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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-16-2014, 08:29 AM  
How to deactivate SDM and allow for screw drive autofocus with DA* 16-50mm f/2.8
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 844
Views: 240,449
Glad to have helped!
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 05-12-2014, 01:30 PM  
Best editing software for a beginner
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 42
Views: 4,960
There is, of course, a counter argument which suggests finding the most difficult-to-use, convoluted and user-unfriendly software you can.

... it will force you to get it right in camera at all costs!
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 05-09-2014, 02:31 AM  
Best editing software for a beginner
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 42
Views: 4,960
Good luck with your hobby pentxk10duser - a few comments/thoughts below, for what they're worth...
Forum: Lens Sample Photo Archive 05-08-2014, 04:56 PM  
Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 AL samples
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 94
Views: 48,327
Here is a bit of a fun and cheaty one:



I realise it's not exactly the most exciting image, but it is actually a stitched composite of 10 images all taken with my 35mm f/2.4 and then recombined with PTAssembler. I then had to crop liberally post assembly because of some banding of the sky at the seams, so it's now down to a meagre 55MP image (10k wide x 5.5k high), which can be downloaded from here:

http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k283/pjm35/20140507-IMGP9307-IMGP9323_0001...pse550686c.jpg

So, a very wide-angle 35mm shot, really. At medium format resolution. It does make zooming in and pixel peeping a bit more interesting. (EXIF data not available but all shots taken at 1/2000s, f/5.6 ISO200 and focus set more or less to hyperfocal distance (plus a touch))
Forum: Photo Critique 05-08-2014, 04:09 PM  
People Grandfather & grandson
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 5
Views: 681
Thanks guys.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 05-08-2014, 04:06 PM  
Lowepro Photo Sport Bags
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 19
Views: 2,218
Ok - that's very different then. I'd suggest getting either a fairly cheap rucksack with camera inserts (as suggested by bdery) or a proper camera rucksack with enough space for non-camera gear and good shoulder straps - most definitely NOT a slingshot (one strap).

However, if you are hiking over rough terrain, bear in mind even compact Pentax camera gear is still bulky and has some weight (a couple of kg perhaps). You want decent walking boots as your ankles will be taking more strain and I suspect your mind will be half on scoping out landscapes rather than being as focused on where your next footstep will be. Also, if you're sitting around taking shots then make sure you have enough warm clothing as well as protection from the elements if it changes.

Even though you're just walking casually, you want to be comfortable and safe. It's best to be overprepared and not need stuff than have to cut your trip short or, worse, suffer during it. I'm off to a smaller couple of mountains in the Nevis Range in a week and although they're walks rather than climbs, I'm going to be taking a lot of extra gear I almost certainly won't need. (because if I do need it then that will have meant it's gone quite badly wrong!...)
Forum: Pentax K-30 & K-50 05-08-2014, 03:56 PM  
My new Pentax 50 DA f1.8 lens with Pentax K30
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 30
Views: 5,039
For me, I'm the limiting factor in manual focusing rather than the lens... I'm seriously considering both a viewfinder magnifier and a Canon ee-S focus screen to help resolve this - but that's drifting off topic now.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 05-08-2014, 06:31 AM  
Lowepro Photo Sport Bags
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 19
Views: 2,218
I do quite a bit of hiking/scrambling and obviously a touch of photography. As bdery says, be very clear about what you want and why you want it. If I'm hiking, I want a rucksack - something which will either take a decent load of up to 20kg (if multiday hiking) or closer to lightweight/ultralight if just overnighting. What I do not want is a camera bag - where would my tent and sleeping bag go, for starters?! What about 2 litres of water? What about food for three meals? But that's me. Even lightweight hiking, you're probably carrying 7kg+ without camera and more if overnight... walking 25km including 1000-2000m of ascent, you want a properly designed rucksack for that purpose. I will usually take my SLR and a single (15-55 WR) lens and that's it. Depending on where you're hiking (bearing in mind most of mine is above the snowline, especially at this time of year), it's more important you have the right clothing and camping equipment than an extra lens, IMO.

If, however, you just want a bag to carry your camera when you're walking around, that's a very different proposition. You don't need to worry as much (but still a bit) about fit, ventilation, weight distribution/CoG/moments, bladder compatibility etc. Instead, its more about access, number/type of compartments and whether it suits the kit you have (or will have in due course).

