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10-05-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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Overall Disappointment with Pentax

My wife and I purchased k10d's when they first became available a few years back. We were particularly attracted to the weather-proofing, living as we do in a wet area of the country, as well as the Pentax name. We also purchased Tamron zooms (18-250mm) along with the 50mm lens (and of course the kit lens).

In the intervening years I've been generally displeased with the results. I knew beforehand that the designer of this camera had programed in algorithms that would make the images have a more natural, film-like quality and lack that punch that some camera makers opt for.

However, I've reached a place where I'm now considering selling our Pentaxes and going with something else. The images we produce seem too dead, flat, dark. By way of comparison, I picked up a Panasonic Lumix from Costco (DMC-ZS6) and immediately found the images to be far clearer and bright overall.

So, obviously I must be doing something wrong. That's why I've decided to ask here before making my final decision.

What settings do most of you set your cameras at for general photography (scenic, landscape, nature) OR do you leave it at the default settings?

Is the Tamron lens a culprit in my imaging woes? Would I be better advised to spend money on a different lens covering a similar range?

I understand that I will need to do some post processing of my images, but I don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time. My feeling is that the images I shoot should be, more or less, close to what I want to show to others.

For your information: I seldom shoot in RAW, preferring fine JPEG. I'm not very accomplished with post processing techniques (we have Photoshop Elements 8) and would hope that my images in camera would at least be close to acceptable for viewing. Right now... they're dead-looking.

10-05-2010, 10:22 AM   #2
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if the Jpeg's are flat to you, than bump the settings in the camera until you find it just right. Keep in mind the whole key with P&S's are that they take good straight out of the camera images but the IQ IMO will never hold a candle to DSLR's.

DSLR's really are meant for RAW, and Jpeg is not much of a priority. Also, when shooing DSLR's one should be well acquanted with post processing. Thats just how it goes

DSLR's are so amazing because WE the shooters have FULL control...... if you don't want that than stick with P&S's
10-05-2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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posting some images that you are not happy with would help
10-05-2010, 10:25 AM   #4
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i ve been using k10d aswell, all i can suggest is to shoot raw and develop them in dxo optics or lightroom if u are used to it.
jpegs from camera will suck at any setting xD i ve tried hard saturation high contrast too but never got the results anywhere close to lightroom or dxo :]

if u are shooting landscape or atleast if u dont need fast af and high iso capability, u should consider buying better optics instead of changing your system. u will lose alot when u wanna sell ur k10ds n tamrons (prolly 1/3 of what u paid will be what u will get).

another thing about k10d this machine is stupid in many ways, it cant give u best results if u use it like a point n shoot xD so u have to work on it(changing awb to daylight or cloudy and tune em too )

so all in all using pentax is about being a fan of brand :] if u want good jpeg output u should go for another brand or another body, maybe kr/k5 is better but so early to say something about em :]

10-05-2010, 10:33 AM   #5
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If you've spent the time and effort (and $$) to purchase a high quality DSLR, then you owe it to yourself to use the equipment to it's potential. That potential can really be realized by shooting RAW. I know you've said you don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time in PP, but you can tweak your default settings in the software and for most images just use the default JPEG conversion on the computer. When you occassionally find an image you'd really like to work on, then take the time with that image. That way you minimize the amount of time you spend in front of a computer, BUT you use your equipment to it's potential and you should see an immediate improvement in your photos.

It's all about learning to use the equipment you have, the K10D is a highly capable camera and you can't fault the equipment if it is not being used to its potential.

Another option is just to tweak the in camera settings to something more pleasing, but that likely means boosting the saturation, contrast, brightness to unnatural levels. Most P & S cameras do this and people like the images, but most people who want more, decide to do their own PP to achieve more natural looking "punch" to their images.

I wouldn't give up on the K10D so fast, it really is a nice camera and it's capabilities are likely greater than those of the user, from what you've posted.
10-05-2010, 10:39 AM   #6
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Hi James, just set the JPEG to bright mode instead of natural. You will get the P&S color style.
10-05-2010, 10:54 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I was thinking about how to respond to your question and came to the conclusion that the best answer would be to post some pictures..all taken with the k200d (same sensor as your k10d) all shot in RAW and developed in the Sylkipix Pentax software, color setting VIVID. (Lens used DA16-45, DA12-24 with polarizer-some contrast/saturation added in the post process..and I have to tell you I don't really like computers and have no idea how to use "complicated softwares")...I don't spend too much time with the post processing.

I have to tell you that although I have a K-x, plan to buy the K5, this k200d with this sensor will never be replaced in my camera bag.



10-05-2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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If your photos aren't kosher out of the box, consider tweaking one or more of the custom image functions - like others have said. After all, that's pretty much the definition of JPG right there

