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01-06-2010, 04:29 PM   #1
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Pentax K10D Problems

I bought a K10D about 2 years ago.

At first, I was very happy with it. Pristine photos, of a quality I had never experienced before. Even my wife, with no understanding of photography, was taking beautiful photos.

However, over the last 6 months, we have become less satisfied. I have been trying to take photography a little more seriously, really reading about it, trying to learn the theory behind good photography. And, in the process, have become less happy with the quality of photos. It isn't just me; my wife is no longer able to take simple sharp photos.

I will attempt to upload some examples tomorrow, but my basic problem is that the photos are rarely very sharp. For example, I used to be able to focus on a distant hill, or a city landscape, take a photo, and the only thing limiting the sharpness of the photo was the number of pixels, whereas now, the blurriness begins long before I have zoomed in that far.

Its not dramatically obvious, just enough to be frustrating. I have played with every setting I can: in a daylight photo, a high shutter speed (4000) combined with a low ISO, and a medium Aperture should be adequate for most tasks, with AF set on the exact target that I want sharp?

Do you think this is just operator error, or is it possible something is wrong with the camera?

01-06-2010, 05:07 PM   #2
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Is it possible you have shifted the AF focusing point off the middle?

the camera may not be focising on what you are pointing at>

check if the little red dot comes up in the middle when focusing.

Also check the function to superimpose focusing dot on viewfinder is turned on.

If both of these are yes, perhaps you have dropped either camera or lens and it isno longer focusing properly
01-06-2010, 05:12 PM   #3
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Yes, autofocus is definitely turned on, and the red dot is superimposed over the things I wish to picture. Yet it still lacks the definition that we used to experience.

I am fairly certain we have never dropped the camera or lens - I am fairly neurotic about that, always insisting we wear the neck strap, etc.

Will upload some photos tomorrow. Do you think it could be camera error then?
01-06-2010, 05:17 PM   #4
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do you have more than one lens?

It would be interesting if you can try that, and have the camera focus, at least you will know if it is camera or lens.

also turn off auto focus and see if you can manyally focus on something and get a sharp image, then using AF do the same.

if you can;t get any sharp image with the lens at all, then it may be the lens. if you can focus manually, perhaps the AF needs adjustment. ALso it is important to note when you do manually focus whether the focus indication turns on when you think the image is in focus or not, to do this you need to also make sure your viewfinder diopter is set correctly.

You need to try a couple of these things to narrow it down.

\

01-06-2010, 05:20 PM   #5
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have you gone back and compared old images with the new ones... maybe you've just become more critical!
01-06-2010, 05:32 PM   #6
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It's too bad that the problems came when they tried to learn more, I was going to respond a little knowledge is dangerous, and this was the proof. But that is not really fair, fun perhaps yes , but fair, not really
01-06-2010, 05:57 PM   #7
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I'm a constant user of that phrase... including about myself!

I work with a few people that have now managed to get the odd Vlookup in Excel to work, and now they think they have mastered Excel!

But yes, a little harsh at this stage in the discussion
01-06-2010, 05:58 PM   #8
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Now this issue of the K10D not focusing properly after some time was pointed out to me by a good friend who I trust as an authority on all things Pentax related. Never encountered the problem myself but I'm stating here what I've been told.

Looking inside the mirror box, the mirror for the K10D rests on one side by a single pin visible when the mirror is flipped up. Over time and heavy use, the mirror gets tilted and misaligned ever so slightly as it flips up and down and comes to rest on that single pin. The K20D has the mirror resting on one pin as well. I believe Pentax is aware of the issue and has the mirror resting on two pins on the new K-7. I have been told this issue makes it hard to do AF adjustment as over time the degree of tilt will change. I guess this issue comes up with the K10D is probably because the model would have seen quite a lot of mileage by now. Now there are film cameras with mirrors resting on a single pin but but being digital, it is very easy to have very high shutter count for the issue to show up.

What I'm stating may or may not apply to your specific camera so if your camera got issue, best to let a qualified camera repair person to assess. To me the K10D was a good camera... then, but a problematic camera nonetheless, particularly with focus issues early on with some lenses such as the DA 21mm. I and many of my Pentax friends have all but dumped it to upgrade to the newer Pentax DSLRs in part due to the focus issues. Even our ever helpful local Pentax repair technician who has made a lot of effort to address the focus issues for Pentax users where I am at no cost but with limited success acknowledges the K10D is problematic. YMMV.

01-07-2010, 02:57 AM   #9
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Will do some comparisons. I am using the glass that came with the camera. Will have a try with manual focus
01-08-2010, 12:20 AM   #10
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I've noticed with my K10D is that if I use the extreme left or right focus point, some shots made indoors are a bit soft (even when using the 540FGZ's IR assist) as compared to pictures where am just using the center AF point.
01-08-2010, 07:32 AM   #11
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I purchased a K10D (refurbished) from Best Buy recently. It had a similar focus problem. Despite all I tried no picutre would be in good focus except maybe close up with flash. Manual or auto made no difference. I returned it.

William
01-08-2010, 12:18 PM   #12
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K10D is known for focusing issues. My K10D developed the same backfocusing issue over the time. If you will search Pentax forums you will find plenty of posts about these problem from 2007-2008 era. I would call Pentax and send them your camera for repair.

Last edited by awo425; 01-08-2010 at 02:48 PM.
01-08-2010, 12:27 PM   #13
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Mine might have suffered from this as well. However it also fell once (in its protective bag) around 30cm. Handed it in for repair today (will get quote on tuesday).
01-08-2010, 07:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Mine might have suffered from this as well. However it also fell once (in its protective bag) around 30cm. Handed it in for repair today (will get quote on tuesday).
Please post about your experience if you will as I believe my K10 has the same issues. I have an extended Mack warranty but I am delaying action in hopes of affording a new body (I also expect the warranty process to be less than enjoyable)>

EDIT Just realized you are not in USA. It still would be good to hear how you fare.

Last edited by bogiesbad; 01-08-2010 at 07:44 PM.
01-08-2010, 08:44 PM   #15
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This is interesting. My K10D has over 15K shots on the counter and I have not noticed any decrease in sharpness with either AF or manual focus using my KatzEye screen. I would be very surprised if the single mirror registration pin were to be at fault if issues are found. This is a pretty standard mirror box design. More likely would be wear of the pivot bearings allowing the mirror to sag somewhat at the top end.

I would suggest that the OP do a controlled focus test on a standard lens test target at known, fixed distance. Having a second camera for comparison might also be helpful.

While not directly related to the original post, there are a few things to remember when evaluating both manual and automatic focus:
  • Lack of sharpness may not be a focus system issue (think camera motion, damaged or inferior lens, subject moved after focus lock...)
  • AF and manual focus use different light paths
  • AF-C mode allows exposure when AF has not locked
  • The AF system, while generally accurate, is not sufficiently precise for use with fast prime lenses wide open at f/1.4 or f/2. DOF covers the imprecision at narrow apertures. I did not appreciate this until after I started using the KatzEye with comparison to the AF confirm hexagon.
  • Fast lenses are not as sharp at their wider apertures
  • The stock focus screen, when used for manual focus, has inadequate precision for fine focus with faster glass. This is somewhat difficult to explain except to simply say that stopped down at both f/3.5 and f/1.4, the stock screen has the same apparent DOF.

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-08-2010 at 08:51 PM.
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