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Old Jul 13, 2010, 9:35 PM   #11
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They usually tell you to turn off SR when panning, but I'm not so sure it makes all that much difference. I played with the second tower picture - try lightening the picture, it makes it much better. You can also add a it of sharpening also, it makes a much better picture.

I tried out iPhoto a bit. It actually does quite a bit but I thought it got heavy-handed with adjustments. Picasa seems better (played with it once, too) but I never quite figured out how to do much with it.

As far as sharpening, I leave it on the default settings as I prefer to sharpen with Photoshop. It's easy to add a bit more sharpening and pretty much impossible to deal with an over-sharpened picture. The in-camera noise reduction seems to do a pretty reasonable job (at least it does with the K7), but since I usually shoot raw, I do noise reduction with software also. I think I have the camera set to medium noise reduction but I may have changed that somewhere along the line. And since you have the Kx, you'll have less noise to deal with overall.

A lot of photography is personal taste, so the best thing to do is trial and error. I can't tell you how often someone has posted a picture processed the way they like it and I think it's over-done and not to my taste at all. Plus trial and error will teach you more about your camera, what it does best and what it's limitations are. And by the time you finish, you'll know instinctively how to get the best out of it. I prefer to use the natural setting (default is bright). I also use Lightroom to review my shots, so I'll shoot raw+ on occasion, compare the results and take the one I like best further (it's not always the raw version). Because I also use Lightroom for a certain amount of processing, it doesn't matter to me whether the file is jpg or raw.

Best advice anyone can give you is to go out and shoot pictures. Then ask (like you did above) when things go wrong. Or make some change and shoot again, several times, changing one value or another, to learn what that control does.

Forgot to mention how much I like the second dragonfly and the butterfly, both are very nice.
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 12:02 AM   #12
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Hi Michael,

Welcome to the Pentax Forum, and congrats on choosing what looks to be a great camera kit!

Your "good" shots deserve some kudos -- very nice!

On your ?? shots --

#1. Could be camera shake, or movement of the stem after the camera locked focus, hard to say which. If you are wondering why the tail is much more out of focus than the eyes, you probably were using too wide an aperture, so your Depth of Field (DOF) is too shallow. You can hedge minor focus mistakes and get more of the shot in focus by using a smaller aperture (higher f-stop #). To get this, you'll have to use a higher ISO sensitivity to keep the shutter speed up to prevent motion blur at the same time -- it's a matter of balancing all the elements, and it comes with awareness and experience.

#2 & 3. The bluish cast and the lower contrast suggests that distance and atmospheric haze were the culprits here. You'll notice that the color and contrast of the grass in the foreground is pretty good, so it's a pretty good bet that flare or White Balance adjustments by the camera weren't the problem. These are probably best countered in Post Processing as colored filters don't really work with digital since the onboard processor in the camera would try to compensate.

#4. This is a dynamic range problem. White birds in direct sun are difficult, especially when the subject is relatively small in relation to the frame, and moving targets are very difficult to spot meter, so this is a case where you usually have to use Exposure Compensation, IMO. I tend to use -1 to -2 stops Ev comp when shooting white birds in direct sunlight. I'll get some underexposed shots, but I'd rather deal with that than blown highlights.

This all takes some getting used to -- but you're off to a good start, so do a lot of experimenting, and as Harriet stated, a lot will become second nature as you gain experience with the camera.

Scott
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 12:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
They usually tell you to turn off SR when panning, but I'm not so sure it makes all that much difference. I played with the second tower picture - try lightening the picture, it makes it much better. You can also add a it of sharpening also, it makes a much better picture.

I tried out iPhoto a bit. It actually does quite a bit but I thought it got heavy-handed with adjustments. Picasa seems better (played with it once, too) but I never quite figured out how to do much with it.

As far as sharpening, I leave it on the default settings as I prefer to sharpen with Photoshop. It's easy to add a bit more sharpening and pretty much impossible to deal with an over-sharpened picture. The in-camera noise reduction seems to do a pretty reasonable job (at least it does with the K7), but since I usually shoot raw, I do noise reduction with software also. I think I have the camera set to medium noise reduction but I may have changed that somewhere along the line. And since you have the Kx, you'll have less noise to deal with overall.

A lot of photography is personal taste, so the best thing to do is trial and error. I can't tell you how often someone has posted a picture processed the way they like it and I think it's over-done and not to my taste at all. Plus trial and error will teach you more about your camera, what it does best and what it's limitations are. And by the time you finish, you'll know instinctively how to get the best out of it. I prefer to use the natural setting (default is bright). I also use Lightroom to review my shots, so I'll shoot raw+ on occasion, compare the results and take the one I like best further (it's not always the raw version). Because I also use Lightroom for a certain amount of processing, it doesn't matter to me whether the file is jpg or raw.

Best advice anyone can give you is to go out and shoot pictures. Then ask (like you did above) when things go wrong. Or make some change and shoot again, several times, changing one value or another, to learn what that control does.

Forgot to mention how much I like the second dragonfly and the butterfly, both are very nice.
Hi and thank you once more! I will try out my settings and see what will work best, seems to be a rainy day today (first in 4 weeks!!) the last four days we have had around 40 degrees in the sun which is unusual here in Sweden.
Thanks once more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by snostorm View Post
Hi Michael,

Welcome to the Pentax Forum, and congrats on choosing what looks to be a great camera kit!

Your "good" shots deserve some kudos -- very nice!

On your ?? shots --

#1. Could be camera shake, or movement of the stem after the camera locked focus, hard to say which. If you are wondering why the tail is much more out of focus than the eyes, you probably were using too wide an aperture, so your Depth of Field (DOF) is too shallow. You can hedge minor focus mistakes and get more of the shot in focus by using a smaller aperture (higher f-stop #). To get this, you'll have to use a higher ISO sensitivity to keep the shutter speed up to prevent motion blur at the same time -- it's a matter of balancing all the elements, and it comes with awareness and experience.

