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05-23-2010, 01:05 PM   #1
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New K-x owner (first DSLR)

I am the proud owner of a new Pentax K-x and have a few random questions and comments.

First of all, I finally decided to make the jump to a dslr after 4-5 years of p&s cameras. I've tried hard to learn the basics and felt like I was at a point where my equipment was starting to hold me back some, despite how fine of a camera my little Panasonic FZ-7 is. (I didn't truly recognize how impressive the lens was until I started pricing dslr lenses with equivalent specs...though I know it's an easier feat with a smaller sensor.)

I have to say that I'm underwhelmed, but I readily admit that it is almost certainly user error and unfamiliarity with my new camera. I seem to get some good pics, but quite a few soft pics as well. I've searched and searched and have tried a few things like increasing the sharpening in-camera, experimenting to find the sharpest aperture, setting spot focus, etc. I have made an improvement after realizing that I needed to wait for the SR icon to pop up.

My main concern is that I can occasionally get the ghosting with horizontal lines that is mentioned here, Pentax K-x Digital Camera - Full Review - The Imaging Resource! (a few pixels of horizontal ghosting in specific situations.) It doesn't seem to be a huge issue and doesn't appear all the time, but is it something I should be concerned with? I've read all the reports of the blur and such, but I guess I should just be wondering if this is something I should just live with because it is common or should I take my camera back citing this as a defect. I realize it could be from user error, also. I feel that if my camera is suffering from the issue, it doesn't seem to be severe. I know I had to live with an inconsistent image stabilization system with the FZ-7 as well. OIS 1 and 2 worked differently in different situations.

Lastly, I guess I just expected sharper results at 100% but I may have been expecting too much, especially with the slightly above average kit lens.

Sorry for the wall of text for my first post and thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.

-Steve

05-23-2010, 01:09 PM   #2
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Most people stepping up from a point and shoot to a DSLR seem to end up with this buyers remorse. A DSLR isn't immediately going to give you stunning results every time. It does however give you to tools and flexibility to be more consistent and start making better images.

The images you are getting ghosting on, what shutter speed are they at, and what focal length? (Posting examples with embedded EXIF data would help).

My guess is that you are using the kit lens in less than optimal conditions (It really isn't all that good).
05-23-2010, 01:19 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
Most people stepping up from a point and shoot to a DSLR seem to end up with this buyers remorse. A DSLR isn't immediately going to give you stunning results every time. It does however give you to tools and flexibility to be more consistent and start making better images.

The images you are getting ghosting on, what shutter speed are they at, and what focal length? (Posting examples with embedded EXIF data would help).

My guess is that you are using the kit lens in less than optimal conditions (It really isn't all that good).
I will post some images soon, but I did quite a bit of testing in the 1/100 range with SR on and off, both handheld and on a flat surface. Occasionally, I'd get the horizontal line double image by a few pixels both hand held and on the 2 second timer, but it doesn't happen consistently so it's a bit puzzling. The only consistent thing is the shutter speed at which I've seen it (1/100).

I know it's difficult to assess without pictures, but it's very similar to the example in the link I posted.

I've also updated to the latest firmware, which says 1.01.00.10 in the EXIF data, I believe.
05-23-2010, 02:39 PM   #4
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Some test images

I just took a series of 40 pictures, which I believed to be in decent conditions.

I took 10 each of hand held with SR ON, hand held with SR OFF, flat surface with SR ON and flat surface with SR OFF, all with shutter priority at 1/100.

1/10 images had horizontal blur HH, SR ON.

3/10 horizontal blur HH, SR OFF

Then, I noticed something I had not noticed before. I started getting a ghost image on vertical lines on a stable surface with SR ON.

4/10 images taken from stable surface with SR ON had vertical double image.

0/10 with SR OFF from stable surface.

I guess I'm not quite sure how to post pictures from my album on here, but if you can look, I've uploaded an example of each of the test runs, including the best image I could find. No PP except for resizing and embedding a 100% crop. Please comment or tell me what I may be doing wrong. Does this look like an example of a defective camera? I tend to think that the fact that no images were significantly blurred from stable surface with SR OFF indicates that it may be user error or in fact the SR mechanism.

Am I expecting too much for a $500 camera? Is the best image I posted the detail I should expect at that aperture, ISO, etc.?

05-23-2010, 03:13 PM   #5
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Steve,
I jumped from a FZ20 to a K-7. Like you, it took me a while to get used to: that is, to learn how to use best my camera and my lenses. After a couple of weeks (closer to 4 weeks), I started to love my K-7 and I now look back at the FZ20 as a less-than-desirable backup.

Simply, a SLR will give you much better image quality. Even my wife (who does not like photograpg) was stunned by the pictures that I obtain with the K-7. I am not going back to a P&S camera.

It must be added that the lens is possibly the most important part of your camera system. You have to learn its limitations and its capabilities. The Pentax kit lens is not bad among all brands' kit lenses. But it cannot be compared with some quality lenses. It is worth to invest in 'good glass'. A good lens can be purchased 2nd hand and there are some excellent user's reviews on the forum.

