Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-20-2013, 04:13 PM   #1
Pentaxian
Hattifnatt's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2,062
K5 - First impressions and pictures

Hello all,

Having no experience with photography and DSLR, I finally decided to get a Pentax after 2 months of thinking about which camera to choose, reading reviews and trying to resist my friends who were urging me to get either a Canon or a Nikon. But I tend to do things my way and for some reason I decided to go with Pentax. This forum was a great help for suggestions in this regard. I've had the camera for almost two weeks now, and so far I'm happy with my choice. Of course I have no terms to compare it with, since I've never owned a SLR and not even a compact camera, but so far I love my K5 I'm very excited about it and I'll try to get out as much as possible and shoot as much as I can! So far I went out 3 times being kinda busy at work but anyway, here are some first thoughts and pictures.

First thoughts: K5 is very nice to work with. It's kind of small compared to Nikon D5100 for instance, but I like it since I have small hands and it fits my hands perfectly. Build seems to be very solid. I have the feeling that I own a piece of equipment which (unlike me) knows what it's doing

First run: I spent a whole day making sure to check or change every setting from the camera menu according to my liking. I had no problem navigating through the menus, although the fact that I was reading the manual for the last week before actually having the camera sure did help. Target of choice was a park near to my place... I was prepared for a failure being my first run, and failure it was! I came up with this brilliant plan of shooting with hyper manual mode M, press the green button to let the camera suggest the settings (although I did not change the default program line) and then use AE-L to lock the exposure and modify the aperture myself, in order to get to the 6.3 - 7.1 spot which I read it's quite good for the 18-55 WR lens. It turned out to be a disaster, because I ended up with some unrealistic shutter speeds as it was pretty late and already dark. At some point I realized this, but I was a bit confused about the way top LCD displays the shutter speed: for instance when it showed 15, I thought it was 15 s (when it's actually 1/15 s) and trying to get a faster shutter speed I ended up with something even worse I would have probably realized this if I wouldn't have disabled the status screen in order to save power. At home, I saw that all my DNG's were blurry as expected, so I went crazy with post-processing. Using Lightroom for the first time did not help either, but it was fun. I was able to kinda salvage like 5 frames from about 80 shots taken (with the 18-55 WR):

55mm, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/8 seconds


40 mm, ISO 100, F6.3, 1/40 seconds


40 mm, ISO 100, F6.3, 1/5 seconds


37.5 mm, ISO 800, F4.5, 1/5 seconds


18 mm, ISO 400, F3.5, 1/2 seconds


Second run: another park, another try. Lens of choice was 50-200 WR. This time I was more careful with the shutter speed, but although I was a bit more satisfied with the results, I only kept 2 photos:

200 mm, ISO 3200, F5.6, 1/320 seconds


200 mm, ISO 6400, F5.6, 1/400 seconds


Third run: I decided that a good tripod was necessary, as my hands tend to be shaky and I like to shoot in low light. I got the Manfrotto MK293A3-A0RC2. So far I'm happy with it, seems to work perfectly with my camera (quick release is very nice) and it's easy to carry around even if I don't even have a bag for it yet, I just carried it in my hands. It helped solving the blurry issue for sure, but still I was not happy at all with framing for most of my shots. I also got a cheap CPL, not sure if it was such a great idea for the kit lens but it was not such a big investment anyway. Next 2 shots were taken using the CPL, but I'm not even sure if I installed it correctly on the lens.

55 mm, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/160 seconds


55 mm, ISO 800, F5.6, 1/80 seconds



42.5 mm, ISO 100, F11, 5 seconds, bracketing with 5 pictures, combined using Photomatix


18 mm, ISO 200, F11, 25 seconds



Overall I'm happy with my progress, but of course any criticism/suggestions are very much appreciated! I also have some questions:

1) How do I know if my camera and lens works fine? I've read on this forum about back focusing, front focusing and a lot of other issues which pretty much I don't have any clue about their meaning and i don't know how to detect them, but I would like to rest assured that my camera and lens are performing fine, despite my lack of knowledge.

2) Any practical way of choosing a specific aperture? I understand very well what aperture is and how it controls the depth of field, but still I'm having problems of deciding what aperture to use in practical situations. Ok, I want more depth, why should I go for F8 and not for F11? what's the difference between F11 and F16? I know that diffraction comes into play at some point, but I think I still lack an algorithm of selecting the aperture properly. Tried to figure it out from my photos but I did not come to a clear conclusion.

