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11-13-2009, 07:05 AM   #1
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Are K-x pictures only good with non DA-L lenses

I got my pentax k-x Monday and have had a few days to play with it. I was extremely excited about this camera but have come to the conclusion that there has to be something wrong with my unit. I am having problems getting a crisp focus out of any picture and my hd video is all grainy and noisy.
I went back to look at the many gorgeous k-x picture samples on the net and found that about 90% of them use more expensive non DA-L lenses.
Being new to SLRs, is that what it is going to take for me to take a picture with crisp focus? I am talking about a crisp focus with good light conditions.
Your insight would be greatly appreciated....

11-13-2009, 07:08 AM   #2
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Post examples of your images so we can help you identify the problem.

Last edited by jerrymouse; 11-13-2009 at 08:11 AM.
11-13-2009, 09:19 AM   #3
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I find the DA-L 18-55 to be a bit "finicky" on my K-x. It's not fantastic wide open, and the focusing is sometimes a little iffy. I seem to remember the DA 18-55 ii I had before being a little more reliable.

That said, it's perfectly possible to get excellent images out of it. You just need to be sure to keep an eye on the aperture and the focusing.

Also, a lot of lenses with wider apertures have shallower depth of field, which makes the in-focus areas "pop" more. Are you sure that's not what you're referring to? You can get that effect fairly easily by picking up a cheap manual-focus 50mm prime.
11-13-2009, 09:24 AM   #4
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The DA L shows up online as DA II, because they are optically the same. You won't find any labeled as DA L.

things to make sure you do:

1) Stop down a stop or two
2) If photographing a non moving subject, use a tripod or make sure the shutter speed is faster than 1/FL*1.5, and you allow SR to activate. Otherwise, look up some guidelines for freezing action, yes including someone just walking.
3) Use central or select one focus point to ensure you are focusing on one thing.

the lenses are capable of(gallery):
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/home#section=EXIF-LENS&subSection=3680&sub...95&language=EN

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/home#section=EXIF-LENS&subSection=60&subSu...92&language=EN

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/home#section=EXIF-LENS&subSection=3720&sub...53&language=EN


Last edited by Eruditass; 11-13-2009 at 09:29 AM.
11-13-2009, 10:11 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jorgitog1 Quote
Being new to SLRs, is that what it is going to take for me to take a picture with crisp focus? I am talking about a crisp focus with good light conditions.
You're going to have to learn a bit about photography. You're going to have to learn how to recognize "good light" conditions (hint - A BRIGHT sunny day at noon is NOT good light). Of course, you'll have to learn how to operate the camera as well, but that is secondary to knowing some basic concepts of photography (and light) and knowing how to put them into practice.

A DSLR is NOT a magic bullet.
11-13-2009, 10:32 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jorgitog1 Quote
I got my pentax k-x Monday and have had a few days to play with it. I was extremely excited about this camera but have come to the conclusion that there has to be something wrong with my unit. I am having problems getting a crisp focus out of any picture and my hd video is all grainy and noisy.
No way anyone can help without seeing samples, but most problems of soft images are due to user error - not focusing carefully enough (for instance, letting the camera decide where to focus, instead of deciding for yourself). The kit lenses are perfectly capable of amazingly sharp pictures, but photographer technique is an important part of the equation. As for graininess, that would presumably be because you're using too high an ISO setting.
11-13-2009, 11:15 AM   #7
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I will be uploading some samples tonight. Thanks for all your input so far...
11-13-2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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I find my kit lens to be pretty handy for wide-angle compositions.... My photography style and budget simply do not allow me to get a 12-24 or a sigma 10-20 lens atm.. For 50mm or 30mm range I have the manual primes... those old lenses are simply outstanding.

11-13-2009, 05:34 PM   #9
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Here is a link to some of the pictures which show my focus problem with the k-x:
Pentax K-X Poor Focus Pictures - a set on Flickr

The picture on the following link has less light and perhaps a better lens but way, way better focus:
http://pentax.photoble.net/image/2009/11/QSmClw8cDCmSdcG/091113005.jpg

Can somebody give me a hint on how to properly focus using this camera?

Thanks in advance
11-13-2009, 06:24 PM   #10
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I took a look over the photos you posted, and I think there are a few things working against you. The first and primary thing is you are pushing the shake reduction alot - meaning the shutter speeds being used are very slow considering the focal length (first three shots were the kit lens zoomed all the way in, and then the 55-300mm at 260mm equivalent). The shutter speeds were all 1/15 to 1/20. To give you an idea of shutter speed typically necessary at a given focal length, you would allow 1/1.5x the focal length (so at a focal length of 100mm the shutter speed would normally need to be 1/150th second for hand held shots). Shake reduction can give 3-4 stops over this amount, but the shutter speeds you have used are at the absolute top of that range - meaning it will not always be tack sharp (holding the camera steady, against your body to keep your camera stable also comes with plain old practice).

