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07-20-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
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Introduction and in need of some help

Hello to all,

I am a medecine student about to finish my internship (last year before being M.D) in Guatemala Central America. I recently bought a K5 and FA77 from BH in april while being in the US and the FA 43 from Adorama (BH didnt had it in stock and I wasnīt staying that long). It was an online order and i had them sent to me by mail, the billing adress was from Guatemala.

First of all let me tell you why i got on photography. I want and will be a plastic surgeon so i am most interested in portraits and body shots. Thatīs why I chose those lenses after some very extense and detailed reading in this forum for the vast majority. And I must say I am not someone who visits forums that much but this one is really nice and have great persons/photographers in it. I specially like the thread of the K5 and the one called "some full frame shots" spent more hours than I should on both threads. I never took photos with slr nor P&S and least DSLR. I went to a course of photography and a dear friend spoiled me by giving me for a month his Canon 5D (Mark I) with a 24-105 f4 L lens. I went for pentax after reading a ton of things on the internet (in medicine they prepare us to read and read and keep reading lol).

Iīm really really happy with my set, havenīt taken that much pictures, about two thousand, and I have some queries I would like to have your insight:

First, I noticed some pictures soft and others not. That disappeared on manual focus so I concluded it was a focus problem. I found a really good thread on how to micro adjust the lenses; It was a thread by Class A "Autofocus adjustment hints". Because of technical facility I chose the technique based on provoking moire patterns. I have a really long table about 6 meters so on one end i put a relatively new Sony VAIO laptop with a 15 inch screen and following the rule of 25 times the focal lenght I placed my K-5 upon some books to have it leveled as such the center of the viewfinder was in level with the center of the patern. Both my FA43 and FA77 needed +10 micro adjustement and in my humble opinion they were short of +1 or +2.

Second I noticed a lot of purple fringing from both lenses. The majority of the people in this forum says itīs normal on high contrasty situations, hard to get technically, and it is due because of the lens (all lenses do some purple fringing in different amount). A few people in some of the first posts about the K5 suggested that their camera was more prone to cause purple fringing. What I have to say is that I cause purple fringing fairly easily without even trying (the first time I saw that big nasty purple i didnīt even know what it was ). It is true that it appeared on contrasty situations ( taking a portrait with FA77 where all the periphery of the silhouette has PF on a very bright environment. For example: an outdoors noon portrait in miami during summer to get an idea, but also taking a test photo with FA43 of the back of the blackberry cellphone in a room with the phone lying on the bed with no direct sun light and the ambient light like the one in a sunset, PF appeared on the chrome design of the blackberry ) (I apologize for the detailed description but I erased the pictures )

Third and last, the other day while back in my country I get the box of the FA43 where I put the extended warranty and by pure chance i see that the serial number of the proof of purchase doesnīt match the serial number of the lens! The invoice or billing from adorama states the S/N of the lens sold as the same as the one in the paper in the box and it isnīt the same one as the one engraved on the lens!

Conclusion, after all the pleasant lecture from your forum I donīt know what to do about my issues. And I would be very grateful for your suggestions.

So as for the AF problem should I: 1- do another technique for calibration?
2- Send it back to PENTAX USA ( my return period from BH obviously expired) but the shipping costs and I believe that if it reenters the country I would have to pay the taxes (about 300$, it doesnīt matter it is used) would be almost prohibitive.
3- enter the debug mode (wouldnīt be fond of doing that)
4- I will be in Milano, Italy for 3 months in about a month so ask to PENTAX USA to give me the international warranty and send it to repair under warranty in Europe while being there (I think the best solution)

As for the Purple fringing problem: 1- I do not have a clue of what I should do...maybe if a send my camera to repair while in Europe I could send attached to the camera one lens (should it be the FA 43 or the FA77) and hope they will check it too...as for the other lens try to avoid contrasty situations or maybe it is after all a predisposition of my particular camera.

As for the discrepancy of the serial number: 1- I am going to write an email to Adorama this evening to ask what they propose to me . But maybe a corrected INVOICE should be the right choice. ( I would like to avoid to pay the shipping plus the taxes if possible). Maybe if the severity of purple fringing I am experiencing is not normal should I return it. But I think we all agree that having a lens with a different S/N than the one in the invoice is not good news regarding possible warranty issues.


As I said before I am extremely happy with my new adquisitions, but i also think that it could be better and I am afraid I got a lemon ( as I stressed before my online order had for Billing adress Guatemala, I know the excellent reputation that BH and Adorama have but I also red in this forum that when foreign orders where placed they knew about all the cost implicit in shipping and taxes for a possible return of the merchandise and so they might send products with a suspicious background history), so why not to ask and try to get the most of my new and exciting experience. BTW my K5 S/N is 4206724, says HOYA and was manufactured on 2011:09:15.

I am waiting for your suggestions and i thank you all for reading this unusually long post.

