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12-12-2014, 07:26 AM - 2 Likes   #16
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For the first few weeks after I got my K5iis I was terrified that I had made a huge mistake because so many of my pictures were oof, shaky, just generally mal-exposed, mis-focused and terrible.

It was 99% user error. Practice with the gear. Set up simple shots and practice with the auto-focus.

I ended up spending an afternoon sitting on my back porch taking pictures of a coffee cup while working through each setting on the camera until I felt like I had an understanding of what it did.

After that I saw an immediate and huge jump in quality that continued to increase for, well, it still is almost 2 years later.

In my case a lot of what I thought I knew about using a dslr was actually specific to my old camera. I didn't know how to use a dslr, I knew how to use my D3100. So I had to re-learn a lot. You may be in the same boat.

12-12-2014, 07:45 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Homo_erectus Quote
For the first few weeks after I got my K5iis I was terrified that I had made a huge mistake because so many of my pictures were oof, shaky, just generally mal-exposed, mis-focused and terrible.
Same here. I even thought I got defected camera. I did not bother to read the manual yet, so there is not much surprise why my pictures suddenly look like crap. But I love the camera because there are so many features I have not explored yet, and ISO performance is awesome. Just need to stop snapping and read the manual. Again, and again.
12-12-2014, 07:54 AM - 2 Likes   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
I've turned off every NR as a result. Will try shots tonight and tomorrow and see what happens. But with it on, it seems to produce pics not as good as I can get with my K-x.
Hmmm...Yes, you may have too many bells and whistles and perhaps a little too much overthinking (common problem). I can make a few suggestions to help rule out obvious malfunction:
  • Use a known good lens (one that you have had good success with on your K-x) of moderate focal length (55mm or shorter)
  • AF-S, center point fixed
  • If shooting JPEG, use the highest quality settings, natural JPEG color mode
  • Auto-ISO OFF, with ISO set to 200. That should remove any inadvertent NR from the equation.
  • SR ON
  • Av mode at f/5.6
In good light at moderate distance, take a couple of shots of a simple stationary subject. Take care that the SR active (hand icon) is visible in the viewfinder and that shutter speed is reasonable. How do your photos look? Are they acceptable at both full screen and (less importantly) full-resolution crops? If not, how are they bad?

If soft, do the above setup with these changes:
  • On tripod
  • Shutter on 2s delay (turns off SR)
  • Moderately close distance, 20X the focal length

Still soft? Try as above with these changes:
  • Live view focus peaking = ON
  • Manual focus
  • Live view, magnified (long press "OK" button)
  • Use focus peaking in magnified view for critical focus
This last is the acid test. If the images are still soft there is an issue with the lens. If the images look good there is an AF problem, either how you are using the focus points or lens AF calibration.

If manual focus looks good:
  • On tripod
  • Same subject as in the last two tests
  • Using AF, acquire focus
  • Without touching the lens focus ring, switch to manual focus (reduces risk of accidental change)
  • Switch to magnified live view and notice the plane of focus indicated by focus peaking
If the plane of focus is not where you expected, you should ask yourself why:
  • Ambiguous intended focus point (camera = very bad at reading minds)?
  • Size of focus point larger than intended point of focus? (see above)
  • Lens apparently front/back focusing
If you suspect the last bullet above, confirm (again using a tripod) with a subject having high contrast and sharp black/white lines. Make it as easy as possible for the machine to do well. Some prefer a flat target (back of cereal box) next to a ruler at 45 degree angle. Others use a curved surface (back of spray paint can). I generally just use a flat target at 20X the focal length distance and determine front/back focus by the direction required to correct.

If you do have a front/back focus issue, you can adjust the lens calibration.


Steve
12-12-2014, 09:11 AM   #19
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Wow, thanks everyone. I was fully expecting to be flammed out, even borrowed a flame retardant suit from one of my firefighter friends!

Just for a little bit of info- I read the manual twice, bought a more indepth manual from Yvon Bourque's site, and I cannot post pics since I've been practicing on family & foster kids (we're foster parents).

Last night confirms some of my initial thoughts. The ISO is the problem. It fights me. It wants to do everything for me. It will not even let me snap a pic until it's approved settings are met. Its maddening.

I said I was turning everything off for last nights practice but after reading the recommended settings, I switched some back on and got nothing but noise. Stills look like they are 1870 stills from the Wild West.

