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02-28-2013, 09:12 AM   #1
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I Upgraded thanks to your advice, now need some assitance

Alright time to bring some life back to this post!!!! So i took the majority advice (see I told you that I listen to you guys) and purchased a new, not used K5. As well I got the battery grip, eye-fi card (worthless IMO) as well as a Rikion 85mm 1.4 Manual Focus lens. So after two days of shooting with this lens and body set up, what do I think? Well that is kind of two part lol. First off the camera creates some amazing images with little input for me, I really loved what I was getting when shooting randomly around my kitchen. Now....

What in the ever living hell is up with low light focus on this camera? I did a shoot last night with a fashion stylist, it was in an apartment where I will admit the lighting was not great but nothing horrible at all. I was using my Prime 85mm, I was set at 800 ISO, 1.4 and 1-60. After a few test shots I was totally puzzled, even after taking my time and placing focus on her face....... she was blurred and something else would be in focus like her jacket. So I thought I was just getting too close to the area where the red AF indicator comes on while i was focusing (i know that is not the indicator of proper focus when using MF lens and forgot to turn off the damn thing) so I backed the focus out and slowly rotated my lens until I saw the green hexagon appear then looked to see what was in focus in the viewfinder..... Looked great.... clicked shutter.... WTF focus slightly off, now when i say slightly, it was enough that with the wide open F- her face was not in focus! Now donít get me wrong, I do understand that some of this is caused by my wide open Ap causing the very shallow DOF, but all night I just seemed to struggle with gaining focus. If some of you remember, I do a good amount of light painting so low light focus is something I did on the regular with my K10D. Lastly, despite what I have heard about how good the camera sensor is when it comes to ISO, I seem to have way more noise than I expected with a 800 ISO. Now donít get me wrong, I am sure that 70% of what I am talking about is somehow tied to user error which is why I am looking for your advice here. I have attached a example picture, the following is the EXFIL data for the shot. This was not a great shot but just a random example to show you all. Auto exposure, Aperture-priority AE, 1/45 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800, I did not use a flash, tired but the room was mostly dark brick on the walls and dark wood for the ceiling, no matter if I had a soft box on or just trying to bounce direct flash it gave little to no improvement on the image. Keep in mind I am not looking for input on the girl and her setting, more so on the camera settings. Granted I would love input on everything you see since there is no better way to learn then from others, but I want to focus on the camera settings primarily.

Lastly, and this is kind of a catch 22, Holly F-ing new settings haha. the K5 has some very unique settings that I have never seen due to only using the K10D. Menu Settings like Noise Reduction, a Shutter helper (forgive me, im going off memory since I am at work without the camera), Highlight enhancer, shadow correction..... and plenty more. Does anyone have a link to maybe a past thread that I can read to give me some insight on these settings. I read the manual, but the descriptions are just way to vague and god only knows what happens when you start activating multiple settings.

Sorry this was so long but I wanted to get this all out in one post so you can gain a full understanding of what I am dealing with!

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02-28-2013, 09:39 AM   #2
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Check what version of firmware you're running . Seems the latest version has improved low-light performance.
02-28-2013, 09:40 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnX Quote
Check what version of firmware you're running . Seems the latest version has improved low-light performance.
As soon as I took the camera out of the box this was the first thing I did, I belive it is version 1.41, it was the latest update on the site.
02-28-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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K5 has a mirror just like any other DSLR. You may need to configure front/back focus settings for some lenses.

02-28-2013, 10:22 AM   #5
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Let's see if I can help, although I'll make the disclaimer that I don't own any of the gear in question.

The eye-fi cards are one of the few ways to tether any of the modern Pentax DSLRs, but they don't give you full functionality, they just transfer files (I'm sure you figured that out before purchasing them). If you're using Lightroom all you have to do is set up a watched folder and LR will read the images as they come in off the eye-fi cards so your clients/stylists can see what you're shooting in quasi-real time.

The Rokinon 85 1.4 is a fantastic lens from what I've read, but it's possible that you may have a bad copy, or more likely your copy just needs some micro adjustment. Even though it's not an AF lens, it is still the phase detect AF sensors that are responsible for the green hexagon "in focus" indicator. You might want to try putting the camera on the tripod, and focusing through the VF, and then switching to live view when you think you've got it, and see if there's a difference. Other folks can tell you more about how to do it, but the camera allows for micro "AF" adjustments. The other thing about the Rokinon 85 is it is a little long for portrait/studio work on an APS-C camera in my opinion. I prefer something in the 55mm range.

