Catch-in-Focus Tutorial

Catch-in-Focus Tutorial

Catch-in-Focus Tutorial

Snapping photos as soon as your subject gets in focus

Catch-in focus is a powerful technique that allows DSLRs to use information from the autofocus system to confirm focus even when using manual lenses. What’s more, with this technique the camera will automatically take a picture once your subject comes into focus! Easy to learn and master, catch-in focus can be a life-saver in some situations.

Sample hummingbird photo taken using catch-in-focus


Pentax users are lucky to be able to use any K-mount lens ever made on their digital cameras. However, for some photographers accustomed to automatic modes and autofocus, using a manual lens can be a daunting challenge.

Luckily, it is possible to use part of the camera’s autofocus system even with a fully manual lens. The same applies to autofocus lenses offering an AF/MF switch. This technique, called “catch-in-focus” or “focus trap”, is easy to use once you know how it works.

This article presents the ins and outs of catch-in focus. We will start by showing how to activate this function, followed by a step-by-step guide to use the technique and some examples of possible uses.

Activating Catch-in-Focus

The exact menu setting to activate catch-in focus can vary slightly from one camera to the next. It is always enabled by setting the appropriate Custom Function. The following table summarizes the custom item number for some recent camera models.

Catch in Focus

Camera model
Custom item number
K20D34
K-735
K-5 / K-5 II25
K-3 / K-3 II25
K-124
K-30 / K-5020
K-S124
K-S226
Camera Model & Menu Code

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