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06-23-2013, 10:48 AM   #1
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newbie to dSLR and my pentax q: question:)

Hello all, I've been lurking for awhile and finally decided to join. I am an absolute beginner with slr cameras and I bought a pentax q last week and have been experimenting. I've read read read and continue to read about dSLR photography but it's still confusing to me at this point. Right now I'm just using the 01 standard prime lens until I learn more about how my camera works before I attempt to buy any other lenses. I've tried all settings and I've messed with aperture and ISO settings based on what I've read but nothing is coming out well so far. I wanted to post a picture to show you the result I'm getting and hope that someone may be able to tell me what's wrong with it, and suggest a better setting I might use to correct it. I used to push my point and shoot to the max, had specific settings I learned were best, and edited until I had some really great photos. I know I have a good eye but sincerely lack the technical skills it takes for dSLR photos. Essentially, all focal points in my photos with my pentax q are turning out blurry. You can see this with the first pic I have attached here, the seedling is blurry. The seedling in the second pic is a bit better, but still not as sharp as I'd like. Can anyone tell what I'm doing wrong by looking at these pics? Thanks in advance!

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Last edited by noviceinla; 06-30-2013 at 09:33 AM.
06-23-2013, 12:23 PM   #2
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The first one is out of focus, either you/camera had the focus point pointed to the background or the seedling was closer to the camera than the lens can focus.
The second one almost looks like it has been blurred by movement, what was the shutter speed?

Don't worry, you will figure out how to work the camera and you got some nice pics on your flickr.
Have you updated the firmware in the camera and the lenses you use? The newer firmware really upgrades the autofocusing to a new level.
06-23-2013, 12:45 PM   #3
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Thank you, VisualDarkness! For the second pic, not sure what the shutter speed was, still learning about dSLRs, complete newbie to them. In the first pic, sorry if this sounds stupid, but how can I change the focus point to focus where I want it to? I can't figure out how to do that. I think that would be my best first basic concept to grasp. For some reason, the focus ends up being right next to what I'm trying to focus on instead of actually on what I want to focus on. To answer your question, I have not updated the firmware, but I will do so today. I appreciate your help and thanks for the comment on my flickr photos. I can't wait to grasp dSLR photography and move completely beyond point and shoot.
06-23-2013, 01:52 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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Hi Lisa,

Welcome to the Q forum!!!

The Q is a bit more demanding to shoot than your Canon Elph was, but I think that you'll find that once you get used to this, you'll like the results you get. You have to learn more about photography to use it effectively, but (at least for me) it's a whole lot more rewarding.

I'm assuming that you're using center point Spot AF. In your first shot, imagine the little red square in the viewfinder that turns to green when focus is achieved, and superimpose it on this pic. You'll find that the square falls on the background, and not on the seedling's leaves. In your second shot, focus is closer, but if you again superimpose the center square on the image, you'll see that it falls near the bottom of the leaves. With the Q, and 01 prime, at at f2.2, at or near Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD), which these look like, Depth Of Field (DOF, or the range of distances which are "acceptably" in focus) is pretty thin, despite what a lot of people might think. The bottom part of the leaves is in focus, but the tops are nearer to the camera, and while they may be "acceptably" focused, they're not really sharp.

To correct this, you can do what is called "focus and recompose". Center the seedling leaves in the VF, then half press the shutter button until the square turns green, hold the button at half press, then recompose your shot, and fully depress the shutter button when everything is located in the frame where you want it. I believe that this is actually how most photographers use AF.

You can also use Select Point AF if you're taking a lot of shots like this in a row and/or object to Focus and Recompose for whatever reason. To change the focus point, press the info button, and the Info Screen will appear. In the center is the AF mode rectangle. Press the OK button on the back of the camera, and another screen will appear showing you the AF mode options. The second from the right is a square surrounded with little arrows. This is Select Point, and this allows you to choose the area of the frame that will be active as an AF sensor. Select this with the OK button, then press the Info button twice and you'll be back in capture mode. Press the OK button, and you'll see little arrows appear around the superimposed focus point. Move it around with the four direction buttons, and you can choose the area where you want focus to be perfect. Try to make sure that there is some contrast border within this area because that's what the AF system uses to detect focus. Edges are usually the best, but texture is often enough.

