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01-01-2007, 01:05 PM   #1
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Need some help....

Have shot some pics with the K10D but I am not getting the quality of focus I need. Am afraid to do a 100% crop as it is so bad. Any inputs you can give would be appreciated.
DA-50-200 @ 200mm
ISO 100
EV +2
Speed 1/350
f 6.7
sRGB
jpeg best quality
SR on
Center Focus, picked a bird.


Last edited by clarenceclose; 03-14-2007 at 09:01 PM.
01-01-2007, 01:08 PM   #2
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Consider the scene and so may things the camera cold have focused on I think it is okay. What are you settings as far as the focus ? meaning center point or segmented. ( I could be using the wrong terms but I think you get what I am asking)

Over all I think this would be hard to get as everything is grey
01-01-2007, 01:20 PM   #3
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Have you tried focus bracketing?

You can tell from my photos, I generally like to use a shallow DOF to help separate the subject from the background but one of the biggest problems in doing so is the difficulty in getting the focus exactly right. My workaround is to use focus bracketing, where I will try to get the right focus then I'll intentionally back the focus a little closer and I'll hold down the shutter while I slowly focus out. Basically the same concept as exposure bracketing except this is for the focus point. (I hope this description makes sense because I'm still a bit under the weather with this cold and I'm a little drugged up right now...) I don't have the DA 50-200 lens, but if it has the quick-shift focus ring, this should be pretty easy to pull off in the field.

I hope this helps, Clarence.
01-01-2007, 01:36 PM   #4
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Clarence-

With the distance you had to contend with and the lighting conditions involved, I don't see a problem here.

Now a certain member (initials RH ) could probably rhyme off eleven design flaws in the 10D that account for various focussing problems, but I can't help you there, being technically challenged...

I'll give credit to my lens for my bird shots, plus being able to get within very short range. I shoot everything in full manual modes, in best JPEG on my K100D. Haven't played with RAW yet because I haven't figured out how to install the RAW converter plug-in for my PSCS2- told you I was technically challenged!

01-01-2007, 01:51 PM   #5
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it strikes me as an "everything that can go wong will go wrong" type of picture.. its also too small to properly tell whats in focus and what isnt..

try pointing the camera at something more sensible and see if it focuses properly.. with that one i am not surprized the results arnt as good as u expect..

that kinda thing will work at a shorter focal length (lens stopped down) but not at 200mm..

trog
01-01-2007, 02:32 PM   #6
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Hi Clarence,
As already said, your subject is difficult.

I would be using manual focus in that situation as there is so much else that the camera will try & auto focus on.

Cheers
Grant
01-01-2007, 03:19 PM   #7
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Three for info...

Maybe it is just my shakiness, maybe something else. Took these three of a light switch with the 50-200 to test.
#1 SR on, 1/30 @f8, iso 400, 50mm
#2 Tripod, SR off, 1/2 second @ f32, iso 400, 200mm
#3 Tripod, SR off, 1/45 second @f5.6, iso 400, 200mm

Having them all the same size on my Photoshop screen, it looks like the 50mm shot was sharpest so at 200mm with the DA lense, I probably don't get the sharpest shot anyway. Add to that hand holding and the image quality will suffer.

Thanks for all your inputs. Have a lot to consider.

Last edited by clarenceclose; 03-14-2007 at 09:01 PM.
01-01-2007, 03:30 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clarenceclose Quote
Maybe it is just my shakiness, maybe something else. Took these three of a light switch with the 50-200 to test.
#1 SR on, 1/30 @f8, iso 400, 50mm
#2 Tripod, SR off, 1/2 second @ f32, iso 400, 200mm
#3 Tripod, SR off, 1/45 second @f5.6, iso 400, 200mm

Having them all the same size on my Photoshop screen, it looks like the 50mm shot was sharpest so at 200mm with the DA lense, I probably don't get the sharpest shot anyway. Add to that hand holding and the image quality will suffer.

