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06-12-2009, 12:35 AM   #31
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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. Nanhi.
Hello Nanhi,

Here is my lens checking procedure:

1-Turn sharpening, saturation, hue to 0
2-Turn image stabilisation to off.
3-Shoot with 2 sec. delay (pseudo mirror locki)
4-Shoot RAW+Jpeg
5-Use ISO 100 all the time
6-Put camera on a decent tripod, you should use a coffe table etc. if you don't have one.
7-Your first test composition should be distance/detailed objects like like apartments from infinite distance. Roof tiles, objects from balconies, windows reflections should be present)
8-No filters.
9-Shoot in a sunny clear day, definitely with hood, sun is behind you.
10-Use a remote trigger (I bought a third party remote one for 2$ from ebay)
11- Use Av (aperture priority mode)
12-Shoot in every full aperture stops (f/4, f5.6....F/11, d/22).

Repeat those steps for a closer (1.5 mt) and detailed object with lots of colors, you might use manual focus, in fact if you are suspicious about autofocusing you can use manual focusing in all tests if you eye vision is ok. But be careful though, because DA lenses have mm's to focus.

I am attaching two scenes I use for lens testing, thats how I found my 16-45mm DA is sharper than 17-70mm DA.

Finally post your photos here so we can check and return comments.

Good luck...


Best wishes.
Can.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K200D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K200D  Photo 

Last edited by cbaytan; 06-12-2009 at 01:03 AM.
06-12-2009, 12:54 AM   #32
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Tweaking the K20D for Sharper Images

Thanks John, for your loving welcome to the forum. A little bit about me. From a family of camera and photography lovers - complete Leica Lab circa 1949. First SLR a K1000. Then ME Super, MZ50 and an SFXn. OK here are my lenses: M50/1.4, M20/4, FA 28-70/2.8AL. I have some Russian & Pentacon (East German) screw mount M42 lenses that I use with an original Pentax Adapter. Also a 2X tele converter I bought at Olden NY in 1978. I have a Yashica front mount Wide + Tele Kit - 58mm thread - pretty good. I also have a Tamron 28-200 Adaptal with Pentax, Leica & Nikon Mounts, and A Tamron AF 28-200 Pentax mount. John, I go crazy when I see lenses and cameras - almost a child. While working in the Middle East I bought a Leica SLR. While in Libya, I bought a rare white face Rolleiflex 2.8 for just $ 275 (eBay $ 2500). Over the years collected a trunk load of filters, gimick lenses, adapters, magnifier, right angle finder, for the Pentax. And I store them in army ammunition boxes - absolutely water/air-proof. And for rough, bad areas, bad weather I use the Pentax Optio Z10. OK enough bragging. Nanhi.
Help Ever - Hurt Never.
06-12-2009, 01:31 AM   #33
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Dear Jodokast, I can see you are a good photographer - must be with 100s of posts. I am truly sorry if I asked a stupid question. One thing I learned and encouraged as an Advisor in one of the world's biggest conglomerates, that no question is stupid, if asked out of hunger for knowledge. And from the part of the world I come from we say HURT NEVER HELP EVER. We also respect elders - touch their feet and ask for their blessing.
Peace be upon you, may you grow to great heights as a Photographer.
I will surely bring out the best in my new Pentax K20D with the help of all of you in this great forum.
Nanhi
06-12-2009, 02:31 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanhi Quote
Dear Jodokast, I can see you are a good photographer - must be with 100s of posts. I am truly sorry if I asked a stupid question. One thing I learned and encouraged as an Advisor in one of the world's biggest conglomerates, that no question is stupid, if asked out of hunger for knowledge. And from the part of the world I come from we say HURT NEVER HELP EVER. We also respect elders - touch their feet and ask for their blessing.
Peace be upon you, may you grow to great heights as a Photographer.
I will surely bring out the best in my new Pentax K20D with the help of all of you in this great forum.
Nanhi
That's very generous of you nanhi. I am new here and a long time film SLR user (LX and K2) just getting my feet wet with digital (apart from P&S) and felt your question was reasonable and it resonated with me since I didn't know there might be such an issue (Having used an LX since 1981 in all conditions I stupidly assumed all cameras were that good). As one person pointed out, even simply P&S digital cameras take clean, sharp digital pictures so it is the least you would expect from a flagship (until the K7) DSLR and mark 2 lens. The green mode should be the idiotproof mode that takes sharp well exposed pictures as a minimum IMHO, even if not the most creative. It gives pause for thought

