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Old Mar 10, 2005, 8:52 AM   #11
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Well I have had my ist DS for nearly a week now. It is a lovely camera, no doubt about it.

My only concern is low light focussing. I find that in average indoor lighting it is fine but in a slightly darker than average room it is pretty hard at times to get a focus lock.

I tested it outside in darkness and concluded that you need a stationary, well defined target such as some standing in orer to get it to lock onto the subject. Trying to photograph Ralph the dog as he snuffled out in the garden resulted in no lock as did foliage shots at distances of a few meters.

Is this normal? I spoke to Pentax and they said that low light is a challenge for all autofocus systems including this one. I was hoping I guess that it would magically lock on to the subject like a pig dog onto a wild boar's nuts but it was not to be.

I do LOVE this camera though. I think it is the ultimate electronic 'power tool'!


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Old Mar 10, 2005, 11:52 AM   #12
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A friend of mine with a 20D and I shoot quite a bit together and the Canon focuses faster, but not much faster in bright light. In low light the 20D seems to work better than my DS, but it has issues as the light gets less and less just like and auto focus camera film or digital.

Another friend has a D70 and I see not difference in focus speed between the two no matter what the situation.

As for auto focus in an aquarium, the glass is always a problem with any camera. I have had good results with my DS and the Monterey Aquarium using auto focus, but I always have manual focus to fall back on if I need to.

Tom
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Old Mar 10, 2005, 1:22 PM   #13
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I've been greatly impressed with the auto-focusing of the *ist DS having just tried & returned the Minolta A200 & Nikon CP8800.

I've been using the *ist DS for just a week now & have no focus issues at all in a variety of lighting situation - it just seems to focus, even when pointing straight at the sky - my Fuji S602 never did that.

Many years ago, my SRL was a Pentax K2 so I never had such luxuries as auto focus & can actually see myself switching off Auto-Focus & reverting back to Manual.
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 5:04 AM   #14
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I have to admit after one week of ownership, well not quite, I am thinking that this isn't the camera for me. This is a shame as I don't have the money to sell and buy again.

It is a work of art in terms of build quality and image quality is right up there. The problem is that they have removed one too many buttons and turned this into a point and shoot camera, to some extent anyway. I have an MZ-5N film camera and I loved the fact that everything is accessible. I particularly like to change metering modes. This takes about 7 seconds on the ist DS which sounds OK but really isn't when you're taking lots of photos. I was at a wedding on Sunday and I found that annoying. It is also annoying that when I was using exposure lock that although it does beep when you're taking lots of photos you want a visual indication. It is there in the viewfinder but in direct sun it was impossible to see. I got some good shots but I was forced to use spot metering without flash(as I didn't want to disrupt the ceremony) and the scene was backlit as well. I just think I would have very much have liked the MZ-5N at that point. It kept me busy fumbling with the camera and I wasn't comfortable using this camera in this situation.

Is this the only recent digital camera to come out with the metering modes buried deep in the bowels of a menu? Even if they had put it on the function and taken rarely used functions like white balance off it would have been better.

I still think the low light foccusing is very poor. I mean I haven't experienced lots of other cameras but I think I would have to use manual focus in these situations (poorer than average indoor lighting or night shots). I can't say the MZ-5N was better but it is dated technology and the ist DS is certainly no better. I would have hoped since then that such technology would have improved.

I am perplexed that they have left a stupid exposure compensation button as the only accessible button at the expense of metering modes. Exposure compensation is a 'post mortem' button used when the exposure is not right and the shot needs to be taken again (if the subject hasn't moved on!). With the MZ-5N I got the exposure right nearly all the time anyway.

I don't want to sound a bit sour but what do others think?
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 5:49 AM   #15
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Hi.

Well I might have to eat my words on this low light focussing. No I will have to eat my words no doubt about it!!!

I found that I was lifting my finger off the shutter too soon. I expected it to do it's flashing then to either immediately lock and shoot or else not to. It does in fact take a few seconds after the flashing with your finger on the shutter during this time for it to think and maybe calculate it and then shoot. In normal light it does it in a split second so two seconds is an eternity. I also tried it in terrible light just then without the flash ensuring that I kept my finger on the shutter. It focussed quicker but was still probably a second or so. Previously I had released my finger within that second and so it didn't lock and take the shot.

OK, so full points for low light focussing!!

Sorry. Anyway I am pleased now as this was bugging me. I have read one or two other reviews where people have brought up the low light focussing so obviously the lag is sufficient to confuse (some) people.
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 10:04 AM   #16
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I think you are right about the slow focus in low light, but that is just how it is with auto focus cameras.

When I was doing weddings with my PZ1-P focus was a problem with low contrast subjects, such at the brides white dress or even more so, the grooms black tux.

I found the Pentax Af-500 Ftz Flash to be a great help as the beam from the flash was much stronger than the one in the camera and most of my focus issues went away.

I realize you were doing available light but you can still help the situation by focusing on something with more contrast and then moving to the actual subject before tripping the shutter.

Tom
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 6:19 PM   #17
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Catbells wrote:
Quote:
having just tried & returned the Minolta A200
Traitor!

:lol::blah:
I think I will be getting a Canon 350D, about the same as the *ist DS:roll:
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