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11-11-2011, 02:09 AM   #1
JohnS
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K5 and FA* lens

I am a long time Pentax user, many bodies and lens, who has been disappointed with the picture quality that I have obtained using K10D and K7 bodies with FA* 300 f2.8 and FA* 80-200 lens. I need to know: 1) if the K5 is going to give me much sharper pictures with these lens than I have been getting from past Pentax digital bodies; 2) or, must I buy the newer digital 300 lens to acheive sharpness; 3) or, do I need to revert back to slides; 4) or, do I need to change brands if I expect digital cameras to give me the sharpness that I am used to getting shooting slides? Please, someone give me a reason to stay with Pentax for digital photography!

11-11-2011, 04:06 AM   #2
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Slides are tough competition.
My office colleague still didn't go digital, because he doesn't believe he could get as good results as slides with FA77.
Recently I shown him a print 1mx0.5m made from my K-5 and he seemed to be almost persuaded. But not totally.
But I'm very happy with performance of my FA*24 and FA*85 on K-5. I do not think megapixels are the cure, if you want to get the most out of digital files you need to learn how to develop RAW, how to sharpen the files and hot to play with contrast and local contrast in PPL or Lightroom.
It took me some time to lean, but the difference between well processed RAW and jpg out of camera is often greater than diffrence between files from K10D and K-5 (but of course K-5 gives you much better data to start with).
11-11-2011, 05:04 AM   #3
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I am a regular user of K5 with FA*600 lens and DA*300 lens; In the past I have used these lenses with K7 too; K5 gives much sharper picture than the K7 particularly with the FA*600 cause there is far, far less noise at medium iso - from 300 to 800 iso - which are sensitivities I frequently use cause with these lenses I have to use high shutter speeds; noise implies loss of resolution; the noise characteristic of the K5 is the feature that will gives you the most advantage in sharpness, more than the increase from 14 to 16 Mpix; FA*300 have the reputation be be an excellent lens it should give a great combo with the K5; don't forget to carefully adjust the AF to the lens, and work with raw files
Regards
11-11-2011, 07:05 AM   #4
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The FA* 300 /2.8 is an amazing lens- you'll get excellent results with it and the K-5. While sharpness doesn't really depend upon the camera's sensor, you can expect the K-5 to deliver better image quality than previous Pentax DSLRs.


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11-11-2011, 07:59 AM   #5
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I've found over the past four decades that if my pictures aren't sharp enough and I am using good lenses, then I need to be looking at what I am doing, not blaming my gear.
The K10 and K7 are both capable of giving "sharp" pictures, as is the K5, as are the lenses you have mentioned.
11-12-2011, 11:26 PM   #6
JohnS
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K5 and FA* lens reply

Gentlemen and/or ladies, thank you so much for your replies. I will take to heart your comments, suggestions and reccomendations. I have been pursuing amateur wildlife photography for over 30 years, and, I have a "fetish" for being able to count eyelashes and whiskers on my subjects. My judgements of the K10 and K7 bodies were taken from my experiences using a sturdy tripod, remote release, 200asa settings, medium apertures, RAW settings, Pentax lens, and virtually stationary animals. It also does not help that when I am reviewing my shots in-camera I sometimes have someone next to me that is doing the same with a Nikon or Canon, with lesser MPs, and their in-camera reviews are much sharper than mine. My past experience with slides has always shown that Pentax optics have been at least equal to all others. That has been where my frustrations have come from. Even shots that I thought were good enough to print have disappointed me when printed. Naturally, I have friends that try to persuade me to change brands, but I have resisted. Your comments have made me decide to purchase a K5 body and try to regain my interest in digital photography.
11-13-2011, 01:56 AM   #7
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Congrats
My experience using long lenses for wildlife (the FA*600) is that, even with a sturdy tripod (a gitzo systematic designed for 50 kgs lenses) the mirror movement is enough to introduce blurr when I shoot at shutter speeds from 1/20 to 1/60.
The lens vibrates at a visible low frequency (cause of the weight of the lens).
Using 2s shutter delay solves the issue but is not compatible with wildlife.
I would say that 1/250 is the minimum shutter speed to use with a 600 mm; may be are you facing this kind of vibrations ?
Best results are obtained by using a bean bag placed just under the hood
regards
11-15-2011, 01:16 AM   #8
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K5 and FA* Lens

goubejp---Thanks for the info. I had an older Pentax 600 once, years ago, until it cartwheeled down a flight of stairs. Pretty much destroyed it. Sold it as is for parts. Have not sprung for another one since. Trying to work full time and do photography only occasionalIy, I could not justify it. My wife especially would not let me justify another one. I too have trouble at low shutter speeds, but often attempt them anyway. Have burned a lot of slides that way, but, have also done ok with mirror lock. That is why I initally was so excited about digital. I guess that I really get upset, and probably too much so, when I would compare my review of an image in my K7 to a friend's Nikon review of the exact same image, and his would be so much sharper than mine. He keeps pushing me to change to Nikon, and I resist and go back to shooting slides. I have been so put out with my issues with digital, that I have not even picked up a camera since January. It makes me long for the good ol' days with the LX and manual lens. Thanks for the shoulder to cry on. I plan to shop for the K5 very soon.

