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11-23-2014, 02:01 AM   #31
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First off you actually started out with entry level cameras, and then went up to flagship models that required even more of a learning curve. If you couldn't operate a K-x well going up and up probably wasn't a good move. (Though visible focus points are a big plus!) Secondly you're pretty much expecting the camera to do it all for you and always make great pics and it can't, not even in auto mode. I kind of get this because I came kind of from where you are.

The first time I got an SLR in my hand it was a film camera and I did not know what to do with it. At that point I only knew point and shoot cameras not ones with lenses. There were no auto settings on the thing, no helpful program modes. I had read enough to get certain basic photography concepts but I had no actual practice at using them and for a while there every photo I took just sucked. So I sat down and I read more, and camera in hand I started with the basics. ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and I started playing with those settings and took tons of pics until I finally got pics that didn't look like my baby niece had grabbed my camera and taken them.

It's probably not the cameras it's probably you. SLR's film or digital there is a learning curve if you want to take something worth hanging. A lot of people will try to use a DSLR like a point and shoot and that is a mistake because they never learn, they never get nearly as good as they'd like to be, and they don't get why the shots they take just don't "measure up" to a lot of what they see other people doing. I don't know how much you've studied. You don't really say, but maybe you need to just go back and start with the manual of the camera you currently own and a good basic photography book and really learn how to use it.

Don't skip anything. Take the baby off autopilot and keep it there until most of what you shoot starts to look good. If reading doesn't do it for you then check out the photography tutorials out there. Creative Live, Kelby, Lynda.com they've all got some great ones and viewing some of them might be a huge help to you. Ultimately it's about craft, dedication, and learning all you can.

Okay, there's usually some talent involved too. Some people they do possess more pixie dust than others. But anyone can learn to make decent photos, even good ones in due time. Great ones? That may take longer and require more talent than you possess or it might not, but you will never get there unless you learn to use your instrument properly. You've got to learn the notes on a piano before you can even think about composing a symphony, you know?

Even owning a baby grand will not instantly make you Beethoven. Begin again, start with basics and go from there. Never mind the tech. You've got that. Now you need to go and learn how to use it, properly. You do that? You will see a difference. How much of a difference no one can say, but until you do learn those skills it won't happen for you. Practice, practice, practice, as the old saying goes, that is the only way you'll end up playing Carnegie Hall, or in this case making some outstanding photography...

11-23-2014, 02:44 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by popellis Quote
aleonx3: I have several lenses but no samples at this time, I have the DA L 18- 55mm the 55- 300mm, DA 18-135, DA 35, DA 15 LTD, DA 35, FA 50, DA 70 LTD, FA 100, FA 135, Sigma 70-200 2.8, sigma 24mm 2,8, sigma 170-500mm
OK, that is a reasonably good set of lenses (I have many of them too) and basically the Pentax bodies will give you good results with those lenses.

As others have said don't be afraid to put one of your lenses on for a while and experiment - different apertures, different shutter speed, different ISO.

Since we have some lenses the same, please feel free to click through onto my Zenfolio site and have a look by lens as I have images sorted by lens as well as topic. I leave the EXIF's (in the info button on each image) so I and others can refer to what the settings are.

For instance this image in New York down by the World Trade Memorial is one I am reasonably happy with. Pentax K-3, DA15 Limited, 1/320 at f5.6, ISO 400. I was shooting in TAv mode, handheld with shake reduction on, and I was just trying to get the reflections of the flowers in the stone bench. I could see the young gentleman walking along singing, so I waited until he was a little closer and took the shot. I did not need the K-3 for that shot, I could have got it with my old K-5.

I am not a professional photographer, and no doubt there is plenty wrong with the image above, from a professional point of view - what matters to me is am I happy with it or not - I was happy with that one, so hence sharing it.

One of the ways I have slowly learned to take better images than I used to is by looking at images on the internet, especially when the settings are shared. Then I can ask myself - why that focal length, why the aperture, why the shutter speed, and why the ISO? Sometimes I will go an try the same settings myself in a similar image set up, and see how it works out - I learn like this an over time I have got a little better - well I have more images I am happy with.

I think another thought is - take lots of images - there is no cost or penalty with digital, so you can take heaps, experiment, work on what you like, delete the rest. Perhaps a goal of around 1000 images a month would be a good start. As you have already heard on this thread, even the professionals who make images for a living only get 5-10% keeper rate. For me 5% would be good. So, if I am taking 1000 images a month then I can expect 25-50 (2.5-5%) I am happy with, and would like to keep, which is enough, a few a week.

Another challenge - display your photos - that is why I have my Zenfolio site, although there are of course plenty of free examples, even the gallery here on PF or Flicker etc. A very wise photographer challenged me a few years back - Ross, if no one ever sees them, what is the point? He was right - I now regularly post photos on my Facebook wall, and friends and family will comment or like them, plus I have the Kiwi Thread here on PF, an Zenfolio. Feedback from others is important, and good feedback inspires you to make more images.