I am new to this forum and felt disappointed reading some of the meanspirited responses you got. I can only assume some were having a bad day. You can hold your head up and handled it with dignity.

06-12-2009, 03:42 AM   #35
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Nanhi, not a single one of my comments was directed at you. At no point in time did I even hint that your question was stupid. My point is directed at a few others. You came here, and you asked a valid question. People started offering you suggestions as to the possible root cause of the problem. However, some felt you weren't being treated "nicely" enough and just felt the need to throw their 2 cents in. So I threw in mine. Treating one with respect is one thing, which every single person showed you. Putting others down, as those certain people did, for not being "nicer" (don't know what the hell more they want) was totally uncalled for. How "nice" of them.
06-12-2009, 03:51 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
Nobody has any settings they can recommend to alter the factory presets for sharper Jpegs?
I didn't recommend any specific settings because

a) I don't have the same model camera the OP has

and

b) I don't know what settings the OP will find satisfactory.

That's why I recommended experimenting with different settings.
06-12-2009, 05:10 AM   #37
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quote: "1. You're not willing to post-process your images."

Now it's my turn for a question which some might attack me for asking. Why SHOULD you be willing to post-process your images? Are we saying the technology is not good enough to give you what you see through the viewfinder?

With film I never post-processed anything in my life. Always printed full frame to the edge and the only post-process might be the occasional burning in of an area in printing.

I am a DSLR virgin. Will most shots require some form of processing/doctoring to make them acceptable?
06-12-2009, 05:51 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by BODYHEAT Quote
quote: "1. You're not willing to post-process your images."

Now it's my turn for a question which some might attack me for asking. Why SHOULD you be willing to post-process your images? Are we saying the technology is not good enough to give you what you see through the viewfinder?

With film I never post-processed anything in my life. Always printed full frame to the edge and the only post-process might be the occasional burning in of an area in printing.

I am a DSLR virgin. Will most shots require some form of processing/doctoring to make them acceptable?
I'd say it depends on the quality you're willing to accept. Raw images are superior to jpegs, or, at least have to potential to be better. Hard to 'directly' compare them because no one directly views a Raw image. Plus, Pentax purposefully went for a more 'film-like' look, as opposed to what people typically get from some other DSLRs, and it's worlds away from what digital point 'n' shoot people see. Take a Raw pic on the camera's default settings, and use Picasa or some other free program to simply process one step: unsharp mask. Suddenly an "unsharp" pic may be plenty sharp...assuming it's in focus, no motion-blur/shake, etc. "Unsharp mask," by the way, does the exact opposite of what the name would suggest. The advantage of playing with Raw pics is that ALL the info is in the file, unlike jpegs, where parts are discarded/compressed for file size savings. Plus, if you do manipulate jpegs, every step results in less and less image quality, for the most part.

Anyway, to the OP, I have my K10D set to Saturation: 0, Sharpness: +2, and Contrast: +1 for when I do want jpegs. I've been known to mute scenes with Saturation -2, Sharpness -2 and Contrast -2. I'm not sure K10D settings will help with a K20D, though. Just play with the settings, take lots of test pics...heck, it "don't cost nuthin'!"

edit: BTW, Bodyheat... if you "never post-processed" film, do you mean to say you've never worked in a darkroom? Half the creative process, IMHO, has always been in the darkroom, and to my mind, digital post-processing is very much analogous with that.

06-12-2009, 05:52 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by BODYHEAT Quote
quote: "1. You're not willing to post-process your images."

