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07-05-2011, 11:38 AM   #1
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Haze/Soft focus with some zoomed macro shots

I just recently got my K-r and I've been using some old manuals PK lenses.

Sigma Zoom 75-250 1:4-5
Sigma Mini-zoom 35-85 1:2.8-4
Sigma Mini-wide 28mm 1:2.8.
A Sigma Achromatic Macro Lens Filter was on the Mini-zoom when I got it.
Recently I found a Hanimex 2.7x tele-converter/ext. tube at a pawn shop.

These all came with a Pentax K-1000 at a yard/rummage sale. Needless to say I was excited to learn that old PK lenses worked with all new Pentax DSLRs.

My problem is when try to take macro shots with the zooms. When I try to zoom all the way to 250 or 85 for the Zoom or Mini-zoom respectively the shots almost always come out looking hazy or like there's a soft focus filter.

I still need to test more to narrow down the exact situation it happens in. I know zoomed all the way does it. Almost certain it's only when I'm focusing close to the nearest point possible, and it may be at only the larger(smaller number) aperture settings.

Some pictures might help I guess. I'll have to wait till I get home to post some examples.

07-05-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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The first picture is at a lower aperture, higher shutter speed, same lens and focal length. You can see the obvious hazy soft look.

I'll look for more examples like this. The exif data is still there I think.
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07-05-2011, 09:09 PM   #3
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Looking at the pots, you actually do have part of the photo in pretty sharp focus for a zoom lens, just not the green bug. It's difficult to focus on modern DSLRs as they don't have a split focusing screen. Your best bet is to use Live View and zoom the screen in. Unfortunately, at such close distances your depth of field is very shallow.
07-06-2011, 04:16 AM   #4
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You very well could be right but I have some other pictures that you can see the focus plane is in view and the whole subject has the hazy/soft look. I'll try to find them tonight.

My macro shots have all been hand held so far. I've got a tripod on the way though so I hope that will help me improve my photos.

07-06-2011, 01:42 PM   #5
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It seems to be the phenomena that when the front glass is moved away from the other elements in the lens (as when you "close focus" or engage a "macro" mode), the aberrations normally corrected by the lens become uncorrected. In other words, these older lenses with "macro" modes tend to be average performers when outside the macro area, then have the "soft focus" look even when stopped down.

I don't know how/why companies sent lenses out the door which performed like that and why they allowed huge MACRO tags to be stamped in 4 places on every lens...someone had to say "wow, this doesn't look good at all" It's the same with pretty much every 1980s "macro" lens I've owned, save the Soligor C/D 80-200 or something...that one is actually pretty good at close focus.
07-07-2011, 01:49 PM   #6
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Aperture

On the 35-85mm the aperture is the culprit. Zooming out helps, too. If I set the aperture to 4 and up it solves the problem. It also does pretty good from 35-50mm.

There is something on one of the lens elements at the very edge. It almost looks like there is a coating that is separating or the glass has a chip. I'll try to get a photo of it and post it up later.
07-08-2011, 04:31 AM   #7
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I have a similar issue with a lens, I would just bump up the contrast (if in photoshop camera raw, bump up both the black slider (just until some of the haze goes away) and clarity slider
this should improve the softness/haze

cheers
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