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03-20-2016, 06:51 AM   #1
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DA*300 resolution

What do you guys think about the resolution/sharpness of my DA*300? First image is taken with DA*300 alone and the second with Pentax-HD 1,4x TC attached. I feel that the images are rather soft. Both images are taken using K3ii and monopod. Of course the ISO is a bit high but does it really effect so much to sharpness? I get same results with live view so focusing itself is not a problem. I feel that images taken with my old DA55-300 are about equally sharp even wide open...

My DA300 has already once been serviced after drop damage and I haven't done it any more damage after that. Perhaps it still needs some service/adjusting?

Whole image ISO1250 f/7,1 1/1600s distance is about 200 meters:


~100% crop:


Whole image ISO1250 f/6,3 1/2500s distance is about 100 meters:


~100% crop


03-20-2016, 07:11 AM   #2
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Your first image is typically what I get with mine. Your second image seems to have a bit of motion blur.
I never get sharp images of distant subject with the DA300 w/wo TC. AF micro-adjust from less than about 10 meters, deliver sharp results (there is a bit a play on the AF barrel/motor... for instance I can focus more accurately manually than the camera can do). Beside AF , motion + shutter speed effect , I still was having randomly sharper images, especially with the TC mounted. In comparison, the Tamron 70-200 @200mm-f4 is sharper. When using a beanbag directly in contact with the body of the DA300+TC, images get a significant increase in micro-sharpness versus mount via tripod collar. Apparently, this lens is sensitive to shutter/mirror induced vibrations.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-20-2016 at 07:17 AM.
03-20-2016, 07:28 AM   #3
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When I shoot hand held or on a monopod or free moving tripod, I shoot in burst mode and select the best image. Often one of 5 or 6 is good. The effect of motion blur on long lenses is pretty well understood. I was out yesterday with my Tamron 90 macro and 1.4 TC, and every image was sharp. I was saying to myself "what is going on here?" I was selecting completely on little birdie poses, where as usually my first cull is all the out of focus or motion blurred images. The simple fact is, hand held at 128mm is a breeze, at 300mm, not so much. The fact that you manage the short focal length doesn't mean you can manage the longer one. My suggestion would be take some images of a stationary object on two second delay, with the tripod locked in place, then try and match it hand held. That way you are evaluating your technique, not the lens.

If the lens is soft even stopped down to ƒ8 on a tripod and delay, and can't be adjusted you have a lens problem.

The lens is a proven performer, but any lens can be a dud out of the box, and need returning. ..

Last edited by normhead; 03-21-2016 at 06:22 AM.
03-20-2016, 07:44 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies! I have also thought that one possible cause ist that DA300 is very prone for mirrorshake. I should do some more testing and try to improve my technique also.

03-20-2016, 08:49 AM   #5
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When using a tripod I'm on guard for slow creeping of the lens unless it is fully locked down on the lens collar. This caught me at first. Also I found 2 second delay was insufficient at times. Now use MUP and a remote.
03-20-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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I did some more testing and it seems that perhaps mirrorshake is my main issue currently. It is a shame that K3ii has so strong mirrorshake. Well actually K5 was not any better in that aspect...
03-20-2016, 09:07 AM   #7
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I like my DA*300 in bright light and from f/5.6. Tried the TC and returned it right away. This winter I made some sledding images - kids jumping with sleds - with AF-C, the performance of shaprness and AF impressed.
03-20-2016, 11:35 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hemppo Quote
I did some more testing and it seems that perhaps mirrorshake is my main issue currently. It is a shame that K3ii has so strong mirrorshake. Well actually K5 was not any better in that aspect...
With DA*300+TC, you need to stop down to f8 or more (between f8 and f13). Shutter speed > 1/500 or 1/125 with SR ON. Yet you may not even get decently sharp images when focused at infinity or near infinity. This kind of lens isn't done to shot at infinity, it's best when used 3 to 10 meters away from the subject.


Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-20-2016 at 11:42 AM.
03-20-2016, 02:11 PM   #9
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Have you considered that at such long distance (200 m; 100 m), and over a very humid environment that you'd get the additional effect of atmospheric haze, plus what others mentioned earlier.
My DA*300/4 is always very sharp under decent circumstances but it also is not sharp in this sort of environment: far way subject over a snowy field.
Most of the time, this lens is super sharp.
With the HD 1.4X tc .... not quite as good.
I think you should "test" it under different conditions.
03-20-2016, 04:16 PM   #10
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FYI: A very successful Nikon user (MANY awards) who occasionally came to my photo-club always asserted that camera motion was by far the single greatest cause of poor image quality. Also, TC's were invented to deal with the problem of filling the frame when using slide film because of the extreme difficulty of doing any cropping. The conventional wisdom for all TCs was that they always reduced IQ, because they cannot possible improve the sharpness of a lens, and because they add more lens elements they will always slightly reduce contrast and introduce additional aberrations. At best, a "perfect" TC is a means of pre-cropping, except that the image will have more pixels than if cropped in PP. However, a set of experiments I ran, posted sometime ago on another thread, suggests that using a TC may sometimes increase the finest line-set resolved on a standard test chart, but there are other factors ("micro contrast," saturation, edge contrast) that contribute to the perception of sharpness or IQ.

ADDENDUM: In the final analysis, what counts is: are you getting an image you find satisfactory, and/or do the people to whom you show your images find them satisfactory?
03-20-2016, 09:31 PM   #11
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At those shutter speeds I can't imagine movement is the problem. Either they are out of focus or you have a bad copy of this amazing lens.

I generally use my DA*300 at intermediate rather than long distances. Here are some examples from longer range. Click on the images for a bigger view in flickr.

Hand held from the driver's seat while stopped at a traffic light. Maybe 100 metres away.


On the Q. Tripod of course. A lot further away


Teleconverter. Hand held. Maybe 50m away.
03-21-2016, 12:34 AM   #12
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Thanks for the replies again. I know that on long distances there are atmospheric effects on image but perhaps I have underestimated them a bit as they are not so visible for naked eye. Sometimes I feel that I get sharper images handheld than when using monopod. Perhaps shooting handheld dampens some mirrorshake?

Last edited by Hemppo; 03-21-2016 at 12:45 AM.
03-21-2016, 06:27 AM   #13
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What makes you so sure mirror shake is the issue?
03-21-2016, 06:39 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
What makes you so sure mirror shake is the issue?
I guess this is a question for Hemppo .

Nevertheless, I suggested vibration effects in earlier post, the reason is an experiment with this lens shows a clearly visible improvement in sharpness in two conditions:
- using a beanbag with the lens and camera body bedded into it
- using flash show better sharpness, the flash light peaking for shorter than 1/1000th of a second during shutter opening for 1/180th of second

Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-21-2016 at 06:50 AM.
03-21-2016, 07:57 AM   #15
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I suspect atmospheric conditions at long range, missed focus, or misaligned lens elements due to a drop etc. Otherwise, this lens mops the floor with the DA 55-300. It is better at f4 than the DA 55-300 ever gets. See the pentax forums review of the DA*300 for reference.
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