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12-31-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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Kit lens- too soft?

i just got my k200d, and decided to take some test pictures. i think my kit lens might be a bit TOO soft. i took this picture, in RAW, and did not edit it one bit. i just imported it into lightroom, and exported it as a jpeg.

http://s5.tinypic.com/27ywm78.jpg

what do you think? should i change the sharpness level on the camera body?

12-31-2008, 02:30 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on the K200D.

Looking at your picture, it looks like it is focused slightly in front of the orange, thus rendering the orange out of focus. It also looks slightly overexposed (but that could easily be fixed with adjustments to the raw file).

Post some other samples so we can see if this is a consistent problem, or if it is just bad luck on that particular exposure. It could be that the multi-segment auto focus selected a bad point (in front of the orange), rather than the front surface of the orange itself. When I use my kit lens, I use spot metering and spot (center) focusing so I can selectively focus then lock the focus. You could also try to turn off autofocus then manually focus to see how that works.

-Joe-

P.S. I just took another look at the .jpg, and it looks like the lens is indeed reasonably sharp. However, I also noticed an extremely narrow depth of field. Here is the EXIF from your file:

File name : C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Desktop\27ywm78.jpg
File size : 742714 bytes
File date : 2008:12:31 15:34:33
Camera make : PENTAX
Camera model : PENTAX K200D
Date/Time : 2008:12:31 15:24:24
Resolution : 1600 x 1071
Flash used : No
Focal length : 55.0mm (35mm equivalent: 82mm)
Exposure time: 0.250 s (1/4)
Aperture : f/5.6
ISO equiv. : 100
Exposure bias: 2.00
Whitebalance : Manual
Metering Mode: matrix
Exposure : program (auto)
Exposure Mode: Manual
Focus range : macro

I see that you shot it wide open at 1/4 second at ISO100. If you did not have it on a tripod, that is difficult to do hand-held and get a clear picture, even with shake reduction. I also see that you have exposure bias at +2.0 which overexposes. If you can close down the aperture at least two stops (e.g., use Av mode), set the exposure bias to 0.0, and make sure you are extremely steady (tripod or camera sitting on some books), I think you will get a good shot. You can do this by pushing the ISO up to 400. I've found with my K100D Super (and my daughter's K200D) that ISO400 is actually best. According to some articles, ISO400 gives you better dynamic range, and still is very low noise. I routinely use ISO400.

-Joe-

Last edited by k0og; 12-31-2008 at 02:43 PM. Reason: New Information...
12-31-2008, 02:35 PM   #3
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Try shooting a smaller (higher number) aperture setting. From your shot, it looks like you were pretty close to your subject, which can give you a pretty small Depth-of-Field at larger apertures. Try shooting at f/8 for best sharpness results if you can spare enough shutter speed.

Good luck! -Jim
12-31-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
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I concur with both joe and jim. shooting at widest aperture is going to likely give you a softer photo, particularly with the kit lens. this is not to say that the kit lens wont perform, it is optically among the best if not the best kit lens available. I assume you have the 18-55mm II? I wonder why you were using a +2.0 EV with the kit lens? also when you get in very close to your subject you can very easily cross the line into a range that is too close for proper focus with even the smallest of movements, so you should always keep that in mind as it wont be apparent in your viewfinder nor will the AF be able to adjust. and looking at your photo I think you may have been too close.

12-31-2008, 03:42 PM   #5
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I agree that 1/4" is *way* too slow a shutter speed to handhold, and even if it was on a tripod, if the 2-second timer wasn't used to lock up the mirror, that would also explain some softness. And yes, the fact that it is *way* overexposed would also rob the scene of detail.

But in the end, shooting wide open (f/5.6) at the extreme end of the zoom range (55mm) and at about the closest it can possibly focus is about the worst possible situation for this lens. It's much better at any other focal length, at any other aperture, or focused a little further away.

So I'd say the lens is capable of *MUCH* better results than this, but what you are seeing is not surprising given what you tried to do.
12-31-2008, 05:18 PM   #6
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The picture is not too terribly overexposed in my opinion, but frankly it looks like you were simply too close to the subject and you exceeded the lens' minimum focusing distance. Try backing away a little, using a higher ISO, and make sure the focus confirmation is on the place of the orange you want it to be. This definitely isn't a fault of the lens.
12-31-2008, 06:02 PM   #7
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Considering this more recent picture on the OP's flickr page, I think it's safe to assume he's figured out by now that this lens can be pretty tack sharp indeed:

Flickr Photo Download: little brother
12-31-2008, 06:59 PM   #8
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All of the comments above are pretty valid.

I just want to add that changing the in-camera sharpness settings will not affect the sharpness of your RAW image. RAW is "raw". A possible exception might be if you do an in-camera conversion to JPEG or use the Pentax software to do your RAW conversion. In those cases the converter uses the camera settings as a processing "hint" and will apply additional sharpening to the JPEG. The original RAW file remains as it was captured.

Steve

(BTW...my experience with the kit lens is that it is sharp except at the extreme long end (55mm)...quite sharp, in fact...)


Last edited by stevebrot; 01-01-2009 at 01:47 AM.
12-31-2008, 11:06 PM   #9
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I agree with Marc--the shot is way over-exposed. A histogram of the shot clearly shows this.
01-01-2009, 03:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
The picture is not too terribly overexposed in my opinion
I'm normally the first to point out that exposure is subjective - if it looks how you want it to look, it's correctly exposed. However, if you're trying to judge lens sharpness, it helps to not have details blown out via clipping, and that's precisely what happening in large chunks of this image.
01-02-2009, 03:20 PM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
I just want to add that changing the in-camera sharpness settings will not affect the sharpness of your RAW image. RAW is "raw". A possible exception might be if you do an in-camera conversion to JPEG or use the Pentax software to do your RAW conversion. In those cases the converter uses the camera settings as a processing "hint" and will apply additional sharpening to the JPEG. The original RAW file remains as it was captured.
Can I get a confirmation that the RAW is not effected by the in camera sharpening? Does this also go for the bright color profile and other color adjustments? Thanks.
01-02-2009, 05:06 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by deathspared Quote
Can I get a confirmation that the RAW is not effected by the in camera sharpening? Does this also go for the bright color profile and other color adjustments? Thanks.
If I remember correctly, this is in the manual, though it is not particularly clearly stated.

Steve
01-02-2009, 05:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by deathspared Quote
Can I get a confirmation that the RAW is not effected by the in camera sharpening? Does this also go for the bright color profile and other color adjustments? Thanks.
Yes. The settings you used are duly noted in the EXIF, and some RAW processing applications will look at those settings and use them to override the application's own defaults in their processing of a given image. So the image might look as if the setting was applied. But the actual image data is not affected by these settings,so you're always able to reset the sharpening and color settings to the application's usual defaults.
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