I mentioned DOF before, this might probably also help. As I stated before, at f1.9 (max aperture, or "wide open"), or at any smaller number setting, DOF will be relatively thin at MFD. As distance increases, it becomes a lot deeper, but viewing your gallery, you seem to shoot a lot of close ups, so this will be a concern for these. If you use "Av" mode (aperture priority), you can choose a smaller aperture (larger number) and gain deeper DOF, so a greater range of distances will actually be critically in focus. to use this effectively, you'll probably want to set your ISO to Auto, and give yourself a range that gives you what you consider acceptable noise. Note that if you normally resize your pics for sharing online or only print up to 4x6 or even 5x7, by resizing down, a lot of noise will disappear with the resizing operation, so go by how you plan to display, and if it's normally downsized, then more noise is acceptable in the shot at full resolution. Your Canon PS Elph 300 HS lens had max aperture between f2.7-5.9 as you go from min to max zoom, so the DOF was naturally deeper than Q 01 prime at wider apertures. If you preset your aperture to somewhere between f2.7-f5.6, and pick the right AF area (or focus and recompose), then your blurry shots should go away.

Hope this helps. . . If you have further ??s feel free to ask. I'm sure that the members here would be very willing to help.

Scott

06-23-2013, 02:17 PM   #5
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btw: The Pentax Q is not a dSLR. It's a MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera)
06-23-2013, 02:55 PM   #6
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snostorm's explanation in his paragraph starting with "You can also use Select Point AF" is where you want to concentrate I think. In your Q manual on page 87 it explains the different AF settings. For how you are trying to shoot your included pics, I would set if for either "spot" or "select", then follow Scott's instructions.
06-23-2013, 04:19 PM   #7
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Welcome to the Qlub. Snostorm and everyone else did a great job explaining the Q AF procedure. I would add one very important point. The Q was not a very good autofocusing camera when it first came out. The firmware updates for body and lenses improved AFgreatly. Do the updates asap.
thanks
barondla
06-23-2013, 05:10 PM   #8
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Thank you so much for this detailed response, snostorm! It is very helpful. I appreciate it!

QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Hi Lisa,

Welcome to the Q forum!!!

The Q is a bit more demanding to shoot than your Canon Elph was, but I think that you'll find that once you get used to this, you'll like the results you get. You have to learn more about photography to use it effectively, but (at least for me) it's a whole lot more rewarding.

I'm assuming that you're using center point Spot AF. In your first shot, imagine the little red square in the viewfinder that turns to green when focus is achieved, and superimpose it on this pic. You'll find that the square falls on the background, and not on the seedling's leaves. In your second shot, focus is closer, but if you again superimpose the center square on the image, you'll see that it falls near the bottom of the leaves. With the Q, and 01 prime, at at f2.2, at or near Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD), which these look like, Depth Of Field (DOF, or the range of distances which are "acceptably" in focus) is pretty thin, despite what a lot of people might think. The bottom part of the leaves is in focus, but the tops are nearer to the camera, and while they may be "acceptably" focused, they're not really sharp.

To correct this, you can do what is called "focus and recompose". Center the seedling leaves in the VF, then half press the shutter button until the square turns green, hold the button at half press, then recompose your shot, and fully depress the shutter button when everything is located in the frame where you want it. I believe that this is actually how most photographers use AF.

You can also use Select Point AF if you're taking a lot of shots like this in a row and/or object to Focus and Recompose for whatever reason. To change the focus point, press the info button, and the Info Screen will appear. In the center is the AF mode rectangle. Press the OK button on the back of the camera, and another screen will appear showing you the AF mode options. The second from the right is a square surrounded with little arrows. This is Select Point, and this allows you to choose the area of the frame that will be active as an AF sensor. Select this with the OK button, then press the Info button twice and you'll be back in capture mode. Press the OK button, and you'll see little arrows appear around the superimposed focus point. Move it around with the four direction buttons, and you can choose the area where you want focus to be perfect. Try to make sure that there is some contrast border within this area because that's what the AF system uses to detect focus. Edges are usually the best, but texture is often enough.