3) This may be a stupid question, but does it matter the position of the CPL filter when you install it on the lens?

4) Still having problems with focusing when using a tripod, and generally what are the best practices of focusing when shooting landscapes from a tripod... what to focus and how. In the frames above I just used AF on any distant subject. For this problem I've created a separate thread, though.

5) Is it a good idea to get the cheap prime 35 mm F2.4 as my next lens? I will spend one month in Vienna soon, and I was thinking this could be a nice lens for some street photos. I don't have funds for some more expensive lens atm.

If you came this far, thank you for reading and a good luck to all of you with your photos!

05-20-2013, 05:34 PM   #2
Site Supporter
jimr-pdx's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: 1hr north of PDX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,480
QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
Hello all,

Having no experience with photography and DSLR, I finally decided to get a Pentax after 2 months of thinking about which camera to choose, reading reviews and trying to resist my friends who were urging me to get either a Canon or a Nikon. But I tend to do things my way and for some reason I decided to go with Pentax. This forum was a great help for suggestions in this regard. I've had the camera for almost two weeks now, and so far I'm happy with my choice. Of course I have no terms to compare it with, since I've never owned a SLR and not even a compact camera, but so far I love my K5

[snip]

If you came this far, thank you for reading and a good luck to all of you with your photos!
Wow - given you're starting from scratch you're doing just fine! I would take a photo or two of some text to test your focus, I like my mailboxes across the street for testing my lenses. Before jumping on the 35mm you might try using the 18-55 set at 35mm for a few days, to see if that will get the shots you would like. And yes, the cPL will change as you turn it - give it a try and enjoy the changes

And we pretty much all agree that the K-5 is lovable!
05-20-2013, 06:40 PM   #3
Pentaxian
mgvh's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MD
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 827
You're doing great, and I would say you are jumping right in starting out using M mode. I think a lot of people (at least I can speak for myself) really like using A mode. Depth of Field (DOF) is usually my biggest concern, and that I control with the aperture setting and let the camera do the rest. (The only other thing I might change is the auto ISO range. I usually try to keep it in the 100-800 range on my K-x, though I can still get acceptable pics at 1600 and even up to 3200.) Even in A mode, I still can adjust the exposure to lighten/darken.
I see you've already figured out bracketing! And you can see that using the tripod produced much improved pics. On my K-x when handheld, I try to shoot at least 1/100 or faster though I can quality pics at slower speeds with a little luck and a little care.
I don't have the 35mm you mention, though it does have great reviews. Though not as fast of a lens, you might try the F 35-70 which is regularly cited as functioning like a bunch of primes. It's quite cheap, and that 35-70 range is quite useful and bridges the two lenses you have.
05-20-2013, 08:57 PM   #4
Site Supporter
vagrant10's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: portland
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,327
It shows you've done your homework! Nice shots and it seems like you're using the gear well.
Regarding changing aperture, you may want to put the camera in AV mode - that's the mode I use the most. Set the aperture and the camera will decide the shutter speed. If the exposure is tricky w/ some very bright areas and dark areas, make sure you ck your photo after taking it to make sure it exposed the image as you wanted. If not, add or subtract exposure compensation by pressing the +/- button.
You mentioned you are turning off the back screen to save battery life. Even when I keep mine on, I still get around 1000 shots. In other words, leave the back screen on unless you find it annoying. Having the settings on the lcd when on a tripod is very helpful. And speaking of tripod, make sure you set your camera to a 2 second delay - that will disable image stabilization SR which will help you get the sharpest image when shooting on a tripod.
So what is your budget for a new lens? It sounds like you have the 18-55 and the 50-200? For a European city, I would think what I'd want the most is a very wide lens. Most of these lenses (sigma 10-20, tamron 10-24) tend to be around $400 used. If that is too much, maybe consider getting the Zenitar 16 f2.8 fisheye lens (120 used) or the Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens (200 used, 350 new) - They are both very sharp, not too fisheye-ee and if you want to take away the fisheye look, it's pretty easy to do in software. But when you get into architectural photography, a wide angle can be very helpful. Think of the old buildings, churches, castles, museums that are just cool buildings - I always want a wide angle.

Well that's all I have time for - I'm sure there will be others to help out. Good luck and congratulations! And it looks like you are taking some good pictures already! My biggest problem when I first got my camera is feeling self conscious. Just take your time, try to frame a shot in different ways, evaluate your picture and see what areas in your photo help and what detracts and then try to redo it until you get it the way you like it.