I think that you should post some pictures. This forum is very friendly and includes many very helpful people who will do their best to give you feedback.
05-23-2010, 03:22 PM   #6
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Thanks for the reply. I do recognize that this forum is very friendly and it doesn't go unnoticed by lurkers (previously, anyways) like myself. I've had an account at a certain other popular set of forums and find that, on the average, it seems to be a little more hostile.

In any case, I did upload some pics to an album, so I hope that you can click through to see them. I'm still trying to learn the ropes here so I will look into making it easier for you guys to comment and critique on my current and future pics.

05-23-2010, 04:12 PM   #7
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Now some pics

This first one was shot hand held with SR on, illustrating the horizontal line blur. (1/100, F4, ISO 400, 18mm)


This one was shot hand held with SR off. More horizontal blur.
(1/100, F4, ISO 400, 18mm)



Flat surface, SR on. Vertical lines blurred.
(1/100, F3.5, ISO 400, 18mm)



This was taken from flat surface, SR off. None of the 10 of these blurred. Is this representative of the images should look like at these settings?
(1/100, F4, ISO 400, 18mm)




Any input is welcome and appreciated. Maybe I'm doing something terribly wrong.
05-23-2010, 06:38 PM   #8
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Looks like out-of-focus to me.

05-23-2010, 06:55 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I can't distinguish any blur... I guess it's a focus problem. I see you used pretty small apertures (3.5-4), and if you focused on the chair or the wall, the front elements of your pics look 'blurred' as a matter of optics. Check out some articles about 'depth of field' online (including here on pentaxforums, in the 'articles' sections).
05-23-2010, 07:27 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
I can't distinguish any blur... I guess it's a focus problem. I see you used pretty small apertures (3.5-4), and if you focused on the chair or the wall, the front elements of your pics look 'blurred' as a matter of optics. Check out some articles about 'depth of field' online (including here on pentaxforums, in the 'articles' sections).
Well, I guess I was more concerned with the center paper as that was what I was focusing on. I agree that that the rest may be out of focus because of the larger aperture, but my main concern is the double lines on the paper. There is faint double line on the vertical lines in the third picture and faint double lines on the horizontal ones on the first two pictures. I focused directly on the paper with spot focus.

Being that I performed this in shutter priority, it auto set the aperture for me. I guess I need to stop it down a bit for the overall picture just to eliminate that aspect.

Thanks!
05-23-2010, 07:30 PM   #11
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Ok... Now I see what you mean. Haven't had any such problem with mine.
05-23-2010, 07:52 PM   #12
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Quick questions:
- do you use centre focus or multiple-points focus ?
- do you use AF-C or AF-S?
- do you wait to see the SR 'hand' symbol before you shoot? (the light take 1-2 s to appear when you half-press the shutter button)

I use (like a number of Pentaxians) centre focus, with AF-S. I found this the easiest way to ensure that the camera focuses where I want. (I use the same settings with my older FZ20.)
05-23-2010, 08:00 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
Quick questions:
- do you use centre focus or multiple-points focus ?
- do you use AF-C or AF-S?
- do you wait to see the SR 'hand' symbol before you shoot? (the light take 1-2 s to appear when you half-press the shutter button)

I use (like a number of Pentaxians) centre focus, with AF-S. I found this the easiest way to ensure that the camera focuses where I want. (I use the same settings with my older FZ20.)
I've been using the center focus for a few days now, including with these shots. I also make it a point to wait for the SR icon in the viewfinder and did so with every one of these shots in which I had SR activated. As far as AF, it is set on AF-A, but I did not hear it trying to refocus and there was nothing moving in pictures. I've done a great deal of searching, reading, ad heeding advice posted on these forums. Despite my best efforts, I'm thinking my camera may be affected by the double image issue, even though it doesn't appear to be severe. Funny as it may sound, I'd feel better if I knew it to just be a design fault instead of a defect, but apparently others don't have this problem.

Before starting the test today, I tried to remember when I updated the firmware and hoped that all the pics I had problems with before were with the old firmware. I just hoped that I'd perform the test today and everything would be good. I want to love this camera, but this is making me second guess it.

I'll try some different tests tomorrow and hope to be able to write this off as user error. I just don't want to get stuck with a problem camera after the return period has expired.
05-24-2010, 11:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve_B Quote
As far as AF, it is set on AF-A, but I did not hear it trying to refocus
AF-A didn't detect any real motion to change the focus, so it didn't go into AF-C.

When I use autofocus, I always use AF-S. This way I get my focus point, but can reframe the shot the way I want.
05-24-2010, 11:33 AM   #15
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Just a note:

The manual advises to switch SR off when using a tripod. The same will apply when having the camera on a flat surface. That will explain the bad results in that specific test; the camera is trying to compensate movement that is not here resulting in blur.
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