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06-11-2009, 09:59 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
Here is another thread were I am sensing a funky tone to it... The OP asked a simple question and there is a lot of attitude... I don't get it. (maybe I am just being over sensitive lately... I am a delicate flower)

Nobody has any settings they can recommend to alter the factory presets for sharper Jpegs?

I use a +2 on fine sharpness... any other tips in cam setting that can help a brother who does not want to do a lot of pp? Surely there are some in came adjusts that can make the K20 look as bad as a Nikon, hehe.

Hopefully Jay will chime in as his jpegs are some of the most consistantly eye popping I see on here.
Agreed on the attitude thing. Let's treat a new member and longtime Pentaxian with a little more respect. A little less vinegar, please.

Welcome to the forum, Nanhi. I just got a K20d too and the first thing I did was take a lot of boring pictures - of gravel, of grass, of bookcases, of batteries lined up diagonally - with the camera at different apertures to see at what apertures the lens was sharpest. These boring shots can also help identify potential back-focus/front-focus problems, which the K20d can handle.

So now I'll ask the question that everyone wants to know....as a 30 year Pentax owner, what cool old manual focus lenses do you have???

06-11-2009, 11:06 AM   #17
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Make sure you set up the viewfinder focus for your eyes. Touch the shutter button to make the VF numbers light up. Then slide the slider above the viewfinder either way until the numbers are sharp as a tack. You cannot judge adequately if you are in focus or not until you do this. And you should be doing comparison photos between manual and automatic focus to suss out your problem.
06-11-2009, 06:41 PM   #18
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I'm sure the OP is grown up enough to not need other people holding his hand held when asking a question. Really guys, ask a question, get an answer, and if you want candy coating, go buy some M&M's.
06-11-2009, 06:52 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
Here is another thread were I am sensing a funky tone to it... The OP asked a simple question and there is a lot of attitude... I don't get it. (maybe I am just being over sensitive lately... I am a delicate flower)
No, your not. This is why I tend to stay in the film sections and in the photo sections..

Yes he did ask a simple question. If a person spends the money on a K20D and kit lens, it should produce some great jpegs in green mode. heck point and shoots do!

Pat I believe is the closest. I have 2 K20D's and my first I bought when it came out. Tack sharp jpegs out of the box. My second K20D needed a +8 adjustment to cure the massive back focus it had. Pentax quality control sucks.

I pre-ordered a K-7 because I know the first batch will be good as they will pay close attention to QC...

To the OP..Check for BF and FF. Likely you have a bad K20D

06-11-2009, 07:12 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jodokast96 Quote
I'm sure the OP is grown up enough to not need other people holding his hand held when asking a question. Really guys, ask a question, get an answer, and if you want candy coating, go buy some M&M's.
You just contributed nothing to this thread.
06-11-2009, 08:19 PM   #21
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Nor did half of yours and two others. Want to complain about comments that offer nothing, feel free to start with your own.
06-11-2009, 08:26 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanhi Quote
An avid Pentax fan last 30 years. Just bought my first DSLR the K20D. Unable to get tack sharp photos with the 18-55 AL II Lens, like my film Pentaxes. Can't afford to buy pricey "super" lenses. Will some good souls share "TWEAKS" for the K20D to get real sharp photos. Depressed with my first DSLR. Get blur widths from 2 to 7 pixels on Focus Magic. Cant waste time sharpening photos on the PC - rather have the camera do it. My son has a wicked smile - told you to go for a Nikon. K20D at factory settings. SR on. Checked for bad pixels - none. Nanhi.
Welcome! First, you'll need to tweak the camera settings to your liking. If you only want to shoot jpeg, go into the settings and adjust the sharpness, contrast, color, etc. to your liking. If you still want sharper images, check your lens for front or back focusing. If that's off, you can adjust for that specific lens in the camera settings (ask your son how much you have to pay Nikon for that capability ).

Finally, I suppose you have a bunch of Pentax lenses from your film days. Try those out on your K20D. All you need to do is go into the custom settings and set it for "Aperture Ring - Permitted" (or something similar, do a search here). That's another big selling point for Pentax is that you can put pretty much any Pentax lens made on your camera, and they're now stabilized!

Your K20D (or pretty much any dSLR) will give you shots how ever you like them. You'll just need to spend a little upfront time setting it up.

Enjoy!
06-11-2009, 08:44 PM   #23
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I would suggest a few things.... I don't have a K20D, but these would apply to most any camera not achieving sharp images...

The first thing the stands out to me is your lens. It's a kit lens, and obviously not a very expensive high quality lens. I would suggest getting something like the 50 mm 1.8 .... but until then try this

1. Stop down to F8

2. Shoot Raw, and use UNSHARP mask in Photoshop...

If you stick with jpeg.. shoot the same subject and try different levels in in camera Jpeg sharpening

Double check the focus by shooting something with the center focus point and check if objects closer or further away from your focal plane are more in focus.. maybe some grouping of flowers.....


Most likely your problem is related to front/back focus.. or poor quality from the lower end lens


In this day and age it is pretty common opinion that 15mp is pushing APS-C size sensors to the limit.. and ultimately requiring even BETTER glass.....

