Discuss everything including the optimal equipment, seasons, techniques and tips for capturing excellent photos.
So lately, I've been "ho hum" about my photography.
Not ready to make any rash decisions, just looking for some insight any experience.
I have not been happy with the color rendering or sharpness of my photos, and have been thinking perhaps a new lens would suit the mood. A couple of reasonably priced manual lens later, and I've I am more unenthused.
So I take a look through PixlPeeper at different Pentax lenses and then compare those to other lenses. Sigma, Tamron (stay with Pentax), Canon, Nikon, Oly, Sony (perhaps change it all up).....which ALL look better to my eyes.
Is this just my own biased negative opinion?
The photos for all lens from Pentax look ...blah. No pop to them. Camera, lens, both....what gives?
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maybe it's the processing. The pentax K-X has great color. Do you shoot RAW?
Upload some examples with Exif Data so i can see what you're talking about.
Yes I've been shooting in RAW since moving into a dslr. I'll take some test shots in the next couple of days and post.
Just looking at PixlPeeper though, comparing a 50mm lens for example...across the board...the other brands look way better. Post processing, photog style, camera, or user, you would think that there would some variation...however all I see are photos that are lacking that oomph!
for lenses, color is rarely an issue unless you are comparing horrible lenses to normal-excellent. Sharpness/distortion is usually the main culprit when it comes to lenses.
Color and pop is sensor and processing seems to be more of what you are saying.
I have no doubt this camera has wonderful capabilities
Take a look at what people are doing with it:
Also, PixlePeeper is not a great way of seeing what a camera can do. I would try another post-processing technique.
Well camera, or lens? I regularly check flickr and am in the Kx group so I do see alot of nice photos. However, there is no way to tell what lens they are using unless they specifically list it. This is where I am doubting Pentax glass, despite not having the big bucks to buy the stellar lenses. However, the lenses I do have rate fairly well amongst Pentax users.
Do you need the raw file? It wont upload it attach.
That pic looks like
1: white balance is a bit off
2: slow shutter.
I can't see any lens issues and I can't gauge the quality of the sensor because the ISO is high and the edges are bokehed.
Do you have any pics that you felt the conditions for were perfect, you had all the camera settings right, and then... upon review, the pic is not up to expectations?
I go through periods of time where I doubt a camera is working for me. I end up having to take an approach. I found that when shooting "pop" is generally a combination of 90% lighting and 10% sharpness. All the colors and distractions can be adjusted in RAW.... so i learned to not expect much unless i get perfect conditions. Everything else I have to play numbers on and keep shooting in different ways to work around the inadequacies of my gear (all makes, models have them).
to check your lens, do some architectural photography. I'm spoiled with Olympus lenses as they are tack sharp corner to corner, but I do get some nasty distortion with my favorite lens at an odd combination of aperture/zoom. I have learned to work around it.
I have sharpness issues and dull photos too. Most of my photos are dull. 90% of my landscape/waterfall photos in bright sun are crap.
I'm struggling with some random white balance issues (shooting in raw helps) and slight mis-focusing with one lens. Its a slow process, but I'm learning the ins an outs of each combination and working towards handling all those issues.
Let's see more examples and I can help you narrow down the problems.
Oh... and does Pentax have firmware updates?
I just updated my e5 firmware and for one of my lenses too. fixed one problem I had issues with: infinity focus.
I've had hundreds of photos that I thought were perfect all around. Right lighting, correct camera settings...and blah.
I notice alot of noise or what I believe to be. My photos generally look fuzzy to me, and for the most part of those photos on flickr and petapixel by others...I have the same impression.
Yes I do have firmware and have updated it. It fixed the battery indicator snafu.
I will head out and see what I can shoot and return to you with the results. I don't know why I chose that one as I knew it wasn't of ideal shooting with my gear.
Here is a daffodil I got the other day. I gave you the flickr image so you could see all the exif info. This was taken in Aperture-priority. Done with a manual lens, so not sure what the actual aperture was. Let me see if I can find something taken with my 16-45 that I haven't post processed.
IMGP0184 by Kyle Hobart, on Flickr
Ok, this one I recall back from the fall. I thought the lighting was dramatic, and that I selected the settings to best suit the photo.
IMGP8569 by Kyle Hobart, on Flickr
Ok... the first pick of the flower....
what is your aperture set to? It's out of focus, or soft blurred somehow. There is a bit of halo around the subject, and to me it seems like it is beyond the field of focus.
As far as color and pop, color is probably normalized from what you saw (cameras tend to do this to strike a balance) and can be fixed easily. Pop... well that's a combination of factors...Mostly lens and aperture. Blurring that background more (by using a longer focal length and wider aperture) is how most people would do it.
