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09-21-2017, 03:43 AM   #1
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images not sharp, please advice

hello,
i own a pentax k 30 with 55-300 mm wr lens.
i have attached few pics of a bird with the lens, i feel they r not sharp enough.
is this due to my camera or technique or lens or due the brand Pentax..
what shoud be done to improve sharpness.
or is this the best i can achieve with my camera ?
thanks
I have used back button auto focus on continous mode.

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09-21-2017, 04:00 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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The shutter speed is too low, it makes motion blur, try 1/500 or faster.
The AF also missed the scene, you may need some calibration or just better technique. (Calibration is at the C menu's last page if I remember correctly.)
The 55-300 WR is not so sharp at F5.6. F8-F11 would be better int these scens where the background is far enough.
The K-30 handels the noise well up to ISO 1600 and even ISO 6400 is acceptable in some situations, so don't afraid to bump up a little bit.
The K-30 can do much better images with the 55-300 WR lens.

---------- Post added 09-21-17 at 01:02 PM ----------

Oh, and AF-S with prefocusing may be better for this type of photos.
09-21-2017, 04:18 AM   #3
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thanks for the response and advise. Got yr point.
i Have a few other pics at the same setting. Pl comment on them also.
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09-21-2017, 04:19 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Yes, I'd go 1/1000s, and be accurate with your focus, Mehulmandan ... even the metal post is blurry. Your second pic's focus is fine, for instance.

09-21-2017, 04:29 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Agree, get the shutter speed up and aperture stopped down. General rule of thumb for hand held is the shutter speed should be at least the inverse of the focal length, so for a 300mm, 1/300. For birds, which move really fast, even when sitting there - they twitch - notice the blur on the feet of the bird on the right - 1/500 and up is even better. The 55-300 isn't a bad lens, but it needs to be stopped down a bit. I find my copy performs best approaching f11. Technique and patience is key with birds. Pre-focus as much as you can. Also, shoot in RAW and start working with post processing, so you can go up to higher ISOs and have more tweaking options to clean up the image.
09-21-2017, 04:29 AM   #6
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Yes i Understand that. I have clicked only when the camera showed it in focus.
Do we have to zoom the pic every time because it is always hit or miss situation. Not getting very predictable results always.
09-21-2017, 04:46 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mehulmandan Quote
Yes i Understand that. I have clicked only when the camera showed it in focus.
Do we have to zoom the pic every time because it is always hit or miss situation. Not getting very predictable results always.
Pre-focus on the top of the pole, because the birds are unpredictable.
09-21-2017, 05:39 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Pre-focus on the top of the pole, because the birds are unpredictable.
+1 with clackers on pre-focus. It will help a lot in practice.

09-21-2017, 06:40 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
shutter speed should be at least the inverse of the focal length, so for a 300mm, 1/300.
This rule of thumb comes from film days and applies to full frame. For apsc apply the "crop factor" ie 1.5x = 1/450 th or in practice 1/500th, Then it's common that you end up cropping your bird pics. So if you crop to half size to get your bird pic, you must x2 again = 1/1000th !! Get the picture ?

Cut a long story short, if you want to see what the dal 55-300mm can do, then get the camera out of your hands and stabilise as best you can. Even better than a tripod is a bean bag or similar on a solid surface or post. Absolutely use a remote shutter release, IR or wired doesn't matter (note that canon wired ones fit most pentaxes (eg my K5) and are more readily obtainable, few cents off ebay), and consensus is that SR should be off.
To see what can be achieved with a variety of lenses and methods check out the 300mm lens club thread. And bear in mind that we all make lots of use of the delete button to jettison poor results.

Having said that, there are good u-tube videos on telephoto hand holding technique: grip, breathing, posture, 3 shot bursts etc I recommend you browse those.

Addendum - shake reduction.
I remembered I had attempted some test pics with my DAL 55-300mm to judge the effect of SR. These are both handheld at 1/60th sec, f9, reduced in size from the cropped 2500px wide to 1000px wide. One is with SR on. I am more impressed than I expected to be actually. However trying to get the most out of SR is a bit pernickety, the camera is juggling with focus first so the SR light only comes on when the camera thinks it has nailed that, then moving subjects complicates things.... all a bit hit and miss in practice.
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Last edited by marcusBMG; 09-21-2017 at 09:14 AM.
09-21-2017, 07:15 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I would maybe try TAv mode and set shutter speed 1/500 second and aperture to f8 if you are past 200mm. I think your issue is mainly your shutter speed, but I do find that the DA 55-300 is not the sharpest lens wide open either (few lenses are).