For this reason I've a camera bag and hiking rucksacks (as well as bigger 90 litre dufflebags etc.) My camera bag is a single strap Slingshot 202AW which I really like. It has plenty of space/compartments and is flexible enough to accommodate lenses securely from my DA*50-135 through to a tiny 35mm f/2.4. It can take four lenses PLUS whatever lens is on the camera PLUS my Sigma flashlight. It also has a strap on the outside for carrying a very lightweight tripod, but I don't own one that's small/lightweight enough to fit. Plenty of pockets, inserts, extra zips etc. to accommodate everything from business cards to spare lens caps, filters, memory cards, spare batteries, cables etc. It also has a lens/soft cloth tucked away, as well as a waterproof cover for the whole thing.

It's really well designed - can access without taking off your back - although does suffer in terms of weight distribution because of the single strap. I find that if it's loaded, I need to use the stabilising strap across my body (which works really well, btw) but that's because my left shoulder isn't used to bearing the weight.

It's also worth thinking about how you're planning to carry your actual camera. I have a home-made version of a Black Rapid style strap, which works really well when hiking. I use a couple of carabiners to attach/detach quickly and in combination with a proper hiking rucksack, I have the benefit of good weight distribution with quick and easy access to the camera. The only thing I do need to improve is securing lens caps better... I'm thinking about some sort of semi-permanent tether might be in order, to prevent loss when the camera gets bumped (mainly by my body) on the strap.

Not sure if any of this is helpful, but for once I feel I can sensibly contribute to a thread!

Edited to add: depending on the sort of walking/climbing you'll be doing, be careful about waistpacks/fanny packs or whatever they're called. When I'm doing more vertically-challenging scrambling, I need to be able to bring my knees right up - this wouldn't be easy if I had something strapped to my stomach. In those situations, you're already probably pretty precarious and don't want to risk missing a foot or hand hold because of inappropriate baggage... However, there are options which attach via clips to your shoulder straps, just in front of your chest - these can be good solutions and generally don't impede your movement or flexibility, unless you're doing proper graded climbing (and if you're roped up, you need to be much more careful about what you're carrying and how it's attached).
Forum: Lens Sample Photo Archive 05-07-2014, 05:37 AM  
Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 AL samples
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 94
Views: 48,327
Knock it up a touch - from just above 2.8 through to 5.6 it's perfect. f/4 would be a great default if the scene permits it.
Forum: Photo Critique 05-06-2014, 11:51 PM  
People Grandfather & grandson
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 5
Views: 681
Hi Imageman and thanks again for the feedback. One thing I forgot on that image - good spot! I do normally crouch down (not every single time but mostly and when I think the shot calls for it) but forgot/didn't have time on this one.

You're right it would look subtly different - aargh still can't get everything quite coming together!

Thanks and also cheers for confirming the monitor/colours are more or less ok (I do need to calibrate with a "device" but that's the next job...)
Forum: Photo Critique 05-06-2014, 04:45 PM  
People Grandfather & grandson
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 5
Views: 681
I'm quite pleased (for a change!) with this shot for a couple of reasons:

1. I think I pretty much nailed focus at f/2.8 at 50mm (a small personal triumph for me!)
2. I like the composition with the grandfather framing the scene with his body - solid and supportive
3. The expressions are fun

What I'm not so sure about is not being able to see the grandfather's eye (and the grandson's eyes behind mostly closed) and the wisp of someone else's hair just poking in from the right. I also should have knocked the ISO and shutter speed down a couple of stops, but hey ho.

The other thing I can't tell is whether I've got the colours & saturation quite right - on my new sparkly IPS monitor it looks bang on (I had to desaturate quite heavily) but my laptop it looks pretty lifeless. Hopefully that says more about my laptop's colour gamut than the image!

Comments and suggestions for improvement most welcome...

Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-05-2014, 03:38 AM  
Clicky finger syndrome
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 23
Views: 1,863
Imageman, thank you (again)... you seem to have me down to a tee - but more importantly, what I ultimately want to achieve. Others have alluded to the same point and it's taken me until now to appreciate it fully.

Being realistic, I'm sure I will have a few thousand shots in my digital catalogue at some point, which I rarely look through. They're there "just in case". What I'd really like to have are those few dozen or maybe even hundred which are the photos I'd happily print out and hang on my wall, if we had space.