I mentioned DOF before, this might probably also help. As I stated before, at f1.9 (max aperture, or "wide open"), or at any smaller number setting, DOF will be relatively thin at MFD. As distance increases, it becomes a lot deeper, but viewing your gallery, you seem to shoot a lot of close ups, so this will be a concern for these. If you use "Av" mode (aperture priority), you can choose a smaller aperture (larger number) and gain deeper DOF, so a greater range of distances will actually be critically in focus. to use this effectively, you'll probably want to set your ISO to Auto, and give yourself a range that gives you what you consider acceptable noise. Note that if you normally resize your pics for sharing online or only print up to 4x6 or even 5x7, by resizing down, a lot of noise will disappear with the resizing operation, so go by how you plan to display, and if it's normally downsized, then more noise is acceptable in the shot at full resolution. Your Canon PS Elph 300 HS lens had max aperture between f2.7-5.9 as you go from min to max zoom, so the DOF was naturally deeper than Q 01 prime at wider apertures. If you preset your aperture to somewhere between f2.7-f5.6, and pick the right AF area (or focus and recompose), then your blurry shots should go away.

Hope this helps. . . If you have further ??s feel free to ask. I'm sure that the members here would be very willing to help.

Scott


06-23-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for that clarification! I'll read up on MILCs now.

QuoteOriginally posted by sledger Quote
btw: The Pentax Q is not a dSLR. It's a MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera)
06-23-2013, 05:12 PM   #10
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Thanks, stormtech!

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
snostorm's explanation in his paragraph starting with "You can also use Select Point AF" is where you want to concentrate I think. In your Q manual on page 87 it explains the different AF settings. For how you are trying to shoot your included pics, I would set if for either "spot" or "select", then follow Scott's instructions.
06-23-2013, 05:15 PM   #11
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Hi barondla, thank you. I will do the updates very soon. Meant to earlier but have been in my backyard experimenting with my Q all day.

QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
Welcome to the Qlub. Snostorm and everyone else did a great job explaining the Q AF procedure. I would add one very important point. The Q was not a very good autofocusing camera when it first came out. The firmware updates for body and lenses improved AFgreatly. Do the updates asap.
thanks
barondla
06-23-2013, 05:30 PM   #12
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P.S. I ended up doing this earlier (before I read this) with some great results - so glad to know that others do this, wasn't even sure if it would work at first, or if I was doing it correctly, but it worked. Thanks again!

QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote

To correct this, you can do what is called "focus and recompose". Center the seedling leaves in the VF, then half press the shutter button until the square turns green, hold the button at half press, then recompose your shot, and fully depress the shutter button when everything is located in the frame where you want it. I believe that this is actually how most photographers use AF.

Scott
06-23-2013, 06:16 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by noviceinla Quote
Hi barondla, thank you. I will do the updates very soon. Meant to earlier but have been in my backyard experimenting with my Q all day.
That's the best start to learn your camera!
06-23-2013, 10:12 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Try a higher Aperture Number, it seems as if you shot it with 1.9 and you mismatched the focus on it as well.
You get a deeper field of sharpness by increasing the aperture number, to 2.8 for example.
And keep an eye on ISO, don't have it fixed but enable the Q to choose it by itself in a range from 100 to 1200 for example.
In b/w you can set it to a wider range like 1600.
Higher ISO gives you shorter shooting time and together with image stabilisation this should enable you to shoot in low light situations.
The green square that tells you that the focus is fixed sometimes fails and you should double check...
I hope this helps
regards and enjoy your Q!
Oliver
06-26-2013, 12:27 AM   #15
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Snowstorm your posts are so informative. I always learn from you.

To novice in la - if you are in Los Angeles we are doing a group meet up this Saturday at Belmont Pier in Long Beach.
Come out and say HI and we can help with your Q.
See this message https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/groups/54-california-pentax-users/2564-so...#gmessage32470
If you are not in L.A. but instead in Louisiana then it may be too far to drive but welcome nonetheless.
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