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03-11-2011, 01:03 AM   #61
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Steve was trying to explain to you that the lens may be performing differently, dependent on the type of light it is seeing. Daylight has quite a different colour temperature to, say halogen or Fluorescent lights typically found inside.

He was suggesting (correctly) that you perform auto focus tests in both types of light. It may be that it focuses properly under one, but not the other.

As to fixing this problem, I'm not sure what to do in OZ. Did you buy the lens new? Is it under warranty? Maybe you can try for a different copy of the FA50? (mine works fine in both lights, BTW)

this test chart may help

http://regex.info/blog/photo-tech/focus-chart

03-11-2011, 01:09 AM   #62
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Ok this is what I do to test for focusing problems.

Nikon D70 Focus Chart

I can vouch that it works, because when I had focusing issues a while back with my DA* 16-50 this is what I used, and CR Kennedy agreed with my calculation and adjusted the camera's AF by exactly that much.

Safe option is to get the camera adjusted by CR Kennedy if its still under warranty. Otherwise I believe the focus can be adjusted globally by end user on Kx by getting into the debug menu, which involves a bit of hacking.
03-11-2011, 01:15 AM   #63
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I bought it second hand off gumtree.com.au, off a guy who moved over to Nikon. My K-x should still be under warranty as I bought in either July or August last year.

I have printed out a focusing chart so I will give that a go.
03-11-2011, 01:23 AM   #64
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You got much better.
As for the popup flash, just use it for testing purpose. Low light is the FA50 was made for. At f2 it may give you some still-very-shallow-DOF, may be it's not the best way to start with. As Ash mentioned, bump up iso to 640-1600 for indoor use. Also test the lens outdoor in shade.

My success rate with M50f1.4 @f1.4-f2 is quite low, even I have split screen, 1/10 or maybe 1/20. I use either camera movement +/- 1 inch in Hi continuous or very slowly change focus on the lens. Just shoot a lot to cover the misses.

I also found out that AF is not always as goos as MF. When I use the FA50, I set to single focus, but have to 'pulse'/half-press the release to force focus several time a second (as continuous focus), then use the same technique as MF by moving the camera 1 inch and shoot in hi continuous.

The trade off is the beautiful bokeh.

After some hard focus training, success rate for this one is still 1/50:

(M50, iso800, 1/60s, f1.4)


Last edited by hoanpham; 03-11-2011 at 07:04 AM.
03-11-2011, 01:42 AM   #65
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Lovely shot Love the bokeh.

I may have to grab one of my daughters dolls and pose it and practise on that as well. I love taking people photos, I just wish I was better at it. Anyway will try out the test chart thingy tomorrow and see how that goes.
03-11-2011, 02:58 AM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleAu Quote
I bought it second hand off gumtree.com.au, off a guy who moved over to Nikon. My K-x should still be under warranty as I bought in either July or August last year.

I have printed out a focusing chart so I will give that a go.
Do you know when the original purchaser brought it? The year with Pentax runs from then, not from when you got it. Haven't read the small print to see how transferable it is, plus the Oz small print might not be the same as the UK small print.

But if you brought your lens new less than a year ago, that has a warranty.
03-11-2011, 06:28 AM   #67
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You are using a hood, aren't you.?
03-11-2011, 06:41 AM   #68
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NicoleAu, what ever you do don't give up and remember the more you shoot the better you get. I've seen improvement just in the few photos you've posted here each photo posted has noticeably improved over than the previous one.

Don't be afraid to use the on board flash, it isn't the best but it's better than nothing. Experiment with it try turning down the flash power when in close and under expose using the exposure meter in the view finder or the LV screen. I find this limits some of that flash look. Here's a snapshot using on board flash at reduced power and slightly underexposed. He was sitting on the couch and all I did was call his name.


Try to avoid shooting hand held at less than 1/50th sec. At a slow shutter speed your more apt to get noise and anti shake can't completely compensate for normal handshake.

When shooting children keep your shutter speed at least to 1/125th, higher is better. It will eliminate movement blur.

