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06-19-2008, 10:45 AM   #1
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Question about DA18-55

I'm not really satisfied with the sharpness of the kit lens, and I was wondering what my options are. I don't have the funds for a DA* or else I would already have one. Is there something I'm doing wrong with my technique or is it just the limitation of the lens/camera sensor? I would really like some tips on how to increase the sharpness either by using photoshop, GIMP, or other means (including changing the way I shoot with this lense). Here are some example shots taken with this lens ranging from fairly short exposure time to longer exposure times. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I hope the Exif data is still on these, if it's not, I can find it. Also, the skyline shot was put through an HDR process, so I don't know if there's much I can do, but the sharpness in the original is close to what shows in the final.

06-19-2008, 11:21 AM   #2
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Use Av mode. ISO set to 400 (to compensate for higher f-stop). Set the aperture to some stops over minimum, but generally not higher than f/8.
Also, try to find out which focal lengths that is sharpest. 35mm is a "peak" of this lens, even at f/4. Use your feet instead of zooming.

E.g., the lens is pretty weak at 55mm and close focus distances, for some reason. Not that this can be fixed, but something to keep in mind.

For sharpening pictures, I often use Benjamin Kanarek post processing method | PentaxLife
06-19-2008, 11:38 AM   #3
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I just wrote this to another member about getting the best image quality from what you have. A forum (which I love) sometimes drives us to distraction over the next great lens and what's sharper etc. Most of the glass everyone here owns is excellent and will produce quality results. But we have forgotten the basics in one important area IMO. Tripods.

Ever visit one of those pro Photog web sites and you see the photographer in action and the camera is on a tripod 80% of the time. There's a reason for that.

Get a tripod. Use it. SR is great but there (IMO) will never be a good subsitute for a solid tripod to get the best images. It's pain to carry around but you will not regret the improvement in quality. I'll suggest one big reason. We see all these threads on BF/FF lens issues or softness. Like your Bear shot above. I'm firmly convinced that the problem is more about our bodies moving front to back after focus lock is made. So you lock the focus, you try hard to stand still but your body sways forward or backward 3 inches before you hit the shutter. The focus point moves with your body and the image is slightly soft. Using a tripod eliminates that possiblity. Your camera can't move and once the focus point is locked, it stays there. Your shots will be better every time.

Every vibration to the camera is a big deal. It's why camera's have mirror lock up functions. A tripod can solve more problems than you realize. Sure hand holding is going to have to be done sometimes. In those cases, I use my camera in APS-C mode only. That way the camera is constantly locking focus right up till the shutter is fired. It may not be perfect in every situation but I'm getting better results this way. If a tripod is impractical, get a monopod or a bean bag or any other type of support.

It's a good lens and should not be discounted. You can get good results with the right technique and tools.
06-19-2008, 11:51 AM   #4
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Original Poster
Thanks for the replies guys, I just realized that the picture of the bear was taken with my Sigma 70-210 which is also usually soft (probably because of my movement and the long focal length.) I am starting to play around more with shutting the SR off at shorter focal lengths and I did just get a tripod earlier this week (the skyline pic was taken with the tripod, the rest were not.) I think my main problem is that I feel like I'm standing still but there is still movement that will show up in the pictures every time. KjetilH, I'll try and take your advice of staying in the sweet spot of this lens, and Peter, I plan on using the tripod more now that I have it. Thanks again for the help. I realize this is a monetarily cheap lens and you get what you pay for to a certain extent, but I have seen many other pics from it that look much sharper and I was just wondering if there was a preferred method for sharpening pictures in general.

06-19-2008, 12:07 PM   #5
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Also, just tried the Benjikan (if I may use his local forum name) method on one shot I wasn't particularly happy with and WOW, what a difference. This will definitely help me out a great deal. Thanks again for all the help

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