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12-18-2014, 03:23 AM   #1
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K3 Beginners set up...

Hello, I'm brand new to photography but have always been fascinated with the art... I currently purchased a K3 (first dslr) and will start taking photography class come next year. I've been jumping the gun and have gone out shooting, now I've had little to no success with sharp image quality and I'm fairly sure it's my technique and possibly kit lens 18-135mm. Any tips on a set up to help me prepare, I've been shooting some stills (family, nature, architecture) and landscape. Thank you for all the help. Cheers...

12-18-2014, 03:48 AM   #2
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The "Recommended Settings" page in the K-3 review on this site is a good place to start:
Review: Pentax K-3 - Recommended Settings | PentaxForums.com Reviews

As far as technique is concerned, I'd suggest you learn and master the basics of photography (primarily exposure and composition).
There are plenty of resources online, and countless books.
A photography class, like the one you've chosen to attend, is also an excellent choice.
12-18-2014, 03:55 AM   #3
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congratulations on your purchase!
My advise would be a good book for christmas :-) covering composition and mastering the relation between shutter, aperture and iso.
12-18-2014, 05:37 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I recommend to You to work with these videos:

About camera settings - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeu1p5jL9GOPjGt7Ker8FMNCTyEynb3ds

About exposure - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeu1p5jL9GONyuUf92ngOvRN41TxrQsQ-

About composition - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeu1p5jL9GOPOGNiJPcLHjTGo-x8abhF3

I hope these videos help a bit.

12-18-2014, 07:18 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheDude1363 Quote
Hello, I'm brand new to photography but have always been fascinated with the art... I currently purchased a K3 (first dslr) and will start taking photography class come next year. I've been jumping the gun and have gone out shooting, now I've had little to no success with sharp image quality and I'm fairly sure it's my technique and possibly kit lens 18-135mm. Any tips on a set up to help me prepare, I've been shooting some stills (family, nature, architecture) and landscape. Thank you for all the help. Cheers...
Don't be surprised by not getting now the best results from your K-3 !! You know, you bought a high quality racing car and you are still learning to get a driving license! Give it time and training. At the end your will be happy!
12-18-2014, 07:22 AM   #6
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I'd recommend trying out back button focus. I know it isn't for everyone, but I find it to be very useful.
12-18-2014, 07:35 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZoeB Quote
I'd recommend trying out back button focus. I know it isn't for everyone, but I find it to be very useful.
...continuing with the car analogy, it's a bit like suggesting to try drifting while still getting to understand how you're supposed to use the clutch!
12-18-2014, 08:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
...continuing with the car analogy, it's a bit like suggesting to try drifting while still getting to understand how you're supposed to use the clutch!
Isn't it more like learning to drive manual before automatic? I wish someone had told be about back button focus years ago!

12-18-2014, 08:51 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheDude1363 Quote
I've been jumping the gun and have gone out shooting, now I've had little to no success with sharp image quality and I'm fairly sure it's my technique and possibly kit lens 18-135mm.
Technique, not the lens. The 18-135 is quite capable, not pro quality, but good enough that any faults are the photographer. At least until you have out grown it.

Suggest you put the camera in Av mode, and start with simple boring images. Don't try taking pictures of your dog running around and expect them to come out well, not going to happen. Set up some objects in very good light on a table and practice with different settings. Use a tripod to start if you have one. When you can get consistently sharp pictures of a well lit, non-moving object, then move on to something else.

Suggest you get and read at least twice, "Understanding Exposure", by Bryan Peterson. Explains the basic control of light in a camera for taking images.

Suggest you read the k-3 manual. Boring and not very good and you will not understand most of it. But unless you have read the manual, a lot of what you will learn later, in class or elsewhere will not connect. K-3 is a pro level, complicated camera, not a point & shoot. It requires study and practice to get the best out of.

Think of your camera phone or a point & shoot as bicycle. Simple and obvious and nearly anyone can learn to use it in a few moments. Think of the k-3 as a helicopter, just because you can drive a bicycle does not mean your first experience in flying a helicopter is going to turn out well, the amount of learning and practice required is considerably larger.
12-18-2014, 09:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
... Think of the k-3 as a helicopter, just because you can drive a bicycle does not mean your first experience in flying a helicopter is going to turn out well, the amount of learning and practice required is considerably larger.
Is the helicopter not too complicated for an analog? If something happens with the engine, the helicopter will fall down immediately... Perhaps a light aircraft?

True, that K-3 is pro level camera, but it has auto functions too - it will not fall down completely!

12-18-2014, 10:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZoeB Quote
Isn't it more like learning to drive manual before automatic? I wish someone had told be about back button focus years ago!

I wouldn't know, I've never used an automatic shifter in my life!
They don't sell well at all here in Italy... when someone has it on their car, he's usually frowned upon and considered mentally challenged...
Paddle shifters, OTOH, are "cool", go figure...
12-18-2014, 10:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheDude1363 Quote
Hello, I'm brand new to photography but have always been fascinated with the art... I currently purchased a K3 (first dslr) and will start taking photography class come next year. I've been jumping the gun and have gone out shooting, now I've had little to no success with sharp image quality and I'm fairly sure it's my technique and possibly kit lens 18-135mm. Any tips on a set up to help me prepare, I've been shooting some stills (family, nature, architecture) and landscape. Thank you for all the help. Cheers...
Don't be surprised if the user's manual seems vague or complicated. I found that a guided written in more readable English to be a huge help in learning how to operate your specific piece of technology (the K-3). Yvon Bourque's e-book is the only guide book for the K-3 in English (Ebooks4cameras). I found it useful. It has typographical and grammatical errors, but those typos don't cause any confusion.

However, such a book will assume you already understand the relationships among shutter speed, aperture and ISO; and among focal length, aperture, and depth-of-field. Set the exposure mode to Manual, learn how to manipulate the exposure manually on the K-3, and manually set the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO each time you take a photo. Turn off the autofocus and focus manually. Flashy technology such as auto-exposure and autofocus are just devices that manipulate those relationships more quickly than by manual control. If you don't understand those relationships, such gadgets won't take good photos for you. Then learn about colour and composition.
12-18-2014, 01:24 PM   #13
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Hi, install a piece of software for viewing your pictures that can also display the exif data that is embedded in every image. The exif tells you the shutter speed, aperture and ISO and lots of other details that were used when you took the image. Knowing the three most important variables will help you understand what is going wrong when the image is not sharp.
The software that came with the camera does it. Irfanview with the plugins installed does it. Windows image viewer does not.
And post a picture that you're not happy with in this forum or in the pentax forum at dpreview.com. Folks wil check the data in the exif and will tell you what you should change to improve.
Enjoy the ride! It will be interesting.
Karet
12-18-2014, 01:54 PM   #14
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Solid advice from all thank you very much. I've got my work cut out for me. cheers...
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