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02-18-2007, 05:08 PM   #16
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Round two. I have a few hundred shots from this afternoon.

- all shots hand held
- SR on for all shots
- AF used on the kit lenses
- MF experimentation revealed that I am not able to manually improve on the AF's performance
- all shots taken at F11

Strangely, the Energizer 2500 NiMH cells I installed when I first brought the camera home still show fully charged.


Lens: SMC Takumar f2.0 55mm
Camera: PENTAX K100D
Timestamp: Sun Feb 18 16:01:24 2007
Shutter: 1/400 s
Aperture: F11
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 0.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: Unknown



Lens: Pentax DA 18-55mm kit lens
Camera: PENTAX K100D
Timestamp: Sun Feb 18 16:21:11 2007
Shutter: 1/100 s
Aperture: F11
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 55.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 82.0 mm




Lens: Pentax DA 50-200mm kit lens
Camera: PENTAX K100D
Timestamp: Sun Feb 18 16:24:17 2007
Shutter: 1/100 s
Aperture: F11
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 138.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 207.0 mm




Lens: Pentax DA 50-200mm kit lens
Camera: PENTAX K100D
Timestamp: Sun Feb 18 16:26:49 2007
Shutter: 1/100 s
Aperture: F11
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 105.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 157.0 mm




Last edited by Tom Brown; 02-18-2007 at 05:27 PM.
02-18-2007, 05:14 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Was SR on? I've had similar results to these with my K10D on a tripod, when I forget to turn off SR.
It looks like you nailed it. Thank you!

... and thanks to everyone who has helped me along with this. I really appreciate the knowledge and patience you gents bring to the table.

I'm still scratching my head about a few things but at least I know I can take pretty good shots in strong light, hand held.

Also, I fail to see how a tripod will screw up SR. It looks like it can screw it up, I just fail to see how. What if I could hold the camera, really, really still? Should I turn SR off then too? Maybe I should turn SR off at higher shutter speeds?

I'll do more testing with SR and the tripod later today or tomorrow evening.

Also, my m42 lenses always seem to look dark unless I run Ev+2. The kit lenses work perfectly at Ev+0.
02-18-2007, 05:16 PM   #18
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So now the old prime and the kit lens are showing roughly the same resolution? Were you bale to focus beyond infinity (and this new picture is focused properly I guess)? That should mean the problem is solved. Or it was the SR thing? What's your conclusion (except of the fact that the kit lens is not a stellar performer)?

EDIT: Ok, I saw your own reply after having posted. Thanks.
02-18-2007, 05:25 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonas B Quote
So now the old prime and the kit lens are showing roughly the same resolution? Were you bale to focus beyond infinity (and this new picture is focused properly I guess)? That should mean the problem is solved. Or it was the SR thing? What's your conclusion (except of the fact that the kit lens is not a stellar performer)?
Good point. I will edit my post to include the fact that I was running AF on the kit lenses for those shots I shared.

The old prime is the sharpest lens in my bag, to my eye. For some reason, it always shoots dark and produces colors that seem bland to me but I'm delighted with it's clarity.

I did a ton of fooling with focus and the AF system and using MF on the kit lenses. They do seem to be able to go a little past infinity but not much. I expect it wouldn't be a problem at F11. What I did discover is that, in bright light, AF works remarkably well. It is extremely fast and goes straight to the correct focus almost instantly. There was no searching and I could not improve on AF's choice of focus with manual tweaking.

Also, it's clear the kit lenses perform well at F11. I've found the 50-200mm performs better at all apertures but particularly so at wider apertures. I'll do more testing on this in the next day or so.

Another thing I have concluded is that it takes a lot of time to test this stuff. By the time I fool around with setting up and shooting a few hundred shots with three lenses, it pretty much takes 90 minutes. Once home, those few hundred shots take forever to convert to jpg so I can go through them as thumbnails and pick the shots I want.

I've also got quite a few shots of an oil refinery at a distance. It seemed like a good subject for differentiating the subtleties of lens detail resolution. I'll look at posting a few of those later.

02-18-2007, 05:40 PM   #20
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I will mention another conclusion I've come to ....

It's clear to me the most affordable way forward would be to purchase the very best quality zoom lens available to cover the 18~50 ish range. Even if I were to go with a star and it were to cost me $1500, you can't buy very many DA pancakes and FA limiteds for that. If the star is required for sharp pictures, it will be a cheap investment.

If one lens could perform pretty well through it's range and at most apertures, it would be a bargain almost regardless of cost.

