complaint. Complaining about something that is a great feature if you bother enough to learn how to use it.

    If you want to complain about something on the K7 then at least complain about something that you can't do anything about. Like the SD card slot. Its near impossible for me to remove it without dropping the card. Why? Because I have big hands and fingers. Doing this in gloves would be impossible. Strange considering the weather and temperature proofing the camera has.

    Apart from that the K7 is my pick of the bunch. It fits my hands even if they are big and its small. I can set it up so its easy for even my wife to use with no problems and it fits her hands too which are tiny.

    But then I don't judge a camera by its name like you seem to. Oh, its a K5. That doesn't make sense to me so its stupid. Just like your lack of efficient menu utilization ability, you already have a preconceived expectation and if it doesn't fit that, even if its better than what you perceived, you will reject it.

    Sum up:
    1) I DON'T want the SR on a lever or a button.
    2) I want a SMALL camera not a monster.
    3) I don't need ISO 104,000 as a bragging right. I want quality low ISO for picture taking not for comparing sensors low light performance which I will never use.

    But its not all about me so the new K5 has much better high ISO. Maybe I should complain about that? Thats NOT what I wanted so its stupid.
    But that makes no logical sense. Much like your post.