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07-02-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
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K-30 with 18-55mm kit lens having problems focusing to infinity

Whenever I take a photo of a landscape, when I zoom in it looks really blurry. How can I get sharp images. Here's an example. This was taken at f10, iso 100, 24mm, and 1/130 shutter.

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07-02-2013, 12:38 PM   #2
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Impossible to judge from this picture. EXIF data are lost, and it is only 1280 x 800 pixels.

When I zoom to check whether the kind of blurriness gives any hint about the reason, it gets blurry because the pixels show, earlier than any possible blurriness inherent in the picture itself.
07-02-2013, 12:48 PM   #3
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Welcome!
To get a good sharp picture all parts of the chain have to be working correctly (lens, camera, photographer). When the result is not what you want you need to determine what is causing the problem.

Is it the lens? Try taking some photos of closer things with sharp edges that you can see if it things look right. Test the lens in a controlled environment. Does it work there? The kit lens is not the best, though it is certainly capable of good images if handled right. f/10 ISO 100 24mm should be reasonable settings.

Is it the camera? Not likely but again, can you get any good images? Are some good and some bad? If so then you know the camera is fine. But are your settings correct?

Is it the photographer? Are you using a good stance and grip, selecting the proper settings to get the image you want? You mentioned infinity focusing, are you doing that manually or using auto focus?

As noted above, without the EXIF info it is hard to determine what is going on.
07-02-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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Are you using the lens to zoom in, locking focus, then zooming out? If so, it is not a good idea unless the lens' manual indicates the lens has constant focus across the zoom range. Many zoom lenses will slightly shift focus as you change the focal length. Kit lenses rarely have constant focus.

Are you using a tripod? If so, did you turn OFF shake reduction (SR)? SR is only intended to be used when the camera is hand held; when on a tripod SR can decrease image stability. Conversely, if you were shooting hand held, did you make sure SR is ON?

Beyond that, I agree with the other folks; we need the EXIF data and whatever tool you used stripped out this metadata from your image.

07-02-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
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Are you shooting JPEG? If so, try to use the highest quality setting.
-It looks like poor compression, because the color gradation is choppy in the sky.
From the settings you're describing, you should have clear focus all the way out to infinity unless you are focusing at something 20 feet away.
-If you are focusing on the trees or farther, then check to see if your lens is smudged. (It doesn't help that the horizon seems a bit hazy)
07-02-2013, 02:37 PM   #6
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Hey, welcome. Because the photo is resized and doesn't have exif, its hard to say. Here is what I would suggest you do firstly:
-set camera to sRGB colour space.
-make sure the focus is accurate. Try regular AF (the AF point is bigger than the little AF overlay in the viewfinder btw), then live view AF, then focus manually. See which of these looks best and then figure out what went wrong with the others.
-If you have filters, remove them. The only filters that make sense for landscape photography and ND filters and polarizers.
-If you have a lens hood, put it on. Lens hood can increase overall contrast and improve apparent IQ. It also offers some protection to the lens.
-For landscape photography, you want the F stop to be pretty high, lets say f8 to f14 with that particular lens. This ensures big DoF and good enough sharpness, though above f10 you can get diffraction and lose some sharpness.
-If you can, put the camera onto something (tripod, monopod, bench, wall) and use 2 sec timer to avoid as many vibrations as possible
-Don't shoot at high noon. The lack of shadows can make the photo appear washed out.
-Feel free to use the "landscape" scn mode. Its not bad. Then learn from it.
-If you are handholding the camera, the shutter should be, for that lens, at least 1/125, or faster (like 1/250, 1/500, though that might be unnecessary)

Keep in mind that "sharpness" is also affected by environment. If the air is hot and moving, if its full of moisture or particles, you won't have much detail in the actual scene. Also, the kit lens can only give you so much sharpness. Its sweet spot is around 35mm f7.1. But if you buy a better lens, the photos will look contrastier and sharper. The Pentax kit lens is better than what most other brands offer as kit, but its still a kit. You need to shoot raw and use a raw editor software to make the photos pop.
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