With the exception of trying to get kid "activity" shots or deliberate test shots, I think I need to start thinking about "is this shot going to be a keeper". Especially with landscapes, I need to be getting as close to that 1:1 ratio as I can.

Sure, because I'm still learning I'll still be taking a lot of test shots. But I need to recognise those as test shots beforehand. If I'm pressing the shutter, it's because I've seen something I want to capture, be happy with and potentially hang.

Interestingly, you touched on one of my other passions (and a much longer-standing one): cooking. If I just rush a quick meal - I can rustle up a pretty competitive spaghetti carbonara in as long as it takes the pasta to cook - I end up with something which is sustenance and little more. But, if I prepare (mise en place), if I think carefully about what I want the end result to be - a melange of flavours and textures - and how to assemble them from the raw ingredients in front of me, I almost always end up with something I'm actually happy with (and maybe a little bit proud of).

This is what I want from my photography. Thank you all!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-05-2014, 01:39 AM  
How to deactivate SDM and allow for screw drive autofocus with DA* 16-50mm f/2.8
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 844
Views: 240,449
The only thing I can think of is you haven't edited enough parts of the ROM... I accidentally followed instructions for the DA* 16-50 when I was trying to patch my 50-135 and it exhibited similar(ish) behaviour. All I can suggest is to see if there are any other segments of the file which still contain the "C0" instead of "80".

Of course, if someone would like to send me a 60-250 to have a play with then you're most welcome ;)
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 05-04-2014, 03:02 PM  
Best editing software for a beginner
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 42
Views: 4,960
It's funny, I found PS completely inpenetrable but took to Lightroom far easier. I actually now find PS much easier to use (well, I can actually use it) since getting to grips with LR...

We're all different!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-04-2014, 02:54 PM  
Poll: My first prime lens: Pentax DA 50mm/f1.8 vs DA 35mm/f2.4 AL?
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 48
Views: 29,450
I was going to say more or less the same thing, but suddenly lacked the confidence of my convictions! I find the 35mm is great for shots including closeups where you want more than just the face. Don't get me wrong, if you're battling with minimum focus distance when you're trying to get a portrait then something's probably wrong but otherwise I find it great for more contextual shots.

I still use it less than my 50mm and my 50-135mm zoom though...
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 05-02-2014, 07:32 AM  
Safe to carry in one strap mount eyelet
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 11
Views: 2,028
It's what I do as well. I've fashioned my own version of the BlackRapid and I use a couple of carabiners as part of that assembly. I'd ideally like to have a stainless steel flexible tether as "backup" to the other eyelet although that still doesn't prevent the strap itself breaking / being cut.
Forum: Pentax K-30 & K-50 05-02-2014, 06:19 AM  
My new Pentax 50 DA f1.8 lens with Pentax K30
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 30
Views: 5,039
No worries, but don't necessarily rush to get the next bit of kit. (He says, having spent the last three months rushing around buying kit!)

There is a balance between improving and developing skills quickly (and maintaining your rate of learning by moving on from one thing to the next when you're proficient at it) and spreading your time too thinly and doing too many things too quickly. Exposure is really important and the technical bedrock of photography IMO. Spend time understanding that and developing your own understanding of DOF, acceptable shutter speeds, ISO noise etc.

I am still at the early stages of learning all this stuff, so speak first-hand. I've also bought too much gear too quickly. It does mean I have, to hand, kit should I want to take a quick flash photo or a range of lenses, but it also means I don't know as much about each of them as I could, had I spent longer with each item on its own.

Just my 2p... feel free to ignore!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-02-2014, 12:10 AM  
Poll: My first prime lens: Pentax DA 50mm/f1.8 vs DA 35mm/f2.4 AL?
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 48
Views: 29,450
Well done on deciding!

And to set your mind at rest - and confirm that clackers is absolutely right with his point re: sharpness - here are a couple of images just snapped using the 50mm:

Full image (out of camera) scaled to 800px: http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k283/pjm35/20140502-IMGP8938-fl50mm-ISO400...ps20e790de.jpg
100% crop of centre, showing fuzziness on "in focus" area and some pretty bad CA: http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k283/pjm35/20140502-IMGP8938-fl50mm-ISO400...ps28ad6bee.jpg

Given what you wanted, the 35mm does seem a better fit, but you'll obviously still be getting a nifty 50 at some point ;)
Forum: Photo Critique 05-01-2014, 11:38 PM  
People Musicians at Work
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 3
Views: 788
I like the framing on the first - if it had been possible to get the whole microphone in shot rather than just clipping the end off, that would have been great but maybe not feasible... likewise with the guitar (are they called pegs?)