Take care!

05-20-2013, 09:19 PM   #5
Pentaxian
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,817
QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
1) How do I know if my camera and lens works fine? I've read on this forum about back focusing, front focusing and a lot of other issues which pretty much I don't have any clue about their meaning and i don't know how to detect them, but I would like to rest assured that my camera and lens are performing fine, despite my lack of knowledge.
First, you will see some of your shots look softer than you expect, usually when you're seeing them later on a larger screen. Then you'll take a photo where you really wanted to focus on one particular thing, and that thing is out of focus. At this point you should go back and reread the manual's description of the AF system. Make sure you're not trying to do something it can't do. Then look at your shots to see if you can figure out where the camera focused, why it chose that point and not your point. Was your subject simply too small or low contrast or surrounded by other viable targets that the camera liked instead? There are a lot of variables to eliminate before getting into making adjustments for front or back focus on the camera.

QuoteQuote:
2) Any practical way of choosing a specific aperture? I understand very well what aperture is and how it controls the depth of field, but still I'm having problems of deciding what aperture to use in practical situations. Ok, I want more depth, why should I go for F8 and not for F11? what's the difference between F11 and F16? I know that diffraction comes into play at some point, but I think I still lack an algorithm of selecting the aperture properly. Tried to figure it out from my photos but I did not come to a clear conclusion.
There are some generalities that apply to all lenses. They have fewer problems when the aperture is closed down one or two stops than they do wide open. Sharpness, vignetting and contrast get better when you stop down. Then diffraction kicks in when they are stopped down a lot, softening the image. So for a better test image, you could shoot at f8 to f11 a lot, varying a bit for different lenses. But photography is all about balancing. You don't want to shoot at f9.5 to maximize sharpness if your shutter speed ends up too slow, because then you or your subject moves and the image is soft anyway. You want to control depth of field to include your subject but maybe blur out distracting stuff. Balance those technical considerations with actually capturing an image that you want to look at.

QuoteQuote:
3) This may be a stupid question, but does it matter the position of the CPL filter when you install it on the lens?
It just has to thread on properly, then you can turn it afterward to provide the right effect. Some of these have a dot on the rim thaty you are supposed to point at the sun. I just turn the thing until it looks good.

QuoteQuote:
5) Is it a good idea to get the cheap prime 35 mm F2.4 as my next lens? I will spend one month in Vienna soon, and I was thinking this could be a nice lens for some street photos. I don't have funds for some more expensive lens atm.
I think getting one prime is a good idea at some point, just to see what they're like. I would avoid buying a lot of lenses because you can get overwhelmed and not really notice the differences between them.
05-20-2013, 09:24 PM   #6
Ash
Community Manager
Loyal Site Supporter
Ash's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 22,679
A good start to your journey here. Thanks for sharing your experience. Others have answered your questions quite adequately. So I'll just say all the best in the vocation. And enjoy the forum.
05-20-2013, 10:08 PM   #7
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,002
A great set of images!! Here are some answers

1) How do I know if my camera and lens works fine? I've read on this forum about back focusing, front focusing and a lot of other issues which pretty much I don't have any clue about their meaning and i don't know how to detect them, but I would like to rest assured that my camera and lens are performing fine, despite my lack of knowledge. - Take some images and do some pixel peeping to see how it looks and how you would expect it to look. Wide angle lenses are going to be less sharp compared to longer lenses of the same scene. Also, note where you focus and if it is out of focus and items in front of it are in focus, then you probably have a front focusing problem. You can also shoot a brick wall and see what is in focus and how sharp things are.

2) Any practical way of choosing a specific aperture? I understand very well what aperture is and how it controls the depth of field, but still I'm having problems of deciding what aperture to use in practical situations. Ok, I want more depth, why should I go for F8 and not for F11? what's the difference between F11 and F16? I know that diffraction comes into play at some point, but I think I still lack an algorithm of selecting the aperture properly. Tried to figure it out from my photos but I did not come to a clear conclusion. - Good question, and there are several ways to provide the same answer. When in doubt use f8 - that is the easy approach. Why f8 you might ask. Take a look at this lens review for your DA 18-55 WR lens. Go to the second page under MTF (resolution). You will find several histograms for a number of the focal lengths. Let's look at the 18mm one. You will see that you can get the best sharpness and overall resolution across the entire lens (center, edges and corners) at f8. 28mm is f8 again, while 55 appears to be f11. Unless you want to memorize all of this, the rule of thumb is f8. Diffraction usually is in full force by f16 and starts at around f11 - as a rule of thumb. So that is yet another reason for f8.

