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04-22-2009, 05:07 PM   #1
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uuuuuuuuugh....where do I start? *Pics inside*

Ive had my Pentax K100D for 2 years now, but Im having problems with some photos.
Absolutely no problems shooting macro or close up things...but when I start taking pics of anything/one past a few feet, I lose a ton of sharpness.
Is it the camera? Is it me (most likely this option lol)?

here is an example of a "bad shot", shot just using presets on the wheel for easy reference, no tripod or flash with 18-55 kit lens, Shake Reduction on, I see FUZZY, bad ickiness...



now these pics are what I consider "okay" but as I mentioned above, they are closer shots.
macro mode, rest the same as above, the lighting wasn't even that great, but its still pretty sharp and Im happy with it:



my violin, taken outside on a cloudy day on a white sheet


bad lighting, but pic isnt too crappy because Im close:



Ive been reading until my eyeballs cross, but I havent found any threads yet with this problem. Its just me I suppose lol
Any suggestions would rock.
Id love to take photos at family functions and other misc. times, but I can take dozens of photos and only a few will come out okay (the up close ones) and Im very frustrated.


Last edited by Niki; 04-22-2009 at 07:44 PM.
04-22-2009, 05:16 PM   #2
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What are the settings on ISO/aperture/shutter speed?

Most lenses, in particular "consumer-grade" lenses such as the kit lens, are not sharp at max aperture. To achieve optimal sharpness, you need to close the lens down two or three stops. Then the shutter speed may become so low you need a tripod....

But frankly, I don't see anything wrong with the photos you post.
04-22-2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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thanks for your quick reply, I appreciate it!
for these sample photos...I let the camera use its default iso/ap/ss for easy reference.
I don't know much about how to tweek the settings yet in different light and focal situations, so I defaulted to the camera's settings in Auto Pict and Macro.

the pics of the bathroom and living room, taken today in okay light are just...fuzzy
I see pics taken of the same rooms with point and shoot cameras and they are better than these.
I suppose I just need to learn more and perhaps get some better lenses.
04-22-2009, 05:28 PM   #4
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well lookie there...I found some info....here's the stats on the kitty in the violin case:
File Size: 292 kb - 700 x 532

Camera Make: PENTAX Corporation

Camera Model: PENTAX K100D

Resolution: 700 x 532

Flash Used: No

Focal Length: 24.0mm (35mm equivalent: 36mm...

Exposure Time: 0.033 s (1/30)

Aperture: f/4.0

ISO Equiv.: 800

Whitebalance: Auto

Metering Mode: matrix

Exposure: Portrait Mode

Jpeg Process: Progressive


living room pic:
Camera Make: PENTAX Corporation

Camera Model: PENTAX K100D

Resolution: 700 x 474

Flash Used: No

Focal Length: 18.0mm (35mm equivalent: 27mm...

Exposure Time: 0.167 s (1/6)

Aperture: f/3.5

ISO Equiv.: 400

Whitebalance: Auto

Metering Mode: matrix

Exposure: LandscapeMode

Jpeg Process: Progressive

ribbon spool:
File Size: 33 kb - 693 x 556

Camera Make: PENTAX Corporation

Camera Model: PENTAX K100D

Date/Time: 2009:01:13 16:17:44

Resolution: 693 x 556

Flash Used: No

Focal Length: 38.0mm (35mm equivalent: 57mm...

Exposure Time: 0.022 s (1/45)

Aperture: f/6.7

ISO Equiv.: 800

Whitebalance: Auto

Metering Mode: matrix

Exposure: Creative Program (based toward...

04-22-2009, 05:55 PM   #5
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I think the problem may simply be the slow shutter speed and shallow depth of field.

Try taking the first shot again, but using a tripod or other stable mount. Set the camera to Av mode, and set the aperture to a higher value -- f/8 for example. The shutter speed will be very slow, but on the tripod that'll be no problem. Use the 2-second timer so you don't accidentally bump the camera when you release the shutter. And turn off the shake reduction.

