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02-15-2009, 07:14 AM   #1
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k100D super getting bad pictures

Hi all,
I bought this little gem for more than a year already but because I was (and still am) a photography noob, I didn't quite take the time to analyse this issue.

I've been getting pictures that aren't very sharp. I don't mean that it's blurred, but when compared with say, my friends nikon, it's noticably not as sharp. On top of that, I find that there's often a stronger red being produced in most of my photos.
Especially indoors. I've tried playing around with the white balance settings but that doesn't seem to help that much.

Is this a known issue?? I'm using 16-45mm F4.0 lens by the way. This has always been bugging me. I've always thought it was due to my own lack of knowledge in using the camera but now as I get more and more familiar with this camera, I'm beginning to suspect it's an issue with the camera or lens itself.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance =)

02-15-2009, 07:57 AM   #2
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Are you shooting RAW or Jpeg? RAW will look softer SOOC. Are you comparing SOOC photos, or have they been processed? You can do quite a bit of sharpening in post-processing--could your friend have sharpened his photos in PP while you have not? It is also possible to adjust the sharpening applied to Jpegs in camera, and the two of you may have different sharpness settings. I keep mine at 0 because I prefer to adjust the sharpening myself in PP, but others prefer to do as little PP as possible and might set their sharpening to +1 in camera.
02-15-2009, 08:16 AM   #3
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I've been using my K100DS for about a year now and have yet to find issues with sharpness. If I do have issues it is usually my fault. If you think your lens has an issue try putting your camera on a tripod and manually focus on a subject. When the image is as sharp as you want it to be take the picture. Then without changing anything switch the camera to autofocus and autofocus on the same subject and take the picture.
02-15-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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Not meaning to go off on a tangent, but....................
Have you considered the possibility that it may be your computer monitor?
I have also been a little dissappointed with the sharpness of some of my shots when veiwing them on my old PC.
Then I looked at the same shots on my daughter's MAC.
Heck of a difference!

02-15-2009, 09:26 AM   #5
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Try posting a similar shot from your and your friends camera where this difference in sharpness is most visible or best comparable. Include exif and any usefull notes (what lens was used, was it handheld etc) with each picture.
As for now, with the details you have provided it could be anything.

Are they unsharp like a fault or a general look. I've noticed that nikon does something similar to their jpeg's as clarity adjustment in ACR. Its something like advanced sharpening+contrast, by more enchacing areas with less saturation/contrast.
02-15-2009, 09:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
I've been getting pictures that aren't very sharp. I don't mean that it's blurred, but when compared with say, my friends nikon, it's noticably not as sharp.
Nikon applies more sharpening than Pentax in its in-camera JPEG processing. You can turn up the sharpening in your K100D, and also set Bright as opposed to natural mode, which will also increase sharpness and contrast (which affects our perception of sharpness).

QuoteQuote:
On top of that, I find that there's often a stronger red being produced in most of my photos.
Especially indoors. I've tried playing around with the white balance settings but that doesn't seem to help that much.
Selecting the Tungsten WB setting should make a *huge* difference. It's well known that Pentax cameras don't try very hard to remove the color cast of tungsten light using Auto WB; you have to ask them to by selecting Tungsten.

Posting pictures would definitely help.
02-15-2009, 10:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Nikon applies more sharpening than Pentax in its in-camera JPEG processing. You can turn up the sharpening in your K100D, and also set Bright as opposed to natural mode, which will also increase sharpness and contrast (which affects our perception of sharpness).



Selecting the Tungsten WB setting should make a *huge* difference. It's well known that Pentax cameras don't try very hard to remove the color cast of tungsten light using Auto WB; you have to ask them to by selecting Tungsten.

Posting pictures would definitely help.
I have the Nikon D80 as well as the K20D, and I used to own the K100D Super.

IMO, the K100DS JPEGS on 'bright' setting with sharpness +1 made better jpegs than just about any setting on the D80 - add that to in-body SR, and I think the K100D is the better JPEG camera in a lot of respects.

The AF locks faster on the D80, though, so you may be experiencing situations where you just missed the shot because of slower AF on the K100DS.


Here are two crops from a K100DS JPEG :




Here's the typical large-aperture D80 JPEG - AF worked nicely to capture a moving object, but a lot of in-camera processing took place to give the shot a good 4x6 'sharpness' that may or may not be your cup 'o tea:



Here's another shot showing a nice fast AF in action (he was moving quickly in lower-light than it looks, pretty sure my K100DS wouldn't have locked or would have given me a blurry shot)



But as you can see, not critical sharpness, just 'in-focus' with in-camera contrast/sharpening making up the rest.


But I agree with Marc, give 'bright' setting a try, maybe sharpness +1 from that, and make sure you're using the right WB settings for the situation.


