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12-08-2013, 11:20 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Pentax K-3 Random Blurry Image Theory

This information has been scattered about in a bunch of posts and videos, I thought I'd collect it all in one place and throw it out there.

The K-3 came out about a month ago in late fall. And since then there have been reports of blurry images that seemed to have a random pattern to their occurrence.

The default High ISO Sharpening is set to “Auto.” The other choices are off, low, medium, and high. Pentax has always deployed very conservative image processing and noise reduction application in their previous DSLR's, and that's what most Pentax users are used to. The K-3 is a RICOH product and it seems that this is no longer the case, particularly with High ISO Noise Reduction. The “High” setting is VERY DESTRUCTIVE and will obliterate image detail when viewed at 100%.

I have observed that in flat light conditions, the AUTO setting will employ VERY HIGH ISO noise reduction even at ISO's as low as 400, resulting in completely blurry images when viewed at 100%. Yet the same scene photographed in more contrasty light will receive little High ISO noise reduction applied by the AUTO setting. When High ISO Noise Reduction is set to “OFF” image detail is preserved and the camera produces results one would expect, very very sharp.

I would first turn high iso noise reduction to off if I were experiencing any sharpness issues with the K-3 and then proceed from there.

12-08-2013, 11:43 AM   #2
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Nice find!

So with this news it would only apply to jpeg shooters since the in camera noise reduction applies only to jpeg.

I get to wondering then - all these people who have had the blurry images with the K-3 are only shooting jpeg? Buying a high end DSLR and not taking advantage of shooting in RAW?
12-08-2013, 11:54 AM   #3
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Perhaps this can be tested by using one RAW file and processing in-camera with different noise reduction settings? I don't know if noise reduction is an on-camera PP option.
12-08-2013, 12:10 PM   #4
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Thanks Ed for posting your information on this possible problem, I've seen some of your videos and appreciate the effort you've put into this.

I don't have a K3 yet, but its likely in my future so i've somewhat been following this discussion.
With the K5, there were also a few random reports of blurry images. I shoot thousands of pictures, with my K5, of dress rehearsals for a local playhouse. I found that if i turned the SR off on the K5, i got far more consistently sharp images than i did with it on. SR is fine on things like macros where your are taking your time and holding the camera in one direction, but snap shooting during a play production or sidewalk shooting, etc., the camera did not have the 2 sec of time necessary to lock into a new direction. So i'd like to hear if new owners are still having blur problems after turning off the SR.

For beginners, what you rely on with SR off, is shutter speed. Some knowledgeable folks recommend shutter speeds of 1/2xFL minimum or 1/5xFL even better. So for a 50mm lens, one should use a shutter speed of 1/100s up to 1/250s
If you are shooting actors on a stage, fast shutter speeds are no handicap, because i've found 1/160s to be useful for freezing their motion, and even in that speed, you can see hand and foot blur.

Thom Hogan made similar comments about Nikon's VR systems. Both Nikons VR system and Pentaxs SR system have gone thru a couple iterations since these comments, so maybe this is no longer a problem. But i doubt it. In any case, if one has blurring problems, try turning off the SR system and use a fast shutter speed of 5 times the FL to see if that makes a difference. I'd be interested in hearing the results of such testing.

I do wish camera makers would explain in more detail the limitations of these vibration reduction systems, but they don't. Years ago when i had first bought the K10, i was ready to send back this 18-250 Tamron lens because i got blurry pictures with it. Thankfully before i sent the defective lens back, i slapped it on a tripod with a 2 sec delay (inactivates SR by the way) and got sharp pictures. Ah - ha, it was an operator problem - nuff said :-)

12-08-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Nice find!

So with this news it would only apply to jpeg shooters since the in camera noise reduction applies only to jpeg.

I get to wondering then - all these people who have had the blurry images with the K-3 are only shooting jpeg? Buying a high end DSLR and not taking advantage of shooting in RAW?
Less experienced photographers would generally be more inclined to shoot jpeg and leave settings like the high iso noise reduction to the default setting of auto. And would be more inclined to experience the issue. And then a lot of the responses were "Users need to up their technique with the 24mp sensor." Fits what was happening.
12-08-2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Nice find!

So with this news it would only apply to jpeg shooters since the in camera noise reduction applies only to jpeg.

I get to wondering then - all these people who have had the blurry images with the K-3 are only shooting jpeg? Buying a high end DSLR and not taking advantage of shooting in RAW?
Stan, apparently some are in doubt that programs like Lightroom have a K3 profile yet and are choosing to use Jpgs until Adobe catches up.
12-08-2013, 12:26 PM   #7
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I'd just like to comment on something: In the OP it's implied that the K-5 family etc. didn't utterly wreck detail with High NR. That's not true. What IS true, however, is that the cameras were pretty conservative in applying it. (Was just trying this out today actually - Auto NR only choose High for ISO 50k.)
12-08-2013, 12:27 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Hi Ed
I appreciate your efforts here and in the other forum/dpr/.

12-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Qwntm Quote
Less experienced photographers would generally be more inclined to shoot jpeg and leave settings like the high iso noise reduction to the default setting of auto. And would be more inclined to experience the issue. And then a lot of the responses were "Users need to up their technique with the 24mp sensor." Fits what was happening.
QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Stan, apparently some are in doubt that programs like Lightroom have a K3 profile yet and are choosing to use Jpgs until Adobe catches up.
Both responses make sense - thanks.
12-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #10
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I would like to hear your take on the anti moiré function in regard to sharpness. I have, with my Tamron 90 and my Tamron 70-200, tried to see the difference between shots taken in "laboratory" fashion at home with the anti moiré set to Off, 1 and 2 but there is no visible difference so I guess I am doing the testing the wrong way or? I can hear the special noise the camera makes when applying the function. I have used slow shutter speeds i.e arround 1/125 at f3.2 /3.5 shooting greenish fabric.

My background is as an electrical engineer who has been snapping pictures since 1978 and since 2007 with Pentax DSLRs. The K10d for 4 years with 13500 exposures, the K-5 for almost two years with 31000 exposures and now the K-3 for three weeks with 7000 exposures... most of them test shoots to figure out how this baby handles. I am a very happy K-3 owner but there are some small things I can't figure out and the above is one of them. I always shoot i RAW.

/Thomas
12-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #11
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Hi Edward, I appreciate the time and effort you're putting into this, and sharing the results, but I do have a few questions about it. You may have already seen them, because I also posted them in a comment on your latest video.

1) Does the high-ISO setting affect RAW files too? In the video, you seem to imply it does not, and that would be my guess too, but could you give a definitive answer to that?

2) Did you perform the high ISO NR on/off tests using the same shutter speed? In the intro of your vid, the NR on shot was at 1/2000s and the NR off shot was at 1/60s. And the thing is, the K-7 suffered from blurred images at specific shutter speeds (due to tiny vibrations caused by the shutter movement inside the body).
12-08-2013, 09:39 PM   #12
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there is High-ISO Noise Reduction Custom setting, I set my K-3 to:

100-200-400 all off

800-1600 low

3200-6400-----51200 mid

will keep those settings till the first firmware update.

kind regards

jack
12-09-2013, 05:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Stan, apparently some are in doubt that programs like Lightroom have a K3 profile yet and are choosing to use Jpgs until Adobe catches up.
I'm processing DNG from the K-3 in Lightroom just fine.
12-09-2013, 05:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by klkitchens Quote
I'm processing DNG from the K-3 in Lightroom just fine.
+1 ~ LR 5.2 with NIK extensions, too... no problems...

Cheers... M
12-09-2013, 06:08 AM   #15
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RAW is ok in LR 4.4 as well.
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