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01-22-2011, 10:21 AM   #16
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Yes I am using The DAL 18-55mm kit lens. I also have the other kit lens DAL 50-200mm and a Tamron 28-80mm fs 3.5 AF and an SMC PENTAX-K 135mm f3.5 . Would any of those be better? the last two I was given and haven't yet used.


01-22-2011, 10:25 AM - 3 Likes   #17
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Hi tt2 and welcome to the forums. I took a look at your photo stream on flickr and you're not doing so badly. A couple of your shots are a bit blurry but with a little practice you'll get better, and you aren't as low on the learning curve as you think. I really like the black and white shot and the orchids are good also. You have gotten some very good advice so far, and you've shown that you CAN get good shots, so all you have to do is avoid the stuff that messed up the others.
Blurry shots are caused by two different things.
1 camera movement
2 subject movement

Take for instance the shot of Lily.
I think we can assume that she was relatively still so we can eliminate #2.
So how do we eliminate #1?
First of all make sure that the shutter speed isn't too slow.
According to timh, (I'm at work and don't have access to an exif reader) the shot was taken at 1/13 of a second at 50mm. That is too slow, meaning that the shutter is open too long for you to hold the camera steady even with SR on. Try to keep your shots at 1/60 and above in the beginning. To do that you need to do one of two things; let more light in, or increase the sensitivity of your camera to what light is coming in. You can let more light in by increasing the aperture, instead of shooting in P mode switch the mode dial to Av and use the thumbwheel in the back of the camera to increase the aperture, which counter intuitively is a smaller number.

*practice* switch the camera to Av mode and look thru the viewfinder while moving the thumbwheel, notice how the shutter speed varies with the aperture you select

The one caveat of letting in more light using the aperture wheel is that the wider the aperture the thinner the depth of field (DOF) will be. That means that less of the shot will be in focus. This can be good, as it isolates your subject, or bad if not all of your intended subject is in focus.

The second way to eliminate camera movement is to increase the camera's sensitivity to the light it already has. You do this by increasing the ISO. The K-x is a pretty forgiving camera, you can take shots up to 1600 iso without much worry about noise (grainy photos) If you set your auto ISO to 100-1600 or 200-1600 that should do the trick (see pg 90 in your manual)

Finally a few pointers on shooting posture. If you've ever been taught how to shoot a rifle or pistol, the basics are exactly the same. If you haven't done target shooting here's the basics
1. elbows in. Try to keep your elbows as close to your body as possible.
2. feet about shoulder width apart. If I'm taking a difficult handheld shot in low light I try to get one foot slightly behind the other and put most of my weight on the hind foot. This keeps the forward/backward rocking of my body to a minimum.
3. Like others have said if there is a convenient post/tree/fence/car etc nearby, brace yourself against it if you can
4. When you push the shutter button, take a breath, exhale about 1/2 and then hold it while exerting a steady downward pressure on the shutter. My biggest mistake at the beginning in low light shooting was to stab at the shutter, bad idea. You actually should be pushing the shutter slowly enough so that you are almost surprised when the shutter fires.

*practice* some day when you have a little time practice taking pictures in relatively low light, the subject doesn't matter; wall, vase, interesting lamp, whatever and don't spend too much time 10 min max, just to practice holding still and shooting.

I know it sounds like a lot of work and a big learning curve, but it really isn't and as some of your shots already show, you are doing pretty good right now.

NaCl(it ain't as bad as you think)H2O
01-22-2011, 10:36 AM   #18
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EXIF from the first shot:
Exposure 0.5 (1/2 second)
Aperture f/7.1
Focal Length 55 mm
Focal Length 55.0 mm
ISO Speed 400

1/2 second without a tripod is optimistic to say the least.
01-22-2011, 10:59 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by twintastic2 Quote
So before anyone shouts at me that it's not the camera...I know it's me! I need help!

K-X is my first DSLR...been using a Canon S3i Powershot for years with good results but limitations. Dh got me the Pentax K-x for Christmas after months of saving & lots recommendations and much pleading!