07-21-2012, 01:39 AM - 1 Like   #2
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try Adobe Lightroom 4.1

QuoteOriginally posted by polo.dane Quote
Hello to all,

Second I noticed a lot of purple fringing from both lenses. The majority of the people in this forum says itīs normal on high contrasty situations, hard to get technically, and it is due because of the lens (all lenses do some purple fringing in different amount). A few people in some of the first posts about the K5 suggested that their camera was more prone to cause purple fringing. What I have to say is that I cause purple fringing fairly easily without even trying (the first time I saw that big nasty purple i didnīt even know what it was ). It is true that it appeared on contrasty situations ( taking a portrait with FA77 where all the periphery of the silhouette has PF on a very bright environment. For example: an outdoors noon portrait in miami during summer to get an idea, but also taking a test photo with FA43 of the back of the blackberry cellphone in a room with the phone lying on the bed with no direct sun light and the ambient light like the one in a sunset, PF appeared on the chrome design of the blackberry ) (I apologize for the detailed description but I erased the pictures )
Hi, after reading about the new chromatic aberration "tool" introduced in the latest Lightroom 4.1 update , I installed it on my Mac laptop and I was amazed.
I never used Lightroom before and it took me 5min to master the new "tool".
You could remove all purple and green fringing very easily and effectively.
can not help with other matters, sorry.
kind regards
jack
07-21-2012, 02:44 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Hello and Welcome P.D. !

re.Issues

1. Serial number - you seem to have this in hand.
2. Posting to Italy - there is a reason most Europeans won't post high value items to / or sell to buyers from, Italy. Theft in the postal service is commonplace. maybe if you are using DHL etc. it would be better. Either way make sure you are covered by insurance. If repairing in Italy make sure you know how long this is going to take (they may send lenses abroad for calibration / repair).
3. AF - I don't have an issue with either my 77 or 43 so maybe it is still calibration issue. I'd make sure I was calibrating at the distances most often used rather than at a test table.
4. PF - I can't really help with this too much except to say that the 77 does produce PF in high contrast situations (not noticed this with the 43) but you learn to avoid them since they often are not producing the light you want anyway (midday in Miami) !?! I've noticed that in everyday use, when I've found the light I want, I hardly ever find any PF in my shots.

Good luck.
07-21-2012, 07:47 AM - 1 Like   #4
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The PF problem also occurred with film, but usually got hidden by the grain and lower contrast, and we didn't generally magnify the film images as much as we do with digital. I've experimented with 15-20 "normal" lenses between my Leica M9 and Pentax K-5, and the fringing seems to be more of a lens characteristic than a sensor issue. On the same subject it seems more pronounced on modern high-contrast lenses than on "classic" high-resolution lenses from the 1960s. That makes sense, since it shows up on high-contrast subjects; so a high-contrast lens is affected more. My older lenses tend to slighter but redder fringing that is noticed less.
It may be affected by lens element alignment and centering, but seems more a characteristic of the lens design, as the multiple samples of same design have looked similar in my (non-scientific) tests. (On one series I found a Christmas tree with white mini-lights in a dim room really showed the differences!)
The K-5 has the additional issue of having to magnify the image more for the same "print" size, due to the smaller sensor. This demands more of a lens than one designed for 24x36.
Some of the new lenses I have for the Leica are "bargain brands" that look great for most photos, but do show strong fringing in some conditions. But for $500 instead of $4,000 I'll live with the issue!

07-21-2012, 10:52 AM   #5
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Thank you for your promptitude.

i_trax: I knew you can fix it with software but I wanted to avoid that because I thaugt it was to time consuming for me, i think 5 minutes is more than reasonable.

Frogfish: 1- Serial Number: 4206724
2- You really made me laugh with the Italy story, of course because of that I always intended to send it from France (where I got family and where the post service is excellent) to Germany ( where the man craft expertise is well known)

3-I would be glad if you can think of a calibration test not requiring buying stuff from the internet (Itīs a bit complicated to have things shipped to Guatemala)

4- About the photo of midday in miami it was an example....to tell you the true story it was a FA77 headshot of my brother in the beach house, under the hammocks ranch (under the shadow) at 11 am ( the sun is on its maximum intensity from 10 to 15) the background was the horizon above the sea, multicenter metering, center single point autofocus (his face) and almost all the midface silhouette had PF (from ear to ear) visible without magnification like a selfportrait that appear a time ago in PF of a guy under a tree. Whereas the FA 43 photo was in a bedroom with average "inside the house light" of a chrome design in a black background ( the blackberry logo embedded in leather you found on the Bold model maybe you have seen one of those). Anyway as soon as I can have some time off and manage to do PF i will post photos it will be easier.

TomB_tx: I always like to know a bit of history/explications/depthness of things so i really appreciate your explication. So it might be, although slighlty improbable, that my lens is misaligned and centered? Anyway the problem I have is that I do not know what is normal so because of my lack of experience I cannot say it is faulty. As soon as I manage to have more photos (that might take a while because the Hospital is a freaking time consuming monster) I will post them and I am confident that those of you you have seen tons of photos will be able to tell if the behaviour of the lens is anormal. What really caught my attention was Frogfish saying he didnīt kew of the FA43 causing PF, of course his technique is much better tan mine but the photo where I managed to cause PF was kind of point and shoot photo of the dorso of my cellphone (testing autofocus accuracy lol).
07-21-2012, 11:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by polo.dane Quote

3-I would be glad if you can think of a calibration test not requiring buying stuff from the internet (Itīs a bit complicated to have things shipped to Guatemala)

What really caught my attention was Frogfish saying he didnīt kew of the FA43 causing PF
Hi PD,

re. the above.

