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11-03-2007, 10:48 PM   #1
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How can I get good results from my K100D?

I loved my K100D when I had just graduated from a Nikon P&S.

Then I saw pics produced by the K10D and... well... I wanted to return the K100D.

I was floored by the crispness of the shots and the relatively noiseless pictures... I guess that's what you get when you're packing ISO100 and 10MP's.

Recently, however, I have come across K100D pics that are equally impressive. None of these impressive shots were my own, I should add. I found them all in the User Photo Gallery. Man, there are some awesome photographers on this forum.

I've now come to my senses (somewhat) and have stopped drooling over the K10D. I am now of the mindset that the K100D is capable of producing shots of equal quality to the K10D. However, it seems beyond my abilities at the moment to get my K100D to actually produce such results.

My main complaint is that my pictures seem un-sharp. The colour seems "bland"... and generally I'm not seeing that vibrant "crispness" in my shots. I also feel that my shots have a lot of sensor noise.

I shoot almost invariably in M mode... and occasionally in Av.

Is it my selection of lenses that's the problem? Please see my signature for what I have in my arsenal.

Is it my cameras settings?

Is it due to the fact that I only shoot in JPEG and am too chicken to try out RAW... that, and the fact that I don't have a RAW editor?

Is it due to the fact that I don't/won't do any post processing? Which is partially due to the fact that I don't have PP software.

Just wondering... that's all. Yes, I'm a newb so I seek protection in the "The newb is allowed to ask silly questions" clause present on all forums.

TIA

11-03-2007, 11:13 PM   #2
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Hi Tia,

My camera of choice at this time is also the K100D, and I love it.

I shoot in JPG 99% of the time.
And if you don't like post processing you should really shoot in JPG 100% of the time.

My camera settings are
Saturation, right on the middle.
Sharpness +1
Contrast +1

For your best photos you might want to try your SMC-A 28mm F2.8 at around f8

Most of the images in my web site haven't been processed, although I started doing a little tweaking here and there around 2 months ago.

I think that I only have 3 photographs in the gallery here, and they aren't any where near my best work.

I hope that I've helped you a little.

Have fun out there
11-03-2007, 11:18 PM   #3
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hi zoomzoomfan. Do you by chance own a Mazda? (haha... "zoom zoom"... yeah?)

Anyways, perhaps its all in your camera settings. I used the kit lens (18-55mm) and the Pentax DA zoom lens (50-200mm) for my shots on my recent travels: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/13567-vacation-pics-part-i-singapore.html

K100D is very very very capable of taking some awesome pictures. It all comes down to technique, composition, and lens... and lighting. I usually shoot in P (program) mode and Av (Aperture priority mode), and occasionally in other modes. As you can see from my pictures, even the kit lens is capable of taking some wildly good pictures.

Maybe check your ISO settings. I usually leave mine in "Auto: 200-800" and can still get decent pictures in most things. Also, learning to control your exposure can help.

One more thing, most people post-process their pictures with photo editing software to give their pictures a bit more bunch.

Hope that helps!
11-03-2007, 11:40 PM   #4
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Tia,

I just took a look at 2 pictures you posted.
They look like the only 2, but I may be wrong.

And they really weren't bad at all I like the moon shot.

There are a couple of members also living around Vancouver.
They might be able to meet up with you and help you out with this and that.

I'll be getting together with another member from England some place close to Penticton in about a week.
He's a good photographer, and I can usually get the job done.

If you happen to be in the area at the time let me know.
I'm sure that your welcome to join us.
Who knows, we might all actually learn something

To say the least, meeting up with different Pentax users will hopefully give you the chance to try different lenses without buying them.
And I've found out recently that the right lens to suit your style makes a big difference.

11-04-2007, 01:30 AM   #5
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Hi Tia:
I think Stu has offered up good suggestions in the settings he has recommended. I also have a K100D. I shoot in P and AV for the most part. I also shoot a lot in manual. But I shoot RAW. My post from last week in post your pictures from Long Wood Gardens were the first shots I had ever taken with the K100D I Shot in RAW and had done no post processing before I posted the shots. The lenses that were used were the Pentax DA 50-200mm and the DA 18-55mm. I see by your arsenal you list the FS100-300mm I know some here have talked about this lens and find it a poor performer. (it's not the best lens Pentax has ever made) Although the focal length is good it just doesn't perform well. Maybe you will want to look into the DA 50-200mm. I find this lens to be a great performer and use it as a walk around lens. In fact most of my posts here and in the Gallery are done with this lens. Don't give up on this camera I think it is one of the best (next to the K10D that Pentax has come out with. Find the right settings for the way you shoot. Make sure your camera is set to SRGB and not RGB in the menu This will also help in giving you brighter and crisper shots.
In fact I have posted a few of the Long Wood shots in the gallery today feel free to take a look.
11-04-2007, 01:45 AM   #6
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Don't Use Filters.