So I have spent the last month madly taking photos of all kinds on every setting. So why do so many STILL look slightly out of focus/blurry...what simple thing am I not doing??? I am sure it's me being a dullard!! Just fed up of my family and friends asking why my pictures are not as good now I have a new camera. Who is willing to advise before I go bonkers
I am using kit lens...and find best results on AV/P but auto makes my pictures awful!!
Morning,

I think that you have received wonderful advice here, so far. Here is an approach that I tired and seemed to work very well.
  1. Start over. Select a lens - any lens - it does not matter. Set the camera's ISO to range from 200 to 1600. That way the camera will help you to a reasonable degree.
  2. Set it to the Automatic or Green mode. Let the camera, select everything for you. Take pictures, immediately down load them and take a look. Are you in focus and steady, following the directions on how to hold the camera? If you are satisfied then go to step 4, if not - try some more...
  3. Select a different mode (Av, Tv, Sv and P). go the Step 2 (with the new mode) and take pictures. Repeat until you have done all the modes and are happy.
  4. Select a different lens. Go to Step 2 and take pictures. Repeat....

Only change one thing at a time. Try it out until you are comfortable with it. Take some pictures (10 - 20) down load them and take a look. Are they in focus and what you expected? If not figure out what you did wrong, repeat and try again - better results?



01-22-2011, 11:15 AM   #20
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Hi...Welcome!
Making the move from point and shoot to DSLR. Good for you.
Point and shoots use algorithms to optimize the settings for every shot.
DSLRs do too in program mode but for exposure and optionally white balance and ISO. You have to chose a lot of the other settings yourself.
It can get a little aggravating when you see something that you want to take a picture of but you're obsessing over your new cameras settings because your not sure if they're all correct. When I pick up my camera, I usually do a reset and start from there. That way, I'm starting from the same baseline every time. Not so overwhelming because I don't have to go through every single menu and check every setting.
Your Phalaenopsis looks good, especially for being a long 1/2 a second exposure. The focus is on the stem and the back side of the flower though. You could have focused a cm closer. I think your macro is otherwise sharp. I noticed you used exposure compensation. Did you dial that in? I also noticed the shutter count is over 1200. Is this a second hand camera? If it is, make sure you've done a hard reset and returned everything to default. It would be better to start from there.

It took me a long time to get used to my first DSLR and I was a film SLR shooter for 25 years. The more pictures you take, the more the settings will become familiar and obvious. Like anything else, practice!
I kind of like Av mode, maybe because I am comfortable with it after so many years. It seems logical to me that you would set your aperture first, based on lighting and depth of field and then chose the right shutter speed. I usually shoot in P mode for action and sports and manual if I'm using strobes. But aperture priority mode is nice for getting to know your camera. You decide what aperture you should be shooting at for the lighting and you control depth of field for the shot. Everything else seems to fall in right behind.
I'm babbling now but congratulations and don't beat your self up.
I look forward to seeing some more pictures!
Good luck!
01-22-2011, 03:04 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by twintastic2 Quote
Yes I am using The DAL 18-55mm kit lens. I also have the other kit lens DAL 50-200mm and a Tamron 28-80mm fs 3.5 AF and an SMC PENTAX-K 135mm f3.5 . Would any of those be better? the last two I was given and haven't yet used.
Yes, the DAL 50-200mm would have been a better choice for the "Lily" shot. It was taken at 50mm and f/5.6 with your 18-55mm. At 50mm the 50-200mm can open up to f/4, allowing in more light for a faster shutter speed. Downside is less depth of field, but that's less of a problem here than too slow of a shutter.

If you're going to be shooting at 50mm in low light, I'd take the 50-200 over the 18-55 any day for the extra aperture stop. I have the older versions of these lenses, but my 50-200 is noticeably sharper than my 18-55 as well, giving me more reason to prefer it at around 50mm focal length (though my FA50/1.4 trumps both at low light!).

I don't know about the Tamron, I'm assuming it's a variable aperture zoom?

The 135mm has a reasonably wide f3.5 but the 135mm will be harder to handhold than something at 50mm.
01-22-2011, 03:24 PM   #22
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As others have mentioned above , you need to to use faster shutter speed to avoid motion blur . One more thing I would like to recommand that you need to select the focus point, so with focus point selected, you can tell the camers to use which focus sensor to focus on the part in the frane that you want to be sharp .
01-22-2011, 04:11 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Morning,

*snip*

Only change one thing at a time. Try it out until you are comfortable with it. Take some pictures (10 - 20) down load them and take a look. Are they in focus and what you expected? If not figure out what you did wrong, repeat and try again - better results?

