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05-19-2014, 12:47 PM   #1
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Soft Focus

Hello to all,

I always seem to have a slightly softer focus than I would like, and quite honestly more than I would get with my Canon t2i. I just cannot seem to get the focus just right with my new k500. Is it operator error since I am new to Pentax lenses and cameras, or did anyone else have these issues when first jumping into Pentax? I feel like it is operator error, especially on manual focus—but I don't seem to get the focus I want in auto either, even in "select" mode—so any tips would be fantastic as to getting that focus efficiently when shooting on set. Thank you in advance for the help.



J.G.

05-19-2014, 12:53 PM   #2
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Can you post some samples showing the problem? Soft images can be caused for a variety of reasons.

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05-19-2014, 01:23 PM   #3
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Pentax gear is no more prone to getting soft images than any other system.
Are you sure it's not camera shake rather than OOF?
Try setting the mode to Tv and select a shutter speed above the focal length, ISO on Auto then squeeze off a few shots, see how that looks.
05-19-2014, 01:27 PM   #4
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That was actually my concern is that it was the auto shake reduction, as I always try to keep the shutter at a proper plus above 60. I do use Tv mode often, and I think it might even bee my getting back into the game all together, I just do not remember having this much trouble with my first canon, you know. I'll try to post some samples later—taking nap now :-)

05-19-2014, 02:26 PM   #5
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Personally I keep SR off unless I need it. With good conditions and correct exposure settings SR is not necessary. Certainly should be disabled for Tripod work as you can get a feedback loop from the SR.
QuoteQuote:
I always try to keep the shutter at a proper plus above 60
This could be too slow if your focal length is much longer.
Of course you might need to calibrate your lens for front or back focus compensation. You could try using live view focussing on the same subject and compare the difference.
05-19-2014, 05:55 PM   #6
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Make sure both the in-focus and SR indicators turn on in the viewfinder before you press the shutter button all the way down. With Canon, if you have IS in your lens it will work right away - likewise you may get away with Canon focusing just fast enough when you full-press the shutter more quickly. With Pentax focus is usually accurate (in some cases more accurate, I understand), but both focus and SR take a second or two to activate, so you must half-press the shutter button, then wait for both indicators to come on, then press the shutter button the rest of the way.

Also take care you know which focus point is selected, since the K-500 doesn't show you which one is selected in the viewfinder. You should manually select your focus point most of the time - with any camera, not just Pentax. For proper composition, this typically means one of the four corner focus points.


With SR on and proper holding technique (e.g. bracing left elbow against your chest while using your left hand to support the bottom of the lens) you can get sharp shots well under 1/60s (I can get away with as little as 1/13s when absolutely necessary, but I'll take 3 shots because only 1 or 2 of them turn out OK at such a slow shutter speed).

Last edited by DSims; 05-19-2014 at 06:15 PM.
05-19-2014, 08:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Make sure both the in-focus and SR indicators turn on in the viewfinder before you press the shutter button all the way down. With Canon, if you have IS in your lens it will work right away - likewise you may get away with Canon focusing just fast enough when you full-press the shutter more quickly. With Pentax focus is usually accurate (in some cases more accurate, I understand), but both focus and SR take a second or two to activate, so you must half-press the shutter button, then wait for both indicators to come on, then press the shutter button the rest of the way.

Also take care you know which focus point is selected, since the K-500 doesn't show you which one is selected in the viewfinder. You should manually select your focus point most of the time - with any camera, not just Pentax. For proper composition, this typically means one of the four corner focus points.


With SR on and proper holding technique (e.g. bracing left elbow against your chest while using your left hand to support the bottom of the lens) you can get sharp shots well under 1/60s (I can get away with as little as 1/13s when absolutely necessary, but I'll take 3 shots because only 1 or 2 of them turn out OK at such a slow shutter speed).
Thank you for all the info—very helpful :-) That's awesome how you can get a sharp shot at such a low speed—you must have a very steady hand. Not me, lol, I'm too shaky. Thanks again.

---------- Post added 05-19-14 at 08:11 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Personally I keep SR off unless I need it. With good conditions and correct exposure settings SR is not necessary. Certainly should be disabled for Tripod work as you can get a feedback loop from the SR.

This could be too slow if your focal length is much longer.
Of course you might need to calibrate your lens for front or back focus compensation. You could try using live view focussing on the same subject and compare the difference.
Very helpful, thank you!! That article on back focus especially. Thanks again!!
05-19-2014, 08:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Personally I keep SR off unless I need it. With good conditions and correct exposure settings SR is not necessary. Certainly should be disabled for Tripod work as you can get a feedback loop from the SR....
I am not sure if I agree with this advice. I would keep SR on all the time unless I am on a tripod, in which case, I use a 2-sec delay (which automatically disable SR). Other times, SR on will help in almost every situation.

Back to the topic from the OP, I suspect that there is a BF or FF at play which means that some adjustment has to be made to align it (not sure if the OP's camera has micro-adjustment feature.

05-19-2014, 08:56 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgblodgett Quote
Thank you for all the info—very helpful :-) That's awesome how you can get a sharp shot at such a low speed—you must have a very steady hand. Not me, lol, I'm too shaky. Thanks again.
Well, it still only works about half the time, but at least it can be usable if I take multiple shots. You'll have to experiment to see what minimum speed works for you. It seems to have little to do with the focal length, unlike the conventional wisdom (and industry "standards" for measuring SR/IS effectiveness) which effectively report it as X number of stops better than the traditional "min. shutter speed = 1/focal length" formula.
05-22-2014, 09:30 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Soft focus can also be attributed to a front or back focusing lens. Luckily the K500 has the AF-fine adjustment. Check your manual and see how to adjust to test. I also shoot Canons and I have a few lenses that need AF-microadjustment to get sharper pics. I even purchased a new Canon EF 200 f/2.8 L II that was back focusing...
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