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10-05-2010, 11:00 AM   #9
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Without pictures it's difficult to suggest setting options to correct what you don't like. My K10D tends to underexpose slightly, especially with the kit lens. It's safe as you can always fix the photo in PP but a pain in the neck if you have to adjust every photo, every time. Overexposing too much can't be fixed. There have been dozens of threads through the years on the default metering and settings of this camera. I own several lenses and the all have slightly different results as to metering. My DA 10-17 tends to overexpose and I always use a -1/2 or -1 EV. My F 35-70 almost always needs a +1 EV. The same with contrast, sharpening, saturation, etc. The nice thing about all DSLR's is that they can be adjusted to fit exactly what you want.
10-05-2010, 11:48 AM   #10
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I would also recommend shooting RAW and using Lightroom to process your pix. The K10D is very good and RAW unlocks that. JPEG implementation is not so good.
In Lightroom, I use the Auto Tone button (a one button quick fix) to adjust recovery, blacks, brightness, and contract to give it a bit more punch. Lightroom makes it quick and easy to review and select photos.
10-05-2010, 12:05 PM   #11
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Terrific photos! Planedriver (Andras)
10-05-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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The K10 is a great camera; however, its jpeg engine is a little on the weak side. You can try some of the tweaks others have suggested -- shooting in bright mode, increasing sharpness and contrast. The other thing is to shoot in RAW. Photoshop elements ACR is actually very simple to use. It has several auto buttons that help with development, but will help adjust exposure and shadows to get the most of your photo. It also has a vibrance and clarity slider that give nice pop to photos. If you are satisfied with adobe's defaults, it can literally take five minutes to develop fifty photos, although over time you will probably spend more time on certain photos making them just the way you want them.

The newer cameras -- K20 to the present have a little better jpeg engines and allow more options. Although, with high iso shooting, I prefer to shoot RAW and do my own developing.
10-05-2010, 12:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
if the Jpeg's are flat to you, than bump the settings in the camera until you find it just right. Keep in mind the whole key with P&S's are that they take good straight out of the camera images but the IQ IMO will never hold a candle to DSLR's.

DSLR's really are meant for RAW, and Jpeg is not much of a priority. Also, when shooing DSLR's one should be well acquanted with post processing. Thats just how it goes

DSLR's are so amazing because WE the shooters have FULL control...... if you don't want that than stick with P&S's

I looked at some of the shots in your gallery. I see what you are describing. Also though I think I see why you are not getting the results you want. Most of your shots are in "auto/P" mode and metering set to pattern.

Your CCD sensor based K10D should give you super color but I feel you haven't yet learned the settings and they work together. If you need help in understanding the settings and their interrelation I could recommend a few books that don't cost a lot and working through them will only add to the fun of photography. I know these have helped me understand things, I might not be good at it but I know they made what I shoot better,

Two must haves are:

Understanding Exposure 3rd Edition by Bryan Petersen
Understanding Shutter Speed by Bryan Petersen

Both can be had for under $15/ea on Amazon. He has some other books I like as well but for now stay simple and, ummm, focused on the basics.

You could also look at a set of three books by Scott Kelby called "The Digital Photography Book" they are numbers 1-3 and can be read in any order but the set is not very expensive...I think about $35 if bought as a set.

I suggest viewing any online previews of any of these books, especially the Kelby series as his writing style can be annoying/distracting to some folks. I don't mind it though.

When I got back into photography after a couple decades away, these were four of the first six books I bought. Understanding Exposure might be considered by some as a gold standard to learning how to take better shots with a DSLR, even helps if using a PnS that has some ability to use manual settings. The Kelby books, for me, helped organize things into 2-3 page snippets that I can absorb quickly and apply right away.

Understanding Shutter Speed is another book I feel is a must to go with Understanding Exposure. The two subjects are obviously related and both covered in the book on exposure but Understanding Shutter Speed goes further into how important shutter speed is as well as how to use it to compensate for conditions or even your own techniques.

Anyway, that is my suggestions. I got a sense you are using your K10D pretty much in full auto mode or as a point-n-shoot (PnS) and when you did try manual you might not fully appreciate what each setting is for and how to use them together. Please this is just a subjective observation and I am not trying to be hyper critical, just offering some input of someone who was where you seem to be now...

As to shooting RAW vs. JPG...I went RAW right away for one reason, it leaves me more options to fix what I may have missed when shooting the shot. It gives much more latitude to fix things after the fact. There is nothing wrong with JPG, many pros shot JPG all day long, but remember they are still using the camera settings to ensure they get the right exposure. AV mode is quite popular with pros in many situations. But were I to make a recommendation here I would say for now, always shoot RAW, DNG if it's on your K10D (I honestly don't know the spec's on that body). You will end up converting anyway so might as well use DNG from the start. I know it does take more HDD space but you can always delete them after you know your edits are final and where you want them...or even better archive them off to some sort of backup media every now and then to help keep your HDD from getting too full (on Windows based systems I always recommend never letting your drive become more than 50% full as performance can really suffer once you breach that level...oh, some say 30% is the point but I am a belt-n-suspenders sorta guy in this area...and HDD's are cheap these days.)

Ok, that's my suggestions, you have a good camera and I hope you give it a legit shot at delivering by learning the whole exposure thing, how AF works then apply that to the characteristics of your individual K10D's as each is going to be somewhat different. have fun!!
10-05-2010, 12:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jva59 Quote
Terrific photos! Planedriver (Andras)
Thank You!

And for James..the other side of the story is good glass-and that doesn't only mean expensive glass-the DA 16-45 is a huge step from the kit-lens (at agood price) and even that extra 2mm makes a difference. Not to talk about the fast 50mm lenses like the FA50 1.4... that's something you don't really get with P&S or with superzooms..and that is Depth of Field control.
The reason I mentioned these two lenses are simple-I bought those two to upgrade from the kit lenses and I really started to enjoy thaking pictures..

10-05-2010, 12:40 PM   #15

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So what happens when a picture is best with softer, more natural tones and you have that "punch" P&S camera giving you super saturated? You have the same problem but in reverse and both are fixable with an image editor.

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