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01-31-2015, 02:02 PM   #1
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New(ish) K50 owner, am i getting there?

Hello all, have been lurking recently but decided it was time for my first post. I have had my K50 since April 2014 but have only used it properly on 3 different trips (Le Mans, Krakow and SE Asia) and between that its just been messing about at home with it and reading Tom Ang Digital Photography (if im honest i need to read it again to make sure it has all sunk in!)

Im now at a stage where i think i know the very basics and am getting to grips with my camera and my pictures are 'nice' but thats it, i feel like a tourist with a DSLR rather than a photographer if that makes sense.

Am i expecting too much from my kit lets and 35mm prime? or am i not even close to what these lenses can produce? i am tempted by some new glass as i love the sharpness of the prime but 35mm is frustrating for me at times as im forever wanting to step back and be able to shoot wider.

I have included a few photos, please be as harsh as you feel you need to be. Are there signs i know what im doing or am i missing some key basics?

01-31-2015, 03:08 PM   #2
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Like your posted photos, especially the last of pillars...well done. I say you should be pleased with your results of your efforts and that of your equipment. As for getting wider, consider something in the range of a DA 15mm, a DA* 16-50mm, the brand new DA 16-85, or DA 20-40mm. Looking for that "shot" that catches your attention takes time and patience...mostly it takes "being in the right place at the right time" and pressing that shutter button!

Last edited by Hogdriver; 01-31-2015 at 03:21 PM.
01-31-2015, 03:36 PM   #3
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thanks hogdriver your right on being at the right place at the righ time, the 15mm or 20-40mm lens sounds very appealing...
01-31-2015, 03:51 PM   #4
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You are definitely on the right track. Your images show an eye for composition; horizons are level; you have a willingness to alternate between landscape and portrait orientation. You obviously have a desire for going wider, so the additional options beside ones mentioned by Hogdriver are Da16-45mm (which I use) or the da12-24mm. But remember ultrawides require skill to really work; they need to have foreground subjects to give real depth. But dont be in a hurry to acquire more lens. Practise with different exposure modes and try stiching together a few panoramas; you can go really wide with what you've got! My five cents worth!

01-31-2015, 04:33 PM   #5
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Hey, welcome! Looks good! Photos have correct focus, nice and sharp, interesting subjects. The only thing I would say is that maybe you can try getting closer to the subject. At least with some of the sample photos, you are trying to show the context, which has its purpose, but usually you want to come closer, zoom in to the subjects.
The other thing is that with some of those photos you might benefit from enabling highlight and shadow correction (if you shoot jpeg), as well as using EV +/-. These things are useful when you want to prevent the sky from being all white (blown out, also called clipping highlights). These things need to be used correctly, or the photo might end up lacking contrast, but if used right, the results can be even better.
Anyway, keep at it, hope you post some more photos in the photo critique subforum or the post your photos subforum

Last edited by Na Horuk; 01-31-2015 at 04:39 PM.
01-31-2015, 05:11 PM   #6

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Yes, you're certainly getting it.

For some of these you need to get the subject out of the center of the frame. Not necessarily for the last shot, down the ancient hallway - sometimes this is the way you want it.

Start using non-center AF points for nearly all your shots. Typically the 4 corners. Compose around that. Almost never let the camera auto-select the AF point.

As for lenses, get a longer prime. 135mm is probably the best place to start here - F or FA would be my choice. Shoot it at f/3.2, f/3.5, or f/4 and see what you get. Alternatively, I like M or A100/2.8 non-macro for manual focus. Or you could pick up a used DA*50-135. Wonderful images from any of these.

Then you can try DA15 on the wide end (or possibly go with DA10-17, which I still have). And try something like A50/1.7, M50/1.4, or the DA50/1.8. Don't worry that all but the DA15 overlap the focal lengths of your DA18-135 - or is it the 18-55? Either way, the primes with the wider apertures make all the difference, so they're not redundant. IMO the 100-135mm is the most important, followed by the fast 50, and finally the wide lens. These will have a great affect on how you view photography and what you can/want to do with it.

Last edited by DSims; 01-31-2015 at 05:29 PM.
01-31-2015, 05:35 PM   #7
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I agree with the others that you have the basics covered. I really enjoyed your Cambodian pics, as I was there just a week or so before you. It is really tough to get shots of the ruined temples without the teeming masses of tourists, so well done with that.