The other option is to use a tripod/monopod.



In this image I had f7.1 and 1/250 second, but I was on a tripod and that helped a bunch.
09-21-2017, 07:45 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Pay more attention to focus, use AF.s and burst mode, but these images are doomed by the lighting. The harsh shadows on the subject exceeds the Dynamic Range of the camera. Always use a tripod or monoapod for any 300mm or more lens.

You can make up for lack of shutter speed, by shooting burst.
here's an image taken at 1/80s and 420mm. (ISO 800, ƒ4.5) on a K-3.


I may have taken 15 shots in this burst, in probably 2 or 3 of them he was still enough to freeze him even at the low shutter speed. The trick here is my tripod was stable enough my camera didn't move. The other thing it has going for it it the soft lighting, That enables me to pull up detail. And it's not that my camera doesn't move, it's more that my camera doesn't exceed what SR can compensate for. Hand held at 300mm or more, without the tripod head being locked and hands touching the camera, your tripod helps you do that IMHO you cut your chances of a good sharp image by about 80% not using the tripod with the head slightly tightened so you can still move it, but still shooting with your hands on the camera and shooting burst.

In this shot I'm actually using a 2 second delay because the subject wasn't; moving. IMHO controlling camera shake is what gives you good detailed image. Low shutter speed, you'll still get some images, maybe you'll have a lot more throw aways but you'll get some. Harsh light and camera movement ( exceeding the ability of SR to compensate) are pretty much a death sentence.

Last edited by normhead; 09-21-2017 at 07:56 AM.
09-21-2017, 07:52 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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While the screw-driven, slow-aperture, and less-than-razor-sharp 55-300 zooms are certainly not first choice for serious birding, I have found my smc DA copy perfectly usable for casual grab shots of the kind shown below, all hand-held, EXIFs given.

BTW, provided there is sufficient light, I'm getting pretty decent results from my copy even at 300mm and F6.3, and even better ones at F7.1. Stopping down further makes it more likely to end up with a shutter speed or ISO setting that may compromise any hoped-for gain in overall lens sharpness. Not only that, it may also make your bokeh unnecessarily busy.
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09-21-2017, 07:59 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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Some more samples, no birds in this case, but a situation where the animals were moving really fast:
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09-21-2017, 09:06 AM   #14
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I have this lens and got if awhile ago when it went on sale for something like $266 or so. I have found that it is not one of my better focusing lenses. It really struggles to lock on when I use it on my K3. It is a bit better on my K1. I use it a lot in manual focus mode as it is quicker than letting the lens search. I do find it is capable of very good images when stopped down a bit. The sweet spot on mine is around f8 to f11.
09-21-2017, 09:11 AM - 1 Like   #15
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The screw drive 55-300mms are quite sharp for a consumer grade slow zoom telephoto but you have to baby them a bit. And, as one poster notes be prepared for a proportion of failures by taking multiples.

This is one of my favorite pictures. It was taken with a K-50 which is equivalent to a K-30 on a foggy, rainy, quite dark day at long distance and is heavily cropped. Not as sharp as one might like. Still, I find it very satisfying as the eagle's mood to being dive bombed by gulls out of the picture is pretty well captured. Note the exif info by clicking on it (and the other photos).



Taken with a K-70 and again heavily cropped. Again very dark so took many pictures as couldn't up the speed. This one came out superbly in my opinion but there were many failures. Especially as the bird was deep within a thicket and the AF was working very hard.



Not great but here is the lens pushed to the absolute limit I've attempted anyway. K-70 again. Taken braced over a bridge rail, prefocused by auto, and then set focus to manual waiting for a fish to jump (many were). Fish is 30-40 cm (12-15") about 60 or 70 meters away. Again heavily cropped (this is a near 100% crop). Many failures, this the best of the lot.




To be fair I now have the PLM version and it is far superior at focus. Same basic optics, though.

Last edited by jgnfld; 09-21-2017 at 01:00 PM.
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