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03-31-2019, 08:04 AM   #1
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K3ii Sharpness issue

Hi, I'm not normally a birder, but today was too good to miss! A cardinal posing in a shrub with the snow falling, what's not to like! But the pics don't seem a detailed as some I see, taken with K3ii, Pentax 300mm lens with Pentax 1.4 convertor. 1/1000 sec f5.6 iso 400, mounted on a tripod, shake reduction off and using a cable release. Any help?

Thanks, Tuggie76

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03-31-2019, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Check your focus spots - there's a lot of sharp edges in this picture that the camera might have tried to focus on.

The little blob of snow at about 11 o'clock from the center of the cardinal, and about a bird's length out from the center looks like the sharpest part of the picture.
03-31-2019, 08:32 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Looks like it was shot through a window, were you outside when you took it?
03-31-2019, 08:56 AM   #4
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2 things that I can think of: it seems to be out of focus + contrast in temperature

03-31-2019, 09:25 AM   #5
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Focus is definitely not on the subject, but even then the image is soft overall. Possible culprits:
  • Lens fogged
  • Focus not acquired at time of exposure (EXIF for the DNG will show and also will indicate the AF point used)
  • Issue with lens or TC (combo not sharp at the taking aperture?)
  • AF calibration issue
  • Mirror slap*


Steve

* Probably a long shot given the shutter speed, though if there were tripod issues (capacity, load balance, and such), one can get resonance.

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-31-2019 at 09:34 AM.
03-31-2019, 09:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, I was inside, but the door was open, so no interference. I was using liveview with the focus point on his head. It's possible there was some fogging as the lens was stored inside and it was cold outside. I'll look at the exit when I've finished watching F1 race.
03-31-2019, 09:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuggie76 Quote
I was inside, but the door was open, .
That is precisely what I was talking about. The contrast in temperature makes things outside look blurry because of the heat.
03-31-2019, 09:51 AM   #8
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You wouldn't happen to be in southern Ontario (more specifically the GTA), would you? I only ask because I was just out in my backyard where I also took a picture of a red cardinal (with my 100mm WR). I'm sure there's a large area of the continent with this current weather and species of tree, but this honestly looks like it could have been taken from my own backyard, and I've had plenty of similar cases where I correctly guessed the location of a shot just because of a subconscious recognition of foliage/brickwork/etc...

Anyway, I have to agree that this looks like it was taken through a window, due to the glare on the right side of the image. Focus may be off very slightly, but even the sharpness of the sharpest point in the image isn't as good as you'd expect from that lens, but it's hard to tell from a jpeg. The way to troubleshoot an issue like this is to make test shots in a more controlled environment, both with and without the teleconverter, no filters or glass, electronic shutter, and ideally without any temperature differential between the lens and subject. Manually focus those test shots with live view, focus peaking, and zoomed to 100% to ensure focus is correct, and once you've ensured the image quality is good, don't forget to calibrate your AF micro adjustment for the lens (both with and without the TC).

Edit: I see you've mentioned that it was probably temperature differential from shooting out the door... Still won't hurt to check focus calibration with the TC if you haven't already.

03-31-2019, 09:54 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuggie76 Quote
Hi, I'm not normally a birder, but today was too good to miss! A cardinal posing in a shrub with the snow falling, what's not to like! But the pics don't seem a detailed as some I see, taken with K3ii, Pentax 300mm lens with Pentax 1.4 convertor. 1/1000 sec f5.6 iso 400, mounted on a tripod, shake reduction off and using a cable release. Any help?

Thanks, Tuggie76
What did you see as you took the photo? Did it look sharp?
03-31-2019, 10:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by StarTroop Quote
You wouldn't happen to be in southern Ontario (more specifically the GTA), would you? I only ask because I was just out in my backyard where I also took a picture of a red cardinal (with my 100mm WR). I'm sure there's a large area of the continent with this current weather and species of tree, but this honestly looks like it could have been taken from my own backyard, and I've had plenty of similar cases where I correctly guessed the location of a shot just because of a subconscious recognition of foliage/brickwork/etc...

Anyway, I have to agree that this looks like it was taken through a window, due to the glare on the right side of the image. Focus may be off very slightly, but even the sharpness of the sharpest point in the image isn't as good as you'd expect from that lens, but it's hard to tell from a jpeg. The way to troubleshoot an issue like this is to make test shots in a more controlled environment, both with and without the teleconverter, no filters or glass, electronic shutter, and ideally without any temperature differential between the lens and subject. Manually focus those test shots with live view, focus peaking, and zoomed to 100% to ensure focus is correct, and once you've ensured the image quality is good, don't forget to calibrate your AF micro adjustment for the lens (both with and without the TC).

Edit: I see you've mentioned that it was probably temperature differential from shooting out the door... Still won't hurt to check focus calibration with the TC if you haven't already.
Yes, I'm in St. Catharines, just across the lake from Toronto. I'll look into all the suggestions as I've had sharp images before, but mainly aeroplanes, which are slightly bigger.
03-31-2019, 10:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
What did you see as you took the photo? Did it look sharp?
Yes, it looked great, and some other shots turned out well, this one is sharper, although the sharpest point seems to be the tail. Maybe any fogging had cleared up by then.
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03-31-2019, 11:02 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
That is precisely what I was talking about. The contrast in temperature makes things outside look blurry because of the heat.
Like a mirage in the desert?


Steve
03-31-2019, 11:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuggie76 Quote
Hi, I'm not normally a birder, but today was too good to miss! A cardinal posing in a shrub with the snow falling, what's not to like! But the pics don't seem a detailed as some I see, taken with K3ii, Pentax 300mm lens with Pentax 1.4 convertor. 1/1000 sec f5.6 iso 400, mounted on a tripod, shake reduction off and using a cable release. Any help?

Thanks, Tuggie76
Looks like the left side of the photo is not as affected as the right side, probably lens fogging as a result of the temp differential. You also said you were using live view but were you using manual focus with focus peaking on the beak area or letting the camera select the focus zone?
03-31-2019, 12:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Like a mirage in the desert?


Steve
exactly! That was the example I was thinking of. At some point I was taking some pictures out the window (similar situation with birds) and they came out awful. I was so confused. Then I went outside and they were sharp. Then I paid attention and I could see that mirage effect.
03-31-2019, 12:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
exactly! That was the example I was thinking of. At some point I was taking some pictures out the window (similar situation with birds) and they came out awful. I was so confused. Then I went outside and they were sharp. Then I paid attention and I could see that mirage effect.
Mirage! It was snowing! But I get the idea.

---------- Post added 03-31-19 at 03:17 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Larrymc Quote
Looks like the left side of the photo is not as affected as the right side, probably lens fogging as a result of the temp differential. You also said you were using live view but were you using manual focus with focus peaking on the beak area or letting the camera select the focus zone?
I think heat differential and fogging are the main culprits, but I was selecting the focal point with auto focus. I wasn't checking focus peaking as I wanted to take the shot before he flew off.
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