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12-27-2012, 08:26 PM   #31
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My wife has a Nikon L810 and it is the biggest piece of crap I have ever used. It is even worse than the Vivitar 3.1mp camera I had back in 2003. The autofocus hunts excessively even in bright light. Lots of noise in dim light. Just a few more dollars would have bought a much better camera. Maybe even K-01.

12-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #32
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Evening, I wanted to add a couple of items to the discussion here. You certainly asked a most reasonable question, especially posting the two very similar shots. I certainly not unfamiliar with the feeling.

The two cameras - I purchased a Nikon Coolpix L810 for my Mom a year ago - she is 87. She liked the size, she could hold it, and as of this evening - she even said that she is getting use to it. She was showing us the pictures of her quilts that she won 2nd and 3rd places with at the State Fair - last year she won 1st place. Its a 16MP camera. The Pentax K110 (and I still have its brother the K100) is a 6MP camera. In theory, the Nikon should have a much better resolution just because it has 2.6 times more pixels. Well, the absolute number of pixels is not everything. The Pentax sensor with fewer pixels is almost 14 times larger in physical area. That means the pixels are larger (which gathers more light), and have more space between them, thus is much more immune to noise.

So, go up to the two images that you posted, hold down the [CTRL] key while you scroll your mouse button - to enlarge the images. Then start comparing them. You know about the color, but take a look at the details in the pictures. The definition of the power lines. You can see that its snowing in the Pentax image around the light on the power pole. You don't see that in the Nikon image. The road signs, etc. Now to be fair, the Nikon was set to a shorter focal length (wider angle) than the focal length setting of the Pentax. But, even taking that into account, the Pentax definition is much better.

If you compare the modified images posted by the other folks, I would think that the colors are perfect - if you use the Nikon as the standard. You can adjust the default color settings on the K110 also for JPG. I would suggest that you start taking RAW images, since that will retain a lot more information and you can make much better adjustments in post processing. Load the Silkyplex software package that came with it - if you don't have the CD it can be downloaded off the web. This will provide a pretty good basis for post processing with out spending a dime.

The other aspect that I wanted to touch on was the sensor technology. Nikon is using CMOS as is everyone else - including Pentax in their current models. That said, Pentax used CCD for the K100/110, K10 and K200. Pentax also currently uses CCD in the 645D system (their top of the line Professional body for $10K - at 40MP). CCD has wonderful color, and low noise as well as excellent image quality (IQ). The camera is excellent, has an excellent first class sensor, Given that its 6 to 7 years old you probably picked it up for a pretty reasonable price. Its a wonderful camera to learn on and to use.

As was already posted - each camera has its place.


Last edited by interested_observer; 12-27-2012 at 09:18 PM.
12-27-2012, 09:00 PM - 1 Like   #33
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Thanks to all

Wow! I never expected so many replies. Thanks and more thanks!

I hope I didn't sound too much like a rank amateur, but, as far as digital photography is concerned, the description fits.

I'm looking at those photos with a "new eye" now. I guess if the Pentax photo had the brighter colors of the Nikon photo then I would not have been so upset. It definitely is sharper. I was too tired from shoveling a foot of snow - twice - to notice the details. (There's a lesson in there somewhere.)

I never realized that I was trying to do something complicated, lighting-wise, as someone mentioned. I probably bit off more than a beginner could chew. Now I don't feel so bad. I'm encouraged again, which is, I suppose, the reason I joined the forum.

Now I'll go back and read the replies again, and then again.
12-27-2012, 09:14 PM   #34
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I just ran across this post on the web. I think that it applies to your situation. Rather than two cameras, the poster is using one camera where he takes a single image and its saved both as a JPG and as a RAW. The JPG is SOOC - or Straight Out Of the Camera. Its a Sony camera - the Pentax K110 has a Sony sensor. Anyway, you can see as you skim or read through that he is having some of the same observations as you....