Most excellent advice! Don't try to do too much at once. Get one thing down and then move on to the next. I forgot to mention this

NaCl(in the beginning it's confusing, but it does get easier...I promise!)H2O

01-22-2011, 05:39 PM   #24
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I noticed a couple of things that might help. Looking at the exif for the photo of Lily: DA 18-55 @50mm, f5.6, 1/13 sec, no flash. As others have said, 1/13 is too slow for hand-held, particularly with kids. It looks to me like your problem has been camera shake.

I looked at the photo of the girl in the green and white striped top next to Lily in your photostream. This one is a lot better. Same lens @55mm, f5.6, 1/40 sec, flash fired (red-eye reduction on).

Looking at Kitty: lens not specified @50mm, f4.0, 1/30 sec, flash fired (no red-eye reduction).

It looks like the flash has "frozen the motion" to give you much better photos. You cans see some red-eye in Kitty's eyes if you look closely, but you know the solution to that

Others have mentioned allowing larger ISO numbers and that will help.

With the DA 18-55 lens, you're restricted to smaller apertures at the longer focal lengths. If you keep it at 50mm and below, you can use the wider apertures and therefore faster shutter speeds.

There's not a lot of light indoors, so you may need to use flash more often.

Richard.
01-22-2011, 05:47 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by twintastic2 Quote
So before anyone shouts at me that it's not the camera...I know it's me! I need help!

K-X is my first DSLR...been using a Canon S3i Powershot for years with good results but limitations. Dh got me the Pentax K-x for Christmas after months of saving & lots recommendations and much pleading!

So I have spent the last month madly taking photos of all kinds on every setting. So why do so many STILL look slightly out of focus/blurry...what simple thing am I not doing??? I am sure it's me being a dullard!! Just fed up of my family and friends asking why my pictures are not as good now I have a new camera. Who is willing to advise before I go bonkers
I am using kit lens...and find best results on AV/P but auto makes my pictures awful!!
I think you already have your answer.

01-23-2011, 03:38 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
Hi tt2 and welcome to the forums. I took a look at your photo stream on flickr...<trim>....I'm at work and don't have access to an exif reader
You can view the EXIF directly from Flickr for most photos. Click on the "Actions" button and look at the drop-down menu.

For the Original Poster:

Part of the problem is that modern cameras are so darned automated. It is easy to assume that there must be some magical combination of settings that will fix any problems and that it is just a matter of stumbling across that magical combination. All those modes and settings mask the fact that what is required of the user is an understanding of the basics of exposure...stuff we had to learn about beforehand back in the days before cameras got smarter than the people who buy them. Flailing away at different combinations of settings without understanding what they do and what effect the changes will have is both maddening and fruitless. Once you learn the basics of exposure/shooting independent of the automated junk then it is fairly easy to see where the problems are and to quickly and easily correct them. Spend some time with a book (or some online tutorials) covering the basics of exposure and it will pay off handsomely in better photos for you. Once you have this basic "book learning" under your belt then you'll be able to look at your own blurry photos and say, "1/2 second? What the heck was I thinking?!" and know just what to do to correct the problem and avoid it happening again in the future.

Last edited by Mike Cash; 01-23-2011 at 03:49 AM.
01-23-2011, 07:26 AM   #27
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WOW Thanks guys, great advice and tons of encouragement here! I have 2 books that I am trying to get through but as a busy teacher and mum to 4 children under 8 I don't get much me time. Anyone recommend some online tutorials??

01-23-2011, 08:52 AM   #28
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All of these:

Digital Photography Tutorials

Particularly the second one to get the basics down.
01-23-2011, 09:20 AM   #29
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I saw this a few weeks ago: Bernieís Better Beginnerís Guide to Photography for Computer Geeks Who Want to be Digital Artists

It may not just be for geeks - it's got pretty clear and concise explanations of all the basics (delving into the "why" and not just the "you should").
01-23-2011, 12:29 PM   #30
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the auto mode sucks on this camera. It likes to choose 1/8 shutter speed = way too slow. as rule of thumb, your shutter has to be faster than 1/zoom, e.g, zoomed at 55mm, you need to have 1/55 or faster shutter speed. I'm a newb but have been using 1/100-1/200 when using flash on people.

It's straight embarrassing because these people me to send them the pics, and they were all awful. I've had this camera for only 2weeks so someone correct if I'm wrong here.

i had a similar problem
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/130081-k-x-firmwar...ml#post1353870

unrelated, my camera came out with an old firmware, yours might need updated too.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/130081-k-x-firmwar...ml#post1353870

this site helped me understand alot
Ben's Newbie Guide to Digital SLR Photography - Canon Digital Photography Forums
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