For this shot I would have used a 100mm macro or even my telephoto (even a cheap one would do), gotten far back and zoomed on in. I think the Pentax Kx viewfinder is pretty small, so manually focusing has got to be tough.
The second pic...
This is White Balance. Auto white balance. They key thing I see is that the whitest point is a bit on the blue side. A tell-tale sign that the camera defaulted to summer daylight white balance. My rule-of-thumb is that whenever you have something considered to be "dramatic light" turn off auto-white balance, and shoot with a preset or fixed number (helps to get comfortable with about 4 presets or numbers and know when to best use them). For a fall scene or sunset always shoot warm. In this case, I would have went with shadow or overcast preset or 5600k or above.
This is common for most cameras, even SLRs, and I have dealt with it many times with my own shots (recently this one). Those higher-end cameras have white balance censors that help a great deal (I have one on my e30 and e5) but they still are not perfect in those extreme lighting situations.
You can go back and fix in raw, but if auto balance is off by too much, it tends to clip certain colors out of the highlights.
This is also fixable in PP on the jpeg. Just bring up color balance and turn the cyan and blue channels more towards the warm end.
Here's what I did in about a minute.
Feel free to show more examples and ask as many questions as you want. This is the best way to learn... look at all the issues with our pictures and pick apart what went wrong, what is the camera, what is the photographer, what can be done in PP, and what can be done next time.
I have a new attitude when I shoot now, strangely after reading an Ansel Adams book: Photographing in the field is collecting materials and information. The real art is how those come together on the canvas in the darkroom.
Following up ....
I think this may have the "pop" that you seek...
well... there's no way I can get that directly from my camera. Although my e5 is damn sharp. This type of photo is the result of perhaps and hour of work, well over 20 shots, and some tactical post processing. It was shot at (120mm) on my landscape lens with two exposures. One to get the flower in focus, one to blur the leaves out more than what my lens was capable of. Each layer was processed independently and then combined. Mosquitoes were biting my ass off and I just accepted I don't have time to change lenses, change positions, wait out the wind, and all that other crap. I just collected information and when I got home, I worked on making the imperfect shots acceptable for at least one shot that could be sold. The original series of photos are nice, but compared to this, dull. I knew it would be dull. But i knew what I had to do it get something to work with. Anything my camera cannot get perfect, I can learn to take care of. Or I just wait for next time.
I wish cameras can pull off photos like this with every snap. Maybe the $5k cameras do more so than others, but without a human adding emphasis and emotion, making numerous decisions to match the processing to the feeling of the scene, results will never match expectations. Anyone can point and shoot. To be better than "anyone," we have to guide our cameras and then guide our processing to get better results. The more we learn and adapt to the inadequacies of our equipment, the more we learn about our own, the better photographers/technical artists we become. Newly discovered tricks become afterthoughts over time... and eventually we get more and more of what we expect out of our equipment. And more often we begin to see those misses as opportunities for darkroom practice.
IMGP0184 by Kyle Hobart, on Flickr
Here's a quick shot at your daffodil. Took about a minute as well.
I wouldn't sell or replace your gear. Experiment with your white balance settings. Any camera I've ever used will render a shot way too blue when set on Auto White Balance. Unless I'm inside under artificial light, I rarely take my setting off Cloudy. Even in bright sun. Also experiment with your exposure compensation controls. (+/-) And yes, keep asking questions.
A lot of it is preference too. You may hate what I did to your daffodil - but to me it looks a little better. Perhaps a bit oversaturated, but you get the idea.
Just a touch of adjustment on levels and saturation. Sharpened slightly, basic noise reduction (if you don't already have it - get a very nice free version here:http://noiseware-community-edition.en.softonic.com/) and added a vignette. Nothing I wouldn't have done to my own shot.
A good exercise might be to see if you can work with the leaf photo and the daffodil photo to duplicate what Matt and I did to your originals? Maybe, give it a try.
I like both of your adaptations to the photos.
I shall work on the post processing part. Is PS eons ahead of PSP?
I'll also look into taking multiple photos.
That's a question someone else will have to answer. I use ps elements and it's more than enough. The day I spend an hour on processing a photo is the day I call it quits. The way I have settled into works for me. That doesn't mean it will suit everyone. You'll find what works for you and from there you will be able to hone and adapt the process to make your photos please you.
Matt and some of the others here can show you a lot more in depth stuff than I can. But if you want a simple look at what I do, just let me know anytime. I'm always happy to help in person.