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Old Jan 20, 2011, 9:46 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: south-central PA
Posts: 55
Default Does this methodology make sense?

I've just gotten my first dslr, an "entry-level" type (Pentax k100d super--which I guess has more features than some entry-level units), an upgrade from my P & S mega-zoom. I shot with a 35 mm film slr for years, but admit to being pretty lost right now with this new camera. So, please bear with me, as this is like starting all over again.

I played around with it on arrival, got some great typical shots "out of the box"--dogs, back yard landscape, kids, husband.... But this is for me to use in my work, and I shoot inside, in fairly low light. Accurate color reproduction is essential. So I was trying it out yesterday, and played with auto mode, scene modes, auto focus, manual focus, different ISO settings, all auto, all manual, etc. Just trying to get a feel for what might be the best settings for me to shoot at. Well, I got near-perfect color reproduction on my camera's "museum" scene mode (no flash), but poor focus and image quality. Got nice shots on various other settings--with and without flash--but poor color reproduction. My question is this:

I'm thinking about starting over again today and doing a "progressive" sort of testing--starting out on all auto settings, then adjusting one parameter at a time until I get something close to good, then refining from there. Yesterday I was going at it rather helter skelter after the all-auto shots. Does this sound like a logical way to figure this out? I should tell you that I am NOT somebody who functions well by simply reading the manual--I will read as I go, but I grasp things better by doing....

I need to start turning out good photos like yesterday.... so I was thinking about upping my lighting (although I don't yet have them all color/temperature matched yet and have some issues with "cast"), trying to turn out some usable shots right away, and then systematically working my way through all the settings and adjustments. Does this make sense at all?

Maybe I should mention that I was getting very nice low-light shots with my P & S at normal ISO settings, but not as sharp as I want, and still having color-reproduction issues with some color families (reds & blue-greens, which are very hard to shoot to begin with). I bought this camera in the hopes I could remedy both of these problems--knowing, of course, that I'm going to need to up the operator skill level in addition to the technology....


Last edited by amc654; Jan 20, 2011 at 9:48 AM. Reason: typos
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 9:54 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,367

Originally Posted by amc654 View Post
...Well, I got near-perfect color reproduction on my camera's "museum" scene mode (no flash), but poor focus and image quality.
Your best bet would be to post a sample of a problem image. If you use the paperclip icon to attach a photo, make sure the longest dimension is 1024 pixels or less; and the file size is no larger than 253.9KB. Otherwise, the forums will strip out the EXIF information (and that's what members will need to see in order to tell what settings were being used).

I'd downsize them first using something like the free Irfanview. Get it here:


Basically, just open an image (File>Open) and go to the Image>Resize/Resample menu choice. Then, make sure the "Preserve Aspect Ratio" box is checked and plug in something like 800 pixels for the longest side and click Apply.

Then, use the File>Save As menu choice and give it a new filename (so that you're not overwriting the original), using a JPEG quality setting of about 80% (you'll see a slider that pops up for that purpose when saving a jpeg image). That should keep the file size within limits (as long as you downsize it first).

Then, if you type a new post, make sure to click the "Go Advanced" option you'll see here and use the Paperclip icon to browse for the new filename and attach it to a forum post here.

Chances are, you're just seeing blur from shutter speeds that are too slow (versus a focus issue); and/or you're not realizing that you'll have a much shallower depth of field using a dSLR model for a given aperture and subject framing than you'll have using a point and shoot model with a smaller sensor, making your focus point more critical, depending on what you want to be in focus.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 10:10 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: south-central PA
Posts: 55

Thanks, Jim! I have Irfanview already installed (great little free program!) as my photo editor, so should have no problem resizing/attaching a photo. Am going to go down now and see if I can get something that even halfway resembles what I'm looking to get, and will post something. Soon. Maybe. LOL!

Yep, I'm sure the slower shutter speeds necessary in the lighting I have are contributing to the blurry images, but my eyesight isn't all that great, so there could be a focusing problem as well, when on manual focus. Although I have to say that this camera is very comfortable to use with eyeglasses on, as opposed to some I've tried that aren't. Steve's specific comment to that effect in his review here was a big plus to me in choosing this particular camera! But, I can't see even with my glasses on....
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