Thanks for all your inputs. Have a lot to consider.
I have not been impressed with the sharpness of my Pentax 50-200 @200mm. I too did some tests and came to the conclusion you did. I am not bashing the lens; it is what it is... a decent budget zoom, about like the sigma 70-300 I used before it was stolen. On the Pentax I try to avoid 200mm unless I absolutely need the shot and then get as close as I can to avoid the need to crop in Photoshop. In hindsight I regret not buying the Sigma 70-300 because it was probably sharper at 200mm than the Pentax because of the extra 100mm available.

Regards,
Erl

01-01-2007, 03:49 PM   #9
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well u cant compare the sharpness of a 50mm lens and 200mm lens even if u do make them the same size..

something happens with distance.. even just a few feet.. plus there isnt enough detail in a plastic light switch to notice much..

the other thing is good light as opposed to poor light.. it has to be contrast but a pic taken in poor light will never look sharp compared to one taken in good light..

and the 50 x 200 isnt the sharpest lens on the planet.. which has already been pointed out.. and at 200mm both the 70 x 300 tamron and sigma lenses will do a better job..

its small its light its neat and its consistantly mediocre thruout its range just like its baby brother the 18 x 55 is..

sorry to not love the pentax kit offerings but they aint that clever.. and on a k10 they are completely wasted..

trog
01-01-2007, 09:58 PM   #10
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Hi Clarence, do not feel frustrated. This is a common problem with birding.

In this photo you have posted, there is a considerable degree of back lighting. Light is coming from north east direction... In this type of situation, this is a difficult task to get details on the dark side of the bird as that area will be under exposed with automatic exposure. If you could compensate the exposure by 2 stops, you might get some details on the bird but ruining the rest of surrounding within the frame.

Birding is about having a lens that can keep the details after massive cropping. Most of time, longer reach is better. Most of the zooms are just not on the same level with primes.

Pentax 50-200mm is a great lens and can produce decent great photographs with birding only provided sufficient lighting on the whole bird (which means the birds out into the sun) and great contrast of colour from surrounding to the bird.

Other fast telephoto primes would just increase your chance of getting a good bird shot but not guarantee a good birding exercise.

The rules I had learnt from birding:

1. try to capture shots parallel to the bird

2. try to shoot wide open to freeze bird in sight (hence bright quality primes more likely to produce sharp images wide open); it is better to shoot wide open and freeze the bird in the photo without motion blurr

3. Be patient (wait and wait and wait)

4. Birding exercise belongs to focal length 400mm and above. In fact, most pro birders claimed that 300mm belongs to indoor sports use; 400mm belongs to outdoor sports use: atheletic track and field, soccer etc; 600mm is more appropriate for birding (the better reach the better)

I did attempt to use sigma 70-200 f2.8 to do some bird shots in my local botanic garden where lots of migratory birds come and go. Once I saw a blue bird that is hidden inside the canopy of trees. That lens hunts like hell and I could not get the eye details even with its sound reputation of producing great colour and sharpness.

My dad used to tell me this: why do you waste your money in photography? You will get a few winning photographs out of every few hundred shots anyway. Do not waste your money on expensive lenses.

Is that a wisdom?

Cheers
01-01-2007, 11:19 PM   #11
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Despite what some say, the DA50-200 can produce some wonderful photos.. I found it had much better colour than my 3rd party equiv. and very sharp in the center throughout the range with much less variation in its IQ than the 3rd party options.. It didn't get quite as sharp stopped down as they did, but it wasn't as soft wide open either... I would say its a consistant performer and worth its price in a nice small package... The older F 70-210 ED was slightly better IMO but much heavier..

A few things though, the comparison you did of 50mm versus 200mm the 200mm were MUCH too slow 1/2 and 1/45 to handhold without SR at 200mm. In fact even with SR the 1/45 is pushing the boundries and 1/2 is way overboard..

Remember with SR OFF as a rule of thumb you can handhold 1 over the focal length.. so 300mm equiv FOV (200mm x 1.5crop factor) means 1/300 when at 200mm (300mm FOV)..

With SR you get a couple of stops and so 1/125 may be fine for you?