Now it's my turn for a question which some might attack me for asking. Why SHOULD you be willing to post-process your images? Are we saying the technology is not good enough to give you what you see through the viewfinder?

With film I never post-processed anything in my life. Always printed full frame to the edge and the only post-process might be the occasional burning in of an area in printing.

I am a DSLR virgin. Will most shots require some form of processing/doctoring to make them acceptable?
If you take as much care in setting up a shot and if you accept what the lab (in this case the camera) gives you from your negative, then no you never need to pp.
BTW: I download a lot of p&S images from others cameras and yes many need work and/or had jpg artifacts that were distracting but would likely not be a 4x5 issue.
You have never, ever had so much control over an image in your life and few currently "accept" what they had to do in the old days...... besides depending on what you did, even an exposure increase in a enlarger is "post processing"....
The only "home development I've done is enlarging color slides.... I did a lot of expensive "post processing" w/ exposure time and filter pack adjustments, not to mention chemical time and temp, which was usually just strictly adhering to a set standard.
YOU are the lab and you are shooting all kinds of film at once. Tungsten, velvia, kodachrome, there all somewhat there but at the same time digital it totally different in it's characteristics. You never had to deal w/ an AA filter or lack of knees....... I could go on but you may get the point a bit.
Know your ambient color temp and adj. accordingly, know your exposure, know the strength of the aa filter and what is appealing to you and your almost there to no pp Valhalla.......
Why do we need cell phones w/ cameras and wireless internet, why do we need 500 TV channels or HD? Why do we need cars that talk to us? or hand helds that tells us lat. and long. and distances and paths to places we never go????
"You can have any color as long as it's black"
On more thing, in the old days you didn't have to worry about film companies changing the playing field in a heartbeat.
I guess in a sense digital is NOT advanced enough as to be as "standardized" as film in it's 100 year (whatever) journey has become.....
Case in point Sony tweaking noise reduction changes the playing field....
http://www.cryptobola.com/PhotoBola/SonyA900/SonyA900_NR.htm
Noise reduction in the raw data of the Sony A900 ....the effects of a clandestine noise reduction
No digital is not where film is I guess. We're (me only on a personal level) still working on it.

Last edited by jeffkrol; 06-12-2009 at 06:11 AM.
06-12-2009, 06:07 AM   #40
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I feel like I'm in a timewarp and been in suspended animation for years. I'll probably wake up on Planet of the Apes. Last year I went back to my old school to play field hockey against the current boys X1 (I used to be captain but its over 30 years ago) and not only the sticks have changed but the rules of the game have changed...the same with squash racquets and tennis racquets...

seems like that for photography too...but at least I can use my old M series lenses with whatever Pentax DSLR I choose (which is looking more and more like a K7 which is beautiful in every way)
06-12-2009, 02:30 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanhi Quote
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.
Note that turning off SR isn't the right thing to do *in general*; it's just useful when doing tests to make sure it isn't somehow causing a problem. Normally, unless you are on a tripod or are panning, you should leave SR *on* - that's the whole point. When testing, you should probably use a tripod and no SR first to make sure the lens/camera is *capable* of a sharp picture.

As for aperture, don't use a tiny aperture like f/27 if you're looking for maximum sharpness. Depth of field will be huge, so lots will be in focus, but diffraction will be high, so the in-focus area won't be as sharp as it will around f/8. The exact best aperture depends on the lens, but f/8 is close to the best on every lens I've ever heard of.

And do post the results with EXIF intact if possible!
06-13-2009, 04:18 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by BODYHEAT Quote
quote: "1. You're not willing to post-process your images."

Now it's my turn for a question which some might attack me for asking. Why SHOULD you be willing to post-process your images? Are we saying the technology is not good enough to give you what you see through the viewfinder?

With film I never post-processed anything in my life. Always printed full frame to the edge and the only post-process might be the occasional burning in of an area in printing.

I am a DSLR virgin. Will most shots require some form of processing/doctoring to make them acceptable?
If you're shooting raw, you have to post process, if for no other reason to generate a tiff or jpeg. Depending on the raw converter used, the resulting image may well need some additional tweaking, at the least a touch of sharpening.

