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06-26-2018, 12:42 PM   #1
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Picture quality - how to get it bettet?

I am getting really frustrated with my photography now. I know I don't havet the best lenses Pentax havet made but my pictures are very noisy and unsharp. I use the 55-300 PLM, the da 50 f/1.8, the dag 28-105, Sigma 120-400 and I need to use high ISO to get enough light. And still I think my photos lack sharpness. I believe it has benen getting worse duting the last test. Can it be something wrong with my K-1 of is it just bad lenses? Miserable phoyographer? Can an update to mark II help me?

06-26-2018, 12:50 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Primes, premium lenses, and technique. The first two lenses are crop lenses. Try swapping the DA 50 for the D FA macro and you'll see the sharpness jump

Can you post some samples you're not happy with?

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06-26-2018, 12:59 PM - 1 Like   #3
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The answer is yes.

If you are having problems with different lenses, then it likely isn't the lens itself. That narrows it down to the body, or technique.

Are you using a tripod? I'd suggest you try something. Set up a sand bag or something similar; a dead vibrationless platform, and take a shot. Shoot in live view, then in ES mode, electronic shutter. Then do a shot on your tripod in each of these modes. This can help you see if there is a difference. Do this at different shutter speeds.

A story. I was having trouble with the K3, DA*300 and 1.4 extender. I was having trouble getting consistent sharpness. I set it up on a tripod and a focus adjustment gizmo to adjust focus. I was shocked how much shutter vibration I was getting. From there I found shutter speed ranges that were better.

Photoshop has a tool to fix movement blur. What you can use it for is to see if that is the source of the problem. You can see an elongated dot showing which way you are moving the body when you took the shot. I found that helpful seeing it was my technique that was part of the problem, and took action to sort it out.

Information is the solution. Why are the shots soft. It is difficult to figure them out. It may be more than one.
06-26-2018, 01:25 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Getting quality out of a lens-camera combo is often a struggle you have to fight in order to get something nice.
Unless there's loads and loads of light, it's often a tug-of-war and a difficult balance between best aperture/lower ISO you can get away with/shutter speed you can use.

Sometimes it's the subject that dictates the rules (if it's fast-moving, you need a fast shutter speed), sometimes you can bargain with ISO and lower it a tad by having a strong shooting technique and a solid stance, and lower shutter speed a bit.
Sometimes you leave ISO a little lower, and underexpose on purpose all but the strongest highlights (if you shoot RAW and you can open the shadows in post) in order to eke out some more dynamic range.

In the end the best teacher is experience, and the best way to make progress is to shoot, shoot, shoot, and then analyze your images or post them asking for critique.

06-26-2018, 01:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hildalill Quote
I am getting really frustrated with my photography now. my pictures are very noisy and unsharp. I think my photos lack sharpness. I believe it has benen getting worse duting the last test. Can it be something wrong with my K-1 of is it just bad lenses? Miserable phoyographer? Can an update to mark II help me?
What would help us to best answer your question is if you post some examples of images that are 'very noisy and unsharp'...for example from your 'last test'. Include the EXIF metadata for any posted shots.

There are many things that could be causing your issue and my first guess is unnecessarily high ISO combined with a less than ideal combo of shutter speed and aperture. Make sure auto ISO is off and that your exposure compensation is set to 0. Are you shooting RAW or jpeg?
06-26-2018, 03:36 PM   #6
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yes study the exposure triangle, aperture-shutter-ISO, along with the sunny 16 rule Sunny 16 rule - Wikipedia

technique gently pressing the shutter to avoid camera shake and using tripod when needed, use a shutter speed slightly faster than the lens focal length eg. 100mm lens try 1/125 sec. or more to avoid camera shake.
are you using cheap protective filters?


anyway keep going more will be revealed maybe front focus or back focus, but we need to see some images.
06-26-2018, 03:55 PM   #7
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Have you got your photos we can look at Hildahill? Photography is really about your pictures, not your words, I'm sure you understand.

Some non-specific advice is to shoot with a tripod and to stop down the aperture.

06-26-2018, 04:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hildalill Quote
I am getting really frustrated with my photography now.

and I need to use high ISO to get enough light.
And still I think my photos lack sharpness.

I believe it has benen getting worse duting the last test. Can it be something wrong with my K-1 of is it just bad lenses?

Miserable phoyographer?

Can an update to mark II help me?
Others here may help you with your technical problems. It’s entirely possible you need to change your camera settings, shooting technique, or even some of your equipment. For example, demanding enviroments such as sports/action/wildlife work better with certain lenses and cameras.




But I’d like to see you quickly move past these issues and focus on something else - content.

