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08-02-2013, 09:37 AM   #1
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New with Pentax Kr any thoughts? :)

Hello,

I am new here and interested in branching out my photo skills. I recently purchased a Kr for a great price and have been having fun so far. Do any of you seasoned Pentax users have any advice or comments about this camera?

Thanks!
Emily

08-02-2013, 09:54 AM   #2
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Hey there, welcome! The K-r was my first DLSR. I still use it.
Its a great little camera to learn digital photography on. What can I suggest about it? Hmm. Get the latest firmware update, if the camera doesnt already have it (the latest one also includes all the ones before it).
Oh, the one thing to keep in mind is to use the WB (white balance) settings. Auto mode might not allow this, but P and other modes should. AWB is okay most of the time, but when you are in artificial orange light, you should manually set it to tungsten. And learn about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. There are a lot of blogs and threads on this forum about photographic technique and about how to get the most out of your camera and lens.
If you ever have a conundrum, if you want it to do something and cant figure out how, or if you think it is doing something wrong, just search the forums or make a thread.
08-02-2013, 09:59 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Hey there, welcome! The K-r was my first DLSR. I still use it.
Its a great little camera to learn digital photography on. What can I suggest about it? Hmm. Get the latest firmware update, if the camera doesnt already have it (the latest one also includes all the ones before it).
Oh, the one thing to keep in mind is to use the WB (white balance) settings. Auto mode might not allow this, but P and other modes should. AWB is okay most of the time, but when you are in artificial orange light, you should manually set it to tungsten. And learn about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. There are a lot of blogs and threads on this forum about photographic technique and about how to get the most out of your camera and lens.
If you ever have a conundrum, if you want it to do something and cant figure out how, or if you think it is doing something wrong, just search the forums or make a thread.
Wow thanks! So far I have played with depth of field (as a project for my husband's work presentation), taken some pretty good portraits of the baby (and the dog), and some good flower pics. I do have some trouble with the Macro setting. I used to have a vintage Pentax with a sigma delta II which had a slide macro which was great! I just cant get the same effect with the stock lenses... Would I need to upgrade to get true macro again?
08-02-2013, 10:15 AM   #4
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Oh, also if anyone knows what I could change for autofocus settings, my photos seem to be just slightly blurry when depending on autofocus, even in bright light...

Thanks!

08-02-2013, 12:48 PM   #5
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For AF you have a couple options.
a) AF.A, AF.C, AF.S. Usually you should use AF.S. This means it will focus when you press the button. AF.C is continuous, which should only be used if your subject is moving. AF.C is not always that reliable. AF.A automatically decides between the two, but you dont know how it decided. It okay for beginners and has its uses, but generally I would recommend AF.S.
b) AF points: You can choose 5-point auto, 11-point auto, centre point, and select point. You can try the auto modes, they work okay in my experience. The K-r also has those AF point overlays in the viewfinder that light up to show you which AF point was selected, so even the auto modes are okay (the K-x and K-500 cameras don't have these, I think other modern Pentax DSLRs have them). But I would recommend to use centre point at first. Or select point (you hold the OK button for 2sec to toggle between AF point selection and other menus), when you want to use one of the other ones.

Another point about AF is that the AF in live view (Lv=when using LCD screen to see the scene) uses a completely different technology than the regular AF. That is why live view AF is generally much slower, but can be more precise in some situation. If it has enough time and enough contrast (live view AF is contrast-detect; the regular AF is phase-detect)

AF is a pretty big topic actually. For example, AF in dark places will not be very good - AF needs some light and some contrasts. The little AF overlay in the viewfinder (red square lights) are much smaller than the actual AF points in the camera. This misleads beginners, because they think the camera locked wrong focus - the square lit up, but it was OoF! In actuality, the camera might have simply picked a different thing in that area to focus on. The Centre AF point is as big as the ( ) circle, for example.

The camera also allows AF adjust (micro adjust? I dunno, check the manual, its in the menu somewhere). This lets you calibrate the camera's AF. The lens and camera are made with certain tolerances, and if they are at the opposite extremes, the AF might be off. This is why DSLRs have AF adjust features, so you can fix this. There are many threads on this, and some blogs. The easiest thing to do is buy or print one of those focus charts and follow its instructions. You should only start fiddling with this when you are pretty certain the camera always focuses just behind or just in front of what you want it thinks it focused on.

Macro.. well, macro basically just means "near focus." Every lens will have biggest magnification at nearest focus. To do this, simply set the AF/MF switch to MF, twist the focus ring all the way to nearest focus (opposite of infinity) and then just get closer and close to a flower until its in-focus. Generally speaking, true macro is when the magnification is 1:2 or higher. Most lenses will not allow this. A lot of zoom lenses claim to be "macro" but they are only 1:4, sometimes not even that. Pentax makes some macro lenses that go all the way to 1:1 magnification. These are very high quality lenses. Feel free to search the lens database on this forum or the sample photo gallery.
And this brings me to sharpness. The kit lenses are not super sharp, even when focused properly. They are better than most other brand's kit lenses, but they are still not very amazing, AF is loud, they are plastic, not super sharp. The 18-55mm has its sweet spot around 35mm at f8.0. If you buy another lens, it will most likely produce much sharper and better looking photos. Of course, this is not cheap. The best way to get higher quality is to buy a prime lens (prime means it has a fixed focal length, no zoom), like the DA 35mm f2.4 or DA 40mm f2.8 XS or DA 50mm f1.8. Pentax makes some wonderful primes, which are compact and don't kill your wallet, but still produce amazing IQ. You can also buy any ancient K-mount lens and it will work on your camera (just set the enable aperture ring to ON in the menu), so you can buy a Pentax M 50mm f1.7 for $60 and get pretty amazing photos with it. But that particular lens is a couple decades old, so it has almost no automation, no AF.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 08-02-2013 at 12:57 PM.
08-03-2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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Excellent input, Na Horuk - some really good advice.
One thing I would add is I tend to rely on Live View when shooting indoors in artificial light as the regular AF doesn't appear to be accurate
08-03-2013, 01:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RibbonRider Quote
New with Pentax Kr any thoughts?
Welcome, the best advice I can come up with, is to get out there using and enjoying it.
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