The second one is magic for me - so intense. Nice clarity on skin & hair/beard and obviously those eyes! What lighting was there / did you use? I can see the catchlight from pretty much directly above you but nice lack of shadows under the eyes, too. Great effect.
Forum: Photo Critique 05-01-2014, 11:30 PM  
People Jus' Chillin'
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 10
Views: 939
Thank you CeciProAm - your comments are very much appreciated. The whole selective colour/desaturation thing is a bit "marmite" and most photographers probably hate it, but it was a style I was going playing with.

I must admit, I like Hide & Seek as well, but as his father, I'm always going to be drawn in by the eyes... I overprocessed that as well - again, I'm playing with styles so looking for what works and doesn't, across the board - compositionally, technically and effect-wise.

Thanks again for the comments - it's all helpful in improving!
Forum: Pentax K-30 & K-50 05-01-2014, 11:03 PM  
My new Pentax 50 DA f1.8 lens with Pentax K30
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 30
Views: 5,039
jaikumarr18, first of all I need to apologise as there was an important typo in my last reply which isn't going to help de-confuse! My snapshot was taken at F4, not F8. Not sure where the F8 came from when I typed it! At F8 (two stops higher) I would have been able to achieve a fair bit more DOF, although my ISO would have had to go up by a factor of four (x2 per stop), i.e. 3200 to achieve the same exposure. By the way, 3200 is fine to use if you need to - ISO noise is generally a lot easier to clean up than curing or covering up for focus/sharpness issues. Don't be afraid to pump up the ISO!

Re: your point on group shots - they're difficult for a host of reasons and I'm not best placed to advise on getting them right. One thing I will say is that another factor in depth of field is that it's relative in terms of the size of an object in your frame. If something fills your frame, it's going to be harder to get everything in focus (because the front-back distance will be proportionally bigger) than if it is smaller in your frame. It's hard to explain without delving into maths, but if you fill your frame with a three dimensional image, you'll need a very high f/stop to get it all in focus. If, however, you zoom out or step back and have the same object only filling half of your frame, you should be able to get it all into focus with a slightly wider aperture, i.e. a smaller f/stop. Sorry, I know I'm throwing more variables at you but in terms of sharpness, if you're filling your frames then it's always going to be harder to get it all into focus (unless they're very flat objects).

Exposure compensation is a big subject, but let's start with the "exposure triangle". The exposure of an image is basically the light level of that image or the amount of light which the camera allows into the frame*. This is measured in Exposure Value (EV) "stops". Confusingly, EV is a "power of two" scale for everything except f-number (aperture). This means your EV increases by 1 when you double the shutter duration. If you double your ISO, then your camera's sensitivity to light will be increased by one stop, which means there's a very simple trade off between shutter duration and ISO: double one, halve the other (keeping the aperture constant). Aperture is even more complicated because the aperture is a measure of the diameter (or radius or circumference) of the aperture of the lens (it's actually an inverse ratio, but the important thing is it's related to the diameter of the opening). Since light comes through the lens along two dimensions, the amount of light entering the camera is going to be (inversely) proportional to the SQUARE of the aperture (f-stop number). This means halving the "f-stop number", say from f/8 to f/4 (which doubles the physical diameter of the aperture) will increase the EV by four. I did warn you it is confusing! What this means is the relationship between ISO, shutter duration and f-stop is that doubling ISO has the same effect on the recorded image light level as keeping the shutter open for twice as long or by decreasing the f-stop by 1.4 (the square root of 2: decreasing f-stop by 1.4 will increase the area of the aperture "hole" by a factor of 1.4 x 1.4 = 2). In other words, to keep an image light level constant, if you double the ISO, you can either halve the shutter duration or increase the f-stop number by 1.4 (which makes the hole smaller). We generally refer to DIFFERENCES in exposure value between scenes, images etc. and normally take into account sensitivity, i.e. ISO. This means if we're saying the image is underexposed by -2 EV, we need to add any combination of reduced shutter duration, increased ISO or decreased f-stop totalling 2 stops. This could mean doubling the shutter duration AND doubling the ISO, or doubling the shutter duration AND increasing f-stop by 1.4, or simply increasing f-stop by 2 on its own. Note that I've tried to be careful referring to the aperture in terms of "f stop" rather than aperture size: because even more confusingly, as one goes up, the other actually goes down! I've also been careful about referring to shutter DURATION - 2secs duration is obviously double 1sec, but more importantly, 1/2 sec duration is double 1/4 sec duration. People will refer to shutter speed, where the inverse relationship is true, but I thought that would just be more confusing...