QuoteOriginally posted by zoomzoomfan Quote
My main complaint is that my pictures seem un-sharp. The colour seems "bland"... and generally I'm not seeing that vibrant "crispness" in my shots. I also feel that my shots have a lot of sensor noise.
Is it due to the fact that I only shoot in JPEG and am too chicken to try out RAW... that, and the fact that I don't have a RAW editor?
Is it due to the fact that I don't/won't do any post processing? Which is partially due to the fact that I don't have PP software.
1. Ditch your filters. They hurt image quality. Protect the front of your lens with a lens hood. Buy a micro-fibre cloth and keep your lens meticulously clean by making the cloth a little bit damp and never letting fabric softener touch it . The only filter you should ever use when shooting digital is a circular polarizer. Good ones cost close to $200 but if you just put your sunglasses in front of you lens when it's really sunny, that works too. You're in Vancouver. It's not like it's very sunny there very often anyhow. Filters were necessary in the days of film. Now, all they do is fatten the wallets of filter manufacturers. You have to scratch your lens pretty badly before it really matters and lenses can be repaired. If you're seeing 'dots', your sensor is dirty and can be cleaned with a blower you can buy for less than $10 at London Drugs. Read the manual on how to do it.
2. Why won't you use the Pentax software for RAW conversion? If you think you have to pay for RAW software beyond it, join the 21st century and switch to Linux. Get a LiveCD that has CinePaint as one of its programs and just open your PEF files with it. Just put the CD in your drive and restart your computer. You won't lose your Windows installation at all.
3. If you're a beginner, it is especially important you shoot RAW, not JPEG. JPEG is a sub-par format that only supports 8-bit colour. Also, if you make mistakes using RAW, the chances of you fixing the problems in post-processing are far greater. Post-processing is simple. Don't be intimidated.
4. Any Pentax DSLR and your 28 2.8 non-zoom lens should work fine. Is it an old lens? Maybe it needs to be serviced and cleaned. Figure out how to check your camera for front focus and back focus too. The K10D is for 'advanced' amateurs. Your zoom lenses should be fine for web resolutions.
5. The difference between using a tripod or not is incredible. Unfortunately, the ones at Wal-Mart are useless. You gotta spend close to $500. If you're not using image stabilization, you have to shoot RAW and learn how to sharpen using counter-intuitively; 'unsharp mask'.
6. At Chapters/Indigo in Calgary, they have a book on how to operate your model of camera. It's in the back, not by the photography section near computers, but in the arts section with all the picture books. I assume they will have them in Vancouver. It's like $20-$30 or so. You might even find one at your local library. In fact go to the library and spend some time with their photography books.
7. You're not seeing sensor noise. In fact a K10D has a 'noisier' sensor.
Attached are two pictures, directly out of a DS, hand-held and converted to png without changing any settings at all except they're resized. The second is purposely 'over-sharpened' to demonstrate what 'unsharp mask' does.
Hope this helps, Good luck.
Attached Images
   
11-04-2007, 03:33 AM   #7
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Fortunately, neither RAW processors nor post-processing software need cost you a single penny. There is plenty of stuff available for free out there. And learning the basic techniques of post-processing isn't an overwhelming task.

And guys....TIA means "Thanks In Advance".

11-04-2007, 04:57 AM   #8
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Sorry, but much of this is shockingly bad advice.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mr. The Guy Quote
1. Ditch your filters. They hurt image quality.
A good UV filter, although not necessarily much good for reducing UV-induced colour casts, might possibly cause additional flare in some circumstances, and might cause a little extra vignetting at very wide angles. But to say "they hurt image quality", although technically true, will make a visible difference only in rare cases. By the same token, there is nothing wrong with not using a filter, protecting the lens from impact damage with the lens hood as mentioned. But frequent cleaning is not recommended either.

QuoteQuote:
The only filter you should ever use when shooting digital is a circular polarizer. Good ones cost close to $200 but if you just put your sunglasses in front of you lens when it's really sunny, that works too.
And you're worried about image quality? This is hilarious.

Plenty of sunglasses are not polarised, in which case they'll act as neutral density filters. Plenty are coloured, in which case they'll act as coloured filters. However, they are not optically flat, and of course not usually the right shape or size. This is an extremely bad idea.

Incidentally, the K10D is just fine with a Linear Polariser, and I've seen claims that the K100D is as well. It would be worth trying one before spending money on a much more expensive Circular Polariser.

QuoteQuote:
If you're a beginner, it is especially important you shoot RAW, not JPEG. JPEG is a sub-par format that only supports 8-bit colour.
This is just scare-mongering. In the vast majority of cases RAW will yield results no better than JPEG. A beginner is going to be much better off learning about composition and exposure, than worrying about the differences in detail recoverable from a RAW file than from the corresponding JPEG.

QuoteQuote:
Also, if you make mistakes using RAW, the chances of you fixing the problems in post-processing are far greater.
This is only true if the exposure has not blown out the highlights. Once it's gone, it's gone.

