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02-02-2014, 05:00 AM   #1
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Soft images

I am experiencing soft images with my k5, particularly at long zoom with 28-270mm lens. I want clear wildlife shots but find the detail lacking when enlarged. Bird feathers are not cleas. I have tried a range of ISP. Any thoughts? Thanks.

02-02-2014, 05:10 AM   #2
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Use Tv - choose a fast shutter (min 1/500)


You're not enlarging past 100% are you?
02-02-2014, 07:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by fungussface Quote
I am experiencing soft images with my k5, particularly at long zoom with 28-270mm lens. I want clear wildlife shots but find the detail lacking when enlarged. Bird feathers are not cleas. I have tried a range of ISP. Any thoughts? Thanks.
May I suggest that you upload one of your soft pictures? That would make it easier for us to assess your problem.

'Softness' can be due to many things:Rarely the camera/sensor; sometimes a poor copy of a particular lens; too low shutter speeds with resulting motion blur; no lens shade used with resulting flare and/or loss of contrast..........

But, especially when we are talking long lenses and objects at some distance, the stability and transparency of the air itself can play an important role. Turbulence and haze/smog/dust can degrade contrast and resolution significantly.
02-02-2014, 07:29 AM   #4
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Hey, welcome!
If you have a problem, its great if you upload a sample photo with in-tact exif data.
But I think Steve is on the right path. You see, a long tele lens (high mm number) will show handshake blur much more than a wider lens. For a 270mm lens, you need very steady hands and a fast shutter speed (rule of thumb used to be at least 1/ (1.5*focal length), but with modern high-resolution cameras, this is increasing). Better yet, use a sturdy tripod and 2 sec timer.
Another thing is aperture - a wide open (small f-number) photo will have a shallow Depth of field, and that means it might look "soft" in some places. So you want to stop down to a slightly higher f-number (but don't go above f12, as that will soften the photo due to diffraction).

Oh, and if a lens has built-in image stabilization, you must disable it. With image stabilization, it should be enabled only on the lens, or on the camera (SR), never both.
And just one more thing, lens with a big zoom range is more likely to be soft. If you want great sharpness, get one of the Limited lenses, or even the DA 35mm f2.4, DA 40mm XS, DA 50mm f1.8. This will automatically give you better IQ at the expense of zoom flexibility.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 02-02-2014 at 08:36 AM.
02-02-2014, 07:33 AM   #5
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Have you tried the lens on another camera? Do you have the same problem with other lenses? It's more likely the lens, although it could be the camera, it could also be technique. Try some shots on a tripod see if you get any better results. There are several threads about testing the autofocus and adjusting the focus per the lens, if that could be needed.
02-02-2014, 07:40 AM - 1 Like   #6
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You will probably have to stop down to f/11 to get any kind of acceptable sharpness at 270mm.

If you want real sharpness you won't get it with a super zoom.
02-02-2014, 08:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fungussface Quote
I am experiencing soft images with my k5, particularly at long zoom with 28-270mm lens. I want clear wildlife shots but find the detail lacking when enlarged. Bird feathers are not cleas. I have tried a range of ISP. Any thoughts? Thanks.
What size birds? How far away? Are you able to fill the frame with a bird? Smaller birds that you can't get close to can be very difficult.

Zooms, particularly consumer zooms, usually aren't their best at maximum zoom. You'll have to stop down to f11 or even farther for optimal results; that was my experience with the 18-250 sigma macro (the newer model.)

Have you tested the lens? Besides the usual resolution test chart photos, to check for sharpness across the frame, you can buy an inexpensive toy bird (at a pet store) that has a feather-like covering, and try photographing it under controlled conditions.
02-03-2014, 07:51 PM   #8
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If you are using a tripod, turn the Shake Reduction OFF. If your using a tripod and the timer, the SR will be turned off by default, but if not using timer, it will be turned on.

02-04-2014, 12:59 AM   #9
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I guess you are talking about the 18-270. I haven't heard of any 28-270mm...

A technical review of the 18-270 lens mounted on a K-5 (via DxOMark) suggests that it isn't particularly sharp, especially at 270mm. At 270mm, you will need to shoot at f8-f11, and use excellent shooting technique, to get the best out of this lens.

And if you are using any UV or protection filters on this super-zoom, they certainly won't help improve image sharpness.
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