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06-10-2010, 10:54 PM   #1
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New Camera and Lens,what should I check for?

I will be the happy owner of a K7 and a Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 lens when they arrive.
What checks/tests should I do to see if I have a good unit?
The trouble is I have no comparision as I havn't had an SLR before. Also just the one lens which makes it hard to compare too.
Thanks in advance.

06-10-2010, 11:37 PM   #2
hcc
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Welcome to the forum and congratulations for the new gears. The K-7 camera is a superb camera and you will enjoy it.

I would suggest that you take a lot of pictures and read the instruction manual to check the various options/features of the camera. This is possibly the best testing method.

Like yourself, my K-7 was my first dSLR and it took me a couple of weeks to master the camera. The first few shots were no better than my P&S that I master well after 5 years of use, but it improved drastically after reading the instructions and doing many tries and tests.

Happy shooting...
06-10-2010, 11:38 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonto Quote
I will be the happy owner of a K7 and a Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 lens when they arrive.
What checks/tests should I do to see if I have a good unit?
The trouble is I have no comparision as I havn't had an SLR before. Also just the one lens which makes it hard to compare too.
Thanks in advance.
I've gone through this a few times myself and tbh. I wasn't able to find much out there in way of a procedure etc. But... what what it's worth, I'd say take the camera out as soon as you receive it and put it to use. The lenses are a little more straightforward to evaluate, basically, you'd be looking for anything out of the ordinary(scratches, coating damage, fungus(use a light)). And of course the usual run of focus and calibration that comes along with that.

The camera on the other hand should be hard reset when you receive it. I would recommend NOT flashing the firmware or anything(just in case) you find something wrong with it(don't want to have that come back at you).

Other than that, I'd check the sensor by shooting across the entire ISO range and examining the RAW files for sensor damage(ie, horizontal or vertical lines) or other alarming things like large clusters of dead pixels etc.

TBH. there are so many areas where issues could be hidden with a modern DSLR that it feels nearly impossible to cover them all. But at the very least, we can cover the most common working areas with the hopes of gaining enough confidence to justify the investment.

Good luck and congratulations on your new camera!
06-11-2010, 02:14 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick responses. I do have quite a hang of Aperture and Shutter priority from my super zoom Olympus so should get some ok pics out of the box. Already started on the manual as it is online - its 300+ pages long!
Not too sure what is meant by a 'Hard Reset' I'm guessing this will make more sense once I read thru the manual.
Everything is new from a genuine reseller so would be odd to see fungus or physical scratching-good to hear its relatively easy to pick up.

06-11-2010, 06:10 AM   #5
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Hard reset is restore factory defaults (an option in the menus). The previous owner probably has the camera set for his preferences. Resetting the camera insures that what the manual says Should happen, Does. That way you can set it the way You want to without having to do a bunch of extra discovery.

Welcome to the club and enjoy your new camera.

06-11-2010, 06:34 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
I would suggest that you take a lot of pictures and read the instruction manual to check the various options/features of the camera. This is possibly the best testing method.
I agree, I've always done exactly that, but usually had to forego the manual in my 35mm days, never got one with any of my used cameras so I would just check it over visually, check the shutter and aperture operation, load some film and get out there and shoot some flowers. Flowers were and are my favorite practice subjects, they don't move around much so you have time to focus and compose, and you get nice pictures most people like too when you get good shots.

I'm doing that right now with my K-x, but I got it brand new so I have a manual, and already have plenty experience with cameras in general, so I'm not shooting just the easy shots...I've been trying birds in flight, water shots, close up insect macros, night shots...but still concentrating more on flowers and still subjects like landscapes and buildings than anything else, ust to get comfortable with the camera.

I also think the suggested reset would be a good idea, you have no idea what changes the previous owner has made, or if they were beneficial to the functionality of the camera.
06-11-2010, 06:43 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonto Quote
I will be the happy owner of a K7 and a Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 lens when they arrive.
What checks/tests should I do to see if I have a good unit?
The trouble is I have no comparision as I havn't had an SLR before. Also just the one lens which makes it hard to compare too.
Thanks in advance.
I think there is a popular misconception here that you have a high probability of getting a defective camera. This is false, there is not a serious quality issue with either pentax or sigma.

Go out and shoot, and also read a book on general photography so you understand the real practical limits of what a camera and lens can and should do.

Good luck and have fun with the new toys
06-11-2010, 08:00 PM   #8
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In my very limited experience, quality control isn't what it used to be, and of course damage can occur from shipping, etc. So I would say you have to test new equipment very carefully.

