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Old Feb 17, 2012, 4:25 PM   #1
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Default Pentax 55-300 and K-5- just me or ?

I recently bought a new K-5 a few months ago. I'm very happy with this camera and it is certainly an improvement in a lot of areas over my K10-D and KM (K2000 in the States), although I still have and use my K10D and KM bodies.

I have had a Pentax 55-300 since June, 2008, shortly after this lens was introduced. It's been a great lens and I've got some wonderful and sharp pictures on it, when attached to my K10D and KM.

But when I use it on my K-5 I seem to be disappointed. It doesn't seem to be as sharp . I don't know if this is just my imagination or what ?

It may well be that with the K-5 that my standards are higher and I spend time (too much ? ) gazing intensely as enlargements on my computer.

I've increased the lens adjustment for this lens only within my K-5 body. My other lenses...seem to work quite well on the K-5. The 12-24 in particular, although my 50mm F 2.8 Macro also is well matched.

I have got some excellent , sharp as tack pictures with the 55-300 on the K-5...but I find that I'm more careful with my photographic technique, such as bracing myself, experimenting with ISO and F stop, than when using this lens on the KM or K10D.

I know the K-5's resolution is significantly greater than either KM or K10D.



So what do you think ?
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Old Feb 17, 2012, 10:43 PM   #2
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Hi Les,

I think the fact that you've gotten some shots that are sharp as a tack indicates that the lens and the camera are not the variables that you might need to examine.

I'd suggest that with the higher res sensor, it's possible that some minor technique errors are causing your variable results. Longer FL lenses magnify technique faults, as do higher res sensors, so while your 10 MP bodies might have covered small errors, the K-5 is less forgiving.

Knowing that you're no novice, I think that you might have to look at very minor-seeming technique points to find what may be the problem. I have found with SR, I need to relax and not try for as steady a VF frame as I think I might be able to ultimately achieve. Ned Bunnell, when initially testing some of the first SR equipped Pentax DSLRs noted that SR seemed to work better when shot casually than with a consciously firm hold.

This may not be the answer, but it's something to try. . .

Scott
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Old Feb 17, 2012, 11:51 PM   #3
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Hi Les,

I think the fact that you've gotten some shots that are sharp as a tack indicates that the lens and the camera are not the variables that you might need to examine.

I'd suggest that with the higher res sensor, it's possible that some minor technique errors are causing your variable results. Longer FL lenses magnify technique faults, as do higher res sensors, so while your 10 MP bodies might have covered small errors, the K-5 is less forgiving.Good point. I have noticed that my Pentax 12-24 the pictures are very sharp, which may be not just due to the quality of this lens, but also the very short focal length...compared to...as you have pointed out the magnifying effect of a longer focal length..ie; 300 mm.

Knowing that you're no novice, I think that you might have to look at very minor-seeming technique points to find what may be the problem. I have found with SR, I need to relax and not try for as steady a VF frame as I think I might be able to ultimately achieve. Ned Bunnell, when initially testing some of the first SR equipped Pentax DSLRs noted that SR seemed to work better when shot casually than with a consciously firm hold.I think you maybe right Scott. Awhile ago I was taking some pictures..with the K-5 and 55-300 @ 300mm. The subjects included an old Cadillac and a equally ancient Ford grain truck.... in a farm field.

I had some time and experimented with ISO, shutter speed, f stop. When I think about it, I was also experimenting with holding the camera. Usually with the K10D and this lens..I just raise the camera and shoot..usually about 400 ISO and F 5.6 to F 8.

With the K-5 and 55-300 in this instance, because I was thinking about sharpness...I tried casual....but also did a number of shots bracing myself against the side of my car, while supporting the camera+ lens on the roof of the car. SR was always on. I might be defeating the purpose of the SR, trying to be as rigid as possible...sort of a human tripod... with the K-5 and the long focal length of the 55-300 @ 300.