Indoor shots at 3200 ISO??? (because I limited it, it was jumping to 51000) Drives me crazy. As soon as a single light bulb in the building is turned off it jumps to the worst case scenario! Then my aperture (had to crank it to 3.6 before it let me snap a pic) is thrown off & the shutter speed is sooooooooo slow everything is a blur (camera made me drop down to 1/20). Looking at the pics in post just made me sick. I was shooting in a church, fully lit, Christmas play with my kids. Pics are garbage, Film is really nice.

Interestingly enough, when I switch to movie, not changing from my desired setting, its crystal clear when I play it back in post. But the stills are just screaming with noise.

I'm liking the movie function of this camera. Yes there is jello but nothing that post can't cure. In fact even a light weight NLE can cure everything I've seen so far.

Also, AF, even in single point, I would get a jumping red dot, as if its going to find what I really wanted to focus on. I know how to center and keep a subject in center even at a full out run for the goal with my K-x which had no red box/dot.

Maybe I have a defective camera. Pentax wants me to send it to someplace in CT. So, I'll be w/o a camera over the holidays. Unless I return it or figure out its a level 8 issue.

Also, one of the reasons I bought this was due to the picture/movie switch. Love that feature.

Oh, and I only have the two lenses. Both WR. 18-135 & 50-300

Thank you again everyone.


Last edited by MyTZuS; 12-12-2014 at 09:15 AM. Reason: add info
12-12-2014, 09:23 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
Wow, thanks everyone. I was fully expecting to be flammed out, even borrowed a flame retardant suit from one of my firefighter friends!

Just for a little bit of info- I read the manual twice, bought a more indepth manual from Yvon Bourque's site, and I cannot post pics since I've been practicing on family & foster kids (we're foster parents).

Last night confirms some of my initial thoughts. The ISO is the problem. It fights me. It wants to do everything for me. It will not even let me snap a pic until it's approved settings are met. Its maddening.

I said I was turning everything off for last nights practice but after reading the recommended settings, I switched some back on and got nothing but noise. Stills look like they are 1870 stills from the Wild West.

Indoor shots at 3200 ISO??? (because I limited it, it was jumping to 51000) Drives me crazy. As soon as a single light bulb in the building is turned off it jumps to the worst case scenario! Then my aperture (had to crank it to 3.6 before it let me snap a pic) is thrown off & the shutter speed is sooooooooo slow everything is a blur (camera made me drop down to 1/20). Looking at the pics in post just made me sick. I was shooting in a church, fully lit, Christmas play with my kids. Pics are garbage, Film is really nice.

Interestingly enough, when I switch to movie, not changing from my desired setting, its crystal clear when I play it back in post. But the stills are just screaming with noise.

I'm liking the movie function of this camera. Yes there is jello but nothing that post can't cure. In fact even a light weight NLE can cure everything I've seen so far.

Also, AF, even in single point, I would get a jumping red dot, as if its going to find what I really wanted to focus on. I know how to center and keep a subject in center even at a full out run for the goal with my K-x which had no red box/dot.

Maybe I have a defective camera. Pentax wants me to send it to someplace in CT. So, I'll be w/o a camera over the holidays. Unless I return it or figure out its a level 8 issue.

Also, one of the reasons I bought this was due to the picture/movie switch. Love that feature.

Oh, and I only have the two lenses. Both WR. 18-135 & 50-300

Thank you again everyone.
None of what you are saying makes any sense.

QuoteQuote:
The ISO is the problem. It fights me. It wants to do everything for me. It will not even let me snap a pic until it's approved settings are met
ISO is just the sensitivity to light, it doesn't do anything for you. It doesn't have a setting to meet, it is a setting.

QuoteQuote:
Then my aperture (had to crank it to 3.6
That's not even an option for the aperture
12-12-2014, 09:29 AM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
Indoor shots at 3200 ISO??? (because I limited it, it was jumping to 51000) Drives me crazy. As soon as a single light bulb in the building is turned off it jumps to the worst case scenario! Then my aperture (had to crank it to 3.6 before it let me snap a pic) is thrown off & the shutter speed is sooooooooo slow everything is a blur (camera made me drop down to 1/20).
Take the camera out of green mode and don't use auto ISO.


Steve

(...green mode = evil...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-12-2014 at 09:36 AM.
12-12-2014, 09:53 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
(...green mode = evil...)
(...auto ISO = evil...)
12-12-2014, 09:55 AM - 1 Like   #23
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QuoteQuote:
Also, AF, even in single point, I would get a jumping red dot, as if its going to find what I really wanted to focus on.

This may be a clue.


In the info screen, there are two AF selects. AF.S, and then next to it (far right, 3rd down) you have Auto 27, Auto 9, Select and Spot. Be sure you are on Spot (for center dot) or Select (if you want to choose another AF point.)

