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12-23-2010, 10:41 PM   #1
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Help! blurry/soft images with Pentax K-x

I have had a K-x for the last month and a half and it seems to me that I am having a very hard time getting sharp images. Additionally, I have been having a hard time with color/skin tones. I am not a very good photographer but I feel that at this point I know my way around the K-x somewhat proficiently. This is my first DSLR but I have always had P&S that have a decent amount of manual (with the exception of focus) controls. My previous cameras were K.M. Dimage Z2, Dimage Z5, Canon G10, Olympus E-PL1. I am looking for a little help on how to get better results or maybe help me determine if my k-x is a lemon. The softness seems to be happening with all 3 lenses that I have right now. As far as the color goes the reds are way over saturated. I am shooting strictly jpg and pretty much default settings. Any suggestions would help I will try and post some examples. I have tried shooting shots with the SR on and off and it doesn't seem to be a shutter slap issue. I will try and post some crops to show what I am talking about.

12-23-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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Make sure you include EXIF. That's going to be essential to getting good help. And are you using AF-S? What shooting mode?

Color and skin tones come with proper exposure and white balance, so people will want to know what your WB settings are, and what kind of light.
12-24-2010, 12:19 AM   #3
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As said previously it would be helpful to post a sample with EXIF so the experts here can assist.

A starting point to diagnose would be to take a photo of something wide and flat (like a brick wall) with the camera on a tripod (or on a flat / steady surface). Use the 2s timer to make sure you are not bumping it (this also turns of SR).
If image still looks blurry select manual focus and use magnifier under Live View to focus manually.
12-24-2010, 12:56 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies and suggestions. As I went through a good portion of my photos I noticed a lot of the soft/blurry photos were taken with the 18-55 DA-L lens @ 18MM. I have the camera set to AF-S and almost always center point focus. As far as WB I always have it set to auto. As systematically went through my pictures there were quite a few photos that were pretty sharp but it just seems like I am having to delete more photos than I should. Maybe this is just due to the fact that the camera is so much faster at taking photos than my previous cameras. Notice that in one of the photos that I have the reds (and also pinks) quite often seem to be off- too saturated- which could be why skin blemishes seem un-natural and exaggerated? I know that my examples shown have my kids in them who are generally squirmy but the same issues happen even on non-mobile subjects. Each example is the cropped center of the picture.

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12-24-2010, 01:29 AM   #5
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A few comments come in mind:

* "Blurry pictures"
When you use the SR on, do wait for the SR incon (Hand) to come on before your shoot. The shake reduction (SR) takes about 1-2 s to kick in once you half-press the shutter button.

Simply: do use the SR on; once you half-press the shutter button, wait for the "hand" icon (SR confirmation) to light up before you shoot.


* "Soft pictures"
Have you tried to post-processed your pictures ? Pentax Digital Camera Utility (PCDU) has some nice PP options to reduce noise and to get sharper pictures.

Other PP softwares would also have similar functions. Most Pentaxians will tell you that you can easily improve your shots with some minimum PP.


I hope that the comments will help.

Merry Xmas....
12-24-2010, 03:09 AM   #6
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Is the softness mainly in indoors shots? It just looks like you're using too slow a shutter speed to me!
12-24-2010, 08:14 AM   #7
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Sharpness needs several factors: faster shutter; shorter focal length (FL); aperture stopped-down but not tighter than f/16 (f/11 is better); and, DON'T MOVE! Here are some camera settings to achieve sharpness:

