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09-28-2015, 07:55 AM   #1
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Da 35 focus problems and softness

So I took my da35 out for the first time this weekend. I'd just gotten it used from b&h on Thursday. Anyhow, I am not happy with the results at all. I was shooting a music festival and the pictures I took of people from less than 10 feet away came out fine. Now the pictures of the stage or even the band members were not sharp whatsoever. A lot of front focus issues (the monitor speakers were in focus but still soft) and pictures of people farther than 10 feet were soft as well. I'll post pictures later but was wondering if anyone had any idea would the problem could be. I'd say i just need to adjust the fine focus but the close ones were fine. So not sure. But I think I'll just return it if I can't get it figured out soon.

09-28-2015, 08:03 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
So I took my da35 out for the first time this weekend. I'd just gotten it used from b&h on Thursday. Anyhow, I am not happy with the results at all. I was shooting a music festival and the pictures I took of people from less than 10 feet away came out fine. Now the pictures of the stage or even the band members were not sharp whatsoever. A lot of front focus issues (the monitor speakers were in focus but still soft) and pictures of people farther than 10 feet were soft as well. I'll post pictures later but was wondering if anyone had any idea would the problem could be. I'd say i just need to adjust the fine focus but the close ones were fine. So not sure. But I think I'll just return it if I can't get it figured out soon.
Hard to say without any examples of what you are talking about.
09-28-2015, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Hard to say without any examples of what you are talking about.
Yep.

But for starters, are you talking about "DA 35mm f2.4" or "DA 35mm f2.8 macro limited"? What aperture were you using?

I will speak about the DA 35mm f2.4, because that is the one I have experience with. IMO is very sharp. Even at f2.4 it is more than decent, and f4-f8 it is amazing. Most important is that you have fast enough shutter speed and low ISO. Handshake blur can be a big problem at concerts. And if the light is poor, then AF cannot be very accurate, either. And maybe you need to use the lens calibration function in the camera to have that lens match your camera better. Also, I hope you are using the latest firmware on your camera.
AF is a whole issue. You have to look at which AF mode you were using (centre point, Auto 11, Auto 5, select point), which mode (AF.A, AF.C, AF.S), and so on. For concert photography, I think you would have to use AF.S and centre point.
Then there is slow shutter. If the exposure is too long, handshake blur can quickly become noticeable. SR helps, but you need to half-press hold the shutter button for a little bit until the little SR icon shows up (see manual). It is not active before that.
Hope the example photos clear things up.

And yes, it is not impossible that you got a bad copy, that the lens was damaged during transport, or something else. But this lens has a good reputation. Look at reviews here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-L-35mm-F2.4-AL.html
And thread with all kinds of photos here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/196639-da35-f2-4-plastic-f...c-club-51.html
09-28-2015, 08:33 AM   #4
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I was using center point, AFA, mostly 2.4 -4.0. Usually around 1/80 SS with auto ISO set to 100-800. And the lens is the 35/2.4. I was unaware of needing to wait for the sr icon to come on. I usually take my time anyhow so I don't think tht could have contributed but I'm not 100% sure. I'll have to check it out when I get home.

09-30-2015, 05:06 PM   #5
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Your camera is sleepy! So go RESET ALL YOUR CAMERA. Your camera will wake. Go take pictures.
09-30-2015, 05:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by KDD Quote
Your camera is sleepy! So go RESET ALL YOUR CAMERA. Your camera will wake. Go take pictures.
I've never changed anything from factory settings other than color of the menu and got rid of any kind of settings that "improve" the image. It's as reset as it can be.
10-03-2015, 07:05 PM   #7
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those pics are too small to be useful for pq evaluation.

post up the full-size version of the f/2.4 shot... it looks kinda weird to me.
10-05-2015, 05:18 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by osv Quote
post up the full-size version of the f/2.4 shot... it looks kinda weird to me.
Even better, full resolution crops from the larger image.


Steve

10-05-2015, 06:13 PM   #9
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I'm not sure what either if you mean? It's the original file uploaded. I didn't do anything to it other than auto exposure in LR.
10-05-2015, 07:41 PM   #10
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They mean the pictures above are at a resolution of 1208 x 800 pixels - not full resolution.
It would be more useful to see the problematic photos taken of the music festival, to see what is going wrong.
10-06-2015, 01:45 AM   #11
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If you upload the file to the forum attachment system, it automatically gets resized to a smaller, forum-friendly size. Unfortunately, this means its not as useful for diagnosing problems, because if the photo is resized, it is difficult to see the details. Maybe you can upload the photo somewhere else, and link to it? I think flickr allows this, if you have an account.
From what I see in this resized photo, it doesnt seem too bad.
How does your DA 35mm compare to any other lenses you have (DA 18-55mm at 35mm?) It should be slightly better than any of the zoom lenses. Wide open, its DoF will be very shallow, though
10-06-2015, 04:49 AM   #12
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The problem I'm having is up close, the sharpness is fine. I printed out a focus test chart, set it up at 45 degrees and so on. The lines were plenty sharp for me. I had a slight front focus issue but nothing I couldn't fix with the fine adjustment. But the problem is when I take pictures of something far away, it's just way too soft. According to my DOF app, 35mm f2.4 @ 50 feet should have 90 feet total in focus. So even if I'm a bit off focusing, there's no way im that far off. B&h opens back up tomorrow. I think I'll just return the lens and go a different rout. Maybe the 40 ltd.
And in regards to how it performs compared to other lenses I've owned, my 18-135 was significantly sharper. I sold that lens because the long end wasnt cutting it and I wanted something a bit faster like the da35. My k35/3.5 was pretty much the same. No problems with either of those lenses. My tamron 17-50 was slightly sharper than my da35 but I would say it was comparable. I know the 18-135 and k35 were both 3.5 at the widest. If I stop down to 5 on my da35 it's acceptable. But that's just too slow for evenings and concerts for me.

