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10-16-2014, 04:48 AM   #1
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Hello from BC

This is my first message, so I'm just writing to say "Hello." I'm currently using a K-3, but also have a couple of K-5's. One question. I'm having trouble getting clear, crisp photos, especially using long distance lenses. I don't think it's the result of the lenses, I have some good ones. So I was wondering if there is a particular setting on the camera that I may not have turned on or have set correctly. Thanks for any input.

10-16-2014, 06:32 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bclaxton.888 Quote
This is my first message, so I'm just writing to say "Hello." I'm currently using a K-3, but also have a couple of K-5's. One question. I'm having trouble getting clear, crisp photos, especially using long distance lenses. I don't think it's the result of the lenses, I have some good ones. So I was wondering if there is a particular setting on the camera that I may not have turned on or have set correctly. Thanks for any input.
What lenses? Describe your technique?

A few basics.

Most lenses are sharp when stopped down. I used a sigma 150-500 and it was quite good at f8. Below that it was soft.
What shutter speed? Handheld 500mm I can get away with 1/800 but twice that is better. Handheld 300mm is easier, and I have gotten decent shots down to 1/60, but it can't move for the duration of the exposure. How you hold it, using a tripod or monopod can make a huge difference here.
How far away? The way to look at long lenses is that you can fill more of the frame at the same distance. At distance you will have trouble even with the best of lenses and best of technique.
Did I say technique? Any movement will translate into soft shots. The movement could be shaky hands, a twist in the body when you press the shutter, vibration from the shutter mechanism. OS and SR helps, but with long lenses it is very easy to overwhelm any mechanical assistance. Shooting a rifle is similar, and the techniques they use work with cameras.
Lenses. There is a reason why wildlife shooters spend vast amounts of money on lenses.
And finally, probably the most important. With the hardware you have, assuming good technique and optimum settings, there is a box in which you can get nice shots. The boundaries are distance, light. If you are shooting at 50 yards and can't get a clear shot, try approaching to 30 yards (a serious challenge I agree) to see if it is better. Maybe your lens stopped down can take shots only on the brightest days. Find that box and exploit it.

Don't hesitate to take lots of shots with the expectation that out of 400 you might have one. Not pray and spray, but it is hard. The best throw lots away.

The best forum for long lenses:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/55946-300mm-plus-lens-club...ng-lenses.html

It is very long, but you can watch through the thread as individuals master their gear and technique with marked improvement. It is a great place, inspiring as well. A few BC'ers hang around.
10-16-2014, 06:49 AM   #3
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As mentioned, there are a lot of factors. At long distances - like photographing aircraft - the atmosphere itself is an issue. A polarizing filter can help, but atmospheric haze is something our eyes either don't see well or our brain ignores, but the camera sees very well. So in-focus shots can still be hazy. At 50 or 30 yards, that's not the problem. The lens may be soft at that distance or the focus could be off a little.
10-16-2014, 10:53 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, as others have already suggested it could be technique, shutter speeds or lack of tripod.

Give as a bit more info and examples of photographs and I'm sure folk around here will help you to resolve this issue.

10-16-2014, 10:15 PM   #5
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Bonjour from France and welcome to PF, bclaxton.888! Hope to see some images soon. Salut, J
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