#2 & 3. The bluish cast and the lower contrast suggests that distance and atmospheric haze were the culprits here. You'll notice that the color and contrast of the grass in the foreground is pretty good, so it's a pretty good bet that flare or White Balance adjustments by the camera weren't the problem. These are probably best countered in Post Processing as colored filters don't really work with digital since the onboard processor in the camera would try to compensate.

#4. This is a dynamic range problem. White birds in direct sun are difficult, especially when the subject is relatively small in relation to the frame, and moving targets are very difficult to spot meter, so this is a case where you usually have to use Exposure Compensation, IMO. I tend to use -1 to -2 stops Ev comp when shooting white birds in direct sunlight. I'll get some underexposed shots, but I'd rather deal with that than blown highlights.

This all takes some getting used to -- but you're off to a good start, so do a lot of experimenting, and as Harriet stated, a lot will become second nature as you gain experience with the camera.

Scott
Hello Scott, and thank you for also taking the time to look through my photos and give me advice! i appreciate it alot!..
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 4:02 AM   #14
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ok, some more photos, please tell me what is wrong with my bird, i was quite close (around 4-5 meters) i tried different appertures but roughtly the same result, i find the bird lacking in sharpness, is it just because it is hand held? i must go out and buy a tripod.
Most of my shots of my kids are very sharp and nice, also the butterflies/bee´s and stuff is also quite sharp (see my photos here)
http://picasaweb.google.com/michael.widegren1

look at album Pics from 15/7 (it is uploading right now)
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 7:16 AM   #15
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The birds in those pictures look as sharp and detailed as I would expect from a subject filling up such a small portion of the frame. Add to that the 1/400 shutter speed and things look as they should. The reason I mention 1/400 is birds have fine feathers. Those feathers move in the breeze. So even if your camera is rock steady - the movement of the feathers will result in a little loss of detail. Finally there is the matter of focus - it is difficult for any camera to achieve perfect focus when the subject fills such a tiny area of the frame. The truth is - shooting birds is tougher than people think. Judging by the framing in the current photos you would have needed 500-600mm lens to get a better amount of detail.

If you want more detailed shots of birds you have to use a longer lens, get closer and if there is wind use a higher shutter speed.
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 7:56 AM   #16
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The birds in those pictures look as sharp and detailed as I would expect from a subject filling up such a small portion of the frame. Add to that the 1/400 shutter speed and things look as they should. The reason I mention 1/400 is birds have fine feathers. Those feathers move in the breeze. So even if your camera is rock steady - the movement of the feathers will result in a little loss of detail. Finally there is the matter of focus - it is difficult for any camera to achieve perfect focus when the subject fills such a tiny area of the frame. The truth is - shooting birds is tougher than people think. Judging by the framing in the current photos you would have needed 500-600mm lens to get a better amount of detail.

If you want more detailed shots of birds you have to use a longer lens, get closer and if there is wind use a higher shutter speed.
Aha, ok, then I understand! Yes a 600mm lens would be nice, but it is way to expensive for me right now, but I have been thinking on a 2x teleconverter for that kind of shooting, would that be usable with my kit-lens 55-300 (f/4-5.8)?
And the way to get higher shooting speeds is by have larger aperture (lower number) or have higher ISO value?

another question, when shooting indoors with low light (at the night with not that many lights on) the camera want to shoot at 6400 even if I use flash, any idea why?
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:07 PM   #17
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You won't be able to autofocus with a TC on that lens. Even with manual focus I suspect the degradation in image quality for a consumer lens like that will be rather large. A 2x TC always has a big impact on image quality. That's why they unfortunately don't work very well on consumer grade lenses (which are usually at their optical worst at full zoom). If you already have a TC you can try - it won't cost you anything. But If you're planning on buying one for that purpose I think you'll end up being disappointed with the results.
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:33 PM   #18
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You won't be able to autofocus with a TC on that lens. Even with manual focus I suspect the degradation in image quality for a consumer lens like that will be rather large. A 2x TC always has a big impact on image quality. That's why they unfortunately don't work very well on consumer grade lenses (which are usually at their optical worst at full zoom). If you already have a TC you can try - it won't cost you anything. But If you're planning on buying one for that purpose I think you'll end up being disappointed with the results.

ok, then I guess you just saved me a couple of bucks

thanks!
/Micke
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 7:26 PM   #19
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Joining this "conversation" a little late, but wanted to add a heartfelt welcome to the forum.
You've already gotten some great advice from many folks here, not much I can add...
For birds, I've found a good 300mm is often sufficient - it takes a fair amount of stalking to get close enough... I do use a 135-600mm zoom for birds as well - results are really nice, but it's a lot harder to handle. Also, you might want to check out KEH.com for good prices on used lenses.
On the other hand, you already have a great kit, and might want to spend time learning the equipment you have, before acquiring more...
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 10:52 PM   #20
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The most useful TC that seems to be around is the Pentax 1.7 AF lens. It actually focuses itself, so you can use a manual focus lens and have some AF capability. It's not as much as a real AF lens, but it's better than manual. Scott (snostorm) has a couple and uses them very effectively while shooting 300 mm f2.8 or f4.5 lenses - quality is awesome. I don't think they would work as well with the DA 55-300 since it's f5.8 at 300 mm. I'd love to get one but usually choke up when I look see what they are selling for now - around $350 the last time I checked. Some day I hope to buy some sort of TC, perhaps a 1.4, but there are too many other things to get. Besides, I sometimes struggle with the DA*300 - it's as heavy a lens as I can manage and I question whether I could handle anything longer without a very sturdy tripod.
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