Second is that the photos are zoomed in, and aperture is wide open in every shot. This creates a shallow depth of field (not to mention kit lenses do not perform as well when the aperture is wide open, generally). You can kind of see where the focus actually is in a couple of the photos - the sponge on the sink, and somewhere around the front tire rim of the toy car. If you stop the lens down just alittle, even to f5.6 this will also help.

So, shutter and aperture both need to increase - the scenarios for these pictures would push any camera to its limits - if you didnt have shake reduction, these would be a complete mess to be honest, likely completely blurred. I would try bumping the ISO upto 4000 or 5000 (doable on the Kx) and see what your results are. But bottom line, you cant expect anything exemplary taking sample shots around your house in the evening with such low light and the kit lens!

As far as the last photo is concerned, if you are outside there is no reason the camera (especially kit lenses) shouldnt be stopped down around F8 (the sample was f5). The trees were likely simply outside of the focus plane - the camera also may have misfocused as there is no clear subject within the AF points. Hope that helps!
11-13-2009, 07:10 PM   #11
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Thanks a lot pxpaulx. I'll try your suggestions...
11-14-2009, 08:28 AM   #12
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It is obviously camera shake. In some shots it is clearly visible as linear motion blur. In others you get a hint of it by the nature of unsharpness.

You've basically have choosen the shutter speed too low (as pxpaulx has already told). Since you're using maximum apertures of the lenses and the ISO is high as well, you can only increase the iso a stop or two (to 3200 or 6400), but i'd recommend to use flash in such conditions.

What still puzzles me is the last shot, because the shutter speed is high enough it's unlikely to have motion blur. Still i can tell from experience, that my "18-55 I" needs to be stopped to at least f/7.1 to get decent sharpness at 55mm, 50-200 even more - f/9 to f/16. As well a lot of unsharpness is caused by the purple fringe, because of contrasty scene combined with max aperture.
11-14-2009, 03:20 PM   #13
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I agree - very obviously the problem is camera shake. You can't shoot a telephoto lens at 1/15" and expect sharp pictures - SR doesn't work miracles.

Also, though, be sure you are aware of what depth of field is (Google the term if necessary). Most of those pictures will have shallow DOF because of the focal length, aperture, and distance involved - so even if you got a shake-free picture, you'd still find only *part* of the picture in focus, because depth of field wouldn't be enough to cover everything in the frame. That's really obvious in the picture of the toy truck, where only the one wheel would have been in focus even if it weren't for shake.

With the outdoor picture, I'm kind of assuming that's a crop from a larger picture? Camera shake is probably not an issue here, but if that's a crop, you're probably just seeing the limit of the lens. If not, I'd wonder what specifically you focused on.
11-14-2009, 09:18 PM   #14
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Thanks for all your replies.
I am new to SLRs but have been taking pictures with point and shoot cameras for about 10 years now and had been hesitant about getting an slr because to be quite honest I thought my point and shoot pictures were better looking pictures than most of the pictures my friends with SLRs would show me.
After seeing some of the pentax k-x samples I thought this was the right time for me to get into slr photography.
My previous camera was a Sony DSC-H5. Here is a sample of a picture my teenager daughter took with the camera:
Flickr Photo Download: Aubrey's Picture
She does not have the most steady grip but the camera is able to produce pictures with a very respectable degree of focus (at least for my non photography expert eyes). I can count on the DSC-H5 to give me that kind of output from pictures I take the majority of the time which is why I have been very frustrated with the k-x since I have gotten the same lack of focus even using a tripod.
Anyway, I will continue to try to educate myself in these beginner issues related to photography and hopefully I'll have better results with the k-x.
11-14-2009, 09:47 PM   #15
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One note about using a tripod - you actually want to turn shake reduction off - otherwise if the camera is still it can sometimes have a kind of ghost movement, where the mechanism thinks it needs to compensate for perceived movement that isnt really occurring. Other than that the other points above are all great advice - a dslr really is a different animal, so it will take some time to learn. Luckily it seems you are willing to give it an honest shot, so do alot of reading and application, and soon enough you will understand how aperture, shutter speed and iso are all an integral part of your photos!
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