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11-25-2012, 05:32 AM   #1
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Sharpness of the K01 + 40xs lens

How's everyone finding the sharpness of the K01 + 40xs combo? For some reason unknown to me I'm finding it hard to get sharp crisp photos with this combo (there's noticeable smearing when I zoom in the photos taken). I was getting much sharper photos with my Q and previous sony nex 5n. I don't have any other pentax lens, so don't know whether it's got something to do with my equipment or just my bad technique, but I was getting much sharper photos with my non-stabilised nex 5n setup, so the shake reduction is obviously not helping. Also I've already bump up the sharpness levels and tried a range of shutter speeds/aperture levels, but still not getting the results expected.

Anyway just throwing it out there, maybe i had too high hopes of the 40xs lens.

11-25-2012, 05:41 AM   #2
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Check Photozone for the 40mm Limited (same optical construction).
11-25-2012, 05:51 AM   #3
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Agreed on observation; for same optical construction.

I've never had any issues in using it until - needing a quality hood or filters. A hood even made for that size filter just never looks quite right. Plus best of luck finding filters in that size; which almost means that one is required to get step up ring(s) for the creative filters.

Yet for the size of the lens' and also the price - it is difficult to beat. I'll personally never give up on the FA43 though
11-25-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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That seems a bit strange because that should be a very sharp combination. Just a few things to check, and forgive me if this all too obvious.
- Are the shots focused accurately? The K-01 focuses quite differently to my previous camera, so it took me a while to get used to it. By the way, have you updated to firmware 1.01? That helps with focusing.
- Are the shots at very high ISO? That will affect the sharpness and introduce smearing.
- Is the shake reduction activated? You can check this in the "info" menu.

11-25-2012, 08:08 AM   #5
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I use the same camera lens combo, and sometimes my images are not as sharp as I would like them to be, but on the other hand.. sometimes they are much sharper than I expected. Here is what I found out about it:
Make sure you use a high shutter speed. With the 40mm, the camera will automatically go as low as 1/90, which is too slow for me. Apparently I have shaky hands, so I need a fast shutter speed. The other thing is if the lens is wide open and the DoF is too shallow.
If you are used to DSLRs, the K-01 also has a dfferent AF system. You have a little square (you can change its size btw) and you can move it around the screen. Within that square, the camera will try to maximize contrast/focus. This doesn't mean it will necessarily focus on what you want, though. And especially if I forget to move the square where I want the focus to be
But the K-01 has fewer AA filters than most other cameras and the 40mm lens is very sharp. To really test it you should try placing it (on tripod), turn off SR, use M mode and set ISO to 100 and aperture between f4 and f8, then focus manually. If you want I can post some 100% crops of my K-01/40mm XS shots so you can compare
Oh, and post processing can affect the perceived sharpness as well, everything from contrast to WB.
11-25-2012, 08:09 AM   #6
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Please post some sample images of what you are talking about - that can help us determine what's wrong
11-25-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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Are you shooting RAW? If you shoot RAW the K-01 needs some bump in the sharpening, I know it's odd, take an image in JPEG and than RAW and compare them, you'll see the RAW files are softer but easily fixed through PP. I've also read from people who own the NEX7 and K-01 and that the K-01 RAW files are softer but have more DR to play with em so fixing the is a cake walk but still you need to add more sharpening than you would with any other camera... My Q images are sharper than my K-01 right out the box, but after PP the Q can't even come close...
11-25-2012, 01:25 PM   #8
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There shouldn't be any issues as far as sharpness goes- my only complaint about the XS is that it's a bit noisy, doesn't have quick shift, and can at times be hard to remove due to its small size!


