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01-03-2012, 05:48 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
I think the kit needs to be replaced with a better optic


For $50 I don't think there is much budget for better.. but for $200 I'm sure the retailer be glad to sell DA 35 F2.4

01-03-2012, 06:24 PM - 1 Like   #17
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This is something like political reporting. We can report specifics that some pol is lying through their teeth incessantly, but after awhile, people stop paying attention to the reports. Likewise, we can show that the kit lenses can produce excellent photos (see the Kit Lens Club here), but some people just won't look at those excellent photos, will insist that all versions of the DA18-55 are crap. Feh. I won't try to argue with those resistant to facts. How to get good pictures with a kit lens? Learn how to use it. How to make informed decisions? Learn to separate fact from fiction. Oh, but learning hurts...
01-03-2012, 06:42 PM - 1 Like   #18
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Note from an intermediate...

As a photographer who still has a lot to learn myself, I am going to say this to our newest photographers who may have never owned a real camera before and may have only taken fully automatic snapshots. There is a learning curve especially to a DSLR. When you decided to buy an entry-level DSLR instead of starting with a simpler camera, you have to be willing to learn exposure, contrast, dynamic range. You need to know aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and their relationship to get the best results. You need to understand depth of field, stopping down a lens, and the consequences of blowing highlights. Each new lens you buy has to be learned - where it is the sharpest, what are its weaknesses. A simple P&S with some manual controls and a viewfinder is a good place to start because they are more forgiving. There is only one lens to deal with. It is perfectly all right to start with an entry-level DSLR, but they are more complex. Shoot as often as possible, preferably every day, and note what settings the camera chose on photos you like and the light conditions. Read the forums even if you do not always participate. I highly recommend this site, the Pentax DSLR forum at DPreview, and Ken Rockwell's site for simple photographic advice. His choice of cameras is less important than his article that "the camera does not matter." Also, good photography sites that explain the basics. Learn basic post-processing. Yes, you could have a defective camera, but it could more probably be user inexperience or a wrong setting which still gets many of us who are not in the "experienced" category. Even if you come from using a P&S, understand that a DSLR is often not as forgiving. It expects you to do more. You can always go with "luck photography" which is how we all start. But lucky photos are much more common with simpler, but full-featured P&S cameras than with DSLRs. I took a lot of "lucky" photos with my first full-featured non-DSLR camera. When I moved to my first DSLR, my lucky photos decreased a lot. My photos were dull. The camera was not doing as much automatically for me. So I started to learn....and continue to do so. Fortunately my K-r is an easier camera than my first DSLR was, but it is still not as easy as my non-DSLR cameras, which range from P&S to prosumers. A DSLR will ultimately take you much further, but it is a journey, not an immediate experience. Good luck and welcome....
01-04-2012, 08:17 AM   #19
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In response to "Philoslothical "No actually a lot of people would agree with that. The kit isn't bad but it's weakest at the tele end.
I know you like to live in a sugar candy coated world but this is simply optics at work. I also have a soft focus filter and I can say from my own experience that the kit lens is a lot like that tele end wide open soft focus

Of course if you are trying to promote the superior Pentax kit lens as being an amazing optic fire away but very few will believe you. It's not bad as a kit lens but it's getting dated and needs an update if we're honest. Ooops I forget we're not allowed to say anything other than "wow it's great" if the product has a P stamped on it.

The OP is getting softer shots because of the optical nature of the kit lens it's actually spherical aberration that causes this not uncommon on many lenses but on the kit lens it's quite a lot higher than I've seen on other optics. Yes I think it needs an update it's struggling a bit def at 12mp and it's quite poor over 35mm meaning you have quite a slow lens when it's stopped down.

01-04-2012, 08:40 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
In response to "Philoslothical "No actually a lot of people would agree with that. The kit isn't bad but it's weakest at the tele end.
I know you like to live in a sugar candy coated world but this is simply optics at work. I also have a soft focus filter and I can say from my own experience that the kit lens is a lot like that tele end wide open soft focus

Of course if you are trying to promote the superior Pentax kit lens as being an amazing optic fire away but very few will believe you. It's not bad as a kit lens but it's getting dated and needs an update if we're honest. Ooops I forget we're not allowed to say anything other than "wow it's great" if the product has a P stamped on it.

