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02-08-2018, 06:50 AM   #16
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I was using a mefoto tripod. For the shots just as it was taking off and while it was sitting on the pad, I was using a shutter release cable, specifically because I noticed some movement/shaking (which I figured was the wind). The lens foot was attached to the tripod via a RRS adapter to my manfrotto junior geared head.

I'll give a try to turning off SR and see if that helps out. I understand why turning off SR would in theory help, but I don't think that was my issue. If I could get a tack sharp focus with the ring, sure I could attribute any blurriness to a SR issue...but the fact that given my setup I couldn't even get the ring to give a focus leads me to believe it's not that setting. I could be wrong.

02-08-2018, 07:01 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by motorhead9999 Quote
If I could get a tack sharp focus with the ring, sure I could attribute any blurriness to a SR issue
When i was attempting to take photos of the sun wihen my SR went nuts, I too was trying to manually focus. It made no difference - couldn't do it. And while your shutter speed seemed high enough to rule it out, I've had tripods vibrate with wind causing blur, but much slower shutter speeds than what you were doing.
02-08-2018, 07:04 AM   #18
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Were you using optical or live view to check focus?

I'm skeptical of the SR issue when you say you couldn't get focus. I'd take some additional test shots on similarly distant water towers and buildings with and without SR. I'd also suggest maybe using electronic shutter on a couple of shots. But if the viewfinder and or live view won't get sharp in the first place that's all moot.

If the friends got sharp images I'm also skeptical of the Haze and heat.
02-08-2018, 07:41 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Were you using optical or live view to check focus?

I'm skeptical of the SR issue when you say you couldn't get focus. I'd take some additional test shots on similarly distant water towers and buildings with and without SR. I'd also suggest maybe using electronic shutter on a couple of shots. But if the viewfinder and or live view won't get sharp in the first place that's all moot.

If the friends got sharp images I'm also skeptical of the Haze and heat.
I was using live view at 16x zoom to check my focus.

I'll give electronic shutter a try tomorrow.

02-08-2018, 07:44 AM   #20
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In my experience, the SR issues are inconsistent and infrequent, but if you're on a tripod, you might as well turn it off just to be sure.

But the heat and moisture distortion is almost certainly an issue at that distance in that climate. That sort of wavy distortion you see in the photo is exactly what that looks like.
02-08-2018, 08:01 AM - 2 Likes   #21
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Your image looks curiously like many of mine when I got my first really big telephoto. Since other shooters didn't have the problem, you can rule out external factors like atmosphere. My gut tells me what it is...

You mention that you could look through it and see the lens shaking and vibrating and guessed wind as the culprit...Nope, wind was perhaps pushing on that lens, but the problem was the tripod didn't stop wind shake. Guessing it also didn't stop mirror slap.

Set it up and tap the lens or camera with your finger while watching for vibration...you are going to be shocked! Trip the trigger with the cable release while watching for shake...you will be surprised...

Your tripod isn't up to the task...took me 3 different tripods before I figured this out with my first 600/4...the rare F*600/4. You have 10 pounds of weight and $4000 in value sitting on top of a "what brand is that" no name tripod. It may be rated for the weight, but it isn't rated as a professional product!

I always hold my tongue during the tripod discussions on this forum while people talk fondly of what I consider junky tripods...even my smaller Bogens became known to me as "Bogus" when trying to shoot mega telephoto work. Go buy a LARGE and expensive Gitzo or a RRS and your problems will miraculously disappear. Do not buy based on light weight...for telephoto work the heavier the tripod the better! (My tripod for F* and FA* 600 lenses with head weighs 12 pounds!) Do not buy based on collapsed size for travel--you want the least number of leg sections possible--3. Those 4 and 5 leg-section models have no place under a telephoto lens! Do not use a center column! That reduces your support from 3 legs to one! Ideally, the tripod should not even have a center column since that necks the support down from 3 legs connected at a wide platform (the wide platform is what makes Gitzo and RRS so stable) to a single narrow support point.

But before you spend $500+ for a professional support system, make sure you look at magnified views of the other folks' shots...they may have looked fine on the backs of cameras but may actually be just like yours from environmental issues...If you can definitely rule their images as great and yours a tiny bit soft, it's either your lens doesn't focus or your tripod just can't settle it down. Tripod is the cheaper solution!

Good luck! At least you are out there!

---------- Post added 02-08-18 at 08:11 AM ----------

Oh, and when shooting with a cable release, you still need to have your hand on the top of the lens to dampen vibrations. You said you could see it shaking...so when you trip the cable release the lens was sitting there shaking?...needs a hand on top!

Finally, that lens is well spoken for up through 400mm but is said to soften a bit at 450. You were shooting 3 miles away but not through the "sweet spot" on the lens. Perhaps that's as sharp as you'll get at 450?

I still think tripod because you watched it shaking!
02-08-2018, 08:12 AM   #22
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Itís atmospheric distortion/heat shimmer as others have suggested - no question. You are shooting through 3 miles of warm, rising and therefore somewhat turbulent air - from an altitude of just 12 feet, judging from the GPS report in your EXIF data.

Look at the water tower legs and the right side of the slanted gantry on the right. Those should be straight as an arrow! And, they are not - there are lots of wiggles.

Out of focus will blur straight lines but it doesnít make them wiggly!!!!!
02-08-2018, 08:22 AM - 1 Like   #23
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Just checked the rating on your Manfrotto Jr. Geared Head. It's only rated for 11 pounds and that's about what you had on there with body, grip, strap, lens, lens plate...

"They" say (whoever "they" are) that you want the rating to be 3 times the actual weight of your gear...the heads I use with 600/4 lenses are rated for 166 pounds! Remember, the ratings are just made up numbers determined by the manufacturers themselves. Always build in buffer!

So if your head is that small for the task, bet your legs are too! Talking tripods of course...

02-08-2018, 10:33 AM   #24
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Yeah, I've considered upgrading my tripod (once I paid off all those lenses).

I still would doubt these are the main causes. The haze certainly plays a part. But I don't think the tripod/Sr/shutter paid as much a part, since the type of blur I think would have been difffeent
02-08-2018, 11:17 AM   #25
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I'd say it closely resembles the photo I took using Sigma 150-500 on particularly hot day - take a look at the crop below, please. Hot exhaust gases could have contributed to blurriness visible in your photo. Don't worry about your lens and test it when it's cool - everything should be fine.
Attached Images
 
02-08-2018, 11:48 AM   #26
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It's simply atmospheric distortion. The only way to avoid it is to get closer.
02-08-2018, 12:04 PM   #27
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Or shoot early in the day when it's cooler and dryer, and with no wind.

Many of the NASA launches are earlier, when this is less of an issue, but this one was delayed to mid-afternoon.
02-08-2018, 12:12 PM   #28
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Nothing to do with your OP but your firmware is still on version 1.0 ??
02-08-2018, 12:59 PM   #29
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I think it is likely a combination of the above mentioned factors, SR on on tripod, and atmospheric haze. However I notice you till use firmware version 1.00. There have been a number of upgrades and while it is not specifically mentioned there may have been some tweeks to the focus performance in those upgrades. This should however not impact manual focus.
02-08-2018, 01:06 PM   #30
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The in depth review for the lens notes

Note that firmware updates are required for the Pentax K-S1, K-S2, and K-3 for full compatibility and optimal focusing with this lens. Older cameras will not fully support all of lens's focusing features.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/hd-pentax-d-fa-150-450mm
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