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09-04-2010, 07:54 PM   #1
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[K-x]How can I get a sharper picture

Pretty much all my picture are looking soft like this one.. I tried enabling/disabling shake reduction but at speeds over 1/100 it doesn't seems to make much of a difference. I definitely don't have the steadiest hands ever but I would have thought that at these speeds it wouldn't matter much.


This one was taken with a polarized filter at 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100


100% crop



Original:
http://imgur.com/y6hQO.jpg


thanks

09-04-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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What lens were you using? Is the polarizer a cheap one? It might be to blame. This photo looks quite good and isn't OOF as far as I can tell. There is also no motion blur. The apparent softness at the 100% zoom level is likely simply due to low lens resolution.

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09-04-2010, 08:06 PM   #3
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I'm leaning towards the polarizer being the culprit as well.
09-04-2010, 08:21 PM   #4
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The polarizer is a Zeikos multi coated professional(not that it means anything) and it was quite cheap. The lens is the basic Dal 18-55 that came with the K-x.


This is a crop from a picture taken without the polarizer at 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 100




Thanks for the quick replies.

09-04-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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Ouch, I'd probably ditch that polarizer, the Kx lens is pretty sharp for a kit lens and you want to try not to hinder it as much as possible

A tripod along with a self timer, and apertures from f/8-f/11 will help you get razor sharp pictures, candid moments don't always allow for those but if you're taking landscapes a tripod isn't too hard to use and wont hinder you that much
09-04-2010, 08:53 PM   #6
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What lens and focal length was this taken with?

Also where was your point of focus?
My own experience is that anything under f11 will most likely impact clarity over great distances throughout a scene.
Also, are you sure were not looking at distance haze? Was the air perfectly clear that day?

Depending on the focal length, if you're hand holding, anything under 1/160 will cost you.
Having said that, one of the biggest assets I've gained in landscape photography was taking time with each of my lenses to document their behavior throughout the ranges. I can't stress this exercise enough for anyone looking to nail scenery as it will provides you with some very critical data with respect to the ins-and-outs and settings that make your gear sing in the field.

All in all, the image looks good(other than being JPG), a little deblurring and advanced sharpening brought brings the mountain well into 35mm prime territory on my side of things.

Last edited by JohnBee; 09-04-2010 at 08:58 PM.
09-04-2010, 10:40 PM   #7
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If the crop in your first post is from the upper center of the photo in your second post, then I'd say it has done its job in cutting out alot of the light scatter, only letting through what matches the orientation of the polarizer.

With so much haze the focus point may not be exactly where you want it. The first photo does look soft, but that could be more due to atmospheric conditions than the lens, or polarizer.

Regards

Chris Stone
09-05-2010, 02:13 AM   #8
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Hello Pak,

The others try to be kind to you and to find some reasonable explanation that does not criticize you or anything of your equipment but the polar filter.

When I look at the pictures, as someone commented, the problem does not seem motion blur. Regarding your use of f/11, in my experience such an aperture would guarantee a DOF that gives a clear foreground even with a hazy background (in such cases haziness tends to increase with the distance of the landscape objects). Even in fog I can mostly see some sharpness, since fog normally looks like fog and not as bad sharpness. It is difficult to describe but is what I have notised under such circumstances.

I attach a 90 mm telephoto taken in the summer of 2009 (f/8, 1/400s, ISO 250, EV -0.7). Brightness and contrast are somewhat enhanced afterwards, and the sharpness is minimally post-adjusted in a way that digital photos are recommended to be. It is not one of my best photos but to some extent illustrates sharpness and haze. The cairn in the foreground is unsharp because it is so near, but the terrain in between is ok, and the mountains on the other side of the lake are hazed (often the case in mountain views due to cloudy or rainy weather, or to sun haze when the air is not particle- free).

The picture is taken with a K20D and and an SMC-DA* 16-50 mm/2,8 ED AL IF SDM lens, but this should make no difference in the discussion here. However, I had a Hoya Super HMC Pro 1 polar filter on the lens.

Since taking away the polar filter does not seem to improve things for you, and if what you show here concerns every picture you take with your K-x. also with different lenses and not only in mountain areas, I must recommend you to go back to your retailer. Even with internal focus adjustment (I do not know if K-x has such an option), the pictures seem far to unsharp to correct in that way. Otherwise it seems difficult to understand the cause of your problem.

Sorry! I assume that your guarantee is valid yet. Probably they can repair it or they will replace it for you. Good luck!

By the way, also try to buy better polar filters. It is a pity to give a good camera a weak equipment part that to some extent reduces the quality of the whole equipment.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 

Last edited by Staffan; 09-05-2010 at 02:14 AM. Reason: Forgot title
09-05-2010, 02:17 AM   #9
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Faulty camera seems to be an option

Hello Pak,

The others try to be kind to you and to find some reasonable explanation that does not criticize you or anything of your equipment but the polar filter.

When I look at the pictures, as someone commented, the problem does not seem motion blur. Regarding your use of f/11, in my experience such an aperture would guarantee a DOF that gives a clear foreground even with a hazy background (in such cases haziness tends to increase with the distance of the landscape objects). Even in fog I can mostly see some sharpness, since fog normally looks like fog and not as bad sharpness. It is difficult to describe but is what I have notised under such circumstances.