3) This may be a stupid question, but does it matter the position of the CPL filter when you install it on the lens? - Yes!!!! absolutely. Go out side and aim towards the sky, and then turn the CPL and you will note that the sky will turn a deep blue the more you turn it and then start to lighten up. The CPL has its largest effect when it is 90 degrees away from the sun. You may also note that when you are using a focal length below around 24mm that the CPL effect is not uniform across the entire sky. This is because the filter has angle of view limitations, it can not apply its effect to the entire width of the sky when its on a wide angle lens (i.e., less than about 24mm). I am assuming that you have a CPL for your 18-55. Zoom the lens down to 18 and then turn the CPL and you should see part of the sky darken a bit. This is the effect that is being discussed. Scroll down to Polarizing filters on the following link.
4) Still having problems with focusing when using a tripod, and generally what are the best practices of focusing when shooting landscapes from a tripod... what to focus and how. In the frames above I just used AF on any distant subject. For this problem I've created a separate thread, though. - It is based on what you the photographer want to accomplish with the composition and framing. Most of the time you will want everything is focus so an f8-f11 aperture for a good depth of field and then focus on something (or just infinity) will do. Other times you may want to focus on something in the foreground and try to blur everything behind it, so the largest aperture. When up on a tripod I like to use live view and push the [info] button to zoom in and check the focus. If its just infinity I usually don't bother.

5) Is it a good idea to get the cheap prime 35 mm F2.4 as my next lens? I will spend one month in Vienna soon, and I was thinking this could be a nice lens for some street photos. I don't have funds for some more expensive lens atm. - Ask 10 people and you will get 30 different answers. It depend on you, what you like/want to shoot, and what you are trying to accomplish. The 35/f2.4 is a very well regarded lens. The fast aperture will certainly help inside buildings with the light. You can't go wrong. It appears that you only have the 18-55. So perhaps the DA 50-200 WR (if you want the sealing) or the DA 55-300 would provide some versatility with just 2 lenses total. If you like landscapes, and architecture the DA 12-24 is an excellent lens also.

If you came this far, thank you for reading and a good luck to all of you with your photos!

Last edited by interested_observer; 05-20-2013 at 10:19 PM.
05-22-2013, 01:47 AM   #8
Pentaxian
Hattifnatt's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2,062
Original Poster
Thank you all for the replies, this forum is indeed very helpful and the community is great. Conclusions:

- I will make some focusing tests on a wall (preferably a brick wall so I can have an area with contrast at the edge of the bricks);

- I've read the Lab Test / Review - Analysis for 18-55 WR and I think it Interested_observer suggestion was good: I'll just try to use F8 between 18-30 mm and stop it to F11 towards the 55 mm end; I'll read the review for the other lens that I have (50-200) and try a similar approach;

- my CPL filter indeed has an arrow on the rim; I'll try to use it for positioning next time;

- when shooting from a tripod I already did use the self-timer (2 sec); next time I will try to disable AF with half-pressed shutter button and use AF button on the back of the camera for focusing;

- I cannot have the Zenitar or Rokinon fish-eye lens delivered before the Vienna trip... all I have available (as funds and deliverability) is the 35mm F2.4, so I tend to get it as it seems to me it outclasses kit lens by quite a large margin; after I get back I will have funds for a more expensive lens, I want a wide angle as landscapes will be primary target so candidates will probably be 15 mm Limited, the DA 12-24 or maybe the Sigma 8-16.

Thank you everybody for the tips... good light and good luck!








Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
aperture, camera, f11, f5.6, hands, iso, lens, mm, pentax help, photography, photos, shutter
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ISO AUTO in M and the first impressions i_trax Pentax K-30 & K-50 5 12-12-2012 03:53 AM
K30 First impressions and some photos TJWest Pentax K-30 & K-50 13 08-09-2012 12:35 PM
K5 first impressions an3ony Pentax K-5 8 08-29-2011 12:10 PM
Switching to K5, the first impressions. David&karen Pentax K-5 24 08-03-2011 05:42 AM
First Impressions Moving from K10D to K5 Bobe416 Pentax K-5 9 11-11-2010 10:08 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:20 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top