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09-20-2016, 11:37 PM - 1 Like   #1
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My pics are garbage! Why?

Five months ago I purchased a K3II. Never used a digital camera before save a little panasonic point and shoot thingy. So I thought to my self, "I said self, this is digital how hard can it be". My pics are horrid and I can't really understand why. After all it is digital, not like I have to think about what I'm doing, right? If I use full auto my pictures come out crappy and the same in M. I have pretty much a lens for any occasion. With all this nice equipment I'm starting to feel like it's not the equipment but rather some sort of a "user error". What gives? What am I missing?

09-20-2016, 11:43 PM   #2
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09-21-2016, 12:16 AM - 1 Like   #3
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The camera and lens are only tools that can help you use craft, skills, and creativity to capture or express yourself. Auto settings should at least give you mediocre or average results, but if you have greater expectations, you need to invest in your effort and skills. I have taken photography seriously (as in Iʻm trying to constantly improve myself) for 44 years now and Iʻve only upgraded my equipment when I feel that what I was using was holding me back.

I have good days, bad days, periods of growth and stagnation. I have bachelor and a masters degree in art/film/photography and have taught photography since 1992. All this to say, I am still learning this craft and the art of seeing. Most photography falls under two categories: a) Finding, discovery, seeing, capturing what is given, or b) Creating, designing, manipulating, making what is taken. I enjoy the first type described, but am frustrated if I go into shooting with a pre-conceived notion of what the shot should be instead of seeing things as they are, knowing how my lens and sensor can best record it, and always thinking about the glass half full.

Nat Geo and Outdoor Photog columnist Dewitt Jones says, "Itʻs not Iʻll believe it if I see it, but rather, Iʻll see it IF I believe it.....Find the extraordinary in the ordinary."

Kudos on posting your honest question. +1 Adam and share some samples of your disappointing results so we can offer some insight. There is no greater motivator in growth than the pain of mistakes; lord knows Iʻve made plenty.
09-21-2016, 12:17 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Since I am shooting with K-3II sometimes I have the same feeling. After a little edit in LR everything looks fine. Imho the jpegs from the K-30 showed somehow better results. Maybe someone can confirm? Just post some pics, we will help you

09-21-2016, 12:22 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaphil Quote
Since I am shooting with K-3II sometimes I have the same feeling. After a little edit in LR everything looks fine. Imho the jpegs from the K-30 showed somehow better results. Maybe someone can confirm? Just post some pics, we will help you
Excellent point. Like the film negative, a RAW file is really just the first step in making the most of the image. It is rare that I have a shot that canʻt be improved with cropping, adjusting levels, dodge and burning, color correction, etc. Until you master post-processing, jpegs will usually outshine under or poorly processed RAW files.
09-21-2016, 12:28 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by donlass Quote
Five months ago I purchased a K3II. Never used a digital camera before save a little panasonic point and shoot thingy. So I thought to my self, "I said self, this is digital how hard can it be". My pics are horrid and I can't really understand why. After all it is digital, not like I have to think about what I'm doing, right? If I use full auto my pictures come out crappy and the same in M. I have pretty much a lens for any occasion. With all this nice equipment I'm starting to feel like it's not the equipment but rather some sort of a "user error". What gives? What am I missing?
Starting to use any DSLR, are not as easy as it seems, as many people have learned.

There are many short youtube tutorial videos like
about the subject, and even if not for the Pentax brand, they all give you the basics to start with....Perhaps you should look at a few, and then, if you have more specific problems, or need help, with your specific model camera, the users here will probably be glad to help you
09-21-2016, 01:57 AM   #7
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Like other have already expressed here, I too was bitterly disappointed with my first Pentax DSLR (K-7) photos. Seemingly flat and colourless after the little Olympus Point and Shoot. Pentax straight out of the box settings seem to be not very inspiring. After a while I learned to adjust the basic image setting in camera with great improvement. From there to basic editing in, of all things, the images program that came with MS Office. Gradually learnt more and graduated to RAW files and Photoshop Elements and then Lightroom. And I must add a lot of invaluable help and advice from members of this forum.