The second best altertnative is looking like getting a 24 or 28mm K mount prime, mounting it to the camera, and just taking a single lens. I can just crop in post production to get the shots I need. Seriously, framing every shot with the zoom is not something that will really improve my photographic skills.

I'll soon be heading to San Diego to shoot a bunch of pictures that will likely make it into a magazine. I need to know that I can get the shots I need for an article I will be writing. Keep in mind, this is not a photography magazine and it's not a huge circulation affair like Time, either. ... and before you suggest I upgrade to a K10D or maybe a Canon D1s m2, I can assure this level of camera is not necessary. Nothing has been said, to date, when I've submitted pictures from my Canon S410 point and shoot. In fact, they praise my pictures. My shots look shockingly good in the magazine too but then I'm not shooting covers or full page ads.

The thing about the S410 is that I trust it to get the pictures I need. I've had two S410s and had two S400s before that. They work extremely well, have very low noise, and the lens isn't terrible if you bump it off the widest angle where it has nasty barrel distortion. Oh... and it has crazy shake problems so I always carry a tiny tripod with me and shoot everything with the 2 second self timer. It works slick but I had to spend a lot of time learning to live with it's strengths and weaknesses too.

So... it looks like I need a better lens but I'm not done learning this one yet. If I could get onto keh.com, I'd try to find a wide K mount prime to get me through the next few months. I feel this imager in the K100D is really fantastic. With a decent lens, it will be more than I need.
02-18-2007, 06:59 PM   #21
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The problem with the kit lens is that it has poor micro contrast and flares (compared to a prime and better zooms). That is aside of the resolution that also is on the low side.

This means that when you have developed your raw pictures and try to sharpen them to get rid of that AA-filter softness you'll notice that the sharpening pictures taken with the kit lens seemingly is less efficient compared to when you sharpen pictures taken with a lens with good microcontrast. A long sentence there...
So, your conclusion about a better lens, well, it makes sense. I know there are users that swear by the kit lens but I never found it to do anything real good. While you think about it all it's good to see you got the problem solved.

You can use the little freeware utility pef2jpeg to extract the (big but low quality) JPG that is embedded in your raw files. Very fast and can be handy from time to time.

regards,
02-18-2007, 08:51 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Brown Quote
Another thing I have concluded is that it takes a lot of time to test this stuff. By the time I fool around with setting up and shooting a few hundred shots with three lenses, it pretty much takes 90 minutes. Once home, those few hundred shots take forever to convert to jpg so I can go through them as thumbnails and pick the shots I want.
You can browse the folder of PEF files with Irfanview (freeware), which should help a lot on deciding which RAW shots aren't worth the time and bother of conversion and processing.
02-18-2007, 09:20 PM   #23
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i dont want to kick any of u raw lovers tyres but with a k100 u could simply shoot jpegs in the first place and get similar results for a fraction of the time and effort..

and as a k100 jpeg shooter and avid lens tester i cant say i am overly impressed with any of the above images.. whatever lens they were taken with..

sorry guys..

trog

02-18-2007, 10:50 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Brown Quote
Also, I fail to see how a tripod will screw up SR. It looks like it can screw it up, I just fail to see how. What if I could hold the camera, really, really still? Should I turn SR off then too? Maybe I should turn SR off at higher shutter speeds?
The SR gets into some sort of self-induced feedback loop. It should also be turned off if you pan when using a slow shutter speed (like 1/30th). I tried that shooting cars going by and got some odd effects that looked like extra wheels or wheelwells - sorry I did not keep any samples.

SR is automatically turned off is using either timer modes, and a few other situations.

I would leave it on if shooting hand held - you will never be tripod-steady yourself.
02-19-2007, 02:39 PM   #25
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I could use some help......

Is it at all possible that the switch on the camera body is set to MF (Manual Focus)?

Mickey
02-20-2007, 12:48 AM   #26
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.... so I'm fooling around with the camera on my desk and decided to see how bad things are with the kit lens at extremely close range and the camera kicks this out....

Pentax 18-55mm kit lens
K100D
Exposure: 2 sec.
Aperture: f/8.0

Full resolution crop:

02-20-2007, 05:29 AM   #27
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i don't see anything too bad other than the fact that your white balance is way off... i guess you took this picture using auto white balance...
02-20-2007, 07:59 AM   #28
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perfectly okay for a slow shutter speed.. the camera has the white balance wrong as expected.. your point..???

trog
02-20-2007, 11:09 AM   #29
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Looks ok, other than WB
02-20-2007, 04:56 PM   #30
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I think I'm getting the hang of this. This is starting to look a little better to my eye.

I appreciate all the help. It's been wonderfully informative.


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