Again above all don't give up, keep shooting you'll get more keepers as time goes on (practice does make perfect). Hunt for resources on the internet I've found thousands of them especially look into exposure.

Best to you and I hope you end up getting the results you want.

03-11-2011, 07:53 AM   #69
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Just don't give up as there is a rainbow out there!
you are not alone... my wife usually nails the focus (as long as the focus point isn't off center as she just likes to point and shoot) and she has a kit lens while I have one that is a few times the cost....
My hands are not that steady so I have been battling slight blur off and on for years
I have owned the k10 since it came out and am just starting to get a pay off for the advanced controls

stay in there, you have lots of support here

ps those types of shots of you son are what I like to take best

cheers

randy
03-11-2011, 07:59 AM   #70
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one thing I forgot.... with children shots if you can get them to stay still enough get them near a window and use window light (north facing the best) and make sure the light isn't a direct sunlight. this is what famous painters did before photography, and the results are amazing.
one rule I learned lately.... the closer your subject to the source of the light the softer it will be but on the negative side it will be brighter.... try putting up a light curtain to add so diffusion and see how you like it

hope you not getting overloaded with all of your new advise

randy
03-11-2011, 10:31 AM   #71
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Hi Nicole,
I read you shoot RAW. Usually in that case you need to apply some sharpening (to compensate for the anti-aliasing filter), so if you have not done that you may give it a try.

I tested it on your first posted image, and it seems to respond quite nicely to some sharpening (the sharpened on to the left, your original to the right).

In case you do not want me to post a processed version of you original, please let me know I and will remove it.

Best regards,
Haakan

Last edited by Haakan; 09-12-2011 at 01:51 PM.
03-11-2011, 01:22 PM   #72
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Good suggestion Haakan, though most well focused shots should look sufficiently sharp on screen (if not pixel-peeping) without sharpening.

The K-x and FA 50 is an excellent combination for portraiture, and for most instances you won't need anything more. One proviso: light. Light is everything. If the ambient light isn't right (or enough), it will spoil a good photo opportunity no matter the lens. Sure, a K-5 might be able to get it done with ISO 50k but why? And in such lighting the results won't be very flattering anyway.

So lighting is key. Supplemental light provides more control over the exposure as well as putting the light where you want it. The K-x has wireless capabilities too. So a reasonably cheap Metz or Sigma flash can work wonders in transforming your portraits.

Learn from places like the Strobist blog and see how much better portraiture can become.
03-11-2011, 01:34 PM   #73
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Nicole, I disagree with ALL who tell you "Don't Give UP!" I really think you SHOULD give up and just send ME your KX!!! I know at least ONE of us would be VERY happy!!!
03-11-2011, 01:46 PM   #74
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Haaken I can't believe the difference sharpening makes to the photo! Thanks for showing me that, if I can work out how to do that myself in LR I might be able to rescue those shots I have already taken.

No Cats I have no idea, I still have his email address so I will contact him and see if he does, he went from Pentax over to Nikon and was selling all his gear off.

I only have a rubber hood that comes with a UV filter for it, came with the lens.

I'll remember to try and underexpose manually when I try flash again.

I want to try and get as much right in camera as I can, I have changed the focus point to try and see if that works better without having to recompose the shots.

So I need to keep my shutter speed high, try to photograph in lighter conditions, use flash if conditions aren't bright enough and keep my aperture around f4 until I really nail those shots? Is that the sum of the advice?

Thank you all so much for taking the time to help me out, it is much appreciated x
03-11-2011, 02:52 PM   #75
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To me the biggest gain is going to be made with good lighting.
Even very ordinary lenses can produce excellent results with good lighting.
So that would be my overall suggestion - get the right light for the job.

And for examples, see here: The Wonder of Light, The Portrait Photographer: Sculpting with Ambient Light, Strobe and Ambient: Finding the Mix for Portraiture | LIGHTING ESSENTIALS For Photographers and Create Beautiful Indoor Portraits Without Flash (NSFW).
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