As for the bird shot, there are a lot of branches there and at 200mm the in focus area is rather thin.. Was there anywhere in the shot in perfect focus? maybe one of the branches?
01-02-2007, 07:29 AM   #12
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I want to thank you for your insights. I was getting discouraged with my shots using the 50-200. I will attempt more shoots when the sun brightens things. The shot was from a window looking south so that will give me a problem with the sun in my face vs. cloud cover.

James, Thanks for the tips on birding. It is something I have dabbled in off and on but you are right, a longer prime is going to give me more opportunity to get the shots I want, that and Tom Lusk's stalking abilities. Sometimes parents are too practical and don't see the joy in the effort and journey. He was wise in his way but it sounds like he didn't enjoy the journey much.

Joele, Will us it under brighter conditions. By the way, was using tripod on the light switch at 200mm slower speed but did not use mirror lockup or remote.

Thanks again for your helps.
01-02-2007, 08:30 AM   #13
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poor light will never produce sharp looking distance shots.. no matter how much u spend on the lens.. its all to do with the contrast or lack of it..

for low cost the sigma apo dg 70 x 300 is the best option.. then the cost leaps big time.. really big time..

the sigma and a 1.4 tele plus tripod will produce reasonable results in good light.. on its own it works okay especially with sr.. its also sharp wide open at F5.6.. at least mine is..

on its own in reasonable light it will also grab a bird in flight if u are good enough..

a wide open f5.6 at 300mm sigma sharpness test with kenko 1.5 converter on giving 35mm equivalent of 675mm



if that aint good enough think a couple of grand plus.. there are no in betweens here..

trog

ps.. jpeg (full frame no crop) straight from the camera no post process sharpening..

Last edited by trog100; 01-02-2007 at 08:43 AM.
01-02-2007, 09:03 AM   #14
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quick question on pentax d50-200. does this has a macro capability???
01-02-2007, 09:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by clarenceclose Quote
Have shot some pics with the K10D but I am not getting the quality of focus I need. Am afraid to do a 100% crop as it is so bad. Any inputs you can give would be appreciated.
DA-50-200 @ 200mm
ISO 100
EV +2
Speed 1/350
f 6.7
sRGB
jpeg best quality
SR on
Center Focus, picked a bird.

Clarence,

I'm struggling with the same issue here with my K100D. I have both the Pentax 50-200 and the Pentax 75-300, and when shooting birds lately I've also been using the Tamron 1.4x converter, which adds a bit of reach. On vacation last week, the skies were overcast - like the conditions in your photo - and I had only moderate success, as you can see from two of the pictures I'm attaching. I've only had the camera a couple of weeks and I'm still getting the hang of the thing, after having gotten pretty good with my old Canon PowerShot S3 superzoom compact camera. I'm quite sure the S3 would have allowed me to take better shots. Why? Well, because the lens on the S3 is faster and the DOF is greater.

Seems to me that, when shooting birds, we need to have our cake and eat it, too - that is, we need to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible (at a minimum, observe the shutter speed = 1/focal length rule) AND we need to get the aperture as small as possible in order to increase depth of field. How to do this? Increase the ISO.

The third shot I'm attaching (the woodpecker) was taken here in my yard, yesterday, in good light. Hand held, using the Pentax 75-300. ISO 200, shutter 1/400s, aperture f/9.0, with SR on. Would have been better I think to increase ISO and shutter speed one stop. This is still not an A+ shot, but it's definitely an improvement. Reasons?
  1. Used manual focus. Branches seem to drive auto-focus crazy.
  2. Increased depth of field at least slightly (f/9 in the shot of the woodpecker vs f/7 and f/5.8 in the other two shots)
  3. Better lighting AND a decent lighting angle, as sun was behind me
  4. Fast shutter
I want to say that manual focus was the key, but really, it's a package deal. Took some other shots where depth of field was very shallow and got the bird's head in focus but not his tail. TOO much depth of field and I have branches in front of the bird coming into focus and harming the shot.

Fast shutter (with SR on) seems important. I can't shoot birds well with a tripod. They move around too much. Even the monopod is a pain. The fast shutter helps not just with camera shake but also with something that's a problem even when you use a tripod: the movement of the bird. Even at 1/500s, I have some shots of the woodpecker where his head is a blur as he's pecking.

In short, this is hard! :-)

Will
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