* it's also the camera's "response" to the light level since ISO is, in digital cameras, an adjustment to the camera's sensitivity to light. Higher ISO means higher sensitivity, so you get the same "image response" to lower levels of light as you up the ISO.

Re: compensation:

1. Your camera "meters" the light. It uses (normally) a clever zoning system to analyse the scene and work out what the "right" exposure should be. Part of this is attempting to make the average tone a mid grey (it's more complex than this, but for our purposes let's keep it simple). When you use your camera on any mode except manual, the meter will be making exposure decisions for you. Without any exposure compensation, you're basically saying to your camera - over to you.
2. Its metering isn't perfect. If you're taking a shot of something which is very white (such as snow), it will not understand that the scene *should* be white. Instead, it will try to make it mid grey. This means it will be pushing the exposure lower than it should and you'll end up with a classic problem in "out of camera" photography: grey snow.
3. Conversely, if you're snapping a scene which is very, very dark, such as a picture of a full moon on a black sky, it will attempt to push the exposure UP, to make the black sky grey (which it probably won't be able to achieve because of total light levels) but it will blow out the highlights in the moon.
4. In scenes of high dynamic range (where the lights are bright and the darks are very dark), the camera won't be able to capture the full range, so you'll end up with it making a compromise of some sort and probably blowing out highlights and losing detail in the darks.

In examples 2-4, you need exposure compensation for different reasons. In 2 you need to adjust for the camera's false assumption: that the average tone should be mid grey. You need to tell it to push the exposure higher because the average tone should be nearly white. This means your exposure comp should be + (perhaps +1 or even +2). In 3, you have the opposite problem compounded by the fact you have a blown highlight - two potential problems to correct: you want a black black sky (so reduce exposure) and you need to pull down the exposure anyway to avoid the blown highlight - this means a negative exposure comp of -1 or -2 (say). In 4, there isn't a perfect solution with a single exposure - you're going to need to decide what you want to lose (or take multiple exposures at different settings on a tripod and blend or HDR). In most cases, it is recommended that you "expose for highlights" which means dial down your exposure compensation to -1, -2 or whatever to make sure the lightest parts of the scene are captured without blowing out. You then have some work to do in post to rebalance the image without losing the highlights again!

Sorry that's perhaps a bit confusing, but exposure compensation can be confusing! The simplest way to think about it is a rule of thumb: for naturally bright scenes, set your compensation to a + number. For naturally dark scenes, set it to a - number. If you have high contrast in a scene, "chimp" by looking at the LCD review and ensuring you have highlight and shadow warnings switched on, adjust your compensation (usually down) and retake until the highlight warnings disappear.

I won't get in to manual mode as that's more confusing still (but very important especially if you're venturing into using flash). However, the camera still meters for you and reports the "exposure value" but you make all the decisions on what exposure to actually choose. I'll leave that there.

Hope this helps! I will need to re-read to check whether I've introduced more typos again!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-01-2014, 01:11 PM  
Poll: My first prime lens: Pentax DA 50mm/f1.8 vs DA 35mm/f2.4 AL?
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 48
Views: 29,450
Indeed and I actually prefer it at 2.8 and above, when it becomes proper super-sharp. But that doesn't stop the lens working at 1.8 - it's just soft outside the centre. I think for a beginner there's merit in playing with a fast lens, learning how narrow DOF can be and also taking low light pictures. Whether you'd ever send any of them into competitions isn't important - it's about have a variety of tools and learning how to use them, IMO.

I think we're all agreeing though - the OP needs to make a decision based on what they want!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-01-2014, 12:22 AM  
Poll: My first prime lens: Pentax DA 50mm/f1.8 vs DA 35mm/f2.4 AL?
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 48
Views: 29,450
It's funny how our opinions can be quite different. My first lens was the 50mm DA and I found it's focusing/sharpness challenge to be a great way of developing my skills more quickly. It also forced me into more tightly cropped portrait shots (which is not necessarily a bad thing especially when starting out) and I very definitely had to zoom with my feet.