Then see what happens.
04-22-2009, 06:11 PM   #6
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thank you Jim, will do!
I need to learn to tweek things so that when Im at a family picnic I can take decent photos as well, I do have another lens, but it (err...me) has the same issue.
04-22-2009, 06:12 PM   #7
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The only problem I can see at this reduced size is that most of the picture is out of focus. You can't take a picture at f/4 with a DSLR and expect the whole thing to be in focus. Whatever the camera focused on will be, and other things at the same distance or a little in front or a little behind, but the rest will be out of focus. That's what depth of field refers to. To get more DOF, you need a smaller aperture (larger f-number). And that will result in a slower shutter speed, so you'll also need more light (eg, flash). Due to their smaller size sensors, P&S cameras have more DOF than DSLR's do. Usually, people consider that a negative - we usually *want* to be able to have a shallow DOF for artistic purposes.
04-22-2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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did the flash fire on the close up? That would explain why that one's sharp (the flash duration is fast and if all the light is coming from it then the camera shutter speed won't matter) and the others not. You have slowish shutter speeds so are probably getting a touch of camera shake combined with lack of DOF that Marc points out.

Luv the ginger cat... had one the same as a kid.

04-22-2009, 06:26 PM   #9
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HGMonaro, no flash, I only use flash if beaten with wet noodles because I hate the light it throws.
fakey almost.
Id rather suffer the bad lighting and fix it in photoshop.


That makes sense, Marc, thank you.
The camera is only focusing on one area and the rest suffers sharpness from that focal point.
So...in order to get a larger area in focus, I need to use the tripod and a slower shutter speed.
ok, that I get, thank you very much!

I want to learn how to take pics of a large group of ppl and have them all be in focus, like a wedding party, etc. Ive seen wedding photogs do this without a tripod...I have so much to learn.
That and the fact that my camera has definite limitations in resolution.
One saving grace, I do have CS2 ....(CS3 sits here waiting to be installed yet).
But, most of my distance photos are beyond saving.

I will start playing with settings and drag out the tripod and practice, practice, practice!

thank you again, everyone
04-22-2009, 08:39 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Niki Quote
HGMonaro, no flash, I only use flash if beaten with wet noodles because I hate the light it throws.
fakey almost.
Id rather suffer the bad lighting and fix it in photoshop.


That makes sense, Marc, thank you.
The camera is only focusing on one area and the rest suffers sharpness from that focal point.
So...in order to get a larger area in focus, I need to use the tripod and a slower shutter speed.
ok, that I get, thank you very much!

I want to learn how to take pics of a large group of ppl and have them all be in focus, like a wedding party, etc. Ive seen wedding photogs do this without a tripod...I have so much to learn.
That and the fact that my camera has definite limitations in resolution.
One saving grace, I do have CS2 ....(CS3 sits here waiting to be installed yet).
But, most of my distance photos are beyond saving.

I will start playing with settings and drag out the tripod and practice, practice, practice!

thank you again, everyone
Nice pic of the cat! Cute kitty!
04-22-2009, 09:14 PM   #11
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Marc is spot on. At f/3.5 the DOF is pretty thin. I had a similar experience this last weekend. I was shooting in "P" mode of a forest trail and all of the pictures were fuzzy. Oops...f/4 just does not cut it...

Steve
04-22-2009, 09:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Marc is spot on. At f/3.5 the DOF is pretty thin. I had a similar experience this last weekend. I was shooting in "P" mode of a forest trail and all of the pictures were fuzzy. Oops...f/4 just does not cut it...