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11-25-2012, 01:27 PM   #9
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I am having the same issues, shooting in jpeg. Here are some random test shots, basically just trying to get the right focus, only thing done to them is resize for posting:

This one was with the 15mm limited, and its the sharpest of the bunch:



All the rest are with the 40mm:







The closer the subject, the better in focus the 40mm seems. I will say this - none of these were taken in the best light, and the camera performs in those circumstances much better than my K7. Also, I really am finding myself a little bit in love with the color the K-01+40mm produces. That last shot of the rib roast is an example of what I mean. The colors just seem more vibrant and sharp than anything my K7 has done. Now, if only I could fix the focusing issues I'm having! It's also really frustrating that the little square focuses where it thinks you want it to, rather than where you want it to. I probably took a dozen shots of Dad on Thanksgiving, and it kept wanting to focus on his arm or the chair, rather than on him. Very frustrating, seems a recipe for missing a lot of shots.
11-25-2012, 02:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
That seems a bit strange because that should be a very sharp combination. Just a few things to check, and forgive me if this all too obvious.
- Are the shots focused accurately? The K-01 focuses quite differently to my previous camera, so it took me a while to get used to it. By the way, have you updated to firmware 1.01? That helps with focusing.
- Are the shots at very high ISO? That will affect the sharpness and introduce smearing.
- Is the shake reduction activated? You can check this in the "info" menu.
Thanks for the points above, but they were all checked.

I don't shoot in raw, I just try to keep everything simple at present (given my limited photography knowledge). I do notice I struggle as well once the shutter speed is under 100, not sure why, as I could easily shoot sharp photos at 1/60 say with my previous setups.

Here are a few samples, the 1st & 2nd photos are from the K01, straight jpg, no PP aside from resizing. With the first photo, that's pretty much the sharpest I can get with the K01 and in all honesty, I rarely get photos that sharp with the K01, the majority are more blurry.

The 3rd photo is from my old sony nex 5n (with SEL50 f1.8) which I no longer have. I got a lot more keepers from the 5N and from my eyes, the sony photo is still noticeably sharper than my best K01 shot (especially when I blow it up). Maybe I'm just not use to the ergonomics of the K01 and camera shake is more pronounced. I just struggle to get that crispness.
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-01  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-01  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
NEX-5N  Photo 

Last edited by BigMike; 11-25-2012 at 02:40 PM.
11-25-2012, 03:51 PM   #11
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BigMike, I'm thinking it's not lack of sharpness so much as lack of depth of field - the EXIF on both images shows the lens wide open. Try Av mode stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8, and see if things don't improve.
suliabryon, I'm thinking the same thing on the ribroast (dang, now I'm hungry! ) - I can see a very thin DoF, but I'm not as sure about Dad and dog -'dog' looks more like motion blur to me.
11-25-2012, 04:12 PM   #12
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This was shot at f/4.5 with the DA 40 XS, and I don't have any problems with the sharpness - at 100% crop, you can see the legs on the fly inside the flower (you may have to take my word on it - it's there ).

11-25-2012, 04:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by suliabryon Quote
I will say this - none of these were taken in the best light, and the camera performs in those circumstances much better than my K7.
Those photos have a shutter of 1/15, 1/40.. that is way too slow without a tripod. When handheld I try to use a shutter speed of 1/(2*focal length) or faster.

And BigMike has the same problem with some of those photos. That, and aperture being too open (the fstop number at f2.8 means the depth of field will be very thin, so a lot of the photo will be out of focus. Bump it to a higher number for a bigger depth of field).

One more thing, the photos will look much better if you resize them to a regular jpeg size, like 900px on long size. Even pro photos can look terrible when at 100% on a digital monitor.

Here is what I would suggest to you guys: Set the camera to M mode, then set ISO to be auto iso 100-1600. Now you are in TAv mode and you set the shutter to 1/160 or faster, and the aperture to F5.6 or bigger number. You can also try the newest firmware, it will improve AF. Hope that helps
11-25-2012, 04:21 PM   #14
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OK, thanks all for the tips/suggestions.
11-26-2012, 11:43 AM   #15
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I feel that my copy is pretty sharp, but I defer to those of you with better eyesight and experience that I have.
This is a camera jpeg, given only some contrast in Picasa.

Model: PENTAX K-01
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/200 sec
Aperture: 2.8
Focal Length: 40mm



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