As many have said, the 35mm will probably be an easier lens to use, and more generally applicable. It obviously doesn't have quite the low-light capability of the 50 but that's a double-edged sword, especially at the beginning.

On balance I'd probably agree with you all that the 35mm is a "safer" choice and will allow some non-wide landscape shots, whereas the 50mm will be a problem. However, I think the OP might gain more from starting with a 50, in terms of skill development.

The best advice though is to get both - LTD alternatives to the 35mm are considerably more expensive and the 50 is almost as good as any other save the *55, at least for beginner and mid-level photographers IMO. Let's not forget you can probably recoup 50-75% of the cost of the lens when you come to sell it if you do decide to move on, so we're not really talking about huge wasted costs here even if the OP decides to upgrade to LTDs or DA*s later on.
Forum: Pentax K-30 & K-50 05-01-2014, 12:11 AM  
My new Pentax 50 DA f1.8 lens with Pentax K30
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 30
Views: 5,039
One other thought / recall I've just had: the difference in sharpness with this lens between using natural light and flash was night and day. The speed of the flash light does freeze action especially if it is providing the majority of the light... so this lends further support to the lack of sharpness being in part a slower shutter speed.

I realise you've sent your camera (edit: re-read!) away now but you might want to try some flash shots when you get it back - even using the pop up flash as you're looking to see whether it helps cure the problem at this stage.

IMO the photo I posted is technically not that good (slightly front-focused, I think and I won't start with the lighting) - it definitely falls into the "snapshot" category but it served a purpose of highlighting the shallow DOF even at F8, let along F1.8 (I'm also biased that my model is cute!) The other thing to remember is the further away from the subject you are (i.e. the further the focus point) the wider the DOF. If you're doing really tightly cropped portraits as in my example, the DOF will be a lot harder to handle than if you're shooting a contextual shot. This might be why your handbag shot was bang on?
Forum: Pentax K-30 & K-50 04-30-2014, 03:44 PM  
My new Pentax 50 DA f1.8 lens with Pentax K30
Posted By pjm1
Replies: 30
Views: 5,039
If it's any consolation, I thought my 50mm (the same version) was unsharp for a while. I actually preferred to use my DA* zoom for 50mm shots as it "felt" sharper. It wasn't, of course, but I was getting better results. There were a few reasons (some have been covered already):

1. I was using a very shallow DOF and just couldn't get all (or the right parts) of the subject in focus
2. My focusing technique (even with AF) wasn't great at that point
3. I was occasionally using it on too slow a shutter speed - the blurring I was getting was sometimes a result of motion rather than lack of focus
4. I was using it at a wide aperture (1.8) which is when the lens is at its softest, especially away from the very centre
5. In low light AF is just less reliable
6. It's a light, fast lens so mentally you're expecting it to be more of a point & shoot, whereas it's actually less of one... this is the reason I had better results from my DA* as I slowed down, had to brace against the weight of the lens more and basically just set a better shot

Well, they were the reasons my shooting suffered - you may well be different. However, I now love the lens. I almost always use it in its sweet spot of 2.8-8.0, mostly with a pretty low ISO but, critically, a decently fast shutter speed (especially for fast moving objects). I also use selective AF point focusing exclusively, rather than shutter press focusing or focus & recompose. I still get a fair few misses, especially with the kids but most shots are now solid, focus-wise.

The sharpness of the lens is excellent, within its sweet spot and pretty much across the frame, too. You can check for front or back focusing (I did out of paranoia and my lenses were all spot on).

Alternatively, you may just have a bad copy - but I'd expect that to be the least likely scenario, TBH.

Here is a quick snapshot I took this evening with the lens in poor indoor light at f4. ISO was 800 and I had to drop shutter speed to 1/45... far from ideal conditions. I focused on her left eye and lashes, which are in focus pretty well (but not perfectly). Look at her right eyelashes though (i.e. those on our left just to be clear!) and they're OOF. Which shows how narrow the DOF is even at f4...



The full-size original is here if you want to pixel peep: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7371/14075443995_c69a4bdb53_o.jpg
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