Shooting at f/1.4 means the DoF is going to be ridiculously thin, so thin in fact that the stock focusing screen really isn't up to the task. It renders everything as if it were shot on an f/4~5.6 lens. If you like shooting with fast manual lenses (and who doesn't, really?), I'd highly recommend getting a precision matte focusing screen when the wallet permits. That will give you a much truer rendition of your DoF, instead of giving you a false sense of security. I use a Katzeye with a split prism, and it's wonderful, my rate of OoF shots went way down when I started using it. It does affect your metering though, especially spot metering, but I have a top of the line Sekonic meter, so it's of little consequence to me.

If on the other hand you're shooting wide open just to keep your ISO low and your shutter speed high, consider using a tripod. I go back and forth between hand holding and the tripod in the studio, and I definitely use the tripod when shooting on location. Shoot at f/2.8 of f/4 even with a slower shutter. This will give you a little more wiggle room with your focus, but you'll still have a very shallow DoF. It's a lot easier to clean up noise in post than to try and sharpen an out of focus image. The noise at ISO 800 should mostly be chroma noise which you can eliminate in your raw converter almost without penalty to sharpness. Try it, crank the slider all the way up to 100, it amazing how well it cleans up.
02-28-2013, 10:30 AM   #6
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Not sure if you can search for my previous posts but I have one on issues with manual lenses. I have a K-r and a Pentax-A 5mm0 1.5 but I believe the issues are the same on any DSLR and fast manual lens. The high level gist of it seems to be that it is almost impossible to get decent focus on fast manual lenses using the optical view finder. However, it is much better if you use live view.

To do it with an optical view finder it seems you need to buy a new split prism focusing screen. The ones on here seem to get a good write up between cost and quality: Focusing Screen. Katzeye seem to be the "best" from what I've read but are also pretty expensive. I did find somewhere on here where someone has done videos and picture comparisons of various screens. If I find it again I will come back and link it here.

However, it is a whole new area for you to research but there is loads of good info on it in these forums that I have read through. Seems that if you want to use older fast manual lenses (and don't want to use live view) then a new focus screen is a must.
02-28-2013, 10:36 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
Let's see if I can help, although I'll make the disclaimer that I don't own any of the gear in question.

The eye-fi cards are one of the few ways to tether any of the modern Pentax DSLRs, but they don't give you full functionality, they just transfer files (I'm sure you figured that out before purchasing them). If you're using Lightroom all you have to do is set up a watched folder and LR will read the images as they come in off the eye-fi cards so your clients/stylists can see what you're shooting in quasi-real time.

The Rokinon 85 1.4 is a fantastic lens from what I've read, but it's possible that you may have a bad copy, or more likely your copy just needs some micro adjustment. Even though it's not an AF lens, it is still the phase detect AF sensors that are responsible for the green hexagon "in focus" indicator. You might want to try putting the camera on the tripod, and focusing through the VF, and then switching to live view when you think you've got it, and see if there's a difference. Other folks can tell you more about how to do it, but the camera allows for micro "AF" adjustments. The other thing about the Rokinon 85 is it is a little long for portrait/studio work on an APS-C camera in my opinion. I prefer something in the 55mm range.

Shooting at f/1.4 means the DoF is going to be ridiculously thin, so thin in fact that the stock focusing screen really isn't up to the task. It renders everything as if it were shot on an f/4~5.6 lens. If you like shooting with fast manual lenses (and who doesn't, really?), I'd highly recommend getting a precision matte focusing screen when the wallet permits. That will give you a much truer rendition of your DoF, instead of giving you a false sense of security. I use a Katzeye with a split prism, and it's wonderful, my rate of OoF shots went way down when I started using it. It does affect your metering though, especially spot metering, but I have a top of the line Sekonic meter, so it's of little consequence to me.

If on the other hand you're shooting wide open just to keep your ISO low and your shutter speed high, consider using a tripod. I go back and forth between hand holding and the tripod in the studio, and I definitely use the tripod when shooting on location. Shoot at f/2.8 of f/4 even with a slower shutter. This will give you a little more wiggle room with your focus, but you'll still have a very shallow DoF. It's a lot easier to clean up noise in post than to try and sharpen an out of focus image. The noise at ISO 800 should mostly be chroma noise which you can eliminate in your raw converter almost without penalty to sharpness. Try it, crank the slider all the way up to 100, it amazing how well it cleans up.
I see the pearls on the bracelet look somewhat sharp, and her hand is just past the head. I use the rokinon 85 on the d7000 and at 1.4

I focus, take a picture, unfocus and refocus and shoot again

May the law of averages be with you!
02-28-2013, 10:49 AM   #8
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Cyclone3d / Maxfield_photo,

Thank you both for your input, I am reading on the adjustment for a MF lens within my K5 (http://www.k10dbook.com/newchart.pdf) I think that this is a really good starting point once I get home today. I have had this same lens on my K10D and did not have this same issue, so I think (and hoping) that adjustment is required in teh K5 AF adjustments. As for shooting at 1.4, this girl LOVES strong DOF in her images which is why I was shooting wide open and is another reason why I was trying to not use a flash. Your comment about using the tripod is very very valid and something that I need to work on, I tend to only mount my K5 when light painting, but should get into the habit of using one when shooting with her becuse of her DOF prefrance.