06-11-2009, 08:49 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
Here is another thread were I am sensing a funky tone to it... The OP asked a simple question and there is a lot of attitude... I don't get it. (maybe I am just being over sensitive lately... I am a delicate flower)

Nobody has any settings they can recommend to alter the factory presets for sharper Jpegs?
Sure, one can turn up sharpness, and that will improve results - *if* that was the problem in the first place. But if that wasn't the problem, then turning up sharpness won't help - you'll just get blurry images will strange sharpening artifacts. So I think it important to identify the *cause* of the softness. And in order to do that, you definitely need to consider all the options here - especially the ones that are actually the most common problems (focus issues and camera shake).

But I'm sorry if the tone has come off as not being helpful. That surely was not my intent.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-12-2009 at 02:25 PM.
06-11-2009, 09:20 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanhi Quote
Unable to get tack sharp photos with the 18-55 AL II Lens, like my film Pentaxes. Can't afford to buy pricey "super" lenses.
The 18-55 AL II may be a kit lens, but from reviews and my limited experience it is probably the sharpest kit lens out there, and significantly better than the original 18-55 AL. Could it be a focus issue instead of a sharpness issue? Also, someone else in this thread mentioned they use +2 fine sharpness. I have experimented with this quite a bit since getting my camera and have determined +2 fine sharpness to be ideal for 100ISO (i also sometimes use +3 fine sharpness at 100ISO). If you're using factory defaults, then the default Bright colour profile defaults to +2 sharpness (but not fine sharpness i believe, so you could change it to fine sharpness, i think with the thumb wheel).
06-11-2009, 09:59 PM   #26
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I think the solutions have been given, but I'll chime in anyway:

1) Test your camera for FF/BF with a focus chart, or simply a ruler on a table. It would be best to do this at high aperture (f/2 or greater), but if you don't have a prime lens to use, try the kit at 55mm wide-open. It will be hard to detect with the kit, but you should see if you have an obvious problem at least. If you do have a problem, try different AF adjustments until you see the most consistent output. It's best to do this in good light, but you may want to try in whatever light you'll actually be shooting in a lot (dim tungsten, etc.)

2) I've always recommended to try shooting Jpeg on 'bright' setting, +2 fine sharpness (try 'fine', not normal sharpness.) You can also shoot raw and apply different levels of USM, but Pentax provided 'fine' sharpness to give you greater control over the sharpness level, and it's not as necessary to go raw these days just for sharpness.

3) Be very, very still when you shoot, elbows down at sides, breath steadily (don't hold breath.)

Optional steps:

4) Use a good viewing program, one that does not present a downsized or embedded image in a smaller viewing pane - you're not really looking at the actual image in that case, and everything looks bad. I recommend picasa3, a free download from Google, but Lightroom is good, many others. picasa3 also has surprisingly powerful editing capability for jpegs, including a nice sharpening algorithm.

5) If you want to link photos in here or other places, pay $25 for a 12-month pro membership to flickr, and upload and link from there. You will be able to upload unlimited full-sized images, and the flickr compression is the most artifact-free I've seen yet. I actually like my images once they get up on flickr just as much as when I view them locally. If you have downsized images compressed by your hosting service, everything you shoot looks bad when others view it.

Hope this helps, and don't let the bad attitudes deter you, the Pentax community is actually still as cool as you remember!


.

Last edited by jsherman999; 06-11-2009 at 10:04 PM.
06-11-2009, 10:30 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanhi Quote
Get blur widths from 2 to 7 pixels on Focus Magic. Cant waste time sharpening photos on the PC - rather have the camera do it.
Try taking a sharper photo.

How to Take Sharp Digital Images
06-11-2009, 10:44 PM   #28
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First the easy steps:

1) switch off SR
2) stop the lens down to F6.7 or smaller
3) use the middle of the zoom range, like between 20-45mm
4) shoot in good light
5) always half press to pre-focus

Next:

6) read the manual if you have not already done so
7) try out the various in-camera image quality and JPEG settings, especially the contrast and sharpness
8) adjust the autofocus setting. Do a search and you will find all you need to know
9) shoot in raw files and use Pentax PhotoLab.

Finally if picture still not sharp, return or repair the camera and/or the lens. In truth, digital photography is computer PLUS photography. Not necessarily easier than film photography.
06-11-2009, 10:58 PM   #29
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Original Poster
Hi Prince, thanks for the input. I have plenty of lenses from my old SLRs, but all are back home. I am currently visiting the US and just bought the K20D from B&H for $ 770 with the new Kit Lens. No more lenses now, as I plan to buy a Pentax full frame as soon as one is
announced - use all my old great lenses then.
After reading all the great inputs from so many friends I will do the following:-
a) remove the UV filter - a Quantaray. My old Pentax SMCs are not with me now.
b) use the lens hood that came with the lens - avoid stray light/flare.
c) shut down SR.
d) turn up Sharpness to +2 Fine, Contrast to +2.
e) use Bright mode
f) use Av mode with the aperture between f27 & f8. Have been using P - mode - new to DSLR
and slow to experiment.
g) others - request contributions from all my friends on this post.
Will post some photos post and pre changes.
Finally I love all things Pentax, plus. Believe me I have possibly every accessory ever made by
Pentax for an SLR - that crazy.
Thanks Dear Friends.
Nanhi.
06-11-2009, 11:06 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanhi Quote
I have plenty of lenses from my old SLRs, but all are back home.
You'll definitely be happier with your older lenses than the kit lens--which is is at most f/5.6 at 55mm. Experiment with your older lenses attached to the K20D, when you return home--they're probably "super."
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