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04-22-2014, 11:41 AM   #1
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Unfocused pictures

Was so excited with my K30 but been using it today and all the photos are out of focus. it does not look too bad on some but if I close in they are not perfectly clear and they look really bad on the monitor. I am using it in totally auto mode. The lenses are the 18 -50 kit lens and the 50 -200 kit lens but both have the same results. I have the focus on Auto 5 . What am I doing wrong - I am really upset at the moment as I love my camera but expected decent photos in the 'point and shoot' mode.

04-22-2014, 12:00 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Like many who buy a dslr without experience you seem to think that buying a more complex and expensive camera will automatically get you better images. Sadly the reverse is usually true. A dslr gives you the potential to take far better images than a P&S but you need to learn how. The learning curve can be steep but without learning photography and why the camera does certain things you are often better off with a good point & shoot.

You ask "what am I doing wrong" and I'm sure the question seems to logical to you but there are books and even 4 year college degrees on photography. How can anyone possibly answer that question with any degree of accuracy?

Please post a single example with the EXIF intact so that we can see exactly what is going on. There are so many possible issues it is just not practical to diagnose without an image to look at.

---------- Post added 04-22-14 at 12:02 PM ----------

Oh, and welcome to the forum by the way! I think with a little work you can get the images you want, most of us started out thinking "what am I doing wrong" but if you stick with it the quality will go up dramatically.
04-22-2014, 12:08 PM   #3
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Thank you I will try to post a photo - what is EXIF. I am eager to learn how to use my camera and am reading books and the manual. I know I have a lot to learn and it will take time - to me that is the point of such a camera but that is why I am starting with everything in auto mode so I can learn the basics and progress gradually
04-22-2014, 12:13 PM   #4
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EXIF is the data recorded by the camera and stored in the image itself. Things such as the camera, lens, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, whether flash was used and so on. By looking at the information we can see what your camera thought it was doing and diagnose what is wrong.

Starting out on all auto may not be the best way to learn, in my opinion. But let's see a picture and we can tell more.

I think it is important to walk before running, even if you used another camera before you should start with the absolute basics. Good light, static subject at a fixed distance. Work on that until you can consistently get good images, then try something more difficult. Pictures of an apple on the counter may not be exciting but they are still a good learning experience.

04-22-2014, 12:27 PM   #5
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I can offer one piece of advice, from seeing people use my camera incorrectly. Most people don't seem to know that you hold the button half way down to focus, then gently squeeze it the rest of the way to take the picture. If you do it all at once, it's probably going to be out of focus both from the lack of time to adequately focus and the extra camera shake.

Handed my camera to someone in a bar last week to take a photo of a bunch of us, and out of 6 shots she took, only one was salvageable… and that was with a 15mm lens, which is a bit harder to take out of focus photos with.
04-22-2014, 12:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GillyH Quote
Was so excited with my K30 but been using it today and all the photos are out of focus. it does not look too bad on some but if I close in they are not perfectly clear and they look really bad on the monitor. I am using it in totally auto mode. The lenses are the 18 -50 kit lens and the 50 -200 kit lens but both have the same results. I have the focus on Auto 5 . What am I doing wrong - I am really upset at the moment as I love my camera but expected decent photos in the 'point and shoot' mode.
If you attach a few pics straight out of camera, we should be able to help you out. Look for the "manage attachments" button in your post.

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04-22-2014, 12:28 PM   #7
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You have to do some detective work, because focus problems have a lot of causes.

The first thing I look for is any part of the photo that's sharp. Something should be in auto mode, because the shutter won't fire unless the camera thought it was focused. Here's an example, focused right in the center. You can see an obvious plane of focus here, with near and far objects fuzzy. This example is pretty clear even downsized:




If you have something in focus, then it's probably the wrong thing - otherwise you'd be happy. That may be the camera or you. Imagine you are your K-30, seeing these bottles. Which of these bottles is the subject? The camera really has no idea. It's going to look for something within the range of the 5 focus points that are active, find something with enough contrast to focus on, and guess. Even a perfectly functional camera and AF system will not know you really wanted to focus on Left Hand's Wake Up Dead Nitro. You have to give it some help choosing the right subject. That might be selecting a particular AF point, or overriding AF and focusing yourself. The system might not be perfect. If you notice that the camera consistently focuses a little behind or in front of the subject, with no other reason, it may need a focus adjustment.

If nothing is really in focus, the most likely problem is motion blur. In auto mode, the camera will try pretty hard to maintain a high shutter speed so motion blur is not an issue. In lower light, the camera might run out of options. Everyone has a limit for how steady they can hold the camera. SR helps but has limits too. Subjects also move. You can look at the EXIF data attached to each shot and see the shutter speed. If you get sharp shots in midday at 1/500, but blurry shots indoors at night at 1/15, that's motion blur.

If you can't really tell from your shots where to start, you could post them here and we could maybe identify something. Or take some test shots to rule out issues yourself.
04-22-2014, 12:39 PM   #8
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the photo was taken whilst the horse was stationary and the red focus light was on my daughters face.


