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10-12-2012, 04:45 AM - 1 Like   #16
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I understand you are very enthusiastic and I'll be kind to you - you want to learn which is great and you understand it takes time, which is even greater! You're changing too much, too often to really get an understanding for what the effect is. SLOW DOWN!!!!

First of all, strange as it may sound: put down the camera after you've take it of M-mode and don't touch it! Read the manual, it is an absolute essential thing that you don't go blundering into the menu changing stuff left and right without even understanding what you're doing. Really, I mean it in the nicest possible way.

Then take on one thing for a week, let's say focus modes. Set your camera to P-mode so there's one thing less to worry about: the exposure. You've =been using M(anual) mode until now and it shows. P-mode will make a better selection of settings for now than you are capable of until you start understanding lens qualities and pitfalls.

Spend a week on the different focus modes, shooting a few different subjects and trying to get the camera to focus on different parts of the image. Use AF.S first with center point, then with different points you select and lastly with autopoint select. Then do all of that again in AF.C.

Have a look at the EXIF data in the image files to understand what the settings were, you'll see quick enough what worked and what didn't. Use an exif-viewer or your favorite image editor. Photome and Irfanview are both free downloads that offer an insight into the information hidden in the files.

Then, in a new week, explore the lightmeter settings, spot, area and center emphasized. Again, look at the exif to see what seemingly worked in which situation. You'll find that what worked on a landscape didn't necessarily worked on a portrait or closeup and vice-versa.

Work your way through the different programmed smartstuff in your camera but keep track of what you did and go about it methodically until you know your camera's most effective settings. Stick to those settings for a few months and turn to composition, subject matter, processing etc. before you move on.

I wish you good learning and please do not drive yourself crazy - we all went through this and there is a way out! GOOD LUCK!

10-12-2012, 04:54 AM   #17
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Haha, wow! Thanks newmikey!

What you suggested is sometihng that I never thought of... I will try this method.
10-12-2012, 08:27 AM   #18
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Please understand that JPEG is not as fantastic as RAW files can be - and if you have seen super sharp pictures before, they most likely come from a good lens shot in RAW.

That being said, JPEG can still be very good. Make sure your sharpness settings and in-camera processing settings are tweaked the way you like. For example, if you have noise reduction on at low ISO (like ISO 400, if you somehow set it to that setting, and your shots attached are ISO 400) - it could make the OOF areas look muddier. Read the manual, as newmikey said, and play with the settings. It took me about 2,000 shots before I understood most of the settings on my camera, and it took me 20,000 shots to actually understand ALL the settings. Trust me, you'll find out new features in your camera even a year later - because at the beginning, you won't understand why they are needed or used.

If you can, shoot RAW for a bit and see how you can increase the sharpness, recover details, etc on those files to understand the full limits on the sensor. Even if you don't like post processing - shooting RAW will give you an understanding as to how the jpeg engine in your camera will work, and what it can/cannot do.

I would like to also say - any DSLR you pick up today will require the same understanding, if you are the type to review the picture at full size. A lot of people shooting DSLRs don't really go into the details, and are satisfied with the scaled down shots you presented in your posts - but you seem to want to go even further. To do that takes time and understanding.
10-12-2012, 08:32 AM   #19
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Thanks!

10-12-2012, 09:12 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
The first shot is actually pretty reasonable for the kit lens.
Agree on first shot, though I think a little under exposed. With Pentax I usually shoot 1/3 or 1/2 stop over to make things come right. Second shot is really weird. Was there a lot of wind? The trees look like a lot of motion blur, but it is not camera movement. If it was very windy that would explain a lot.

Also, noticed that your firmware is v1.0 not sure what changes were made but the current version is 1.12 Here is a link to the firmware page: Latest K-r Firmware Update : Software Downloads | PENTAX RICOH IMAGING

And I agree 100% with newmikey, you need to learn one thing at a time or you will drive yourself nuts. There are too many variables and if you just change things at random you won't really learn. Pick one aspect and learn it. Like newmikey says, use one of the semi-auto modes for a bit until you understand the camera. I use Av or P modes the most. All of us aspire to using M all the time, but really there is a reason for all those other modes. M is great but requires YOU to make all the decisions and you need more experience in order to do that. Put the camera on P or Av for a bit a try that.

If you want to learn this and not just go about taking snapshots I suggest getting a copy "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson. Most libraries have it and it's not that expensive. There is a new version just out recently updated with more info on digital. It will give you a good base of knowledge on how this works.
10-12-2012, 09:38 AM   #21
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No, there was no wind.

I will do that update, too. Thanks!
10-12-2012, 12:01 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by hollywoodhr Quote
No, there was no wind.
Did you have the 'green hand' indicating shake reduction had locked on?
10-12-2012, 12:08 PM   #23
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Yes, that was on

10-12-2012, 12:25 PM   #24
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Hi again, this morning I applied some of the pieces of advice I gave to you, and thought I'd share the results, so you get the point. I was in a very dim setting, so I used a tripod, f/11, ISO 100 and a 4 second exposure. I have also attached a 100% crop. Keep in mind that there was also some inevitable subject blur


10-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #25
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Wow! Thanks for the photos! I wish my photos were like that.

I guess I should really get a tripod. Eventually
10-12-2012, 12:54 PM   #26
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An inexpensive tripod should be easy to get - or a monopod which is great for landscape.

All the advice above is great - P mode lets you change parameters one at a time, to see how the camera decides other parameters. You'll get the feel for it - but just like in film days, keep your shutter speed up to avoid blur. Shake reduction works well for your hands but not your subject.
10-12-2012, 01:20 PM   #27
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Maybe you should check your camera-holding technique. Are you using the viewfinder, or live view using the LCD screen? It's important to keep the camera steady by keeping it close to your body and/or face and gently, but firmly pressing (not jab) the shutter button. Since your tabletop shots look ok, it could be you're not supporting the camera properly during your handheld shots. Here's some examples: Holding the Camera - Fundamental to Better Photographs Good luck.
10-12-2012, 01:25 PM   #28
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Thanks!

I try to hold my camera the right way like it shows on the site that you linked, paulh, but I tend to forget. So...
10-12-2012, 09:13 PM   #29
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Helena and others,

I'm following this thread with great interest. I bought a K-30 around 3 weeks ago and have been experiencing similar things to Helena - some softness on the edges, lack of focus in some instances.

I'm following all of the great advice, too, so keep up the excellent work everyone

Regards, Gary
10-12-2012, 10:23 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by musings Quote
Helena and others,

I'm following this thread with great interest. I bought a K-30 around 3 weeks ago and have been experiencing similar things to Helena - some softness on the edges, lack of focus in some instances.

I'm following all of the great advice, too, so keep up the excellent work everyone

Regards, Gary

What are you using for a lens? Soft focus around the edges is often a product of the lens being used, and a lot of lenses will do this at some focal lengths and f-stop settings. I have 4 lenses for my K-r and 3 lenses for my Nikon D90 and they all exhibit soft focus at the edges dependent upon the settings. Generally you can expect better focus at the edges in the middle range of the lens with a setting of f8-f10 and a faster shutter speed. If you are using a kit lens of 18-55mm and are using the wider angles you will get softer focus and distortion at the lower end of the range. Take some test shots with the lens set to mid focal length and a smaller (higher) f-stop and see if it persists. Also check where the camera is focusing. How are the main portions of the center of the photo?
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