Composition is your most important photo characteristic. On top of that, you want to shoot subjects that matter to you personally.


You said you are “Frustrated,” and speculated that you may be a “miserable photographer.”

Good photography has little to do with technical quality. My best photos evoke some kind of emotional response. I physically feel a small change in my chest area when I look at them. If you’re not yet trained in classical composition, I suggest you spent some time studying the golden ratio (Fibonacci Spiral). Then spend more time in art galleries, looking mostly at paintings (rather than photos). You see, painters have one distinct advantage over us - they can make the scene look however they want. You have to position yourself - and point your lens - to compose your scene as close as you can get to what you would’ve painted (if you could).

For most of my shots, if they look good on my monitor at 50% size, that’s good enough. They don’t need to be sharp at 100%, they just need a good overall appearance. If I demanded perfect sharpness at 100% I would throw away a lot of great photos!


Getting frustrated is a sign that you have standards, and having standards means you are becoming a good photographer.

Last edited by DSims; 06-26-2018 at 05:05 PM.
06-26-2018, 06:20 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Getting frustrated is a sign that you have standards, and having standards means you are becoming a good photographer.
Very true
06-26-2018, 06:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hildalill Quote
...I believe it has benen getting worse duting the last test.
Can it be something wrong with my K-1 of is it just bad lenses?
Miserable phoyographer?
Can an update to mark II help me?
Yes, yes, and not likely.
Post some examples with your settings and many here can help.

It is good to see you already have an eye for where your photos may be going wrong -- like some have said already.
It took me several years of thinking my phots were wonderful to only look back five years later wondering what was wrong with me.
06-26-2018, 06:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hildalill Quote
and I need to use high ISO to get enough light.
I suspect this is really the issue. What do you mean by "high ISO"? If you are using anything over 1600 then that is the issue. I rarely use anything over 400 on the K-1 for best performance. If you do need higher ISO values then be prepared to learn how to use noise reduction software in post processing.
06-26-2018, 07:09 PM   #12
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sharp photo issues

I mostly shoot handheld and use all of: K5, K3 and K1 II. Shooting outdoors and handheld has never been a problem for me. I use almost exclusively zoom lenses, but the good Pentax ones ( DA*, DFA* ) where possible. I particularly like all the new Pentax FF lenses. I have not tried the new PLM lens. I use triangulation in my shooting protocol. I grasp the camera body and lens barrel with my left hand and tuck my left elbow into my torso. My right arm is held close to my side also. Where possible, I further stabilize myself by using the side of a building, a tree trunk, or similar. I usually use ISO 100 and sometimes 200 but very rarely need higher.

I use spot metering and focus on the most important subject area for the intended photo. Doing this should help to let you know if any focusing adjustment is needed.

Outdoors, think about movement in your subject. Are trees or flowers moving in the wind? Take this into account and adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

I am only an amateur so I don't pretend to know a lot but I do try to use common sense and the above noted techniques work well for me and I suspect they would help you also.
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06-26-2018, 07:40 PM   #13
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A lot of good advise here already. What I might add, however, it's likely not the camera nor the lens. There's an old adage 'practice makes perfect'. How often do you shoot? Photography is much like golf, it's something you really need to really work at. Typically you can't be a good golfer if you only go out occasionally. Most people find the more they golf, the better their game becomes. I'd suggest get out and shoot at every opportunity. Read some books, watch you tube videos, join a camera club, take a class or two (or three) at a local community college. Basically, invest in yourself before you invest in more equipment.And, most of all, don't give upon yourself.
06-26-2018, 09:39 PM   #14
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Here is one way for getting more stability during handheld shooting. Attach nodal rail to body and let nodal rail sit on full length of the palm. You can implement this in under 50$. Even if experiment fails you will have nodal rail, that is not waste.

Additionally try doing manual focusing using Focus Peaking. If PP is the weak part, learn PP. It is better to have end-to-end skill

Sometime pictures may not be appealing because the subject is stale(means it is not flower, mountain peak, etc...).
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Last edited by pentaxfall; 06-26-2018 at 09:50 PM.
06-26-2018, 09:49 PM   #15
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If it were me, Id make sure my lenses are properly calibrated by shooting on tripod my computer screen focusing first in live view (magnified view, manual focus), then AF, and then compare the two. The focus should be identical, and show sharp pixels from the monitor (display text on and a larger black target shape). If AF is worse, then you know to apply some focus correction (read manual if you dont know how to do this). Once I know the focus is accurate, Id shoot a scene at infinity focus (again on tripod) to ensure the infinity is as sharp as it could be. Any lack of sharpness is then due to either lens poor quality/defect or gross miscalibration that requires technical adjustment... or poor technique on your part.
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