The OP is getting softer shots because of the optical nature of the kit lens it's actually spherical aberration that causes this not uncommon on many lenses but on the kit lens it's quite a lot higher than I've seen on other optics. Yes I think it needs an update it's struggling a bit def at 12mp and it's quite poor over 35mm meaning you have quite a slow lens when it's stopped down.
I won't disagree that the kit lens is somewhat weak on the long end, but the first image the OP posted is not representative of the IQ of the kit lens, even at 55mm.
01-04-2012, 09:04 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
The kit isn't bad but it's weakest at the tele end.
I know you like to live in a sugar candy coated world but this is simply optics at work...
The kit lens is just fine for what it is: a $50 kit lens. As kit lenses go, it's fairly well regarded. As for your claim that it's visibly soft at 55mm, either you had a terrible copy, or more likely, you just don't have the first clue about how to use it (if there's any truth to your post, at all). Your track record of posts here would tend to support that assertion.

And a little news for you. ALL zoom lenses have variable IQ, degrading at their long end. All of them. A good lens, it won't be noticeable. An OK lens, it will at least be tolerable. That is indeed optics at work, but this particular short zoom would fall somewhere between good and OK. It generally has no noticeable softness at 55, which is pretty typical of modern zooms in the 3x range. Softness at the long end generally kicks in with lenses with a 4x or greater range. This is why you don't see any 18-300mm zooms kicking around (and why 18-250mm zooms have the reputation they do). That's just due to current design limitations, and a fact of life, across all brands.

I stand by what I said, you're here to whine and troll - facts being irrelevant to you.
01-04-2012, 07:22 PM   #22
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I'm afraid some folks don't understand spherical aberration which is the cause of the problem. It is true copies vary and for kit lenses even more so. But I've used a few any they all had the problem to varying degrees and esp so for close up shots. So yes the original posters issue is an optical one. And let's be honest the 18-55mm isn't going to make a 12-16mp camera shine.

I have news for you too it's called not all zoom lenses have strong spherical aberration if you take a look around if you have ever tried other makers "kit lenses" I'm afraid the old Pentax 18-55mm doesn't fare very well v it's rivals. So I'll stick to my "needs to be updated line" it's one of the weakest kit lenses out there.

There are a number of reviews and user reports that mention the lens is weak and "soft at 55mm" wide open. It's also not good edge to edge tele end even stopped down quite a bit
Of course I expect continued attacks fromt the poster above who can't seem to accecpt other people have an opinion. Maybe you'd like to post in CAPS TO SHOUT OTHERS AWAY?
01-04-2012, 08:25 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
So yes the original posters issue is an optical one.
OP's problem in his supplied shot is an OoF photo, simple as that.

01-04-2012, 09:52 PM - 1 Like   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
I'm afraid some folks don't understand spherical aberration which is the cause of the problem. It is true copies vary and for kit lenses even more so. But I've used a few any they all had the problem to varying degrees and esp so for close up shots. So yes the original posters issue is an optical one. And let's be honest the 18-55mm isn't going to make a 12-16mp camera shine.

I have news for you too it's called not all zoom lenses have strong spherical aberration if you take a look around if you have ever tried other makers "kit lenses" I'm afraid the old Pentax 18-55mm doesn't fare very well v it's rivals. So I'll stick to my "needs to be updated line" it's one of the weakest kit lenses out there.

There are a number of reviews and user reports that mention the lens is weak and "soft at 55mm" wide open. It's also not good edge to edge tele end even stopped down quite a bit
Of course I expect continued attacks fromt the poster above who can't seem to accecpt other people have an opinion. Maybe you'd like to post in CAPS TO SHOUT OTHERS AWAY?

Here is a real test of the Pentax 18-55 with real data :

Pentax SMC DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR - Lab Test / Review - Analysis

Feel free to link to the reviews with tests and measurements that support your specific optical claims.

Note that like many wide to normal zoom lenses, it is NOT worse at long end, it is worse at the wide-angle end in almost all measurements.

You can also search the same site for reviews of the Canon and Nikon kit zooms where you will find very similar performance versus the Pentax kit lens (better in some areas, worse in others) but both Canon and Nikon were measured to have more CA than the Pentax 18-55.

Both the Nikon and Canon kit zooms are also noted as having poor construction with plastic mounts, wobbly lens tubes, and "nightmare" manual focusing, while the Pentax zoom is noted as having WR coating, smooth focusing and a metal mount.