1) Boost the ISO to 800-1600 for indoor shots, for more leeway in your exposures; try Auto-ISO within the range 100-1600
2) Set autofocus (AF) to AF-C (continuous), so the focusing system responds faster
3) Set the AF Point to Auto unless your subject is centered; set metering to multi-segment (for general use) or center-weighted (for centered-subject shots)
4) A wider focal length (FL) gives more depth-of-field (DOF), the distance range that looks sharp; but the 18-55 is renowned for being a little soft at 18mm, so take it to 20-24mm
5) Set the Program Line to Hi-Speed, to prioritize higher shutter speeds in Green or P modes; or
6) Use Tv (shutter priority) mode, and set the shutter to 1/50 or faster -- the basic rule is, even with SR on, use shutter = 1/FL*2
7) The 18-55 is also renowned for being a bit soft with a wide-open aperture, so stop-down to at least f/4-5.6 -- to achieve (6) and (7), do
8) Use TAv (shutter+aperture priority) mode, with 1/80 and f/4.5, and let ISO float

The enemies of sharpness are slow shutter, widest (and tightest) aperture, widest focal length on the 18-55, improper focusing, and your movements. NOTE: My suggestions are based on my K20D. I *think* the Kx supports the same settings, like AF-C and TAv and Program Line. Good luck!
12-24-2010, 10:11 AM   #8
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hcc-Nice catch on the SR delay. I had not realized how long the delay was until the SR was active. I have been playing with the k-x this morning and will pay closer attention to it in the view finder. RioRico-not sure how to change the program line I have not seen it referenced in the manual thus far. Any idea on how to prioritize higher shutter speed when I am using the flash? I am noticing that when I use the flash the shutter speed is still around 1/15 to 1/30 of a second which is to slow to catch kids why they moving around. Thanks again for the help.


Last edited by suboxes; 12-24-2010 at 11:23 AM.
12-24-2010, 11:27 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by suboxes Quote
hcc-Nice catch on the SR delay. I had not realized how long the delay was until the SR was active. I have been playing with it this morning and will play closer attention to it in the view finder. RioRico-not sure how to change the program line I have not seen it referenced in the manual thus far. Any idea on how to prioritize higher shutter speed when I am using the flash? I am noticing that when I use the flash the shutter speed is still around 1/15 to 1/30 of a second which is to slow to catch kids why they moving around. Thanks again for the help.
I always forget to watch for the hand. The K-x doesn't have an adjustment for Program Line (I think) but you might try the Kids scene mode. The shutter speed is a little deceiving when you're using flash. It often seems low. The camera is trying to preserve some of the background and scene, to avoid those photos with a super-bright person on a completely black background. It uses a slow shutter speed to let in more light from the background. The flash fires in a short burst and will often freeze action as well as a fast shutter speed. If you have a faster-moving subject, you'll sometimes see an almost double exposure effect, with natural-light motion blur, then an instant captured by the flash. The Slow-Speed Sync setting on the flash menu is an exaggerated version of this.
12-24-2010, 11:45 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
5) Set the Program Line to Hi-Speed, to prioritize higher shutter speeds in Green or P
8) Use TAv (shutter+aperture priority) mode, with 1/80 and f/4.5, and let ISO float

The enemies of sharpness are slow shutter, widest (and tightest) aperture, widest focal length on the 18-55, improper focusing, and your movements. NOTE: My suggestions are based on my K20D. I *think* the Kx supports the same settings, like AF-C and TAv and Program Line. Good luck!
No program line adjustment on the K-x.
No TAv mode on the K-x. Only one e-dial.

The K-x has M, Av, Tv, Sv, & P along with the Auto Pict & scene modes.
12-24-2010, 03:14 PM   #11
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As far as color cast, if you mean on your monitor then I don't see it on mine. the only way to achieve accurate results is by calibrating the monitor. (I have an eye-one)
Most commercial kodak printers will "correct" the color cast as they usually put their printer on "automatic exposure" which will for the most part do minor corrections to color and exposure (some times to much on the latter)
you would need to go to a place like Costco and ask them to not adjust the colors/exposure and see the results

as far as soft focus is, take your camera outside and set the appeture to f8, which is the "sweet spot" for a lot of lenses. you can't blame the kit lens as my wife's kit lens with her k100 is tack sharp which great colors.

post some pics to see the results

good luck

randy
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