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11-02-2011, 03:07 AM   #1
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Pentax K5 + DA21 focus issues

Hey guys, having a blast with my new K5 but ive picked up a few niggling issues, a lot of the pictures are coming up soft. The pictures are generally not as sharp as I'd hope them to be. Am I just hoping for too much or is something awry? I'm very new to this whole lens adjusting thing - should it be something to look at in more detail? From what i've read people usually line up a number of objects ranging in distance, and test the accuracy of, say, the centre focus point and see if the camera actually focus on that centre focus point and not the rear or front points?

11-02-2011, 04:03 AM   #2
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There are different kinds of softness. I tried my friends DA21 yesterday on my K-5 and it seemed very sharp to me, even wide open. No AF problem with that sample. Did you do the test on tripod to eliminate camera shake? Perhaps best if you can share some examle of soft picture taken with your gear.
11-02-2011, 05:25 AM   #3
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Have you tried adjusting the AF correction in the body?

Maybe your lens needs an adjustment to be dead on accurate, it is very common
11-02-2011, 06:03 AM   #4
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Over the years, people have asked this kind of question about a new body and lens repeatedly. There are many reasons for slight softness. Here are a few common ones:

1) AF point is not where the shooter thinks. Be sure the red dot is on the desired point of focus and the desired point is not too small. For me, when I got my first prosumer Pentax (K10d) AF misses were my number one cause of softness.

2) Lens AF adjustment as noted above. Different lenses may front or back focus with a particular body.

3) Slow shutter speed. Shake reduction issues: off while handheld (or on while on tripod)

4) Object outside of depth of field of lens

If it is not these common ones, then things get a little more complicated. It helps to post a photo.

11-03-2011, 05:06 PM   #5
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Cheers for the feedback guys, much appreciated! I'd love to show you the culprit photos..but i'm currently at the departure lounge in singapore awaiting to go to Thailand! I think it may be the lens..I just bought a Sigma 10-20mm moments (literally) before I left Perth, and i've taken a few test shots here at the airport and they are tack sharp. I'm guessing that with the DA21 i'll need to do some adjustments. Any pointers? As mentioned before im guessing ill line up a few objects, choose centre focus point and go from there?

The soft photos are weird for me, because coming from Canon all the lenses I had needed no adjustments, and my little Panasonic GF1 pancake 20mm creams the Pentax and Canon for focus speed and ease of use in terms of choosing a focus point.

With the Pentax i'm doing what I feel is the correct procedure, choosing a focus point and correct aperture, and say, with portraits, focusing on the subjects eye for a sharp photo.
11-03-2011, 05:26 PM   #6
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I just got my DA21 back from Pentax hospital for just this reason and now it is sharp (in the centre) wide open. I love it now, and trust it at any f-stop which I couldn't before.

Mine was unacceptably soft everywhere <= f/4.5, but sharp as a tack above f/5.6. I did everything I could to rule out other factors; I was using a tripod, 2 sec delay for MLU, live view for focusing, etc etc. Still soft. Mine was within warranty so I put it in to Pentax service department and 6 weeks later I my lens back from Japan and now's it's performing superbly
11-07-2011, 10:04 PM   #7
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might give it a shot then! What is weird is that I also just bought a sigma 10-20mm and it writes images to the SD card ALOT faster than the DA21, we are talking twice as fast here, across the aperture range. Comparing the images, the DA21 is softer too. I'll have to send her in or ask for a swap - im thiking of getting the DA70 or 50-135, now that I have the sigma, which performs beautifully, there is no real need to constantly keep swapping over to my DA21 :/
11-07-2011, 11:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blitz_ Quote
might give it a shot then! What is weird is that I also just bought a sigma 10-20mm and it writes images to the SD card ALOT faster than the DA21, we are talking twice as fast here, across the aperture range. Comparing the images, the DA21 is softer too. I'll have to send her in or ask for a swap - im thiking of getting the DA70 or 50-135, now that I have the sigma, which performs beautifully, there is no real need to constantly keep swapping over to my DA21 :/
You probably have lens correction set to ON. As the K5 does not know anything about the 10-20, it can not and will not apply corrections.

11-07-2011, 11:42 PM   #9
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Lens corrections as in barrel distortion etc? Makes sense, cheers for that! I'm still not chuffed about the optical quality compared to the quality of the sigma, and the Pentax cost me twice as much too :/
11-08-2011, 12:25 AM   #10
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We happen to have two DA 21's (1 for me and 1 for my son), and yes, both are looking a little soft, full open ore not, on any kind of camera, wether it be a K10d, a K20d or a K5, even with AF adjust.
It's the so called fingerprint of that lens, but, with some sharpening it is looking very fine, lots of tonality!
From all the DA's I have it's the least sharp 'looking', but the one I like the most, try to explain that...
Don't forget that some lenses seem to be very sharp but sometimes this is only due to the contrast and saturation, not as much the optic performance.
Due to digital imaging, we are so spoiled by contrast, saturation and high definition, but the danger is that we are interpreting tonal refinement as less sharp... The steeper the Gamma curve, the sharper the 'impression'.
I am not saying that the DA 21 is so optically refined, could be better, but it has its very own 'character' (all DA's do) and after a while one gets to understand it, which isn't always easy.
11-08-2011, 07:45 AM   #11
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I'll give it some more camera time but im still leaning towards the convenience of the sigma. I did some AF tuning and had to do a +3 adjustment to get it to centre focus properly. I hope I did it correctly as ive never done it before, but I did before and after photo's and they are alot sharper. The sigma required +5.
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