I attach a 90 mm telephoto taken in the summer of 2009 (f/8, 1/400s, ISO 250, EV -0.7). Brightness and contrast are somewhat enhanced, and the sharpness is minimally adjusted in a way that digital photos are recommended to be. The cairn in the foreground is unsharp because it is so near, but the terrain in between is ok, and the mountains on the other side of the lake are hazed (often the case in mountain views due to cloudy or rainy weather, or to sun haze when the air is not particle- free).

The picture is taken with a K20D and and an SMC-DA* 16-50 mm/2,8 ED AL IF SDM lens, but this should make no difference in the discussion here. However, I had a Hoya Super HMC Pro 1 polar filter on the lens.

Since taking away the polar filter does not seem to improve things for you, and if what you show here concerns every picture you take with your K-x. also with different lenses and not only in mountain areas, I must recommend you to go back to your retailer. Even with internal focus adjustment (I do not know if K-x has such an option), the pictures seem far to unsharp to correct in that way. Otherwise it seems difficult to understand the cause of your problem.

Sorry! I assume that your guarantee is valid yet. Probably they can repair it or they will replace it for you. Good luck!

By the way, also try to buy better polar filters. It is a pity to give a good camera a weak equipment part that to some extent reduces the quality of the whole equipment.
09-05-2010, 03:26 AM   #10
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I second the opinion that it may be a faulty camera. If I were you, I would reset all to default and do some test shots from a tripod with a resolution chart or something similar to rule out the possible mistakes in the field. Use SR on and off to see maybe the SR is to blame. If still the blur appears, send it in for repairs and see what they say.
09-05-2010, 10:54 AM   #11
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It could also be user error, the lens... almost anything. Can you go outside and take a shot at 1/250, the highest f stop you can manage at 100 iso of prettymuch anything, focusing on the horizon, and post it here with fulll exif data?
09-05-2010, 11:21 AM   #12
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I don't see why anyone would suspect a faulty camera here. The combination of cheap filter and the presumably non-ideal atmospheric conditions, combined with the possibility that focus wasn't quite on that area of the picture, would *more* than explain the first image in question (which, for a 100% crop from a kit lens, is still not that bad). In the second image, it is plainly obvious focus is on the background, not the foreground, and there the atmospheric conditions are *definitely* not going to get much much sharpness at infinity.

That is to say, the posted images don't seem the slightest bit surprising to me.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-05-2010 at 05:35 PM.
09-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pak Quote
Ok, I went back to the original and downloaded it. No EXIF Meta data attached. Image Analysis time.

Taking a look at the immediate lower left hand corner (at 100%) - The closest pine branch nearest the lens is out of focus. Walking back into the image's foreground, the ground cover along with the small pine trees appear to be in focus - you can almost count the individual pine needles.

Going through the meadow into the next treeline, things appear to be ok. The base of the mountain (given the distance) looks fine. The peak - also given the distance looks OK. The peak must be a straight line distance of at least 2 miles. The question is then, what size of object will a single pixel resolve to, at that distance.

So, it appears to me that you have a very deep image with a lot going on, at a wide variety of distances. Taking a 100% crop of a distance feature is difficult at best. So, I re-cropped the image based on features at 100% and it turned out smaller than your image that was posted. I had to go to about 125-130% of my 100% cropped image in order to match the posted size. That in and of itself will add some distortion.

The question in my mind is what did you focus on and what was the focal length used? Trying to go back and reconstruct the image with the given 18-55 lens, using the Kx, at f7.1 at say 18mm, with the focus point at 100 feet (a guess), would result in a depth of field from 7 feet to infinity. That seems to suggest what you have done here. The nearest branch in the lower left hand corner and the fir tree in the lower right hand corner were probably pretty close. Walking back into the frame things (for their relative size) are pretty well defined, and then beyond that, they still look good - again given their respective distance and the amount of detail you can actually use.

Hyperfocal distance - is essentially what is being used here. Even with a very deep depth of field, only a single plane is exactly in focus, with the rest of the depth (both foreground and background) in progressively less focus. I would think that possibly f11 would have been a bit better, however beyond that - out to f22, you would get varying degrees of diffraction on the pixels (i.e., no additional sharpness from the smaller aperture).

Pixel peeping is at best an relative science/art. Overall it is a pretty nice image. It would make a great 8x12.

Can we ask where the image was taken or the name of the mountain?

09-05-2010, 01:41 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I don't see why anyone would suspect a faulty camera here. The combination of cheap filter and the presumably non-ideal atmospheric conditions, combined with the possibility that focus wasn't quite on that area of the picture, would *more* than explain the first image in question (which, for a 100% crop from a kit lens, is still not that bad). In the second image, it is plainly obvious focus ins on the background, not the foreground, and there the atmospheric conditins are *definitely* not going to get much much sharpness at infinity.

That is to say, the posted images don't seem the slightest bit surprising to me.
It's going to be faulty equipment .001 percent of the time--and yeah, I understand where I put my decimal points there.

So I totally understand and agree that it's ridiculous to blame the gear based on what's presented to us here.

Correct focus ain't easy!!!

Even if it's AUTO focus!!!
09-05-2010, 02:53 PM   #15
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there is a setting to adjust the image in the menu. maybe you have the Sharpening all the way on the -4 setting? you can also adjust hue, saturation, etc.

click menu and it looks like a color wheel.
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