Opinions are one thing, but when someone makes claims about specific optical properties as causing specific problems, they should expect to be asked to support these claims with objective data.

Ray
01-04-2012, 09:58 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
while the Pentax zoom is noted as having WR coating, smooth focusing and a metal mount.
Minor correction here, but that's only the K-7/K-5 kit zooms. The K-x/K-r have the DA-L version, plastic mount, no WR, no Quick Shift, no included hood. The focusing is smooth though, and they're light as a feather. They're optically identical.
01-04-2012, 10:34 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
Minor correction here, but that's only the K-7/K-5 kit zooms. The K-x/K-r have the DA-L version, plastic mount, no WR, no Quick Shift, no included hood. The focusing is smooth though, and they're light as a feather. They're optically identical.
Thx.

Mr. Spocko apparently has not noted that Pentax already updated the optics for this lens and that current reviews note the significant improvements in nearly every optical measurement.

Here are a couple more:

Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II review - Introduction - Lenstip.com

Pentax Lens: Zooms - Pentax 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II SMC DA (Tested) - SLRgear.com!

Ray
01-05-2012, 05:14 AM   #27
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It should also be noted the following review made a mention of the "soft focus issue"
Pentax DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL Lens Review: 3. Test results: Digital Photography Review

Yes the lens was updated but it is very clear from the photo we have on the first post that this lens is suffering from the same effect as noted in the review
Obviously Ray will want to debate this but I think it's obvious that it is an optical property. Now why that shows it more than other reviews listed above is anyone's guess though the QC aspect is something Pentax have had a few issues with. I've seen quite a few variations with the DA-L version some are better, some are frankly awful with de-centering issues too
01-05-2012, 01:47 PM - 2 Likes   #28
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Now this thread has interested me since i too have just brought my first ever slr, a Pentax K-r. This issue had given me some cause for concern, especially since one of the reasons i got this camera was because of many independent reviews stating that the kit lens was particularly good when compared to lens supplied with other entry level dslr's. Today i actually had the chance to test it for myself and see how much of an issue this softness was. The results are below:







Now this is my first outing with an dslr (let alone this K-r) and lets be honest there is nothing amazing about the pictures. However i think (that should read hope) that you will agree that these pictures are relatively sharp, or at least more so that the one the OP posted at the start of this thread. It just took some time to fine tune the settings to accommodate the dull and windy conditions (set the shutter speed and aperture manually and up the ISO) and a bit of patience and perseverance. With more favourable conditions and more practice i imagine these could be even better.

Hopefully this proves decent sharpness can be achieved with the 18-55mm kit lens, although please feel free to comment otherwise as after all I am new to this
01-05-2012, 04:56 PM - 1 Like   #29
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I have to say Mr Spocko, for someone who has such a downer on a piece of kit, I'm surprised you spend so much of your time on this forum. The world is full of opinions and opposing views and that's fine. There comes a time though when endless repetition becomes a bit of a crashing bore to many and it's time to either sing a new song or pick a fresh audience.
There is life here, but not as you know it.

Last edited by K-rrr; 01-05-2012 at 05:35 PM.
01-05-2012, 07:33 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Spocko Quote
It should also be noted the following review made a mention of the "soft focus issue"
Pentax DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL Lens Review: 3. Test results: Digital Photography Review

Yes the lens was updated but it is very clear from the photo we have on the first post that this lens is suffering from the same effect as noted in the review
Obviously Ray will want to debate this but I think it's obvious that it is an optical property. Now why that shows it more than other reviews listed above is anyone's guess though the QC aspect is something Pentax have had a few issues with. I've seen quite a few variations with the DA-L version some are better, some are frankly awful with de-centering issues too
I knew you would pull that one out of your, ummm, hat, as I could tell by your unsupported comments about speherical aberrations that you were simply passing on what you read there.

DP Review made no measurements of any kind of any spherical aberrations, they just speculated about it and you simply parroted what they read with no facts to back up your claims, and have yet to present any.

The lens that has since been updated, and has been improved, which is noted in several reviews with data to back up the reports, and is in most ways is the equal of the competition, better in some ways, worse in others.

So, as usual, you make claims and assertions as fact that you cannot back up with any data.

Lastly, I have yet to see enough information to make any real decision about the cause in the OP, which could certainly be a lens issue of some kind, among about a half a dozen other possibilities.

Ray

Last edited by Ray Pulley; 01-05-2012 at 08:48 PM.
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