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10-27-2009, 05:54 AM   #1
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manual shooting help: fuzzy images: 200mm

Picked up my first manual lens (SMC-M 200mm f/4) a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to get a feel for it. I noticed that everything that is 100% crop seems to look real fuzzy. Is it because I am not using some sort of tripod/monopod, a setting with my camera? Do I need to try and sneak up closer on these birds/subjects? Just trying to figure out what I can do to improve my results. Thanks.

I believe I shot this at f5.6




10-27-2009, 06:14 AM   #2
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I think that any image when greatly enlarged is going to be fuzzy.
When I enlarge your first picture to 9"x12" on my monitor it is still quite sharp.
A tripod or monopod will always help.
So will more megapixels if you are after really large blowups. But that would entail buying a different camera.

That is a lovely photo.

Mickey
10-27-2009, 07:02 AM   #3
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Definitely should have a steady shooting position, such as a tripod or monopod.
Plus you could try a split image focus screen. The stock Pentax screen in a digital is tough to nail perfect manual focus with.
10-27-2009, 07:29 AM   #4
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That is a nice heron capture. you must have been pretty close to get that with a 200mm. Manual focusing does take some practice and af t/5.6 the depth of field is pretty narrow with that lens and focus has to be dead on perfect. I always use a monopod with a lens at that length. I have a 200 mm f/4 Takumar that I use which really needs to have some sort of support to get a tack sharp shot. When I shoot herons I like to shoot between f/8 and f/11 and as fast a shutter speed as possible. Using a 200 mm for shots of these birds means you will have to crop a little so a lower ISO ( 400 and under ) will make a nicer looking photo. Don't give up. The first shot doesn't look bad and doesn't need to be cropped all that much, if at all. Also, make sure your diopter is adjusted properly. If taking pictures of these birds is going to be a regular thing you should consider looking for some even longer lenses.

10-27-2009, 07:50 AM   #5
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I think I was probably 20 yards away. I'm not sure if this will be a regular thing or not, but I have 3-5 of these guys that are in the front in my neighborhood every day. I will try to get another shot tomorrow morning at a smaller aperture to see what happens.
10-27-2009, 08:15 AM   #6
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I've recently acquired this lens too, along with an SMC-A 70-200/f4, which is a lot heavier than the M-200f/4. I have weak hands and with both lenses I need to keep the shutter at or above 1/300sec in order to avoid motion blur. You can also set the focal length longer than 200mm so that SR kicks in early.

More than anything else, however, getting the focus spot on is crucial (if you intend to view at 100%). I tend to go slightly past where focus confirmation lights up. Having a magnifying eye-piece, like the Pentax OME-53, greatly helps aid manual focusing as well.

How do you find the exposure (in)accuracy with this lens. With stop-down metering, I need to dial in +0.5EV at f4, -0.5EV for 4<f<8, and -0.66EV for f>8 (-1EV above f8 makes for a slight underexposure).
10-27-2009, 08:52 AM   #7
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Be sure to shut off shake reduction when using a tripod.
It introduces shake if you already have the camera on a tripod.
Also use the mirror up or a remote shutter trigger as putting your finger on the shutter button to trip it only introduces vibration more so if you don't have a very stable tripod.
Lastly, vibration would be more pronounced at large magnifications.
Hope this helps!
10-27-2009, 11:07 AM   #8
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Manual focusing a 200mm with an aperture of f/5.6 takes care. You definitely should shoot from a tripod if at all possible. The photo looks to have significant motion blur caused by handholding. Remember that your 200mm on your camera is equivalent to a 300mm on film, meaning that you would need a minimum shutter speed of 1/320th of a second to get decently sharp images handheld.

I would recommend taking several photos in succession when shooting with longer telephoto lenses. I set my camera to its highest framerate speed when pushing the shutter speeds for longer telephoto lenses (anything under 1/125th of a second). By capturing multiple frames your chance of getting a sharp one goes up significantly. During processing, I evaluate each frame to see if its in focus and free of blur and then compare it to the ones I've shot before and after it. Delete the blurry ones right off the bat to save space.

So, give it another shot on a tripod but remember to still watch your shutter speed. Don't shoot animals at less than 1/60th of a second minimum to avoid subject blur. Turn off Shake Reduction when on a tripod, and use a fast enough ISO to keep camera vibration to a minimum. These tips should really improve results and let you focus on simply confirming manual focus.