As for the ISO, I use lightroom for my PP and using the slider on that system to remove noise causes loss of detail and a clay like took to the subject in the photo. Unless I am missing another slider that I did nto know to adjust. I wish lightroom had the ability like Gimp or PS to select around the individual and only apply the adjustments to the background. When I was researching on upgrading to this camera people from this site were saying stuff like "the usability of the higher ISO ranges is really excellent. With the K 5 6400 seems about the same as 800 on the K 10, if not better". After looking at my attached image taken at 800 ISO I am not seeing a big differance in this aspect of the camera, once again this could be total user error or that I was exspecting too much with the K5 before I got it.

thechumpen, your point about perfect focus with a MF lens seems to be very valid. When I did a shoto the other week with this same lens on my K10D I did nto ahve any issues with the focus that I remeber. But now that I think more about what you said, i was shooting outside, it was nto a bright sunny day but for sure much brighter than where I was shooting last night. As for the focusing screen, this is something, like you said, that I am going to have to research in depth, I know nothing about these and how they may benifit me or any negitive aspects. As well after looking at that site there seems to be many options available and trying to narrow that down is going to be tough. I assume that your style of photography with have some weight on what type of filter you purchse. I am a very board photographer and do not like to have a single focus (www.flashbangphotography.net) dont exspect anything amazing there lol.

02-28-2013, 11:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sig0431 Quote
As for the ISO, I use lightroom for my PP and using the slider on that system to remove noise causes loss of detail and a clay like took to the subject in the photo. Unless I am missing another slider that I did nto know to adjust. I wish lightroom had the ability like Gimp or PS to select around the individual and only apply the adjustments to the background. When I was researching on upgrading to this camera people from this site were saying stuff like "the usability of the higher ISO ranges is really excellent. With the K 5 6400 seems about the same as 800 on the K 10, if not better". After looking at my attached image taken at 800 ISO I am not seeing a big differance in this aspect of the camera, once again this could be total user error or that I was exspecting too much with the K5 before I got it.
In Lightroom 3 (the only version with which I am familiar) there are two sets of sliders in the noise panel, the first three are for luminance noise, which does soften the image noticeably, but the second two are for chroma or color noise, and those have virtually no negative impact on the the image at all. You may also want to go up to the sharpen panel and adjust those sliders a bit to compensate for any loss in sharpness from the noise reduction. Don't do too much though or you'll introduce more "grain" back into the image. You can hold alt on a PC (not sure about a Mac) to see a representation of the effect and the mask of the sharpness sliders.

I agree with you though, I think the K5's noise capabilities are slightly overstated, or at least, Pentax concentrated more on noise reduction at higher ISOs (1600+) than they did cleanliness of low ISOs (50-800). It's still good though, and you have to resist the urge to pixel peep, but I would stop short of calling it miraculous.
02-28-2013, 12:06 PM   #10
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It's more an issue if you want to be doing narrow depth of field stuff with a manual lens, similar to the photo you have shown where I presume you wanted the eyes and face in focus but the rest blurred. For example, from what I have heard the standard focus screens will only show depth of field equivalent to about F4. This means that you would look through your viewfinder and think that her whole head and maybe shoulders are in focus. However, if your lens is set to F1.4 then actually only around a cm or so will be in focus and it will be somewhere between head and shoulders. Problem is that through the viewfinder you will not be able to tell where exactly. If you set the aperture to around F4 or higher you will probably find you can focus OK, it's just when you go lower.

Try it with live view as that is much more accurate than with the viewfinder.

I'm at the point now where I don't want to buy a new screen for my K-r as I think I might upgrade the body soon so it would be a waste. I therefore don't bother using my manual lens anymore at anything below F4 unless it is something where I can use live view. However, if I upgrade my body I will definitely get a new focus screen so I can use my lens at lower apertures.
02-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #11
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I was always under the impression that you should svoid using LV when taking still shots. I read that there is a issue with some displays overheating when using live view. I think that I just need to drop everything that I have heard in the past and just test out stuff and see what works best for me and this new body. so after talking with everyone on here thus far, I think this is goign to be my plan of attack tonight:

1. Using the link i listed above, print off the Focus chart and see where my 85mm lens is focusing. Also do this same test with my AF len's to see if they are having the same affect or differnt. If the AF lens focus center but the MF does not I will adjust the K5 for that 85mm lens.