---------- Post added 10-06-15 at 04:53 AM ----------

I know this lens is very all regarded so I may just see if I can exchange it. I really prefer longer fl like 70-135ish so for the little use it'll get, I hate to spend more than I need. $100 that I spent for it is perfect price wise.
10-06-2015, 06:39 AM   #13
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Here is a landscape photo I accidentally took at f2.4 with the DA 35mm f2.4 lens:
https://500px.com/photo/115334969
You can press M to see the large version. You can see how the DoF works here - the front is OoF, then the poles just before the houses in front of the river are sharp - behind the river things start to get blurry again. To be fair, the photo has no handhshake blur, it was taken at low ISO, on a camera that has no AA filter, and I did do processing (which includes adding saturation, contrast, clarity, and sharpness), and you are looking at a resized image (which automatically hides a lot of OoF blur)
Also, I find the "DoF tables" online to be wrong. I don't know why, I used to believe in zone focusing, but I think modern technology, as well as our standards for what is "acceptably sharp", has changed so much that you cannot just trust in zone focusing / hyperfocal focusing. You need to focus properly for every shot, and you will quickly notice things get real soft OoF real fast. Finally, shooting wide open at landscape distances and near infinity is generally not a good idea. Wide open is the weak spot for most lenses, and coupling that with the shallow DoF getting stretchced.. I dunno, I just never expect much from that. To me, wide open is for near focusing, up to portraiture distances, but not really useful for anything further than that. Even for astrophotos I would recommend at least a little stopping down. But hey, Im an amateur, what do I know Hope you get your lens exchanged for a good copy!
10-06-2015, 07:19 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Here is a landscape photo I accidentally took at f2.4 with the DA 35mm f2.4 lens:
https://500px.com/photo/115334969
You can press M to see the large version. You can see how the DoF works here - the front is OoF, then the poles just before the houses in front of the river are sharp - behind the river things start to get blurry again. To be fair, the photo has no handhshake blur, it was taken at low ISO, on a camera that has no AA filter, and I did do processing (which includes adding saturation, contrast, clarity, and sharpness), and you are looking at a resized image (which automatically hides a lot of OoF blur)
Also, I find the "DoF tables" online to be wrong. I don't know why, I used to believe in zone focusing, but I think modern technology, as well as our standards for what is "acceptably sharp", has changed so much that you cannot just trust in zone focusing / hyperfocal focusing. You need to focus properly for every shot, and you will quickly notice things get real soft OoF real fast. Finally, shooting wide open at landscape distances and near infinity is generally not a good idea. Wide open is the weak spot for most lenses, and coupling that with the shallow DoF getting stretchced.. I dunno, I just never expect much from that. To me, wide open is for near focusing, up to portraiture distances, but not really useful for anything further than that. Even for astrophotos I would recommend at least a little stopping down. But hey, Im an amateur, what do I know Hope you get your lens exchanged for a good copy!
That could very well be my problem. That coupled with the slight front focus issue I had could've been the problem. I'm leaning towards operator error as opposed to the lens being faulty. It could just be that I don't know how to properly use the lens. I know I had all kinds of problems with my sigma 70 macro until I figured out I needed at least 120 SS to get a sharp image. I tried using 80 and every picture was blurry. Plus I had a slight back focus issue with that lens so it took me a while to get it working properly. I definatly agree that the app I use could be wrong. There's no way I had the kind of DOF with that lens at 2.8 as the chart said I should. If I'm taking a waist up portrait with that lens at 2.8, the persons face is already out of focus if the focus locked on their shirt. So I can totally see that being an issue. 70mm at 2.8 and 30 feet away should e over 5 inches according to the app. It's more like 2 inches. I'll take the lens out today and try some more shots. I have like a week and a half to return it will so is rather make sure that there is an issue.
10-06-2015, 12:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
I'm leaning towards operator error as opposed to the lens being faulty.
That is very nice of you! Often on the forum we get the exact opposite, this is why we usually try to diagnose things with sample photos. But its always possible you get a "less than ideal" lens, and if that is the case, you should have it switched. Note that the store might try to convince you to have it repaired. You usually don't want this, because repair takes a long time, and you might still get it back just as bad as before (or with a different fault). Especially since for Pentax gear, it often needs to get shipped to a service centre far away.
Dunno where you are, but over here in the EU, you need to claim that the lens came with the fault, then they need to replace it. If the fault developed over time, then they can merely repair it. And returning a lens for no reason is also an option, but it has its own set of rules. And it also kind of depends on the person in the store, as they might resist, or be helpful. Good luck either way, and report back on how things go I find the DA 35mm to be a very nifty lens, great performance for the price, and I bought it back when it was over 200 euro.
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