Finally, as others have said, keep learning, and also find your own style and subjects you enjoy. You are you and what you enjoy and like will be unique, because you are unique. That is the part of the interest of photography - you can put 10 photographers in the same place and they will all make different images because they all see different and unique things in that place.

I hope this helps, and that you can enjoy your hobby.

Kind Regards,

Ross
11-23-2014, 07:58 AM   #33
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Right " GUB " You see the difference in the Pentax, both cameras made the settings themselves I did not set them. When the flash was extended the Pentax did
not adjust for it. It should have dropped the ISO and adjusted the flash power according to the light like the Nikon.
I have 3 Pentax bodies and numerous lenses, very happy with them all.
My point is that Pentax needs a higher learning curve to match the others not that it can't do it and do better. My K5II is cleaner at ISO 4000 than the Nikon at 800.
It seems since HOYA the Pentax management have decided that Good enough is good enough and refuse to put out a FINISHED product. No way a Thousand dollar
top camera should have such stupid firmware, the software engineers should be ashamed..........
It seems a little KAIZEN would help. Quality over quantity please. ( concentrate on the colors inside )
11-23-2014, 08:24 AM   #34
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By the way it Does take nice pics. ( before someone gets their tripods in a knot )

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11-23-2014, 08:32 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by popellis Quote
Hi
I am not here to Bash Pentax gear....
Thanks in advanced for your advise.
Mark
virtually every camera made by any company in the last decade is able to take outstanding photos from a technical perspective, yours included. Seriously, it comes down to technique and how well you are willing to sharpen yours.

regarding "wow" factor, that is a subjective description, so if you can post some examples of what you'd like to be getting, that can help as well. Depending on the genre you shoot, the post processing can be a major factor in getting great images, so consider that as well.

I did not see that you have posted any images of the problem, but i will go back thru and look again. That is the best starting point for garnering useful responses.
good luck!

Last edited by mikeSF; 11-23-2014 at 08:37 AM.
11-23-2014, 08:41 AM   #36
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Original Poster
Again

I would like to thank you all for your valuable responses, I will take a second look at joining the photography club we have here and look again for some classes that are available. I will keep working with the gear I have. Thanks again to all of you, and happy holidays.

Mark
11-23-2014, 09:27 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobpur Quote
Right " GUB " You see the difference in the Pentax, both cameras made the settings themselves I did not set them. When the flash was extended the Pentax did
not adjust for it. It should have dropped the ISO and adjusted the flash power according to the light like the Nikon.
I have 3 Pentax bodies and numerous lenses, very happy with them all.
My point is that Pentax needs a higher learning curve to match the others not that it can't do it and do better. My K5II is cleaner at ISO 4000 than the Nikon at 800.
It seems since HOYA the Pentax management have decided that Good enough is good enough and refuse to put out a FINISHED product. No way a Thousand dollar
top camera should have such stupid firmware, the software engineers should be ashamed..........
It seems a little KAIZEN would help. Quality over quantity please. ( concentrate on the colors inside )
And you still don't see the difference? no wonder...
Pentax's implementation of P mode is different from Nikon's Auto-mode (By the way, Pentax also have a green mode).
Pentax P mode is actually hyper-P mode which you can change to Av or Tv mode by the front and rear dial. ISO is static unless you change it to auto-ISO (green button plus ISO). Now, you are suggesting that Pentax P mode is stupid and sadly not intelligent enough for users like you. And unlike, D800, Pentax firmware is half-baked and just good enough, not a finished product, because it makes the users work harder. I like that logic....
11-23-2014, 08:34 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
For the last 12 months I have shot about 19,400 according to the shutter count. I still have about 8,000 of those in Lightroom of which possibly 1,000 have been sent to agencies or posted in public. So maybe 5% keeper? That's not 'wow' images though, just ones that will pass agency QC. 'Wow' images, hmm maybe 50? Out of 19,000+..............

To the OP, I feel that the camera body might have something to do with softer photos. I went from an old K100dSuper to a used k5 (plain) and, subjectively, I could swear the IQ of my photos went down (same lens) with the k5. I am no better photographer, but no worse. I may have to look at lens calibrations on the k5, so the set up and calibration of equipment, I believe, is important. W
with either camera I get decent JPG's out of the camera, but they are a little better with modest post processing.


jatrax, I'm interested in and reflecting on your estimates here. You are clearly in a different place than I am - best wishes to you on continued success. Since I started this in early 2009, I've probably taken about 30,000 shots. I'm down to having about 10,000, and still deleting. I believe I have no "wow" photos. There are, perhaps, only 200 photos that I would feel comfortable sharing as "my best work". I believe none of these would (nor should) win a photo contest. My "success" ratio's are horrible. My current philosophy is to chase "wow" by choosing a lens upgrade path.

