Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-11-2015, 10:09 AM   #1
New Member




Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
Long Distance Telephotography

I have a K5iis and I've been trying to take pictures of a Golden Eagle nest, parents and eaglets for the past two seasons (2014 & 2015). I've tried numerous telephoto lens (fixed as well as variable all under $1000), high quality spotting scopes and telescopes with camera attachments all with the same results .... the pictures are slightly out of focus!

The distance to the nest is 675yds (laser measured), and optically (thru the camera viewfinder or the scopes by themselves) everything is in focus to the point I even can count the feathers. However, when using the Live View function and zoom (2X, 4X, etc) I can not obtain a clear and sharp focus regardless of the magnification of the telephoto, and therefore the pictures are always slightly out of focus (WYSIWUG). I've tried numerous camera settings and setups (ISO, shutter speed, mirror up, remote trigger, dual tripods for the lens and camera, etc) all with the same results.

Finally, this morning I called Pentax customer service and got the following answer. According to this guy who supposedly talked to the factory, none of Pentax's cameras are capable of focusing beyond 500yds! I of course inquired about the reason for this 500yd camera limitation, of which he responded with "atmospherics" which sounded suspiciously like BS.

Has anyone taken perfectly clear photos (before pixel limitation rears it's own problems) with a Pentax beyond 500yds?
Does anyone know what this 500yd physical camera limitation is caused by?
Does my K5iis camera have a problem?

06-11-2015, 10:30 AM - 1 Like   #2
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 40,978
It sounds like the customer service rep was trolling you. I think your low lens budget/lens choice might be an issue, especially if you're pixel-peeping. Tele photography requires a lot of precision, after all. Focusing in live view is the way to go. However, since live view is based on the wide-open aperture, the image might appear a bit soft and you'd want to stop down by at least one stop to get better results. This essentially means that telescopes and the like shouldn't be used.

A relatively inexpensive but extremely sharp telephoto solution (if you're willing to deal with chromatic aberration in post) would be the K 500mm F4.5 plus the 1.4x L teleconverter. For both you'll pay just under $1000 out of pocket at today's prices.

There are a few on ebay, some with a K mount (below) and some with the M42 mount:
Asahi Pentax SMC 500mm F4 5 Lens for Pentax K Very Good | eBay

Your tripod/rig is equally important, so make sure you have a very sturdy (heavy) tripod. I'd recommend using the IR remote + self timer to minimize camera shake.

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com's high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

06-11-2015, 10:34 AM - 1 Like   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 2,141
The heck? The reason for unsharp photos IS atmospherics, haze and distortion from heat and dust. But what he told you about the cameras not being able to focus is pure BS, since mine focuses perfectly on the moon which is substantially farther away than 500 feet.
06-11-2015, 10:43 AM   #4
Site Supporter
LaurenOE's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,463
I will agree that atmospherics after a certain distance will make clear and sharp pictures impossible.

However, see my thread here - https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/244257-k3-bigma-katana-5-65-miles.html

I suggest with big lenses, you upgrade your supports.
When I am using big lenses, I use my Katana and other heavy/vibration damping techniques.

06-11-2015, 10:43 AM   #5
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,725
I will guess the Ricoh guy means the AF system will not ACCURATELY find a focus point and fine adjust the AF on lens. Most lens will be turned to infinity when you focus to 500yds, so there is not too much space for your K5IIs to play and focus.

Pentax's live view image is not good at all. it enlarges from a small image it generates, 4x or 6x magnification is not very helpful for very long lens. Image on the LV is not stabilized well enough for focusing.

default focus screen on the camera is not for MF. the DOV is larger than it real is. so seeing the birds in OVF does not guarantee spot on focusing. change a focus screen can help.

And is your camera stabilized enough? turn off SR if it is on the good tripod. and use remote control to tiger shutter.
06-11-2015, 10:45 AM   #6
dms
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,555
-- Also, the "atmospherics" is important--if the expanse is largely air over/close to warm ground, the atmosphere's motion and the varying air temperature and thus varying air density and index of refraction will result in a real/significant loss of sharpness.
-- Don't use a filter, and if you really must focus with the filter on the lens.
-- Generally sharpness w/ long focal length lens and long distance requires you pay attention to all the details. Mirror up, rigid tripod/head combination (maybe hang a weight from it), and maybe set the camera plus lens on a supported wood base on the tripod and place a sand bag on top of the camera and lens, etc.
06-11-2015, 10:48 AM   #7
Site Supporter
wtlwdwgn's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Billings, MT
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,600
What Adam and Giklab said. Another problem is the longer the focal length the less DOF so you need to stop down more. Of course you'll also need a shutter speed to match the focal length or higher. Most often I shoot at twice the focal length, e.g., 500mm = 1/1000s. Just my $0.02.
06-11-2015, 11:06 AM   #8
Loyal Site Supporter
TER-OR's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Dundee, IL
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,416
Yup. I have plenty of pictures of light planes flying overhead, in perfect focus, but hazy and washed out. Wintertime, when it's like 10F, those images are nice and sharp. Summer? Nope, not so much.

