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11-08-2010, 12:36 AM   #1
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Am I doing it wrong or..

Is my lens soft? Pentax SMC M-50 f/1.4.

K-x, ISO 400, f/2.

I can't tell if this picture is sharp or not. I don't know if its because of my computer screen or because I forgot to turn shake reduction back on. Every time I think my pictures are soft I always go back and look at them a few days later and they seem to be sharp. Maybe I'm just confusing myself.

Thoughts?

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11-08-2010, 03:22 AM   #2
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Seems to be as sharp it should be @ f2... a 100% crop of the "boss" or "disortion" would help.
11-08-2010, 03:34 AM   #3
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Seems sharp in the center.
Unfortunately the center isn't very busy.
Don't forget that Depth of Field is ridiculously small when your lens is very open like that.
Try to take the same picture but set it at F4 and up and see if it looks better.
11-08-2010, 07:02 AM   #4
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I have that same pedal, modified to be more of an overdrive. I like my Ibanez SD-9 lots more for distortion, but this one does a pretty good job. The Ibanez grabs the overtones and brings them out really well, it's the one normally on my pedalboard.

Picture looks pretty good, some of my 50mm Pentax lenses get that same bit of a soft quality, especially one of the 1.4 ones. I have 2 at f1.4, one at f1.7 and 2 at f2 plus the A series f1.4 that is my favorite. I agree with the above comment, try it at f4 or smaller, depth of field may help a lot.

11-08-2010, 07:26 AM   #5
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also helps if you can say where you were aiming at.

Thus far, it seems that there is no sharp FA 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.4. Most people i know use such lens at F/2.8 or F/3.2 most of the time for sharpness rather then DoF.
11-08-2010, 08:05 AM   #6
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Nice photo. Would think that is soft because about half of the pedal is out of focus! You need a larger DOF - something between f2.8 and f4. However if this is the effect you want, it still looks ok.

I used to have the DS-2, but my tasted became wildly polarized - I sold the pedal, bought a Danelectro EQ (fantastic EQ for 30 dollars) and a Z Vex fuzz factory. That pedal is absolutely INSANE.
11-08-2010, 08:17 AM   #7
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what part do you think should look better? lokks plenty sharp to me.
with a bigger sample and complete exif you might get better insight
11-08-2010, 09:24 AM   #8
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The pedal box is at an angle to the focal plane, so none of the features is going to have a consistent sharpness to it.

11-08-2010, 09:43 AM   #9
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One thing to remember especially when shooting at wide open (or nearly) apertures. The Closer you are to your subject, the less DOF you will have. It becomes Inches rather than feet. Stop your lens down or pull back some to sharpen things up.

11-08-2010, 01:23 PM   #10
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To those who commented on the pedal itself: It's absolutely fantastic. The copy I have has actually been BassJunkie modded to allow the frequency to go down to 14 hz so there is minimal low end loss. Finding a good sounding, super gnarly distortion for bass without low end loss is tough, and this pedal really did the trick. Unfortunately I never used it consistently and my Big Muff and MXR M-80 distortions are staying, while this one is being replaced with a tuner pedal.

I prooooobably should have elaborated a bit... sorry for being vague. I know about DOF and controlling aperture, focal length and distance from subject and how they all work together, but my concern was that the actual focal point was soft. I was going for extreme DOF to isolate the text (where the O and the R are) and make the colors pop, but without a DOF preview or a split prism focusing screen on the K-x it gets tough.

How do you do 100% crops? I'm not much of a pixel peeper, but would like to try it.

@paperbag846: Zvex makes THE best fuzz pedals I've ever heard. I want a Wolly Mammoth but can't afford the $400 premium. I never had any luck with Danelectro pedals, though. They were always hit and miss, so I started going with higher quality stuff.
11-08-2010, 01:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reportage Quote
Thus far, it seems that there is no sharp FA 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.4. Most people i know use such lens at F/2.8 or F/3.2 most of the time for sharpness rather then DoF.
Huh?


Secondly, if you're using these pedals on a bass, try Bass Balls. It's a nice muddy distortion (think Nine Inch Nails).
11-08-2010, 01:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Turbo_Spool900 Quote
@paperbag846: Zvex makes THE best fuzz pedals I've ever heard. I want a Wolly Mammoth but can't afford the $400 premium. I never had any luck with Danelectro pedals, though. They were always hit and miss, so I started going with higher quality stuff.
I would say that the in-focus areas look just fine, and would render well on a god sized print. I would not worry too much about center sharpness, but remember that going to f4 will likely increase sharpness across the frame (not just increase DOF).

Now an aside: The Wolly Mammoth sounds great too, but I would agree that the Z-Vex prices are little crazy. My fuzz factory was of the generic "vexter" type so was half of the price!!! It can be very harsh, but If you dial it in, it can be pretty bottom heavy too. The problem is most people (including myself) never find those settings because it is so easy to make the thing squeal and destroy an eardrum of two. They are totally different pedals, but you might want to check out the fuzz factory as a nice complement to the Big Muff (which is closer to Mammoth territory) - the Fuzz Factory can be dialed in to sound a little like that to, but in general is more Fuzz Face-y.

I would agree that the danelectro stuff is hit and miss, but do yourself a favour and check out their EQ if you need one. The circuity is almost identical to the BOSS eq at 1/3 the price... and I actually am able to use it as a mild overdrive with good success.
11-08-2010, 04:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rory Quote
Huh?


Secondly, if you're using these pedals on a bass, try Bass Balls. It's a nice muddy distortion (think Nine Inch Nails).
Yeah, no idea.. I'm going to try the same shot again tonight (or at least try) at f/4 and f/5.6 and see what happens. The M-50mm f/1.4 is incredibly sharp (when not used by me, of course), so I don't know what Reportage is on about.

The EHX Bassballs is an envelope filter, which I would love to have sort of just to have, but don't really need. Right now my board is runs: EBS Octabass, MXR Phase 90, DOD Stereo Bass Chrous, EHX Bass Big Muff, modded DS-1, MXR M-80 Bass DI. The DS-1 needs to go, and I'm thinking about getting some compression on there to fatten up my tone, maybe round it out a bit. My setup really exaggerates the lows below A on the E string, which is annoying, so the compression should help that.

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846:
I would agree that the danelectro stuff is hit and miss, but do yourself a favour and check out their EQ if you need one. The circuity is almost identical to the BOSS eq at 1/3 the price... and I actually am able to use it as a mild overdrive with good success.
You're the second person I've heard say that about their EQ. I already have a enough EQ-ness between the DI and my head, but it's nice to know there's something out there that's cheap and works well.

Completely off topic, I know.. haha
11-08-2010, 07:24 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Turbo_Spool900 Quote
The EHX Bassballs is an envelope filter, which I would love to have sort of just to have, but don't really need. Right now my board is runs: EBS Octabass, MXR Phase 90, DOD Stereo Bass Chrous, EHX Bass Big Muff, modded DS-1, MXR M-80 Bass DI. The DS-1 needs to go, and I'm thinking about getting some compression on there to fatten up my tone, maybe round it out a bit. My setup really exaggerates the lows below A on the E string, which is annoying, so the compression should help that.
Ah, well, that just shows that you can't make a guitarist into a bassist!

I've got a Bassballs laying around doing nothing if you ever decide you want one.
11-09-2010, 06:16 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Turbo_Spool900 Quote
but without a DOF preview or a split prism focusing screen on the K-x it gets tough.
You can get DOF preview on any Pentax body by partially unmounting the lens. (Not exactly convenient, but better than nothing, right? Well, a modern screen will still lie about it, so I suppose you really can't. Oh well.)
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