11-23-2014, 10:32 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
jatrax, I'm interested in and reflecting on your estimates here. You are clearly in a different place than I am - best wishes to you on continued success. Since I started this in early 2009, I've probably taken about 30,000 shots. I'm down to having about 10,000, and still deleting. I believe I have no "wow" photos. There are, perhaps, only 200 photos that I would feel comfortable sharing as "my best work". I believe none of these would (nor should) win a photo contest. My "success" ratio's are horrible. My current philosophy is to chase "wow" by choosing a lens upgrade path.
Thank you! 'Wow' is totally subjective and anyone who is trying to grow and improve will have a changing portfolio as old images are no longer 'wow'. My 'wow's are not Nat Geo quality, just things I am confident of to show in public. The audience makes a big difference though, showing something to family or friends is quite different than submitting to contests or professional review. Most of what is included in that 1,000 are not really all that special, just technically correct enough to pass. And what I do often takes the fun out of it. Knowing you MUST deliver 20 images by end of week, every week, gets to be a grind sometimes.
11-24-2014, 06:41 AM   #40
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How about we start with a simple first step for the OP?

We've all suggested he get the camera out of AUTO. Is it better he go to P mode before anything else or go straight to Av mode?
11-24-2014, 06:55 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
How about we start with a simple first step for the OP?

We've all suggested he get the camera out of AUTO. Is it better he go to P mode before anything else or go straight to Av mode?
Patience young skywalker, patience...
1. understand exposure, at least the bare fundamentals.
Then Av mode.
I put my GF in Av after an hour or so of talking, and she coped quite well
11-24-2014, 07:26 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobpur Quote
My point is that Pentax needs a higher learning curve to match the others not that it can't do it and do better. My K5II is cleaner at ISO 4000 than the Nikon at 800.
I'm not sure that people who want to use DSLR as phone cameras will learn P mode, and reverse the lens. As a fact, my sister-in-law owns NikonD200. She took it out of bag when she saw my pictures and asked if that camera can take pictures like mine . I saw auto mode pictures taken with that camera. Frankly speaking, cell phone pictures are much better.
Have not seen K5iis auto mode pictures yet, but hope to test tomorrow when I supposed to receive it.

My point is, for people who don't invest time and efforts in learning basics, P mode means nothing.
11-24-2014, 07:32 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
I'm not sure that people who want to use DSLR as phone cameras will learn P mode
Perhaps more important than that, and related to my answer above, an auto mode does next to nothing for your growth as a photographer.
On the contrary, with Av you are forced to pay more attention to the basics, and that's good.
I don't think we have much use for a distinction between P and auto mode, I personally regard that kind as a duplication of function...
11-24-2014, 07:55 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
To the OP, I feel that the camera body might have something to do with softer photos. I went from an old K100dSuper to a used k5 (plain) and, subjectively, I could swear the IQ of my photos went down (same lens) with the k5. I am no better photographer, but no worse.
I did a similar jump (k100d to k5iis) and didn't find this to be the case when viewing under fair conditions. If you evaluate your pictures at 100% view on a monitor though, this will definitely punish a 16mp sensor more than a 6mp sensor as you're magnifying the image more and any flaws will be more noticeable. Pixel level sharpness is tougher to achieve on the newer cameras but when you hit it you'll be rewarded, especially for larger prints.

If you're finding your k5 noticeably worse than your k100dsuper in areas that aren't highly subjective* I'd review your expectations and your technique as well as focus calibration and other possible equipment malfunctions.


*some people prefer the colour rendering of the older ccd sensors
11-24-2014, 04:09 PM - 1 Like   #45
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There are on line mentors tutorials and courses you could use. As far as post processing, I do very little, most of my images get renamed in Lightroom. It takes very little time to process a day's shooting and export as jpegs and you still have the original files for when you learn more about pp. I am 6 or so years older than you and understand the eye thing but with diopters and autofocue that should not be a problem.
for sharpness have you tried a tripod? That would tell you if it is your handling of the camera that is a cause of lack of sharpness. My gear is neither the latest or the greatest. It does take an effort to produce very good images on a consistent basis. The photographers who have improved the greatest in our local club are those using an online mentor but he is putting them through their paces.

Golf is a lot easier, you hit the ball and it rolls forward not so far that you do not see where it is. After smaking it 4 or 5 times you get to the green and spend the afternoon chasing it from one side of the hole to the other. Some day I am going to take lessons or even practice so I can actually golf. Photography is like that too, you can take pictures or learn to create photographs.

Good lukj whichever direction you choose
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