2. Shoot test shots in different lighting to see how much is affected with regards to the K5 focus / mirrior with large vs small f/stop

3. Run test shots with K5 noise filter at different settings and differnt ISO levels to see what affect it has on the image.

4. Keep on googling on the affects of these new menu settings that I have never used before. Granted I am sure that they put these on the camera for a reson, but that does not mean that they are worth activating, just like the internal image filters, cool for the vacation photographer, but I would never touch them.

5. Research the Focus Filters and keep my eye out for any other input that you all may have for me. Anyone know any expirenced Pentax guys near Baltimore, would love to get some hands on trainign with this body from someone with more knoweldge than I have.
02-28-2013, 12:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sig0431 Quote
I Upgraded thanks to your advice
So it's our fault then.

Must remember that next time I buy another piece of kit and I am being quizzed hard by the CO, it was all those big boys on the forum made me do it and now they've all run away.

It sounds like you maybe need to focus adjust for that lens.
02-28-2013, 12:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
So it's our fault then.

Must remember that next time I buy another piece of kit and I am being quizzed hard by the CO, it was all those big boys on the forum made me do it and now they've all run away.

It sounds like you maybe need to focus adjust for that lens.
HAHAHA, sorry it was not ment like that, I love this K5, it was the best advice that I received and I am glad that I listened to everyone. I am just trying to fine tune the body so that it conforms to my shooting style before I start conforming to it!! I hope that it is something as simple as the focus adjust, that would make likfe alot easier!
02-28-2013, 01:08 PM   #14
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In Lightroom, try the camera calibration tab or section, and choose Camera Standard. It may be a better starting point for all your adjustments.

I have the K-7 so noise reduction is useful, but I never could get it right. I went back to reviews of the K-7 and decided that chroma noise was worse than luminance. First, I make exposure adjustments if necessary on the Basic panel. Remember increasing exposure, brightness, contrast, etc isn't free and will add noise. Second, make noise adjustments at 100% because at other sizes you might be seeing errors from the size changing algorithm. I have the same set of sliders as maxfield_photo so I started by putting everything at zero except the color noise slider. I moved that up until color noise went away. Then I moved up the detail slider to reduce the smoothed-over look. I make sure to flip back to the original image frequently to see how the changes are working. Then I start with the luminance sliders. After a few photos, I have learned some starting points for each ISO, so I can just type in numbers. It seems like there should be a way to save this data, like a noise profile, but I haven't looked for that yet.

Different software might have different sliders and scales but the general technique should work: find out where your sensor is weak, adjust that first, then work on the other areas until they look good. You could even set up a test scene for different ISOs. Now I have the ability to use higher ISOs and quickly process the images.

I use the stock focus screen for manual focus on the K-7. Like others say, it won't show you the exact depth of field at wide apertures. With lots of practice, you can see what DOF the screen is showing you, then figure out where the center of that range is. That's your focus point. It can be done. A screen meant for manual focus is faster.
03-01-2013, 06:28 AM   #15
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Just a couple of points here. I have the vivitar version of the samyang 85/1.4 and find it very easy to focus, and get spot on accuracy. As others have said, I also use a split image finder. it is really the only way to use a fast MF lens. The lens itself is quite sharp even wide open, but depending on subject distance, as others have suggested, the DOF is so narrow you need to be right there with the shot.

I also note your shot is at 1/45th which is a little slow, and you may have some movement in the lack of sharpness also

As for some of the in explained functions. Shadow and nightlight protect are functions that are used when shooting JPEG to expand the dynamic range. I did some tests and found the following generalizations about in camera JPEG processing.

The tests were done by shooting in 1/2 stop increments, with fixed lighting and measuring the average greyscale value of the frame. Basically, from greyscale 25 through greyscale 230 there are about 4.5 stops. Or roughly 45 greyscale per stop, linear. The top and bottom 25 of the greyscale range is three stops, the first having a range of 15, the second a range of 7 and the third a range of 3.

So what you can see from this is that the detail gets quickly lost due to the compression of stops outside the middle range. Shadow and highlight protection changes the behaviour and offers compression for the lower and upper half of the dynamic range respectively, so that you gain at least an additional stop within the linear region, as well as a little more in the non linear portion.

Effectively it reduces contrast greatly. You give up a little resolution of fine changes in the middle of the exposure range, for more fine detail at the edges of the linear portion.

It applies only to JPEG, and does not change the exposure of something in the middle of the histogram only as you move off the middle. I use it for bright sunny days
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