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08-19-2012, 09:40 PM   #1
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New K5 with 18-135WR lens. Pictures are as sharp as a bowling ball. Help?

I just purchased a K5 after looking at it since it debuted. I did a huge amount of research and came to the conclusion that the K5 would be the best camera for me.

I have had it now for a couple weeks and have taken about a thousand pictures, and so far I am less than impressed.

I didn't want to jump to any conclusions until I had really had a chance to play with it, and make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong.
But I noticed pretty quickly that all the photos seemed slightly out of focus. Cropping it down at all would show the softness everywhere.

After shooting a wedding (not as the official photographer), a trip to the beach, along with a number of nature walks, I feel like I have given it a fair shake under many different situations and they all fall short of my expectations.

I started playing with the AF fine adjustment tonight, and just looking for any adjustment I could make the help or fix the issue and I can't seem to find anything that will sharpen up the pictures.

Here are a couple of my BEST test pictures. I was trying all the different focus calibration sheets.
I got sharper pictures from my old Canon Powershot.

So any recommendations? I am not sure if the problem is with the camera or the lens or both, but I don't have another lens or camera to try.

1:1 crops

135mm f5.6

36mm f5.6

08-19-2012, 10:27 PM   #2
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Sorry to read you are having problems. However That chart is not to test sharpness, it is to test AF calibration, don't confuse these 2 things. Also the chart needs to be square with your camera not at an angle.
08-19-2012, 10:50 PM   #3

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Well, the vertical lines should be vertical, but the chart is supposed to be at a 45 angle. That's the point -- to have text both in front of and behind the focal plane.
08-19-2012, 11:20 PM   #4
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The images suggest the lens is slightly back focusing. You should be able to adjust this in the camera. The K-5 focuses slightly differently under Tungsten light. I'd suggest performing these tests outdoors under natural light as this will probably be where you most use the lens.


08-19-2012, 11:32 PM   #5

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Yes, if these photos were taken correctly, it is back focusing. Use 'AF Fine Adjustment' in the Custom menu of the K-5 (at or around option #26 in the Custom menu). See the K-5 manual for details.

Also remember that your old Canon Powershot, with its small sensor, is going to have much greater depth of field, so focus accuracy is not so critical on it.
08-19-2012, 11:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dosdan Quote
The images suggest the lens is slightly back focusing. You should be able to adjust this in the camera. The K-5 focuses slightly differently under Tungsten light. I'd suggest performing these tests outdoors under natural light as this will probably be where you most use the lens.

It is impossible to make that conclusion from these improper tests, you need to follow the testing procedure to the letter to find out if a lens and camera is focusing properly. I've never done it for auto focus adjustments, but when adjusting the split prism screen in my K100D I used a very similar chart. You have to have the camera at the proper angle in relation to the chart and at the proper distance, it looks like neither was done in this test, so all results are invalid.

You also have to take into consideration which focus point was being used, it is entirely possible that the camera thought you wanted to focus on something else because it can't actually see the scene as you do, it just makes the best guess based on the input you give it.
08-20-2012, 12:16 AM   #7
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Have a look at the diagram on this page: Focusing Screen--How to adjust focusing screen--

In order to have proper focusing, distances L1, L2, and L3 must be equal. And, sadly, that's rarely the case on a new camera. Manufacturing tolerances not being what they used to be.

You've found the AF calibration controls on your camera--now you need to follow the proper procedure to make use of them.

Adjusting manual focus (distance L1) involves making sure you have the correct shim installed in your viewfinder. You may or may not need to do this. When I got my K20D, I needed to change shims so I could get accurate manual focus.

Procedures for both of the above operations can be found in these forums. Type these search terms into google: focus shim AF adjust

This stupid wysiwyg editor thinks I want smilies when I type a colon next to a p.

so it's search term
substitute a : for the word colon
08-20-2012, 12:43 AM   #8
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I suggest taking some pictures like trees with lots of narrow branches w/o leaves, or similar items--like wires--at fart distance and focusing by hand. Also a wall of bricks/rough stone again by fosusing by hand. That will tell you more about resolution--and relying on AF is problematic when testing ultimate resolution--may not be focusing on what you want.

08-20-2012, 12:46 AM   #9
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I'm wondering (in a nice way ) what makes you think the lens isn't sharp? these 100% crops look sharp to me, albeit maybe back focused perhaps (no idea if the test was done correctly though and whether what you are showing is a 0 adjustment or not)

Last edited by twitch; 08-20-2012 at 01:30 AM.
08-20-2012, 12:48 AM   #10
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Hmm, is this your first DSLR? I remember coming from a compact digital to a DSLR (Konica-Minolta 5D) and having exactly the same reaction watching my first images.
Compacts have 1) a smaller sensor and much more depth of field, making focusing less critical 2) much more default sharpening and noisereduction than the average DSLR.
Later I've learned how to get the camera to focus correctly and how to apply the sharpness exactly where I want it in PP.
Could this be it?
08-20-2012, 01:55 AM   #11
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I agree with Twitch that the images look pretty sharp.

This could be the old "megapixels issue" - the more megapixels you have the 'softer' the image looks at 100% on screen when pixel peeping. To really compare cameras, you need to actually PRINT the images at the same size.

No offense intended, but just reset the entire AF adjustment to factory defaults, because there's more chance the factory got it right using precision equipment than you can at home with a folded piece of paper. The AF adjustment I see being more for fixing up old auto focus lenses meant for film cameras, because film didn't provide the perfectly flat surface of a sensor, people didn't notice such issues as the need to micro adjust their lenses.
08-20-2012, 02:39 AM   #12
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I see sharp images with CA... take less contrasty photos.
08-20-2012, 02:54 AM   #13
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Lots of CA and haze, is there a filter on that lens by any chance?.
08-20-2012, 06:59 AM   #14
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Do you get sharp photos when you use live view? Since that focuses at the level of the sensor, it should remove the possibility that there is front or back focusing. To me, the biggest issue with SLRs is that depth of field is a lot less than with smaller sensored cameras. It makes apparent sharpness seem less, although you can usually stop down and get the same effect if you want.
08-20-2012, 07:08 AM   #15
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If I may ask of this, for our reference.

Please take a picture of a perfectly flat object facing the camera - i.e. a poster, anything that removes angles. Angular shots accentuate chromatic aberrations and can make it difficult to see what is in focus sometimes. Use a tripod to get consistent shots.

Also take one with your old canon powershot for us to compare.

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