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06-18-2020, 04:30 PM   #1
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Kr blur is testing my patience.

Hello all,

For quite some time, I have been using a Pentax Kr to do some small-scale product photography.
I have been using a shooting table and a couple of flash units with umbrellas to control my light.
My Kr had been providing really decent images, and after spending a couple of months on the shelf, the camera appears to only provide images which are nearly in focus.
So, there in a low level of blur in my photos now that I can't account for, and I am hoping for some advice from the rest of you.

Initially, I pulled the stock lens from the body and cleaned the front and rear elements.
Then, I cleaned the CMOS sensor in the camera body.
I tried using a different lens, shooting at different apertures, different shutter speeds and different ISO settings.
I also turned off the shake reduction feature.
I've tested with autofocus on and also just using manual focus. Both times the camera will beep when it thinks the image is set. I have abided by this prompt and also ignored it in favor of my own eyesight.
Nothing has solved my problem so far. And, this is something I would like to deal with this issue before I get some more work again.

Perhaps I am missing something? Perhaps DSLR cameras just 'get old' and need to be put out to pasture?
All input is appreciated. Thanks.

06-18-2020, 04:44 PM   #2
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If you upload some of the blurry pictures to the thread it will be easier to detect the problem
06-18-2020, 05:00 PM   #3
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I would check the viewfinder diopter to see if it's adjusted correctly. Gridlines should be nice and sharp. Also, are the photos in focus using liveview?
06-18-2020, 05:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by krBlues Quote
Perhaps DSLR cameras just 'get old' and need to be put out to pasture?
While manufacturers would love that, no it's not true.

1) Are you shooting from a tripod? If so then shake reduction should be off. If you are not using a tripod you might try that. I always use one for product shots. It just makes things easier.

2) What distance are you shooting from? There is a minimum focusing distance. I swapped lenses during a product shoot once and everything after the lens swap was blurry because the new lens had a longer minimum focus distance. It is quite possible to get an in focus beep but have the subject blurry because the camera focused on something in range but the subject is in the foreground and not in focus.

3) The 'in focus' beep is close but not really 100% accurate depending on the aperture you are using. Its a good guide but don't rely on it when working close in.

4) What aperture are you using? Too small and you will not get the entire object in focus

5) Try using Liveview on a tripod and see if that helps. Liveview uses a different focusing system.

6) It would really help to see some images with the EXIF intact. Otherwise we are just guessing and throwing out suggestions.

7) If you are using the viewfinder make sure the diopter is set properly.

06-18-2020, 05:49 PM   #5
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While viewing images in live view they appear blurred. When they are downloaded, they are still the same.
I am using a tripod with the stock lens currently at about 52 mm.
The distance from the object to the lens is about five feet.
Shake reduction is off.
The diopter appears to be about as good as it gets.
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-r  Photo 
06-18-2020, 05:52 PM   #6
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Not sure why my image appears broken. Let's try again...
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View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-r  Photo 
06-18-2020, 06:05 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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Neither of the above images appear blurred to me.
They could use a bit of a mid-tone contrast bump (curves adjustment), but I see no blurring.

06-18-2020, 06:21 PM - 1 Like   #8
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These aren't blurred, they're unsharp. Try using some gentle sharpening, or adjust the fine sharpening setting in the camera menu.
06-18-2020, 06:52 PM - 1 Like   #9
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One thing I may have overlooked is that the photographer's eyes are due to have an updated RX filter applied to them.
If they photos appear in focus to others, I can't think of anything else to blame.
06-18-2020, 07:24 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Yup... Looks in focus to me. I'd try reading glasses first...
06-18-2020, 08:37 PM   #11
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Also I would not use the AF/in focus beep. Unless it is confirmed to be spot on for the lens you are using. AF (and thus the AF beep w/ manual focus) is more likely to not be critically accurate.

Trust your eyes instead. Although it (manual focus) could be off, it is unlikely if the screen was not changed.
06-18-2020, 11:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by selfnoise Quote
These aren't blurred, they're unsharp. Try using some gentle sharpening, or adjust the fine sharpening setting in the camera menu.
They are not unsharp either. Maybe a bit soft. But the whites are not whites and the blacks not black. I would say they lack contrast, white and black should be more outspoken, they now appear to be variants of grey between light and dark. If you have the same effect in your colour pictures I can imagine you think they are blurred.
06-18-2020, 11:35 PM   #13

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If your f-stop is small, blurring can be caused by refraction. Donít use a stop smaller than f/8-11 for maximum sharpness. Refraction kicks in at f/8 and becomes dominant from f/11 on. All depending on pixel pitch, but these numbers will apply to hyoid are camera.
06-19-2020, 06:46 AM   #14
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I would remark that 55mm, f5.6, near focus is probably the weakest point of the kit lens. Stopping down to f8 will improve things, however if you try a fast 50 like the "M" or "A" 50mm f1.7, which is what I use by default for most of my lens pics, and shoot at a middling F I think you will see a big jump in iq. 50-1.7's are easily acquired for well under $50.
One other thought: are you using a remote/cable shutter release?

@zapp diffraction not refraction

Last edited by marcusBMG; 06-19-2020 at 10:26 AM.
06-19-2020, 07:48 AM   #15
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Is 5 feet considered close focus for that lens at that focal length? I haven't looked at the focusing ring distance scale on my copy of that lens in a very long time. It might be. I like the suggestion of a 50mm prime to do this instead, like the M or A 50 1.7's or a DA 50 1.8 as well. All solid performers stopped down to f4 or f5.6 and very useful for general shooting as well.

It seems like the K-r offers magnified live view which is very useful in finding good focus manually. It can be tedious but I don't think it gets any better than that and in a studio with a tripod (and shutter release!) it shouldn't be much hassle. It would be interesting to see if something has changed; I am inferring that this same setup used to give better results than it does today which is odd.

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