Last edited by GillyH; 04-25-2014 at 02:15 AM.
04-22-2014, 12:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by GillyH Quote
Thank you I will try to post a photo - what is EXIF. I am eager to learn how to use my camera and am reading books and the manual. I know I have a lot to learn and it will take time - to me that is the point of such a camera but that is why I am starting with everything in auto mode so I can learn the basics and progress gradually
Probably the first two things you want to learn is using the Av mode and selecting the focus point manually. The choice of aperture and focus point will have a huge effect on the appearance of your photos. Ordinarily some portions of the photo are in-focus while others are not (usually this is done intentionally by the photographer - but in any case, it's a choice you'll normally have to make whether you want to or not).


I'd also suggest picking up one (or both) of the low-priced DA35/2.4 and DA50/1.8 lenses. They have significantly higher Image Quality than the two lenses you got with the camera, so you'll be able to utilize the potential of the camera (and see how clear/sharp it can be). They also both allow you to significantly exploit the difference between what's in focus and what's out of focus. Not only are they two of the best values on the market, and they create great pictures, but they're two of the best learning tools you can get.

Here's what they can do on your K-30:

PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model

PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model



You can still get decent photos with your current two lenses, but getting at least one of the lenses I mentioned will help you learn and understand photography faster.


EDIT: Just saw your photo above. It appears to be a focus problem. While the DA50-200 is one of the weaker lenses Pentax makes (in IQ), you should still expect better than that.

You can help the situation by what I said above. Use Av mode. At 200mm this lens should be probably be using no less (numerically) than f/7.1 for better sharpness. And I believe 200mm (max zoom) is also the weakest spot for this lens. Additionally, if you set the focus point yourself, you may get better focus. Eventually, as you learn more about composition, you may find you're almost always using one of the 4 corner focus points.


As to my comments above, I realize you already know that parts of the photo will be out of focus. But we usually don't understand at first how dramatically this comes into play. As you photograph more you start to realize that aperture, focus point, and composition become the three main concepts you're always exercising.

Last edited by DSims; 04-22-2014 at 01:11 PM.
04-22-2014, 01:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GillyH Quote
the photo was taken whilst the horse was stationary and the red focus light was on my daughters face.
Just from a quick look at the EXIF data, at 200mm (300 with crop factor), 1/100" exposure might introduce a bit of blurriness from shaking the camera a bit. Also, the f/5.6 will give you a shallow depth of field, so the background will naturally out of focus.

I'd start by pushing the ISO up to more like 800 (which would have given you an exposure at 1/400", which should eliminate any blurriness caused by camera movement).
04-22-2014, 01:10 PM   #11
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Thank you , I will try again
04-22-2014, 01:12 PM   #12
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This was taken at 200mm, though -- even the 50 would have to be cropped a lot to be comparable.

I'm guessing you were hand holding the camera, not using it on a tripod. The longer the focal length, the more it's going to blur from small movements of your hands.

You took it at 1/100 second -- that's too slow to reliably handhold at 200mm. You'd be better served by cranking the ISO rating up to 800 or so and taking it at 1/400 or 1/320 or thereabouts. General rule of thumb is to keep the shutter speed faster than 1/effective focal length. The shake reduction is good enough that you can probably ignore the 'effective' part of that and keep the math easy -- if you're using 200mm, make sure you're shooting faster than 1/200.

When you're shooting at 18mm on your 18-55, you probably won't run into that issue so much.

Also look into articles giving suggestions on how to hold your camera steady and support an extended lens properly. Even resting the camera on a railing or tabletop when taking the photo will help a great deal over holding it up.
04-22-2014, 01:16 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
...

...
Thats what i call dedication! You brave soul just emptied all these bottles to help a new pentaxian?
04-22-2014, 01:25 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by GillyH Quote
the photo was taken whilst the horse was stationary and the red focus light was on my daughters face.
That's actually not that bad and as it's only image '48' [IMGP0048.jpg] I think you're expecting way too much from your first moments with a dslr.
Maybe you've been accustomed to a smartphone where everything in the frame is in sharp focus? Well a smartphone has a tiny sensor with a pinhole lens, your K-30 with the 50-200mm is massively larger by comparison which gives you so much more control over the feel of the photo, like the nice soft background in your shot.

Your image only needs a small amount of PP to come up nicely.
The blue channel is too saturated, the contrast a little too high and a small amount of sharpening goes a long way.
Much of this can be set in the Custom Picture styles, but you will have to get out of Auto mode and take control of your camera, not the other way around.
(Personally I think the AUTO setting on DSLRs should be removed, but sales would inevitably drop.)
There's some good advice given here - it should help you with your journey, good luck and be patient - I bought my first Pentax DSLR in 2004 and I'm still learning new stuff!

Last edited by Steve.Ledger; 08-10-2014 at 10:12 PM.
04-22-2014, 01:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GillyH Quote
the photo was taken whilst the horse was stationary and the red focus light was on my daughters face.
I took a look at your EXIF data

Something I noticed is you're shooting at the long end of your lens (200mm), but your shutterspeed is 1/100.

A general rule of thumb I read a lot is 1/focal length. This is supposed to help reduce camera shake when hand-holding.

So for this case it'd be 1/200 at least. I've seen a lot of people refute this, but I figure a "general" rule is supposed to be just that.

Also, I'm assuming (based on composition) your daughter is the girl in the middle? Someone with better eyes might be able to tell you whether or not you're having some front or back focusing based on the picture.
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