I would suggest taking some photos at a variety of aperture settings, including wide open. Take a very consistent subject, like a sign at a distance, and use a tripod or otherwise ensure that there is no subject movement. Look at the results across the frame, into each corner, very critically. You should expect better performance at middle and smaller apertures, but you should look for consistent performance.

The truth is that without at least one or two other identical lenses, it's pretty difficult to judge whether you have a good copy, unless there are obvious inconsistencies. But part of what you're doing is getting an idea of how you will want to use your lenses. For example, I was slightly dismayed when I first tested my Pentax 16-45 wide open, and pretty quickly decided that I'd better stop down. But it was pretty consistent in each corner and gives nice results stopped down. It's possible that what seems to be a lens problem could actually be a problem with body or mount alignment, so again without another lens or two (maybe not even similar) to compare, it's hard to diagnose. Some lenses have focus adjustment issues with some bodies, and there are some adjustments you may be able to make for that in your menu setting.

Of course with the camera body you want to check all the functions to see if they work.

Paul

06-13-2010, 06:11 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonto Quote
I will be the happy owner of a K7 and a Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 lens when they arrive.
What checks/tests should I do to see if I have a good unit?
The trouble is I have no comparision as I havn't had an SLR before. Also just the one lens which makes it hard to compare too.
Thanks in advance.
Tonto,

There have been a few issues mentioned with new camera's over the last year or so, let me try a mention a few reported.
Some may be related to a harsh parcel delivery process:

- The in camera level indicator is off by a few degrees.
+ You can check this by looking a the horizon and the level through the viewfinder at the same time.

- The viewfinder/mirror is somewhat tilted
+ Put the camera on a table, pointing to the edge.
+ Look through viewfinder, make sure to have table edge perfectly in line with bottom image.
+ Take picture, it should show table edge parallel with bottom image as well.

- Camera is back/front focusing, the problem is beyond the camera capability to compensate for this (see manual how to do that).
+ Download a test chart and follow instructions Jeffrey Friedl's Blog Jeffrey’s Autofocus Test Chart

- Dirt on your new camera on sensor, you should not have to manually clean a new body sensor.
+ Look for dirt with in camera functions. See manual.

There are numerous problems with the oldest release of the firmware: green lines, hot pixels, SD card problems, etc, etc, do install the latest release after above checks are done.

Hope this helps.

- Bert
06-13-2010, 10:06 PM   #10
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I'm with Lowell. The sorts of minor and uncommon problems being described here are exactly what a typical beginner should *not* bother testing for, as chances are excellent that someone who doesn't already know *exactly* what they are doing here is just going to "find" problems that don't exist, because they are not experienced enough to test properly.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-15-2010 at 11:03 AM.
06-14-2010, 05:29 PM   #11
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Sorry about the confusion - it is for a NEW K7 and Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5.
I don't expect any probs just read so much about sample variation of lenses especially cheaper Sigmas. I'm pretty sure the camera will blow me away!
STILL waiting though! There has been a long weekend here in Australia which slows things down abit. It amazing how many shots you 'see' when you are waiting for a camera to arrive!
Fingers crossed I hear something today.
06-14-2010, 07:22 PM   #12
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If you haven't gotten through the manual yet, you'll have plenty of time while the battery charges.

I did not find anything wrong with my K-7, except a speck on the sensor which vanished when I ran the camera's sensor vibrator thing and dust check. I checked AF, the viewfinder tilt and the camera's level. I looked for dead pixels and that was a waste of time. Then I upgraded the firmware.

Ordinary photos will reveal lens problems. You can do some boring tests anyway. Point the camera at a subject with unchanging light. Set Av mode, and half-press the shutter to get the meter working. Set the aperture to its lowest possible value. Press the AE-L button - you should see an asterisk in the viewfinder and on the display. Take a photo, then set the aperture to one stop higher. Repeat this until you run out of apertures. All the photos should be the same brightness level. (Histograms will vary slightly because the lens performs differently at different apertures.) That should verify communication with the camera and aperture control. People also complain about lenses that are decentered. A really bad lens will appear to be in focus on one side of the image and blurry on the other side. A subject like a brick wall can show this; try shooting wide open. It's not that common.

Defects like noises when you shake the camera/lens are usually not defects.
06-15-2010, 02:13 AM   #13
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Thanks Dave, great tips there - I've got a brick wall 2m from my lounge window, knew it was good for something!
06-15-2010, 07:06 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonto Quote
Thanks Dave, great tips there - I've got a brick wall 2m from my lounge window, knew it was good for something!
Where I used to live, bricks were very uncommon. Then I bought a house with brick walls. In the last 3 years, I've probably shot 300 photos of brick walls. OK, so I test too much.
06-16-2010, 10:20 AM   #15
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Yeah, I was going to say, Dave is the *king* of brick wall tests :-)
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