1. How are you taking photos with the camera on a table? If you're just resting it on the table and using instant shutter release, it could still very well be shake from you pressing the shutter release button. Try using 2 second timer on the shutter, make sure it is a sturdy table, and that no one is walking around nearby.
2. What ISO is your camera set to? If you're using JPEG, and ISO is high, the default noise reduction will smear the details all over. Try using RAW, base ISO 200, and shoot a still test target. Put more light on target. Use M or AV. Then develop to TIF.
3. You didn't mention how you're focusing. Forget autofocus. Use live view, magnify to the maximum non-interpolated magnification (I think either x6 or x8 on the K-30), then manually focus until your desired target point is in focus. The issue is, if you're putting the camera on a table, you might accidentally nudge the camera in the process of focusing. Much better to use a steady tripod. The key word is steady.
4. Is the 18-55 the plastic mount one? If so that's the same optical formula as the AL II, which (like most current 18-55s from any brand) is an excellent lens. It may have mechanical quality control issues, but nothing that will affect sharpness. At least 70 lp/mm in center wide open at 18mm, and high 60's in center wide open at 55mm (from my own testing, using 5 different samples). When you do your test, you're not using f/22 are you? Closing down the aperture too much will cause diffraction-induced loss of detail. Use f/5.6 or wide open (again, M or AV mode).
5. Also, you're not using some DIY plastic tupperware cut-out as a protective filter, right? Any glass UV filter, even cheapo ones, won't affect the resolution at these short focal lengths. But just to be sure, remove any filter from the lens.
6. After that, there should be no reason that your images aren't sharp. Any modern camera/lens system (that doesn't have vaseline or peanut butter smeared all over the optical elements and the sensor's AA filter) is sharp. Results to the contrary are due to operator error.
complete noob here so aplologies for any obvious answers that there may be
just bought a pentax k30 (happy with it so far, nice piece of kit) but I cant seem to get very sharp images with it. Been messing with all settings and using it in auto mode a lot trying different iso settings too. The sharpness isnt what im gettng on my samsung galaxy s3 camera!
Must be something im not doing right or some settings i havent adjusted proeprly? Even taking photos when camera is on a table so I know its not shake.
format is set to Jpeg and at highest res, and quality etc.
using a 18-55mm lens. It is the kit lens that came with the camera but have heard mixed reviews with it. some say its sharp others say its not so good. been shooting landscapes mainly so had it wide open a lot. Not expecting miracles with a cheap lens but would have thought it would be better than my phone if it is a lens problem!
any help appreciated
a slightly blurry Dave