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12-27-2010, 10:18 AM   #1
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Am I expecting too much?

This seems both flat and soft, or am I expecting too much from this setup of Kx with the 18-55 DAL kit lens?
Brian
100% center crop from the Kx with the 18-55 kit lens: RAW, no post processing other than USM 100% 1 pixel and convert to jpeg; Av natural light AWB, f/5 @ 200, ISO 200


12-27-2010, 10:25 AM   #2
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Well... to my knowledge, the kit lens has never won any awards for anything, except possibly price. (Before anyone stabs me, I didn't say it was a bad lens, just not a great one.)

The fact that its score in the database is under 8 pretty much bares this out.
12-27-2010, 10:34 AM   #3
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Stop it down to f8-f10 for best results.
12-27-2010, 11:04 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
Well... to my knowledge, the kit lens has never won any awards for anything, except possibly price. (Before anyone stabs me, I didn't say it was a bad lens, just not a great one.)
It's probably more to do with the lighting - lighting does look flat
- for something like that, pick a bright day and experiment with the direction of the light
- cross lighting tends to emphasize detail - but can be harsh
- 3/4 lighting is probably a good compromise
- back lighting when done right can be stunning with halo rim lighting.....

General rule of thumb -
if a scene looks good to the eye -
then it is possible the photo would look good too (but not always)
but conversely, if a scene looks mediocre - there is virtually NO WAY a photo would look good without a lot of alternation/manipulation in PP.

It's amazing what the poor 18-55 kit zoom gets blamed for -
is it also the cause for the current state of the economy ?

All K-x, and humble 18-55mm kit zoom:

ISO200, f/8, 1/400, 55mm (back light)


ISO250, f/5.6, 1/100, 50mm wide-open for the focal length (side or cross light)

and this:

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/50sec, 35mm (low light about EV=4 @ ISO100)
the humble 18-55mm (Mk 1) kit zoom on K-x
note that it is ISO5000 - and wide-open for the focal length -
not exactly optimum conditions......


Last edited by UnknownVT; 12-27-2010 at 11:19 AM.
12-27-2010, 11:05 AM   #5
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Great light and subject matter is what makes a great photo and it seems you have neither there.
12-27-2010, 11:43 AM   #6
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I don't know if I would say you're expecting too much, you have the right to set your expectations wherever you want. Even so, the kit lens, assuming you don't have a dud, is capable of giving very nice results given good shooting conditions. Even a slight levels adjustment to your crop can greatly improve the image:

Last edited by MPrince; 03-17-2016 at 02:33 PM.
12-27-2010, 12:32 PM   #7
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oops Never mind; you already indicated.
12-27-2010, 12:36 PM   #8
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Were you using the lens hood? In any case, why shoot RAW if you're not going to do any pp?

12-27-2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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Comment inappropriate

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Great light and subject matter is what makes a great photo and it seems you have neither there.
Interesting. I asked for a response on the lens/camera and you felt the need to criticize the subjective value of the photograph, i.e., great photo. If you have a criticism of the equipment, that's what I expect in this forum; if I wanted an opinion of the photograph qua photograph I would have put this in the Photo Critique forum.
Brian
12-27-2010, 01:33 PM   #10
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dadipentak, because I only shoot in RAW. Does me no good to post jpeg shots that have the camera's changes to the image. Seems like RAW with the basic USM capture sharpening gives me the the best chance to see the maximum the camera/lens can deliver,
Brian
12-27-2010, 01:38 PM   #11
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mattb123, could have done that but I used the photozone "sweet spot" data that looks the best at f/5.6 -8. Thanks for the input, however, and I'm going to try it and see what happens
Brian
12-27-2010, 04:33 PM   #12
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Yer shooting a pretty low contrast scene under pretty flat light in that picture. To me, this looks OK given the conditions. Punch up the vibrance a little bit and it'll look OK.
12-27-2010, 04:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
Stop it down to f8-f10 for best results.
Right on... that's the sweet spot for this particular lens especially if one is looking for edge to edge sharpness and contrast (and decent lighting)

FHPhotographer - I don't think there's anything wrong with lens or photo. If you were to post an indentical picture using indentical settings but using another lens, then it would be easier to compare and be critical of the setup with K-x and kit lens...

UnknownVT - sweet photos!!!
12-27-2010, 08:02 PM - 2 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Interesting. I asked for a response on the lens/camera and you felt the need to criticize the subjective value of the photograph, i.e., great photo. If you have a criticism of the equipment, that's what I expect in this forum; if I wanted an opinion of the photograph qua photograph I would have put this in the Photo Critique forum.
You posted the photo with detailed information, as something indicative of the lens. Your comment "This seems both flat and soft" is no doubt referencing the photo, not the lens or camera.

Critiquing the photo is thus entirely relevant. I did this with honest desire to help. Sorry you cannot see this and somehow took offence at my simple and factual assessment. Good luck improving your photography, and finding the right gear to assist in this process, if you cannot take this minimal level of criticism.
12-27-2010, 10:37 PM   #15
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Hi,

You don't say how long you have had your Kx and whether or not you have tried any other Pentax lenses with it. The first version of the 18-55mm lens (which I believe the DA L version is based on) was not known for its sharpness, nor contrast. Pentax released an upgraded verison (the 18-55mm AL II) which has gotten very good reviews as a kit lens. I too remember being disappointed by the images produced by the original 18-55mm. I think with experience one's "eye" for composition, colors and contrast improves often beyond the capabilities of a kit lens. I would suggest going to the Pentax Imaging website and search their gallery of pictures taken with the 18-55mm DA L lens. If the pictures there strike you as lacking in sharpness, color and contrast, you may want to look at the lens review database on this site and choose some of the higher rated lenses to research in the gallery. which can be searched by lens type, camera body etc. If you find that the pictures taken there, with your lens, look satisfactory to you, then incorporating some of the suggestions given by previous posters here may be of help to you. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of particular lenses can help you compensate for them by being selective with apreture settings, lighting etc, as previously mentioned. The lens review database on this site is an excellent resource for learning about the performance of a whole range of Pentax lenses. One last suggestion might be to be sure to use a hood with any lens you use on a digital camera. The difference using a hood makes is quite remarkable.
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