QuoteQuote:
If you're not using image stabilization, you have to shoot RAW and learn how to sharpen using counter-intuitively; 'unsharp mask'.
This is nonsense.

If you're not using shake reduction, camera-shake may indeed give you a blurred image. Shooting RAW will not affect this, and sharpening, so-called, does not remove blur, nor does it give you additional detail not captured by the exposure.

QuoteQuote:
7. You're not seeing sensor noise. In fact a K10D has a 'noisier' sensor.
While it is true that the K10D shows more noise at high ISO than the K100D, sensor noise can be seen at any ISO setting, in parts of an image that are underexposed. So you may well be seeing noise in some photos, at any ISO setting.
11-04-2007, 05:13 AM   #9
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From your description, it sounds to me like you are under exposing your shots. Under exposure will cause your shots to look dull and lifeless, and will generate more noise. If you could post some examples, it would be easier to help you diagnose the problem.

Check your histogram. It should have a curve that touches both ends of the exposure range. Of course this does not happen all the time do to shooting conditions, but if you find that your histograms are constantly to the left and not touching the right end of the graph, just add a touch of + exposure compensation until it does. You may have to take several shots to get it right. Also, for set shots, like scenics, bracket your exposure (take a shot 1 stop under, 1 over, and at the metered value).

Experiment with the in camera settings (Sharpness, contrast, saturation, etc) until you find settings to YOUR liking.

Don't be afraid of doing some minor tweaking in pp. You don't need to do RAW to PP. The major advantage of RAW is it gives you more latitude in correcting exposure issues, but there is plenty you can do in camera and in pp without RAW. There are also plenty of free software that is more than adequate for basic processing. Picasa by Google seems to very popular and easy to use. Fastone and InfranView also come to mind. There is of course Pentax Photo Lab that came with your camera.

Lastly, I sort of agree with the Poster who said to get rid of your filters, but only the UV filters. They are not photographically necessary. If you do wish to keep a filter on for protection (I don't use them myself), then make sure it is a high quality filter. Don't buy any cheap filters, they will degrade the image. Something like a B&W or a Hoya Pro series should be OK. There are uses for other filters like Circular Polarizers and ND filters. Same thing goes though, buy the best quality filters you can afford.

Hope this helps, and post some examples so we can further help you.
11-04-2007, 05:32 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisA Quote
Incidentally, the K10D is just fine with a Linear Polariser, and I've seen claims that the K100D is as well. It would be worth trying one before spending money on a much more expensive Circular Polariser.
Hi Chris,
I'm not sure, but isn't the reason for using circular polarizers is that the AF sensors that get confused with a linear polarizer? If so, then what you say is only true if you manual focus.
11-04-2007, 05:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Hi Chris,
I'm not sure, but isn't the reason for using circular polarizers is that the AF sensors that get confused with a linear polarizer? If so, then what you say is only true if you manual focus.
I think the metering will be confused too. The pentaprism (or mirror) also has a polarizing effect, and the metering and autofocus happen on the other side of the mirror.
11-04-2007, 05:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr. The Guy Quote
JPEG is a sub-par format that only supports 8-bit colour.
8 bits per color channel, which is 24-bit color.
11-04-2007, 06:37 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
but isn't the reason for using circular polarizers is that the AF sensors that get confused with a linear polarizer? If so, then what you say is only true if you manual focus.
QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
I think the metering will be confused too. The pentaprism (or mirror) also has a polarizing effect, and the metering and autofocus happen on the other side of the mirror.
Yes, I know this is what received wisdom says, and it's what you'll find whenever you read anything about polarisers, AF cameras and metering. For all I know, there are some cameras that experience these problems, for these reasons.

However, my experience of the two Linear Polarisers that I have (a Hoya 72mm, and a Cokin P), is that they both work perfectly well with the K10D. I haven't experienced any AF or metering issues with either of them, and they both work identically, and in the usual way.

Obviously, a polariser cuts out a substantial amount of light, and AF will struggle a bit in low light. But this would be just the same with a neutral density filter.

I'd read all the same things when I got the K10D. Fortunately, I tried out the LPs that I already had before believing them and buying a much more expensive CP.

I can only speak from direct experience with the K10D. I don't know why conventional wisdom is wrong in this respect. But in my experience with the K10D, it is.
11-04-2007, 06:45 AM   #14
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Here's one that I've posted before, using the 72mm Hoya LP on the end of a FA 28-200. I used AF on the clouds, as I recall, and there was nothing untoward in the metering. It's just one example, though. I've used the LPs lots with the K10D, with no problems.

11-04-2007, 07:14 AM   #15
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Hello Zoomzoom,
There is a lot of good advice here. My experience as a relatively new K100d owner is to just keep shooting and play with the settings. Shoot the same shot in auto, Tv, Av, M. with and without filters, etc. Adjust your settings as well. You will find the settings you like and that's the most important thing you can do. Shoot photo's that you like. A good book on photography basics is a good idea as well. Good luck and enjoy!
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