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01-22-2011, 07:25 AM   #1
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Trying not to get cross with myself

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!!

01-22-2011, 07:35 AM   #2
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One of the hardest things to remember is to hold the camera steady when you hit the shutter, and not prematurely take it away from your eye. A lot of people have this habit of doing this one motion of hitting the shutter and moving the camera WHILE the shot is actually being taken.

Do you have a tripod? Even a cheap one?

If so, try some shots with that and look at your results. (But turn shake reduction OFF when you use a tripod.)
01-22-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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A common problem would using too long shutter time (the k-x seems to be happy enough to do that in low light with AUTO PIC, even with flash). You should try to keep it shorter than 1/60s or so for the pictures to come out sharp without extra effort to hold steady. Using a higher ISO value should help to keep underexposure at bay (1600 and even 3200 give pretty good results :-). Another thing that might help would be half-pressing the shutter button until the SR (hand) icon lights up in the viewfinder to indicate that shake-reduction is ready to help.

Consider posting some sample images - with exif info, or just add the parameters (shutter time, aperture, ISO, flash: yes/no) used. This usually helps a great deal in figuring out the problem :-)
01-22-2011, 07:45 AM   #4
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Thank you for your quick replies. I am not using & infact don't own a tripod...maybe need to invest. It may well be me moving. I knew about waiting for the SR after reading that here before so do wait but will definitely play with the shutter time, thank you. I will try & post a couple of shots to see if you pros can help this old gal out!

Thanks again!

01-22-2011, 08:03 AM   #5
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Does the problem happen outside, in good light?
01-22-2011, 08:13 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by twintastic2 Quote
Thank you for your quick replies. I am not using & infact don't own a tripod...maybe need to invest. It may well be me moving. I knew about waiting for the SR after reading that here before so do wait but will definitely play with the shutter time, thank you. I will try & post a couple of shots to see if you pros can help this old gal out!

Thanks again!
I'm not saying you're going to have to shoot with a tripod all of the time, so even if you could just borrow one, it would be a good way to test my theory.
01-22-2011, 08:32 AM   #7
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IMGP1049 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
not sure if this is linked but here is one that seems ok, just to prove it works.
01-22-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
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Lily | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
This is more typical and yes it does happen outside but a lot less. I noticed this one said it was not stabilised which was interesting as I thought I'd waited...guess not! Probably the issue?


Last edited by twintastic2; 01-22-2011 at 08:41 AM.
01-22-2011, 08:47 AM   #9
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OK, looking at the exif info for that last photo... a 1/13 sec exposure at 50mm - that's too slow to be hand-holding so you'll get blur.

Two ways to change that, without changing the light:
1) Wider aperture - letting more light in means your shutter speed can be reduced. Your kit lens may have been wide open already, however.
2) Higher ISO (sensitivity). You were on ISO 400, and the K-x will produce good images at ISO 1600 and beyond - so, when you're indoors and using that lens try 1600.

(You can allow the camera's auto-ISO capability to range up to 1600 which you may want to do with the K-x.)
01-22-2011, 08:58 AM   #10
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these fancy cameras have a lot of neat tricks to help with keeping out of focus and blurry images from happening, but an SLR is designed to teach you how to keep these things at bay by yourself instead of doing it all for you. shake reduction only helps so much. one of the first real problems I had when I picked up an SLR for the first time was blurry pictures due almost exclusively to too much movement on my part. over excited and not stabilizing the camera well enough when holding it to take a photo. pulling the viewfinder away from my eyes too quick, etc. it actually took a look into a few old film SLR manuals that stressed the importance of stabilizing the camera body against yourself when taking photos and not being in a hurry that really made me realize what my problem was. so I shall reiterate some previously stated points here, but emphasize the importance of two things: always make sure your shutter speed stays at or above 1/60 of a second for shots without waiting for the shake reduction to activate or 1/30 and above with SR. (this is just a general guide for ease of learning, and doesn’t really represent the actual ‘limits’ of how slow you can go and get away with it) and the second is to slow down some and be more conscious of stabilizing the camera with your body. its all actually very similar to the basic rules of marksmanship when it comes to getting good photos hand held. remember, the SLR is designed to make you learn, so it will make you look really bad in a heartbeat if you don’t try to. it wont do it all for you like the P&S.
01-22-2011, 09:02 AM   #11
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I quite agree with timh as to the second photo, 1/13s a bit too slow to consistently avoid motion blur, going to ISO 1600 should get you around 1/50s in a similar situation, this is likely to give improved results. As for the first photo, it would seem to be pretty good, actually (?). If you want more of the flower to be in focus (more DOF), consider using a smaller (bigger number) aperture (with the very smallest apertures, say, 16 and above image quality is likely to suffer due to diffraction so watch out for that, lenses are typically at their best around 8 or 11).
01-22-2011, 09:19 AM   #12
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Thank you all. I knew that the camera would take time to get used to and ages to learn. I have managed a few pictures that I am pleased with and I guess I need to look at what went right there. I guess the fact that I was thrilled with my first couple of shots, like this one of my daughter kitty | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
has caused me to be a tad cross with myself since
01-22-2011, 09:41 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by twintastic2 Quote
Lily | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
This is more typical and yes it does happen outside but a lot less. I noticed this one said it was not stabilised which was interesting as I thought I'd waited...guess not! Probably the issue?
SR not kicking in might have been a factor here but even if it had activated 1/13sec is way too long of a shutter speed when taking a portrait of a kid, even one trying to stay still. SR doesn't slow down a moving target, you need a tranquilizer for that. This might be a nono with your own children though.

I'd go with a faster lens if available. Failing that, bump up the iso, a grainy shot is usually much better than a blurry one. Or add light. Knock out a wall if you have to. Photography is a great reason for home renovation- don't be afraid to add some huge windows or skylights.

Indoor low light conditions are tough and near impossible to get sharp, clean results of moving targets with the slow kit lens. It's a matter of picking a compromise between the noise of higher iso and low enough f-stop (and the lower depth of field this gives) to get a high enough shutter speed that you are comfortable with.

Note the photo you liked involved the flash, which has a very short duration effectively freezing any motion of your daughter and any camera shake. The ambient light portion of the exposure may still cause some blur, but given that the flash is a fair bit stronger here and you are at a safer 1/30s, it will hardly be noticeable.
01-22-2011, 09:58 AM   #14
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I never tested the theory, but according to what I've read here, it's not like if you shoot too quickly for SR to activate/confirm that you simply don't have SR.

I read that while it's working and before it's ready when you pull the trigger, it will screw UP an otherwise steadily-held and in-focus shot.

Why the heck you shouldn't have it on when using a tripod is beyond my level of thinking.
01-22-2011, 09:59 AM   #15
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I'm going to guess you are using the DAL 18-55mm kit lens. I was in a similar situation to you frustrated with the lack of sharpness when I first started using my K-x and this lens. You can get good pics with it (as the one sample you gave is), but I found it to be a finicky lens. As others have noted, you really have to work on pushing the shutter button smoothly and holding still, even at rather fast shutter speeds. Using a tripod should confirm that it does work well...
OTOH, I ended up buying a used Pentax DA16-45 lens, and it is much more reliable for getting good sharp results.
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