.

Last edited by jsherman999; 02-15-2009 at 10:44 AM.
02-15-2009, 10:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your help guys.

Here are some pics i took a few months ago: (had to blur out the faces though)








The indoor one was taken in my room. As you can see, it's way too red when on autoWB. When I try the tungsten setting, strangely enough it actually comes out with slightly too much green/blue. (Sorry I can't seem to find the same image with that setting).

The outdoor night picture shows the same thing. Too warm. She was under yellowy white light. But I'd say it was more close to being white.

And the picture of the tree, perhaps it's my ineffective skills , but it doesn't seem to get sharp enough at the front. (It was manually focused) This happens a lot with manual and auto for some reason. It's not that noticable, but I can tell it's definately not as sharp as it should be.

And usually, I try not to post-process my photos at all since now I want to develop my skills until I'm satisfied with them. I don't want to get lazy all the time and say "oh I can fix that on PS"

Regarding monitors, It shouldn't be the case since I have a mac and PC as well as 3 seperate LCD monitors at home. Yes, there are differences between the photo's colors on each display. But overall the same issues are noticable.

Regarding my friend's nikon's photos, unfortunately I don't have her photos on me currently, but I'll see if I can get a hold of them. We both went out one day and took some photos together and then uploaded our photos onto her laptop. There was a clear difference in color reproduction/sharpness and contrast.
Oddly enough, I rememebr she mentioned something about ACR or a setting like that that enhances the contrast/sharpness. That's probably a reason why there was differences in those areas between our photos.

Lastly, in regards to the 'bright' and 'natural' modes, is that sort of similar the the ACR setting on the nikons? I actually had that turned off for a while cos I thought it was a partial reason affecting the overly warm colors.

Thanks again.

phew! long post! =P


Last edited by wingk1314; 02-15-2009 at 10:33 AM. Reason: forgot the photos :D
02-15-2009, 10:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I have the Nikon D80 as well as the K20D, and I used to own the K100D Super.

IMO, the K100DS JPEGS on 'bright' setting with sharpness +1 made better jpegs than just about any setting on the D80 - add that to in-body SR, and I think the K100D is the better JPEG camera in a lot of respects.

Here's a crop from a K100DS JPEG (this is from a yellowed-tak, thus the cast ):



The AF locks faster on the D80, though, so you may be experiencing situations where you just missed the shot because of slower AF on the K100DS.

But I agree with Marc, give 'bright' setting a try, maybe sharpness +1 from that, and make sure you're using the right WB settings for the situation.
Thanks for the info!
Forgive me for being slightly off-topic but on my k100ds, the sharpness setting is like this:

S - _ _ | _ _ +
so there is 2 levels of adjustment for "plus" and "minus"
Does each level represent a value or 1 or 0.5?

I have to ask cos I've lost my manual unfortunately
02-15-2009, 11:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
I have to ask cos I've lost my manual unfortunately
Pentax manuals in pdf are available for dowload from Pentax -

Download Pentax K100D Super Manual pdf
02-15-2009, 01:58 PM   #11
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Did you check out the shutter speeds on those portraits? 1/10 second? 1/4 second? *Of course* you didn't get a sharp picture - even with SR, that's too slow to handhold reliably. On the tree, it's harder to say, but it could be a little camera shake (SR doesn't work so well at very close distances), it could be you didn't do a good enough job of MF, and it could be you were closer than the minimum focus distance of the lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
The indoor one was taken in my room. As you can see, it's way too red when on autoWB. When I try the tungsten setting, strangely enough it actually comes out with slightly too much green/blue. (Sorry I can't seem to find the same image with that setting).
Yeah, there can be variation from bulb to bulb in color temperature; the tungsten preset isn't going to be perfect for all bulbs. That's why people who really care about color shoot RAW and adjust WB in PP. Or else use the Manual WB option 9where you first shoot a picture of a white or grey object to let the camera see the exact color of the light).

QuoteQuote:
The outdoor night picture shows the same thing. Too warm. She was under yellowy white light. But I'd say it was more close to being white.
Our eyes are very good at fooling us into thinking we're seeing white when the light is actually very highly colored. The camera is no so easily fooled. When taking pictures in strongly colored light, you do have to give up on AWB.

QuoteQuote:
Regarding my friend's nikon's photos, unfortunately I don't have her photos on me currently, but I'll see if I can get a hold of them. We both went out one day and took some photos together and then uploaded our photos onto her laptop.
Be sure to account for things like, your friend might be better at manual focus than you, or better at choosing shutter speeds that avoid camera shake

QuoteQuote:
Oddly enough, I rememebr she mentioned something about ACR or a setting like that that enhances the contrast/sharpness. That's probably a reason why there was differences in those areas between our photos.
Yes, difference in how you process your pictures can be a factor, too. If you really want to compare cameras, you need to eliminate the other variables - you need to use the same photographer, same settings, same post processing. As it is, these pictures suggest all sorts of things that could easily have been improved upon without changing cameras.