Actually if you Google DSLR lens calibration test (or some variation of that) you'll get lots of ideas. I like to calibrate using 'real world' calibration rather than testing indoors so I'll put up a long 3D object (so you can see front and back focus) in the back garden, tripod and 2 second release and calibrate at the distance I would normally use that particular lens at most. Not the most scientific method but it seems to work for me.

Maybe with the 43 you inadvertently found a situation to bring out the worst of the 43 in PF terms. Virtually any lens can be made to PF in high contrast situations (Mirror lenses being the exception due to their design).
07-24-2012, 04:51 PM   #7
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As for the discrepancy between the S/N engraved on the lens and the S/N printed in the serial number Card I talked to Adorama who referred me to Pentax USA. Pentax USA took care of the matter as well for the International warranty. Really good customer service, Iīve been said the papers have been sent by mail.

Thank you Frogfish for the tip on how you calibrate your lenses. Could you be more descriptive, whar kind of object do you use, I guess you must place the camera at a certain angle of the object (in a sort of oblique position, between 30 to 60°).

As for the Purple fringing here are some photos I took with my FA77, there is no need to enlarge it to see it. So please feel free to tell me if itīs normal, if I overexposed, if my composition is not well thought...As for the photos they are jpegs downloaded from an album I have on facebook, unfortunately I erased the RAWīs and the original JPEGīs (that day I shooted Raw+) I will take some photos this weekend and I will share the ones that interest us

In the first image we can see it on all the right forearm, for the second picture on the left elbow and forearm, on the last two pictures you can see purple fringing around the white shirt. I uploaded those photos on facebook because they were the most acceptable from the ones showing PF. (I dindīt correct them in postprocessing cause I do not have any software yet and I prefer not spending time retouching photos).
Attached Images
       
07-24-2012, 11:22 PM   #8
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Hi P.D.

1. I use a bird table in my back garden that has a fake bird sitting on the edge in the middle of the table. It can clearly show front and back focus if I target the bird's head and I can higher/lower the table or move around it at will. All shot on a tripod and with 2 second release (which locks the mirror up).

2. Excellent customer service from Adorama / Pentax.

3. C&C - the beautiful lady in your first shots needs a far better BG than a brick wall and some clothes wires and the lovely ladies in the second shot - brick houses ! You must always be aware of what is going to influence or appear in your shot (far easier said than done) so try to survey and assess your location first ! That strong backlighting was always going to produce PF in the 77 and probably would in most lenses. Be careful not to crop off limbs. Shoot a little wider than you actually need and then make minor crops to perfect the composition. Select your shoot location carefully with the quality of the light and the background your priorities.

4. Get yourself some free software ! I doubt there are any togs (pros at least) that don't PP their shots in some way so you are handicapping yourself by not at least learning and using some basic PP skills. Remember that even if you shoot in RAW they still need to be converted and the conversion can be manipulated at will (including sharpening). Jpgs have all been manipulated in camera (as have RAW files to some much smaller extent) and that conversion will have influenced sharpness, colour, contrast, clarity etc.

Search PF or Google for references to free photo editing software - there is a lot out there. Picasa is a decent start (but can't sharpen for you) and Pentax's own software is a decent convertor for RAW (though there are other free convertors out there too).

07-25-2012, 01:49 AM - 1 Like   #9
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As a student, you may be eligible for some really nice discounts on software. Notably Photoshop & Lightroom. Not to say some of the free software wouldn't work for you, but you might find the costlier stuff to be easier to use. Correcting some CA is pretty easy in PS or Lightroom. I get fringing even with the nice glass I use for my 5DII, so it's not anything out of the ordinary.

Looks like you are off to a good start though; count yourself lucky you have some beautiful models!
07-25-2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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Thank you for the posts, really instructive. Wrote down the tips on the background and the limbs. As for chosing adequate light quality that is something I would love to have more insight if possible, I have tried to find something on that in the forum and havenīt had any succes. I am also more calm knowing that the purple fringing is not something out of the ordinary. I will look for softwares. Frogfish, may I ask why do you use a 2 second exposure when calibrating your lenses.

Iīll try to take some photos this weekend and post them in RAW. I have seen people on this forum being able to say it is slightly front focused or back focused whereas I see the photos and as hard as I try I cannot find the focus problem.

Another question, If I cannot manage to calibrate the focus to which repair center should I send my camera to while in Europe: France or Germany? Would it be wise to send my lenses?

Just something I found quite nice, when I got the reply email from Pentax at the bottom you could read:

Be Interesting, be Pentax.

At least that motto works pretty fine here in Guatemala
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