If you're shooting jpg, you may well get shots straight out of camera that are perfectly acceptable.

Getting the image you want is a creative process. The camera is just one step in that process.
06-13-2009, 08:51 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by BODYHEAT Quote
quote: "1. You're not willing to post-process your images."

Now it's my turn for a question which some might attack me for asking. Why SHOULD you be willing to post-process your images? Are we saying the technology is not good enough to give you what you see through the viewfinder?
First, what you see through the viewfinder is not particularly detailed or sharp - it's way too small for that. If all you want is that level of detail, sure, no PP necessary. But if you're blowing pictures up to 100% on screen - which is quite large - some additional sharpening may be needed, yes. The amount of sharpening that is appropriate to be added depends on the size at which you will be printing or viewing, so that's why the camera can't just "get it right".

QuoteQuote:
With film I never post-processed anything in my life. Always printed full frame to the edge and the only post-process might be the occasional burning in of an area in printing.
That and having developed the film and printed it in the first place! And developing and printing *is* post processing in precisely the same way that is done with digital. You might be content with the 'auto" settings from the one-hour photomat, or you might send the film to a custom developing lab that tweaks each image in developing and printing, or do so yourself. You have the same options with digital - use the auto settings, or tweak things yourself.. But in all cases, you *are* doing PP.

QuoteQuote:
I am a DSLR virgin. Will most shots require some form of processing/doctoring to make them acceptable?
Acceptable to whom? Auto settings for digital are more or less just as "acceptable" as auto settings from the one hour photomat - adequate for some purposes, not others.
06-13-2009, 09:30 AM   #44
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Mabe your only mistake was not asking the salesman what type of sensor was fitted ?

I have a friend who has a *ist DS which has a CCD sensor fitted that produces cracking results with any lens

The K20D was the first Pentax to fit a CMOS sensor, Canon took almost five years to get their software right for this type of sensor ?

And yes I did have to set my focus point seven sectors to the right to get the 18/55 lens to focus correctly

There is, an internal sharpness setting, by going to --- Fn > OK > Press the right hand arrow to check you are in (Natural) colour, Then press the UP arrow to move the box to the bottom left hand setting, roll the rear wheel to change to (fine sharpness) and press the right arrow to move to maximum sharpness

Nearly all CCTV security cameras use CMOS sensors, which probably accounts for the lack of tracing bank robbers

What you may be seeing is noise rather than focus problems, Pentax have already brought out one firmware upgrade to help cure this problem

But there, It may account for why the top ten selling digital cameras are from C---------

Also try taking a days worth of photos using manual focus focusing only, If it makes a difference, then your camera is almost certainly set incorrectly for the lens, If all else fails, look round for a *ist DS, you can still use all your old lenses !!!!!
06-13-2009, 03:24 PM   #45
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My experience is that if you look too close on any picture they are not sharp, but studied in reasonable resolution, and with enough sharpening, they should look good and sharp of course. Try incresing the sharpening setting for the JPGs and possibly also the contrast if that is the kind of photo you are after.

My K20 has been very good, but has had a slight frontfocus problem. When I did some really exact testing a couple of weeks ago on the focus I detected that with F1.4 I actually had a 4mm frontfocus to the right and a 2mm backfocus to the left (50mm approx 50cm distance). After some discussions with some optical experts, I understood that the sensor or bayonet was some 0.1 mm off. What I did was to unscrew the scrws holding the bayonet on the fron, then put in a small plastic piece (approc 0.1mm thick) on the correct side, then screwed the bayonett back. My focus is now perfectly straigt, and the frontfocu problem has completely gone away. Focus is dead on with no adjustments, on all the lenses I have tested so far (35/2, 50/1.4, 100/28 makro).

This is not anything I would recommend people to try of course, and this small problem would probably not be visible on most photos anyway. But if the problem is bigger than it was on my camera, it might be worth adjusting.
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