11-15-2011, 02:32 AM   #9
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Comparing the review on camera LCD is very misleading. I remember when shooting side by side with mi girlfriend, she would always look at preview image on my old K10D and complain that the EOS 30D doesn't make so sharp pictures. Then on the computer the difference was often the other way around. With some experince you can tell if the image is focused properly, but still the real image quality cannot be judged.
K-5 is capable of producing better output than any DX Nikon camera, even comparable to cheaper FX Nikon D700.
11-15-2011, 06:38 PM - 1 Like   #10
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JohnS, if your prints aren't satisfying from digital, then there is a real issue there.

That said, comparing images on the backs of cameras is a misleading comparison - all digital cameras show a "preliminary display" JPEG (some mfr's apply sharpening to these) on that back LCD screen which is lower resolution, in pixels per inch, than almost any monitor or printer today.

My old K20D had such a low-resolution screen that I could only judge if something was truly sharp by the "edge pop" of the high contrast elements of the image switching from low-res to smoothed higher-res while zooming. The K-5 (and K-7) have much higher resolution LCD screens, but still pale in comparison to what a real computer monitor or print output will show. Perhaps your friend's Nikon has a better LCD screen or Nikon does some in-camera sharpening to the display JPEG.

If, side-by-side on the same computer screen or printout, your friend's images are sharper - and your technique is solid (which it probably is, if slides are no problem), then check back here and we can help you diagnose or "improve" the digital end of things.

I mean, if I can get the image below from the lowly DA 55-300 (a $400 lens!) on a K-5, there is little reason you won't be able to far exceed it:

11-16-2011, 12:49 AM   #11
JohnS
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K5 and FA* lens

Again--thanks to you both for reply and advice. I can see now that having neglected PentaxForums as a source of information, I have done myself a grave disservice. What you are telling me is that I may have deleted many images that were good because I judged them too harshly, or too quickly. I have based my digital experiences from outsourced printing of what few images I deemed acceptable to keep. I guess I need to change my focus to doing such myself. My wife was the one who always loved to tweak the images on the computer, while I always loved to capture them in the field. I lost her in 2008 to brain cancer, and I pretty much quit doing everything after that, and sold or gave away all of our equipment. So, I am illiterate in such matters.

elho_cid, I apparently have misjudged my K7 LCD zoomed images, and held my friend's D3 LCD zoomed images in too high regard. Thank you for your advice.

panoguy, my friend's D3 must sharpen his LCD displays for me to have been so impressed with his quality over mine. The more that I hear from you folks, the more enthusiasm I have for returning to nature photography. Your hawk image is awesome. That is the detail that I seek with digital. Don't know that I would call the DA 55-300 as "lowly" if that is what you get.

To all, let me ask you this: when I buy the K5, should I also get the DA300, or stay with my FA*300? I mean, does the DA lens offer more features, better images, with the digital bodies than my older lens offer with the digital bodies?

Thank you all for using your time to advise me on such matters.
11-16-2011, 01:11 AM   #12
JohnS
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K5 and FA* lens

panoguy---I love that image. The detail and background are fantastic. What type of hawk is this? The markings are confusing me as to what kind it is.
11-16-2011, 02:09 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
What you are telling me is that I may have deleted many images that were good because I judged them too harshly, or too quickly.
Probably yes. With proper procesing in computer, even image that looks dull and soft on camera screen can bloom into a great shot. It took me years to learn, but now when I re-open old RAW files I took when my K10D was a new camera, I can get a lot from them. Now Adobe is preparing the image debluring function for photoshop - I think twice before using delete button.

QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
To all, let me ask you this: when I buy the K5, should I also get the DA300, or stay with my FA*300? I mean, does the DA lens offer more features, better images, with the digital bodies than my older lens offer with the digital bodies?
DA* features the new silent and smooth AF motor. If you care for that, take it.
11-16-2011, 10:30 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnS Quote
panoguy---I love that image. The detail and background are fantastic. What type of hawk is this? The markings are confusing me as to what kind it is.
Thanks, JohnS. I'm glad you like it, as it's the one "animal photo" I'm most proud of and surprised I got. It's a (female?) red-tailed hawk, but I'm not a birder so I could be mistaken about the gender. They are found all over southern Ontario (and most of the northern US) to the point that seeing them by a roadside is almost a non-event... almost!

Regarding your deleted images: think of it from the zen perspective - you saw them, you took them, and that is more than enough. I know one (kinda nutty) guy who shot for a whole month without a card in his camera, just to get over his reflex to keep everything! The world never stops presenting photo opportunities, so get back out there and see if you like it.

If you're not much of a post-processor on the computer (which is the digital equivalent to being a darkroom-geek), then ask around here and people can show you how to set your camera to save images in JPEG format with the kind of sharpening, color and contrast you prefer. Then you can bypass the post-processing completely, if you'd like!
11-16-2011, 12:32 PM   #15
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John, I cannot comment on your lens suitability, but just a thought, could you not go to a camera shop and try one of your FA lenses on a K5 to see the results, furthermore if possible also shoot with DA lens of the same size, and you can compare shots? As I say just a thought mate

I've just physically ordered my K5 today having spent a year in awe of the images it produces over the competition - I'm moving up from a fuji bridge cam. I can assure you though, that some of the images the K5 can produce are absolutly stunning. Have a look at the "No more tests - just pictures" thread in the K5 forum.

Woody
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