We’ve been cruising through my deep, devoted love for an enthusiast level snapshot camera – the Pentax MX-1
My adoration of the MX-1 is all of 5 months old… but don’t think this relationship won’t last. I’m hooked for a lot of reasons, and today we’ll start looking at its specific capabilities that have me so pleased…like how I got the picture of above to become sharp like this next one – and it didn’t happen automatically…
The Pentax MX-1 has 6 Focus Options:
Auto Focus (AF) Standard
Pan Focus (PF)
Today we’ll look at the Manual Focus option.
Manual Focus – Since the auto focus prefers objects in the foreground in any camera – dSLR or not – I wanted a snapshot camera that would let me decide otherwise when I wanted to – this ability to choose other objects at varying depths in the picture is essential to the kind of creativity and “look” I was used to accomplishing with a dSLR at a wedding or portrait session in my professional work. I don’t want to work with the Pentax MX-1, but I do want to play the way I want to play with it and the manual focus is essential for this fun factor. Manual focus is one way to choose your own focal point.
The Pentax MX-1 is simple to manually focus.
Go to the easily accessible focus selection screen – that’s one button on the back of the camera – it has a flower on it – press once. Praise be for savvy engineers.
Now all focus options are listed across the top of the display screen. Simply use the arrow buttons to highlight manual focus (MF) and press OK.
A nifty indicator bar appears at the left of the display screen – the screen is also now filled with a zoomed rendition of the central portion of the field of view, so that you can see the details better and therefore choose your focus setting more accurately.
The indicator bar at the left is labeled with various numbers which correlate with the distance between the MX-1 and your subject. Using the up and down arrow keys on the camera back, you scroll up and down through these numbers. This is a similar concept to turning the focus ring on a lens.
Simply adjust the focus based on the distance from the Pentax to your subject until you achieve the focus you want in this ever-so-helpfully-zoomed portion of your field of view.
Press OK and then press the shutter button to take the picture.
Wa-lah! Sharp picture shown in full on the display.
To recap: instead of twisting the focus ring of a lens, the Pentax MX-1 asks you to dial up and down the MF indicator.
I happen to find this method more enjoyable than manually focusing with my Canon 60D because of eye stress – with this Pentax I can use both eyes on an enlarged segment to determine the right focus manually.
Obviously, this manual focus system works best for stationary operators and subjects. Since it’s not pressed to your cheek like a dSLR, a tripod or other consistent resting place is required. I don’t plan on taking the MX-1 to a sports match, shooting on manual and feeling great about sharpness just where I want it. But its manual capability does have its place and with its happy little tripod head mount, you can work it just like a dSLR over your food or craft or other subjects with excellent results.
Final Word: This manual focus system is certainly very good. It allows me to have a bit more fun with my relaxed, everyday camera. It also has great potential for work-related assignments.
Once again, the Pentax MX-1 is delivering what I want and need in a snapshot camera. We’ll look at more focus options next.
P.S. If you like the nifty shelf,
…it’s yet another reason to love IKEA.