It's not clear to me if you are shooting in raw or JPEG (or both). I would recommend shooting in raw for the extra latitude that can be had in post production, which would go a long way to help recover shadows and highlights.

Keep shooting, you definitely seem to be on the right track
01-31-2015, 06:20 PM   #8
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AS other have already written you are doing well. On the thing I do suggest however is to pay more attention to the edges of your images. Some of them have minor distracting elements at the edge. You can deal with these in several methods. Framing in camera, cropping, cloning or spot removal in post processing.

eg the second shot has the the arm of a bystander in frame - crop this out.
fifth shot has a light pole at an awkward angle coming into frame on the left - crop this out or include it fully and make it part of the image.
the last has bright elements again on the left that take the eye away fromthe main subject - again crop these out or you could use a cloning technique to be rid of them.

Small details that do distract from otherwise good work. One of the contributors to this forum calls it "patrolling the edges"

02-01-2015, 04:42 AM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback everyone! firstly as its been asked a few times im shooting everything in RAW and using the Silkypix Studio 3.0 that came with the camera but it probably shows that i dont really know how to use it...i might adjust the exposure, sharpness and colour but thats it i wouldnt have a clue how to do anything else. Is post production something that will really enhance my photos?

For stitching together phtos i wouldnt have a clue! im guessing decent software and a tripod? tripod is next on the list as i was gutted when i was in Singapore i was unable to photograph the cityscape at night

Sorry its the 18-55 WR kit lens i have, i guess the next lens i should get is the 55-300 WR lens as im going back to Le Mans and was crying out for much more zoom (also hear its better than the 50-200 WR lens)

Yes after checking back i do need to 'patrol the edges', this seems to apply to most my photos. Thankfully everything is still saved in RAW so i can crop these out and be more careful in future when shooting.

Sadly the white sky is something that has been giving me a hard time, sometimes it was actually a grey/hazy day but other times i could get rid of it but then the main subject was too dark. at the moment i am abit stuck on that one

once again thanks for the advice
02-01-2015, 04:54 AM   #10
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Overall, I'd say you're getting there, but...

I don't blame you (I never post for critique!) but you've been selective in what you've asked opinions on.

Some of the shots on your Flickr site are nowhere near as good, so since you are prepared to take it on the chin, why not post shots you're not happy with for critique? You'll learn more and quicker too!
02-01-2015, 08:51 AM   #11
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the reason i didnt post more photos from my SE Asia trip is i thought people might not want to look at and judge 15-20 photos, aside from those i think there a couple from Le Mans and that was the first time i used the camera properly and know they wont be good. Same goes for the Krakow photos i knew the camera better but it was a lads holiday with nobody else remotely interested in photography, all i was doing was slowing everyone down from getting into a warm bar so it was just a case of point,shoot,move on ( except the theatre at night where i was able to take my time)

That aside all my SE Asia photos were taken without being rushed and was trying to test my skills so im open to any opinion on those ones (i will also add a few more too)
02-01-2015, 05:17 PM   #12
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I'm going to echo some of the previous comments here and add my own twist. You're off to a great start! It looks like you recognize extraordinary material so you lift your camera to your eye and get to work. I think this is 70% of photography. There are countless times when I see people confronted with good material and they just let it pass by. Sad.

The next 30% is technique and I'm going to add +1 to what DSims said. Use off center focus. Consider your frame as real estate. You paid for all of those mega pixels. What do you want to fill them with? When you limit yourself to center-only focus your subject only takes up part of the frame. Consider a portrait. If you focus on the eyes using the center focus point then the eyes will be in the center and the torso will take the lower part of the frame. The complete top half of the frame is wasted. 90% of the time you'll crop that 16 MP picture down to 10 MP or less because you're removing wasted frame face. You want the head and eyes to be at the top of the frame and let the torso fill out the bottom part. The focus point will obviously not be in the center but in the top.

You can set the focus point by pressing the 4-way button. The focus indicator will blink in the viewfinder as it moves. In Live View you will see the focus square move to a different part of the screen. If you don't want to futz with the 4-way buttons then recompose after you focus w/the center point. For example, focus on the eyes, and then lower the camera until the subject fills your viewfinder. Just maintain the half-way press of the shutter button to keep the focus point. Or, use the rear AF button instead. Either way, you're focusing and recomposing. You will find yourself cropping less and using more of your frame for composition and material.

02-03-2015, 03:16 PM   #13
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brilliant tip on the focus i have just been messing about with that, thankyou

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