12-27-2012, 09:39 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I just ran across this post on the web. I think that it applies to your situation. Rather than two cameras, the poster is using one camera where he takes a single image and its saved both as a JPG and as a RAW. The JPG is SOOC - or Straight Out Of the Camera. Its a Sony camera - the Pentax K110 has a Sony sensor. Anyway, you can see as you skim or read through that he is having some of the same observations as you....
That looks like a clever idea for something to do while I await tax returns so I can get shooting again. I'm kind of tempted to go in and see what I can do with some of my shots I have archived.
12-28-2012, 12:00 AM   #36
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A bit better...

Here's a second try. There's no snow falling (at the moment!) so unfortunately the light is not scattered like it was 24 hours ago. I used "P" mode, 1/6 second, f3.5, 800, tungsten balance. It still needs work, but it's a step in the right direction, I hope.

(Second version run through Pentax Photo Browser using "Auto Image Fix". I like this one better.)
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12-28-2012, 12:05 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
No offense intended.
None taken.
My purpose was not to make a complete restoration but to show, to some extent, what the camera was really capable of given half a chance.

Last edited by wildman; 12-28-2012 at 12:48 AM.
12-28-2012, 12:37 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by rlg118 Quote
Here's a second try. There's no snow falling (at the moment!) so unfortunately the light is not scattered like it was 24 hours ago. I used "P" mode, 1/6 second, f3.5, 800, tungsten balance. It still needs work, but it's a step in the right direction, I hope.

(Second version run through Pentax Photo Browser using "Auto Image Fix". I like this one better.)
Much better
I don't know anything about snow or night photography, but if i had to photograph that scene I'd go for a low iso = 100 and a smaller aperture = f/8 - f/11 for more sharpness and less noise. Paired of course with a bit longer exposure using a tripod or something to stabilize thecamera.
White balance looks pretty good

12-28-2012, 01:41 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vindemiatrix Quote
Much better
I don't know anything about snow or night photography, but if i had to photograph that scene I'd go for a low iso = 100 and a smaller aperture = f/8 - f/11 for more sharpness and less noise. Paired of course with a bit longer exposure using a tripod or something to stabilize thecamera.
White balance looks pretty good
Yeah, low ISO is a huge benefit in this kind of scene, simply because of the dynamic range to help capturing all the contrasty parts of the pic.
12-28-2012, 03:16 AM - 1 Like   #40
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Personally, I like ambient low light photography - essentially, what you are doing here. You want to do 3 things.
  • The shutter speed is always going to be long, so you need to hold the camera still, setting it on something as you are doing is perfect or a tripod. You have that down.
  • With the camera sitting solid - use the lowest ISO available, in this case the K110 will go down to 200 - but its a very good 200. In this last set you are using 800, which came out very clean, no (or very little) noise. Noise is the appearance of a grainy or sandy look to the image, especially in the shadows.
  • Then aperture - or f stop. You are probably using the kit lens, and you went for f3.5 which stands to reason, as it lets in the most light possible. However, the lens is "wide open" ( i.e. the aperture which is the variable sized hole that lets in a measured amount of light). The aperture is very important as it controls the "sharpness" of the picture. If you close the aperture down to say f8, you will get a better, more sharper image. It varies from lens to lens, the sweet spot for the kit lens is about f8. This is where you get the optimal resolution (center, boarders and corners). Aperture also controls the depth of field (DoF), which is the "thickness" or width of the area that is in focus. When its wide open (f3.5) it is at its thinnest, at the other end of the range its thickness (f22). However beyond f11 to about f16, a little aspect of optics called diffusion starts up, where the individual pixels start to "bloom" or get fat, and thus you start to loose sharpness. So, that is why f8 is usually the best place to be. If its not perfect, it is very close.
You are doing very well...