12-12-2014, 10:03 AM - 1 Like   #24
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Like Steve said... It sounds like you're in green mode.

It also sounds like you have AF in single point, but not fixed to center point. I think the AF settings are a bit confusing because there are quite a few of them and unlike the previous Pentax Cameras, each AF setting requires two items to set. i.e. single point and then the multiple point for defining the AF zone.

The other thing I was going to suggest is that make sure the AA filter is off. It won't help the noise, but it will help with focus and sharpness. Another new Pentax user was having similar problems.

Finally, you might test things out on a tripod (no panning, just straight up shots) and see whether you can get some good images from your camera... i.e. make sure the camera is working. I even suggest going as far as shooting in manual mode to make sure things are ok. You might as well make certain the camera isn't flawed.
12-12-2014, 10:04 AM   #25
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Try setting Auto EV Compensation in the C1 menu to 1. If it's set to 2 the camera will take over your exposure settings. I mostly us Av mode. I got used to it on my ME Super and I continued using it when I got my K200D. I bounce back and forth between TAv and Av on my K-3 but
I still lean toward Av most of the time.
12-12-2014, 10:30 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Homo_erectus Quote
For the first few weeks after I got my K5iis I was terrified that I had made a huge mistake because so many of my pictures were oof, shaky, just generally mal-exposed, mis-focused and terrible.

It was 99% user error. Practice with the gear. Set up simple shots and practice with the auto-focus.

I ended up spending an afternoon sitting on my back porch taking pictures of a coffee cup while working through each setting on the camera until I felt like I had an understanding of what it did.

After that I saw an immediate and huge jump in quality that continued to increase for, well, it still is almost 2 years later.

In my case a lot of what I thought I knew about using a dslr was actually specific to my old camera. I didn't know how to use a dslr, I knew how to use my D3100. So I had to re-learn a lot. You may be in the same boat.
Brother! I am not alone! Lots of pictures of drawings in my office from my daughter with ever possible setting and then of my neighbors flags for out door and moving targets for me.
12-12-2014, 01:17 PM   #27
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This is one of those times when it would be nice to get a full dump of all the menu settings along with an in-camera JPEG with all exif intact.


Steve
12-12-2014, 01:30 PM - 1 Like   #28
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Here is a related thread that might contain some clues to success. The story is similar...K-30 ==> K-3...could not get good pictures.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/282441-k3-concerns-resolved-completely.html


Steve
12-13-2014, 11:13 AM   #29
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Glad that guy has a great friend who helped him but I'm still not getting the results I want.

The movies are great btw, don't know why anyone has complained about them. Nothing there that can't be fixed in post with ease. Sure its not 10bit 422 but to the average person (meaning just about everyone), they can't tell the difference. Movies are sharp & colorful. And yes, I even use SR.

And outside the stills in full daylight is really good too (although I haven't tried any real action shots yet).

But indoors way too much noise no matter what settings I use... and I've read all your comments, the manual, another manual, and the recommended settings page.

I think indoor two things are throwing me and I don't know if they can be fixed. Maybe three if I include myself since I'm a run&gun shooter.

One, I don't have time to compose shots indoors, everything is happening way too fast. And the ISO it forces me to use slows down my shutter speed so I'm getting noise & blurred images.

Two, kinda related, the action indoors is much too fast for this camera. Whether its volleyball or basketball or my 3 year olds jumping off of couches next to a bay window in broad daylight.

This morning I'm hopping between Green & Manual (indoors). Using the settings from the Green pic and applying to the Manual pic. Manual pic looks much worse with same settings. Not that I like the Green that much mind you. I've tried variable settings with the ISO as well.

Anyways, going to stop posting about this since I can't dump the exif or the actual pics.

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for being as helpful as you've been.

Btw, your suggestions did fix my level 8 issue of AF. Not a problem anymore thanks to you guys.

---------- Post added 12-13-14 at 01:14 PM ----------

If nothing else... I've accelerated the time so that someone can get that sweet 31mm! You're welcome!
12-13-2014, 05:01 PM   #30
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After getting my K3, I too was frustrated and ready to go back to my K500. Now that I've had it 2 months, I'm feeling better about the K3 and its capabilities. It's a learning curve as it does shoot different than previous cameras and it can be a bit unforgiving. It is a tough master, rewarding one with excellent images when they do things properly, but is also capable of completely destroying ones photographic self-esteem when they do things wrong. Give it time and experiment. You'll come around to loving it and appreciating its virtues.
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