Add to that your slight movements are highly magnified at great distance. Long shots are not simple for anyone. Polarizing filters can help with the haze a bit, but I've never been satisfied with those images either, some can mess with your focus.

Plus, as added above you can only kind of guess where your camera is focusing. Rolling the focus can help, of course, but then you're moving the camera a little too, so keep the shutter speed high...

Long tele shots are probably the most challenging photography. Heaven knows my 55-300 handheld isn't optimum.

06-11-2015, 11:21 AM   #9
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 40,978
QuoteOriginally posted by grahame Quote

Pentax's live view image is not good at all. it enlarges from a small image it generates, 4x or 6x magnification is not very helpful for very long lens. Image on the LV is not stabilized well enough for focusing.
This isn't correct. The camera will enlarge the image and on the latest bodies, you can zoom in to the actual sensor resolution. Focus peaking works in conjunction with magnification which can be very effective.

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com's high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

06-11-2015, 11:31 AM   #10
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,725
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The camera will enlarge the image and on the latest bodies
I don't own K3 or K3II, but k5, K5II and K-01 can not enlarge the image in LV to the actually sensor resolution. comparing with the NEX-7 and A7, with same lens, the 6x enlarged image in LV on pentax is worse than 12x enlarge on NEX-7.
Maybe K3 is different.
06-11-2015, 11:55 AM   #11
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 40,978
QuoteOriginally posted by grahame Quote
I don't own K3 or K3II, but k5, K5II and K-01 can not enlarge the image in LV to the actually sensor resolution. comparing with the NEX-7 and A7, with same lens, the 6x enlarged image in LV on pentax is worse than 12x enlarge on NEX-7.
Maybe K3 is different.
Yup, the K-3, K-S1, and K-S2 can go to 100%. The K-30/K-50/K-01 still provide an enlargement but it maxes out shy of full size. Still better than the OVF though, for fine0tuning the focus!

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com's high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

06-11-2015, 11:56 AM   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: France
Photos: Albums
Posts: 804
This one is from 300 yards away
FA*600 + Pentax 1,4 TC
06-11-2015, 12:29 PM   #13
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,725
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Yup, the K-3, K-S1, and K-S2 can go to 100%.
Good to know. Thanks Adam. another reason for buying a KS2 :-)
06-11-2015, 12:59 PM   #14
New Member




Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
Original Poster
Thanks to all of you for your physical suggestions (all of which I've tired except for sandbagging), and also for confirming the BS about 500yd focus limitations.

Okay, now I would like to pose an equipment purchase suggestion list to all of you. I like the versatility of a zoom lens, and in fact I have two of them (Pentax DA 18-135mm, and a DA 55-300mm F4.5-5.8). Given that I would like to get close enough optically so that when I crop the picture pixelization doesn't rare up (K5iis = 12MP). For this particular purpose, AF shouldn't be necessary since the nest is at a fixed distance, but it would a nice feature to be used later on for other things. Adding a tele-converter (1.4 or 2.0X) would be a nice addition for this and my other lenses. To keep the cost relatively reasonable, something around $2000 would be acceptable. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your advice and suggestions.
06-11-2015, 01:01 PM   #15
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 40,978
QuoteOriginally posted by Kipp2569 Quote
Thanks to all of you for your physical suggestions (all of which I've tired except for sandbagging), and also for confirming the BS about 500yd focus limitations.

Okay, now I would like to pose an equipment purchase suggestion list to all of you. I like the versatility of a zoom lens, and in fact I have two of them (Pentax DA 18-135mm, and a DA 55-300mm F4.5-5.8). Given that I would like to get close enough optically so that when I crop the picture pixelization doesn't rare up (K5iis = 12MP). For this particular purpose, AF shouldn't be necessary since the nest is at a fixed distance, but it would a nice feature to be used later on for other things. Adding a tele-converter (1.4 or 2.0X) would be a nice addition for this and my other lenses. To keep the cost relatively reasonable, something around $2000 would be acceptable. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your advice and suggestions.
See my post above. At that budget you'll most likely want to avoid zoom lenses for very distant subjects, though you might also get decent results with the Sigma 150-500 / 50-500. Another versatile combo for everyday use would be the Pentax 60-250mm plus the HD 1.4x teleconverter.

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com's high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

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!
500yds, camera, focus, k5iis, limitation, pentax, pentax help, photography, pictures, results, scopes, telephoto, troubleshooting, wildlife
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sports The loneliness of the long distance runner PJ1 Post Your Photos! 6 03-02-2014 07:07 PM
long distance pictures' details Kiko Jones Pentax K-30 & K-50 9 10-07-2013 11:34 AM
Pentax K-5 with a telescope - long distance birdwatching sindbad1 Video and Pentax HDSLRs 13 04-23-2013 06:45 PM
My k-5 Long distance 100-1000 yard shooting? lens selection? p0opstlnksal0t Pentax K-5 13 12-19-2012 04:10 PM
Long Distance Wildlife arniejrim Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 9 08-04-2009 04:36 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:01 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