12-28-2012, 06:25 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by rlg118 Quote
Here's a second try. There's no snow falling (at the moment!) so unfortunately the light is not scattered like it was 24 hours ago. I used "P" mode, 1/6 second, f3.5, 800, tungsten balance. It still needs work, but it's a step in the right direction, I hope.

(Second version run through Pentax Photo Browser using "Auto Image Fix". I like this one better.)
Going in the right direction!
12-28-2012, 10:56 AM   #42
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I tried using Manual mode, but the shutter speed was jumping all over the map. At one point, it settled on 1/4000 (!), which, of course, was totally useless. I repeatedly cranked it down, but it seemed to have a mind of its own. I finally gave up - it was too cold - and used P mode.

My ultimate goal is to get the sharpness of the Pentax version with the colors of the Nikon version. Say what you will about the L810, but the colors were right on the money.

I'll work on it some more.
12-28-2012, 11:15 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by rlg118 Quote
I tried using Manual mode, but the shutter speed was jumping all over the map. At one point, it settled on 1/4000 (!), which, of course, was totally useless. I repeatedly cranked it down, but it seemed to have a mind of its own. I finally gave up - it was too cold - and used P mode.

My ultimate goal is to get the sharpness of the Pentax version with the colors of the Nikon version. Say what you will about the L810, but the colors were right on the money.

I'll work on it some more.
In Manual mode (M) the shutter speed and aperture should NOT change their values unless you adjust it.
(Unless is a quirk of this camera that I am not aware)

The shutter speed will automatically change by itself when you are in Aperture priority mode.
There are different levels of "manual".
12-28-2012, 11:21 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by rlg118 Quote
I tried using Manual mode, but the shutter speed was jumping all over the map. At one point, it settled on 1/4000 (!), which, of course, was totally useless. I repeatedly cranked it down, but it seemed to have a mind of its own. I finally gave up - it was too cold - and used P mode.

My ultimate goal is to get the sharpness of the Pentax version with the colors of the Nikon version. Say what you will about the L810, but the colors were right on the money.

I'll work on it some more.
What you might be missing in the comparison is the ways these 2 camera designs work.

Btw, I don't think you were in Manual mode. It sounds more like Aperture Priority. In manual. You set the ISO, shutter speeds and aperture. Nothing should change by itself.

Your P&S and most brands/versions are like your cell phone camera. They are meant to do everything for you and process the image for you to give you and image you don't edit or modify. They and preprogrammed to edit a resulting image to be used as is.

All DSLR's are much more like a film camera. They do produce a jpeg but also produce a RAW image that equates to a film negative that is meant to be edited to taste before viewing or sharing. This isn;t just Pentax but all DSLR models and brands. They do provide some basic editing software in the box but if you search this forum and others, discussions are everywhere about various software programs to edit RAW files to your taste and needs.

So if you want a DSLR to produce viewing and sharing ready shots without any processing, they do a decent job most of the time but not in all situations and lighting conditions. You need to do something with the RAW file first before getting the final result you want.

So yes they require more from you but the end result after some basic editing is far, far superior to what most P&S cameras can produce in the end. Far finer details, wider dynamic range and so on. DSLR's are not for everyone but if you're prepared to take the extra steps, you'll produce much better images.

Think of it like a new computer for the first time. It comes with some basic software to get you started but if you want to do say office work, you need to go buy MS Office and add that to the system. With you new camera, it's the same. You can find plenty of free software to do the editing and you can spend some money on even better software to go further.

To get started, Download a program like GIMP or Paint.net to do some editing. If you want more, buy Photoshop Elements or even more, Photoshop CS4,5 or 6.
12-28-2012, 11:25 AM   #45
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You're heading in the right direction! Just wanted to mention, using low iso and f/8 shutter speeds at night will require longer exposures of several seconds. So you'll need a tripod, or the porch railing you're using. It's sometimes difficult to hold the shutter button down that long, so you could use the camera's self-timer, or a remote shutter switch. You're doing great - enjoy the learning process
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