This may not be the answer, but it's something to try. . .

Scott


Thank you Scott. I will do some more experimentation with your advice in mind.

Les
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Old Feb 18, 2012, 12:19 AM   #4
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It might be technique or it might be something else. I'm less steady when I try to hold a camera stiffly - when I do that with a 300 lens, I really find myself fighting with the lens. Relax and I'm much stiller.

You also might not have the focus completely right, possible cause for softness. My 12-24 front focuses significantly (more or less) on all of my cameras - I couldn't understand what everyone saw in the lens until I figured that out, and it took me a couple of times before I had the adjustment correct.

There could be something wrong with the lens - I never did particularly like the lens when I got it. I finally asked around for people to look at my brick wall pictures and ended up returning mine under warranty. The replacement lens is much better. Since you've liked the lens up until recently, perhaps it has been damaged somehow?

As I posted in the other long tele thread, it's possible to have higher expectations with the better sensor, and perhaps the sensor can now out-resolve the lens. That happened to me when I got the K20 - up until then I had been perfectly happy with the kit lens that came with my DS. A couple of shots with the K20 and the only camera I'll occasionally use it on now is the K100. I'm afraid to put it on the K-5, I'd probably toss it away after that.
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Old Feb 18, 2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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It might be technique or it might be something else. I'm less steady when I try to hold a camera stiffly - when I do that with a 300 lens, I really find myself fighting with the lens. Relax and I'm much stiller.I've found that as I've aged, I have more difficulty holding heavy objects steady. With the K-5 and 55-300 I was thinking to see how accurate the 55-300 @ 300 really is, is to mount the combo onto my tripod and then shut the SR off. I think this will be a good test of the clarity of the lens.

You also might not have the focus completely right, possible cause for softness. My 12-24 front focuses significantly (more or less) on all of my cameras - I couldn't understand what everyone saw in the lens until I figured that out, and it took me a couple of times before I had the adjustment correct.The K-5 is the first camera I've had where there is a lens adjustment. There is a setting for 'all lenses' or just one lens. I've only used the 'one lens' adjustment for the 55-300. I put it at 8...then moved it to 10. The 10 seemed to work better.

I'm not sure if I'm missing a step with the lens adjustment as I could find no way to delineate that there was a specific 55-300 setting.


There could be something wrong with the lens - I never did particularly like the lens when I got it. I finally asked around for people to look at my brick wall pictures and ended up returning mine under warranty. The replacement lens is much better. Since you've liked the lens up until recently, perhaps it has been damaged somehow?I was very happy with this lens from the first. I have been trying to look back if it was possibly damaged in the past few months, but I can't recall an incident. It is either attached to a camera in a well padded bag or unattached in a well padded lens bag.

As I posted in the other long tele thread, it's possible to have higher expectations with the better sensor, and perhaps the sensor can now out-resolve the lens.

That's what I'm wondering. Both the K10D and the KM use (as Scott pointed out) the same 10 MP Sony sensor. The K-5's sensor (improved Sony sensor) and resolving power is much better.
I have only used my 55-300, 12-24, 50 F 2.8 Macro and 50 F 1.4 normal on the K-5. So far only the 55-300 is a concern and not all the time. There have been some pix that have been sharp.

I have a number of other lenses that I haven't got around to using on the K-5 yet.


That happened to me when I got the K20 - up until then I had been perfectly happy with the kit lens that came with my DS. A couple of shots with the K20 and the only camera I'll occasionally use it on now is the K100. I'm afraid to put it on the K-5, I'd probably toss it away after that.


I've been starting to wonder if this is the case. In the future, it may make sense for me, to buy only the higher level Pentax lenses and avoid the kit lenses, for the K-5.

Although when I bought the 55-300 (metal lens mount) it wasn't regarded as a kit lens, a variation (plastic lens mount) of this lens has superseded the 50-200 as the telephoto kit lens.

Thanks for your advice.

Les



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