10-27-2009, 12:22 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by wasim_altaf Quote
I've recently acquired this lens too, along with an SMC-A 70-200/f4, which is a lot heavier than the M-200f/4. I have weak hands and with both lenses I need to keep the shutter at or above 1/300sec in order to avoid motion blur. You can also set the focal length longer than 200mm so that SR kicks in early.

More than anything else, however, getting the focus spot on is crucial (if you intend to view at 100%). I tend to go slightly past where focus confirmation lights up. Having a magnifying eye-piece, like the Pentax OME-53, greatly helps aid manual focusing as well.

How do you find the exposure (in)accuracy with this lens. With stop-down metering, I need to dial in +0.5EV at f4, -0.5EV for 4<f<8, and -0.66EV for f>8 (-1EV above f8 makes for a slight underexposure).
I find when using the green button to meter, it will slightly overexpose. I will normally set my shutter speed a bit faster to get the appropriate exposure. I guess it would be easier for me to just use the ev comp instead? Does one method impact image quality different than the other or is it a different means to the same end?

I am using a KPS U-13C magnifying cup, which does help quite a bit.
10-27-2009, 01:19 PM   #10
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EV comp will not do anything in M mode, which is where you'll need to be using the M lens.
You'll just need to meter with the green button and increase the shutter speed by how much you want to get the right exposure.

On tripod shooting, be weary that just the simple fact of pressing the shutter button on the camera will induce camera shake, so if shutter speed isn't all that fast, you may also need the 2sec delay engaged.
10-27-2009, 02:17 PM   #11
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Nice shot, just a tad OOF and little motion blur (camera shake) in 50 degree direction.
Tripod and careful focusing will both help.
{3 pixels focus correction in Focus-magic did crispy it right up.)



Cheers. Mike.
10-27-2009, 06:10 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
EV comp will not do anything in M mode, which is where you'll need to be using the M lens.
You'll just need to meter with the green button and increase the shutter speed by how much you want to get the right exposure.
Right, EV-comp doesn't work in M mode. Just change the shutter speed to compensate for the metering inaccuracy after pressing the green button. One can also use the DOF-Preview lever to stop-down and adjust the shutter-speed (with the rear wheel) to set the EV-bar over/under 0 as needed.

However, EV-comp can work when in AV mode. Camera will meter only wide open -- f4 for this lens -- and then add EV-comp as the lens is stopped down. Assuming perfect metering, +1EV for f5.6, +2EV for f8 and so forth.
10-27-2009, 06:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by 41ants Quote
I find when using the green button to meter, it will slightly overexpose. I will normally set my shutter speed a bit faster to get the appropriate exposure. I guess it would be easier for me to just use the ev comp instead? Does one method impact image quality different than the other or is it a different means to the same end?

I am using a KPS U-13C magnifying cup, which does help quite a bit.
You are doing it the right way. In M mode with green button , this is the only way, as pointed out by Ash. In essence, you are applying EV comp to override what the the green button is metering. I was merely using EV amount to show (from my experience) how far off the metering appears to be for this lens.
10-27-2009, 06:50 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wasim_altaf Quote
However, EV-comp can work when in AV mode. Camera will meter only wide open -- f4 for this lens -- and then add EV-comp as the lens is stopped down. Assuming perfect metering, +1EV for f5.6, +2EV for f8 and so forth.
Av mode on camera will not permit the lens to stop down according to the aperture setting on the lens's aperture ring. It will always shoot wide open. (That's the 'crippled' KAF2 for you...)

Just go to M mode, use the green button to meter, then adjust the shutter speed yourself up or down according to how many stops of light more or less you need.
10-27-2009, 07:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Av mode on camera will not permit the lens to stop down according to the aperture setting on the lens's aperture ring. It will always shoot wide open. (That's the 'crippled' KAF2 for you...)
True, the user still needs to turn the aperture ring manually. I didn't mean to confuse.

I find the position of the green button a bit odd. I prefer the DOF-Preview lever instead. Yet, sometimes it's easier for me to start off metering wide open in this crippled AV mode, and adjust EV-comp with the front wheel, which will adjust the previously metered shutter speed accordingly, while I manually close down the aperture ring -- turn the aperture ring one click (1/2 stop), turn the front wheel one click (1/2 EV) ..

I barely go past f8 with this lens, so I'm not hopping all over the place with EV comp. It'd be different story if the range was from f1.4 and up.
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