Stick at it. post some images and I am sure the good folks here will help you on your way.
09-21-2016, 02:00 AM   #8
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Let's see 'em, Donlass! 😊



09-21-2016, 03:23 AM   #9
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If you don't want to think about what you are doing you don't need a dslr. Just get a 1" sensor point and shoot like the sony Rx-100. With dslr everything depends on how you set up and use your camera. Some understanding is needed.

I would advise: new jersey digital photography workshop - Google Search
09-21-2016, 03:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by donlass Quote
After all it is digital, not like I have to think about what I'm doing, right?
Here is your problem.
The better the camera, the more it gives to the user. This means you have to know exactly what you want and how to get it. Its like buying a race car - it will be more difficult to drive! But it will also allow much more, once you know how.
I would recommend you learn about Exposure (Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO) first. This goes for all photography, from film to digital. Many many blogs and youtube videos about it
09-21-2016, 03:40 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by donlass Quote
Five months ago I purchased a K3II. Never used a digital camera before save a little panasonic point and shoot thingy. So I thought to my self, "I said self, this is digital how hard can it be". My pics are horrid and I can't really understand why. After all it is digital, not like I have to think about what I'm doing, right? If I use full auto my pictures come out crappy and the same in M. I have pretty much a lens for any occasion. With all this nice equipment I'm starting to feel like it's not the equipment but rather some sort of a "user error". What gives? What am I missing?
It's not user error, more user inexperience . There are a couple of assumptions here that aren't entirely accurate: "this is digital how hard can it be" and "not like I have to think about what I'm doing, right?".

That said, once you learn a bit about what you're doing (and with digital is it much faster and cheaper to learn) then you'll find that you do at least have the right tool to make decent pics.
09-21-2016, 03:56 AM   #12
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Not sure what is "crappy" about your pictures but one thing I've learned after almost 3 years into photography is that composition is one of the most important things. Other than correct exposure of course. Still to this day, I can't just go for a walk in the woods and get a decent picture. The exposure is good, the i,ages are sharp, but the composition is terrible. I'm happy with my portraits. I'm happy with my concert pictures. But there's just some stuff I can. It figure out how to photograph. And it's frustrating as hell. But when I do figure something out and my pictures come out as intended, it makes up for all the frustration and doubt and it's one of the most rewarding things I've done in my life.

There's a lot to learn so just stick with it.
09-21-2016, 04:23 AM   #13
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You have 61 posts with 21 likes. All the likes cant be only from comments.
09-21-2016, 04:52 AM - 1 Like   #14
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If you're shooting jpegs, there's a good chance raw (and the post processing that implies) will turn your photos into something awesome sauce. Any amaze balls photos you've seen will have been through some post processing

Where do you live? Is it crappy? Are the things around you crappy?

I've been there, maybe a macro might help (the whole scene is crappy, but a close up section is interesting)

Stick with a single lens, get to know its weaknesses, avoid them, and get to know its strengths (and exploit them). If you have hit the limit of your lenses (entirely possible if you're shooting with the 18-55 and 50-200), then consider a step into the prime territory (Any of the DA/FA limiteds, or da plastic fantasics if you're on a budget).

Are you always shooting wide open? Have you considered stopping the lens down a bit? It makes a big difference.

Or are you just bored of your surroundings? 'I took a photo of this a year ago, and I am now taking another shot of the same thing'? Get out further, more often
09-21-2016, 04:54 AM - 1 Like   #15
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When you look at other people's fantastic pictures, remember that not all of this always happens in the camera - there's often a lot of photoshopping and other tweaking that happens between the file being written to the camera and the final image being presented to the world. I used to wonder how some people got such fantastic results. Now I know, and it is why my feelings regarding post-processing are mixed at best.

I'm not unhappy to use it in situations where the light is not under my control, my subjects are fleeting and I don't have time to think about the settings, and I want to make a passable picture out of what would otherwise be a disaster, but I wish people (particularly professional photographers) would be more open about just how much of their stunning image is the result of work done after the shutter button is pressed.
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