Steve
Yes. Stopping the lens down to a smaller apeture will increase your DOF and bring more into sharp focus. A wide angle lens will usually have more DOF than a telephoto. They a great for landscape, indoor, and family photos. Telephoto lenses are great for bringing objects closer, but the really good ones will allow you to isolate your subject with a creamy bokeh, and in the case of portraits, flatten the image. That is when you would want to shoot with a larger apeture. One stop down from wide open is usually optimal for this purpose. The good ones with large apertures also have an excellent bokeh( the blurred out of focus background). I stopped down my 75-200f/4.5 Cosina MF today to f/32 while trying to shoot birds in flight. I notice a bunch of black dots on the images which were not there before. The lens captured either a dirty sensor or internal dirt,(or maybe external), on the lens. I have to investigate. But more was brought into focus at that small setting. On your kit lens, just a matter of going from wide to telephoto. Hope this helps.
04-22-2009, 09:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Niki Quote
well lookie there...I found some info....here's the stats on the kitty in the violin case:

Exposure Time: 0.033 s (1/30)


living room pic:

Exposure Time: 0.167 s (1/6)

ribbon spool:

Exposure Time: 0.022 s (1/45)
Looking at this, I see a much slower shutter speed for the living room pic - 1/6 of a second is a very slow shutter speed and likely to cause some blur due to "camera shake". Using shake reduction combined with good technique (knowing how to hold the camera very stabily, and minimize user induced motion) and short focal lengths like 18mm, it is possible to get fairly sharp photos at 1/6 of a second, but with average technique (which most of us have) it's more common to get some blur caused by the small movements of the camera since we can't hold still enough. Combined with the shallow depth of field Marc's talking about, and your starting to talk some serious softness.

Even if you don't have a tripod handy, you can test if shake is a factor by shooting withe the cammera set on a table.

To get a high quality image for this test, I'd recommend setting something like the following settings:
  • ISO: 100 (Use the fn button to access the ISO setting. A low ISO will give you less grainy images at the cost of longer exposures (or wider apertures) - long exposure time doesn't matter for this test since you will have the camera set on a table or tripod)
  • Exposure Mode: Av (Av allows you to specify an aperture and the camera will choose an appropriate shutter speed based on the light and the ISO setting)
  • Aperture: f/8 (stopping down to f/8 will give you more depth of field than leaving the lens wide open, it will also increase the sharpness of most lenses. This will also slow the exposure time, but we still don't care ).

Now, set the camera on a firm stable surface (don't use the washer on spin cycle), and look through the viewfinder, and compose the shot and confirm it's focused where you want. If you have a remote, you can use it, and if not, you'll want to use the two second timer (or the longer timer - they're both available from the fn button) to take the picture, so you don't accidentally move the camera as you press the shutter release. Use this technique to take several tests, maybe with different focus points (nearer to you like the lamp and farther away like the TV or the wall), and note (write down) where you were focusing for each shot. If you still get soft images after that sort of setup - that'd be bad .
04-22-2009, 09:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Marc is spot on. At f/3.5 the DOF is pretty thin. I had a similar experience this last weekend. I was shooting in "P" mode of a forest trail and all of the pictures were fuzzy. Oops...f/4 just does not cut it...

Steve
This is why I'm afraid to even experiment with P mode - I like Av as I want to always make a conscious decision about the DOF. My "exposure flow" is something like this...
In Av mode (where my camera's set 98% of the time (sometimes M is the way to go but for me, not often))...
  1. Set desired aperture based on DOF or sharpness considerations.
  2. Check the indicated shutter speed, and adjust it higher with higher ISO if necessary.
  3. Wish I'd bothered to take the tripod off my pack so I could lower ISO and reduce camera shake like a professional would .
  4. Shrug and keep hiking...
04-22-2009, 10:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Niki Quote
HGMonaro, no flash, I only use flash if beaten with wet noodles because I hate the light it throws.
Learning about how to use off-camera flash and how to bounce it would help. i generally don't like using flash, but something it's the only way to accomplish the goal.


QuoteQuote:
I want to learn how to take pics of a large group of ppl and have them all be in focus, like a wedding party, etc. Ive seen wedding photogs do this without a tripod...
Indoors? Without flash? I don't think so. One or two people, sure. But the only way to get a large group all in focus is to stop down, and in low light, that's not practical. Even with tripod, people tend to move.
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