QuoteQuote:
Lastly, in regards to the 'bright' and 'natural' modes, is that sort of similar the the ACR setting on the nikons? I actually had that turned off for a while cos I thought it was a partial reason affecting the overly warm colors.
You are correct on both counts - setting Bright instead of Natural *is* like increase contrast and saturation in ACR, and it *can* make the issue of inaccurate AWB even more problematic. But the real solution to the AWB problem is not to use AWB in situations where it is known to not work well - basically, any form of tungsten or other "hot" lighting.
02-15-2009, 03:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
Thanks for all your help guys.

Here are some pics i took a few months ago: (had to blur out the faces though)


Your examples are way too small (and all without EXIF info) in order to give them them a proper examination. The palm tree example though is certainly a soft focus. The best thing to do is provide us with 100% crops of areas with the most detail.

In regards to the palm tree photo, the questions to ask are:

1. How does your lens quality compared to the Nikon's lens? In most cases, Nikon lens (in particular Nikor lenses) are almost always superior to Pentax lenses (I'm sure this is going to get me into trouble but you can't argue with facts).

2. Is it a soft focus problem due to FF or BF issue?

3. You simply didn't focus properly (you did say that you used manual settings).

4. Aperture was fully opened which greatly decreases depth of field; should you have stopped down a bit more? Enough to have better focus on your subject yet keep the background blurred.

5. It's too small of a sample to know for certain but perhaps the shutter speed was too slow and you have introduced a slight blur due to movement.

QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
The outdoor night picture shows the same thing. Too warm. She was under yellowy white light. But I'd say it was more close to being white.
It doesn't matter what your eyes see. The camera's sensor will often see color balance different from your eyes. Outdoor lights come in all different types of technologies such as high pressure sodium and lights like this have very specific and narrow spectral patterns, which might fool your camera's AWB setting. That is why shooting in RAW and doing post processing is always the best way to ensure appropriate color balance.

QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
And usually, I try not to post-process my photos at all since now I want to develop my skills until I'm satisfied with them. I don't want to get lazy all the time and say "oh I can fix that on PS"
Actually, that may not be the right approach.

Like film skills, digital photography skills don't begin and end at the camera. It might be wise to take a holistic approach when building your photography skills. It starts at the idea, the composition, the camera, the post processing with the computer (Adobe Lightroom is an excellent tool used by amateurs and pros alike), and finally the final output (screen or print). In some ways, all of these skills share a symbiotic relationship with each other.

Back in my film days, I often stated that I would fix a situation in the darkroom. Of course, then it was much more work to correct problems, compared to now.

QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
Regarding monitors, It shouldn't be the case since I have a mac and PC as well as 3 seperate LCD monitors at home. Yes, there are differences between the photo's colors on each display. But overall the same issues are noticable.
Agreed! LCD monitors don't suffer from focus issues like the old CRT monitors.

QuoteOriginally posted by wingk1314 Quote
Regarding my friend's nikon's photos, unfortunately I don't have her photos on me currently, but I'll see if I can get a hold of them. We both went out one day and took some photos together and then uploaded our photos onto her laptop. There was a clear difference in color reproduction/sharpness and contrast.
Oddly enough, I rememebr she mentioned something about ACR or a setting like that that enhances the contrast/sharpness. That's probably a reason why there was differences in those areas between our photos.
ACR stands for Adobe Camera RAW... which is a plug in (for Lightroom/Photoshop) which that supports many cameras when photographing in RAW. The latest plug in supports the Pentax RAW format as well. See this link: Adobe - Adobe Photoshop CS4: Digital camera raw file support

Anyhow, you are dealing with a whole range of differences. Namely, each camera's settings and and especially the lenses. But equivalent camera settings will almost always negate the differences, so that leaves the lenses to compare.
02-15-2009, 07:45 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote

1. How does your lens quality compared to the Nikon's lens? In most cases, Nikon lens (in particular Nikor lenses) are almost always superior to Pentax lenses (I'm sure this is going to get me into trouble but you can't argue with facts).
Could you show me where these "facts" are After saying something like that, you should get in trouble...
02-15-2009, 08:10 PM   #14
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I think he must be reading RHs blog again, lol
02-15-2009, 09:22 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote
1. How does your lens quality compared to the Nikon's lens? In most cases, Nikon lens (in particular Nikor lenses) are almost always superior to Pentax lenses (I'm sure this is going to get me into trouble but you can't argue with facts).
"Facts".

I admire your self confidence, though.
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